In its fourth season, “Attack on Titan” (“Shingeki no Kyojin”) has shown the importance of point of view. The traitors at the beginning are actually patriots to their own people, which doesn’t make their actions any less horrible, but it does offer another dimension to the action. Episode 85 of the anime takes that concept to the other side of the conflict, to those who didn’t abuse anyone’s trust, but now take up arms against their own people.
SPOILERS for Attack on Titan 85, “Traitor” follow:
As if it were a game of chess, in this episode there are two sides and one goal: to seize the plane. The alliance needs the vehicle to reach Eren. The opposite side, the Yeagerists led by Floch Forster, have more open options: the plane gives them a military advantage, but if they destroy it they will not be harmed either, since if Eldia is the only surviving nation of the Rumble they would have no enemies.
But unlike a friendly game, the stakes here are real. Floch and other Yeagerists who have the plane under his control have been partners with Armin, Conny, Mikasa and others. Attacking them is not an easy decision. A crossroads that puts the protagonists in a position similar to that of Annie, Reiner and Bertolt years ago; when they destroyed Shiganshina’s wall to force the hand of the king and where Eren revealed to have the power of the Attack Titan. Although the Exploration Corps had already raised its fist against the Central Military Police, a corrupt entity within the army, now they face people who have always been on their side, friends who are convinced that doing the right thing is letting Eren crush everything. the world other than Paradise Island.
Where other series would quickly develop to prioritize fighting, “Attack on Titan” takes its time. Reiner and Annie know that blood on their hands is the only way in this case, as experience has taught them, and they have no heart to demand that their companions do the same. In this Theo Magath agrees, that in a total change to what he said the night before, when he called them demons, he apologizes to the Eldians and assures that such words were to justify, in some way, the actions of he. That’s why he asks them to look aside while Marley’s warriors take care of the slaughter.
But empathy is a two-way street, as Armin and his companions refuse to be mere witnesses to atrocities from which they stand to benefit. Plus Armin, being the way he is, has a plan that could result in a bloodless victory. Naive, yes, but faithful to the ideals of the character and his group.
In “Attack on Titan” if anything can go wrong, it will. Armin’s plan, which consisted of publicly posing as a Yeagerist and requesting the plane to reach the Titan Carreta, does not bear fruit due to Floch’s mistrust, who ends up facing Mikasa, Jean and the Armor and Woman titans. The fight of one side against another seems unequal due to the power of the warriors, as well as the participation of Mikasa; before which little can do the enemies.
But the interesting thing does not happen in the crossfire, nor in the spectacular scenes of the titans, but on the side, in the corner where Armin and Conny find Daz and Samuel, minor, almost insignificant characters, who appeared in season 1. But these extras are the custodians of the plane, they even have the power to destroy it, so Armin lies to them; he denies that he and Conny intend to stop Eren Yeager.
When the deception is exposed, Armin is shot and while we know he will survive because of his titan powers, this moment shows that his “friends” are willing to use violence. But this attack by Samuel and Daz does not simplify the task, since these enemies also doubt if it is necessary to kill. Daz has Armin in range, while Conny grapples with a surprised Samuel; who asks him why they cannot talk about this matter; like Marco did years ago after the betrayal of Reiner, Bertolt and Annie. With pain in her heart, Conny is the one who kills the soldiers.
Thus ends one of the most painful episodes of “Attack on Titan”, an exercise in putting oneself in another’s shoes, although the final choice is still tragic; be the victims by the attack on titan or the bullets of a friend. Conny’s scream, her desperation at the end of the episode, is what connects the traitors on one side with those on the other.
- I couldn’t help but feel a little sad seeing Yelena’s pain being tortured by Theo Magath. She has done despicable things, but still she does not deserve such suffering.
- I felt quite the opposite when I saw Floch, who has been making villain merits for weeks.
- Speaking of Magath, note that you wore the Survey Corps jacket; as Pieck and Porco did at the time. Because the “wings of freedom” do not belong only to the Eldians.
- Theo Magath’s logic is resounding: Marley committed crimes that must not be forgotten, but Eren Yeager tries not only to kill them all, but to erase the memory. And you know what happens when peoples forget their history.
- The colors of the sky in this episode are reminiscent of those in the first season. Blue, but with very dark clouds, the kind that predict a storm.
- Samuel is one of the soldiers who appears in Season 1 Episode 5, when Sasha reveals having stolen meat from the officers. In the manga, this was reinforced with a flashback; which would have been good here for the viewer to fully understand the horror that Conny lives.
- What a surprise with Kiyomi Azumabito, who kept what he knew about martial arts a secret until the last moment.
- Annie said in previous episodes that she would kill soldiers again if it brings her closer to her father. She kept her word.
- Reiner understands that Eren, when he told him that they are both the same, meant that they were willing to do anything to achieve their goal. It is not clear to me whether this clarification was really necessary.
4.5 stars out of 5
You can catch new episodes of “Attack on Titan” every Sunday on Crunchyroll.