ANIME MONDAY: Attack on Titan – “The Defeated – 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls Pt. 6” Review

Previously on Attack On Titan:

The remaining members of Squad Levi turned to face the Female Titan to allow to escape…but they were killed. Distraught over the loss of his comrades, Eren turned into a Titan and faced his enemy. After putting up a good fight Eren was defeated and he was bitten out of his Titan forms neck and swallowed whole. Seeing the event take place Mikasa races after the Female Titan but is stopped by Levi. Spoilers Ahead!

Levi & Mikasa begin their pursuit of the Female Titan in order to rescue Eren. After succeeding in recapturing him, the two regroup with the remaining members of the Survey Corps. On their way back to the Walls, they are soon followed by a group of Titans and have to abandon the bodies of their fallen in order to escape. Reaching the gates, Eren begins to realize just what being on the Survey Corps really means, and maybe that his vision of them in his youth was much more glamorous than reality.

I make no hyperbole when I say that this episode is probably one of the best in series, which is saying a lot seeing how consistent the show has been (and with three more episodes there is still a few places this show can go). “The Defeated” while a good episode title, doesn’t quite do this episode justice. “Broken” is a much more accurate description of just what happens to the Survey Corps as a whole in this episode.

Levi attacking the Female Titan

The episode starts where last weeks left off, with Levi & Mikasa following the Female Titan in order to get Eren back. The animation on the scenes is superb and we see just how ruthless Levi can be when he takes down the Female Titan on his own and rescues Eren. Mikasa even comments on how fast he is during this encounter. However something very odd thing happens after they rescue Eren, Levi looks back to see that the Female Titan is…crying.

Why? What does this mean?

After regrouping with the rest of the Corps we get another look as to how hard it is being apart of the Survey Corps. Two soldiers (their names are mentioned but they aren’t all that important so they’ll remain nameless) want to go back and recover their friend’s body but are taken aback when Erwin says that all the unrecovered bodies will be designated as MIA. Going against his orders they retrieve his body and are chased by Titans, resulting in one of the two soldiers being eaten, their friend’s body being lost, more titans converging on the Survey Corps, and Levi being forced to dump the recovered bodies (including those of his squad members) out in order to get away. There is an interesting dichotomy here wherein the soldiers want to do right by bringing their friend’s body to his family for closure, but in reality their actions end up being the most selfish; causing the death of one of them and the dumping of bodies signifies that no one gets closure.

Speaking of closure, this episode gives the audience the ultimate gut punch when it cuts to scenes of the families of the deceased members of Squad Levi all talking about their respective loved ones coming home. Some of them are happy (Oluo’s family), while others (like Eldo & Gunther’s families) already expect the worst, we’ll get to Petra’s family in a bit.

A member of Eldo’s family

In terms of character development, the Corps as a whole has moments. Jean contemplates how he and his friends will die to Armin who comments that he tries not to think about things like that. Connie & Sasha on the other hand talk about the fallen; Sasha comments on how they can still say they’re alive, but Connie says that after what he’s experienced he probably won’t be able to go home again. But even with all this drama happening the moments that resonate the most are Eren’s and Levi’s.

Starting with Levi you can see early on his intense hatred of the Female Titan for killing his squad (as told by the hint of red in his eyes when he’s chasing her, also not killing her was probably a dumb decision) later on you can see the sadness in his eyes when he has to return home with more dead comrades. He doesn’t come out and say what he’s feeling, but silence can be the loudest cry.

Levi’s Anger

Two of the scenes where this the most prevalent both have to do with Petra (obviously there was something between them to an extent). The first is during the body dumping scene, there is a moment when time slows down and Petra’s body is shown being thrown out, you can see the slight sadness on Levi’s face but there is nothing he can do about as the dead is dead and he has to move forward. He also comforts the soldier who went back for his friend somewhat by giving him the Survey Corps signal on the corpse’s uniform, saying “that is how he proved they were alive”.


The next scene is more heart wrenching; when they Corps returns, they are berated by the townspeople but Petra’s father approaches Levi and begins to talk about a letter she sent explaining how excited she was to join his squad and he praises Levi and says how he can’t wait to see his daughter (he even comments on marriage). The real heart breaker is that during this whole scene Levi says nothing, there’s nothing he can say. How do you tell a father that their daughter was killed protecting someone they barely knew? That the captain they trusted their loyalty to was gone in their final moments? It’s pretty damn depressing and shows Levi is just as vulnerable as everyone else.

Next up is Eren, while unconscious most of the episode, he still has moments. While recovering he has a dream of when he and Mikasa were younger. It kinda fits more as a flashback to an earlier episode with Mikasa telling him not to join the Survey Corps and the two going to see them return. This creates a nice parallel for then the Corps return to the town, just like when Eren was a kid the townspeople berate the Corps for sending loved ones to their death and wasting tax money on expeditions. Eren wants to lash out at them but Mikasa tells him to bear it, and when he sees a kid with stars in his eyes just like them he can’t take it and breaks down. You really feel what he is going through after the last couple of episodes:  he blames himself for his comrades deaths because he didn’t change right away, he is defeated by the Female Titan, the titan got away, he is saved by someone else…again, and they failed in their mission. That’s a lot for anyone to experience, especially someone his age.

Mikasa also has some moments sprinkled in. She blames Levi for Eren getting captured in the first place and after he is rescued Levi tells her to make a choice between getting vengeance on the Female Titan (which she should have done imo) or be happy that she got what she wanted, which was Eren. She also comforts Eren when they return to town.

Eren’s Remorse

Speaking of returning home, that is also another sad scene. Where we also see what Erwin deals with, he’s the head of the Survey Corps which means that the brunt of the blame is on him when things go south, even if they aren’t in his control. With all of these things coming down on them, Eren is once again handed over to the authorities.

“The Defeated” is without a doubt one of the best episodes of the show. Every emotional chord hits and no scene or moment is for nothing. Everything resonates and makes you feel more than a little sad an empathetic. The animation and the music remain top notch which just adds to the overall tone of the episode. The war to survive continues next week with the military once again deciding what to do with Eren.