And on that day humanity received a grim reminder – of how awesome Attack on Titan is! Welcome back to the Multiversity Summer TV Binge! Let’s continue the wild third season of this dark, fascist, and weirdly inspiring anime.This episode is going to be getting into some truly nasty stuff, as is traditional in the third season of this epic series. Join me as we dive, swoop, and swing our way through Attack on Titan season three. Let’s see what happens in the second episode: “Pain.”
1. Don’t fear the Ripper
We’ve had humans vs titans, titans vs titans, and humans vs humans that turn into titans, but so far this has not been a story about human on human conflict. That all changes now, and you’ve got to respect the attention and intelligence behind the tactics. Titan fightin’ is done with replaceable blades, jetpacks, and occasionally canons. This criminal gang swings around like Spider-Man and fights with guns. Because they are here to kill people, who typically don’t regenerate, so a bullet will do. But the thorough attention to strategy and logistics that was originally established by Hajime Isayama (who wrote the manga) is still very much on display. Levi uses what he knows about his adversaries to draw them into a trap, which gives him time to escape.
And know them he does!
2. The littlest Levi
It’s been pretty thoroughly implied, but we learn here that Levi used to roll with this crew. In fact, he grew up with them. Kenny was basically his dad. And that honestly explains a lot. I know there has been spin-off material about Levi, and frankly the adventures of pre-teen Levi and a gang of arch-criminals sounds very much worth pursuing.
The scouts fight valiantly, but to no avail. Armin even pops a cap in a guy to save Jean from the original kidnapping attempt. Levi weasels his way out of a tight spot by letting the bartender take a shot at Kenny. But notably- Eren and Historia are not rescued, and they get taken away.
3. Good cop, mad cop
Oh man, the first episode dipped its toe into the gritty interrogation waters, this episode dives right in. After Erwin (now sort an arm) is approached by Nile (who leads the Military Police), the Scouts decide to go a little more rogue. They capture two of Nile’s men and pretty brutally tortured. The pain and questioning isn’t effective, but Hange executes a classic plan. They talk loudly with Levi about how each of their captives have just ratted each other out, suspicions mount, and the prisoners indeed fess up. It’s the oldest trick in the book, and the whole thing resembled nothing so much as a SNL skit, but I guess when you spend most of your time worrying about giant regenerating cannibals, you miss out on a few cop shows.
But now they know that Rod Reiss is secretly the real king, and that Christa/Historia (Christoria?) is his real heir. The throne intrigue is quickly heating up.
4. Karma comes back around
OK, I have no idea if this will turn out to be an important thing but… remember the first group of mobsters? The ones who captured Jean and Armin thinking they were Eren and Historia? Well they were connected to Dimo Reeves. Yeah, that name didn’t ring a bell for me either, but that was the name of the merchant who Mikasa threatened way way back in season one when he was putting the people of Trost into danger. Well, Reeves has either had a change of heart or is way less awful under pressure, because he’s defected to the side of the Scouts… only to be promptly murdered by Kenny (Keeeeennnnyyyyyyyy!).
The murder is witnessed by Reeves’ son Flegel, who is now in play. The Game of Thrones comparisons are feeling really accurate. Because not only is this turning into a story about secret heirs and lines of succession, but its also getting into the lives of mercenaries and vengeful merchants. That sort of x-factor minor character is what Game of Thrones is all about.
5. That’s pretty freaky Rod
In the end, Historia reunites with her dad. He seems pretty genuinely happy to see her. That either means she was lost to him, or he’s a grade A sociopath. And judging by the fact that Eren is bound and gagged in the corner during the family reunion, yeah, I’m leaning towards sociopath. Rod seems like a real kinky dude. Historia should run the eff away.