I was wrong with the ending of my previous writeup. It turns out this episode focuses exclusively on Zeke’s backstory, with the final scene taking place in current time. But in order to convey how complicated Zeke’s story is, it really needed the entire episode. While we have seen bits and pieces of the story sprinkled throughout the series up to this point, this episode allows the viewer to see everything from start to finish, and adds scenes to help embellish what the audience had seen previously.
As we see, Zeke keeps getting conflicting messages growing up. For example, we see Zeke being left at his grandparents’ house, where they’re teaching him the version of history that Marley wants the children to be taught. However, at home, Zeke is being taught what Zeke’s grandfather refers to as the “real history.” We also see that Grisha is trying to make it so Zeke can become the Warrior Candidate to inherit the Beast Titan in order to make a plan of his work. But we see early on that Zeke really doesn’t have the drive, and he also doesn’t have the physical stamina or skill to be a serious contender for a Warrior Candidate.
It turns out that the current man with the Beast Titan takes an interest in Zeke when he watches the Warrior Candidates training. Later, Mr. Ksaver (the current Beast Titan) throws a baseball to Zeke in order to initiate conversation. Mr. Ksaver has been spending his time as the Beast Titan doing research on Titans, thanks to the access he has to his predecessors’ memories. Zeke and Mr. Ksaver form a friendship, and as we see, he ends up acting more like a father to Zeke than Grisha.
Things come to a head when Grisha and his wife go to watch him train, and Grisha realizes that there’s no way that Zeke will be able to become the Beast Titan and carry out his plan. Grisha basically goes ape-shit crazy at this point, and all he seems to do is yell at Zeke. When Zeke reveals to Mr. Ksaver what’s going on, and that his parents are Eldian Restorationists, Mr. Ksaver convinces Zeke to turn in his parents to Marley. As Mr. Ksaver points out, his parents only seemed to care about him as long as there was a chance he would be able to make their plan move forward. Yes, Mr. Ksaver has an agenda of his own because of what happened to him in his past, but if you had to choose which agenda you would prefer to live under, which one looks better? In the end, it’s really no surprise that Zeke turned his parents in. One of the final scenes that takes place before Zeke meets Eren is Mr. Ksaver giving Zeke the information he needs in order to come up with the plan that Zeke is currently trying to make happen.
One of the final scenes in this backstory takes place more recently, when Zeke and Eren are talking to one another. This shows the moment that Eren decides to team up with Zeke to carry out Zeke’s plan. Seeing Zeke handing Eren a used baseball at the end of this scene made me think of the idea that this is a kind of symbolic “passing of the torch,” if you will. If we assume this is a baseball Mr. Ksaver and Zeke used, then it could symbolize how the torch has passed from Mr. Ksaver to Zeke, and now from Zeke to Eren.
Right at the end of the episode, we see Levi transporting Zeke. On the journey, Levi hears Zeke muttering about euthanization, so he stops the wagon and goes to confront Zeke. But Zeke decides to resist and loosen the Thunder Spear that’s been put through him, which causes it to go off. The episode ends with the explosion, so the audience is left with the cliffhanger of what happened to Zeke and Levi.
It’s hard to believe that the next episode is the last one for Attack on Titan Final Season. Obviously, the story isn’t going to end with the next episode, so it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of cliffhanger the audience is left on to entice them to come back for more. The explosion at the end of this episode felt like it would have been a perfect cliffhanger, so what can they do next week to top this?
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