This week marks the premiere of Attack on Titan Season 4 Part 2. There’s a lot to process from Shingeki no Kyojin Season 4 Episode 17 (aka Episode 76) “Judgment.” The episode was absolutely phenomenal, from start to finish. It was the perfect way to kick off the show’s return, but now I have so much to think about until next week. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am that this show is finally back. 😍 (We also have amazing new opening and closing videos, which we’ll analyze in future stories here at Post Apocalyptic Media.)
This Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 17 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 page.
The Episode Jumps Right Into the Levi & Zeke Cliffhanger
The episode begins with one of the biggest cliffhangers from Episode 16, the fate of Zeke and Levi. We already had a pretty good look at Zeke’s fate thanks to trailers that showed him very much alive and well. But Levi’s still hangs in the balance, even after this episode.
Hange is devastated to find Levi eviscerated from when Zeke set off the thunderspear in his face. He’s not moving, he’s not talking — even his eyes aren’t moving. And it looks like his fingers were severed in the blast, at the very least. Floch wants to kill him (which is just another reason I’ve lost all sympathy for Floch.) But Hange assures Floch that Levi is already very much dead.
I don’t believe Levi is really dead though. Hange takes his body and jumps into the river when she has a chance to escape, and she won’t let Floch check his pulse. I’m going to guess he has a very weak pulse and is barely clinging to life. But what will happen from here? Will he survive but with missing body parts, perhaps even worse off than Erwin was after his battle where he lost an arm? Or will he be so close to death that they choose to use one of the few Titan syringes that Yelena brought them, in a desperate bid to keep him alive until they can feed him a warrior Titan? My guess (which is often wrong) is that Eren will use his Warhammer power to try to break Annie’s shell and feed her to a Titan Levi. But I’m not really sure if I 100% believe in that theory myself or not.
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Zeke Had a Strange Vision
In the last episode, we saw a Titan place Zeke directly into its stomach. As we shared in that review, the Titan who did that was the same Titan who was carrying Zeke earlier when he was fighting Levi.
Now Zeke emerges from that now-dead Titan’s body fully healed, without a single scar despite almost dying in Episode 16. He’s in shock and his eyes have a strange glow to them as he tries to process what happened.
The glow in his eyes reminds me of the same glow we saw in other people of Royal Blood when they took on the Founding Titan and their personality was changed. To me, this feels like MAPPA’s interpretation of the same look.
But maybe I’m reading too much into it.
He describes a strange vision/dream, where a girl was “building my body out of soil.”
“I was in some strange place watching it happen,” he said. “It felt like years passed by, but at the same time, it felt like an instant.”
“Were those the Paths?”
So, Zeke woke up in the same “place” where Ymir woke up after she gained sentience from eating a warrior Titan.
The girl he saw is likely the Founding Titan Ymir. I find it interesting how her eyes are shaded, and Zeke’s eyes (along with others from the Royal Family) get a strange glow when she is influencing them.
This Founding Titan was heavily featured in a secret trailer from NHK that didn’t air in the U.S., which we analyzed in our story here.
Zeke’s not clear what is happening to him, but he’s determined to keep moving forward, just like he and Eren discussed.
This is the last time we see Zeke, and the rest of the episode jumps between Eren and Reiner’s massive battle, and Mikasa and her crew trying to be freed so they can decide if they will help or not.
The Animation for the Big Battle Was Amazing
One thing I love about the show is how it presents differing philosophies, and that often no one side is 100% right or wrong. We’re trying to do our best with the information we have, and it’s a good idea to have open, honest discussions without preconceived notions coming into play.
That and the amazing battles, of course!
We get a glimpse back at the same conversation Pieck and Gabi had before… Gabi asks Pieck if she’s not a traitor after all (the theme of betrayal runs strong in this episode.) “You said we have no future fighting for Marley!” Gabi says, because those words are true and really resonated with her.
Pieck says she doesn’t trust Marley either, but she does trust the people she’s fighting with. To me, that’s a bit shortsighted. If Marley manages to get the Founding Titan for themselves, we know that the suffering and pain isn’t going to end. They will become just as oppressive as they said the Titans used to be. We already know that they want to control the world, and have forced people from other countries to fight for them like slaves. This isn’t a country that should have total power.
Rather than parachuting in Titans, like they did before, they parachute in soldiers to fight Paradis’ soldiers. This includes a canon that’s going to do some major damage. Galliard and Reiner are both fighting Eren at the same time, after Eren refused to follow Yelena’s advice about retreating. (He’s not one to ever back down from a fight.)
The battle in this episode was epic and SO well-animated. I was really impressed with the detail. Pieck rescued Gabi amid the chaos, and Eren managed to hold his own for a long time. We finally got to see the Warhammer’s powers at play, and they made Eren an even more formidable foe than before. But even Eren appeared to be pinned down when facing Reiner, an enraged Galliard, and the Cart Titan’s new turret gear designed especially for Eren.
Reiner’s motivations are the hardest to decipher. He tells Eren to give up because “Everyone’s suffered enough already.” We know from previous episodes that Reiner is super depressed and wants to die himself, but only keeps going because of the Warrior kids. He knows that Marley was all propaganda and the people of Paradis aren’t monsters. I just don’t know why he believes that suffering will end if Marley gets the Founding Titan. Will he simply never be able to free himself from the brainwashing? Or would he actually agree with Zeke’s plan if he ever learned what it was?
I’m Team Onyankopon
I’m officially Team Onyankopon after this episode. He didn’t agree with Yelena and Zeke’s plan, because he believes we grow most in diversity, when we are exposed to all kinds of people. But he had to play along and now he’s in a position to free Mikasa, Armin, Conny, Jean, and the others.
Conny will never be able to lose his distrust of Eren, though (which is now transferred onto Onyankopon too.) He thought when Eren laughed after hearing about Sasha’s death that he was happy about it, which was a total misinterpretation (as we explained here.) But ever since, he’s basically hated Eren.
However, Mikasa and Armin overrule him. Armin believes that Eren is also playing along with the plan and will ultimately initiate the Rumbling rather than Zeke’s euthanization plan. Armin is really good at planning and discerning motives, so I’m going to trust his judgment here. (Hey – maybe that’s why this episode is called “Judgment.”) Mikasa also wants to defend Eren, though she doesn’t know if she can trust that feeling. In the end, I’m pretty sure they will also decide to follow Armin’s instinct. He is, after all, the one they chose to replace Erwin because of his instincts. They need to trust the trust they had in him (if that makes any sense.)
The episode ends with things looking really dire. The team is still deliberating about helping Eren, Levi might be dead and can’t help at all, and Marley seems to have the upper hand. Reiner is nearly defeating Eren. But I think things will turn around next week. Zeke will arrive to help Eren, and the team will be in the awkward position of fighting alongside him. But they’ll push Marley back and come out with a victory, I think.
Overall, I’d rate this episode 10 out of 10. It was amazing, action-packed, had great dialogue and great animation, and left me wanting to immediately watch the next episode. It’s the perfect start for Season 4 Part 2.
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