Attack on Titan, Episode 21: Crushing Blow


Attack on Titan. When a show is as hyped as this is a lot of people’s first thought is one of scepticism. That includes me by the way. If everyone else likes it, it must be terrible, right? Anyway, this article isn’t a review of the whole show; at the moment I’m only 21 episodes through. This is a review of the last episode I watched, an episode which I think truly sums up the show, at least to this point anyway. I’ll say it now in case, somehow, you haven’t seen the show, this will contain spoilers.

Episode 21, Crushing Blow, comes at one of the many crunch points in the season. The female titan that has been stalking Eren has escaped the commander’s trap and retaken human form. To make matters worse, to prevent the squads retreat to the horses she turns back into her titan form and strikes down Gunther.

Initially, the battle starts well for the Levi squad
Initially, the battle starts well for the Levi squad

This sets up an episode of death and pain for the squad. Eren is convinced to leave by the others leaving  them to fight in attempt for him to escape. Levi’s squad initially seems to have the upper hand, as they blind the titan and sever her arms, leaving her seemingly defenceless while she regenerates. In a unseen turn of events however, she manages to focus her energy into one eye causing Eld to be bitten in half. This event puts Petra into a panic who is subsequently struck down. It isn’t long before Oluo is also killed when his attempts to slice the titan’s neck are thwarted by an icy defence.

Throughout this scene we switch between the fight and Eren is, for the most part thinking that he made the correct decision. That is until he remembers Levi’s advice about following your own gut. His decision not to turn into a titan then seems to be foolish one, and one that cost the rest of his squad their lives. Following their deaths, he transforms into titan form in a fit of rage to try defeat the female.

Mikasa and Levi hear Eren transform and begin to make their way over to him. In the meanwhile Eren begin the fight on top, seemingly overpowering his weakened enemy who is still recovering from the damage inflicted to her arms and left eye. After an even melee, Eren pins down his enemy but cannot land the finishing blow seemingly through a combination of rage and his amateur use of his titan power. His anger seems to make him complacent and the female titan manages to escape his lock. After another melee a look of revelation appears upon Eren’s face before his decapitated and eaten alive by the female titan.

Eren's battle also starts off well. Shame it doesn't end that way.
Eren’s battle also starts off well. Shame it doesn’t end that way.

Mikasa and Levi arrive in quick succession with Mikasa attempting to engage the titan, before being held back at a distance by Levi.

That’s what happens. I’ve written out the synopsis in this depth because I wanted to show how quickly emotions change in Attack on Titan. One minute you feel the scouts are on top, the next they’re dead. The refreshing thing is despite this, there really isn’t an indication of who is going to win. Even at the end of the episode when Eren is seemingly eaten and killed by the female titan, Mikasa’s fervent belief that he is still alive makes you believe that he is totally regardless of what you have just seen.

There are more general points that will go into the season review, but it is worth saying now that you really do feel for each person that is killed. The writers give a lot of characters a lot of time before they are killed, and despite many of the characters from the start dying you don’t feel as if it was senseless.

I’ve got 4 episodes to watch after this one but I can’t help but think I will then join the masses clamouring for season 2 sooner rather than later.

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