Previously on Attack on Titan: “A Dim Light in the Darkness of Despair; Manking’s Comeback Part 1”
Slide forward another two years! It’s raining and it’s a perfect day for a run. The Drill Instructor notices Armin falling behind. He tries to encourage him by saying “if this were the real deal, you’d be Titan Fodder!” Reiner drops back and snatches up Armin’s pack. They’re being scored on their exercise today, and in spite of being docked points, he still runs hard with the extra weight. Motivated by his strength, he snatches it back and keeps pace. The Instructor follows this with a narrated montage of his own observations of the cadets. Each have their strengths and flaws, some more noteworthy than others.
In this batch of cadets we have just about everything covered. We’ve got brains, brawn, potential, intuition, bad-assery (Totally a real word), flexibility, talent, guts, and dedication. The last two are Eren’s contributions. He isn’t exceptional at any particular thing but he has worked harder than the rest to improve his score and more drive than his classmates.
Cut to another day at the training grounds. Eren and Reiner are running through hand-to-hand combat. One would wonder why you’d learn that to fight monsters that eat you as a snack. This is brought to light when they try to get Annie to participate in the exercise and she trounces both of them. Eren goes back for seconds and while he puts forth a good effort, she still beats him. It’s there she tells him of this contradiction; the stronger you are to fight the titans, the less likely you’ll fight them. She leaves after telling them that she’s not stupid enough to be a soldier.
Later that evening in the mess hall, during the evening meal John prattles on about the ‘skills needed’ to serve in the Military Police. Marco, an optimistic recruit gives the soldier-boy answer, that there is no greater honor than serving close to the King. John scoffs and calls bullshit. He just wants to be safe on the inside. Eren speaks up. John asks what he means. Eren simply replies that anywhere is a pleasant place for him in his head, no matter where he is. Eren doesn’t stop there, he starts to tell him what Annie said. John wants to preserve this, whatever it is for his sake. They’re getting ready to throw down until Misaka steps between them. That does only one thing; draw out John’s true feelings.
He’s jealous of Eren. That got everyone’s attention. Eren realizes that he’s doing what he did before he dedicated himself to the training. With that in mind, he decides to drop his ass to cool him off. With his full attention he force feeds him a whole humble pie. As if he was waiting outside the entire time, the Instructor walks in. He heard a noise and Misaka blames it on Sasha’s fart.
Training has been completed and we see 218 cadets make it to this point. At the ceremony, they’re told they have three options; The Garrison Regiment, where they work to defend the walls. The Scout Regiment, the guys who we saw ride out to fight the Titans. The Military Police-everyone’s first choice, to serve the king protect the people. There’s a catch though; only the top ten cadets can apply to the MPs. Everyone we’ve gotten to know have made it to the top ten.
Misaka is at the head, while Eren is fourth over all. Two ranks below him is John. At the celebration after, he’s sour. He doesn’t understand why he’s lower than him. Everyone’s excited to join the military police except Eren. He’s choosing to serve on the wall, and hopefully the Scout Regiment. Ignoring the nay-sayers and the defeatists, he vows to drive the Titans out and slaughter them all. He leaves with Misaka and Armin. They decide to cast their lot in with him. Misaka goes where he goes, because she doesn’t want to lose any more of her family.
The next morning, as fresh-faced soldiers they watch the main Scout Regiment proceed through the town. It’s a complete 180 from five years ago. People are excited to see them and they’re heralded as heroes. A familiar face shows up-it’s Mr. Hannes! He congratulates them for graduating and Eren returns it, having heard that this drunk became captain of the Engineer’s Corps. Hannes tries to apologize again but Eren dismisses it and swears for like the 30th time since we’ve started watching the show, that he’ll destroy the Titans.
Even though everyone has declared their intent much to Eren’s surprise to enlist in the Scout Regiment, they have first watch on the wall. It’s nothing special, watch for Titans, clean the cannons, y’know. Remain vigilant. Eren asks why people are enlisting in the Scout Regiment as most of them wanted to be MPs. One cadet casually remarks that his soapbox speech worked.
To ease the tension-and I use that remark sarcastically, Sasha shows up with meat freshly pilfered from the Officer’s mess hall. Meat is a valued resource in these difficult times, so stealing meat from the CO’s is like taking the king’s crown. You don’t do that shit. But one by one, everyone caves and decides that come lunch, they’ll ‘destroy’ the evidence. But right now, time to get back to work. Eren looks out Wall Maria, and muses that five years have passed. He believes more than ever that now, humanity can turn the tide.
Then that Titan we saw three episodes ago appears and kicks down the door. The wall is breached and Eren flashes back to that day. It’s do-or-die time and Eren chooses to confront the skinless bastard. He issues out the orders as he swings up back up to the top of the wall.