Previously on Attack on Titan:
Pixis’s plan hits a slight snag in the form of Eren going on blind rage before punching himself out. However, thanks to a pep talk from Armin, Eren is back on his huge 15 meter class Titan feet and is ready to continue the plan. Spoilers Ahead.
Thanks to Armin’s pep talk Eren snaps out of his hallucination and regains control over his Titan body. His mind clear he picks up the giant boulder and proceeds to make his way towards the gate, but the Titans keep coming in. Ian commands Mikasa & Armin to guard Eren’s advance while the rest of the squads kill the other Titans. Meanwhile on the other side of Trost, Jean is still stuck when his maneuver gear breaks. Seeing a new gear on a dead soldier he races to switch out, but a Titan is hot on his heels.
This episode is defined by two themes “tragedy & triumph” a bit more tragedy though, there also a slight nod to being trapped and slavery in this episode, well the show itself actually. Eren’s primary goal is to kill all the Titans, but that is only so he can achieve his real goal of seeing the world outside the walls. Despite being safe behind the walls since he was born, he’s always been trapped having never seen nothing outside of them. Because of the Titans it is virtually impossible to roam freely on the outside and that makes the feeling of being trapped all the more real. In a metaphorical sense they are slaves to the Titans and are fighting to win their world back.
Eren is also thrown into the forefront of the episode as the entire plan hinges on him. He sees everyone around him fighting and dying to protect him from the Titans and this spurs him on to slam that boulder in front of the hole and seal off the gate. This is a pretty powerful moment (and one I yelled for joy about, I’m not ashamed) as it is the first time humanity has beaten back the Titans, although they are met with heavy casualties.
Therein lies part of the tragedy. Despite the plan being executed successfully, 207 soldiers were either KIA or MIA & 897 were wounded. This is a severe blow to the Garrison but a necessary one to ensure the survival of the human race.
Outside of Eren no one really gets too much development here as they are mostly helping him complete his mission. Jean manages to escape back up the walls thanks to a timely intervention from Marco, Connie, & Annie who distract the Titans while he switches equipment. They soon goon go back into town once they see Eren walking with the boulder, and somehow during the operation Maro is killed (it was offscreen so it is unclear how it happened but the scene is still haunting). During the clean up of Trost we learn that since Titans don’t have digestive organs, they throw up whatever they eat; Sasha learns this the hard way when she has to help find missing soldiers.
Levi & the Survey Corps make a return in this episode. Levi swings in like a badass when he kills two Titans who about to kill Eren & Armin. We also meet Commander Erwin after Eren in placed in an underground prison. The pair begin to question Eren’s Titan abilities and the key that he keeps. Levi, who is initially very dickish, becomes intrigued when Eren declares that he wants to join the survey corps with Levi stating he will claim responsibility for him and will kill him immediately if he loses control again.
“Primal Desires” is an excellent conclusion to the first arc of Attack on Titan. Sporting great character drama, superb animation, and excellent, heart racing action scenes. The action gets you pumped, the tragic moments hit you hard in the gut, and the triumph gives you a bittersweet feeling of satisfaction. The war to survive continues next week on Attack on Titan.