As with any plan, there are two key features which must be present: Conception and execution. Without both of these aspects, a plan is either an idea or a whim. However, should both features be performed flawlessly, there still remains an important question that must be answered: What happens next? For Reiner and Bertholdt, the answer is a resolute: Who knows?
Having stolen both Eren and Ymir away from the friends they have who aren’t traitorous Titan Shifters, Reiner and Bertholdt are seemingly lost, with no real handle on their situation. Given Reiner’s spontaneous decision to simply tell people that they were the monsters who began one of the worst tragedies in recent history, this is more than expected. And so we find ourselves returning to a particular forest, wherein captors and the captured try and wrap their heads around just what the hell is going on. Spoiler Alert: A consensus is not met.
As he is want to do, Eren spends most of this episode screaming about the injustice of the world and focusing much of his rage towards the two former allies who stand before him. Though obviously what most would do in the same situation, Eren’s internal monologue that he must bury his emotions in order to gather information adds a touch of unexpected meta humour to the events of this episode. Honestly, two seconds after he attempts to formulate a plan, he’s screaming his head off. Just another example of Eren being a damn near literal dog of war. Problem is, his bark is so much worse than his bite. That being said, it was honestly hard to not take his side when Reiner began his own tirade, since it essentially amounted to a more verbose declaration of, “Shut up, Eren.” Though Reiner isn’t exactly the emotional bedrock he once seemed to be.
Following up on the (more than) hinted degradation of Reiner’s mental stability, this week provides us with the most painful example thus far. Completely denying the events of his reveal, Reiner muses over Christa and how he thinks she has a bit of a thing for him. He also wonders if he and Bertholdt can net a promotion, given their actions at Utgard Castle. Though rather jarring, as this dialogue comes completely out of nowhere, it isn’t hard to see what the series is going for with this particular character. With his entire existence a contradictory lie, Reiner straight up broke one day. As he both accepts and denies the life he has forged with the 104th, poor old Reiner snaps back and forth between the two personas he claims as his own. With the reasons behind his actions still mired in mystery, there is a chance we may come to feel more strongly for this particular plight but, as it stands, it is a little hard to sympathise with the guy. Given how he bull rushed through that Wall and all way back when.
Despite these various musings and breakdowns, what struck me the most about this episode was the clash of knowledge and ignorance. Though possessing the power in this little standoff, Reiner and Bertholdt definitely do not carry themselves as people with a plan. They’re treading water and that fact is only becoming more apparent. Ymir herself notes that they stared like “starry eyed brats” when the Beast Titan appeared, hinting at a childlike worship that really adds another dimension to these proceedings. It also goes quite a ways to explaining how two children came to assault the Wall all those years ago and why they then decided to enlist in the military of the place they attacked. Not all the way mind you, still not sure the benefits of that plan, but I’m sure we shall see.
Ultimately, however, not a tremendous amount transpires this week. Though the newly revealed villains and captured heroes simply sit across from each other screaming, not a whole lot is said. We know Reiner and Bertholdt have a connection to the Beast Titan, we know that Ymir is that callous with everybody she interacts with (barring Christa) and we know that Eren is still Eren. We also know that losing limbs for a Titan Shifter is slightly annoying and their regeneration serves as a rather morbid method of measuring the passage of time. Which is handy, because wearing a watch would be difficult without arms. If watches existed in this world…