A Horrible Ghost From the Past Returns in 'Attack on Titan'

After five long years, the Smiling Titan is back.

'Attack on Titan'

The final battle in Attack on Titan Season 2 begins in “Charge” as Commander Erwin’s troops pursue the Armored Titan and his comrades to finally rescue Eren.

Spoilers follow for Attack on Titan Season 2, Episode 11: “Charge.”

Ymir captured Christa last week and Commander Erwin’s troops were close to catching up to the group of Titan Shifters.

After all that, much of this episode is spent with Ymir’s Titan form clinging to Reiner’s Armored Titan as it runs across the landscape. But as the soldiers catch up and the Armored Titan protects Bertholdt and Eren, things get a bit more complicated.

Ymir pops up in her human form to tell Christa that she’s only captured her as a bargaining chip. When Ymir devoured Marcel, she essentially stole the power of Titans from him, and as Bertholdt explained last week, they kind of hate her for killing their friend. Ymir needs some kind of leverage to be accepted by whatever Titan Shifter culture Reiner and Bertholdt come from.

Though Ymir tries to sell it off like she’s being selfish, Christa’s devotion makes Ymir waver in her commitment just long enough for the many soldiers to catch up to them. Under threat of being killed by Mikasa, Ymir finally concedes.

Oddly enough, Christa remains on board with Ymir’s plans to commit to Reiner and Bertholdt — their devotion to one another is as exhaustive as it is exhausting, and it’s poorly defined. Speaking of poorly defined: Christa/Historia’s knowing “the secrets of the Wall” and her being “someone important to the Church” still remains a bit unclear.

The Armored Titan can't shield Bertholdt and Eren while also swatting off his former comrades.

'Attack on Titan'

There’s an awkward but satisfying 104th Training Regiment school reunion on the Armored Titan’s neck, where soldiers like Conny and Sasha get to berate Reiner and Bertholdt for their treachery.

Bertholdt also gets more lines in this episode than the entirety of the previous 35 episodes put together first as he pleads with Ymir to stay the course and help them escape with Christa and then later defending his choices against the 104th. Armin successfully goads him with descriptions of Annie’s torture, and when Bertholdt lashes out, they’re able to free Eren, but not before Commander Erwin’s all-or-nothing plan is executed.

Commander Erwin’s gambit is to use soldiers as bait to draw in a swarm of Titans to attack the Armored Titan, which occurs just as the school reunion wraps up. The plan largely works, but at the expense of Erwin getting an arm ripped off by a Titan. Astonishingly enough, it hardly slows him down, and he’s the one to free Eren at a crucial moment. Sure, he’ll be one arm short, but he’s still a hell of a fighter.

The Armored Titan is given no choice but to charge directly into a group of Titans.

'Attack on Titan'

As the soldiers are making their escape, the Armored Titan begins throwing lesser Titans like bombs — despite being pinned down by a dozen more — and in the ensuing chaos, Eren and Mikasa are knocked off their horse to be greeted by none other than what’s known in the manga as the “Smiling Titan.”

After five long years, the exact Titan that devoured Eren’s mother wanders out of the dust and chaos with its sights set on Eren and Mikasa. If the trailer for next week is any indication, Hannes will fittingly come to their rescue. Will this be the final fight of the season? Or will some twist change the course of the war forever?

Watch the simulcast of Attack on Titan’s Season 2 finale, “Scream,” on Funimation and Crunchyroll at 10:30 a.m. Eastern next Saturday, June 17, or on Hulu at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.