Welcome back to my continued episodic review series for the final season of Attack on Titan. We’re looking at episodes 11 and 12 today, and while they deal with different characters, I do think there’s an overarching theme: the price of peace.
Episode 13, Children of the Forest, is a story about the power – and weakness – of belief. For those on Paradis Island, it’s that belief that is now moving them towards their various destinations too. Let’s have a look in more detail.
The Power To Move Forward, No Matter What
We learn early in the episode that Zeke’s spinal fluid has been used to create gas by the Marleyans. This weapon causes Eldians to freeze up, which has made them easy prey to turn into Titans. Though he claimed not to want to do it, Levi points out to Zeke that he clearly has no remorse about the people he slaughtered in Ragako in this way. It’s something that’s likely to be repeated too. You see, Zeke’s spinal fluid has been used as an ingredient in a fancy wine that has been served specifically to MPs and higher-ups in the military, which means the leadership structure of Paradis Island could well be on the brink of destruction.
Zeke is consistent in maintaining that he is fighting on the side of Eldians. Could that be a lie? Maybe, maybe not. One thing is certain though. He believes in what he’s doing. His plan is one that he is unwavering in, and that allows him to move forward, no matter what that means doing. That believe has spread to his followers too as Yelena and Floch were both in on his plan. As a result, they too are pushing ahead, even it means trampling on their now former comrades.
The Power To Forgive
This episode turned into a big mess for Gabi. Not knowing that her current guardians’ were Sasha’s parents, she was unaware who it was she killed. So, she proudly proclaimed what she’d done to Nicolo. Nicolo being in love with Sasha caused him to snap at this point. Falco saved Gabi from taking a bottle of wine to the head – causing Falco to swallow some of the spinal wine in the process – but it wasn’t enough. Nicolo dumped her in front of Sasha’s parents, explained who she was, and told them that if they can’t kill her, he will.
Sasha’s Dad was the voice of reason here. He took the knife from Nicolo but didn’t use it. Instead, he spoke about how Sasha was a hunter. She used to catch things for the family to eat in the forest. He said that the whole world was like a forest, really, and that he believes she wandered too long, and that’s why she got shot. He told Nicolo that it was up to the adults to shoulder the sins of the past, or there would be no hope for the children.
Mr Braus clearly believes in it being the adult’s responsibility to keep the children from harm. He also believes in seeing the good in people. He doesn’t want to see any more people lost, and his belief gives him the power to forgive.
The Weakness Of Being Deceived
Deception was another big part of the episode, and it affected the two core groups very differently. Eren believes in his own plan, and he also believes Commander Pyxis is a smart man. As a result, he is unable to trust the offer that has been made to him. He believes that Pyxis is likely plotting something, and will not allow himself to be deceived by that. So, he gets Floch and his followers to act and start pushing ahead with the plan.
On the other hand, the Scouts have been weakened. They believed Zeke’s words, for the most part, and that has now meant that they’re potentially unable to stop what is happening. The wine has been distributed, large numbers of the people who had worked hard to gain their trust were simply acting, and now they’re at a severe disadvantage. Maybe they needed hope and wanted to believe in their fellow humans and a potential plan to set them free. That has certainly led to this moment though.
Meanwhile, Gabi has been given yet another clear indicator that what she was taught about those on Paradis Island is wrong. It was her fellow Marleyan that considered killing her, and it was an island devil that forgave her. Then, the very military she has been trained to fight against saved her too. All her life, she has been raised to believe that Marley is the good guys, and Paradis Island is full of bad guys. Everywhere she turns though, her world view is being proven wrong.
And let’s not forget Captain Levi. Brief as the scene was, he was faced with the knowledge that he was wrong about Eren. He saved Eren time and time again, seeing comrades sacrificing themselves in the process. Why? Because he believed Eren was the hope of humanity. Now, he can’t see what that hope was. He was deceived, whether Eren meant to do so or not, and what effect that will have on Levi going forward will be interesting to see.
The Main Three
Which just leaves us with Armin, Eren, and Mikasa. Eren has turned up to talk to them, which is exactly what Armin and Mikasa had hoped to do while he was still incarcerated. They have both remained strong in their belief that Eren is either acting for the greater good or that he can be saved. Now, it looks like we may start to see whether their belief gave them the strength to follow the right person, or caused them to be weakened by a clever deception.
So, those were my thoughts. But what did you all think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below.