Attack on Titan Season 2, Episode 8, “The Hunters,” proved to be a breather after the chaos that ensued during Episodes 6 and 7. With Eren kidnapped by the fleeing Reiner and Bertholdt, it was up to the tired, injured Survey Corps to take back their greatest weapon against the man-eating giants. Over the course of the episode, viewers were able to get a glimpse of the Shiganshina Trio’s past and the role that Hannes played when Eren, Mikasa, and Armin were still children. Unsurprisingly, numerous death flags were dropped over the episode, setting up what could only be the final act of AoT Season 2.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
“The Hunters” immediately picked up where the previous episode left off, with Bertholdt dropping his Colossal Titan on Eren and Reiner. Unfortunately for Eren, his Titan was not able to take the blow as well as the Armored Titan, and he, together with the injured Ymir, were ultimately captured by the two traitors. Thanks to the Colossal Titan’s explosion, many of the Survey Corps ended up being injured too, preventing them from pursuing the newly-revealed Titan Shifters.
While the situation regarding Eren and the three other shifters was dire, a huge part of the episode was centered on Mikasa and Armin, with the former being injured by Bertholdt’s blast. Flashbacks to more peaceful days at Shiganshina were revealed, showing a younger Eren taking on some bullies, only to be saved by Mikasa once more. Some background of Armin’s family was also dropped, and Hannes’ relationship with the children was also explored.
— Mark O'Leary ???? (@TheBlackDemon96) May 20, 2017
The flashback sequence has worried many fans in online forums, such as Reddit, since the preview for Attack on Titan Season 2, Episode 8, aired last week. Numerous viewers, especially those who have not read the manga, were apprehensive that this week’s episode might have filler material. Fortunately, this was not the case, as the episode in itself developed the characters of Armin and Mikasa, making them a lot more well-rounded than before. Apart from this, the flashback also set up Hannes as the trio’s substitute guardian, a role that the elder soldier took seriously, until the present.
Numerous viewers and avid fans of the franchise have noted that numerous death flags were placed on Hannes during this week’s episode, however. For one, he was shown to have motivated Mikasa and Armin to get back on their feet, and he was also notable for his interactions with the trio before the fall of Shiganshina.
Readers of the manga know that after this week’s episode, the final sequence of the Clash of the Titans arc would begin. When it does, things will get even more intense than the past couple of weeks, with the Survey Corps, led by Erwin Smith, courageously pursuing Reiner and Bertholdt to retrieve Eren, a shifter who might very well be humanity’s only key to permanently plugging the hole in Wall Maria.
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Considering that there are only four more episodes to go before Attack on Titan Season 2 finishes its run, there is a good chance that the anime’s plot would intensify over the next couple of weeks. For one, viewers and avid fans of the show could look forward to Hannes’ decisive battle with the very same Titan that devoured Carla Jaeger all those years ago, the Smiling Titan. His one-on-one battle against the creepy giant, while short and bitter, was one of the most poignant scenes in the Clash of the Titans arc, as it helped usher in the concept of the Coordinate, a power that might legitimately change the tide of the war against the man-eating monsters.
Overall, Attack on Titan Season 2, Episode 8, was not that action-packed, and compared to the episode that it followed, it was significantly more slow-paced. Nevertheless, Episode 8 proved to be a welcome breather to the wild ride that AoT Season 2 has been so far, and it has all but set up what could only be described as the acclaimed anime’s upcoming nail-biting finale.
[Featured Image by Kodansha]