Attack on Titan is one of the most exciting anime to air in recent years for two reasons: first, it kills important characters with unflinching brutality and secondly, it makes you think that it’s going to kill characters off at any moment without warning.
Given a plot synopsis of episode three of season two, you would be forgiven for thinking that nothing happened. A titan might speak to Connie, two teams go searching for the breach in the wall not finding one, Hange theorises that Eren could plug the hole in Wall Maria and the forward team camped at a ruined fort are put under siege by a group of overly aggressive titans while the Beast Titan makes a get away.
So there you have it, adding in a few additional scenes, nothing really happened. Knowing that, I’m still quite confident in saying that this was the best episode of the season so far (and I thought episode two was fantastic).
This was the first episode of Shingeki no Kyojin to be set primarily overnight. There’s a good reason it hasn’t been done before – titans aren’t aggressive in the night time so leading an expedition over night passed sleeping titans could leave you exposed to titans from several different angles. This time however, there was no option for the two teams looking to find the breach in Wall Rose as soon as possible.
This episode was all about building an atmosphere for the rest of season. Besides the night time moments – which I will come back to – the opening of the episode really stood for doing this exceptionally well. In a moment that sent chills down my spine, the titan that was lying on top of Connie’s house appeared to say ‘Welcome home’. The look of pure terror on Connie’s face combined with the broken, wide eyed titan was so powerful – despite Reiner’s protestations, we can be fairly sure Connie isn’t losing his mind and that this titan is somehow a member of his family. The questions rising from this mind blowing revelation could change the complexion of the whole show. But I digress, and I’ve read the manga, so I’ll leave it to you all to have a think about that.
There were two others moments this week that I felt really helped to build the tense atmosphere. Firstly, when the two teams of following the wall in the dark looking for the breach, we see the inner fears Gerger, as his tiny torchlight gives way to hordes of titans looming over him. I thought this really captured the feeling for the shows direction going forward – from now on people won’t be feeling as if the walls will always keep them safe from the titans, but instead will be worrying about when the titans will get them.
Secondly was a moment preceding the arrival of titans at the run down fortress the Scouts made their home. Only Reiner and Ymir appear to be awake, as we see Reiner holding an object exclaiming with apparent disbelief only to be met with a sinister look as way of a reply from Ymir. Next episode should reveal all on this little riddle, but even if it doesn’t we’re going to get more interesting back story.
Now, besides the building of a tense and despairing atmosphere there is one other thing that I elected leave out of my short synopsis earlier, that being the revelation by Pastor Nick that for some reason that he won’t disclose, Krista is the only person he can divulge information surrounding the walls to. It’s not clear who Krista is or why she should get this information from this point, but we do see in an earlier conversation between her and Ymir that Krista’s family might be a good enough reason to change your actions.
Another really exciting episode that revealed more about important characters as well as somehow making the situation feel even worse than it was before. What a show.