After the delay from last week, we finally got to see Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 14 (aka Episode 73.) I actually saw the first 17 minutes early, but tuned in to watch the full version when it released today. This review is ONLY covering Episode 14, for those who might be reading later. I’m at a loss for words. This episode was truly insane and broke all my expectations (not to mention my heart.)
This is an Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 14 review and recap, so it will have spoilers. The article itself is manga-spoiler-free.
Note: This review was written BEFORE watching Episode 15, so it will not have any Episode 15 spoilers in it. This can be read by people watching the dub episodes later too.
Is Eren Truly Free of the Titan’s Control Like He Thinks?
First, let me start by saying that before I watched the episode, I was completely deceived by what I expected to see happen when Eren sat down with Armin and Mikasa. I saw a sketch on Twitter of Eren kissing Mikasa that I mistakenly thought was from the manga (even though I try to avoid manga spoilers.) So that was kind of the expectation I had going into this episode. OMG I WAS SO WRONG.
We learned so much about how Titans work, and there is SO MUCH MORE to learn. Can you hear me yelling? The episode was insane.
Eren revealed that he believes the Titan’s personalities basically start to overwhelm and takeover whoever the host is. He said that Armin, for example, is slowly being taken over by Bertholdt’s memories, as evidenced by Armin’s obsessive need to visit Annie. Bertholdt was in love with Annie. Now Armin might be. (This begs the question for me: Was the original Titan Colossal personality in love with the original Titan Annie personality, and now that’s being passed along with every new host?)
I can't believe Eren treated his best friends like that. They were always on his side since Day 1. And this is what they get in return? This was just heartbreaking.
On the other hand, I'm glad to see Levi gets his rematch against Zeke.
Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 14 pic.twitter.com/Z9Tqe8jvbc
— NotTruth (@someonetalkin_) March 21, 2021
However, Eren is convinced that he personally is free of that compulsion. (Perhaps he believes Zeke helped him become free?) But here’s the thing: I’m not entirely convinced that he’s right. Back in Season 3 when the Owl revealed details about the Attack Titan to Grisha, he said that the Attack Titan is always in the vanguard and always pushing for freedom. Eren is still obsessed with that freedom, and understandably so. But he’s obsessed to the point that part of him hates Mikasa and he beat up Armin in a display of strength, since he doesn’t think Armin is “free” anymore either. I think he’s fighting to free his friends from the Titan control. This might mean that he, himself, is still influenced by the Attack Titan.
Let’s not forget Warhammer Titan is in him now too. Warhammer was on the Tyburs’ side and had historically stayed OUT of the fighting ever since making a truce over 100 years ago with King Fritz that led to Fritz backing off into Paradis. I can’t help but wonder if Warhammer is influencing Eren somehow too.
How heartbreaking was it to see Eren beating up Armin?
And it was so heartbreaking to see how much Eren despises Mikasa now. Was that really true?
Mikasa i've always hated you pic.twitter.com/EfGHbz4IlG
— Attack on Titan (@PerfectAoTShots) March 21, 2021
We’ve clearly seen that Eren cares deeply for Mikasa in the past (such as when he told her that he would always wrap her scarf.) Could this be the Warhammer’s influence on him?
Some fans think Eren was basically gaslighting them so he can separate from them for whatever he has to do next. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it’s certainly a more hopeful outlook in some ways.
Mikasa’s Compulsion Has Left Me Wondering About Levi & Kenny
SPEAKING OF MIKASA.
It all makes so much sense now. I always wondered why the Ackermans’ “spark” of power had the same color as the Titans’ spark. Now we know that it’s because the Ackermans were created by the same power that created the Titans, and they have a compulsion to protect the Founding Titan. This is why Eren was able to order Mikasa to fight as kids and why she’s been obsessively in love with him ever since. She was under a compulsion to protect him that she couldn’t overcome.
This brings up a few questions for me.
First, Mikasa came under Eren’s compulsion as children BEFORE Eren even had the Founding Titan. We’ve been told before that the coordinate moves through paths both in space AND time, so this is proof of that.
