A tale of 2 halves. By naming the episode with “Traitor,” you would think that they would start off with something compelling. Instead, we get Commander Magath character development before the battle begins.
Highlight of the Episode?
Commander Magath. Throughout the series, Magath has been seen as the clear-cut avatar for racist ideals of Marley. We see his cutthroat personality shine through, in his interrogation of Yelena and a turnaround of his views of the Paradis Island Eldians. In the minds of the viewer, he represents controversial views that is clearly one-sided. Through the subtle scene of showing Gabi, Magath, uncharacteristically apologizes for his action at the camp and to both sides of the party. Along with the previous episodes, these are words from a man that realizes his wrongdoings. A man that realizes that the greater good is to stop Eren.
Although, this scene wasn’t as hard hitting as the Jean and Hange scene; in such a short span of time, we needed more episodes and scenes to be emotionally invested in a character like Commander Magath. Still, this was a nice wrap up to his character development. Commander Magath plays the character that we all want to see progress into a hero. By acknowledging his wrongs and working with Paradis Island Eldians, this last group of characters symbolizes the hope for humanity’s last stand to work in unison for the greater good. With a character like Magath, this is the last stand for humanity that we can all buy into, not only as an Attack on Titan fan, but for reality.
The Biggest Misstep in this Episode
This was another perfect opportunity to do a time-skip into the fight against Floch and the ‘Jaegerists’. Instead, they decided show the events chronologically. The feeling of the show since Eren started the rumbling, has been very even—in terms of the levels of eliciting of emotions. What Attack on Titan sometimes lack is the ability to get the viewer to stay on edge. This is the last season, so you would think there would be some urgency in building this crescendo climax. Instead, they opted for a character development approach.
Once the scene with Connie and Armin came about with the flying boat, this would have been a perfect start to the episode. Then, the episode could have done the lead up to Connie and Armin at the boat. Let the highlight theme of the episode be the highlight throughout. The first half of the episode may have hit a bit harder, since we were already expecting these characters to fight the Jaegerists anyways.
What This Episode Got Right
The 2 most compelling elements in this episode would be Armin and Connie’s betrayal, and for the first time the audience finding themself cheering for Annie and Reiner as titans. You can see it within the animation as Floch escapes the building to warn of the ‘traitors’, Annie and Reiner had one of the most epic entries onto the battlefield together. We haven’t seen Annie fight since season 1?
This episode ended the best way possible. After showing Reiner and Annie transform, this will go down as another iconic moment in Attack on Titan. Never would anyone think, we would be cheering for these 2 characters. This and Connie deciding to kill his comrades were the bone-chilling, skin-crawling scenes that this season has been sorely missing.
Odd transition into the intro song
Last episode, we did not get an intro song. Again, the episode transitions into the episode poorly. I get what they were trying to do, but it just landed so flatly. They could’ve ended the scene with more emphasis on the steam, some snapshots of the Colossal Titans and some much needed music to turn mood. Instead, Hange viewed the sky, which was suppose to signify the steam left by the titans and abruptly, the intro begins..
This episode was seriously done well in the 2nd half of the episode. Although, I get why they did the beginning of the episode the way they did, it just did not hit me with the same veracity, as the start of the mission to get to the flying boat. If the episode started off with Armin and Connie at the boat, this episode would have been so much more engaging from beginning to the end.