Attack on Titan has always had these underlying themes of “paying for the sins of our parents/ancestors”, and this latest episode is no different. “Attack Titan” continued to answer all of our burning questions this week, while also giving us a couple of new ones.
This week’s episode didn’t unpack as much information as the previous week, but it allowed the information that was being divulged to sink in a bit more. If one thing has been made clear, it’s that Grisha’s actions are the very reason for the position Eren and his friends are in now. It’s a sad reminder that Grisha’s strife for saving his people and righting his ancestor’s wrongs has only led to more and more innocent lives being hurt or ruined. We see these responsibilities being passed down through multiple generations, with the current weight of the world falling on Eren’s shoulders.
A large portion of this episode focuses on the very quick bond that happens between Grisha and Kruger, who formally introduces himself as Eren Kruger. Clearly, this guy made such an impact on Grisha’s life that he saw it fit to honor his legacy by naming his own son after him. We also learn that each of the Nine Titans of Ymir have names, Eren’s (both old and new Eren) titan is fittingly called the “Attack Titan”. Kruger makes it apparent that he clearly sees a lot of himself in Grisha, which led to his decision to pass the Attack Titan on to him.
What this series does well is filming the villains in a way that makes us more sympathetic to their cause. Like actual people, these characters are complex and their choices aren’t always black and white. Both Grisha and Kruger have hurt or killed people in the name of “the greater good”. This moment also drops the bombshell on us that assuming the power of one of the Titans of Ymir puts an expiration date on your head, leaving those newly bestowed with powers a mere 13 years left to live.
The gravity of this leaves a sinking feeling in your gut as Eren reveals that now he and Armin aren’t long for this world. Armin’s clock is set at 13 years, but Eren only has a minuscule 8 years left. Obviously, Mikasa refuses to believe the two closest people in her life won’t be there much longer.
Back in Grisha’s timeline, he grapples with Kruger’s decision to spare him. Obviously, Dina’s royal blood would’ve and should’ve made her a shoo-in for obtaining the Attack Titan’s powers? Sadly, Kruger paints a pretty bleak picture of the Marley nation’s Handmaid’s Tale views on women, arguing that the power would’ve been wasted on her after Marley would’ve surely converted her into a baby making machine. Grisha soon realizes that turning her into a permanent titan was actually a twisted version of mercy, which is pretty messed up when you think about it. Because she would have had her bloodline exploited, turning her into a flesh-eating monster was the more “humane” choice.
Probably the biggest piece on new information revealed this episode is during Kruger’s goodbye. Of course, it’s the last thing that happens before the credits role, but it leaves your jaw pretty wide open. As Grisha is about to inject himself with Titan spinal fluid so he can obtain the power from Kruger, he wishes Grisha luck. More specifically he hopes that Grisha’s mission is a success so that Mikasa and Armin can be safe… uh, WHAT?!
It’s been touched on that the Subjects of Ymir have a special connection through their blood. This collective memory apparently does abide by the rules of time, nor does it seem to move in one direction. Could Eren’s hopes for the future actually be the catalyst for what drives Kruger and Grisha in the past?? If so, what kind of a time traveling loop are we seeing here?
There is a lot to unpack here, but one thing is becoming more and more clear; this “coordinate” that continuously gets brought up is the summation of these memories between all of the Subjects of Ymir. This means the Founding Titan not only could be the answer to saving the Eldian race, but it also means that whoever obtains the powers of the Founding Titan could potentially have access to this culmination of memories across every subject of Ymir.
Basically being a Subject of Ymir means you’re connected with everyone else. You don’t or might not know it, but you are. When a Subject of Ymir can’t physically pass their powers onto another, those powers are transferred to an unknowing vessel, but that person is for sure a Subject of Ymir, they just don’t know it yet. All of these memories and Titan powers are paths that converge at one point, a core or nexus of sorts. This core IS the “coordinate” and the physical representation of that is the Founding Titan himself/herself. Hence the plausible assumption that whoever attains the Founding Titans powers ultimately has access to this wealth of knowledge and power. It’s a lot to absorb, but this is what we are learning from Grisha’s books that were found in the basement.
If this wasn’t enough to process, Eren makes a realization himself during the trial with Historia, where all of this information is coming to light. The question is asked how Eren temporarily gained the power to control other titans? Eren remembers back to when this happened, and it wasn’t until he physically touched the Titan that Dina Fritz had turned into that he was able to yell and control the titans in that area. This leads him to the realization that when a Subject of Ymir touches one with royal blood who has already transformed into a titan, this transference of power (temporarily) happens. It isn’t confirmed yet, and Eren doesn’t make this discovery apparent to anyone else, but this could be a piece of Eldia’s salvation.
Lastly, Historia and Ymir’s true feelings for each other are finally revealed through Ymir’s letter to Historia. Unfortunately, we already know the sad ending to this romantic tale, but the closure is appreciated.
It’s no small task fitting this much information into one episode, but thankfully Attack on Titan handles it with finesse. With Grisha’s story wrapping up, it now falls on Eren to finish what his forefathers started.