Not gonna lie, this is basically where things got a bit confusing for me. I had to watch it a few times to really get a better grasp on what happened. Time travel concepts are always really hard for me to wrap my head around so it’s not wonder how this part in the series kinda lost me for a bit. Attack on Titan just has this way where it gives you so many scenes and we think we know what’s going on, but then it presents you with information that just flips the initial scene on its head. It definitely takes some rewatches to really grasp everything that has been happening. Though even then, I’m still not sure if I got everything.

When reading the manga, I had been hoping that Zeke would eventually eat his words about Grisha. It always frustrates me when a character refuses to acknowledge that people can change. Yes, he was a terrible father to Zeke, but he was able to take what happened to heart and changed his ways to be a better person who ended up genuinely and truly loving his family. And who knows, maybe he would have been able to do something against the attack on the walls if he had done something when he had found the secret lair in the church. It was kind of ironic how Zeke wanted to show Eren how he was brainwashed by their father, but ended showing himself that Grisha wasn’t the monster he remembered him as anymore. It was kind of amusing to just watch Zeke be just surprised at every memory.

Though I will admit that I did feel bad for him. His hatred for Grisha is completely valid considering how he treated him. However, I still believe that people still need to acknowledge the fact that people can change for the better. And in this case, Zeke comes to realize that Grisha wasn’t the monster Zeke thought he was. He always just wanted to do the right thing and help others. But he most definitely made some terrible mistakes along the way. If anything, he must have become even more resentful towards Grisha after seeing how much of a better father he was to Eren than him. It’s like: “Why couldn’t he have done that for me?” The situation has so many layers where it’s just not the case of “this person was right and this person was wrong.” Both sides aren’t completely right but also not completely in the wrong. It feels so human and I love how this show just nails those types of feelings.

But man, I feel SO bad for Grisha. I mean, I already did before this episode but I feel for him a lot more after this episode. Despite Zeke believing that he just went and forgot his former family and moved onto to the next, it was shown that he never forgot. He most likely had to carry the weight of his sins for the rest of his life and most likely lived with the guilt of having failed them. He was a good man who learned from his past mistakes. However, due to the Attack Titan harboring memories of the past and future hosts, Grisha most likely saw a lot of what was to come in the future which most likely put a lot of weight on his already weighed down shoulders.

However, the scene that was the hardest to take in was him unable to kill the Reiss family due to being a doctor who saves lives and it was EREN who drove him to carry out the plan. Which in itself is absolutely terrifying that Eren was the one to coax him into it. He literally was the devil whispering into your ear in that moment. Zeke seemed to firmly believe that Eren was the one who was brainwashed by their father when it seemed to be the other way around. Grisha was the one who ended up doing exactly as Eren wished as he showed him memories of the future that made him believe he was doing what was right for Eldia. And when everything was said and done, MAPPA just hit it out of the park with the animation of Grisha going through a mental and emotional breakdown over what he did. And boy was it chilling when he yelled out whether if Eren was happy or not and if this would save Eldia and Carla. Eren drove him to the breaking point and it’s no wonder how mad and unhinged Grisha was when we saw him inject Eren. I can’t even imagine how Grisha felt over being haunted by his future son’s self. That in itself could cause you to go mad. Upon seeing what he had planned, it makes you wonder how Grisha must have felt to realize his son was a monster. It must have been absolutely devastating.

And then there was his confrontation with Zeke. It was made apparent that he could sometimes see both Eren and Zeke at different times while they were following him around in his memories. It was both heartbreaking and touching when Grisha tearfully hugged Zeke in tears, apologizing for how he treated him and wished he had spent more time with him. Even telling him that he loved him. It was something Zeke had always wanted and even called him father for the first time since denouncing him as his dad. All this time, Zeke had one image of Grisha in his mind and it wasn’t until he saw it from his perspective that he was finally able to understand him. He acknowledged the change in Grisha and seemed to finally reconcile with his feelings for him. However, the moment was broken when his father pleaded for him to stop Eren.

Eren is a literal monster. While some people claim that his character was ruined because of this, I feel like this was always inside of Eren. There were always hints of this violent nature and once he puts his mind to something, he will always follow through with it. I don’t think we ever really paid it close enough attention in the first few seasons because we were looking at Eren as the protagonist of this story and most likely had the belief of the end justifies the means. Little did we know just how horrific this sort of nature would lead him. Even Mikasa started seeing his actions in a different light with how he had saved her that night she was kidnapped. Just as he said, Eren was never raised into how he is, he was ALWAYS how he was. Nothing more, nothing less. Something Zeke learned the hard way.

Eren is such an interesting antagonist protagonist. He’s not the typical hotheaded and driven shounen protagonist. While he is those things, he definitely has a dark spin on those protagonist tropes. Eren’s quote of “Rather than letting someone steal my freedom, I’ll steal theirs first” is so haunting. There was always such an overwhelming desire for freedom in Eren that drove him to terrifying measures. You got to wonder who’s will the Attack Titan is acting on. It’s own or Eren’s? Which is a scary thought, especially when you realize that it may have been Eren that was driving the plot the entire time from the very beginning.

From what we can make from this episode, he most likely saw himself drive his own father to madness and kill the Reiss family all the way back in season 3 where he kissed Historia’s hand. We were only given glimpses of what Eren saw in the memory and what truly shook him to the core. I totally just thought he was shaken from the fact that his dad tried to desperately plead for the King to save the people of Paradis. But no, this episode just put a deeper and darker meaning to Eren’s shock to seeing this event. He knows so much more than we do about the entirety of the situation that even Grisha, who hates Marley believes he is going too far. And man, that shot of his face after he kissed Historia’s hand before throwing Zeke out of the memory was just chilling.

Though I had to laugh at how he just gave Zeke the most deadpan answer of “I’m not brainwashed anymore.” Like bruh.

I also want to touch a little on Frieda for a moment. Despite the spirit of the king essentially taking her over once she obtained the Founding Titan, there was still a part of her own self there. When Grisha broke down saying he couldn’t kill children, she hesitated and looked at him sympathetically. If it were just the king present, they probably would have just immediately dealt with Grisha while he was vulnerable. However, most likely due to her family pleading for her to kill him, she eventually relented. It was just a small bit of characterization for her that I found intriguing.

Also WIT studio had better king’s eyes.

This episode was a trip and a half. So much more information was presented to us on Grisha’s side and if anything, he may be one of the biggest victims in all of this. Also kudos to Grisha’s VA in this episode. He truly nailed just how broken and helpless Grisha was in his scenes. I totally forgot the majority of what happened in these chapters in the manga and boy did it hit harder with a clearer understanding of the series. The subtleness in this episode was also great with small nuggets of Eren’s true intentions and feelings scattered around. To which I’ll most likely touch in future episodes. I also like how Zeke was wearing mostly light colors while Eren was wearing mostly dark colors. Kinda makes you wonder who the hero in this story is or if there is one. You definitely need to rewatch this episode to really process everything they addressed. Crap is definitely going to get real in the next episode… as if it wasn’t already lol.


A passionate yet somewhat awkward individual who just wants to talk about anime