Last time on Attack on Titan, we finally saw what was in the basement. This time, we see the secrets of the basement in Grisha’s past and all that transpired to this point. It’s filled with history lessons, revolutions, and stuff that is going to be hyper-analyzed, if you haven’t heard. I’ll get to that at the end, but for now, it’s recap time. There is a lot to get through, so this will be kind of a long one.
There’s no OP here, as we start right away with Grisha and Fey going through town to that place. Now, remember those armbands from the end of the last episode? There’s a reason for that. They’re getting stared at by people, and one runs right into Grisha saying he and Fey have “the devil’s blood.” Grisha and Fey are a race of people called “Eldians,” and the people around them are “Marleyans.” The Marley people and Eldia people don’t like each other, to say it as simply as I can. Fey’s scared, but Grisha does get her to the spot that shows the big airfield.
This makes Fey happy. However, there are two guards from the Marley Public Security on break there they didn’t notice, scaring them. From the guards, we learn Grisha and Fey are from the Liberio Internment Zone and need exit permits to be here, but because they’re all Eldian, they don’t have one. So it means two things for Eldians with no permits: labor or a beating. Grisha chooses the beating and does he get it.
The skinny dude, who is named Kruger, gives him some more as Grisha tells him to so his little sister doesn’t get beaten as well. The other fat dude decides to take Fey back home. After he’s done, Kruger tells Grisha he’s lucky he had his armband on, or else he would’ve been sent to where Eldians without them go: “Paradise.” At least Kruger is nice enough to let him see the airship in full. However, Fey herself doesn’t return home. The next day, she is found dead in the river. The fat dude tells Grisha’s parents that he showed her to the gates, and that’s it, since Eldians with no permits should know better. In fact, his dad should’ve taught Grisha the sins their ancestors caused. Grisha knows the dude is lying big time while his mom grieves for her dead daughter. However, his dad is sucking up to the guards, making Grisha hate not only his dad and the fat dude, but hating himself for how foolish he was.
It’s time for a history lesson! 1,820 years ago, the Eldian ancestor, Ymir Fritz, made a contract with the Devil of All Earth and got the Power of the Titans. When she died, her spirit split into the Nine Titans and made the Eldian Empire. This empire defeated the nation of Marley, and the Eldians ruled the continent afterwards. It was when the Dark Ages began, and Ymir’s people said the other races were inferior and oppressed them. They stole land and goods, had children with other races to increase their numbers, and had their ethnic cleansing last for 1,700 years, but Marley fought back, got 7 of the Nine Titans, and then won the Great Titan War that happened 80 years ago in Grisha’s present state. The Eldian King made 3 walls on the island of Paradis and fled there with many of his people. The rest of the Eldians were left on the continent they’re on, and now they live in this Hell. Did you get all that?
Well, Grisha’s dad told this to his son, but he is still focused on Fey’s death, as his dad is basically a dog to these Marley folk. Grisha tries his best to tell his dad the big dude killed Fey and yells at him for it, but his dad knows that if they speak up, they’ll get in trouble for it and be shipped to “paradise.” They have to suck it up and live in this internment zone for what their ancestors did. Grisha doesn’t know who is wrong: himself for being ignorant and foolish, or the world for being irrational and insane. Maybe it’s both.
Some time passes, and at age 18, Grisha is about to take over his dad’s clinic, knowing he wants to be a doctor in life. However, he meets a guy named Grice. He shows him a mark on his arm, telling him he’s a patriot in a group of Eldian revolutionaries called the “Restorationists.” Grice knows Grisha’s sister was killed by Marley Public Security. In fact, she was mauled and eaten by dogs as the fat man watched. He knows this because they got an informant in the Marleyan government named “The Owl,” who has never shown himself to them. Despite that, this truth makes Grisha join them, as he wants to fight the “real devil” and restore Eldia to the way it was his ancestors had before it.
Grisha and the others also learn about the past of Ymir getting the Power of the Titans. That oral history I just told? Yeah, the Marley government left out how Ymir basically developed the whole continent, and everything after was a bit of a false history. Impressively, Grisha can read said history, even if he can’t decipher most of it. It’s all just there, as he believes in Ymir and that they’re the chosen children of God. A guy comes to tell the group The Owl has sent someone. It’s a woman with a familiar last name.
