Female Titan, you never fail to provide ample material for potent screenshot/pun combos. I’d kiss you, but I have a feeling it’d be like kissing raw meat that wants me dead.
I will say this much for Shingeki no Kyojin, even if it goes to complete shit, it definitely knows how to use flashbacks well from a mechanical standpoint. While there’s no reason why the one in this episode couldn’t have been fleshed out into its own full-length segment, complete with more Hanji shenanigans, it being sandwiched into the middle of this episode kept the pre-expedition exposition from getting too long for its own good.
Still, it could have used more action in the present to follow up in Eren learning for the millionth time that he doesn’t have to shoulder the burden of killing every titan ever by himself—horses riding in a straight line isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, even if they’re being pursued by a giant blonde murderer. The flashback itself didn’t prop up the actual development well either, degenerating into HYSTERICAL YELLING BECAUSE THIS IS DRAMA too often. It’s nice that the soldiers were actually talked down this time, rather than retroactively being commanded to stop by higher ups, but having characters shout ineffectually at each other doesn’t make for a terribly compelling scene, even if it has Eren trapped in a slab of titan meat.
With that said though, one thing that this episode does right is find more material to develop Eren with without breaking and rebuilding his character in the exact same way. The continued emphasis on him growing from new experiences makes him surprisingly likable, if a little lacking in dimension. It doesn’t see the need to reinforce the same shit time and time again, and I can definitely get behind it. Not only that, but it does shed a scant amount of light on how Eren’s power functions without giving it away entirely. It balances things well by giving a hint that raises several tangential questions. I kind of hope that spoons are the secret, and all titans were former silverware salespeople, but I don’t think the actual answer makes that much sense.
Episodes like this don’t exactly have me clamoring for more of the same, but I do appreciate how the little action they do have is still impactful. Female Titan being harpooned hundreds of times is certainly striking enough on its own, but it wouldn’t be nearly as punchy (impale-y?) if it wasn’t used as a payoff for Eren making the right choice in one of his many internal struggles. Some fantastic lighting certainly doesn’t hurt things.
There isn’t much else to say. I’m hoping that next few episodes will shed some light on who Female Titan really is (as if the many glimpses of her face didn’t already give it away), and her reason for pounding half of the army into smears of giblets. I seriously doubt it’s to help the cause though; you can’t exactly explain away spinning a guy so hard with his maneuver gear that he leaks his stomach through his ears. The suspense isn’t killing me, but I’m hoping that this means the show will move forward into uncharted waters. And if not, at least we have future Hanji shenanigans.