Attack On Titan: Explaining Mikasa's Controversial Scene with Louise

Attack On Titan's anime continues to bend fans' minds with the drastic turns of its Final Season, but one strange scene has been particularly volatile for the fanbase. The scene in question is in Episode 83 of Attack On Titan, "Pride", which sees Eren Jaeger's friends in the Survey Corps (and even a few enemies) all have to make an ultimate decision regarding The Rumbling and what to do about it. Each character's choice comes from a deeply personal place that was arrived at over the course of the series, but Mikasa's moment has thrown a lot of fans... 

(WARNING: ATTACK ON TITAN Anime SPOILERS Follow!!!)

Mikasa's big moment of agency(?) in this episode comes when she tracks down Louise and takes back the iconic red scarf that Eren once gave her. In the scene, Mikasa seemed cold toward Louise, who was fatally wounded by a Thunder Spear while fighting with the Jaegerists against Marley and Zeke's Pure Titan ambush. However, other fans have been quick to jump in and help break down the scene, and why the small arc between Mikasa and Louise ends as it does: 

Twitter threads from @oldsouleunoia and @cactuzzshash are going viral for their breakdown of how the episode "Pride" and its title connect back to Mikasa and Louise's moment. In the short explanation: 

Attack On Titan Season 4A's climactic moment saw Eren break with his oldest friends Mikasa and Armin, during a pivotal conversation around the table. During that conversation, Eren emotionally crushed Mikasa by claiming that her devotion to protecting him was merely a form of programming all Ackerman's were given and that she never really had thoughts of her own. 

Louise is a character that Attack On Titan introduced for one clear purpose: serving as a counterpart/foil to Mikasa – the sort of programmed follower that Eren accused Mikasa of being. Louise was a young girl inspired by Mikasa's strength as a warrior, which led her to adopt a "might is right" view of life, where the ends justify the means. Lousie's blind adoration of Mikasa led her to also align with Eren and the Jaegerists – but for misguided reasoning. Louise valued Eren's strength and brutality in killing Mikasa's attackers when she was a child; however, Mikasa values that moment (and the scarf) as a symbol of Eren's compassion, reassuring her that he would protect her. 

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(Photo: MAPPA)

So back to the final scene between Mikasa and Louise: Louise's misguided following of Eren leads to her doom, but by holding onto the scarf (even after Eren told her to trash it), Louise gives Mikasa an opportunity to symbolically reclaim her own agency, and prove she is not Louise. Mikasa shows in that moment that she's not a programmed machine, but a woman choosing her own fate. Mikasa has reached a point of distinguishing the memory of compassionate Eren from the monster he's become – so no, she doesn't have a kind goodbye for the girl who represented her alternate self. 

Attack On Titan is streaming on Funimation and Hulu.