Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 26, Traitor Review: I Stand Corrected.

In my review for Episode 24 of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “Pride”, I talked about the announcement that the remaining four episodes would all only cover a single episode.
I expressed concern about this decision because I felt that most of these episodes, most notably Episode 26, “Traitor”, would suffer from pacing issues and need a bit of recap and filler.
Well, after watching “Traitor”, I can say that I was definitley wrong about that.
Directed by Teruyuki Ōmine, “Traitor” is a definite improvement on the previous episode, with the animation being much better, a few rare instances aside.
I speculated in my review for “Night of the End” that the reason the animation focused constantly on walls and trees was because they were trying to save the budget for the last three episodes and, given how good some of this episode looked, I can say that this budget is being put to good use.
“Traitor” begins with Hange and Floch overlooking the port, which the Jeagerists, lead by Floch, have taken over and taken Kiyomi Azumabito hostage.
Magath wonders why the Jeagerists have not yet destroyed the flying boat, which they could use to reach Eren, and Hange speculates that it is because they still want its technology.
Yet, if they see any sign of the alliance, they will destroy the flying boat so alliance need to do whatever it takes to protect it.
It is at that moment when Hange notices smoke rising from the water, showing that the Wall Titans have swam all the way to Marley.
Now, I will say that the animation for the smoke felt a little stilted because I could not even tell it was Titan smoke until Hange pointed it out.
This is just a minor issue, however.
Once the opening is over, the scene then cuts to the rest of the alliance, who are preparing for a confrontation at the port, with Annie saying they have to kill all of the Jeagerists to secure the flying boat.
Armin, Mikasa Jean and Connie are understandably reluctant, seeing as they know many of the Jeagerists personally, wanting to find another way.
However, both Annie and Pieck point out that there is no other way, since they need the Azumabito’s mechanics to repair the plane so Onyankopon can fly it, which they will not have time to do with the Jeagerists approaching.
Eventually, though, Annie relents, confessing that the 104th have no reason to help them, yet are doing so, suggesting that they would not have destroyed the wall that day.
This causes Reiner to realize exactly what Eren meant when he told him that they were the same, leading to him offering to take care of the Jeagerists with Annie and Pieck while the 104th hold back.
Hange is not having this though, revealing that the steam in the water she saw means that the Rumbling has already reached Marley, Eren’s genocide having already begun.
Desperate, Magath attacks Yelena, breaking her arm and demanding that she tells them where Eren went, only for Yelena to instead declare that she no longer wants to die until she sees how this ends, stating she might tell them where Eren is if they take her with them.
Magath then bows his head to Mikasa, Armin, Jean and Connie, apologising to them for speaking about justice the night before, now admitting his own sins and declaring that they have to teach future generations to avoid this bloodshed.
This is an impactful moment of growth for Magath, although this impact is lessened slightly by one wide shot where Magath’s face is all scrunched up in a weird case of animation.
The effect of his speech is still the same, however, as Armin refuses to look past Magath’s actions, stating that they cannot stand by with clean hands.
Afterwards, the scene transitions to Floch lecturing Kiyomi about how the Rumbling will result in the absolute destruction of her homeland, Hizuru, saying she and her mechanics should just devote themselves to helping Eldia.
The shot then cuts to some Jeagerists dragging out the dead bodies of Kiyomi’s guards, showing the threat in Floch’s words.
Kiyomi, however, is not intimidated, instead pointing out that the Rumbling will just make humanity smaller and violence will always continue.
Floch admits she has a point but then turns this on her, saying that it is for that reason she has to remember her place, putting a gun to her head.
Before he can do anything, Floch is interrupted by Armin and Connie’s shouts, the two rushing into the port on horseback, acting as if they are chasing Reiner and Pieck, shouting that they need the flying boat to be set up so they can catch them.
This causes enough confusion to allow the two of them to reach the flying boat, where they find Samuel and Daz preparing to blow it up.
