Episode 9 of Attack On Titan Season 4 begins with a brief glimpse of the future, as Armin sits and contemplates what happened 3 years prior. It’s here where the majority of our tale takes place, as Eren grabs a ship en-route to Paradis Island and throws it on the land.
Hange gives a flamboyant introduction as one of the men, Nicolo, is held up at gunpoint. As hostilities look set to erupt at any moment, one of the women onboard, Yelena, shoots her comrade in the head and accepts Hange’s invitation.
This happens to be the turning point in the fight to come, as Yelena gladly divulges details about the Marleyian army, including details on their navy and the number of soldiers in their ranks.
The two sides battle it out verbally, as Yelena continues on and claims Marley is too busy with wars of its own to bother with Paradis Island right now. It turns out these soldiers didn’t willingly join up to be part of the Marleyian ranks. Their homes were taken and they were forced to be soldiers. Rebellion was close until the Beast Titan showed up. A devil to some, he was a saviour to these soldiers.
Under Zeke Jaegar’s command, they shot their superiors and were known as the Anti-Marleyian Volunteers. Their mission is simple, and revolves around freeing the Eldian people.
The details of Zeke’s plan is disguised, at least in part, but seems to revolve around using the Founding Titan and another Titan with royal blood. It could well be that Zeke intends to wake the millions of titans hiding in the walls. For now though, we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.
While they work, those on Paradis Island use the Colossal Titan and Nicolo’s ship as a decoy to take out any scouts inbound from Marley. Those on the island keep the narrative going that they’re still operating under the “filthy devils” guise. As we soon find out, there were 32 different scout ships lured across to the island during this time.
This blend of Marley and Eldian influence helps the inhabitants – including Sasha – to start working hand in hand. And experience their culinary skills for the first time too. The Marleyian engineers even help those on Paradis Island to build a port.
This cuts us back to the present as everyone mourns Sasha’s death. Nicolo is beaten down to the ground for simply being from the mainland, despite him genuinely mourning and being close to Sasha. It’s an interesting turn of events, as Conny steps up and tells them that Sasha was like the second half of him.
With news spreading of the Paradis Island victory, Levi takes Zeke to a hotel (see: a forest full of giant trees) to rest, determined to see if Zeke’s secret plan is real or not. At the same time, Yelena hands over the stolen Titan serum from Marley, as the officials thank them…despite continuing to hold the soldiers up at gunpoint.
Well, attacking Marley and destroying their port severed any hope of peace, as the battle lines are drawn and we confirm, once and for all, that this battle is far from over.
The Episode Review
After last week’s shocking episode, we return to see an intriguing chapter debating peace, war and loyalty. The inclusion of Marleyian defectors and seeing how they helped those on Paradis Island build up their defences, including luring in other scouts, is certainly an interesting development.
This plays back into those themes all season long of right and wrong, asking big questions surrounding exactly who is evil and who is good.
There’s understandably a lot of hate for Gabi this season, especially after killing Sasha, but it’s worth remembering that this sort of xenophobia is nothing new in society and from a young age she’s been indoctrinated to believe the Paradis Island residents are literally devils.
It’s no different than in World War II (which has a lot of parallels here) propaganda showed that Germans were the most evil people in the world. Many Allied soldiers went into Normandy and beyond with the belief that these men were literally the devil incarnate. It was only after years of fighting that these thoughts started to dispel.
In that respect, Gabi’s actions feel similar, and there’s a reason we’ve seen Marley so heavily featured so early on in this season.
While a little slower than the other episodes recently, understanding how everything ties together and how and why Eren and the others attacked Marley is a very welcome inclusion. The ending, confirming once and for all that peace is no longer possible, hints that we’ve got plenty of action to come as we reach the halfway point of this anime.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|