Shingeki no Kyojin The Final Season Part 2 just delivered its second episode last Sunday, being episode 77 in general. With this second part only having 12 episodes in total, we are now ⅙ done. Let’s do a small recap from the last episode with Marley launching an attack to Paradis, Reiner and Galliard fight Eren, but thanks to Pieck and General Magath, Eren gets shot in the head and Onyankopon free Armin and the rest.
This episode starts with the first minutes being the ending of last episode, Armin and the rest arguing about what will be their next action, what really is Eren’s plan and why he wanted to push everyone away, Yaegerist being shot and Eren being immobilized by Reiner.
Have to give a special mention to the music, the piece that plays while Armin and Mikasa run upstairs, Reiner stabs Eren, trying to stop him, Galliard being slapped, was majestically. In this part, Reiner puts into question Eren’s motives to keep fighting, what is driving him and that it needs to end, for his own sake, is really interesting. Reiner wants Eren to stop suffering, by dying, the only way Reiner knows how to stop it, which is something Reiner has tried to do in the past, to kill himself and stop his own suffering.
But Eren is resilient, in one graphic display on violence, Eren put his hand in Reiner’s mouth and pushed it upward to rip the upper half of the head, all while giving a mighty scream, which reminded me that Reiner (and Galliard) had received such a beating since arriving in Paradis.
Before Reiner’s head get torn up, Zeke arrives, saying “Leave the rest to your big brother”, being in top of the wall, Zeke starts throwing rocks, in such an effective way that is enough to take down 2 airships, if last episode ended in a somber note, the course of battle became again in favor of Eren and the Yaegerist. In my last review, Zeke was one character which I didn’t touch but I want to talk more after talking about the episode.
Next scene is Gabi and Colt who notice Zeke going for Eren and Colt wants to look for Falco, Gabi wants to join, because of what Falco has done for her, then cut to Falco talking with a Eldian soldier of Paradis, is in this scene where we got a reminder of the wine with spinal fluid, now that Zeke is in Shiganshina, his scream can reach those that drink it.
The next scene is a continuation of the Armin and the rest, they free the prisoners, in favor to repel the Marleyans invaders and Mikasa leaves her scarf behind before going out to help Eren, after getting to the roof, they reunite with Yelena, they agree to “help” Zeke and Eren, Yelena accepts, not before giving a really creepy face, she understands that Armin and the rest aren’t gonna help Zeke to achieve his plan, but want to help to stop Marley.
I like this shot a lot, the composition, Yelena seeing Marley being defeated by Zeke, this character is so entertaining.
The soldier that talked with Falco before help him to get with his brother, this is where we see the first signs of change in Gabi’s character, a sign of trust in a Eldian, to later facing a truth, when she overhears Kaya and her family talking about her and Falco, this is where she learns something that Falco learned a long ago: The inhabitants of the Island aren’t devils, they are just people.
And Falco finally talks about his feelings, he comes clean, which after the talk with the Eldian soldier that drank the wine, he realize that he doesn’t have much time, that he needed to be honest and direct because he might not have time to do it later
While this is happening, outside is Zeke protecting Eren from Galliard and he notice that Pieck is pure bones, but that was a misdirection for the Yaegerist to lower their defenses and a counter-attack begin, which was very effective, Zeke got shot and lost his right arm, falling from the wall.
Things get to their highest point in the ending, Eren is walking slowly (because of the shot in the head, injuries and using the warhammer ability) toward the body of Zeke’s titan, while Falco is going to the same place, to convince Zeke to not scream and….ends.
This episode, while was such a “fun” one, in which fun is a synonym of “bloody and violent”, it’s not really the main focus, not like last episode, this one has more character driven dialogue, not explaining what is happening, but characters that talk about how they feel, about what they want and that’s one of the areas where SnK excels, in characters. One of my favorite scenes was Gabi and Falco talking. It helps the amazing animation that this episode had. Just looking at Zeke’s Titan, I was happy each time he was on screen and the music elevates this episode. The OST of this episode is one you have to listen to, it’s not as epic as “Ashes On The Fire” but it’s great in its own way.
But, sadly, this episode wasn’t perfect because of one thing, which is the beginning. I think it’s gonna be more noticeable if you binge-watch this and the last one, but the recap feels that it drags the pace.
Besides that negative aspect i have with this episode, i like that we see more characters, which i feel like it was missing from last one, now we have Falco, the Paradis, Colt and Gabi, more screen time for everyone, we care for all of them, the show makes us care for them and to see them develop, being in opposite sides of this battle, just make it more hard, which is great.
The development of the battle does a great job to always leave you tense in who will win, when one side gets the upper hand, it’s not for long and it doesn’t feel like it happened because of a Deus Ex Machina, the battle is build up in pieces that were established before, like Zeke appearing to help Eren, we know that Zeke was on his way.
The title of this episode is “Sneak Attack” which was even said by Pieck when using a decoy body, they make the Yaegerist and Zeke believe that she was dead, lowering his defense and blowing part of him with an effective shot by Magath, but it can be also applied to Zeke, his first action when arriving was making sure Eren is fine.
And talking about Zeke, his character, in the same vein as Reiner, was look as a villain at first, his actions were extreme and represent certain enjoyment,like when he throw rocks the survey corps in season 3, but in season 4 when we see a new side of him, first by betraying Marley and joining Paradis, as the season progress, we understand that he was never with Marley, all was a ruse, a ruse so good that he even deceive Paradis, all for his plan, which we learn more in his own episode, that provide us with a complete understanding of his character, a complex character, having to do horrible things for an end, doesn’t excuse his actions, but we understand why he does it. I haven’t yet found one person who didn’t cheer when Levi took him down in episode 17 of season 3 “Hero” but from that, to this episode, I was cheering when he saved Eren, calling himself his big brother, because he does really love him.
Mikasa leaving her scarf behind is a direct continuation of the table scene in part 1, where Eren explain to her about the Ackerman genes that make her always wanting to protect Eren, but the scarf itself represents her relationship with Eren, not that she is shutting it down, but for the moment, she is gonna act to help, not Eren, but Paradis.
Gabi also had a great development this episode, she has a realization of his own indoctrination, to hate people she didn’t knew, the main difference is that her actions (killing Sasha) only created that same hate now from Kaya to her, but the actions that Gabi blames on Kaya aren’t her fault, it was her ancestors and Kaya has all the right to blame her, the table has flip and she realize that they aren’t different.
And just like the past article, this episode took some liberties in the placement of events that are in different order in the manga, for example what is happening outside the cells is chapter 117, while inside in the cells is chapter 118.
-The episode starts where it left off with Armin, Mikasa and the rest discussing and running upstairs which is halfway through chapter 118.
-The episode continue the rest of the fight between Reiner, Galliard and Eren, with Zeke coming to help, this is the end of Chapter 117
-Zeke knocking down the airships, Yelena seeing the airships falling down, the Gabi and Colt scene and the Falco with the Eldian soldier, all those are the first half of chapter 118, from there, the manga chapter continues with Onyankopon freeing the rest, which we saw in the last episode, that leaves with everyone coming to the roof and seeing Yelena.
-The rest of the episode is very faithful to the rest of chapter 118, but with one difference that i find interesting (not to say funny) in the anime the whole crew see Yelena admiring the blips falling down with open arms, that’s actually the beginning of chapter 118, in the manga when they get to the roof, which is later from that event, they found Yelena like this: