Double episodes means double reviews! In light of Japan’s earthquake two weeks ago, I have also refrained from posting my review for episode 14 as it was not fully broadcasted. But now it’s here along with episode 15!
Continuing where the previous episode left off, episode 14 gives us the much-awaited reunion of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. But unlike those in the last seasons, this is not a happy conversation; Eren is cold and distant, and his friends remain wary and unfriendly.
What comes as a shock, though not surprising, is how Eren now treats Mikasa. He appears to be hostile against his adopted sister and friend, even insulting her directly in front of Armin, and inna heartbreaking scene, we see a crying Mikasa for the first time since forever. Worse, Eren reveals that her feelings for him may not be as real as we all thought, but rather an instinct born out of her identity as an Ackerman, a family who had sworn to protect the wielder of the Founding Titan.
Of course, this verbal abuse extends to Armin as well. And in a sudden twist, we see the once calm strategist finally loses his cool against his former best friend and attacks Eren, a scene that subtly foreshadows a future and fateful event between these two. However, Eren naturally prevails, and Armin is left in a poor state. Still, that didn’t stop the wielder of the Colossal Titan from retaliating with a few sharp words that obviously affected Eren.
Meanwhile, Floch continues to terrorize the rest of the military with his newfound authority. This time, the victim is none other than Keith Shadis, the strict drill instructor for the Survey Corps. And while he has remained steadfast in the old ways of killing Titans, most of the new recruits are leaning more toward Eren’s policy, a sentiment that Floch exploited in a brutal and efficient way.
As Paradis further descends into the path of a civil war, Levi faces his own problems in the form of Zeke Yeager. While the captain hates Eren as well, even he doesn’t want him being eaten. Instead, he plans to sacrifice Zeke and fulfill his promise to Erwin—a plan that Zeke knew from the start.
Thus, we are treated with another heart-pounding cat-and-mouse chase involving an escaped Zeke and an enraged Levi who was forced to kill his comrades after Zeke turned them into Titans. The resulting rematch between these two is brief, but no less epic than their previous battles. And much like before, Levi has once again proven why he is the strongest member of the Survey Corps.
Overall, Episode 14 contains several epic fight scenes and heartbreaking moments between our beloved characters. It sets up some plot threads for the final two episodes, laying out the groundwork for an explosive ending and showdown.
Episode score: 10/10.
Now, on to episode 15!
Episode 15 ties directly to episode 14, but instead of focusing on Eren and the effects of his actions, it gives us something that we all wanted to see since Zeke appeared: his backstory and the real reason why he betrayed Grisha.
Zeke’s childhood, and pretty much all his life really, is both miserable and sad. Like all Eldians, he has suffered discrimination and hostility from the Marleyans. But the thing that made his life all the more harder was Grisha’s strict upbringing and ambition to avenge his late sister, forcing Zeke into a path of hardship to become a Warrior Candidate.
Thankfully, Mr. Ksaver is there to guide Zeke in a gentle way, somethng that Grisha failed to do. Perhaps it is because Ksaver was never a soldier despite possessing the Beast Titan, but a researcher instead, and he treated Zeke like a real son.
However, this also caused Zeke to become estranged from his father, who grew even mre desperate as Zeke was shown to be unfit to be a Warrior. And in a cruel twist of fate, it was actually Ksaver who had influenced Zeke into betraying Grisha.
The sad thing about this is the fact that Ksaver wanted to save his people, hence why he did all he could to find the secret about the Titans’ origins. This stemmed from his own tragic past where his family killed themselves after finding out that he is an Eldian.
Thus, Ksaver revealed one crucial piece of information which Zeke realized could save everyone: to sterilize all Eldians and prevent his own race from procreating, essentially giving them a death sentence and, hopefully, end the cycle of hatred. It is indeed a cruel solution, but given the world’s never-ending hatred for Eldia, it seems there is no other way, and so the two brothers, Zeke and Eren, join forces to save the world.
Of course, this means that Zeke would do anything to survive. And so despite being bound and injured, the cunning Beast Titan finally outsmarted Levi for the first time, leading to a shocking and chilling cliffhanger.
Overall, episode 15 gives us insight on Zeke’s character and motivations, showing us why he did the things he did and allowing us to understand his side of the story. It may not have justified his actions, but it makes him more human and less of a monster that he initially appeared to be.
Episode score: 10/10.