This article is about the 56th episode of the Attack on Titan anime. For the manga chapter of the same name, see The Basement (Chapter). For more pages referred to by this name, see Basement (Disambiguation).
|I come from a place outside the walls where humanity lives in elegance. Humanity has not perished.|
|— from Grisha Jaeger's writings|
Armin Arlelt reluctantly comes to grips with the fact that he has eaten Bertholdt Hoover and that he was chosen for survival over Erwin Smith. Half of the remaining soldiers, including Eren Jaeger travel to his family's basement where they discover three journals and a photograph left behind by his father.
The journals detail Grisha's life from beyond the Walls, where humanity has not perished and technology has progressed enough to allow humans to live elegant lives. He learned the truth of his own situation one day when he went out to see an airship along with his sister Fay.
In a dream, Armin Arlelt hears Bertholdt Hoover sobbing and opens his eyes. He sits up and sees the head of the Colossal Titan looming over him, though the face is more skeletal than usual. As Armin watches, the Colossal Titan sheds a tear.
Armin wakes up on top of Wall Maria. He finds Sasha Braus laid out beside him, severely injured. Armin asks what happened, since the last thing he remembers is Bertholdt's transformation, and Levi Ackermann has Eren Jaeger bring Armin up to speed. Armin is shocked that the Scout Regiment has been reduced to just nine soldiers, and he struggles to come to grips with the fact that he was given the Titan injection over Commander Erwin Smith, and that he ate his former comrade Bertholdt.
When Armin asks why he was given the injection, Levi explains that Eren and Mikasa Ackermann were willing to draw blood to save him. Hange Zoë says they will be disciplined for their insubordination, which the two of them accept, but Levi admits that regardless, the final decision was still his, and he chose this place to be where Erwin would die.
Armin has misgivings, and Hange admits that they believe Erwin would have been the better choice, but Erwin was the one who had entrusted Levi with the injection in the first place, and Levi has made his decision. Armin will have to accept that he bears the burden of Erwin's life and a Titan's power. Levi assures Armin that he does not expect him to be Erwin's replacement, but says that Armin has something special about him that no one else does, and the least he can do is ensure that Eren and Mikasa do not regret standing up for him. Hange consoles Armin, saying that as the next commander of the Scout Regiment they are in a similar position, and they will both have to accept their lot.
Now that Armin is confirmed to be all right, Hange takes Levi, Eren, and Mikasa to investigate the Jaeger family basement. Eren remembers how he was never allowed to go inside because his mother told him that his father kept his work tools down there. He and Mikasa remember happier times in Shiganshina District, as well as what happened the last time they had run home during the Titan invasion. They come to their former home, which is now overgrown.
Eren, Mikasa, and the two officers clear away the debris blocking the hatch to the basement and the four of them head down the stairs. To Eren's surprise, his key does not open the door at the bottom of the steps, so Levi simply breaks down the door himself. Inside, they find a room that appears to be a normal doctor's study, and Hange comments that everything looks exactly as it should, to the point of thinking that was the impression Grisha wanted people to have. Levi agrees, noting that if Grisha had anything that the Interior Police would have wanted, he would not have left it in the open.
When Mikasa accidentally knocks over a cup, she bends down to pick it up and discovers a small keyhole in the side of Grisha's desk. Eren tries his key in it, and opens a secret drawer with a false bottom. Beneath it, they find three books. Eren and Mikasa open the first of them together, and find a portrait of a family fastened on the first page.
Eren takes it out, and Hange asks to look at it. Hange finds it far too detailed to have been drawn by a person. When Mikasa points out that there is writing from Grisha on the back, Hange reads that the portrait is not an illustration, but an imprint of reflected light burned onto special paper - a photograph.
Back in Trost District, Nile Dawk reminisces about Erwin's childhood questions and subsequent search for answers. While the two of them were in the Cadet Corps, Erwin had insisted that the government was trying to hide the truth, but Nile had not taken him seriously. Now it looks like Erwin was right. Dhalis Zachary tells Nile that he will simply have to apologize once Erwin gets back. Anka Rheinberger then bursts into the room to notify the officers that the Scouts have returned, after having successfully taken Wall Maria. The people of the Walls celebrate the Scouts' victory. The Scouts stand above Trost on Wall Rose; Hange is carrying the three books from the basement.
The portrait is explained to be a photograph, one of many technologies not available to people within the walls. According to Grisha's own words, he had come from a place beyond the Walls where humanity lives in elegance and has not perished.
One day, years ago, Grisha and his sister ran out of their house to see the airship, almost forgetting their armbands. Their mother warned them not to go outside the walls, and when the airship sailed far enough that it went past the wall of their neighborhood, they stopped, unable to follow. Fay hoped that one day if she was rich she would be able to ride on one, but Grisha was more realistic and said that neither of them would ever be rich.
Sensing his sister's disappointment at losing sight of the airship, Grisha grabbed her hand and ran for the security gate. He knew from his teacher that the airships landed nearby and the two of them could go see it. Fay expressed concern about going outside the walls against their mother's instructions, but Grisha barreled through the gate, telling a guard in uniform that they would be right back. In his later writings, Grisha would say that particular day was when he learned the truth of this world.
Currently Publicly Available Information
Grisha Jaeger, having come from outside the walls and thus knowing many secrets, entrusted the basement key to his son. The basement will likely reveal the mysteries of the world which Grisha couldn't mention to anyone.