For those who do not recognize them, these are both Season One characters, Samuel being the one who Sasha saved when the Colossal Titan attacked by impaling his leg with her ODM Gear, and Daz being the scared soldier who considered deserting and was revealed to have been saved by Historia and Ymir in a flashback.
One thing I was kind of disappointed by was that the anime did not build up to these two’s reappearance this episode with some new scenes.
Them showing up again after so long just to die was a bit abrupt in the manga, even if it served its purpose, so I was hoping the Final Season would add a couple scenes to re-estblish them, creating a bigger impact when Connie has to kill them at the end of the episode.
Nothing huge because, again, they only come back to die, but I think a few extra scenes or lines for them prior to this episode could have helped, like that anime only moment of Louise getting fatally injured by the Thunder Spear rather than just showing her on her deathbed.
Either way, the scene between Armin and Connie, and Samuel and Daz plays out the same as it does in the manga, with Armin and Connie managing to convince the two of them that they are not trying to stop the Rumbling because it would doom their island.
That said, I do wish the alliance had some kind of back up plan for if they stop Rumbling.
I know it’s a complicated situation but them just winging it seems quite foolhardy, considering that the rest of the world seems to unanimously want them all dead.
Even though Daz disconnects the detonator, him and Samuel quickly realize how terrible Armin and Connie’s poker faces are.
What makes the situation worse is that Floch decides it would better not to take chances, so aims his gun at one of the Hizuru mechanics, only for Kiyomi to take him down with ease, causing shots to go off.
While it is a bit weird for such an older woman to take down a trained soldier so quickly, I suppose it could be explained by Kiyomi having some training in case of assasination attempts since she’s a political figure.
Make no mistake, though, Kiyomi would have been doomed had it not been for Mikasa, who crashes through a window and takes out the attacking Jeagerists, leading Kiyomi and her mechanics towards the basement, along with Hange, Jean and Magath to take cover, as the Jeagerists shoot Thunder Spears.
With the group now in the basement, it gives space for Reiner and Annie to attack the Jeagerists freely, transforming behind Floch with some spectacular animation.
This seems to further validate my theory that the animation for “Night of the End” was purposefully limited to save the budget to animate the action scenes of “Traitor” and the following final two episodes.
Although, I will say that the Female Titan CGI looks a little off, compared to the rest of it.
Cutting back to Connie and Armin, Armin is shot in the face by Samuel when he tries to stop Daz from reconnecting the detonator to blow up the flying boat, and Connie tackles Samuel when he is distracted by Reiner and Annie transforming, the two wrestling for the gun.
Armin again attempts to stop Daz, and I must say I was quite surprised with how little censorship there was surrounding Armin’s injuries.
I expected it to be covered with Titan steam and, while there is some, the gory image of Armin’s unhinged jaw and missing teeth is still intact.
As Daz holds a gun to Armin’s head, and Samuel cries out that he thought he and Connie were friends, Armin remembers Bertholdt saying someone has to stain their hands with blood, showing how they are all now on the same level.
Connie then rips the gun from Samuel’s hands, using it to kill both him and Daz, before screaming out in the agony of his guilt.
This scream is entirely anime only and was a perfect touch to the scene, in my opinion, really emphasizing the trauma this act has inflicted on Connie.
To be honest, Connie is a character who I have never really cared for that greatly.
I certainly don’t dislike him but, compared to the rest of the main cast, he falls short in my mind.
Yet, I have always found this scene to be Connie’s defining moment as a character.
The moment that he truly stands out, and I think the anime depicted this scene perfectly.
It makes me even more excited for how Chapter 129 will be adapted next episode, which is another one of my favourite alliance chapters, alongside Chapter 127.
Let’s just hope it is animated better than Episode 25, although I think it will be based on the animation quality of this episode.
“Traitor” is a solid episode of Attack on Titan and I stand corrected in regards to the concerns I had going in.