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Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 5 Review: ‘Declaration of War’ Was Fire

Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 5 review

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I can’t say enough about how amazing Attack on Titan is, including Season 4 Episode 5. I’m manga-spoiler-free while watching the series, and I can never seem to guess what’s going to happen next. This season has been heavily focused on propaganda and how people can be pulled in deeply to their own extreme detriment. But it also approaches the idea that everyone in this show is the bad guy in someone else’s story, and despite the greatest of differences, forgiveness can sometimes still be achieved.

Below is a review for Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 5.

Reiner's heartbreak and Willy's confession made for an amazing episode. #AttackonTitan S4E5 Review Click To Tweet

This article will have spoilers for Season 4 Episode 5, but the article itself is manga-spoiler-free. Please don’t add spoilers from the manga in the comments. Thanks. 🙂 

The episode started with the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Reiner and Eren’s reunion. Poor Reiner was the absolute definition of “mind blown.” And slowly, as their conversation continued, it dawned on Falco that he had made a terrible mistake. I feel bad for Falco because he has a good heart. He knows what the Marleyans are doing to the Eldians is wrong. His main goal in wanting to inherit the Armor Titan is just to protect Gabi from that 13-year death sentence. He’s a good kid in a bad place.

Reiner, meanwhile, has been dealing with a lot of guilt. He knows that he was responsible for Eren’s mom’s death. He knows that he caused many others to die too, and later learned that the people of Paradis are not devils as he was always told. But he still has a job to do and still felt that what he did was required to save the world.

But what world is he saving? One where the Marleyans abuse and even kill the Eldians, no matter how hard they try to prove their worth? But if he did nothing, would that mean the Founding Titan could summon forth the Colossals and subjugate the world again? Reiner was truly in a difficult position, to say the least.

Willy Admits the Truth So He Can Continue His War

In this episode, we learned that Willy’s big theatrical event involved sharing the truth of the past with people from nations all over the world — but with a twist. He admitted that there was NEVER a Helos and that the Tybur leader and King Fritz fabricated him. He shared that King Fritz was the one who ended the war, not Helos, because he wanted peace. And yet, the Tyburs hid this from the world so they could continue to wage war on Paradis.

Now he’s admitting the truth, but with a caveat: they still need to continue attacking Paradis, but even more so now with a declaration of war. He tells them that the Founding Titan is no longer bound to the king’s oath of peace because it’s now controlled by someone outside of the royal bloodline.

What he doesn’t share is that they never approached Eren or tried to make a peace treaty with him. No, it’s just time to declare war again.

In an earlier episode, we learned the true motivations behind the Marleyan government’s attack on Paradis: they need Paradis’ resources. They need more titans so they can survive a battle with the rest of the world, which now has weapons that can kill titans. You’ve got to wonder if Willy even intends to keep his peace treaty with these other countries at all or, once he has the Founding Titan, he intends to wage war on them too. I personally think that the Tyburs (and Marleyans) want complete domination (much like King Fritz once had). And perhaps, Tybur ultimately wants all the titan powers to reside within his family, so he can be a new Ymir-type and subjugate the world.

Reiner’s Confession Was Heartbreaking

Meanwhile, in the midst of propaganda and pomp, Pieck and Galliard are captured in a pit by a “tall guard” so they can’t transform. Zeke is taken to another location and it’s unclear what happened to him.

Reiner confesses his guilt and heartache to Eren, who surprisingly offers a hand of forgiveness and tells him that they must keep moving forward. That scene, where a broken Reiner confessed to Eren, was heartbreaking. It brought tears to my eyes to see someone admit they wanted respect, and fame, and they wanted to save their people. But it all went very differently than they had anticipated. Reiner’s voice-acting is top-notch too. Even though I have to read subtitles, I can still hear the heartbreak in his voice.

I think Reiner is going to ultimately work on Eren’s side against the government that has been subjugating his people. But that’s on hold for now, because Marley declared war on Paradis. And Eren has to transform.

He took out a lot of people when he transformed. That entire apartment of Eldians living above him likely died. And it sure looked like he was about to eat Willy at the end — which he will unless Willy transforms. We don’t know who has the Warhammer Titan.

The conclusion to Eren’s conversation with Reiner kind of went like this:

In the end, we learned that Willy Tybur really isn’t all that better than anyone else. He cloaks new propaganda in truth to help it sell better. He’s waging a war on Paradis to gain its resources (IMO) but disguising this motivation under yet another call to save the world. Eren recognizes that there are good, innocent people in Reiner’s hometown too, but he has no choice but to fight when Marley and leaders from across the world all declare war on Paradis together.

As we’ve been told countless times on Attack on Titan, life is cruel. But in the midst of the cruelty, forgiveness — even with your greatest enemy — can still be found, as we saw with Reiner and Eren.

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    Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. She's a licensed attorney and has a master's in science and technology journalism. You can reach her at [email protected].

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