Attack on Titan: Smoke Signals & Pain Recap
Synopsis for 3×01-02: The scouts are having a difficult time finding out the truth while the military police are after them.
“Smoke Signals” gave us a look into the aftermath of the last battle at the end of season 2. After chasing the Armored Titan and the Colossal Titan in order to save Eren, we saw a few pivotal things happen: Ymir left with Bertholdt and Reiner, Erwin lost an arm amongst various grave injuries, and Eren can somewhat control the titans. Back within the safety of the walls, the scouts try to return to a somewhat normal life and routine while everything rests on their shoulders.
Hange pushes Eren to try and recover his titan form in hopes that they can finally seal the wall. However, Eren seems to be struggling to properly recover, let alone gain his full power back; most of his titan body seems to be struggling to form in general. Meanwhile, Historia is trying to adjust to a new life without Ymir, changing her demeanor drastically.
Levi seems to be stressed with the lack of information the team has on a titan’s hardening ability. He and Erwin discuss the lack of information and offer up Historia as a possible solution. We know that she is the illegitimate daughter of Lord Reiss but still have questions about why his family would know anything about the walls themselves.
Back at their base, Eren seems to be coping with some of the failures he’s been experiencing lately. The team continues their usual duties while Historia seems a little out of it. Eren tells her that despite her change in attitude, he prefers the new her because it seems more genuine. He tells her that she’ll have plenty of time to think about Ymir, triggering his memory of their conversation when he was being held captive.
Hange shows up to announce that Pastor Nick was found murdered while under their care in the Trost District barracks. We get a flashback with Hange arriving at the scene of the crime. Two Military Police are standing guard of the body and explain that it was a robbery gone wrong. Hange tries to get past them to no avail, but catches a glimpse of the body and notices that Nick is missing almost all of his fingernails.
Hange knows that this was no ordinary murder and believes that the Military Police are the ones responsible for torturing and killing Nick. Levi says that Nick probably didn’t say anything to them, meaning the scouts have the upper hand with their knowledge of Historia’s background. However, this also means that the Military Police are out to get them. Shortly after, a message arrives from Erwin, leaving Levi to rush the scouts out of their base. Later in the evening, we see the Military Police raid their base while the scouts safely watch from the hillside.
The orders from Erwin state that all Scout Regiment activity outside will be stopped and that Eren and Historia will be handed over immediately. We’re told that right after he sent the message, the Military Police also came for him. Levi says that the safest place to hide Eren and Historia will be in the Trost District; despite this being where Pastor Nick was killed, it will be in a chaotic state, making them harder to track.
While the team makes a move through the district, the king is handing out rations to the people. Over 60% of the royal reserves is given to the public; Lord Reiss justifies this by saying that public approval of the royal house is necessary during these times. They then ask how the hunt is going for the Military Police.
Back on the streets, Levi warns the scouts to watch out as a carriage comes crashing towards them. Eren and Historia are swiftly captured, leaving the scouts in an oddly calm disarray. The real Eren and Historia are revealed to be in a separate carriage while the two that were captured are really Armin and Jean dressed up to look like them. The team follows their taken comrades to see that they are being held in a grungy warehouse. Soon, a group of merchants comes into the warehouse where Mikasa swiftly takes them out.
We wrap up the episode with Levi feeling dissatisfied with the mission. The merchants used seem too amateur for the Military Police to be using. He realizes that there must be a different person following them; his suspicions are Kenny the Ripper. He believes that he might be a possible candidate. Sure enough, we see Kenny attack them from behind.
Leaving us with that, “Pain” starts off with a fight between Kenny and Levi. Levi was raised by Kenny, but it’s clear the two hate each other. While Kenny continues to hunt down Levi, another group of the Military Police is hunting down Eren and Historia; this time, the real ones. Eren tries to fend them off, but both victims are shot with a tranquilizer.
