Spoiler Free Review:
After a week’s delay because of a typhoon, the eleventh episode from season three of Attack on Titan, “Bystander”, has been released.
Overall, I would say this episode is the weakest of season three so far.
This is not me saying that it was a bad episode, it was good, but in comparison with the fantastic episodes we were delivered previously this one is a bit of a slow burn.
The main purpose of “Bystander” is to make sense of prior events in the series, although I will admit, it does do this with a very good use of character development for two of its characters.
By far the most intriguing part of this episode though, was the backstory of Grisha Jaeger, Eren’s father.
I am much more interested to learn about who he really was than when I watched the first season because of what has been revealed about him, not only in this episode but in other ones like “Sin” as well.
Grisha was not the only character who got development though because we also got some insight into Keith Sadies, the commandant of the training corps and the titular “Bystander.”
We also got to see some old faces in this episode, which was nice, and saw a few interesting uses for Eren’s new Titan ability gained in previous episodes.
Although, I will say that it was hard not to giggle when they described Eren’s attempts at perfecting his Titan powers as “hardening experiments.”
Like I said, this episode is good but there is just nothing that really sticks out to me like in the previous episodes of season three.
I will not deny “Bystander’s” necessity to the story because it does help give context to certain scenes.
However, take away the mystery about Grisha and there is not much to this episode.
Just like I predicted last episode, the “Bystander” of this episode was none other than Keith Sadies, who goes on to reveal the backstory of when Grisha was living inside the walls.
Suffering from memory loss, Grisha was discovered by Keith outside the walls and went to become a life saving doctor in Shiganshina, where he eventually married Carla and had Eren.
Learning about Grisha’s life in Shiganshina makes him a much more interesting character and I cannot wait to learn what his motivations were.
It was also nice that we got to see some old characters in this flashback, like Hannes, and, as stated earlier, Carla.
Keith’s development for this episode was also good but made him come across as more unlikable to me than sympathetic, with what appeared to be him damaging Eren’s equipment from the third episode of the series out of spite.
Although he did change his mind about this, it paints Keith in a very negative light.
Along with this flashback, “Bystander” also had a time jump, picking up two months after Historia became queen.
Numerous events have happened since then, like Historia providing a home for numerous orphans, Marlo joining the Survey Corps and Eren using his “hardening experiments” (I still cannot take that seriously) to provide new means of killing Titans without losing any soldiers.
These were all very nice revelations, especially Historia’s because it continued her arc of wanting to help those in need, which was set up in “Outside the Walls of Orvud District.”
Another thing I liked about these scenes before Keith’s flashback was that is seemed to suggest that they are keeping Connie’s Titan mother alive.
I am glad this is being brought up again because it has the potential to result in some more development for Connie who has not had much screen time this season.
One funny scene in “Bystander” came when Mikasa got jealous over Eren and Historia.
The glare she sent there way was nothing short of creepy.
However, while this was funny, Mikasa’s scenes in this episode highlight a problem I have been having with her character recently.
In my “Top 10 Favorite Attack on Titan Characters” list I made after watching season two, Mikasa came in as my second favorite character next to Armin.
However, after re-watching the first two seasons and seeing how Mikasa has been portrayed in this season as well, I find her to be a lot less interesting than I first thought.
Mikasa has had almost no development for a very long time and yet she is one of the main characters, which is a problem.
This lack of development causes only her fighting skills and borderline yandere obsession with Eren to shine through, which I am not a fan of.
There have been multiple moments to give Mikasa development this season, like the reveal that Levi and Kenny are related to her, but there has been nothing but the usual “Eren this, Eren that” from her.
Hopefully she will get more development because she is really starting to go further down on my list of favorite characters at this point.
Just like my problem with missing characters I mentioned in my previous review though, I do not fault the episode for this but rather the series itself.
Overall, “Bystander” was the weakest episode of season three so far.
Not bad but nothing special.
- Grisha is revealed to have lost his memories when he first entered the Walls but if he found the Reiss family, passed on his Titan power to Eren and put something in the basement that means he must have regained those memories. I wonder when this happened and if it will be important to the story.
- The reveal that Connie’s mother’s Titan may still be alive has some interesting implications. If they ever discover a cure for the Titans then Connie may be able to bring her back.