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Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 16 Review: Above & Below

Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 16 Review: Funimation

This week marked the finale of the first part of Attack on Titan Season 4. Now we’ll have to wait until Winter 2022 to see what’s next (which likely means closer to December 2021 rather than the end of 2022, but it’s still a long wait.) Until the show returns, there’s a lot to digest from Episode 75, “Above and Below.” We were left with some major cliffhangers about Zeke and Levi, along with an epic battle that was just about to kick off when the episode closed. I was definitely left with more questions than answers as this half of the season ended.

#AttackonTitan Season 4 Episode 16 proved that Eren is always in control. Always. Click to Tweet

This Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 16 review will have spoilers for the newest episode, but the article itself is manga-spoiler-free. For anime-only discussions, join us on Discord or in our AoT Facebook group.  We’ll be analyzing this anime in-depth until the show returns.


Zeke’s Short But Harrowing Intro Hid Several Clues

Let’s not mince words here. That intro with Zeke was pretty disturbing. He’s limbless but somehow managed to survive Levi’s spear trap. We have no idea where Levi is. In fact, we don’t see him for the entire episode, which leaves me really worried. We see a hazy mess of boards and smoke from where Levi and Zeke were, along with a very injured horse that belonged to Levi. But there is no Levi to be seen.

Funimation

Zeke somehow managed to evade Levi’s trap, but he’s not doing well either. As he wonders if he’s dying, he sees a woman we’ve never seen before in a vision. I wonder if this could be a vision of Zeke’s future — perhaps who will inherit his Titan next? Or a vision of his past? Does he have a daughter we never heard about before? Or could this be the founding Titan Ymir? We’re given zero clues.

Funimation

The Titan he was using earlier in his escape attempt crawls up and INSERTS HIM INTO ITS STOMACH. I don’t even know what that’s about. It’s not eating Zeke, because this is a Titan that Zeke still controls. Could it be protecting him somehow? Helping him heal faster? We do see those healing vapors escaping from the stomach. It’s really weird.

In case you’re wondering where that Titan came from, it was the Titan who was carrying Zeke earlier when he was fighting Levi. Here it is in Episode 16:

Funimation

And then in Episode 13’s battle with Levi:

Funimation

Looks like the same Titan to me.


Yelena Is Following in Marley’s Footsteps

Funimation

One of the most interesting parts of Yelena’s discussion with Pyxis was the revelation that she’s following in Marley’s footsteps by making them all wear armbands. Black identifies people like Pyxis who drank wine, knew nothing, and now are working with her under duress. White armbands signify Jaegerists. Red is for people who complied after they learned they drank tainted wine.

It sounds like everyone (or most of the people) who may have Titan serum are now in Shiganshina, since that area had already been evacuated for the Rumbling test.

Yelena thinks that the Paradisians are to blame because they chose not to side with her and they were distrustful of Zeke. “Zeke is the god who will save the world and you’ve earned his wrath.” She fully buys into the euthanization plan (which is not a big surprise since she’s not Eldian and the Marleyans conquered her homeland.) But she also worships Zeke almost like he’s some kind of god.

I also don’t want to end this Yelena discussion without pointing out how she killed the guy who was disrespecting Sasha. She doesn’t want the cycle of hatred to continue. If her methods are misguided, it seems her intentions are still honorable.


Jean Still May Trust Eren, In a Surprise Twist

What’s interesting to me is how Jean actually still trusts Eren. He doesn’t like the idea of Eren saying hurtful things to Mikasa, but he also thinks there may have been a method behind it.

“I think if he was sane, he wouldn’t do it without a good reason. Do you think there’s some sort of meaning behind it?”

It’s interesting to me that Jean, who was once Eren’s biggest competitor, is the only one in Eren’s crew who thinks Eren might have some sort of plan. (And I imagine now that he’s planting hope in Mikasa again, she might consider putting Eren’s scarf back on!)


Why Did Armin Cry?

When Yelena talks with Connie, Mikasa, Jean, Sasha’s dad, Armin, and the others, there’s a weird moment where Armin starts crying and talking about how beautiful Yelena’s euthanization plan is. What’s that about? At first I was tempted to think that Armin was buying into it with his pacifist ways. Or that Bertholdt’s personality was getting to him.

But upon further reflection, I think it’s all an act. Remember: Armin will do what it takes to put his enemy off guard. He convinced Bertholdt that Annie was being tortured. He convinced Titan Annie (before he knew the Titan was Annie), that Eren had been killed in a battle, so he could gauge her reaction. He tried to convince Annie that he just wanted to talk to her as friends to get her into the tunnel. Armin’s not above lying to his enemy in order to advance his cause. He may not be the best actor and they don’t always fall for it, but he’s tried so many times before that I can only imagine he’s doing it again.


Gabi Might Be Freeing Herself from Her Brainwashing

After all this time, Gabi might actually be freeing herself from her brainwashing. She was talking to herself about how they’re devils, so she shouldn’t be … (feeling the way she is about them?)

When Eren walked in, I really liked how he just casually said, “Hey, brat who killed Sasha.” It’s like he doesn’t trust her, but he’s not holding her sins against her either. He wants her help saving Falco by flushing out the intruders in the wall. Which he ends up doing through Pieck’s deception!

Porco embedded in Paradis (Funimation)

Pieck did the whole double-agent thing really well — almost TOO well. The argument she made about Marley seemed to leave Gabi wondering about her defense of Marley, even after Pieck told her that she didn’t mean it all. When she asks, “But you said we have no future fighting for Marley!” I have to imagine that it’s making sense to Gabi.

Pieck doesn’t trust Marley or Paradis, but for some reason she still trusts her comrades that she’s fought with, and she’s still going to side with them to try to defeat Eren. The brainwashing they’ve all had since kids is really hard to break. Even Reiner, after admitting to Eren that it was all his fault, ended up going back to work with Marley again, albeit reluctantly.

Falco seems the most clearest-headed of them all. This is why I’m betting Falco is the one who ultimately inherits Eren’s Attack Titan (and maybe Founding Titan too.)

But back to Pieck. She uses her fake defection to try to get Eren to tell her what’s so special about Zeke, so she can pass it along to Marley. Eren’s not a fool though, and he’s not about to fall for that trick. (Makes me so proud of Eren!) In fact, Eren truly displays his prowess in this episode. Even when Pieck has a gone on him, he still controls the room. He keeps a safe distance from her, never divulging information and never trusting her. He uses her to flush out his enemies, and is ready to take on those blimps with his new Warhammer Titan skills.

So the moral of this last episode is that Eren is in control of this situation every step of the way. There’s no doubt about it.

And now he’s ready to take on Reiner and the entire Marley fleet — and he’ll do it by himself if he has to.

Want to chat about Attack on Titan? Join our Discord server here. You can also follow us by email here or in our special Attack on Titan Facebook group. We’ll be analyzing this anime in-depth until the show returns.

Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. Her favorite shows of all-time are Battlestar Galactica and Lost, and she's always happy to talk about her cats. 🙂

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