In a world where humanity has been pushed to the brink of extinction, bad news is a pretty common occurrence. Still, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck to get it. And this isn’t, “I accidentally broke your favourite cup,” kind of bad news, we’re talking, “Your horse ran away and left you stranded in the middle of nowhere and I also think it kicked your dog,” kind of bad news. Which is really bad news. Especially since you don’t own a dog.
Following up from last week’s uplifting re-introduction to the crapsack world of wherever the heck this series takes place, Sasha has made her way back to the area in which she was raised; a forest. Of course, we really don’t know anything about Sasha, other than she likes potatoes and the audience is nuts about her for it, so we find ourselves flashing back a couple of years for a little exposition. Apparently, good ol’ Sasha used to be quite the selfish one, seeing little benefit in other people and despising when their actions imposed upon her. Seeing this self-destructive mentality, her father relayed the simple truth that her refusal to help others would come back to bite her when she was the one in need. Luckily, these words had some effect on her, as the Sasha we all know is a touch more on the likeable side…unless you are the holder of food. Now, whilst I totally understand that Sasha’s gimmick is her ravenous appetite, I couldn’t help but feel the joke this time went a little…weird. Before the aforementioned revelatory speech, Sasha is fighting her father tooth and nail to eat a piece of meat intended to be preserved for winter. She is not starving to the brink of death, nor is the altercation comedically brief, it is a grapplefest that only ends when her father relents. Though she mentions the decrease in food given the refugees from the outer walls (placing this flashback after Eren’s village was destroyed), it is not dire enough to warrant the time spent on the intensity of her hunger. It’s like the series was trying to play her off as a feral girl who lived near the village, only to immediately have her father revealed and present himself as one of the most selfless and well-spoken characters in the series. It’s just…odd.
Either way, this scene is almost immediately usurped by Sasha’s arrival in a village she is not familiar with. Already abandoned, she stumbles upon two who were unable to escape…and a Titan. Now, if I were to ask you what the most intimidating aspects of the Titans were, apart from their hideous appearances, you would probably say it was their height. Or at least I’m going to assume that’s what you would say because it leads into my next point. Thus, a small Titan would not be as scary, logically speaking. Well, logic does not apply to monsters it seems, as this episode throws us a Titan that is small enough to fit into a house…and is goddamn terrifying. Further breaking tradition, it is notably sedentary, calmly sitting and…eating. I’ll give you a minute to infer the reality of how a Titan of such stature consumes it’s prey. Hint: Slowly. Piece by piece. Alive. What is somehow worse about this whole event is that the unfortunate woman being eaten is quiet. She doesn’t scream, she doesn’t cry, she just…is. What is definitely even worse is that her daughter is in the room, watching. It’s all just so desolate and hopeless a scene, it haunts me to this day. Granted I watched the episode today, but still.
What follows is a climax to Sasha’s backstory, as she is reunited with her father and her new personality is all that he hoped for. Smiles ensue. Her brief flashback with Krista and Ymir also shows a certain camaraderie in the 104th that extends beyond those with more screentime and draws further attention to Sasha’s manner of speaking, a polite tone that contrasts her (revealed to be) original forest drawl. Honestly, this episode is essentially Sasha Braus 101: Everything You Need to Know About Potato Girl. Which is fun, given how Eren heavy this series has been, although I’m not sure such an approach will carry the same impact multiple times in a row. So here’s hoping they spread out the Connie, Ymir, Krista, Bertolt, Reiner, Hange, Levi, Erwin, and Pastor Nick stories a little. You know, all the heavy hitters we need to know more about…or seen thrown of a Wall.
With Spuds’ story dealt with, the episode wraps up with a little touch of Connie, who is in a similar situation, given the location of his village in relation to the encroaching Titans. Unfortunately, this is Attack on Titan and happy is a word that it does not like. Mystery, however, is and Connie finds himself smack bang in the middle of a depressing one. His family is gone and all that is left of his house is a Titan, lying on the rubble. That’s the depressing part. The mystery comes in when Connie realises that the Titan cannot move, it’s legs too underdeveloped. Begging the question: How did it get there? I’m sure everybody already has their theories, as do I, but let’s all pretend we have no idea what this could mean and join together for a cacophonous, “What the hell is going on here?!” We’re in this together people, let’s see what happens next. Oh, and is it just me or are Eren and Mikasa becoming more like mother and son than ever? Which is weird. It’s weird, right? It’s totally weird.