Long-suffering Attack On Titan fans breathed a collective sigh of relief two months ago, when Season 2 finally aired — four years after its predecessor. In the meantime, most fans turned to the manga, or had major plot points spoiled for them because of manga fans, which means that this week's big reveal wasn't just a long time coming, it's now practically common knowledge among the fanbase.
However, that's not to say we weren't eagerly anticipating the show's big wtf moments in Season 2 — and of course, there are plenty more to come. And actually, knowing the secret identities of the Colossal and Armored Titans in advance just made the reveal all the more interesting when it finally happened in Season 2 Episode 6.
At first, this seems like the most understated and aggravating reveal ever. Reiner just casually tells Eren that he and Bertholdt conspired to wipe out humanity, in much the same way that you'd mention a mundane prank you and your frat bros played in college. And Eren's just like huh. Weird. The tension is further broken by an interspersing between this conversation, and Hanji organizing the rest of the troops. It's easy to get frustrated, because this should be a reveal that sends you reeling, as Eren flies into a murderous rage.
As it turns out, that comes later. In an excellent flashback we learn that Hanji was the one to draw the connection between known Titan Shifter Annie, and Bertholdt and Reiner. She discovers that these three cadets were the only ones to arrive from their remote village, and that all of them have doctored personal history files, with many documents missing. Assembling the corps, Hanji strings together other evidence that the three characters were in cahoots, making use of the show's impressive foreshadowing.
This revelation relies on one simple fact: Reiner was passing information to Annie on Eren's whereabouts, even when she was in Titan form, allowing himself to be caught by her so he could give her the message.
This sequence is a really good use of clues that, let's face it, we all forgot in the four year gap between seasons. By spacing out the reveal with the deduction, the writers give us time to process Reiner's revelation to Eren, as we learn the how the others worked it all out. By the time we're brought back to the present, we're now concerned that Reiner's revelation might hinder Hanji's plan to capture him and Bertholdt.
But the biggest question on my mind is a mystery that is still unsolved — why the heck would Reiner just casually tell Eren about his secret identity? Clearly, they need Eren for something, but what? And why did Reiner offer to stop killing people, as long as Eren came with them?
Reiner definitely seems to be losing touch a little bit, commenting that he doesn't know "what's right" any more. Intriguingly, he also mentions that he and Bertolt were "just kids" when this whole thing started, implying that there's some evil ringleader who orchestrated everything. In another quick comment, Reiner says that if he'd known what good people his military comrades are, then he and Bertholdt may never have allowed themselves to be part of this conspiracy to destroy humanity.
All of these revelations are delivered so quickly that there's no time to examine the implications — at least right now. But as Eren and Reiner prepare to throw down in their titan forms, we know that this is just the beginning of a thrilling new plot thread.