Attack on Titan S2E28 “Southwestward” Review and Analysis
In Attack on Titan’s “Southwestward,” we get a build-up to what should be one of the defining battles of the second season: The Siege at Utgard Castle. This episode seems to work as more of a build for the next couple of episodes to come. Without much to lean on story-wise, this episode builds up the anticipation of what’s about to happen.
The episode starts with a cold-open on one of the most significant parts of the entire episode. We’re back with Connie Springer in his home town trying to figure out what exactly happened. As Connie tries to come to grip with what happened to all his family and friends, other members of the Survey Corp try to help Connie figure out what transpired. Lynne suggests that because there’s no carnage, all of the villagers had to have escaped unharmed. Gelgar questions Lynne’s conclusion because Titans aren’t known for ransacking anywhere other than to specifically target humans. Moreover, all of the horses remained in the stables which means that the humans would’ve had a low likelihood of reaching safety with titans on their heels.
As they’re getting ready to move out, Connie hears the most haunting words uttered in the entire series of Attack on Titan, “Welcome Home.” Connie looks in sheer terror after seeing a Titan speak for the first time. The Titan who crushed his home and his spirit leaves Connie with more questions and no answers as to what happened to his family
The rest of the episode does an alright job of building suspense for the coming episodes while fleshing out the secondary characters. We get to see more of the relationship with Ymir and Christa who in season one were all but non-existent. The show also builds on the collective intelligence of Hanji and Armin who are able to work out that the walls were probably created by Titans still living inside of the walls. Pastor Nick finally speaks up and gives the Scout Corps some desperately needed information that Christa, a 104th Regiment Recruit, is the key to all of the Scout Corps questions. Pastor Nick says only Christa is able to reveal the answers that Hanji has been seeking, and they must find her to discover the truth. Just as this reveal happens, Sasha reports back to Hanji and Levi that they are needed at Castle Utgard.
As we skip over to Castle Utgard we find the impending doom for the remaining 9 scouts locked up in the castle tower. Titans are moving at night, somehow powered by the full moon, and the scouting group has the unfortunate luck to see the Beast Titan for the first time. As things seem dire for the Scout Regiment locked up in their tower, Hanji’s squad rides towards Castle Utgard to give some much-needed assistance.
This episode provides the viewer with a relative break in the action so that the episode can rebuild the suspense and horror that is sure to come over the next few episodes. In shows like Attack on Titan, it’s important to break up the constant slaughtering with a bit of solid foreshadowing so that the horrors of the Attack on Titan world don’t become predictable and normalized. While it’s not necessarily as exciting as the battle intensive episodes, I get why it’s needed, it just isn’t as satisfying as the episodes that came before or after.
Overall Rating: 7.20