Opening is another episode that’s all talking and no acting but this one’s got more depth to it than the last episode.
Eren wakes up in the company of Ymir, Reiner and Bertolt. His arms are gone and though they heal a bit, they’re still only stumps. Ymir is in the same predicament. Eren does try to shift but Ymir stops him, explaining their current situation. They’re far from both Maria and Rose and also surrounded by titans while Reiner and Bertolt both have 3DMG. In short, they’re at a major disadvantage.
Reiner helpfully informs them that they couldn’t shift even if they wanted to since their bodies are at their limits and just trying to heal up. Clearly, Reiner and Bertolt know more about how the whole titan stuff works than Eren or Ymir. Now how much are they willing to share?
Reiner confirms what Hange figured out last episode, that none of them can leave the forest until nightfall. Even if they fight, that will just make them vulnerable to the prowling titans. Eren is displeased (understatement of the millennium) but in an uncharacteristic display of level-headedness, he resolves to remain calm and extract as much information as he can in the mean time.
He manages to maintain that right until Reiner abruptly starts talking about their ordeals with the titans and possible promotions like he’s just a normal soldier of humanity. Everyone is supremely confused but Bertolt just seems resigned after a while. Reiner rambles on about their contributions and crushing on Christa until Eren snaps and yells at him. Ymir is once again the voice of reason and asks Bertolt what’s going on since Reiner’s behavior is weird no matter how you look at it. Case in point, why would he risk his life to save Connie when he’s the Armored Titan and humanity’s enemy?
Bertolt reminds Reiner that they’re warriors, not soldiers. This triggers what seems to be a panic attack and we see Reiner remember Marco’s death (remember Jean’s friend in s1 who was bitten in half?). Annie, Reiner and Bertolt seem to have caused his death somehow and that incident is hinted to be where Reiner’s dissociative episodes began.
Ymir theorizes that Reiner’s guilt got too much and so his mind kinda split; a part of it started earnestly believing that he actually is a soldier working to keep the titans at bay.
You know, I’ve been waiting for this revelation. Reiner is one of my favorites in this series and it’s not that I like him so much as find him really interesting. I don’t think his head is a really fun place to be in but damn, it makes for a compelling story thread. Now we know why Reiner has been acting inconsistently a lot. I kinda want to re-watch season 1 to figure out when soldier!Reiner made his appearance. It makes me wonder if that’s what happened in Trost. The Colossal Titan attacked but the Armored one didn’t. Did the shock of Marco’s death push Reiner’s warrior mode to the back? It’s possible.
Anyway, Reiner breaks down in the present and has a sobfest followed by a ragefest when Ymir spouts her theory. She backs down but Eren only get angrier to see him act as a victim. There’s a lot of yelling involved. And honestly, I get both of their perspectives here. Eren is faced with the people who were directly responsible for the death of his mother (Shiganshina) and countless friends (Trost). Of course he’s angry enough to fuel a nation. But Reiner’s garners sympathy too. He must have been a kid when he attacked Wall Maria. I don’t imagine he had any idea about the damage he’d cause. He’s clearly not immune to guilt either.
That said, the part where Eren promises to make Reiner and Bertolt die and suffer with that flat smile on his face was wonderfully eerie.
Ymir, again, is the one with her brains about her and tries to make them tell her about the Beast Titan, whom Eren is unaware of. She also points out that Eren killing Reiner and Bertolt won’t do much since they’re not the only enemy. This is common sense since there’s no way two kids are plotting humanity’s demise on their own but Eren seems shocked all the same (this is why we need Armin). Ymir also seems to know more about this enemy but before she can divulge much to Eren, Reiner proposes that she join them.
Sure, she can’t trust them and sure, her life is probably forfeit if they take her away but he also knows that Ymir’s priority is Historia’s safety. He claims that “this world” – which I take to be the world inside the walls – has no future so Ymir could probably protect Historia better by joining them rather than depend on Eren to get them to safety.
She agrees. Sucks for Eren and also us since we still don’t know who the enemy is.
Right then, Eren sees the flares in the distance showing how Erwin and the rest are getting close. Sunset is close though.
Amidst all the above events, we also see glimpses of the rescue team getting close and also a scene where Hange gets her assistant to investigate Connie’s village further.