Attack on Titan 4×22 Review: “Thaw”

Thaw Attack on Titan

“Thaw” is a return to vintage Attack on Titan as the remaining members of the 104th come to terms with what Eren has done. In the aftermath of Eren setting off the Rumbling, everyone still inside the now non-existent walls must come together.

I was almost going to describe “Thaw” as low-key, purely because it didn’t have a huge amount of information and backstory. Then I remembered how much action there is in it! This week’s episode of Attack on Titan felt almost normal after the past couple of weeks, which have focused much more on dialogue and flashbacks. I actually squealed during the fight sequence because I have missed the ODM scenes we used to get.

No, seriously, this episode was almost nostalgic. With the 104th leading the charge against their Titanized comrades, Shadis showing up in the nick of time, the music, and even their battle strategy, this was peak season 1 Attack on Titan. Mikasa even saved Louise again! There was a proper sort of sendoff for both Nile and Pyxis, and we got shades of Sasha.

Oh, yeah. And Annie’s back.

I legitimately freaked out during that scene. After all, I have been waiting for Annie to come back since we met her father at the beginning of season 4. I knew there was no way they were going to keep bringing her up – or show Armin visiting her – if they weren’t going to bring her back. I can’t imagine what is going through her mind now, after having been frozen for five years

The big question is how Annie fits into what’s happening right now. Was she taken to the Coordinate with all the other Eldians? They didn’t show her, but I imagine that was because they didn’t want to spoil the reveal. (We still haven’t seen Levi, either.) She never struck me as staunchly pro-Marley, but surely she’ll want to save her father. And she was always able to beat Eren in a fight – in either form.

However, I suspect they may send her after Conny and Falco. I have no idea why I think that. 

Speaking of Conny and Falco, during that entire conversation, I thought, “This is kind of dark.” This is Attack on Titan. The whole premise of the show is giants eating people. But I digress. I’m a little disappointed that any of them honestly considered feeding Falco to someone in order to change them back. It’s not anything new for them – after all, Armin did eat Bertholdt – but Falco is a child. He hasn’t done anything to them, and he doesn’t deserve what’s happening to him now.

I am constantly waffling back and forth on how I feel about Gabi. Just when she was starting to come around, the attack happens and she shoots Eren’s head off. She understandably wants to stop Eren now in order to save her family back in Marley. But then she comes to Kaya’s rescue at the risk of her own life.

That scene where Sasha’s family stands up for Gabi was actually quite emotional. This is where you can see that Gabi is starting to understand that the world is not how she always thought. You can’t blame her for wanting to stop Eren. But she now understands that she’s not really any different. I loved Niccolo telling both her and Kaya that everyone has a little bit of a devil inside of them, that’s why the world is the way it is. The important thing is to never stop trying to be better.

Thaw Attack on Titan

Eren doesn’t appear in “Thaw”, but he hangs over everything. Everyone left is dealing with the aftermath of the mess that he’s made.

Jean and Armin have a semi-debate about the ethics of genocide as they try to decide whether or not they should stop Eren. Jean has a point that the only way they’ll ever be safe is if no one else exists outside of Paradis. (I think he feels some guilt at this later, when Onyankopon asks about his country.) But Armin is also right that the cost is too high.

But then they notice that the pure Titans have started attacking the Scouts, and they do what they’ve been trained to do – fight Titans.

It’s this scene that makes me wonder just how much control the Founding Titan has. I’ve mentioned before that I wonder why Eren couldn’t just take the transformation ability away from Eldians. Armin and the others wonder why he can’t stop the Titans from attacking. Gabi wonders why he can’t change them back to normal.

Maybe the ubiquitous control they’ve described the Founding Titan as having is as much a myth as everything else was. It’s entirely possible, and at this point highly likely, that there actually isn’t much that Eren can do.

Is Eren truly lost? Can the others get through to him? If not, can they stop him?

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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