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The Ending Of Attack On Titan Season 4 Episode 1 Explained

By the time Season 4 of "Attack on Titan" started airing in December 2020, fans had already been long-adjusted to waiting for new content. With multiple extended hiatuses occurring between each season, the year-long wait between Seasons 3 and 4 was simply the norm. It was also well worth the wait, as "Attack on Titan" Season 3 delivers an unrelenting slew of shocking revelations. The promise of what was to come more than made up for both the wait time and the series' switch in animation studios from WIT Studio to MAPPA.

"Attack on Titan" Season 3 reveals a lot, from the truth about the world beyond the wall, to the storied past of Eren's family. It concludes with Eren and his friends venturing beyond the outermost walls, only to be met with a vast ocean between them and the rest of the world. All of them remain apprehensive about what they will find in the outside world. Anyone from beyond the walls is bound to fear them and is therefore a potential enemy.

This is hammered home by the fact that Eren and his friends already have too many enemies to count. Zeke Yeager, a.k.a. the Beast Titan, and the rest of the Marleyan Empire will stop at nothing to conquer them and reobtain the various Nine Titans (i.e. the Titan Shifters) currently controlled by Eren and company. Now, Season 4 of "Attack on Titan" looks to wrap up the epic anime series. However, the ending of the first episode might deserve some explaining.

For once, we meet some new people on the mainland

Those who haven't watched any of "Attack on Titan" Season 4 are in for a bit of a shock from the first moment. Indeed, the first episode of the final season tells us a new story. Instead of following up on Eren or any of the other Eldians still on Paradis island, we are treated to a modern-day story from the mainland. This is the first time we've seen Marley since the flashbacks to Grisha's life in Season 3.

Set sometime after Season 3, Episode 1 of Season 4 follows a group of mainland Eldian soldiers fighting the final battle in Marley's war against the Mid-East Allied Forces, also known as the Mid-East Alliance. The protagonist of this episode, Falco, is a candidate for being one of Marley's next Titan Shifters. Though he and his friends are sympathetic to the Marleyan cause, it's clear that most average Eldian foot soldiers do not share the same sentiment.

Eldians are an oppressed ethnicity within the Marleyan empire and are often treated as fodder. We see Eldian troops being forced into suicide missions and being transformed into mindless Titans against their will. Despite this, the unique Eldian ability to become Titans make them a valuable part of Marley's army.

Modern-day Marley is close to assaulting Paradis Island once more

As the Marleyan forces gear up for a suicide mission aimed at disabling an armored train defending the Mid-East Alliance fort, another candidate for becoming a Titan Shifter, Gabi, manages to do so single-handedly. This clears the way for their Titan forces, which include Reiner (the Armored Titan), Zeke Yeager, and a newly introduced Titan Shifter known as the Jaw Titan. Using their powers, the Titans manage to clear the enemy fort and destroy the Mid-East Alliance Navy. However, the Mid-East Alliance's powerful naval artillery manages to take down Reiner, and his fate remains uncertain.

Despite the potential loss of one of their best soldiers, the defeat of the Mid-East Allied Forces means big news for both Marley and the Eldians on Paradis Island. With the Mid-East Alliance gone, Marley has full access to the coast and can return to Paradis Island in full force. There will be no subterfuge this time, as there is when Reiner and his friends infiltrate the walls. The full might of Marley is coming down on Eren's people with the goal of regaining all of the Nine Titans and destroying the rogue Eldians once and for all.

What about Falco and the other candidates?

The events of Season 4, Episode 1 of "Attack on Titan" go beyond just pure political intrigue, however. As tense as the situation is between the Eldians of Paradis Island and Marley, there's still a lot at stake for Falco and his crew. Perhaps most importantly, now that Reiner is possibly out of the picture, there's a chance that Gabi (who is seen as the army's most promising candidate) is poised to take his position as the Armored Titan.

Without spoiling anything about Season 4's future episodes, there are many ways in which Falco's story could play out. The arrival of a new Armored Titan on the side of Marley poses a great threat to the island-bound Eldians. Although, it's not like they don't already know that. In all likelihood, however, Falco and his comrades will be brought face to face with Eren and his allies in the coming episodes.