In Southwestward, Attack On Titan has really geared up a notch in the stakes department. While the first couple of episodes were strong on fear and character development, they covered small, isolated incidents with Titans, Miche’s not-so-glorious demise set up the main story and Sasha had a journey of finding herself but by the end of Southwestward we have what looks like it will be a multi-episode set piece that the first season indulged in so often. Which means multiple cliffhangers and multiple characters in mortal danger. The series is always at its best when this is the constant situation.
With many of the 104th in a besieged castle without any equipment with which to fight off Titans, they have to rely on their few superiors who surely will lose their lives pretty soon next episode, at least a couple of them. I don’t even know if they have names. But it’s going to be important that Conny, Reiner, Berthold, Ymir and Christa survive, at the very least Christa, for apparently she is incredibly important to the Church of the Wall’s plans. And this episode was good on backstory for her with Ymir, because up to this point I could recall very little she’d done on her own, so introducing a line about how she feels she isn’t good enough and that Ymir has done so much for her is really valuable in prioritising her importance. And make it so that we care that she’s in danger. Because I can care about Conny but the other four were prior to this, the extra members of the 104th so while I do have a soft spot for extra members at the best of times, they could be lost and it wouldn’t impact the story. In fact, I almost expect one of them to be lost in the episodes to come. Perhaps. That’s not a spoiler, that’s just me speculating. I’m not a manga reader so I can’t spoil what I don’t know.
What seems really obvious with speculating is that after the combination of there not being any obvious gap in Wall Rose and the titan on Conny’s house ‘speaking’ to him with a voice that he recognises as his mother, that the ‘Titans turn into people theory’ is all but confirmed and we’re waiting for the characters to realise this. To be fair, we don’t know how, it could be some magic that the Beast Titan has, and he is as scary as ever as he ignores what his Titan army is focusing on and scales the wall to presumably look out to Wall Maria where the rest of the Titans are, and perhaps to create a true gap.
On counter-Titan plans, Eren bringing up the basement, a plan to get to Wall Maria and seal that gives us a glimmer of hope that the human side has a plan too. This was a very big plans episode. And the intrigue with Pastor Nick struggling to reveal anything, seeing the suffering that’s being caused, all that was very strong.
Southwestward was a bit of a building episode. Very little action happened, besides that small part on the Eastern front to show what the other parts of the Corps army are doing but it all leads towards the promise of some fine action next time, so bring on next week!