This article is about the anime episode. For the manga chapter, see Losers.
The Defeated: The 57th Exterior Scouting Mission, Part 6 (敗者達 ―第57回壁外調査⑥― Haisha-tachi -Dai Gojū-Nana Kai Hekigai Chōsa (6)-?) is the 22nd episode of the 1st season and the 22nd episode overall of the Attack on Titan anime, produced by Wit Studio and Production I.G.
In a desperate attempt to save Eren, Levi and Mikasa team up against the Female Titan. With Mikasa being the bait, Levi shows off his speed and power, cutting up the Female Titan, giving it no time to defend itself. Seeing this, Mikasa takes the chance to kill the foe, but the Female Titan sees through it and Levi has to defend her, injuring himself in the process. Slicing through the Female Titan's mouth, they manage to take Eren and get away, with the Female Titan shedding tears over its failure.
Later, on their way home, the soldiers argue with Erwin over his decision to leave behind a corpse of their friend, Ivan. In the town, the families and friends of the Special Operations Squad soldiers are awaiting them, not knowing the truth about their fate. Meanwhile, Dieter does not follow Erwin's order and ends up having the Titans follow them, forcing them to get rid of the rest of the corpses, including some members of Levi's own squad. Finally arriving to the town, the soldiers have to face the results of their failure, with Eren being handed over to the authorities.
As Levi questions whether Eren is dead, Mikasa assures him of the opposite. She explains that the target appears to be intelligent and its purpose was to capture Eren the whole time. However, Levi states that its goal may have been to eat Eren, so it would be more reasonable to assume Eren's death. Mikasa returns the favor and blames Levi for not doing his job properly, who then recalls that Mikasa is Eren's close friend. Afterwards, Levi states their only goal was to be saving Eren and warns Mikasa not to try to kill the Female Titan. Even though Mikasa protests, Levi says that as long as it can harden its skin, it is impossible. He then orders Mikasa to be the bait while he attacks the Female Titan and rescues Eren.
Following the plan, Mikasa maneuvers in front of the Female Titan in order to distract it; however, it attempts to attack Levi, who slices up its entire arm and stabs both his swords into its eyes. He then flies up, equipping a new pair of swords and continues cutting up his foe. Mikasa watches his speed in awe as the Female Titan does not even have time to harden its skin. Levi continues attacking from every direction, until his target reveals the nape of its neck. In spite of Levi's orders, Mikasa aims to kill the Female Titan, however Levi has to defend her, twisting his ankle painfully in the process. He then cuts through the Female Titan's mouth and grabs an unconscious and saliva-covered Eren, ordering Mikasa to retreat while also chastising her for putting her love for Eren over her orders. After short hesitation due to this comment, Mikasa follows him. Levi looks back and much to his surprise, he sees the Female Titan shedding tears.
The news of the Scout Regiment soldiers already heading back spreads in the town. Meanwhile, the friends and families of the Special Operations Squad soldiers await their return, not knowing of their deaths. Later, the members of the expedition are seen on stand by, taking care of the dead bodies. Jean mentions that this is the part he will never get used to and wonders about future casualties, but Armin tells him that he should not think of that, otherwise he will be unable to fight. Conny also thinks about how long he will stay alive and even though Sasha attempts to cheer him up, he thinks he may never return home again.Close to them, Erwin receives a report about the dead bodies that they could not retrieve. Two soldiers protest as Erwin orders them to say that the dead ones were just missing. Levi tells them that as long as they confirmed their deaths, having their bodies does not matter. Levi and Erwin walk away as one of the soldiers, Dieter, accuses them of having no human feelings. The expedition then continues on their way home, however, it is revealed that Dieter did not follow the orders and brought the corpse of his friend, Ivan, causing Titans to pursue them. After Dieter's friend, Jurgen is killed by a Titan, it is soon obvious that they cannot outrun them and Levi orders the soldiers to dump the corpses, which will trip up the Titans as well as increase their agility. After initial hesitation, the soldiers follow this and Levi watches as among others, corpses of his own squad members are thrown away. As a result, they are able to speed up and get away.
The soldiers later take another break in order to figure out their route. Levi approaches Dieter and gives him one of the few emblems of the Scout Regiment he took earlier, claiming it was Ivan's. He says that this is a proof they were alive, causing Dieter to break down in tears.
Meanwhile, in a flashback/dream, a young Eren and Mikasa walk to their home. After they find out about the return of Scout Regiment forces, they rush to their location just to find out about their desperate state. A villager insults them and Eren grabs a stick to hit him, but then a grown up Eren holds himself back, with young Mikasa asking what is going on.
Eren then wakes up from his dream to see a real Mikasa. He asks about the Female Titan and the expedition, just to learn that it failed. The expedition finally reaches the Walls. As they walk through the town, the people notice the state of the expedition, claiming it to be another disaster and again rant about how the Scout Regiment is pointless. Eren hears their words and even though he attempts to get up and argue back again, Mikasa tells him to bear with it. Eren eventually stands upright, but when he does he notices two children watching in awe, praising the Scout Regiment soldiers for fighting in spite of all the losses, just as Eren and Mikasa once did. As they continue walking, Levi is approached by Petra's father, who, not knowing of his daughter's fate, talks to him about her being happy to join the squad, and how he is not going to force her leave the military and find a husband because she is still young, but if he could try and make sure she does not do anything reckless, while Levi ignores him with internalized sorrow. Erwin also faces the anger of people who question him and the purpose of the expedition. Seeing this, Eren breaks down crying, and Mikasa holds his hand. It is then revealed that while Erwin is summoned to the capital, Eren is to be handed over.