Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 26, “Traitor,” was absolutely gut-wrenching. There’s no other word to describe it. We got an inside look into just how the Jaegerists are feeling in all of this, and the horrific decisions that the main characters had to make — decisions that will leave them feeling a little more like Reiner and Bertholdt than they had ever imagined. Episode 85 was a dark but necessary chapter as Eren gets closer to his genocidal goal.#AttackonTitan's Traitor was gut-wrenching. See a review for anime-only watchers here. Click To Tweet
This Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 26 review will have spoilers for the newest episode, but the article is manga-spoiler-free. This Episode 85 review is written for anime-onlies. For more anime-only discussions, join us on Discord or in our AoT Facebook page.
The Rumbling Moved Fast & Now Everything Is at Stake
The episode started out by catching us up a bit on what’s going on from the Jaegerists’ perspective, to help us better understand all that is at stake. The Azumabito had created an airplane that runs on iceburst stone, with the original plan of using it to view the Rumbling.
But now that the Rumbling is going to destroy the entire world, Paradis needs this technology and the Hizuru engineers if they want access to any modern-day tech in the future. So even though that plan means the only chance of stopping Eren (which is still slim), it also has a purpose for the Jaegerists too. But just in case, they’ve lined it with bombs so they can detonate it quickly if they need to.
The Rumbling has already reached the outer shores of Marley. The Titans moved easily through the ocean, just like those images from the Season 2 ending always indicated they could.
So time is of the essence. But while the Marleyans have no qualms about killing the Jaegerists (just as they’ve killed countless Paradisians before), our Paradisian friends want a chance to save their friends’ lives if it’s at all possible.
Annie acknowledges that Conny, Mikasa, and Armin wouldn’t have destroyed the wall if they’d been in her shoes — they just didn’t have it in them.
But Reiner has a flashback of Eren, and realizes Eren acknowledged that if he had been in Reiner’s position, he would have done just that. I would daresay that Eren might have also managed to do everything without developing a split personality from the guilt of it all.
Knowing what betrayal and being a traitor can do to a person, Reiner offers that he and Annie and the rest of the Marleyans can take this on their own shoulders, so Armin and the others don’t have to go through that. But Armin turns down that offer (as does Hange.) They want to try to save their friends, just in case it’s possible.
Why Does Magath Believe Yelena Knows Where Eren Is Going?
The weird moment to me was when Magath nearly killed Yelena, demanding to know where Eren is headed. I’m a little confused on that, to be honest. Yelena was on Zeke’s side, wanting the sterilization plan.
She thought Eren was on board too, and was just as shocked as everyone else when Eren started the Rumbling instead. She’s not even sure if Zeke is alive or dead, and has been worried about him.
So why would Magath believe that Eren told her where he was going? And why would Yelena act like she knows?
My only guess is that since Yelena already lied to Zeke, pretending not to be a Marleyan, that Magath must believe Yelena lied about more than that. Maybe he thinks she knew about the Rumbling and that Eren told her about it? It doesn’t really jive with her speech about how enticing it is to save the world, though.
Either way, I was glad to see the scene conclude with Magath finally realizing his own prejudices and how wrong he was to have such a myopic view of justice. This show is such a strong warning against propaganda and hate. It’s something I wish the whole world could watch.
Conny & Armin’s Plan Falls Apart
Floch was just about to kill Lady Azumabito when Armin interrupted him, warning him that Reiner and Annie had gone after the Rumbling Titans and they needed to get the airplane ready so they could stop them.
For a moment, Floch believes him. But then he sees through the subterfuge, and the war is back on.
I don’t like Floch, but I can’t deny that he’s smart. His ability to see through scheming is probably part of the reason why Eren told him all about his plans. I wouldn’t be surprised, knowing this show, if we had a flashback of him at some point that helped us understand him better.
Before Floch figures everything out, though, Armin and Conny encounter Daz and Samuel guarding the airplane at the dock. (They have a pretty intense history with Conny and Armin. You can read more about it on our story here.) For a moment, it looks like their plan is going to work. Daz and Samuel are relieved to believe they’re on the Jaegerists’ side too, and quickly dismantle the bomb.
But when it all falls apart, things get dark very fast.
Daz decides to reconnect the detonator, dismayed and livid at what he’s learned. When Armin tries to stop him, Samuel shoots him.
I literally screamed at that moment. My husband had to remind me that Armin’s a Titan and will be fine. But I had to doublecheck that he wasn’t shot in the head, because he probably wouldn’t have lived through that. I mean, how did he heal when he was shot? Is Ymir still up there in the Paths fixing Titans even after lending her power to Eren?
Well, I guess she is, because Armin healed (albeit very slowly.)
Samuel has Conny at gunpoint and tells Daz that he needs to blow up the flying boat. And Armin looks like a nightmare in the next few scenes. (Although I daresay the horror in his mind is far worse than his physical pain.)
Samuel is heartbroken, feeling like Conny betrayed them. “You betrayed us Conny! Even though you said we’d expand our lands and eat meat together!” He says these words while crying.
“Dammit,” he adds. “Why’d it come to this?!”
When Reiner and Annie show up as Titans shortly after this scene, it’s almost hard to watch. They were all once fighting those two together. Annie and Reiner took so many lives. And now Armin and Conny are fighting on their side. Even if it’s for the greater good, it’s still so hard to watch their colleagues and friends getting killed by Annie, knowing that Armin and Conny allowed that to happen.
In a way, Armin and Connie have become Bertholdt and Reiner, bringing enemy Titans in to kill the very people they once fought beside, because they believe this is better for the world in the end. They decided their friends’ lives, small in number as they are, are not worth as much as the lives of countless people around the world that they don’t know. And even if it’s the right decision, it’s still heartbreaking and leaves a pit in your stomach thinking about it. Was there another way? Is this Eren’s fault?
Levi’s watching the whole thing too, not able to participate. It has to be hard. He once trained these people. And on top of that, Annie is the one that killed Petra. 😔
After a few more fight scenes, we return to the dock. Armin tries to drag his bleeding body over to stop Daz, but Daz pushes him away and holds a gun to his head.
Conny can hear Bertholdt in his head saying, “Someone has to be the one to do it. Someone has to be the one to stain their hands with blood.”
Left with no other choice, Conny shoots and kills Daz after Samuel screams, “Aren’t we all friends?!”
But what shocked me was how quickly he then killed Samuel too. At that point, Samuel didn’t pose a threat. I was surprised he didn’t save him and tie him up. But he killed him, and then screamed the most blood-curdling, anguished scream as the episode ended. In some ways, Conny became like Floch for just a moment, killing someone who might have been able to be saved, because he posed a possible threat to their plans. It was more in the heat of the moment than any of Floch’s decisions, but there were still some parallels.
This episode was gut-wrenching. It drew strong parallels between the Marleyan Titans’ decisions and how, to the Jaegerists, Conny and Armin were acting exactly like them. It was tough to watch. But I think it was also important to paint the Jaegerists with a slightly more human brush, helping us understand that none of this was easy for them either.
This is an episode that’s going to stick with me for quite some time.