Welcome back to my continued episodic review series for the final season of Attack on Titan. We’re looking at the final three episodes today, so that means Savagery, Sole Salvation, and Above and Below.
Savagery was an apt title for this episode, and that was pretty much entirely thanks to Eren. His speech to his former friends was actually pretty brutal. First of all, telling Armin that he only visits Annie because he’s being manipulated by Bertholdt’s memories was harsh. The beating he then gave Armin was also rough.
Crueler though was how he treated Mikasa. She has always been a favourite character for me, and her devotion to Eren was really quite sweet. So, for Eren to tell her that her desire to protect him was simply because she’s an Ackermann, and then go on to say he has always hated her? That was terrible. The anguish she was feeling was apparent throughout the scene. I don’t think it will change how she thinks or acts in relation to Eren. It’s gonna make it hurt though!
Speaking of hurting, Floch taking control of the cadet training session and having the students beat Commandant Shadis to a pulp was a very clear indication of the type of person he is. Floch is using Eren’s cause as an excuse to spread violence. Honestly, I feel like he would be finding a different reason to do this were Eren not doing what he is. As it is though, Eren is the reason he’s using.
Meanwhile, Zeke is reliant on catching up with his half-brother. To that end, he turned Levi’s comrades into Titans and attempted to make a run for it. Levi being Levi though, was on top of it. The whole battle sequence here was phenomenally bloody, and Levi taking Zeke down the way he did was an incredible sight. That he ended the episode placing Zeke in the AoT equivalent of a trap form Saw was a nice touch. Were it not for Eren though, Zeke most definitely would not be in this position.
So, Eren is the root of all pain, it seems. I do wonder though if that’s Eren trying to drive those he cares about away rather than see them hurt. Like, maybe he’s sacrificing himself here? I kinda hope that’s the case because, if not, Eren has really fallen from grace.
Sole Salvation was a flashback episode, designed to explain Zeke’s motivations and his plan. It turns out, Zeke was not a natural warrior candidate. He was driven, largely because his parents were so driven, but he did always have a belief that Eldians were being mistreated. It was meeting Tom Ksaver, the then Beast Titan, that things changed for him.
It was Tom that convinced Zeke to turn his parents in, in return for his own safety and selection as Beast Titan. It was also Tom that revealed the Founding Titan could alter Eldian DNA and had done so before in order to wipe out a pandemic. That was the catalyst for Zeke forming his plan: use the Founding Titan to preen Eldians from having children. The idea was to wipe out his race and so ensure that not only do they no longer suffer but that nobody else lives in fear of Titans.
The story of Tom’s wife killing herself and their child when she discovered he was Elidan was harrowing. So was Eren describing how he felt the memories of his father crushing children. When you look at it, you can understand why Zeke came up with such a drastic plan.
Finally, we had Above And Below. This all started with Zeke, having blown himself up at the end of the last episode, being placed in the stomach of another Titan. I guess that could mean we’re getting another Beast Titan. Given Zeke wasn’t really eaten though, there’s always the possibility he somehow summoned the Titan during the explosion and is now recovering inside it. The visual of it tearing its own stomach open to place him inside was wholly unexpected though.
The big story though was the reappearance of the remaining Warriors. Pieck arrived on the scene and, after a bit of back and forth, decided to side with Eren. That all turned out to be a double bluff, and Galliard came close to eating Eren. The episode – and this run – finished on the epic scene of Reiner arriving in an airship, ready to jump into the battle.
Now, I would actually say Gabi was the most important part of this whole set up, in some ways. Pieck was certainly being truthful when she told Gabi that Eldians would never be free, and she was also truthful when she said she didn’t trust Marley, but did those who fight alongside her. Gabi is, for all intents and purposes, back with those she trusts. At the same time, her saviour is very open about not believing the hype.
When you look at it like that, Gabi represents the results of propaganda. She has a very rigid worldview and one that includes some self-hate. Now that she is seeing counters to her views, they’re clearly so deeply ingrained in her, that she’s having trouble reconciling that.
All in all, these were some fine episodes, and I’m so glad it has been confirmed we’ll be getting more. Attack on Titan has been an excellent story from start to finish so far, and this final season is seemingly building towards a fitting climax. So, those were my thoughts. But what did you all think of these episodes? Let me know in the comments below.