This episode of Attack on Titan throws a lot at us in a very short period of time. Through the eyes of Grisha, Eren’s father, we learn a ton of information regarding the history of the Attack on Titan universe as well as where the Titans came from and how they ended up where they are.
Like this episode threw a lot of content at us, I’ll be throwing out a lot of SPOILERS, you’ve been warned…
Holy shit, “That Day” paints a bleak reality of the world outside Eren’s. Where last week’s episode proves that there is a world outside of what Eren and his friends have grown to know, this episode shows that that world is just as twisted, but humans are the monsters here, not Titans.
The episode picks up with Grisha, Eren’s father, as a young boy, with his younger sister walking through the streets of what is presumably part of the Marleyan Empire. On their left arm is a badge that shows they’re Eldians, similar to how the Nazis classified Jews with the Star of David on their arm. In this world, Eldians are considered “devils”, “tainted”, “inferior”, etc. and held in “Internment Zones”. Anyway, Eren and his sister just want to see the Zeppelin stationed just outside the city limits. As they come over the hill and find themselves staring at the mysterious aircraft, two Marleyan soldiers catch the children. Grisha is told he knows the rules about Eldians being outside their internment zones and is given an ultimatum; beating or labor.
Grisha quickly responds with “beating”, wanting to spare his parents the hassle and embarrassment. On top of that, he begs the soldiers to give him his sister’s beating as well as it’s his fault his sister is here in the first place. As the soldier, later revealed to be named “Kruger”, begins to wail on Grisha, the other soldier tells his sister “lets make our way to your home.” After Grisha’s beating, Kruger and him are sitting on the hillside staring at the airship. Kruger tells Grisha he came to see the airship, he might as well look at it since hes there.
Grisha’s sister is discovered in the river the following day.
Clearly, this other guard/soldier is responsible for her death, but instead claims he is innocent, that he is unaware of who could have done this to her. It’s here we learn of the fear the Eldian race lives in. The empire of Marley has turned them into cowering animals, that would sooner embarrass themselves than try to argue. The show gives us a crash course in Titan history through some narrative devices that finally show us the origin of the Titan species.
About 1,820 years ago, Ymir Fritz made a pact with the devil which gained her the power of the Titans. When she died, her spirit was divided into the “Nine Titans” that would go on to create the Eldian Empire. The Eldian Empire then defeated the nation of Marley and thus ruled over the continent for the ensuing 1700 years. During this time, an age of Darkness fell over the lands. The subjects of Ymir viewed all other races as inferior and oppressed them through the subjugation of their lands and people, going so far as to force some other races to breed with them, bolstering their bloodlines. The nation of Marley plotted against the Eldians though and planned to crumple their empire from within. By bringing 7 of the 9 original Titans under their control they were able to defeat Eldia in the Great Titan War. The Eldian King converted the island of Paradis into a Haven of sorts for his people and fellow titans, fleeing there after the loss. While a few Eldians were left behind, the nation of Marley allowed them to live on the continent, even if it was through subjugation and internment camps.
We then time jump and are shown Grisha around the time he is 18, about to take over his father’s practice. A patient tells him that his sister was drowned in a river, but that the guard that “took her home” that day, actually fed her to his brother’s dogs. This patient informs Grisha that there is a resistance in the works called the “Restorationists”. This group is led by a shadowy figure known only as “The Owl”, a Marleyan soldier working on the inside. Grisha vows to bring down the Marleyan Empire…
“In order to correct the world again, Eldia would have to be restored.”
Grisha learns the ancient language and deciphers old texts that show that Ymir was actually solely responsible for using the power of the Titans for good. He believes that Ymir built roads, cultivated the wildlands, and erected bridges between the mountains; meaning the Marleyan history instilled deep within the nation is a fallacy.
A new character, Dina Fritz, is introduced. Dina is the last remaining Eldian royal left on the continent, and she teaches the Restorationists information and history only those with royal blood could possibly know. It seems that the Founding Titan is on the island of Paradis, and finding said titan would mean being able to control all other Titans, thus ending the conflict between Eldia and Marley.
Grisha and Dina marry and give birth to their first child, a son, a year later. They name him Zeke, a carrier of the Royal Bloodline.
A few years pass and it is made public that the Marleyan Empire plans to turn 9 Eldian volunteers into Marleyan citizens if they agree to turn into Titans and venture to Paradis in search of the Founding Titan. Grisha and Dina decide to show Zeke that Marley has been lying to him in his teachings. They convince him that by being one of the 9 titans the Marley nation wants, he can become an inside contact for the Restorationists. Zeke, being a scared child still, turns on his parents and throws them to the (proverbial) Marleyan wolves.
Grisha, Dina, and the Restorationists are captured and brought to the island of Paradis. When the blindfolds come off they’re at the top of a perimeter wall, staring at a sand-covered wasteland, with trees noticeable off in the far distance. Each of these Eldian Restorationists are injected with Titan spinal fluid and kicked off the wall, permanently transforming them into Titans, referred to here as “True Titans”. What’s even more shocking is the realization that Dina is the very same Titan that kills Eren’s mom.
Among the soldiers carrying out these atrocities, are the two that found Grisha and his sister all those years ago. As Kruger stands behind Grisha, the other one tortures and knocks off a couple of Grisha’s comrades. It turns out that Kruger is the “Owl”, he turns on his partner and pushes him off the wall. As he is swallowed up, Kruger turns to Grisha, knife in hand and says “Remember this Grisha, a Titan uses their power like this…” and cuts his hand, transforming him into a Titan that looks VERY similar to Eren’s titan!!
There is a ton to pull from this episode, but most can’t be confirmed at the moment. Two things seem pretty certain though, Kruger must pass his powers onto Grisha, because how else could Eren get them? Second, Zeke could very well be Eren’s half brother! This is strictly going off of the character models for Zeke and the mysterious man that is the Beast Titan, but it seems pretty plausible.
The world looks a lot different after this episode though, and it’s very exciting to think of where these revelations could bring us in the future. Will we see Eren and his friends try to bring the fight to the Marleyan nation? Could the Beast Titan be Zeke and if so, would Eren ever work with him to bring down said empire? Be sure to check back with us as more revelations are brought to light in next weeks episode, “Attack Titan”.