Everything in this episode pales before the sheer fortitude of this cat apathetically sitting through Annie’s rampage. Eren biting himself raw is well and good, and Mikasa’s possessiveness over Eren is reaching new, terrifying heights, but who’s the real monster? It’s that fucking cat, sitting completely still through a shower of blood like this is just the everyday life of a cat in Sina. Forget the Recon Corps, even forget Eren, the true hope of humanity is this fucking cat.
Eren’s habit of getting fatally maimed is starting to get a bit wearisome and predictable at this point. I understand that he only seems to conjure his titan form whenever his life’s in immediate danger, or when touching a spoon, but there’s still a world of difference between danger and constant near-death. It doesn’t have any impact at this point, seemingly happening with every other titan encounter to spur Eren into action. There are other ways to potentially lead to tense situations that the show isn’t utilizing.
I do like how the episode breaks up the action scenes with flashbacks to the Recon Corps planning their trap for Annie. At first I thought it killed the pacing, but it serves to break up the action into more manageable chunks, rather than bringing it to stuttering halts every five minutes. It isn’t the most engaging discussion in the world since we’ve already seen the plan in action, but it does at least highlight that not everyone is down to kill Annie—save maybe for Mikasa. Well Eren kind of is, but wooden beams through lungs tend to take the fight out of people.
Despite having a bit part, Mikasa did a good job at showing her more unnerving side. Her obsessive, pragmatic side hasn’t really been explored as much as it could, so it’s always nice when she gets a chance to strut her psychotic stuff. She still feels like something of a missed opportunity, but her treatment of Eren is still a bit… off. The way that time is taken to compare her cold eyes with Eren’s anxiety really lets the effect seep in.
For how engaging the action is, it doesn’t really serve much of a purpose here. Usually this isn’t the case, with some kind of important revelation or character development springing from extended titan killing. In the end, we know that Eren’s going to be the one to bring Annie down, regardless of how many times he’s impaled with wooden beams. Granted, it is the second to last episode, so it can’t rush things, but it still feels like the episode’s spreading itself thin so it has enough content for the finale; just like this post, now that I think about it.
I’m sure the finale will be all kinds of good, with Annie getting beaten to a pulp and shit, but all that this buildup accomplished is making me like Hanji more, and that was hardly a difficult task.