Second, I’m wondering if Kenny was affected by that same compulsion with the Founding Titan that he was so close to (Rod Reiss’s brother Uri.) He DID manage to stab Uri through the hand when Uri first caught him, so he made a true effort to kill Uri. So either Kenny avoided that compulsion or he came under it later. Levi did once say that Kenny told him he felt that same power course through him, so I’m guessing he was under a compulsion at some point. But it’s confusing.
And what about Levi? Levi doesn’t seem to be under a compulsion to love and protect Eren. Either he’s immune (maybe because of his dad, whom we’ve never met) or only one Ackerman can have a compulsion to protect a Founding Titan at a time, and maybe Levi will be protecting the one who comes after Eren. He did say that he felt overcome by that same power, so he’s not completely immune. (However, as a counterpoint, his scene in Episode 13 might indicate that he IS under a compulsion. He talked about all the people who have died as he’s protected Eren, so maybe he was under a lighter compulsion this whole time.)
My husband brought up a question of Levi and Zeke, since Levi can hurt Zeke but never bring himself to kill Zeke for various reasons. That’s an interesting question too. Grice once commented that Zeke’s control of the Beast Titan was almost Founding-Titan-Like. Maybe it’s more about royal blood?
Now for another crazy theory. You know how Falco always is so protective of Gabi? He’s the Mikasa to Gabi’s Eren. And we know Falco is going to take over a Titan at some point, since he had a future dream of flying with ODM gear (much like Eren’s future dream, or Armin’s memories of Bertholdt.) Sooooo. Does this mean that maybe Falco is secretly from the Ackerman line? (Mikasa’s dad, an Ackerman, was blonde.) And Gabi will take over Eren’s Founding Titan? I know, I know, I’m really stretching things here. But the parallels are striking.
Levi May Be the Strongest Character on the Entire Show
Look at how Levi Ackerman reacted when he witnessed Zeke Jaeger (Beast Titan) killed almost half of the Survey Corps by throwing stones to them in S3, and how he reacted when he witnessed his men turned into titans because of Zeke. #AttackonTitanFinalSeason #AoTSeason4NHK pic.twitter.com/esW6aHzrVv
— aji (@leviackergod) March 21, 2021
Levi is insanely powered (and I would say, even stronger than Mikasa.) We know that Kenny was his equal (possibly even stronger, but holding back in their last battles because Levi’s his nephew.) But now, Levi has grown in strength. He took out an insane number of Titans who materialized before his eyes, and it was heartbreaking. Those were his friends. Levi has lost so many.
And he was able to completely decimate The Beast Titan in short order, despite how powerful Zeke is. That’s also crazy powerful. He’s grown stronger since we saw him in Season 3. and Zeke’s look of panic when Levi was catching up with him is something I won’t soon forget.
But now we have to wonder about Zeke’s ultimate goal and ultimate loyalty. We learned in Season 3 that Grisha had told Zeke, as a child, that he must obey Marley without hesitation and faster than anyone else so he could rise the ranks. Grisha’s goal as a Restorationist was to restore the Eldian Empire and give freedom to the Eldian people. I still think Zeke is not ultimately working for Marley, but working deep under cover to free the Eldians of Marley. However, just like The Owl was willing to torture whoever it took to maintain his cover, Zeke is killing countless Eldians in his pursuit to free them. He turned in the entire Restorationist group, including his parents, to the Marleyan government. Now he’s one of their most powerful Titans, but he never revealed to them that he was of the Royal bloodline himself. Now he’s inflicting countless deaths in Paradis to destroy the military there too. I think his ultimate goal is centered around freeing the Eldians, but also while accepting countless Eldian deaths along the way.
Speaking of crazy… I just want to tack on that whole Floch scene at the end (which wasn’t in the 17 minutes released early.) He is ALL IN for Eren, just like he was all in for Erwin when the choice came down to Erwin vs. Armin last season. Floch obviously favors strong leaders who are willing to do whatever it takes to win. But his command to beat up the Commandant just was SO over the line. 🙁 That scene made me really sad. Plus, they might’ve even won over the Commandant if they tried. He had a soft spot for Eren because of Eren’s mom.
In summary, this was an absolutely amazing episode that I won’t stop processing and thinking about for quite some time. This show does an amazing job of creating layers of political intrigue and mystery that never get boring, while also never shying away from the hard truths about the devastation of war and greed.