If you’re expecting something from all of the reviews of Soldier going out there, you’ll probably be expecting insight into what happened, looking back at past incidences to see exactly how the foreshadowing was so brilliant for this episode, but I first and foremost want to talk about exactly how off-guard this twist took me, and how insanely good it makes the whole series in retrospect.
Well, first I mean, let’s talk about the episode before the twist, because there was some of that, them climbing on top of the walls and using the walls to move along is something that could only exist in this world… or in Game Of Thrones… and it’s kind of fun to my mind seeing all the tracks that clearly were used to move people along these walls before they were abandoned, or at least they’re not being regularly patrolled right now. I assume they zero-G up there and then do the painstaking effort of pulling those without those outfits up, which was what was taking up the first half of the episode, and we get to see Reiner have one last bro moment with Eren as he struggles to get over and Eren pulls him up.
But yes, that twist. I had not been spoiled on the twist itself, but I knew something big was coming and I had heard talk of the ‘identity of the Armoured Titan’ and with the Armoured Titan’s look, just like with Annie and the Female Titan, it bears enough of a resemblance to Reiner that I could make a pretty good guess at the identity. I really wasn’t expecting Bertholdt to also be a Titan though and that he, a very background character, is responsible for the most iconic titan of the series is quite shocking. The thing that took me most aback about the twist however was how casually it was thrown out there. I’m told this happened in the manga too, and all I can say is what a great idea that was. So many twists are overblown, there’s always a big amount of hype and tense music leading up to the reveal that it took me completely off guard in a good way to have Reiner suddenly say out of nowhere, off to the side of the main screen focus, that he and Bertholdt were the two main Titans who have been causing humanity so much grief. It was a ‘stop, wait a second, did I read those subtitles right?’ moment, almost comedic in the way it was so casually deployed. That is a great novel way to deploy a twist, let it just slip out. As Reiner did in-universe, he was obviously under a lot of stress, Bertholdt was not in on it, it was just as shocking for him as it was for the audience.
Though the lead-up is really well explained, it’ll add a new dimension for when I rewatch the series, like how Reiner was able to survive Annie’s attack in Season 1, as the big thing that the Scout Corps used as evidence that Reiner might not be what he seems, and other little nods and hints in their behaviour that I’ve seen from reading up about the series, rewatching this series suddenly becomes even more necessary.
I did notice that Bertholdt and Reiner’s character designs have really improved this season, especially Bertholdt always stands out to me from the background so I’m pleased they’re playing a big role, even if it will now be as antagonists. It raises more questions, like why they did it, how their flashback scene with Ymir’s titan plays into all of this, whether that was just misdirection or whether there are teams of titans involved here, how is the Beast Titan involved, how will Eren and the crew survive the danger of the two so far most powerful titans suddenly being with them… this episode has really charged up the series after a brief quiet spot at the end of the last episode.
I suppose I would rather that no one else in the 104th is suddenly revealed to be a Titan shifter or it will get a little ridiculous that all of the titans gathered in one little corps, but now we’re going to have to figure out who the Beast Titan might be and what the underlying reason behind all the Titan shifters is. Basically, a great episode, and it’s raised loads more questions that the second half of this season will hopefully solve as many as possible for.