I got to say, this season of SnK is turning out to be pretty damn impressive. While there may be a lack of the usual SnK shenanigans—i.e. people eating, among other associated pleasures—the show has quickly made up for it by providing the first significant story advancements and explanations often left by the wayside previously. It may not have the same feel as older SnK, but with storytelling already as tight as this, it’s going to make the later reveals all the more sweeter.
Continuing from last week the big thing once again lay with Historia’s past. The Titan power so central to everything right now is as some have guessed unique, a power so strong and so special that it is literally bound to the blood of the Reiss family. Only those having the blood (ex. Historia) can use its memory manipulation, which is why Eren has never shown such ability before (taking away a potential plot hole) and why in part Rod Reiss and his predecessors were content to rule from behind the scenes. While mass mind control is obscenely powerful, why bother using it if you don’t have to? Simply control the government and any manipulation is naturally required only for those in the know because everyone else by design has no idea what lies behind the curtain. Limited expenditure, maximum effect—the correct way to utilize power.
Of course as Rod Reiss vividly showed though, there’s a little more to it than that. While the Reiss’ Titan power may have further explanation, these tidbits only increase the mystery of SnK’s world. Why hasn’t the Reiss family actually exterminated the Titans as promised, why did their first family head want the Titans—i.e. the Reiss family—to openly rule? There’s something important held in those memories passed along which turns even the most ardent desire into sullen rejection. This is likely why Rod at heart is exceptionally cowardly, desperate to pin his family’s so-called duty on his relatives and siblings because he believes he cannot handle the burden—both that of knowing, and the process of becoming aware. It certainly juxtaposes against Historia’s mental wrangling, for while she also rejected the duty (and thus the chance of obtaining Frieda’s memories), she did so out of honesty for her own desires and refusal to let one seriously broken Eren off the hook. The kid after all now knows what he did, he knows what his father did, and won’t be throwing off that burden onto an innocent just because it suddenly hurts the shoulders. For better or worse the duty of Titan elimination now rests with Eren, and it is his mindset and past realization Historia mentally knows stands the best chance at actually completing the task.
It might take a bit of a push to get Eren back into his Titan hating ways, but with Rod Reiss giving a good reason to go full Titan (thank Kenny for the opportunity) and a bunch of friends needing a little assistance, our star of the show has all the encouragement he could possibly need.