The season premiere of Attack on Titan was phenomenal. It was emotional, brutal, action-packed, and changed the dynamic of the entire series. The second episode was even better. There was action, intense character development, startling plot revelations, and some beautiful echoes to the first season.

Kenny and Levi’s interactions are priceless. Going back to season two, Levi didn’t have much of a presence. He was only prominently featured in the second half of season one. The first half of season three is all about Levi, and this is even reflected in the marketing material. While Levi and Kenny’s fight is short-lived, it’s one of the best action scenes in Attack on Titan to date. And, on that note, this is the second episode in a row with no Titans. Humanity, who was supposed to be united, fighting an “outside threat”, is more divided than ever, and the stakes could not be higher.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2 Review

Kenny’s thugs are merciless. The question once again is posed, is it okay to be fighting humans? Levi and Mikasa are perfectly fine with it. They understand what needs to be done and how dire their circumstances are. Jean, Conny, and Armin, however, aren’t. While Armin has always been sensitive, he’s also the Armin Arlette who is presumed to be Erwin’s successor (from what we’ve seen) and speaks about the necessity of Erwin Smith’s actions in season one. This may not be the case anymore as he doesn’t appear to have the will to do what has to be done, despite his genius.

I haven’t lived that long, but I’m certain of one thing. If there’s anyone that can bring change, it will be someone willing to sacrifice what they care for. It will be someone that can throw aside their humanity, in order to defeat monsters. Someone who can’t sacrifice anything can’t ever change anything.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2 Review

It is Armin who blows one of Kenny’s mercenary’s brains out, while Jean hesitates. Yet Armin then laments about how they’re all horrible people now, while Levi thanks Armin as if Armin didn’t do what he did, the team would not have survived intact.

While the team regroups in a warehouse of sorts, there is a fascinating parallel to season one which can only be relayed in terms of quotes. The first from today’s episode, “Pain”, and the second from Episode 19 of season one. In fact, the same sentiment is echoed by Armin in Episode 20 as well.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2 Review

Captain Levi, I…I thought it was wrong to be fighting other humans. And wrong for you to order us to do it. I was afraid to be hurting other people. But..I’m the one who was wrong. Next time I’ll be the one to shoot!”

“I never said anything about who was right or wrong. I don’t even know myself. Are you really the one in the wrong?

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2 Review

You aren’t wrong. If you want to do it, do it. Choose. Believe in yourself, or believe in the Survey Corps and me. I don’t know…I never have. I can believe in my own abilities or the choices of companions I trust. But no one can ever knows how it will turn out. So choose for yourself whichever decision you’ll regret least.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2 Review

Jean, after the fact, it’s easy to say “We should’ve done something else.” However, no one knows how things will turn out. And even so, you have to make a choice. You must. The lives of a hundred fellow solders, or or the lives of all the humans within the walls . The commander made his choice. He chose to let those hundred die.

It’s interesting to see Armin now become so passive after becoming incredibly assertive. A theme that is consistent in the series is the fact that no one knows what’s right or how things will turn out; they just do the best with what they have.

Within these cramped walls, do you know why war has never broken out? It’s because the First Interior Squad dirtied our hands to protect the peace. A teacher too smart for their own good…A stupid couple who tried to fly…A whore from some ranch in the stinks…Humanity has only made it this far because we erased them!”

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2 Review

An important character we see in the OP who we will learn about in the next episode, per the preview.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2 Review

Armin’s parents, murdered by the First Interior Squad

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2 Review

It’s apparent that this is a young Historia…

The Hange/Levi torture scene was magnificent, and Hange’s sociopathology is in full gear at this point, something that initially presents itself as mere, “innocent” “eccentricity. It’s interesting for the First Interior Squad of the Military Police to call the Survey Corps monsters, considering the hideous acts they’ve committed over the last 100 years.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2 Review

Armin is sulking over the tortures, calling them horrible people, yet if he knew they murdered his parents would he feel the same way?

While the final reveal in the episode may be “shocking” to some, we also received a very different reveal and finally have confirmation of something that’s been in plain sight this entire time: Levi is an Ackerman. It explains a lot, and at the very least he and Mikasa are related. Does this mean their skills are somehow genetic trademarks of the Ackerman family? More is sure to be revealed, as this is Levi’s arc.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2 Review

This episode was thrilling from beginning to end and leaves us, yet again, yearning for more. I make no qualms about this statement: it was perfect. Levi, Armin, Jean, Kenny…there were so many highlights of this episode and the pacing was phenomenal. It is, definitively, the best episode of Attack on Titan. Interestingly enough though, it doesn’t feature any Titans, at all.

Next week’s episode seems to be a flashback, which will give us more context to current events regarding Levi, Historia, and Erwin. It cannot come soon enough.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2 Review - Perfection
As if the third season of Attack on Titan could get any better, Episode Two, "Pain", is by far the best episode in the series to date. It has all the makings tonally of an Attack on Titan episode with one catch: there are no Titans! The show has reinvented itself, for the better, and the mysteries behind the walls and the Titans are slowly being revealed. Plus,
Overall Score10
Pros
  • Levi versus Kenny
  • Superb Animation
  • Shocking plot developments
Cons
  • We have to wait a week
10Perfect
Reader Rating: (7 Votes)
8.1

About The Author

Founder/Editor-in-Chief

Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist and is the Founder, Owner, and Editor-in-Chief of VGCultureHQ. He has been writing about games for over five years and has written over 1,500 articles during that timespan. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six and is the guywazeldatatt. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture and Tetsuya Takahashi games. He is also a huge anime and Star Wars fan.

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