Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 11 was a poignant reminder of the dangers of war and the propaganda that accompanies a nation seeking to be an imperialistic world power. But it also reminded us of the role that we as individuals play in the endless cycle of retribution, and how holding on to hate truly can hurt you more than the person you despise. This episode was philosophical rather than action-focused, with a look deeper into what is driving each character’s motivations. It left me excited to see what will happen next week, especially with the unexpected post-credits scene at the end.
This Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 11 review for “Deceiver” will have spoilers through the most recent episode, but the article itself is manga-spoiler-free. Please don’t add spoilers from the manga in the comments. Thanks. :)
Kaya Stole the Episode & Brought Me to Tears
It’s not often that a show literally makes me cry, but the latest Attack on Titan episode did just that. When Kaya revealed her background and how she seeks to love and accept everyone because of the example that Sasha set for her, I felt tears stinging my eyes. Here in the United States, there’s still so much hatred, and this message is one that I wish everyone could hear.
Gabi kept heartlessly insisting that Kaya’s ancestors’ sin from a thousand years earlier was a guilt that still stained Kaya today. But ironically, while Gabi called them “devils,” she feels that she is somehow free of that because she is “atoning” by serving Marley.
The irony is that Marley is just as much of a brutal subjugator as Founding Titan Ymir’s Titans are portrayed as being a thousand years earlier. Gabi committed a war crime when she pretended to be a defenseless child just so she could bomb and kill people they were fighting (who weren’t even Eldian themselves.) She is aiding Marley’s quest of subjugation, but considers herself somehow better than the Eldians of Paradis, who have only been the focus of war. In fact, King Fritz took a vow of peace and was still attacked by Marley for years and years.
But Gabi’s brainwashing is so complete that she won’t even take off her armband because it’s the only thing that makes her “different from these island devils.”
With that said, Kaya’s viewpoint provides a stark contrast to the brainwashing that still controls Gabi.
Near the end she asked Gabi: “Why was my mom eaten alive, huh? Why was she killed?!”
Falco explains to her: “It was recon-in-force. The invasion of Paradis four years ago was staging for a larger attack. You and your mother were caught up in it. Your mom didn’t do anything wrong.”
With that information, Kaya could have chosen to hate Falco and Gabi for being a product of the country that caused her own mother’s death, just like Gabi hates her. But instead, she chose a different path.
“It’s weird for you to apologize for Marley,” Kaya said. “You were just born there.”
That’s when she shared that she’s only alive because Sasha saved her.
“A girl a bit older than I am now grabbed a hatchet and started hitting the Titan… She put herself between me and the Titan and allowed me to escape. If she was alive, she wouldn’t abandon people like you with nowhere to go. Just like she didn’t abandon me. We were invited to a restaurant a Marleyan is working at. If you come along, you might find a way to go back home.”
When Gabi asked why she was helping, Kaya said: “I want to become a person like her.”
Then the episode transitioned to the closing credits, in what was a beautiful and perfect transition that left me with tears in my eyes.
What a beautiful show.
The Impact of One’s Actions Are Far-Reaching
This episode was also a lesson in the far-reaching impact that your actions can have. Take Louise, who has idolized Mikasa ever since she saved her and her mom from a Titan. Now the same woman is willing to be in jail so she could leak the information about Eren being held captive. She believes so strongly in the cause that she’s willing to risk her life to advance it.
Mikasa isn’t sure if she agrees with Louise, but her words have now impacted her and caused her to remember the moment in her past when Eren told her she needed to fight and not hold back if she wanted to survive.
There’s also the interesting take on the volunteers who follow Zeke with unwavering fervor, like Yelena. Zeke was likely part of the Marleyan army that destroyed her home and led to her subjugation. But she has decided that Zeke is trustworthy and she’s ready to risk everything herself for a taste of freedom.
We learned that Floch and Yelena played a role in helping connect Eren and Zeke. It’s not clear exactly what went down, but they were all in the region when Eren began to make his moves. I still wonder what happened when Eren and Zeke spoke. Did they talk in person? Did they briefly touch and exchange memories, as happened when Historia and Eren touched? When will their meeting be unveiled?
Hange Is Feeling Torn, But Is There a Deeper Reason for Her Actions?
Hange is imprisoning the people who leaked the information about Eren being in jail, like Floch and Louise. We can tell she feels guilty about this, as she thinks back on the person whose role she took and who warned her that this day would come. (By the way, in case you don’t recall, Floch was the one who advocated for saving Erwin over Armin back in Season 3.)
In my mind, I can’t help but think that Hange is wasting her time jailing leakers and interrogating them. They only have a little time to test the Rumbling and be ready for an attack from Marley, which they should assume is coming soon. That’s where their focus should be. Not to mention, she knows that Eren can just leave the jail whenever he wants, so what’s the point of keeping him locked up?
They’re apparently evacuating one area in order to test the Rumbling, and they should be open with the people about that too (in my opinion.) We already learned what happens when the people of Paradis are kept in the dark.
But Hange might have another motivation in play that we don’t see. She made a brief mention of needing to investigate something further. I wonder if there’s a reason behind her actions that’s not readily apparent.
On Reddit, u/Foxus67 wrote: “Hange is being pushed to her limits by the situation in Paradis, realizing that perhaps the people who held the power of the monarchy in the past were not bad people in the beginning but were corrupted and did heinous things for the greater good, Hange being judged by her journalist friends, it only remains to wonder, what would Erwin have done in this situation?”
I’m Not Trustin Hizuru & That New Plane
Can I just say that I’m feeling quite suspicious about Hizuru and the plane they own powered by Iceburst Stone? Hizuru, as we learned last week, is only in this for themselves. They want sole control of Paradis’ scarce resource. I’m not sure that I trust they won’t turn against Paradis when push comes to shove. Lady Azumabito started the scene congratulating Paradis on its successful campaign against Marley.
Then she says: “The leaders of Hizuru have nothing but praise for Eldia’s bravery… This time our goal is to witness said danger in person.”
Then she points to an “observation craft” they created to observe the Rumbling demonstration. “It may just be the world’s first flying boat powered by Iceburst Stone. With it, we will ascertain the true power of the rumbling.”
Maybe I’m being too harsh on her. We did see her watching out for Udo because of her care for Eldians, even when there was nothing in it for her. But I’m still skeptical. Maybe she wants to know if her Iceburst Stone-powered ship could help take out the “Rumbling” Titans. Maybe she wants the power all to herself.
We don’t know much about her nation, except that Mikasa is of the royal bloodline. And we know that they are immune to the Founding Titan’s ability to wipe out memories, just like the Ackerman line is immune. It’s not clear where that power came from originally.
The Post-Credits Scene Left Me Wondering About Reiner’s Motives
Reiner is pretty depressed right now and only had the will to fight Eren to save Porco. I can see the military strategy behind attacking Paradis right away, before they can pull off a Rumbling, but it’s a dangerous move given how overpowered Paradis is compared to Marley at the moment. I can’t help but wonder if Reiner is sabotaging Marley by insisting they attack now.
But as others have pointed out, he might simply be thinking of saving Gabi and Falco, and really not considering anything beyond that.
If Reiner goes back to Paradis, he’s going to have some serious ghosts in his past to deal with. I’m here to see that.