This episode has a lot of stuff in it, including screenshots: some that are cool, and some that are WTF?! I won’t waste any time stalling, so let’s start this recap.
Picking up where we left off last episode, we see Eren waking up chained in a cave and Historia there with him. She tells him her dad has been an ally to humanity for years, and they were all wrong about him, even if he has been a thorn to the Scouts, and his people killed Pastor Nick. As Rod comes in, Eren remembers these were the last two people he has seen and doesn’t know how the others are. He also sees the whole cave and believes he’s been here before, even though it’s his first time being there. It’s not strange to Rod, as he reaches his hand to Eren. He wants to try something first by having Eren remember some things in the past. Historia joins him as they both touch Eren’s back. This triggers a Titan power, as a whole boatload of memories Eren forgot rush right back into his mind all at once. It shows Rod’s family, then a Titan, another Titan killing a member, the chapel being on fire, and more. However, these aren’t Eren’s memories. Then, it shows young Eren with the key he has, as well as a big needle. We see young Eren then transform into a Titan himself.
In this chaos, we can also see his dad, and in his Titan form, he eats his dad. All that remains is a Titan skeleton, his dad’s arm, and a scared and sad Eren. Young Eren screams loudly, as the memories all leave present Eren in shock. He now remembers his father’s sin.
We’re not done with the memories just yet. After the opening, we get more flashbacks: this time from Historia. She’s on the farm learning to read and being praised for it, but it’s not by her mom: it’s from another girl. She taught Historia all this, even helping Historia blow her nose, as she wants her to be more ladylike. Historia asks her what that means, as she points out how the girl acts in the book she’s reading. The girl in the book is so kind, helpful, and loved by everyone, and that’s what the girl wants Historia to be. The girl in the book’s name is Krista. Historia doesn’t want to be the girl in the book. She wants to be like her caretaker. She hesitates, hugs her, and tells Historia she’s going now. She touches Historia’s head, there’s a zap, and poof! Historia forgets who the woman is.
All of this makes Historia cry, as she forgot all about this. That woman who taught her everything was Frieda, Historia’s older half-sister. Frieda worried about her and did check on Historia occasionally. The memory-erase was to protect Historia. Historia wants to know where Frieda is now to thank her, but Rod tells her that she’s dead along with everyone else in his family. Eren saw it all, but Rod tells the whole story.
5 years ago, Rod’s wife and 5 kids were all murdered. They were killed by Eren’s dad, Grisha Jaeger. Rod didn’t know him, but Grisha wanted the “Power of the Titans” and confronted Rod and his family in the same cave. Grisha then stabs himself and turned into a big, bearded Titan. He came to steal the power the Reiss family had.
Then Frieda bites her hand, like Eren does. She transforms into a Titan herself as she and Grisha begin a Titan fight, and the rest of the family make a break of it.
The Power of the Titans Grisha wants is in Frieda. Her powers are superior to all other Titans, making her the strongest one. There was just one problem: she didn’t have the experience to wield it, so Grisha beats her easily and mercilessly. He rips her head and spine off and eats her, stealing her Titan powers. Oh, but Grisha isn’t done. He’s still in rampage mode and goes after the whole family next. He crushes 14 YO Dirk and 12 YO Abel. He stomps on Rod’s wife, who is holding 10 YO Florian in her arms and then squeezes to death his eldest son, Ulklin. No mercy to anyone.
Rod does somehow get away, as it shows Grisha in Titan mode destroying the chapel. Historia can’t believe that Eren’s dad would do this, as Eren himself is still in disbelief. They then hear footsteps coming. It’s Kenny, as he is still working with Rod. A lot of stuff is happening outside as Kenny tells Rod about the “royal shitshow” that went down with the Scouts’ coup. Knowing the Scouts will be here soon, Rod tells Kenny to have his Anti-Personal Control Squad defend the entrance. He wants them to leave before the ceremony. Kenny was only worried about him, but Rod does trust Kenny. Kenny trusts him too, but Kenny is still pissed at his King.
In the Capital, we meet with Zachery again, and he is torturing one of the committee members. Now, it’s not how Hange and Levi did it. His method is different. A LOT different. I’ll get to this at the end, but just know that this brings him a lot of joy, and he enjoys it when the committee member tries to threaten him, only sticking a certain tube from a certain area into the dude’s mouth. He also wants to parade them around town in humiliation. Think of his idea like Cersei’s “SHAME!!” scene from Game of Thrones. Moving on, Pixis says what the other members did. The Reiss family can not only alter memories if it suits them, but certain bloodlines, including theirs, are immune to these effects. Meaning, if Rod gets Eren’s “Scream,” they can make this coup worthless and wipe away all of this in an instant. So the torture by Zachery might be good here, even if he hates it. Pixis also doesn’t like Erwin’s gambles. He only went with Erwin’s plan because he thought it was the best choice for humanity. Pixis would’ve thought of Zachery if the government made a better choice. He asks Erwin if he heard of the song that talked about when humans will stop fighting and asks when it will happen. Erwin thinks it will when there’s only one or no humans left. Pixis wished he had a better answer. The Scouts are ready to move out to get back Eren and Historia.
