Memories of the Future
Episode 20 of Attack on Titan Season 4 begins with Eren and Zeke reliving their father’s memories. Zeke is determined to find out how Grisha Jaegar brainwashed Eren and betrayed his master-plan. Zeke believes that it was Grisha who manipulated Eren and intends to relive the past to figure out if that’s true.
It would appear that Grisha got a job as a doctor solely so he could hunt down the King and steal the Founding Titan. All of this foundational work – building relationships and becoming trustworthy – appear to be hinting toward Zeke’s deductions being correct.
As the pair relive Grisha’s memories, their father awakens and looks around the candlelit basement, calling out for Zeke and believing it’s all a dream. Eren even decides to agree with Zeke, just so they can stop reliving these painful memories.
An interesting moment sees Grisha find King Reiss’ base and the hidden compartment holding the power he seeks. Only, he chooses against acquiring the Founding Titan. His love for Eren compounds him to head home instead. It’s at this point where Zeke realizes that the whole restoration mission for Eldia may not be his father’s master-plan after all.
Another important flashback sees Mikasa revealing to Grisha at dinner that Eren wants to join the scout regiment. Eren gives an impassioned speech, refusing to live a life of ignorant bliss and wanting to discover what’s really out there. The thing is, that ignorant bliss is ironic given that explains Zeke’s current frame of thinking and what’s to befall the city.
Realizing his son cannot withhold his own curiosity, Grisha shows off the key to the basement and promises to reveal all when he returns.
When the Titans originally attacked the walls, Grishaa head down to see the King of the Wall, urging him to stop the Titan rampage. Unfortunately the family refuses to listen. “To save the world, we must accept our sins and welcome our ruin.” They say. Now, at this point in time Grisha slaughters the family and takes the Founding Titan power for himself. But yet, that’s not really the whole story. So what is?
Well, it turns out Grisha couldn’t find the courage to actually kill the family, reminding himself that he’s a doctor and supposed to save lives, not take them. Standing in front of these children, Grisha eventually admits that the Attack Titan has a special trait… and that includes seeing the future. This would explain how Grisha saw Zeke in his basement.
And in a shocking reveal, it also explains what’s been driving his ancestors. All of them have been dictated by Eren’s future memories and that’s what’s led to the present moments. And it’s Eren’s words, here in this basement, that convince his father to follow through with how time should continue, encouraging him to slaughter the family and take the Founding Titan power for himself.
In the aftermath of this bloodshed, a crazed Grisha stumbles outside and begins to have doubts over his birthright and what’s happened. In fact, he ends up seeing Zeke in front of him. Hugging his much-older son, he urges him to stop Eren and, with teary wide-eyed regret, telling Zeke he knows the extent of Eren’s ideas, and he needs to stop him.
The Episode Review
Attack on Titan returns this week with a really strong episode, one that fleshes out more of the past and goes some way to explain what’s really going on. It seems that Zeke has been wrong all along, while understanding more of the past leads us to realize Eren has been influencing the entire chain of actions leading up to this very moment.
It’s a pretty shocking reveal in truth, and one that’s matched by a lot of interesting and important memories from the past. Only this time, they have an extra layer of depth now that we know what Eren and Zeke’s true motivations are.
While not as action-packed or dramatic as the other chapters this season, episode 20 is still an important one all the same, and leaves the door wide open for where the rest of the season may go from here.