She is a descendant of the royal family and the last decedent of royal blood to remain on the continent. She also has the info that could lead them to beat Marley: the Eldian King took the Founding Titan to the island he’s on. If they can find it and control it, they can control the other Titans to annihilate Marley. So here’s some more history: during the Great Titan War, the king abandoned his role of balancing the continent’s powers and moved the capital to the island, showing how the Titans made said walls. The King had that power but didn’t want to fight, and so because of this, the Eldians on the continent have been living in said Hell since. This makes Grisha want to bring the Founding Titan back to the true royal family and overthrow Marley. The others agree on this, as Dina cries and hugs him. As such, the two developed a relationship. The next year, the two got married and even had a son. What is the son named?
Yup, isn’t that something? Now that they have a kid with royal blood, they hope Zeke can lead them to victory someday.
Some more time passes, and as they take the photo that Eren and co. found, Grisha tells us the world changed some more with the turning point for the Restorationists happening. The Marleyan government needs Eldians to become vessels for the Nine Titans and become “Marleyan Warriors.” They need this to prepare for resource struggles as their military tech advances. Even though they have the Seven Titans, that won’t last forever. They’re doing this because they can’t ignore the fossil fuels that are on Paradis (what are they, the US?) However, Marley won’t attack because the Eldian King left a warning saying if they interfere with them, they will unleash the millions of Titans in the walls to flatten the world (which, fun fact, shows the Titans from the ED of S2. Or the OP? I forgot.) The Restorationists know that their and Marley’s goal of taking the Founding Titan are the same, but they also know that Marley will beat them to it. So Grisha has a plan to beat Marley first: have his son Zeke become a Marleyan Warrior.
Grisha and Dina tell Zeke all they know of the history they found out and tell him to obey exactly what Marley says to him, all to save Eldia. However, Grisha should’ve known this sin of passing your own beliefs to your own kid would come back to bite him, as he didn’t really think of his son as a child. Basically, Zeke decided to protect himself and his grandparents, ratting out his parent and the Restorationists to Marley.
Grisha gets taken to a desert that is on a wall. He, along with the other Restorationists, are taken to “paradise.” More specifically, they are taken to Paradis Island where Grisha and the others will serve their life sentences: as Pure Titans. Before that, Grisha got interrogated/tortured by the Marleyan government. They wanted to know who The Owl was, but since he didn’t know, he got his fingers cut off for it. The man who took Grisha’s mask off is a familiar one. It’s Kruger, a face that Grisha will never forget. Grice himself arrives there, as he would rather die than become a Titan. He can’t believe Zeke snitched on them, and he hates both Grisha and Dina for what they done. Grisha can only say he’s sorry as Grice cries, knowing Eldia is finished.
Grice then gets kicked off the wall into the sand below as the man who did it tells him to run north to the wall… if he’s lucky to get there. Grisha can see the man is the same fat man who killed his sister. He is Sergeant Major Gross (perfect name for him), who kicked Grice off so the Titans they make chase him and not attack the wall. The other Marley soldiers prepare the Titan injections and start to inject the other Restorationists. They kick them off the wall, and some transform into familiar Titans we seen before, including Santa Titan.
They all go after Grice, as Grisha tries his best to stop them to no avail. Kruger still wants to interrogate them, so it’s onto the next person to transform: Dina. Grisha doesn’t know why she’s here, as he tries to point out she’s of royal blood, but Kruger silences him. Dina promises that whatever form she takes, she’ll find Grisha again. She gets injected and kicked off. She transforms, and turns into something that everyone knows: The Titan that ate Eren’s mom.
This causes Eren to wake up from his dream, screaming in terror, which wakes Mikasa and Armin up as well. His dream was all a connection to his dad’s memories as he wakes up crying, not knowing where he is or who he is. Right now, they’re in the stockades, serving their time for insubordination. Eren woke from what felt like the longest dream, now knowing a lot of the truth that has happened.