Back with Levi, he tells them their biggest threat is Kenny. He thinks of Kenny as fighting him, only with weapons that make him more deadlier than Levi. Basically, the others see Kenny as unstoppable. They want the other troops to help but know they won’t have time when they arrive. Even though he lived with Kenny, he doesn’t know much about him, pointing out his Ackerman name once more. As you may have forgotten, Mikasa also has the last name Ackerman. He asks her if he’s a relative of hers, but she isn’t sure. She only knows from her parents that the Ackermans, on her dad side, were persecuted in cities. Her mom, being Oriental, was a different race that didn’t fit anywhere. They were chased by others into the mountains near Shiganshina, met there and got married. She doesn’t know why her dad’s side was persecuted. Levi then asks her if there’s a moment where she felt a power suddenly awake in her. It flashes to the time her parents were murdered and she attacked the murderers, and that’s where it happened. This happened with Kenny once, and it has happened with Levi as well. The group arrive at the chapel.
Kenny looks at his knife, as it shows a younger version of him. It flashes back to him years ago talking with his grandpa, who is dying. The old man knows of Kenny killing a bunch of MPs, getting his “Kenny the Ripper” name, but they’re all in the ground, growing into trees. This tree discussion leads to family tree talk. The branch family moved south towards Shiganshina, but someone keeps interfering with them, so that family is dirt poor. The Ackermans were once a family of warriors that protected the king, but now they’re almost wiped out. Kenny asks what they did to the King. The old man hesitates at first, but Kenny wants him to tell his “cute grandson” the story, so he does. The Ackermans aren’t hated by the King; they’re afraid of them because they can’t control the Ackermans. The old man doesn’t know the full story but knows the family were the King’s sword and huge supporters of him. However, because the King passes the Power of the Titans down to each generation, and that power can alter humanity’s memories, there are only a few noble bloodlines whose memories can’t be erased by it. Two of these bloodlines turned their back on the King: The Oriental Clan, and the Ackermans. That’s why the Ackermans were persecuted. Kenny does have more news for him. He found his little sister, Kuchel. She’d been working in an underground brother and got pregnant by a customer. She wants to keep the kid, even if Kenny hates it because she’ll birth a kid into this piece of shit world.
Back in the present, Hange finds the hidden door in the chapel that leads to the cave. They hope the “presents” they got pay off. Kenny’s group is waiting by the entrance as they see 7 enemies, including Levi, are there. They know Levi is very dangerous, as he killed 12 men in their ambush. Kenny’s right hand (for real, I read the manga, and she doesn’t get a name) knows of the news from the capital, and knows they have no other choice. It’s either be killed by the Scouts or be killed by the Titans. She tells us how they wanted to be Interior Police and joined with Kenny to find meaning in this meaningless world. They still believe in Kenny and hope to make his dream a reality. They are ready to fight, as are Levi and co.
There’s a bunch of things to digest here, no pun inended. One: all that backstory. As you see, you now know where Eren got his Titan power from, as it was a long time in the making. Also, his dad was kind of power hungry. Maybe a pun inended. We saw where Eren’s Titan power came from, know more of Historia’s backstory, and know of the Mikasa and Levi family tree. Yes, you might have forgotten that Levi is also an Ackerman, making them distant cousins. Why do you think he lived with Kenny? That will be answered, but hey, it explains why both of them are nuts. Now on to the manga stuff. Now, all of this did occur in the manga, but there were a few slight differences. The Reiss Family Massacre was a lot more bloody in the manga than here, as was Frieda’s death. The book part with Historia was also there, but there was no mention of the character in the book being named Krista. That was all anime here. And here’s a random thing: for the “Info for public knowledge” part, we see the Titan power move Eren has, called “Shout” in English. However, the anime, the official manga, and the manga scans I read (Yeah, I know. My local library only went to volume 14. Bite me) have all said it was “Scream”. I guess that was a mistake by the Japanese studio, or something. I just found it random.
I have to get to that one scene with Zachery. Here, the torture device is barely seen, as they used Zachery to mostly censor the dude here.
But in the manga, it is all there for you to see and then some.
As you can see, there’s a reason why this wouldn’t have been a good idea to be seen on Japanese TV, even if this show is well known for mutilating people in horrendous ways. It’s a pretty disgusting set-up, and I don’t know how Toonami people are going to react. Maybe in laughter, or disgust. Either way, it’s going to be fun seeing their reactions on Twitter.
Overall, this episode was great. It showed all it needed to and then some. The animation was again fun, as Studio WIT animated Grisha’s Titan beatdown, and the flashbacks for each character were done beautifully. Even if it did have that above, this was my 2nd favorite episode so far, with episode 2 being the obvious choice. On to Squad Kenny vs. Squad Levi next time, and what happens with Eren between Historia and Rod.
Attack on Titan Season 3 is licensed by Funimation. New episodes can be seen on Crunchyroll and Funimation at 2 PM ET Sundays. The dub version can be seen Saturdays at 11 PM ET on Toonami.