(Image credit: MAPPA)
The ending to Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2 was heartbreaking. Having come so far with Eren, viewers were treated to episode 87’s “The Dawn of Humanity”, a chapter that more or less confirmed that the one-time protagonist has passed the point of no return.
Not only that, but the finale to the second part of season four has quietly laid down the foundation for Attack on Titan’s endgame in 2023. The Rumbling has started, unions have formed (and broken), and there are still several characters who could factor into proceedings as the Titans lurch towards Marley’s mainland.
In preparation for the decade-in-the-making climax, we’ve dug deep into Attack on Titan episode 87’s ending: what happened and why *those* flashback scenes are so important to understand where Attack on Titan is heading next. First, though, a quick recap of Part 2’s concluding chapter.
Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2 ending: episode 87 recap
(Image credit: MAPPA)Attack on Titan episode 87 begins with a flashback. The Survey Corps headed from Paradis to “across the ocean” and towards Marley. This all took place off-screen between the third and fourth seasons, and it was finally shown in detail during Final Season Part 2’s finale.
In a voiceover, Mikasa questions whether Eren was “this way from the start.” The group, meanwhile, take in their new surroundings – the food, the technology, the people – until they are interrupted by a pickpocketing child, who swipes Sasha’s purse.
Levi grabs the child, and the Marleyan citizens converge on the pickpocket. The Survey Corps, though, save the child from a possible watery grave. They escape, though the pickpocket again runs off with the money as Eren looks on in terrified silence.
The group heads to Azumabito’s residence. The Hizuruan apologizes for the pickpocket, explaining that the Subjects of Ymir have spread throughout the world. Mikasa realizes Eren is not at the meeting and finds him overlooking the pickpocket’s refugee camp. Eren asks why Mikasa cares for him so much. She’s flustered by the question, only answering that they’re “family.”
Eren describes their plight as similar to his own: “One day, our lives changed and everything was taken from us.” In a show of unity, Eren invites the rest of the Survey Corps to drink into the night with the refugees.
The next day, the Corps attend a meeting where it’s decided what should be done with the Subjects of Ymir. It is argued that, instead of these Subjects getting the brunt Marley’s ire, it’s the “devils” on Paradis Island instead.
Upon hearing this, Eren leaves for good and puts his new plan into action (which has been extensively covered so far in the Final Season and ends with the Rumbling Titans attempting to destroy the world outside Paradis).
The episode also fills in a few more gaps, namely Eren allying with Floch and pretending to go along with Zeke’s euthanization plan. Another scene is shown, with Historia pleading with to Eren not go ahead with his plan to wipe out the world outside Paradis.
Back in the present day, the Global Fleet attempts to stop Eren’s Attack Titan and the army of Colossal Titans from invading, but are ultimately unsuccessful. The season ends with the Colossal Titans entering Marley.
Is Eren truly evil?
(Image credit: MAPPA)That’s the million-dollar question and one that the show has been wrestling with for some time. The Attack on Titan episode 87 ending has effectively sealed the deal in that regard. Mikasa’s voiceover (and Eren’s many, many awkward silences throughout the episode) indicate that Eren has always been evil and has merely looked for an excuse to kickstart his war.
There are, of course, some dissenting viewpoints presented by Part 2’s finale. Namely, that Eren truly wants what is best for his friends, no matter the cost. His protection of the pickpocket also shows that Eren perhaps harbors a stronger feeling towards protecting people rather than outright killing millions. In his mind, the strong rhetoric and actions of the Marleyan people have given him no choice in the matter.
Attack on Titan has always prided itself on being a morally complex story that paints its conflicts in various shades of grey. That’s no different here, though if Eren did foster any sort of benevolent feeling, that has long since been wiped away. Even his conversations with Historia showcase a man who will stop at nothing to ensure the death of a civilization. Eren crossed the line in the sand long, long ago. Everyone – including the friends he supposedly wanted to protect – has turned against him.
What do the flashbacks mean?
(Image credit: MAPPA)From a narrative perspective, they fill in some much-needed gaps. We previously didn’t know how Eren was radicalized, nor why Historia got pregnant (which was to stop or delay Eren’s genocidal plans, in case you were wondering).
They also further flesh out Marley, painting it as a country torn between protecting refugees and inciting hatred against the “devils” of Paradis. Their racist overtures seal the deal in regards to Eren’s fateful turn towards genocide.
The flashbacks are also punctuated by Mikasa’s voiceover in the present day. They’re used to further exacerbate the idea that Eren has always felt resentful towards those outside the wall.
What’s up with Mikasa?
(Image credit: MAPPA)Does Mikasa love Eren? Given that she’s the adopted sister of Eren, it’d be a little weird (to put it mildly), but Attack on Titan is making it abundantly clear that her puppy dog-like following of Eren is something deeper than a sense of duty.
She is clearly caught out by Eren’s line of questioning over why she cares for him so much, and even questions herself about why she gave the answer of “family.” Zeke, too, reveals that the Ackermanns aren’t genetically predisposed to follow those who ‘saved’ them as was previously assumed. Much like with Eren’s turn towards evil, sometimes the simplest truths were there in front of us all along: Mikasa loves Eren.
What if the significance of the pickpocket?
(Image credit: MAPPA)The pickpocket may not have been the catalyst for Eren’s turn to the dark side but, as a metaphor, it’s an effective tool as any to understanding why Eren has ended up that way. It allows him to see just how cruel and malicious Marley can be when it comes to those who aren’t of ‘pure’ blood. For Eren, it’s the perfect case study in why the world would be better off without people like that.
Will the Rumbling be stopped?
(Image credit: MAPPA)The Global Fleet, a coalition of ships from around the world, barely put a dent in the Rumbling’s plans. It seems like Eren is going to achieve his goals of flattening the world.
Who can stop him? Zeke is potentially still in play if he ever gets out of the Coordinate, while Mikasa’s group now has several Titans they can deploy to stop Eren. But they’ve got a lot of catching up to do, and not a lot of time to do it in. Attack on Titan Final Season Part 3 will probably revolve around them trying to stop Eren before it’s too late.
What’s next for Attack on Titan?
(Image credit: MAPPA)In case you missed it, Attack on Titan will return in 2023. No release date yet for the absurdly-named Attack on Titan Final Season Part 3, though we can expect it to be another shorter season as the show hurtles towards its endgame.
I’m the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you’ll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.
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