Get it? Because they’re skeletons, and Eren was on fire at some point? Sorry, it was either that or the picture of the little girl, and I’m not degenerate enough to mock a crying little girl when there are also titan skeletons in a compromising position.
Ends justifying means is the one thing that Titan wants to get across even more than Eren angst. With every other exchange in this episode being “Do the ends justify the means?” “Uh…”, it really wants to hammer the question home. When the only things that the ends have to show for in the justification department are a crystallized corpse and a ruined city, it’s as pertinent a time to ask as any. There’s no true closure for those hurt by Erwin’s plan. The MP is revealed for the borderline vestigial organization that they are. Worst of all, a little girl is crying. But hey, at least the masonry worshippers were killed in a hilariously abrupt fashion. That’s more than enough justification to me.
So yeah, the ending is all kinds of frustrating, in part because Armin doesn’t once wear a skirt. Less importantly, the Recon Corps are no closer to getting a word out of Annie regarding her transformation, or titans in general. It’s unsatisfying as all hell, as sequel hooks are wont to be, with the only silver lining being that the military are a little closer to realizing just how terrible their situation is. Knowing may be half the battle, but the other half is actually fighting the battle without getting eaten by giant red people, neither of. They don’t seem able to do either just yet, especially when more of those red people are actually in the walls, ready to be woken. Closure is entirely a foreign concept here.
Ironically, the conventionally frustrating, sequel-hook-y ending serves as a rare example of frustration being satisfying in and of itself, when presented properly. It abides strictly by the second core tenet of the show, and that which it’s best at: Kicking the shit out of its characters while they’re down. Punishing every step toward victory with stomping. Or eating. Or Armin not wearing a skirt. It’s totally in keeping with this theme, and it wouldn’t have had as much impact if this arc ended with the promise that things would continue next week. Instead, it would have been just another shitty Kyojin episode ending. I don’t mind being jerked around by a show when it helps me connect with the characters and their struggles.
Even if a second season isn’t an inevitability, which it most assuredly is given its absurd popularity, I can say that this season’s ending would be good enough to stand on its own. If it stopped here, I could look back and say “That ending may appear to be bad, but I kind of liked it for that reason.” The hinted relationship between titans, the walls, and the state will provide more than enough speculation and intrigue to last me the inter-season drought—or until I decide to fuck the wait and pick up the manga. Either way, it’s a strangely fitting ending to a satisfactory show, and I enjoyed mostly every step of the way.
I do think that there’s a ton of room for improvement, especially in regards to making character growth actually matter, but this was still damn good, and well worth blogging. Have this rad screenshot as a parting image instead of the expected, skirtier one.