From You, 2000 Years Ago
Episode 21 of Attack on Titan Season 4 picks up right where we left off, with Grisha warning Zeke about what Eren has planned. Zeke figures out that Eren has selectively chosen to only show Grisha certain memories from the past in order to carry out the Restorationist mission.
With this crucial nugget of knowledge, Eren admits this was only possible because of Zeke bringing him into his father’s memories. All of this was his plan from the beginning.
In chains, Eren admits he actually saw his own future through his father’s eyes four years back. Gritting his teeth, Zeke calls out for Founder Ymir to make sure the Eldians can’t give birth anymore, which sees her silently turn and begin walking toward the Coordinate.
Eren manages to break free from his chains and tries desperately to stop Ymir. But is it too late?
It’s here we jump back and see flashbacks of Ymir from 2000 years ago, living life in a quaint village. Unfortunately when it’s captured by Eldians, everything changes.
A few pigs escape from the pen and the threat of losing an eye is enough for all the villagers to instantly point at Ymir as the one responsible. So naturally, she’s hunted like an animal, shot in the back with an arrow and left to bleed out in the forest.
Ymir finds solitude in the safety of a hollowed out tree and as she tumbles down, something interesting happens. She somehow manages to obtain the power of the Titans here. It’s unknown exactly what this is but according to the “public records”, it’s rumoured to either be some form of parasite or even a god that pitied Ymir and gave her power. Or, potentially, something else altogether. For now, that part is kept an agonizing secret.
With the power of the Titan, the fate of Eldia changes forever. The King is pleased with her, as she helps his army win numerous wars against Marley and even gain the benefit of the King’s “seed” to ascend her up to the royal bloodline. When a disgruntled soldier throws a spear at him, she even jumps in front of it to protect his life.
The cruel King then shockingly forces Ymir’s daughters, Maria, Rose and Sina, to eat her body to make sure Ymir’s blood is passed on. And by the King’s command, he forces those in this family to drink the blood of those who die from their lineage. Thus, that explains the ceremony that’s been passed down through the years.
Eren has heard enough and rushes up to Ymir, throwing his arms around her and pleading with her to let him help. He wants to stop everything and realizes she’s been waiting 2000 years for someone to actually break this horrible chain.
With Ymir’s power, we cut back to the Wall where Eren returns and evolves into the Founding Titan. The Rumbling has begun and as everyone watches in shock, Eren’s voice inexplicably rings through, calling everyone the “Subjects of Ymir”.
Eren has undone the hardening of the walls and admits the Titans have begun to march. His goal here is to protect the people of Paradis Island. He’s going to wipe out every single person off the island, just like that King did all those years ago – the ultimate revenge for Ymir.
The Episode Review
This week’s episode changes the focus across to Ymir and understanding how she came to be a titan. Seeing these flashbacks to 2000 years ago really help to comprehend just how deeply entrenched these ideas are about Marley and Eldia.
Seeing Ymir’s children forced to eat her corpse was, to be blunt, absolutely disgusting and it’s shocking how this has become the norm (albeit with the spine and blood rather than the whole body) through the years. At the same time, it nicely ties all the lore together.
This episode also sees Willy Tybur’s claims about Eren being a threat to everything come to fruition too. Although Eren’s original fight against the people of Eldia, and the Warhammer Titan, prove as much, seeing it play out again here, on a much grander scale while he’s the Founding Titan, hammers home just how brutal this final conflict is going to be.
Everything is left hanging in the balance here though and quite who will come out on top is anyone’s guess. For now though, Attack on Titan bows out with another very good episode.