Welcome back to World War Titan! The time has come to end things. We are finally watching the final season of Attack on Titan, divided up into three parts. Things our looking pretty grim for our cast of troubled heroes. If you are new to our coverage, this is the part where I explain to you that I’ve never been what you’d call a regular anime watcher, but something about this strange and at times horrifying show has continued to captivate me. It’s time for some good old fashioned titan fightin’ as we get into Attack on Titan season 4, episode 19, “Two Brothers.”
1. Bad old times
Right away, we are thrust into the action, titan on titan crimes. Eren beats the mortal soul right out of Galliard, and almost eats him before getting tackled by Reiner. Eren was this close to getting the Jaw Titan power and having four out of the nine. The battle is pretty well realized chaos, with more reversals than an hour long AEW match. The bassline is funky, the bullets are flying. Every weapon and device this show has ever introduced gets used, from ODM Gear to thunder spears to battle blimps. But the goal is pretty straightforward. Eren and Zeke wanna touch hands to do a big ‘ol titan spell. Marley wants to kill them before that happens.
Because of courseZeke just won’t stay dead. I think we’ve seen him cheat death half a dozen times now. He ‘s also got another card in his sleeve his, if he screams, everyone who drank the spine wine will turn to titans. Including a lot of people we know. Dot Pyxis for one. Falco for another.
2. Spinal wine
Before Zeke plays his cards though, Falco shows up with his big brother Cole and Reiner’s cousin Gaby. Cole entreats Zeke to stay his hand his until Falco is away. Zeke seems to really think about it- after all, he knows from brothers. That’s what makes his premeditated decision to do this war crime so shocking. We always thought he was going to do it, but to condemn his close friends and family like that is brutal.
The transformation itself is haunting. All around the city, there are hundreds of new titans. Titan Falco has a weird long neck and is out for Reiner’s blood. After all, he’s a zombie thrall of Zeke now. Reiner doesn’t want to hurt this kid even though he’s basically gone already.
3. Titans, the next generation
Except there’s one thing- if Titan Falco eats a shifter, he can transform back. Reiner lets go, accepting his death his… when his sacrifice his is undermined! Galliard rushes out and is eaten in Reiners place. I’ll say this for Attack on Titan, it has an impeccable sense of narrative stakes. Galliard was n’t a huge character, but we spent enough time with him, and the other Warriors, to really feel his death his. Even Pieck, who could be best described as “aloof” and “mysterious” is starting to sweat. You can really feel the torch passing, as this generation of titans fades away, perhaps to be replaced by their proteges. But of course, not if Zeke has anything to say about it.
4. One shot, one kill
I decided not to recap all the particular moves and counter-moves, watch the episode for that, it’s great. A character gets an advantage, the tables turn. But one twist was so shocking I yelled out loud. A shot fires out, hitting human Eren in the neck and straight up decapitating him. His head his sailed through the air like something out of the Evil Dead. For all intents and purposes, he is dead. Unless you know, he does something crazy and miraculous, like he always does.
But unless I am much mistaken, Gaby is the one to shoot that shot. It’s probably an exaggeration to say that Gaby has single-handedly killed more Scouts than anyone alive. That dubious honor probably belongs to Annie (who better be showing up any damn minute). But considering she’s a teenager in the middle of her training with no magic powers to speak of, Gaby has taken deadly shots at a surprising number of characters.
5. World between worlds
Eren’s totally not really dead. That much is to be expected. More surprising is Zeke leaping out and catching Eren’s head like a baseball! This evil baseball guy… Their contact triggers some David Lynch shit, as we fly through moments in the series. In flashback, Eren nihilistically remarks, “There’s no better salvation than not being born in this world.” Shit’s pretty dark.
They end up in some sort of pocket dimension space, with Zeke in chains. He describes it as, “The Coordinate where all lives intersect.” OK. It’s the place where those with royal blood can take the Founding Titan power. Sure. Eren and Zeke have their most intimate argument yet, full of lies and betrayal. But it comes down to this: Zeke really wants to sterilize all the Eldians to end all war. Basically, he’s saying if you want to end violence towards minorities, why not eliminate the minorities and then no one could be mean to them. But Eren, in a shocking quadruple cross (I have truly lost count) isn’t down with this war crime at all! He was playing his brother his the whole time! Armin was right, go Eren!
But no! Eren was getting played by Zeke, who is not really chained up at all, in fact Eren is. And that’s where we leave these two brothers. Eren in chains and Zeke with the ability to command an entity he calls Founder Ymir, who will grant him all the titan powers.
Sounds rough! Will Zeke go for a war crime hat trick? We’ll see next week with more Attack on Titan