Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Attack on Titan season 4, episode 20
We can never quite predict where Attack on Titan will go next narrative-wise, but the result usually undermines all our assumptions about the story and its characters up to that point, while at the same time tying everything neatly together. Last night’s 79th episode, “Memories of the Future,” followed that formula to a T, leaving most fans gob-smacked over that twist which took us to the night when it all started.
Warning: Spoilers to follow
As teased by the episode’s synopsis, “Memories of the Future” revolved around Zeke and Eren going back in time and revisiting their father’s history. Though what they did wasn’t so much traveling back in time as it was utilizing the powers of Eren’s Attack Titan to review the memories of everyone who came before him.
Eren and Zeke went back and forth between their ideologies and what they’d ultimately do to the Eldian people. Zeke insisted that Eren’s warmongering nature is something that he inherited from their abusive father, while Eren unveils through his own memories that it wasn’t Grisha who turned him into the person he is today.
The episode’s ultimate twist happens near the very end when Eren and Zeke go to the night where their father slaughtered the Walls’ royal family and inherited the Founding Titan. Before now, both were appalled by the actions of Grisha, but here they learn that he hesitated at the final moment, only for Eren to step in and encourage him to do what must be done.
The idea that Grish wouldn’t go through with the killing, and the fact that it was Eren who actually set himself upon this path is something no one could’ve anticipated, which is why a lot of fans are having a difficult time grasping the complexity of the situation.
Is Eren the ultimate antagonistic figure of this story? Well, the implications of this reveal are certainly huge, namely the fact that Eren can now potentially see what comes after this war – like his father did – through the person who inherits his Attack Titan. This also hints at what is yet to come in next Sunday’s episode, “From You, 2000 Years Ago” so there may still be more to this twist revelation than we currently understand.