What a way to get back into Attack on Titan. We already knew stuff was about to go down from last episode, but I don’t think this was how a lot of people expected it to go. We still had to sit through a bit more build up before we could get into the action, but I do think what we learned this episode was really important. Especially since not only did we get more history lessons with Willy’s theater performance, but it finally gave Reiner and Eren the chance to talk to one another. And that’s probably one of the biggest themes that have come up that sometimes, people just need to be able to talk so they can at least try and understand each other. Though despite that, sometimes, fighting just cannot be avoided, even after understanding one another.
At this point, I think it’s safe to say that the Eren we knew from episode 1 is officially dead. He’s completely different from the loud-mouthed and hair-triggered kid he was at the start. Now, he’s extremely subdued, calculated and seems to have lost a bit if not a lot of his humanity. His eyes have no shine to them anymore and he just sounds so empty. It’s actually really sad to see him like this, especially when he doesn’t seem to have the same care and compassion to others as he used to. Willing to go as far as to put others at risk to accomplish his goals as he killed so many people by transforming underneath that building. He even used them as a bargaining chip so that Reiner didn’t transform initially, only to go through with it himself. The only thing that didn’t change was Eren’s extreme ambitions of wiping out his “enemies.” First it was the titans, now it’s the world. And honestly, that’s pretty scary, especially with how hollow Eren seems to be now. It seems as if he doesn’t believe this world is worth living in anymore for anyone.
With each passing episode, I just feel worse and worse for Reiner. If given the chance to live a normal life, he probably would have been just a great and upstanding guy. Big on the outside, but a total softy on the inside. And seeing him just ridden with guilt and self-loathing is just painful. Even going as far as to beg Eren to kill him because he can’t stand it anymore. Blaming himself that it was his fault Eren’s mom got eaten in the first place. And while I feel bad for the guy, it was his fault that happened since he pushed Annie and Berthold to continue the mission when they wanted to turn back. All so that he could become a hero and save himself. However, despite it all, Eren still acknowledges that he and Reiner are the same. Both wanted to be heroes, only to be smacked in the face by reality. Not only that, but Eren also infiltrated Marley and saw the different kinds of people there. The same Reiner did back at Paradis. The two are such strong foils to one another.
Also, it also hit my heart to see Reiner’s first reaction to seeing Eren transform is to immediately run to Falco to try and protect him.
Speaking of which, I do feel really bad for Falco as well. He thought he was doing something nice for someone he thought he respected, only to find that he unknowingly became an accomplice. I’m always astonished at how seeing things in animation can change my perspective on a character. Especially since I didn’t feel ANYTHING towards the new characters when I first started reading the manga. Now I’m just sad for them. Reading and watching really are different experiences.
And then there’s Willy who seems to be yet another foil of Eren and Reiner. Due to being in possession of the War Hammer Titan, his family had been plagued with knowing the truth about what had happened in regards to King Fritz and the Eldians. Or so it may seem. This story has been tossed around A LOT throughout the series and interpreted so differently depending on the person. It’s hard to know whether one story is the truth or not. He paints King Fritz as the true hero of the story, essentially showing that what Marley has said for hundreds of years is wrong. Which I’m actually surprised that no one pulled him off the stage. Though considering how charismatic and favorable Willy is, his arrest and silence would probably spark his sympathizers to act in his stead. However, it does make sense if this story is to be believed as to why the King’s spirit within the founding titan didn’t release the wall titans when it was invaded. Instead, chose to continue remaining silent as the people within the walls were massacred, relishing the last bit of peace before possibly being wiped out.
Willy seeks to become the hero to bring peace back to the world by uniting all of the nations to go against Paradis. A conviction that both Eren and Reiner wanted when they were younger. And Willy’s words of “I was born in this world” echoed what Eren had said all the way back in season one. To which even Eren reacted to. That scene just felt so poetic.
While all of that was going on in the foreground, there seems to be A LOT going on in the background. Whatever plan they have for Marley is being set up one piece as a time as they successfully trapped Porco and Piek in a pitfall after they split them up from the others. Not to mention having Zeke go off somewhere else. There’s also something going on with that Asian woman who seemed to have an idea of what was going down, leaving the premises before anything happened. To which I was like: smart. And we already knew that Eren was already situated right below the stage so he was able to hear everything going on and knew the right time to strike: Right when Willy declared war on Paradis. And man, what an entrance and an unfortunate end to Willy. Just when this guy seemed to have everyone’s favor and determination, he was immediately crushed and about to be eaten by the looks of it. No one outside of the Tybur family know who the War Hammer Titan is so it makes sense that Eren wouldn’t take any risks.
What a way to start things off in 2021. The build up, the callbacks, all the way up to Eren’s dramatic entrance was just so good this episode. Now that the action has officially started, there’s no stopping it now folks. I didn’t realize how terrifying Eren has become until I watched this episode, reliving the events that I read so long ago. And it’s sad really. To see this boy filled with such determination to save everyone become a hollow shell of his former self. I feel like this infiltration almost mirrors that of what happened in Paradis with the warrior trio. However, with this inside attack, I’m sure Eren’s actions will continue the cycle of hatred as he is has already killed A LOT of people just from transforming. Things have officially popped off and I’m excited to revisit this part from the manga.