Not gonna lie, this episode was a little disappointing. But only just a little. Mostly because even though I don’t remember all of the details in these chapters, it was still obvious that they crammed in a lot this episode while cutting out several details. However, considering the amount of things that they could have cut out in later chapters, this was probably the best one to slim down on content.
Reiner continues to be such a tragic character of circumstance and it’s honestly so disheartening to see what he had to go through. First off, Reiner was driven by his mom’s dream to be a family with his father, who was Marleyan and Reiner ended up become a child soldier in hopes of becoming a warrior so that his family would be made into honorary Marleyans. However, the poor boy seemed like he was the absolute worst out of all the other candidates, making his chances of becoming a warrior quite slim. The only thing he apparently had going was his undying loyalty to Marley, which is ironic because he ended up being the number 2 trainee just under Mikasa in the 105th cadets.
And just when things started looking up for Reiner, reality just brings him crashing back down. His mom had made it seem like her situation with his father was like Romeo and Juliet, but when he met his father on chance encounter, his father wanted absolutely nothing to do with him or his mother. Even opting to run away from the country in fear of the government finding out he had a kid with an Eldian. He was the same as all the other Marleyans who looked down on Eldians as devils. The happy family that Reiner had hoped to forge after becoming an honorary Marleyan could never be achieved. The dream that had initially driven him had crumbled right before his eyes. The manga even made it extra painful when his mom told him that his dad would have been so proud of him right after he met the guy. Why don’t you shove the dagger deeper why don’t you?
One of his dreams was crushed, but he still had another. He still had pride of being chosen as the Armored Titan, allowing him to still carry out another dream of being a hero who saved everyone from the devils of Paradis… Only for that to be crushed soon after when Marcel confesses that Reiner wasn’t even supposed to become a warrior in the first place. Marcel only wanted to save his little brother from the fate of becoming one of the nine titans, thus sacrificing Reiner in his stead. However, the fact that Reiner didn’t even become a warrior through his own efforts, made his last remaining dream feel null. Everything he had worked for amounted to nothing in the end, whether it be for a hopeless dream or that his own efforts didn’t even get him to where he was. Everything was stripped away from him nearly all at once (even Marcel soon after). He was essentially nothing in his eyes. All through out the series, Reiner has always just been lucky. He seldom accomplished things all on his own and would often just narrowly avoid death by the skin of his teeth.
I think it’s interesting to note Reiner’s need to be something or someone else. Marleyan, Warrior, Hero… Marcel. He never strove to be himself and constantly chased after something to become. Within the walls, he put on the guise of Marcel and acted like everyone’s older brother. Even risking his life to save them at times. Thinking about it, I feel like it’s almost poetic to have Reiner half Marleyan and half Eldian. He literally can’t fit in anywhere because he is not one or the other. It’s almost as if he was always being forced in two different directions from the very start. No wonder he ended up having alternate personalities. This poor guy literally just ended up being so broken that he even wanted to end it all rather than have to go back to Paradis if not for Falco’s unintentional intervention. Life as Reiner is just pain.
The juxtaposition between what Reiner was going through as opposed to what Eren was doing was just… man… the two lead such different lives while both being Eldian is just crazy. Eren had a very “easy” and comfortable life within the walls, while Reiner’s had it rough since birth. However, both ended up being very similar. Both wanted to exterminate the threats to their respective “worlds” but felt like all of their efforts just couldn’t amount to much compared to everyone else. Though I feel like Reiner has some similarities to Armin as well. Both were constantly pushed around and looked down on for being weak but in the end had to take on the role as leaders in their respective groups.
But man, seeing all of these children be used as weapons of war is really sad. All of their talents were used by terrible people to wipe out entire nations. They were never given the chance to live as normal people. Killing others just became second nature almost. And it’s even sadder when this reality actually does exist in the real world. Now, I am a bit miffed at the parts they cut out from the scene when Berthold and Reiner stormed through the walls. I feel like it was important to show the struggle they had to even get to the walls and the attack wasn’t as calculated as everyone thought it was. They were being overwhelmed by titans and just barely made it through the walls with their lives. Not to mention that Annie actually did have a part in the infiltration by running them all to the walls in the first place. So that was a bummer that we didn’t actually get to see that especially since I feel like it was a necessary part to show what had happened from their perspective. They didn’t think the other titans would rush in as well, they were just trying to get inside.
It was nice to see all the young Marley warriors, especially Annie and Berthold. Though it was also sad since this was the reality they had to live out everyday. I was especially happy to see Annie since I really do like her as a character… even though she’s crazy. Usually, characters like her would turn me off since I’m not a fan of the overly violent types. But considering how she grew up and is just fighting to survive so she can get back home makes her just as tragic as all the other warriors. And then there’s Berthold. I remember disliking him a lot out of the three of them because of how dismissive he was at the end. But… it also could have been because he basically killed Armin (whomst is my baby). But now, I do feel a bit sorry for him as all the others since he was never given the chance to live as a normal kid either. Though I will say that when I read the part where that guy gave Berthold his backstory of when the titans first attacked, I was like: “This mofo just stole this guy’s story to tell the other cadets.”
And with that, it’s official… Eren and the others have infiltrated. I remember in the manga thinking this guy was most likely Eren and I was pumped to find out that I was right. There were quite a few hints of his identity in the last episode with his silhouette watching Reiner and the other Warrior candidates, him seemingly not really distressed from the mocking “BOOM” the Marleyan soldier did and looked like he just emotionlessly fell over while also having the Eldian arm band on the wrong side. Not to mention he basically looks like a disheveled Grisha. I also had a strong feeling that guy at the end of episode 1 was Jean, but I wasn’t sure since there is another character that looked similar. But at this point, it’s 100% that it was. They honestly did a great job covering up who it was. The fact that the people from Paradis have infiltrated Marley feels very reminiscent of what the Warrior Trio did. It’s almost like history is repeating itself. And if you’ve seen the trailer… you know stuff is about to go down.