In the latest episode of Attack on Titan, we were taken through the memories embedded in Grisha as the two brothers tried to understand their father better. We saw glimpses of Eren when he was a baby as Grisha started a new life with Carla inside the walls.
Zeke felt bitter and angry at his dad for putting so much pressure on him when he was a kid. Though he was satisfied that his dad learnt his mistakes, he still held a grudge. We see Grisha using his status as the doctor to get closer to rich officials and find out the real identity of the Founding Titan.
However, when he finally finds the place where the Reiss Family is hiding, he decides to leave and postpone his mission. When the walls are breached and his family is under threat, he decides to confront the Reiss family.
Grisha Yaeger’s Plead To The Reiss Family
Grisha pleads with the holder of the Founding Titan, Freida Reiss to use her powers to help save Eldia from the titans and the rest of the world. She is moved and wants to do something but she closes her eyes and when she opens them, the color and intensity of her eyes have altered.
The 145th King of Eldia, Karl Fritz, had made a vow renouncing all war and believing that Eldians must be punished for the countless atrocities they had committed against other people. This vow is so strong that even if other royal family members had intentions to use the Founding Titan to save the Eldians, once they inherited it, they will inherit all the memories of Karl Fritz and believe that Eldians should be punished for the sins of their ancestors.
The King’s successors are “possessed” by the pledge, which drastically alters their personalities: They grow empathetic and constantly talk about building a “paradise” within the Walls (for some time), and preach about world peace and love.
Freida starts speaking about the sins of Eldians and refuses to do anything. Grisha, in a moment of sheer rage and anger, tries to become a titan by piercing his own hand with his knife.
The entire Reiss family makes a run for it and even Freida prepares to become a Titan. However, Grisha refuses to take the lives of children and thus, starts crying instead of transforming. Freida’s family including Rod Reiss violently ask her to murder the intruder but she is extremely reluctant to do so.
Eren’s Rage: An Interference From The Future
Eren can be seen with his face contorted horribly due to pure rage. He implores his own dad to transform, kill the entire Reiss family, and steal the Founding Titan. He asks him to remember the horrors he went through while living in Liberio.
He tells Grisha about his sister, his wife who turned into the Smiling Titan, as well as his Eldia Restorationists comrades. Grisha’s face starts contorting from the extreme dilemma he finds himself in. Should he kill innocent children to save Eldia? Is that the solution? At the end, he gives in to his emotions and murders the entire Reiss family, except for the dad, Rod Reiss.
After he is done with the massacre of the royal family, he comes out of the chamber and starts crying uncontrollably. He laments how his very hand wiped out the lives of Reiss children and wonders if this would actually save Eldia.
He sees the future Zeke and apologises for being a bad father to him. In an emotional scene, Zeke sheds some tears too and Grisha requests him to save the world from Eren’s plans.
Eren Yeager: The Villain
Attack on Titan Episode 80 revealed the most horrifying plot twist: our protagonist is the villain of the entire series. While it is understandable that he has gone through a lot of traumatic incidents in childhood as well as his teenage days, these do not justify the genocide he wants to inflict on the entire world.
It is deeply unsettling to know that Eren Yeager turned out to be the villain because it forces us to rethink about our own morality. If we identify with Eren’s pain and thus, believe his genocidal plans are justified, we need to reconsider our bias that we got from the perspective of the Eldians.