Home > Episode by Episode > Attack on Titan ep23: your enemies reside in your softest, weakest underbelly

Attack on Titan ep23: your enemies reside in your softest, weakest underbelly

This episode starts out mundanely enough.  We’re given a glimpse into Annie’s world as she begins another day with the Military Police.  Here, we quickly see just how  lazy and corrupt the Military Police are as a whole.  The superiors take any and every chance to dump work on their subordinates wile they either screw or around or commit minor crimes.  At this point, my preconceptions could not be more spot-on when it comes to the Military Police.

The task Annie and her squad are saddled with is protection.  They are to protect the cavalcade carrying Eren to a tribunal to decide his fate.  It’s something that is no secret to anyone.  It seems pretty clear that once he makes it to the tribunal he’ll be killed and dissected.  And that’s if the religious zealots don’t burn him alive first.  I can’t understand the mindset of people who would worship something that was clearly man made.

While following the calvalcade through town with the rest of her squad, she’s called into an alley by a hooded stranger.  It’s Armin.  He petitions her to help them get Eren to safety, knowing that should he stand at the tribunal, he’ll certainly be killed.  In the meantime, they have Jean sitting in his place while they make this effort.  It takes some convincing, but Annie does agree to escort them.

Everything proceeds smoothly as we see Annie escorting Eren, Armin and Mikasa through the seemingly deserted streets.  They make their way to a building with a large basement.  This is where things get weird, as Annie freezes at the entrance to the basement that is supposed to lead them directly to the walls.  She actually looks scared.  No matter how much Eren tries to get her to move forward, she won’t.  And that’s when everything comes to a head.  It’s the moment where you get the whole point of this slowly paced, almost laid back episode.

Armin begins hitting her with questions.  He asks her why she had their dead friend Marco’s Maneuver Gear.  He asks her why she killed the two captured titans at the castle.  He even asks her why she didn’t kill him outside the walls.  It’s all laid bare for everyone.  Annie can do nothing but laugh at this point.

Annie is the female titan!  Which is why a bunch of soldiers disguised as civilians pop up and try to hold her down. But it turns out to be a suicide mission, as Annie had snuck on a ring designed to injure herself just for this occasion. Blood is spilled, there’s glorious flash of light, and a horrific chorus of screams. And for a moment, everything freezes as the female titan awakens inside the innermost walls.

End of episode.

I was really ready to call this a waste of an episode until I saw the conclusion to all this buildup.  This episode was expertly played. In the beginning we see a much different world from the one Eren and his friends have lived.  As incredibly talented as most of these Military Police soldiers may be, it’s all wasted in this land of corruption and sloth.  Despite the most dire of circumstances amongst most of the populace, things closest to the monarchy are so relatively safe and mundane that soldiers a left to their own whims.  Though for now, this is only a minor aspect of the series.

The really telling things I pulled from this episode is just how easily human titans (or whatever you want to call them) can blend in among the populace.  There is absolutely no giveaway Annie’s origins up to this point.  Only through the most astute observations is even someone as smart as Armin able to deduce what she may be.  If Annie had not shown up as the fearsome female titan, would anyone even know of her presence in the deepest reaches of the kingdom?  Without a doubt, there are more sleeper agents like her in the kingdom.  I’m banking on it.  It’s a pretty terrifying thought, and it’s not just because of their mere presence.  There’s also the assumption that they’re being lead by someone.  In the very opening moments of the episode, we see Annie having a dream, probably a memory of herself training, being coached by someone she looks up to.  Is that person another human titan?  Is that person perhaps the Collossus Titan that has become this series’ pop culture mascot?

It looks like humanity has a long way to go before it can even dream of making its first steps outside the walls.  At this point, they have to worry about surviving just one very, very strong and smart female titan.  There’s two episodes left, I wonder how many of the faces we saw this episode are going to smashed to paste by the time this ends?

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