Once again, I am left sitting in stunned bewilderment after an episode of Attack on Titan. I honestly thought, after the revelation of the basement, that these kind of surprises weren’t going to happen to this extent any more. But “Two Brothers” legitimately shocked me, to the point where I just kept going, “What? What?” at my television after the episode ended. Surely they’re not going to end it there?
Attack on Titan fans know that when you go straight into the OP, you’re in for a killer of an episode. “Two Brothers” actually takes that literally. Honestly, if I had known the cliffhanger of an ending we were going to get, I might have held off watching this until next week. At least that way, I wouldn’t have to wait as long to find out what happened.
For starters, as predicted, Colt appealing to Zeke’s better nature was a wash. Zeke has sacrificed too much working towards his plan – something that he’s been working for his entire life – to be swayed by sentimentality. So I wasn’t too surprised when he unleashed his scream, transforming all the affected Scouts into Titans. (RIP Pyxis and Nile. You were good people.)
Colt, attempting to shield his brother, is killed in the energy blast when Falco transforms. When Falco tries to eat Reiner out of the Armored Titan, Porco sacrifices himself instead. And in a move that had me literally gasping out loud (I almost choked on my gum), Gabi shoots Eren’s head off. (Just when I was starting to not hate her.)
Now, I don’t think that Eren is dead. Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe that Attack on Titan would kill its protagonist. (I mean, this is a world where no one is safe. I’m amazed as many of the main characters have survived for as long as they have.) But there are still nine episodes left in this final season, and I don’t think they would kill off Eren with so much time left. (Plus, considering the OP song is called “The Rumbling”, I really think that’s got to be a thing that happens before the end.)
“Two Brothers”, as a title, on the surface seems to refer to Eren and Zeke, but there is also Colt and Falco, and then when Reiner touches Porco, Porco learns that his brother actively supported Reiner in order to save him. (By the way, every Jaw Titan we’ve seen so far has sacrificed themselves to save others.) It’s an interesting contrast, seeing just how willing the brothers are to protect the other one… And then you have Eren and Zeke, who were using each other for their own ends.
That’s right! Our suspicions proved true. Eren was never in favor of Zeke’s euthanasia plan and only went along with it in order to get to the Paths and borrow Ymir’s power. Unfortunately, Zeke also suspected that Eren didn’t agree with him, and likewise used him in order to get the power of the Founding Titan. Because Ymir may be able to create Titans, but she is a slave, helpless to obey the royal family.
Yo, Historia, where you at?
And of course, since Zeke is a descendant of the royal family, but not a direct descendant of the First King, Karl Fritz, he isn’t burdened by the vow of nonviolence that Fritz took when he came to Paradis. Also, Zeke is not actually the Founding Titan; he simply has access to the power, on account of, you know, touching Eren’s severed head.
There is a flashback scene in “Two Brothers” that has a bit more context now that we know the truth. During Eren and Zeke’s tête-à-tête about the plan, Zeke doesn’t want to risk touching Eren yet, so he tosses him Ksaver’s baseball, which Eren drops. Eren dropping the baseball can be interpreted as a sign that he doesn’t agree with Zeke’s plan. (He’s literally dropping the ball!)
But also Zeke’s claim about not wanting to risk touching him can imply that he didn’t want to chance getting to the Paths and Eren learning that he wouldn’t control Ymir’s power. And I have so many questions about how Zeke knew that this would work, when even Armin believes that Eren having the Founding Titan would give him the power. Is this something Ksaver learned in his research?
I’ll admit, I was totally fooled by Zeke being fooled by Eren. Zeke had always seemed so intelligent, and I just couldn’t fathom that he blindly believed Eren had the same goal that he did. So to learn that he was testing Eren’s loyalty actually makes sense and fits in more with his character than almost any of his behavior this season.
But I’m so happy that my faith in Eren wasn’t in vain. There’s a moment, right before Zeke screams, that Eren yells at him to wait. It isn’t stated, but I think it’s fairly obvious that while Eren was willing to go along with the wine plan in order to gain Zeke’s trust, he didn’t want to turn his fellow Scouts into Titans. The cold, calculating Eren that we’ve seen this season was a façade; you could see it in the episode where Sasha is killed – he still cares about his friends and comrades.
“Two Brothers” will probably top my list of Attack on Titan episodes. Everything about this episode is fantastic. Not only was it incredibly engaging and full of surprises, but it’s also just such a well-constructed episode visually. The Paths are beautiful, and the transition from Eren getting shot into showing up at the Paths was amazing. The sequence when Zeke transforms the Scouts was so well done, with the bright beams of light, and I actually liked the use of stills (for once) because I think it really helped hammer home the savagery of what was going on in that moment.
I also loved the rest of the 104th doing what they do best. I think it was an interesting choice to have Mikasa and Armin go after Pieck at Magath while Conny and Jean went to protect Eren. You would think that it would be the other way around. And everyone comes in and saves Eren in the nick of time, only for Gabi to just snipe him from the sidelines.
However, that’s yet another episode gone where we don’t know whether Levi is dead or alive, where he and Hange are, and what’s going on with Historia. (Also, you know they’re going to bring Annie back. Just do it already!) I know the season isn’t over yet, but I’m getting impatient. Where is my Levi?
Attack on Titan is one of the few shows this season that I’m genuinely excited about. I was binge-watching another show today and I stopped in order to watch the new episode as soon as possible. I just can’t wait to find out what happens, and it sounds like next week we may actually learn the truth!
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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