|I wanted to believe in my comrades...and because of that, they all died.|
|— Eren realizes his choice was wrong|
Despite the Survey Corps best efforts, The Female Titan ends up being eaten by various Titans, but Erwin believes that the human body may have escaped in the steam with vertical maneuvering equipment and orders Levi to prepare for battle. Elsewhere, Levi's Squad have trivial conversations as they escape as per their orders. They see an unknown soldier that quickly kills Gunther and then, much to their horror, transforms into the Female Titan. While Eren is told to run away, Oluo, Eld and Petra fight but they are eventually overpowered and killed by the Female Titan before Eren's very eyes. Feeling responsible for the deaths of his comrades, Eren transforms and blindly begins a fight against the Female Titan.
As Erwin watches the Female Titan get devoured, he starts to order his soldiers to retreat to Karanes District. However, seeing the vapor rise from the body, he is reminded of Hange's theory. They believed it was possible for the human in Titan form to safely escape in the cloud of smoke created from the remains of the body. Remembering this, he tells Levi to refill his gas tanks. Although not understanding the reason, Levi obeys the order while the remaining soldiers continue the retreat.
Further in the Titan Forest, Squad Levi is relieved to see the signal, believing the mission to be a success. Eld Jinn, still in charge, orders everyone to return to their horses. Petra thanks Eren for trusting them, attributing the success to his choice. Oluo questions his involvement, saying that all he did was panic and manage to stay alive. Annoyed at the bickering, Eld calls him and Petra out reminding them that they wet their pants on their first mission. Embarrassed, Petra fears that knowing that will cause Eren to lose respect for her. Eld and Gunther clarify that they never wet their pants, but tell them to save their discussion for later.
Hange asks Commander Erwin why he ordered Levi to refill instead of retreating with the rest. Erwin presents his concern at the possibility of the person in the Female Titan's body escaping. Even though it was their theory, Hange appears skeptical after seeing the limit of Eren's ability and his physical state after emerging from his Titan form. Erwin reminds Hange that just because Eren is a beginner does not mean their target is. The Female Titan displayed skills they never thought to anticipate, causing their mission to fail. So, they must adapt their strategy quickly if they hope to outsmart her. He speculates that if the person was wearing vertical maneuvering equipment before they transformed, they would be able to escape unnoticed while the smoke screen was up, making it easy for them to blend in with the rest of the Survey Corps.
As Levi's Squad continues through the forest, they see someone quickly moving through the trees. Initially believing it to be Levi, they move closer. Gunther realizes it is not him as he closes in. Suddenly, the stranger attacks and Gunther is killed in the same fashion as a Titan with a swift cut to the nape. Eren, in disbelief, is grabbed by Oluo as Eld gives the order to protect him. Petra, in a rage, challenges the attacker who is now hidden among the trees. As Commander Erwin continues to contemplate the Female Titan, he worries that it may go back into its Titan form. Without warning, Eren and Levi's Squad hear an explosion behind them; the stranger has taken on a Titan form again and is chasing them once again. Eren gets ready to transform as well, when Eld stops him. He orders him to head toward the Commander as fast as he can, while they take care of the Titan. At first, he resists, wanting to fight, but when they ask that he trust them he wishes them luck and heads out.
After dodging her first series of attacks, Petra and Oluo blind her by taking out her eyes. Now at a disadvantage, the Titan covers the back of her neck and puts her back against a tree, waiting for her eyes to regenerate. Without saying a word to each other, Eld gives a signal and the team cuts the rotator muscles in her shoulders, causing her arms to fall. Eren, watching from a distance, admires their teamwork noting that it must come from the trust they have in each other. However, he thinks back to Levi telling him that whether he chooses to rely on his own strength or to rely on comrades, he never knows what the outcome will be. He glances back at his team again and sees Eld moving in to cut the muscles in her neck in hopes of exposing her weak spot.
Just as he gets close enough to attack, the Titan reveals that she has regenerated just one of her eyes. Too late to stop himself, she catches him in her mouth and bites him in half, then spits out his upper half. Petra, Oluo and Eren watch in horror as Eld's body falls to the ground. Petra at first does not understand how it happened and then gathers that she concentrated her healing ability on just one of her eyes, allowing it to regenerate faster. The Titan charges after Petra and Oluo warns her to move to a higher position. Petra, too shocked and terrified to move, watches as the Titan leaps through the air and crushes her between her foot and a tree. Oluo, who is now behind her, tries to attack the nape of her neck. Although he manages a direct hit, the Titan hardens her skin at the moment of impact, breaking his blades. Before Oluo can even figure out why his blades shattered, the Titan turns and delivers a massive kick to Oluo in midair, breaking his back and ribs and crushing him. Eren, stricken with the horror of his friends' deaths, regrets his decision to not transform, and vows to slay her. Biting into his hand, he shifts midair and lands on the Female Titan ready to attack her.