As the story of Paradise Island progresses, the first half of the final season focuses on the political rivalry between Eldians and Marleyans.
The Marleyan army
The season begins three years later the last episode of the third season, with Marley’s child soldiers fighting at Fort Slava, which is under attack from the Middle East. Marley has sent a mixture of Eldian soldiers, child soldiers, and new Warrior Candidates, including Falco Grice, who is a candidate for the Beast Titan but does not display the same hatred towards his fellow Eldians as Gabi Braun, who is set to inherit the Armored Titan and believes in Marley’s ideology of killing Eldians.
Zeke then transforms into the Beast Titan and destroys the Middle East’s Navy Fleet, ending the four-year war but raising concerns about the rapid advancement of Anti-Titan Weaponry.
After the Battle of Fort Slava, Zeke and other high-ranking members of Marley’s government and military held a meeting to discuss their next steps. Zeke promised them that he would reclaim the Founding Titan within his remaining year of life. Despite the fact that all ships sent to Paradis Island in the past three years have failed to return. Marley must take action due to Paradis’ control over two of the nine titans.
Marley decides on its next plan of attack, which involves using the Tybur Family, a family of prominent figures, elite royalty, and the home of the Warhammer Titan, to announce war on Paradis Island and the Survey Corp at the Liberio Festival.
On their first mission as Titan Warriors, Reiner, and his team, including Annie Leonhart (Female Titan), Bertolt Hoover (Colossal Titan), and Marcel Galliard (Jaw Titan), were sent to reclaim the Founding Titan from Paradis Island. Unfortunately, Marcel was eaten by a Pure Titan (later revealed to be Ymir) during the mission. Despite Annie’s suggestion to retreat, Reiner refused to accept failure and pushed forward, determined to complete the mission
The mission proved to be unsuccessful and Reiner came up with a new plan to infiltrate the Survey Corp in order to find the Founding Titan. After reflecting on his past, Reiner attempts suicide but stops when he sees Falco outside the window.
The story then shifts to Falco, who is attending a meeting with a former Eldian soldier, who is actually Eren in disguise as Kruger. The name “Kruger” is taken from the man who saved Grisha Yeager and the former Attack Titan.
The truth behind the Fritz and Tybur families is revealed during a play at the festival. It turns out that the story of the Hero Helos who supposedly freed everyone from King Fritz’s tyranny was completely fabricated.
In actuality, the Fritz and Tybur families made a deal that if peace could not be maintained by Marley, the wall titans would be unleashed in an event known as “The Rumbling”.
In the basement, Eren tells Falco and Reiner that both Paradis and Marley are the same and that he and Reiner are alike, just with different upbringings. Reiner, fearing for Falco, Gabi, and those close to him, pleads with Eren for forgiveness and asks to be killed instead. However, Eren’s mindset is beyond redemption and he transforms, killing innocent people in the complex and Willy Tybur, who had just declared war on Paradis and Eren.
As Eren continues his attack, Lara Tybur reveals herself as the War Hammer Titan and transforms, using her ability to create blunt objects and weapons using her hardening power to gain the upper hand against Eren.
However, the situation changes when Pieck, the Cart Titan, and Porco, the Jaw Titan are rescued by Pieck’s infantry, signifying a change in control back to Marley. Lara Tybur is able to corner Eren, but Mikasa and the rest of the Survey Corp arrive just in time to save Eren and even the odds. With the help of their Thunder Spears and 3D gear, the Survey Corp is able to gain an advantage against the Titan Shifters.
Eren figures out that Lara has buried herself underground and exploits her weakness by separating her from the Titan, causing her to harden into a crystal form, similar to what happened to Annie in Season 1.
Porco tries to attack Hange‘s getaway zeppelin but is overpowered by Eren and Mikasa. Eren then uses Porco to break Lara’s shell and swallow her, gaining the power of the War Hammer Titan. Then Reiner saves Porco from certain death.
