Declaration Of War
After an agonizing week’s wait, Attack On Titan Season 4 rewards viewers with an incredible goosebump-inducing episode, aptly titled “Declaration Of War”; the showdown between Reiner and Eren. The episode begins right where we left off, in the basement with a shaken Reiner hanging on Eren’s every word. He convinces Reiner to sit down and even encourages Falco to stay and listen to what he has to say.
Back on the main stage, Lord Tybur prepares for his speech. The entire backbone of the Marley military is there to listen and with the power of the Tybur family on their side, horn blows signify the start of proceedings.
It’s just the signal Eren needs to convince Reiner to sit tight and listen to Willy Tybur’s speech. Willy discusses how the Titans have killed enough people, turning the stage blood red with a projection of blindfolded beggars. He mentions the 8 Titans and the families that hold them too, warning that there’s tens of millions of Titans waiting on the island to trample the world.
As he mentions the Armored Titan and how it was sent to eradicate Titans, Falco figures out that Eren is from Paradis Island. That’s not all either, Porco and Pieck fall into a trap door after being persuaded to enter a room holding Commander Magath. Instead, they’re trapped deep below. They’re also unable to transform too. While this is going on, Jaegar is summoned to the gate.
Willy Tybur then turns his attention toward the War Hammer Titan. Given his family have adopted the memories of this Titan through the years, he proceeds to tell them that 100 years ago it was King Fritz who stopped the fighting.
When he inherited the Founding Titan, he schemed with the Tybur family to fabricate a Marleyan hero called Helos. This, of course, plays back into the statue in town that the people have looked up to and brings further context to the conversation Tybur had about it several episodes ago.
As whispers grow to low murmurs, the crowd grapple with the ramifications of what they’ve been told. Tybur continues, telling them all his very reason for standing there is a sham. With anger slowly starting to rise up, Tybur’s diabolical plan comes to fruition as he directs the unified anger directly toward Eren Jaegar. Complete with a Titan silhouette projected behind him, he claims this man is the true enemy of the people.
All of this is, of course, propaganda to rile the people up and shift the focus toward a war-torn future. It’s also enough for sickening applause to unify the people, firmly painting a bullseye on Eren’s back. They’re also unaware that he’s right there, next to them in the building across the way.
Meanwhile, Falco realizes with horror that the letters he was forced to send for Eren were actually to aid him in battle and bring in his comrades. Eren finally understands Reiner’s actions though, prompting him to take responsibility for killing Eren’s Mother and apologizing. As he drops to his knees, he asks for death.
Instead, Eren holds his hand and helps him back up, telling Reiner he’ll keep moving forward to destroy his enemies. It’s an incredibly significant moment, one whose hand clasp signifies much more than acceptance… but more of that in the episode review to follow. The episode ends with the spark of battle being lit as Eren transforms… and we fade to black. Argh, the most agonizing of cliffhangers!
The Episode Review
Season 4 has completely changed the game for Attack On Titan. While that sounds like hyperbole, even the poster for season 4 is a throwback to our changed perception of wat’s been happening across the show. For those unaware, the poster shows Reiner staring up at Titan-form Eren while season 1 showed Eren on Paradis island staring up at the Colossal Titan.
The propaganda spewed by Tybur serves as the flames of war slowly turning into a raging inferno. At the centerpiece of this destructive wave lies Reiner and Eren who are finally on the same wavelength. They’re both instruments of war, fighting patriotically for what they believe is the true cause. Eren, of course, working with the Wall and Reiner here on the mainland. It’s such a clever contrast, one that blurs the line between good and evil into a muddied, unclear mess. And it’s so much more beautiful for it.
There’s also a few other highlights here, namely the short but meaningful chat between Annie’s Father and Reiner’s Mother. They’re both proud of their kids for joining the war but Annie’s Father is hopeful she’s still alive.
This hope quickly evolves into anger though as it’s now clear that the final fight is upon us. The five episodes have really served as a prologue for this final conflict and the show leaves the door absolutely wide open for what may happen next. One thing’s for sure – you really do not want to miss next week’s episode!