Warning: The following contains spoilers for 86 Eighty-Six Season 2 Episode 1, "Welcome," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
86 Eighty-Six Season 1 ended on a shocking and tragic note, as protagonist Shinei Nouzen and the rest of the Spearhead Squadron all seemed to have been killed by the Legion army. Viewers were left stunned, believing nearly all the characters the story had been following for the entire season were dead.
However, Season 2's highly-anticipated premiere was not without surprises -- the main one being that all the remaining Spearhead Squadron members are actually alive. Shin, Raiden, Theo, Anju and Kurena were saved by a man named Ernst Zimerman, the provisional president of the Giad Federacy who says they found the squadron captured by the Legion.
As Ernst explains to the confused Eighty-Six, the Federacy of Giad defeated the original Giad Empire that created the Legion, subsequently changing it into a Federal Republic. Shin and the others are granted citizenship and welcomed into the new Giad Federacy, and now have the opportunity to live as free people without having to return to the battlefield.
Ernst adopted each of the Spearhead members and moved them into his home, so they're technically his kids now. He insists he doesn't want them working as operators, because it would make the Giad Federacy no different from the Republic of San Magnolia -- a nation which, as seen throughout 86-Eighty-Six Season 1, didn't even consider them human. Ernst just wants them to live peacefully.
In addition, the Spearhead Squadron members aren't the only kids Ernst has adopted. When they arrive at his home, they're greeted by a young girl named Frederica Rosenfort. Interestingly, she acts as if she's nobility and even calls Ernst a lowly bureaucrat. He later refers to Frederica as Empress, which could imply that she's a surviving heir of the former Giad Empire.
Curiously, Shin and the rest of the group don't seem very happy about their new living situation. They can finally live their lives as normal people, treated like actual human beings, and they get to live in a mansion with the president of the nation as their guardian. And yet, thus far in the Season 2 premiere, they seem more annoyed than satisfied by all this.
Shin and the others are possibly just hesitant to let their guard down and trust Ernst, which would make perfect sense considering how their homeland treated them. Furthermore, PTSD from being at war their entire young lives likely plays a part as well. After all, one of Ernst's underlings revealed that they've been saying they want to return to the battlefield in their counseling sessions. Ernst says this is because the battlefield is all they've known up to this point, and he's most likely right.
Meanwhile, Vladilena Milize's life back in the Republic of San Magnolia has also seen some changes. She was demoted to being a captain for the sake of the Eighty-Six, but she's now the top Handler. Lena commands a new group of Eighty-Six and they seem to respect her, based on her conversation with one of the members. She earned herself the nickname 'Bloody Regina the bloody queen' due to her demanding orders and competent leadership. Lena also wears a black uniform now, as opposed to everyone else's blue, and died a streak of her hair red. This is her way of remembering Shin and the Spearhead Squadron members she believes to be dead.
86-Eighty-Six Season 2 has begun much more calmly than the entirety of Season 1. However, with a show like this, it's unlikely things will continue to be so tranquil for long. With Lena now the top Handler and the Spearhead Squadron alive and well in another country they know nothing about, viewers are eager to see where the story will go from here.