Zeke the double agent
Although Reiner is weakened and not fully armored, making him no match for Eren, Eren chooses to escape as he too is nearly depleted of strength. Levi captures Eren for desertion and brings him to the zeppelin. Gabi, still in a fit of rage, pursues the zeppelin, Once there, Gabi shoots and kills Sasha in retaliation, leading to their eventual capture by the Survey Corp.
In another room of the zeppelin, Gabi and Falco find that Zeke has defected to the side of Paradis to support his half-brother.
Yelena and Onyankopon
Three years prior to the attack on Marley, Marley sent ships to Paradis Island, but all were taken captive by the Survey Corps. It was revealed that many in Marley’s ranks were part of the Anti-Marlyian Volunteers, two of whom were Yelena and Onyankopon.
Yelena was a strong advocate of Zeke Yeager’s plan to trigger the Rumbling to stop Marley. After her village was destroyed and occupied by Marley, Yelena found solace and hope in Zeke. Onyankopon supported Yelena and provided Paradis with valuable technologies.
after the attack on Marley, Levi takes Zeke to a camp in the forest where he could keep an eye on him, Armin speaks with Annie’s crystallized form about his moral dilemma over killing innocent people for Eren and Zeke’s plan, and Eren is locked up in a cell, much like Gabi and Falco, who were arrested after Gabi killed Sasha.
Armin and Mikasa encounter Hitch while they are en route to meet Zachery, hoping to secure permission to see Eren. Zachery rejected their request and as they were leaving, he was assassinated by the newly formed Yaegerists. This group, dedicated to making Eren the new leader of the military, broke him out of prison. In response, Pyxis felt compelled to join the Yaegerists.
In the forest, Zeke informs Levi that four years prior, Marley had developed a weapon to synthesize Zeke’s spinal fluid into a gas form. Zeke’s spinal fluid, in any form, has the ability to paralyze individuals and put them in a state of suspended animation, which Zeke can then use to transform them into pure titans through his screams. Zeke used this method on the residents of Ragako village to maintain his cover with Marley.
In the forest, Levi plots to have Zeke eaten by his comrades who have turned into Pure Titans. Zeke uses the Pure Titans to escape, but Levi chases after him and eventually captures him.
Zeke transforms but is quickly subdued by Levi, who then implants a thunder spear into Zeke’s body. As a form of torture, Levi begins to cut off Zeke’s limbs, causing Zeke to flashback to his childhood as they regrow.
Zeke encountered Dr. Ksaver one day, who was the then-current Beast Titan. Despite the abuse and mistreatment by Grisha and Dina, Zeke found comfort in Ksaver and eventually confided in him about his Restorationist parents. At Ksaver’s request, Zeke snitched on his parents, leading to their capture and relocation to Paradis Island.
Later, Ksaver revealed to Zeke that he had discovered the hidden ability of the Founding Titan to manipulate all Eldian bodies and bypass the Vow of Renouncing War. The two agreed to implement their plan of euthanizing all Eldians to stop their suffering at the hands of Marley. Years later, Zeke and Eren met in Liberio and agreed to implement the Zeke Euthanasia Plan.
Waking up, Zeke deliberately triggers the Thunder Spears, causing the wagon to detonate.
Marley arrives at Paradis Island
The Survey Corps members are placed in prison cells by the Yeagerists, and Yelena informs them of Zeke’s plan to exterminate the Eldian race and use the Rumbling as a means of buying time to bring Eren and Zeke together.
Meanwhile, Eren attempts to persuade Gabi to join his side, but Pieck intervenes and convinces Gabi to defect to the Yeagerists. Pieck and Porco then try to ambush Eren on the rooftop, but their plan fails. Regardless, Marley has arrived, ready for battle now that they know Eren’s location.
A long recap
I apologize for the length of this article, but this season and the last one are the most important in terms of story and almost every episode contains vital information, so I decided to include more details to help the people who want a comprehensive recap to understand this amazing anime series.
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