Back to Grisha’s memories, Dina goes after Grice as well, with Gross making fun of this. Grisha has had enough of the fat man, knowing it was him who fed his 8 year-old sister to dogs 15 years ago. Gross knows it and has the other soldiers go back to the ship as he takes hold of the last Restorationist member. Gross now just wants to see Grisha “dance,” as in not make Grisha into a Titan, but have him fight the other dude who will turn into a Titan. Grisha asks why Gross would get enjoyment out of people getting eaten by Titans, and it’s pretty simple: Gross just finds it interesting, because, as Gross says, people want to see cruelty. Because even though peace is cool, it’s lacking that life & death element to it. Gross just wants people to live thinking it might be their last day, as he’s accepted his shithead opinion of him living in this cruel world, injecting the other dude and kicking him off.
He confesses to killing Grisha’s sister as it was his son’s dogs that ate Fey for “educational purposes.” Sure, if Gross’ sons were in this position, he’ll feel remorse for them, but because Grisha and the others are Eldian, he has no remorse as he points out the one dude’s true form now. By the way this dude’s Titan form is actually my favorite Titan: Moé Titan.
Gross’s wish for humanity is to wipe out all the Eldians, thinking that’s best for the world. He only sees them as murderers and even tries to twist his own words right back onto Grisha with what the Restorationists tried to do. Grisha tries to tell him the truth, but Gross isn’t listening. Gross take Grisha and is about to kick him off the wall, even making fun of Fey’s death to get to him, but then Gross is pushed off the wall himself… by Kruger. Gross lands below on the sand, right in front of Moé Titan. The big-eyed Titan takes and eats Gross, and it is then that Kruger reveals himself to be The Owl and shows Grisha how to use his power. He slices his hand open and transforms, blowing away the other Marley soldiers who were near the ship. Grisha watches as Kruger destroys the ship and the soldiers in this Titan form.
Whew. So how’s that for all in one episode? Here’s the short summary if you got tired of reading all that:
- Zeke/Beast Titan and Eren are half-brothers
- Grisha’s ex-wife was the one who ate Eren’s mom
- The world Eren and co. are in is actually one tiny island
- There’s a lot of messed-up shit happens on that continent
I’ll start here with that last point because there are a lot of things that people will interpret or misinterpret here that many before have already done when this first was written. This part with the Eldians and Marleyans has already been known to manga readers for some time, but it didn’t stop the hot takes from coming, like saying that the AoT creator was doing a “Nazi vs. Jews” comparison here and that the creator himself, a Japanese man, is a Nazi himself. Whatever your take on it, it’s definitely a political view of some sorts that will be misinterpreted by one group or another. My take on it is pretty simple: it’s all fucked up. Just going back over the history and how it all played out, both the Marleyans and Eldians did some messed-up shit as the power struggle turned everything into shit and led to all of this happening. Sure, it may be a strawman opinion, and some aren’t going to like this stance, but look at what both sides did/have been doing for years, and tell me that both aren’t to blame for how it got to this mess? Either way, we can more than likely agree that Gross was a sick individual who wanted to see people suffer. Sure, he got eaten by Moé Titan, but it feels like that was too easy a way to go. The way to die by his own words, I guess, but hey, he was a shithead, and he deserved worse.
Moving on, there’s more to this than just all that. It was great knowing a lot of the secrets that were kept hidden from us, how it expands the worldview of AoT from this perspective, and getting to know the history of how the Titans finally started out. It was great to know who Zeke is, with more of him to come in the future. There’s also learning about who those Titans were, and how they all connect to the story and characters themselves. And most importantly, they kept one thing from the manga that I hoped they would show.
My brain is still processing all I read from AoT chapters 86 and 87, but I will say this
Mikasa with bedhead is a damn blessing pic.twitter.com/wzRTHlhQ4c
— Stanley Cup Cedric (@cedric_alpha) September 4, 2018
And well, WIT Studio delivered.
Okay, maybe this is just something only I wanted to see, but hey, I got my wish. Overall, there were many twists and turns and things that happen that might have been missed because of all that was happening in this episode. I hope my recap helped you in connecting everything to this, and the future worldview that is going to go down in Attack on Titan. This was a big episode with a big recap. Hope you enjoyed how fucked up it all was.
Attack on Titan Season 3 is licensed by Funimation. Episodes can be seen on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Funimation on Sunday at 8:45 PM ET. The dub version is airing Saturday at 11:30 PM ET on Toonami and Sundays on Funimation.