Levi takes shelter in a nearby bar where Kenny corners him. He asks why Kenny is now working with the Military Police, seeing as he hated them and had been known for killing them in the past. Kenny says this will help him achieve his ultimate goal. Levi fires at him with a spare shotgun kept under the bar and makes his great escape, though it’s clear that Kenny is far from dead.
While Levi struggles to catch up to the main group, Armin, Jean, and the others have caught up to the hijacked cart. Knocking out their unnamed opponent, Jean raises his sword to her and threatens her to stop. He hesitates to hurt her, resulting in her favor as she knocks him over and is shown about to shoot him. We see Mikasa barely about to make it in time to save Jean and hear a gunshot, but nothing else is known.
Meanwhile, the king and his fellow lords are still in a meeting about the current hunt. Worrying that they will not capture Eren and Historia, the ponder over what the scouts might have heard from Pastor Nick. There’s danger in pressing them about it because they could learn much more in the process; they all agree it’s the fact they tried to learn anything at all that should count towards their demise.
Lord Reiss sends word that Eren and Historia have finally been captured. Lord Reiss also says that he’s made his move against Erwin and the Scout Regiment, so there is no need for any of them to make a move. We see Erwin briefly being moved out of his current room, pondering who will gain knowledge in this endeavor.
Skipping ahead to the near future, we see Mikasa and a very sick Armin who’s throwing up over the side of a canal. In a flashback, we see that Armin was actually the one to fire at their attacker, ultimately saving Jean’s life. Levi and Sasha are able to save Jean and Armin’s life from more attackers, but the price is losing both Eren and Historia to the other side.
Armin is now dealing with his newfound humanity. He feels guilty because he knows that the only reason he was able to shoot first was because their attacker hesitated, much like Jean. Levi tells him that what he did was right because he saved Jean’s life. The scouts now have to acknowledge that they will now have to fight humans instead of titans.
Mikasa and Levi begin interrogating Dimo Reeves, the merchant who helped kidnap the fake Eren and Historia. He tells them that they were just following the Military Police’s orders, most of which were legitimate threats to his company and worker’s safety. Levi suggests that Reeves team up with them so that they can get information on where Eren and Historia are being kept. In return, he promises to work towards making sure that Reeves’ city and employees don’t die of starvation in the future.
Hange meets up with Erwin and briefs him on the current situation. They also discuss the conversation that Eren remembered Ymir and Bertholdt having and how complex things are becoming. Hange is convinced that if they don’t get Eren quick, he will be eaten.
Reeves brings two Military Police to where the scouts are hiding. After being knocked out, we find Levi has locked them up to torture them for questioning. Officer Sannes refuses to answer any of their questions.
Upstairs, the rest of the scouts are discussing what is to become of the future. Armin, still sick over what he’s done, says that they’re now criminals and no longer good people.
Back in the basement, Hange is busy pulling out Sannes’ fingernails. He reveals that the reason war never broke out inside the walls is because the First Interior Squad always snuffed it out before it could happen. He’s made it clear that he’s dirtied his hands plenty of times before, but says he believes in the king and the peace within the walls.
After he refuses to answer any more of their questions, they leave. he hears them outside the door with his colleague, Ralph, whom they seem to be moving. He hears them say that Ralph has already talked to them, while Ralph says his squad hates Sannes and hopes they do away with him. From our perspective, we see that Hange is making him read a script. Sannes, on the other hand, seems to have lost all hope.
The episode wraps up with Hange and Levi coming in for another round. Sannes leaves them with the information that the Reiss family is, in fact, the real royal family. Outside, Dimo is killed by Kenny while Dimo’s son watches from the shadows. Kenny’s partner asks why he didn’t ask where Levi is before killing him. Kenny tells her that Levi will show up and that he knows this because he raised him.
The group gathers around to listen to the information gained from Sannes. Historia is the real successor, meaning that she and Eren will be wherever Rod Reiss is. Sure enough, in the last scene, we see Historia and Eren in a room with Lord Reiss. He hugs her and tells her that he’s sorry for everything.
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