After the emotional whiplash and action of the past several episodes, “A Sound Argument” gave us a moment to breathe and take stock of where we are right now in the story. It also, in true Attack on Titan fashion, answered some questions while leaving us with more.
“A Sound Argument” dropped a lot of reveals, but it also shows more than just the information dumps. Historia is pregnant, the military is just as corrupt as before, Mikasa is the long-lost descendant of the ruling family of Hizuru, the gang no longer trusts Eren (except Mikasa), and Eren seems to have fallen completely off the rails when he tells Hange he can basically do whatever he wants and they can’t stop him. It almost felt like too much for one episode.
I guess we can start with the biggest “wtf???” moment, at least for me, which is the revelation that Mikasa is descended from royalty. It’s been ages since I’ve seen the first season, but Mikasa being different from everyone else hasn’t been an issue in so long that I’d almost forgotten it was supposed to be a big deal. Mikasa’s wrist wrap and hand-marking seem like they came out of nowhere, almost like they were inserted late as an explanation, but apparently, this was introduced early in the manga and the first animation studio took it out for whatever reason.
This is the moment I think suffered the most from the massive amount of information we got in “A Sound Argument”. This is a huge reveal, and something I’m sure Mikasa has been wondering about for his entire life, but because there was just so much going on, we didn’t linger on the moment or really get the chance to see the characters absorb it. Although I did appreciate the interaction between Mikasa and Historia, where Historia was so excited that one of her friends was also secretly royalty.
Historia’s pregnancy was also a big shocker. Since last week’s episode relied so heavily on flashbacks, it had completely slipped my mind that we’d yet to see her in the present timeline, and seeing her pregnant in “A Sound Argument” sort of made my brain explode. They told us who the father allegedly is, but I have my doubts, for no other reason than the fact that I’m instantly wary of anything this show tells me at this point. If it’s not that guy, who is it? Well, that I couldn’t possibly tell you. I’m just inherently distrustful of everything, especially involving characters we’ve never seen before.
The soldiers presumably protecting Historia suspect Yelena is the one who told her they wouldn’t make her a Titan while pregnant (information likely passed down from Zeke), but I suspect it was Eren who told her that. Eren was very vocal against being used as breeding stock in their meeting with the delegation from Hizuru, and even though others think he has forgotten his friends, I think he is still trying to protect them.
What makes me saddest about this time skip is the fracturing within the 104th. The flashback in “A Sound Argument”, where they’re all talking about who will inherit Eren’s Titan powers, and he admits that he doesn’t want any of them to have to suffer his burden because he loves them too much, was such a genuinely wonderful, touching scene. That scene, with the sunset in the background, showed how far they had all come together – with how Jean and Eren had always been so hostile to each other, and Connie and Sasha acting like twins, and all of them blushing at the emotions of the moment.
Contrast that with the scene from the current timeline, where they’re all wondering what the hell happened to Eren, and it makes my heart hurt. Everyone except Mikasa seems to have completely lost faith in Eren. Connie even suggests that they might have to kill him.
Eren remains the most perplexing mystery in Attack on Titan season 4. I’ve mentioned a few times that Eren might be “the bad guy” but the fact remains that Paradis has been pulled into a global conflict they never asked for. Maybe at one point in time, their ancestors were holding the world hostage in an effort to be left alone, but none of the current residents have anything to do with what happened 100 years ago. Willy Tybur wanted to unite the nations of the world against a small island country that literally has no idea what’s been going on in the world. It’s like an army gathering together to demolish an anthill.
I can understand why Eren is the way he is. Seeing him in the flashbacks and seeing him now, clearly, something set him off. The way he went after Hange in “A Sound Argument” was legitimately terrifying, though I suspect she was trying to goad him into a reaction. (He has been very emotionally closed off this season.) Still, he made it clear to Hange that he’s remaining in prison because he wants to; he has the ability to break out and is choosing not to use it. I think he’s aware that he’s expendable and is trying to do something to ensure he will be in a position to protect his friends, which is why he ate the War Hammer Titan.
And in that scene, Hange was all of us, trying to deduce what exactly Eren’s speech meant.
This entire episode has an undercurrent of growing tension. Aside from the splintering among the members of the 104th, the gang’s increasing distrust of Eren, and the way Historia looks dead inside, there is also that bizarre moment where Nicolo holds up the bottle of wine. That moment wouldn’t have been included if it wasn’t important, and keen-eyed fans have pointed out that the wine is similar to the wine that is being drunk by the Scouts in the forest with Levi and Zeke. I thought it was odd to have that short scene at the end of the episode, and it wasn’t until I read the wine connection that I realized why they put it in there.
I’d like to think that Nicolo is too nice to do that, and he genuinely seems to be friends at least with the 104th (it’s pointed out that the Scouts are the closest to the Marleyans), but we can see that the Marleyans are mostly mistreated on Paradis. (It’s a far cry from what Eldians go through in Marley, but we’ve seen how this behavior just further entrenches people in their biases.) And the main reason that the volunteers have been imprisoned is because they work with Zeke, and the Paradisians don’t trust Zeke at all.
Also, I’ll admit to being a little disappointed at the extent of the alliance with Hizuru. From the way Kiyomi treated Udo and the others, I thought there would be more to it, but it seems to ultimately come down to money. We’re only seeing snippets of the past few years through these flashbacks, I know, and Kiyomi was aware of the planned attack, because she left the rally before it happened. So I’m sure there is more going on, but that was still upsetting.
I swear, every episode of this show just gives me more and more questions, but I’m really excited to see how everything ties together.
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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