Episode 15 of Attack On Titan Season 4 completely changes the dynamic of this fight, diving deep into Zeke’s backstory. This blurring of the lines between good and bad has easily been the best part of Attack on Titan this year, and episode 15 is the perfect example of that.
We begin the episode in Liberio with Zeke’s parents looking out at the congested city below. Only, a xenophobic man arrives and hurls abuse at them, telling the family to get back in the Internment Zone. Bitterly angry, Zeke’s Father tells his son to heed his words and remember this day.
We then skip forward in time to see Zeke training in the Marley army. He’s falling behind though, and nowhere near the same power as the other soldiers.
After a tough day, Zeke returns home where his Father tells him about the Tragedy of Lago. This eventually leads to his Father re-emphasizing that he needs to work hard to be a warrior.
With Zeke eventually shunned and falling behind, an unlikely friend comes in the form of Tom Ksaver. This man is a Titan researcher and happens to be the Beast Titan too.
After a fun day playing catch, Zeke heads home and sees his Father’s blinded hatred and rage come into full view. Zeke’s Father has been training his son to be his own personal weapon all this time.
Seeing Zeke’s physical abilities failing to match up to what’s expected of him though leads to him feeling betrayed. In fact, at dinner one night he outright admits as much, telling Zeke they need to restore the strength of Eldia to win their rights back.
In the midst of all this, Tom Ksaver convinces Zeke to hand in his parents as traitors to prove his loyalty to Marley. Zeke does just this, as we skip forward in time again.
Zeke’s ideologies have been twisted thanks to his tough upbringing, leading to him now determined to stop people from suffering by any means necessary. He suggests to Ksavar that they wipe out the ability to have kids for the Subjects of Ymir.
After all, with no kids being birthed then the Titans would naturally be destroyed in around 100 years or so. His justification for this comes from him convinced that people wouldn’t need to suffer any more.
This forms the crux of Zeke’s motivation, and with Ksaver driven to help, he likens Zeke to a key for the Founding Titan lock. This eventually leads to Zeke becoming the Beast Titan.
Skip forward again and word of Eren having the Founding Titan ability spreads across Marley – and gives Zeke a new mission. He sets out to save Eren, freeing him from being brainwashed by “that” Father.
This catches us up to the moments in Liberio, with Zeke asking Eren if he supports his Eldian euthanization plan. Eren calls Zeke his brother and agrees to end 2000 years of Titan rule. Zeke hands over his baseball – a symbolic act of friendship – as we cut back to the present.
Here, Zeke awakens with rain splashing down on his face. Weakly mentioning fragments of his plan, he suddenly springs into life and sacrifices himself, exploding the Thunder Spear and sending himself and Levi into a fiery inferno of pain.
The Episode Review
Zeke’s back-story comes into full view during this penultimate episode, and surely now we’re going to get a second part of this final season. I’m really not sure how Attack On Titan can wrap everything up in a single 20 minute episode. Then again, we’ll have to wait and see.
The blurred lines between right and wrong ultimately come down to a struggle for power. In that respect, this show does bear some similarities to Game Of Thrones (before that show subsequently doused itself in season 8 dragon fire and burnt to ash)
Here though, this penultimate episode sees more of Zeke’s childhood come into view. There’s a poignant sense of irony to what’s happening too, and seeing Zeke’s Father use his son as a weapon to strike back against Marley is pretty heartbreaking. For him, it’s all about acceptance, which is ironic given that’s what Zeke wanted from his Father.
What’s particularly crazy here is just how much empathy you feel for Zeke by the end. Understanding his plight and how he felt about his parents actually makes you feel bad every time he gets beaten in these Titan fights.
I’d imagine from rewatches these fights are going to play out in a very different way. However, it’s hard not to shake the fact this guy wants to commit genocide. No matter what way you look at it – or how noble that individual believes he’s being – that’s never the answer.
This was a really great episode though, up there with the segment earlier this year with the speech in Liberio. Everything is on the line now and as we move into the final episode, big question marks remain over the direction this one is likely to take next.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|