「偽り者」 (Itsuwari Mono)
Alright, be honest, you know exactly what’s coming next. It might not be immediate, it may not be next week, but one doesn’t throw around subterfuge and noticeable differences in approved strategy without hinting that a serious change of the gameboard is rapidly approaching. Fighting is coming (back) to the shores of Paradis, just not in the manner some are expecting.
As some probably guessed a few weeks before, Eren’s imprisonment and the crackdown on those who helped plan the Marley raid hasn’t been too well-received in certain quarters. Much like the (albeit less pronounced) split of opinion in pro-Marley Eldians between supporting their conquerors and overthrowing them—i.e. Zeke’s betrayal—Paradis has its own issues with those who seek to regulate their actions and those who consider the end justifies any and all means. It’s a debate born from fear; Marley is obviously going to go for the throat, but could surgical strikes and consideration of collateral damage contain the inevitable attack to just Marley? Or is Paradis assured that everyone will aim for total annihilation which leaves little room—or reason—to abide by certain codes of conduct? The point is ironically moot given Eren has assured the latter is what’s going to happen, but it’s good to remember this is the paradigm everyone with a hand on the levers of power is currently working through. Without any firm idea how the Rumbling will work in practice, everyone is desperately hoping it’s their strategy which will secure Paradis’ survival. Under these conditions, don’t expect Eren to remain lounging in prison for long.
On the other side of coin comes Gabi and Falco and the showcase of fear on the Marley side. While Gabi certainly comes across as an ugly and annoying zealot, I frankly pity the girl: she’s been raised solely to hate what she is, detest her cultural past, and work like a dog to get the barest of scraps before being discarded when her use has expired. You can see just how hard breaking that conditioning can be, how difficult it is for such belief to reconcile the fact that not everyone is guilty of past actions. No matter how “correct” or “right” it may feel to hold the figurative son liable for sins of the father, all it does is breed further and increasingly bloody violence. Kaya and her family after all did nothing wrong, all the Eldians responsible for the past are long dead; all Marley had to do was leave the island alone and quarantine it. Instead Marley settled on retribution, and the result is now the increasingly chaotic struggle where both sides see their very survival on the line.
There may be potential to realize peace and understanding (as the likes of Falco, Kaya, and Armin have shown), but it’s potential that will only now materialize after sufficient blood has been spilled. Lots of blood.