I can tell you immediately that this episode contained a couple of things I always wanted but was sure I wouldn’t get from Attack On Titan. Firstly, it was a Sasha-focused episode and I’ve almost given up on side characters of her importance getting episodes to themselves in series like this, particularly given the reduced number of episodes for this season. Secondly, even though there were death flags left right and centre for her, and everything seemed to be pointing that way, and knowing how our dear friend Shingeki likes to hurt us, it was a huge shock to me that she survived. I think I cheered when she slipped out of the Titan’s embrace right at the end.
There were a few non-Sasha bits, so I’m just going to quickly cover those. It confused me at the start that we were back at Trost, but I just needed to get acclimated to the geography of the place, Trost never actually fell and now it’ll be behind enemy lines as the group deals with the titans inside Wall Rose. Pastor Nick still knows things but we’re no closer to finding out what they are. And towards the end of the episode, maybe Conny really is in danger as I keep thinking he is. I always think he’s gonna die. Maybe next episode is going to be the time. His route was always harder than Sasha’s as his family lived to the south but it looks like their house has been crushed by a really strange Titan, weak limbs and protruding ribs. My first thought was that it had been thrown by the Beast Titan or something similar on the house but that doesn’t answer the question of how it was able to move around on that body. Maybe one of Conny’s family turned into the Titan. Which would be incredibly scary if so but it did have the same colour eyes as Conny and that’s got to mean something. Very intriguing for the next episode.
I’ve heard that in the manga, Sasha was originally supposed to die at this point but the editor convinced the author to spare her and I think that’s for the better. All the expectations that she’s going to die are there which means that ultimately this episode ends up subverting expectations and that’s going to maintain interest much better than if she had depressingly died. Even though it was a noble sacrifice, one of my favourite tropes is that someone stays behind to fight an oncoming threat to allow others to get away. The sequence with Sasha holding a bow, trying to take out the eyes of the titan, was gripping as I was sure this was it. And it gave me a really elated feeling at the end of it.
Going back a bit, the first thing I noticed about this week’s Titan, besides his comical porn stache, was that at first he didn’t look like a Titan. I had to pause and check he was actually eating someone in the first shot because it seemed he was barely bigger than the poor disabled woman he was slowly snacking on and I wondered whether we’d run into a human cannibal or something. Which could add more credence to the theory that humans are somehow turning into Titans, because he definitely grew in size between that point and the point where Sasha blinded him.
Sasha’s backstory was cool, I’ve always liked her as a character and she richly deserved an episode to herself. Seeing her act desperate for food brought home how much of a rough life she had. More interesting was the fact that she would be very happy to cut herself off from the world and ignore all of the social niceties that may hinder her doing what she wants. Which is all well and fine, I do that sometimes, but obviously, you need to consider that people won’t help you if you refuse their help, and sometimes you need it. She seems to have trouble fitting in, as evidenced by the scene with her and Ymir and Krista where they berate her for putting on an accent, which is clearly a form of social anxiety. And that’s why her surviving makes the story far better, she’s saved a child, has been reunited with her father and can hopefully get over part of her social anxiety now she’s been an absolute badass in going up against a Titan in close-quarters, blinding it, and living. All hail Sasha. She’ll be dead by the end of the season, won’t she? If so, it won’t be a good year for characters called Sasha in end-of-the-world type TV shows. Though this is far better than that other one as the Sasha here is alive. And she shall stay alive. She’d better.