We’re in the basement, learning to print. All of it’s hot. –The B-52s
Armin awakens, having lost his memories from after Bertholdt transformed and needing to be filled in on what happened with the syringe, as well as learning about Erwin’s death. Initially, he’s floored by the pressure of needing to live up to being worth costing Erwin’s life, but Hange and Levi calm him down.
With that settled, the Scouts are down to just the remaining nine of them, though all they have left to do is find Grisha’s basement, which they do after one more stroll down memory lane. It seems to be a normal doctor’s study at first, but soon Mikasa finds a keyhole in his desk that uncovers a few special books and a photograph, something the Scouts have never seen before. They eventually return home to research these further, along with finally completing a mission with the good news of them retaking the wall, even at such a terrible cost.
…also there’s a post-credits scene of Grisha as a kid with a sister that they cut from the Toonami broadcast for some reason. Sure hope that isn’t a problem for next time.
Besides the post-credit scene being taken out, which might make next week feel a bit odd with how it starts, this was basically just an aftermath of everything that has happened in this half of the season. The Scouts have effectively won, having taken back Wall Maria, hijacking a Titan power, killing one of the enemy’s biggest hitters, and finding new research about life outside the walls that looks like it will be living up the hype the series has placed on it. They’re down to only nine people, but with a major victory under their belts and mankind’s hope of resurgence ignited in the civilians, they might be getting plenty of new recruits soon.
Though even with all of that, it doesn’t really feel like ton took place this week. It makes sense, seeing how SO MUCH TOOK PLACE in just the last few episodes, so this one would naturally feel like a slow cool down about wrapping things up. It also sets things up for the final three episodes of this season to drop some major revelations about the enemy the humans will be facing, which will then lead into the recently announced fourth and final season of the show. Just the past half a dozen episodes have been such a major turning point for the series, and it looks like there are still quite a few surprises left before we go on the show’s last big break before the final season.
There’s also a bit of a parallel with the end of the first half, where the big battle was resolved with some episodes to spare, which were then used as opportunities to elaborate on the backstory and lore regarding Eren’s dad. And again, that basement has been REALLY built up since back in the first season, so after such a huge and costly fight just to even get to it, those books BETTER BE WORTH IT. It’s one of the things I appreciate about how this story treats how victory is for these battle-hardened soldiers. Sure, it’s nice and happy for the civilians, but for those who lived through it, all they can think of is the things they couldn’t save. Not quite the most optimistic take on the situation, but when you see as much death, especially of people you’ve come to love and cherish, even saving the world feels like nothing without them there to see it.