This review contains spoilers for the 43rd episode of Attack on Titan (aka Season 3, episode 6) titled “Sin.”
Picking up from the coup d’etat from last week’s episode, “Sin” gives us even more answer’s that we’ve been seeking. We learn more of the truth behind why Titans exist, how powers are transferred, and how the current generation is paying the price for the mistakes the generations before them made.
While politics have certainly been at the forefront of this season, lineage has been even more key to this season’s storyline. Historia is the illegitimate daughter to Rod Reiss and his one surviving heir. But why are they the only ones standing? The answer seems to lie with Eren’s missing father Grisha.
As the scouts had previously suspected, the Reiss family wasn’t just killed in a fire, but rather, a deadly Titan attack by Grisha. Namely Grisha, seeking the power of the Titans that the Reiss family holds. But how did Eren, who is not part of the Reiss bloodline get the Titan powers too? A bit less obvious than the rest of the episode’s explanations, Grisha injected Eren with a sort of serum that turns Eren into an underdeveloped Titan. Eren then eats his father, who at this point we assume has already murdered the Reiss family. We know already that a Titan who eats another Titan shifter will gain the ability to return to a human form, but what does this mean for the mysterious powers the Titan shifters hold?
We also got some more insight about the Reiss’ connection to the Ackermann and Oriental families, and just how the Reiss’ have maintained control over humanity for so long–they have the power to wipe others’ memories, except those two aforementioned families, of which Kenny, Mikasa, and Levi are tied to.
While this episode certainly wasn’t spectacular in terms of animation or action, it gave us more pieces to help put the puzzle together. Last season seems less disconnected now that these pieces of context regarding Historia and Eren’s families and their connections to the Titans are here now. Where Season 2 once felt somewhat out of place, it now feels like the necessary groundwork for this season’s narrative. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
It’s important for any story to maintain a strong and compelling narrative, and it’s good to keep some part of that narrative ambiguous. However, I’m disappointed that it’s taken so long for that narrative to come full circle. I’m all for long, sprawling arcs, but only when they make sense to do so. In this case, I don’t feel like it makes sense for this story. It would be one thing to make nods to previous seasons and tie up some loose ends here and there. We’re finally getting answers, and that’s a great thing, but it doesn’t feel rewarding to have stayed with the series this long to get those answers.
I’m still impressed with the growth this season has made. Attack on Titan is the most beautiful it’s ever been, and its story has kept up a great pace. Each episode feels like they were meticulously planned and crafted to have a very particular purpose. For that, it should be commended. And like the episodes before it, “Sin” has its own flair and drama that sits perfectly within the season. It didn’t keep me on my toes as some of the previous episodes have, but it satisfied my craving for more answers, and of course, more melodramatic, convoluted family issues.