Humanity has eclipsed the power of the titans. At least, according to the forces in Marley. Episode 2 of Attack On Titan Season 4 begins with a deeper look at these soldiers, brandishing outfits that look eerily similar to those in Nazi Germany.
The war is over, at least for now, but Zeke speaks up and tells the other officers they should resume the Paradis Island expedition and find the Founding Titan.
With the military in need of restructuring and regrouping, the current batch of Titans have only a year left. Is this enough time to find the Founding Titan? Zeke seems to think so and tells the others that it’s definitely possible.
After the meeting, he speaks to Colt and apologizes for putting him on the spot, especially after his comments regarding him not ready to be the Beast Titan.
Meanwhile, Reiner awakens from his ordeal and speaks to Galliard about his time on Paradis Island. It’s a brief conversation, one that eventually sees him head out but it’s clear these battle scars run deep.
In fact, Reiner is one of the central figureheads this episode alongside Zeke, as we dive deeper into his psyche and how he feels about the fight at large. A lot of this stems from several important speeches, one of which to Falco on a train bound for Liberio. Before we get there though, Reiner greets the potential Armored-Titan candidates down by the dock, including Gabi, Udo and Falco.
It’s clear these kids look up to him and greet the battle weary Titan warmly. Only, it’s clear Reiner is still struggling with the past and as he stares at the four together, he flashes back to the past and sees himself as a child.
Later that evening, the Marley soldiers all gather together on a train bound for Liberio. Gabi’s antics back at the fort have made her a hero among men and from the carriage adjacent, Reiner listens as her name is chanted while sitting with Falco. He believes she’ll be the one to inherent the Armoured Titan but Falco bitterly retorts that she’ll only live until she’s 27.
It’s clear there’s bitterness in the tone of his voice and Reiner picks up on it immediately. In a round-about way he agrees with the boy and tells him they need to save Gabi from this “dark future”. As they depart the train though, Falco is not sure whether to trust and believe Reiner or not.
However, the war has obviously come with its fair share of casualties as those from the trenches return… and immediately face jokes from the crowd as a man screams “boom!” It’s a pretty telling moment, one that reinforces the attitude of the common people in Marley toward wounded soldiers.
Sitting down to dinner, Gabi revels in the lavish praise heaped upon her while Reiner sits quietly listening.
Reinereventually talks about his time on Paradis, discussing how devilish and barbaric the men and women there are while using a potato as a metaphor for their selfishness and inability to share.
What’s particularly impressive about this scene though is how the camera zooms in slowly, harmonizing the picture with a series of discordant string segments to reinforce his words. He tells them all his time on the island was hell, as the family talk about how “good” Eldians like them need to rid the world of the bad ones across on the island.
Eventually, all the soldiers are gathered together to discuss the upcoming war, with Zeke briefing them.
The trump card in all this happens to be the Tybur family. They hold the War Hammer Titan which was instrumental in defeating King Fritz in the past. As Reiner hears this, he realizes that he’ll be heading back to the island sooner rather than later and contemplate how to turn the tide of this battle.
The Episode Review
After a breathless opening episode, Attack On Titan slows down slightly for this impressive follow-up episode as we see more of the soldiers and characters across the pond in the city of Liberio.
Between the armbands and hierarchical structure of the soldiers, there’s obvious Nazi Germany references going on here but it’s juxtaposed beautifully by numerous shades of grey. There’s no distinct black and white line between good and bad, especially as we see that Zeke and Reiner have their doubts about what they’re doing in Marley.
It’s clear that this final fight is coming and the aforementioned War Hammer titan may well be the deciding factor in what happens going forward for these characters.
So far, the fourth season has perfectly captured this while allowing for a slightly different flavour of drama, following those on the opposite side of the conflict. It’s a clever ploy, one that feels akin to the different Houses in Game Of Thrones (the earlier seasons, not the disastrous finale). There’s obvious good and bad on both sides and that’s partly what makes this series such an endearing watch.
The wait between weeks has been absolutely agonizing so far but the ending leaves the door wide open for next week’s follow-up. Bring it on!