We’re still on the other side of the sea in “The Door of Hope”, a flashback-heavy episode that focuses on Reiner and his reasons for wanting to be a Warrior.
“The Door of Hope” takes us back in time to show Reiner, Bertolt, Annie, and the others during their Warrior training, and if there is one thing this episode managed to do, it was make me feel bad for Reiner. That’s a hard pill to swallow, considering how long I have wanted that guy to die. (No death for the Plot Armored Titan.) But he and the others were really between a rock and a hard place. They had to obey or risk their families being turned into pure Titans, and without the protection (such as it is) of Marley, the Eldians don’t stand a chance.
These were children. Literal children. On some level, I knew that, but actually seeing it really hammers it home.
It’s interesting that he, at one time, was as gung ho “kill all the island devils” as Gabi is now, but he has since recognized that the world is not quite so black and white and is trying to dissuade his cousin from that mindset. It’s hard to blame a young Reiner for thinking that way; he naively believed that if he became a Warrior and therefore an honorary Marleyan that it would change everything. In the end, it changed nothing, because life is not that easy.
Honestly, that “honorary Marleyan” thing is such a messed-up carrot to dangle in front of literal children in order to brainwash them into wanting to drastically shorten their lifespan and enter into a war that’s been going on for generations. Burn Marley to the ground.
I think, if anything, this episode helps explain Reiner’s fractured mental state a little better. He’s been essentially two people from the beginning; after Marcel was eaten, he “killed” Reiner and became Marcel instead – the leader of the mission, who needed to perform well to escape death when he returned home. It seems like what sustains Reiner is his compassionate side. He’s at his best when he’s taking care of someone else. He was calm and composed keeping an eye on Annie and Bertolt, he was able to be a sort of older brother to Eren, and now it’s his love for the next generation that kept him from ending it all.
Bertolt took his cover story for where they were when Wall Maria fell almost word-for-word from the man they met in the woods, the one who ended up killing himself. That’s cold. (Also an interesting tidbit: Bertolt’s interesting sleeping position is a reference to “The Hanged Man” tarot card.)
At last, there is an explanation for the tension that existed between Reiner and Annie during their training with the 104th. But even back on the mainland, Annie was detached and aloof. She just sat there killing grasshoppers while Bertolt was trying to console Reiner. And she was completely willing to give up at the first major hurdle. Her rant while she attacked Reiner should not be ignored; she seems to be fully aware that they’re being manipulated and is just jaded as all hell at this point.
“The Door of Hope” confirmed the theory from last week that the one-legged soldier is Eren in disguise. I had my suspicions when he made his appearance – why bring him back if he wasn’t going to be important – but honestly, the voice is what did it.
So then that begs the question, what is Eren doing impersonating an Eldian soldier just returned from war? Jean was spotted at the end of the first episode of the season, so that makes at least two of them who have infiltrated. They are obviously planning something, but what? Is this an intelligence-gathering mission only, or do they already have the intel they need and are setting their plan in motion?
It’s also interesting to note the parallels here between Eren and Mikasa and Gabi and Falco. Eren and Gabi are idealistic and highly motivated by revenge, duty, what have you, whereas Mikasa and Falco just want to save them from themselves.
Attack on Titan really went from a story about humanity against monsters to a morally complex allegory about modern warfare and the influence of propaganda. I’m going to need to do a full series rewatch when this is over; earlier scenes will definitely hit differently after everything that’s happened.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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