In the fallout from the direct confrontation with the Armored Titan last week in Attack on Titan’s “Charge,” the ensuing chaos left Eren and Mikasa injured and the rest of the soldiers in a dire situation. The now one-armed Commander Erwin still proves uber capable, but as his soldiers die one after another around him, even he gets a bit shaken up. Jean gets seriously injured and Armin is barely able to protect him.
Out of the dust emerged a ghost from Eren and Mikasa’s past: the very Titan that devoured Eren’s mother more than five years prior. Commonly referred to as the “Smiling Titan” for its winning smile, the huge beast seemed more than Eren and Mikasa could handle in their injured state. The threat of death had never been more real, or emotionally resonant, for the pair. But just when they needed a miracle, everything changed.
Spoilers follow for mankind’s greatest enemy — and Eren’s greatest fear — in “Scream,” the Attack on Titan Season 2 finale.
Eren and Mikasa are temporarily stunned by the appearance of the Titan, and it’s Hannes, of all people, who rises to the occasion to take the Smiling Titan on. Hannes was, of course, the mustachioed soldier that saved the two of them as kids by carrying them to safety rather than fighting the Smiling Titan all those years ago.
He fights to redeem his own honor for running away that last time, and for a time he does really well, aiming for the Achilles tendon on the large, lean Titan. But in typical Attack on Titan fashion, valor means almost nothing, and he’s snatched in mid-air shortly after immobilizing the Titan and is promptly devoured.
A seriously injured Mikasa and Eren suffering from performance anxiety can only watch; Eren gnaws at his own hand and can’t bring himself to transform, triggering a mental breakdown quicker than it does any kind of transformation.
“Nothing’s changed!” Eren shrieks, berating himself. “You’re still just as useless as you always were.” It’s a pointed look into the serious PTSD Eren’s been dealing with all these years.
He’s easily dismissed as something of an annoying hothead by his peers, but the kid — yes, he’s 15 years old — has serious and legitimate issues. He was powerless when he watched his mother die, and despite his burgeoning powers, he still has to watch many of his friends and comrades die.
It’s a truly strange and overwhelming moment when after Mikasa and Eren’s tender admission of their mutual devotion, the beautiful backdrop of the scenery is juxtaposed with a horrible scene of death and bloodshed all punctuated by a beautiful score. Attack on Titan at its best always blends together these elements to great success.
Perhaps out of pure frustration, Eren ludicrously punches the outstretched hand of the Smiling Titan as it gropes for another snack. Rather than it being a futile last act just before Eren crushed and eaten, the attack does the exact opposite.
The surrounding Titans abandon their attack on all the nearby humans and instead rip the Smiling Titan to shreds. Soon after, Reiner confirms that this is the mysterious “Coordinate” ability that’s been talked about before. It allows Eren to control other Titans, and after the Smiling Titan is devoured, Eren is able to redirect them towards Reiner’s Armored Titan, allowing the soldiers an opportunity to retreat.
Ymir and Christa (now fully going by Historia) have yet another tender moment without quite admitting that they’re in love. Surprisingly enough, as the Armored Titan is overwhelmed by lesser Titans and the other soldiers retreat, Ymir decides to stay and help while Historia goes with her comrades.
Ultimately, everyone regroups deep inside the Walls in the same fashion as the Season 1 conclusion, but a curious tease in the Season 2’s final moments reveal that the Beast Titan is, in fact, a Titan Shifter. But the real question is who?
With a Season 3 already promised for some time in 2018, we’re bound to learn more about the Beast Titan and Eren’s new power.