Overall, quite a few questions are answered in this set of episodes, so even if the show seems to be slowing itself down in the middle of the action- at least it’s for good reason. It’s also about time that we get some concrete answers on titans since most people watching the show aren’t far enough in the manga to understand what is really going on. We also don’t know if the anime will diverge at any point like most ongoing manga-to-anime adaptations do. However, even though we are given much needed information in thirty-five, episode thirty-four is the weakest entry in this season, yet, centering far too much focus on Eren’s childish anger using everyone around him as a set-up for thirty-five’s reveals.
I am not alone in my views on thirty-four, either.
The most common complaint about this set of episodes largely stands with thirty-four where most of the time is spent on sitting around, broad explanation with few answered questions, and Eren being upset. My specific issues with thirty-four reside with Eren’s inability to sit still, and the show’s inability to leave Eren alone and focus on other characters again. It seems that once we remember Eren was technically the prospective character, this season began to take a turn downhill.
As stated above, most of episode thirty-four is an expository festival, but there are a couple of really interesting ideas revealed during it all. First, Reiner has created a split personality in himself, and second, Ymir and the boys know about the Squatch titan and that he is able to turn people into titans.
So, let’s being with Reiner. He and Bertholdt joined the scouts as an infiltration scheme, but over time Reiner began to believe he was truly a scout that was burdened with the task of killing titans. Reiner was able to delve into his role as a normal human so well that he literally forgot his true mission and purpose- it’s method acting at its finest. This split personality seems to have worn Bertholdt out; however, and he barely manages to snap Reiner out of it. Reiner is obviously not psychologically sound which makes me wonder what his life before this was like. What drove him over the edge?
Next, Ymir had mentioned that the Squatch titan was the one who turned the people inside the wall into titans. Assuming this is accurate, it would now make sense why he was able to control those titans before- he created them. Ymir says that Bertholdt and Reiner both know about this titan’s abilities, but no one says anything more. Later, Ymir withholds information about the true enemy from Eren making me believe the Squatch titan isn’t on the side of anyone present despite him being an aberrant titan like the others.
Reiner and Bertholdt are able to convince Ymir to work with them by promising Christa’s safety- it’s a dirty ploy, but it works. Eren ends the episode being the only one not wanting to return to this mentioned “homeland.”
Conny’s village still remains as the biggest mystery to scouts since they found no breach in the walls where titans could have broken through. A few of Hange’s men visit the village during the lull and discover the titan stuck in Connie’s home. There’s some bumbling before one soldier picks up a photo of Connie’s family and flips over the picture to reveal a face that looks just like titan on the house- Connie’s mother.
After that brief aside, our attention is returned to Reiner and company as they continue to sit while the scouts ride to Eren’s rescue. When Reiner and Bertholdt see the smoke signals, they realize that they cannot wait until nightfall to move- they have to go now. However, we still have enough time for Ymir is recount her story while Eren attempts to flee by using his stump arms to beat Reiner.
Bertholdt’s simple question “Do you remember who you ate before you turned human again” actually helps us understand the titan people just a little more. Ymir doesn’t remember who she ate, but she does remember her life before she was a titan and running around for 60 years as a titan.
It turns out that Ymir was a street child who was taken in by a cult leader who used her to lead them by saying she had the king’s blood. When the cult was discovered, they were all beaten and thrown over the wall to the titans. Ymir had 60 years to lament and think about how lying only brought her pain, and when she finally ate someone special- she was able to become human again.
According to Bertholdt, he, Reiner, and apparently Eren don’t remember who they ate to become human again. This whole show I had been operating under the assumption that
Eren was experimented on by his father, and that was how he was able to become a titan person. However, it seems that you start human, become a titan somehow (possibly turned into one by the Squatch titan), then eat a human to become a human again. The human you eat has to be special, though, likely someone who was a titan person? Those details are still foggy, but at least we know that these kids were all titans once, and are now human again which is why they can now become titans. Eren was once the very thing he hates most.
The scouts are able to catch up with the group of titan people, but Ymir has staged a trap to get Christa. After Ymir manages to eat Christa/store Christa in her stomach, she hitches a ride on Reiner’s back as the scouts again give chase to the group.
There is no guarantee that the next episode will give us any more insight into the titans, but at least we are a little closer to this homeland that Reiner and Bertholdt wish to take everyone to. I’m hoping we can put off the action for another round so we learn more- even if it’s just another sitting session.