This article is about the manga chapter. For other uses of this name, see Erwin Smith (Disambiguation).
|Someone who can't throw anything away will never be able to change anything.|
|— Armin explains an unfortunate truth|
The Survey Corps are waiting outside the Titan Forest while a small group of soldiers capture the Female Titan within. Jean and Armin have a conversation about the Titans and their commander, Erwin Smith. Eren and members of Squad Levi have a similar conversation inside. Both groups finally state that people that can change the world must be able to do horrible things and reject their humanity in order to get a greater good.
Meanwhile, Captain Levi, Mike Zacharias and Hange Zoë are wondering how to extract the human body from the captured Female Titan. While Erwin plans to blow away her hardened skin with explosives, Levi tells the Titan that he will make her suffer. In answer, the Titan roars, making nearby Titans come to eat its body. The soldiers tries to stop them, but the Female Titan is finally eaten alive, heavily surprising Erwin.
Still high in the trees, members of the Survey Corps begin to speculate what the real goal of their mission might actually be. Armin and Jean watch as a Titan attempts to climb a tree to get closer to them, which leads Armin to believe that they are capable of learning. However, having full use of their vertical maneuvering equipment, they are not in any immediate danger.
Jean believes the true purpose of the mission was to lure out the Female Titan and capture it. Armin reveals that he believes the same thing. He also reasons that Eren's existence suggests that there are others who can assume the form of a Titan. Further, he believes that the Titans who brought down the Walls could be humans that live in the city, and that their first priority should be identifying and stopping them. Hearing the sounds from the forest, they gather that the plan worked and the Titan was trapped. Jean wonders why Commander Erwin used Eren as bait or how he could be sure the Titans would come after him. Armin theorizes that their most recent attack and attempt at destroying the Wall was stopped halfway for a reason. He also notes that they met with little resistance when Eren plugged the hole in the Wall. He believes that their mission changed when they saw that Eren had the ability to transform into a Titan. Jean then understands Armin's meaning; that someone in the group of people who saw Eren that day, was a spy. Although understanding the plan, Jean still believes that more people should have been made aware as it could have saved lives.
Deep in the forest, Eren is having a similar conversation with Petra and others in Squad Levi. Eren can not understand why even Captain Levi's subordinates were not made aware as it makes it seem they are not trusted. Petra and Oluo Bozado get defensive, with Oluo asking Petra to knock his teeth out. Eld Jinn reasons that the only people who knew were the survivors from five years ago. Letting that sink in, Petra and Eren remember Commander Erwin asking them "What do you see? Who do you think the enemy is?" and wonder if that was a sort of screening process for who would be made aware of the real plan. Oluo tries to boast that he knew the answer, but just did not say. When Petra calls him out, he only replies that it is because they are not at his level. As they argue, Eren considers the benefits of the plan if it is successful, but still believes that too many lives were lost to fully justify it.
Back at the forest's edge, Jean and Armin watch the Titan repeatedly climb and fall in its attempt to reach them. Still in no immediate danger, they continue their discussion with Jean unknowingly taking the same position as Eren. To support his view, he reminds Armin of the death of his squad leader, Ness, believing that he could have been saved if he had known all the details. Armin disagrees, saying that it is easy to make decisions in hindsight but no one can know the consequences beforehand. As an example of these blind spots, Armin asks Jean questions that the military has no answers for yet. Armin believes the Commander thought of every possible course of action and in the end had to choose between the lives of one hundred of his men or the lives of everyone living behind the Walls. In the forest, Jinn echoes Armin's thoughts and both of them emphasize that changing the world will require sacrifices. Men such as Dot Pixis, Ian Dietrich, and Darius Zackly come to Armin's mind. Armin concludes that those who will not throw anything away will never change anything.
With the Female Titan trapped and completely immobilized, Hange fires a few more spikes into the Titan's joints just to be on the safe side. Levi and Mike Zacharias swoop in and attempt to cut through the Titan's hands and into the back of her neck. However, their blades break against her skin. Seeing this, Commander Erwin likens it to the Armored Titan that he was told about. He also notices that she can not maintain it like the Armored Titan can. He wonders if the skin would eventually wear down from repeated sword attacks, but not having the time for that he calls for a soldier to plant enough explosives to take the hands off at the wrist. Standing on the Titan's head, Levi begins taunting her and revealing the pleasure he is taking in this after she killed his men. He then asks her if she can survive without hands or feet. Clarifying that he means her real hands and feet, he implies the process of cutting her out of the Titan's neck.
Upon hearing this, the Female Titan lets out a loud scream. The scream is heard at the edge of the forest and catches both the attention of the soldiers and the Titans. The Titans begin to ignore the soldiers and start heading toward the sound. A few soldiers attempt to stop them, but they do not seem interested in the potential meals at all and run past them. Erwin wonders if this was an emotional outburst or if she is up to something and soon gets the answer when Mike reports that there are Titans headed in their direction. When Mikasa attempts to head after them, Sasha cautions her to be more careful than usual, saying that the sound they heard was that of a cornered animal that has lost all hope. Commander Erwin orders the soldiers to intercept the Titans before they reach the Female Titan. Again, the Titans completely ignore them and head for her. As two close in, Levi quickly kills them. Despite their best efforts, they get through and start to eat the Female Titan. When Erwin sees her head ripped off, he orders his soldiers to withdraw. Erwin looks on hopelessly, and is in awe of the fact that she would kill herself rather than let them get the information they are after.
Current Publicly Available Information
13. Special Target Restraining Weapons
The Survey Corps has developed a new weapon in order to restrain specific Titans. To the untrained eye, it looks like a normal wagon carrying barrels, but inside each barrel are seven iron tubes containing coiled wires with arrowheads attached at both ends.
The wires are strong and specially made to become elastic after being ejected from the barrels. When the device is activated, arrowheads are fired from both ends of the tubes. The arrows on one side head for the targeted Titan, while the ones at the other side become lodged in a tree trunk, so if the tip pierces the Titan's flesh, it's possible to tether the Titan to the tree with the wire. The purpose of this weapon is to immobilize the target, anchoring it with hundreds of arrowheads fired from several directions and wires with great tensile strength.
Development of this weapon required a significant capital outlay, so the Survey Corps had to guarantee positive results before investors would contribute the money. To that end, the continued existence of the Survey Corps itself is at least partially dependent on the results of their current mission.