Only in Attack on Titan can a character awake from a nap to say, “where to the hell are my arms?” and we don’t even consider it strange.
This week’s episode of Attack on Titan — “Opening” — is a long and slow, information-packed one, featuring four Titan Shifters talking in a forest after last week’s kidnapping. Reiner and Bertholdt draw a confusing distinction between being a soldier and warrior that never really makes cohesive sense.
But through their conversation, Reiner also reveals a lot of choice information to Eren and Ymir about how their Titan Shifter powers work and the nature of the Titans.
Reiner is also outed as being a little bit more unhinged than anybody previously realized, which might just come to help Eren down the line during their inevitable next fight.
Brutal spoilers follow about the war against humanity’s greatest enemies in Attack on Titan Season 2, Episode 9: “Opening.”
Eren predictably loses his cool in the Titan forest and wants to kill anyone and everyone, but his missing arms prevent him from doing much. It’s Ymir who coolly points out how dire the situation is for them: They’re deep into Titan territory, without any ODM gear, and both of them are missing two limbs each. Beyond that, they are surrounded by countless small Titans and two unpredictable Abnormals.
Reiner reveals to Eren that he wouldn’t even be able to transform if he wanted to, as his body is being pushed to its limit trying to heal his missing limbs. Despite Reiner saying they are waiting in the forest until nightfall — when the nearby Titans won’t be able to move — Ymir seems to think even they might need to rest.
After infiltrating the city as a “warrior,” Reiner spent so long as a “soldier” that he “lost sight of who he was and couldn’t tell which one was real.” Whether or not he was a traitor all along, he was still a member of the 104th and lost friends along the way. That trauma seems to finally be catching up to him.
Both viewer and many of the characters might have forgotten, but Eren remembers that it was a piece of the Wall that the Colossal Titan kicked that leveled his house and trapped his mother. The many deaths that day are obviously the fault of both Reiner and Bertholdt — so Eren has every right to hate them — but it’s easy to forget that it’s that piece of the Wall that led to her being devoured.
Other than Ymir saying, “this situation is just getting shittier and shittier,” by far her best line is: “What’s the deal with that monkey?” So far, nobody’s really explained anything about the talking Beast Titan that killed Mike Zacharias.
In the end, Reiner appeals to Ymir’s obsession with (or perhaps assignment to?) protecting Christa/Historia, as she seems on the verge of trading sides.
Meanwhile, Erwin and the group of Scouts, led by Commander Erwin, thunders on, and an injured Hange has some hunch about a Titan from a nearby village, but we hardly get to see much of anything from either of these plotlines.
In the episode’s final moments, Scout flares fly up on the edge of the horizon. With only an hour until sunset, it looks like the human soldiers will catch up with the Titan Shifters on the edge of the forest for yet another confrontation.
You can watch the simulcast of Attack on Titan Season 2, Episode 10, “Children,” on Funimation and Crunchyroll at 10:30 a.m. Eastern next Saturday, June 3, or on Hulu at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.