And on that day humanity received a grim reminder – of how awesome Attack on Titan is! Welcome back to the Multiversity Summer TV Binge. We will be diving, swooping, and swinging our way through Attack on Titan season two. It turns out the real titans were the friends we made along the way in season 2 episode 8: “The Hunters.”
1. Eren, Kidnapped!
He put up a hell of a fight, and he lost. Eren Yaeger has been kidnapped. Even though he got the upper hand, Bertholt pulled a nasty trick and it was game over. Truly the power of the Colossal Titan is staggering. It’s like watching a titan nuke getting dropped. Eren is rendered powerless, the Scouts are hit with the worst blast of steam yet, and before you know it Reiner is running off over the horizon with Eren (and Ymir!) in tow. It’s a dark day for the Scouts.
2. Erwin and Pixis, power couple
Back in Trost (remember Trost?) Dot Pixis is doing his thing, and what a thing it is. He’s drunk at least four bottles of… something, and telling his subordinates how much he’d enjoy getting his diaper changed by a sexy younger lady. The fact that this man looks and sounds a lot like J.K. Simmons only patrially explains why he’s so charming. A kinky, flirty, geriatric alcoholic isn’t exactly my type, but I’d go for Pixis. I can’t explain why.
Then he gets approached by the erstwhile Erwin Smith! The two of them are unsurprisingly a power team. Pixis hides a shrewd tactical mind behind his wrinkly veneer, and Erwin is the most competent ruthless mastermind, probably in the world. I’m greatly comforted that the two of them are pooling resources. When Sasha shows up with a report on what the hell has been happening, these two guys are the ones who are going to come up with a plan. It’ll be all the better for their collaboration.
3. The three divisions
Let’s talk about fascism, a major theme on this show. An important and sometimes overlooked element of fascism is the tribal necessity to have an enemy. The world of Attack on Titan functions like it does because people are mostly united against the constant threat of the titans. But we also see another important division, one that’s about to reach a turning point.
The Scouts have proven themselves to be the badass special forces squad they’ve always claimed. After the battle of Trost, the Garrison has its share of veterans as well. Those two divisions seem to be uniting against the Military Police. Erwin and Pixis see them as soft, and are notably not including any MP commanders in their planning.
This attitude trickles down to the troops. We see Jean (hey, remember Jean!?) having no trouble connecting with Garrison soldiers, but he’s got nothing but scorn for the MPs. Ironic, considering at one point it was his greatest aspiration to join them. I wonder if seeing action will bring the three military divisions together or underline their differences and create internal conflict.
4. Uncle Hannes
Speaking of wayward characters, we also get a big sequence focusing on Hannes. You’d be forgiven for forgetting him: he’s the drunken loser who carried Eren away from his mother in the very first episode. Eren had nothing but scorn for him and while we get some context via a flashback, this episode doesn’t re-write history.
Hannes is a nurturing dude, and he seems to be trying to fight off the worst of his alcoholism. Even when he was a lout, he always felt affection for the trio. He rooted for Eren in silly little street brawls, and knew that Mikasa was the real muscle behind their operation just as Armin was the real brains. Then and now, he made sure they had bread to eat and awkward words of encouragement. It’s not dishonest to claim that with just this pinch of character development, Hannes is turning out to be as great a character as Sasha or Hange Zoe or Jean. There’s a lot going on with this man, who clearly just wants some kids to peacefully raise.
5. Mikasa’s despair
The second Eren got taken, I assumed Mikasa would go into full Mikasa mode. You know, scarf wrapped tightly around her face, shouting his name over and over, unstoppable killing machine mode. That’s not what happens. When she wakes up, she’s burned, concussed, and without hope. I didn’t expect that to happen, but I can’t say I blame her. Mikasa has seen too much, and she’s out of gas.
That’s what makes the final series of pep talks so sweet. Armin knows that Mikasa is a being made of blazing fire, and won’t let a head wound stop her. Hannes gets her something to eat and reminds her how brave she’s always been. Then Erwin shows up, and he’s like “hell yeah we’re going to rescue Eren, what are you an idiot?” Finally, Hannes decides that there’s not going to be any rescue mission without him. Side by side with her friends, with everyone from Hange Zoe to Sasha to Krista to Connie, Mikasa gets that killer look in her eyes. She steels herself to rescue Eren.
And how is Eren doing? We see him for a second. And… he’s got no aaaaaaaarms! Aaaaahhhhhh! Noooooo! To be continuuuuued!