WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 4, Episode 11 of Attack on Titan, "Deceiver," now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Since Attack on Titan's final season shifted its focus away from Marley and back to Paradis Island -- where the series started -- viewers have been left in the dark as to what the latter nation is up to. Episode 11, "Deceiver," isn't largely any different. It follows Gabi and Falco's escape from prison to a countryside home for some of the Island's orphans, where they make some startling discoveries about the depths of Zeke's collusion and the devastation their motherland has wreaked.
But the opening and post-credit scenes of the episode finally return us back to Marleyan soil where the Island's oldest enemy has been desperately trying to regroup. And in their desperation, Reiner Braun pushes for an extreme and probably misguided retaliation.
Marley's coastal region has been left reeling after Eren Jeager's attack on its internment zone, Liberio. Not only because of the damaged infrastructure and human casualties but because it robbed the Empire of two of its Shifter Titans. The War Hammer Titan has been taken by Eren and, as the military ascertains from the incomplete remains from his fake death, his half-brother Zeke has abandoned his home for the New Eldia Empire blossoming on Paradis. Whatsmore, Gabi and Falco's apparent kidnapping leaves them without two of their trained Warrior candidates. During the scene after the credits, Marley's military leader, Theo Magath, determines that the nation should wait for six months before staging a counterattack. In that time, it can recoup its losses with some backup from its global allies.
But this isn't good enough for Reiner, who argues they simply can't wait that long. Zeke will be expecting them to do that, he points out, but he won't be expecting them to launch into a full-scale invasion right away. Despite the Islanders using ODM gear enhanced by advanced technology and protection from some of the Nine's most powerful members, Reiner believes the element of surprise is their greatest weapon. From how the episode ends, it seems he'll get his way.
But this move is actually even riskier than Reiner, or any other of Marley's top brass, realize. Not only are they knowingly going in alone and with little time to repair the damage Eren and the Scouts caused, but it'll likely be timed horrifyingly close to Paradis' scheduled Rumbling test. Judging by Reiner waking up in a hospital bed at the episode's start, these scenes in Marley aren't happening that long after the Liberio attack, despite the episode's placement in the season. Meanwhile, Hizaru's Azumabito are also shown arriving on Paradis to witness the Rumbling's power being tested, as part of Zeke's plan. Should they arrive while this demonstration is taking place, Marley's big gamble might end up being a big swing and a miss.
Currently, we don't actually know what a "test" of the Rumbling will entail. But in order to have the desired effect -- scaring the rest of the world away from messing with the Island for good -- it's got to be something pretty substantial. Zeke is incredibly calculating. As demonstrated by Levi bringing him to his knees in Season 3, he's not at his best if he can't plan ahead, so Reiner's instincts aren't entirely wrong. Unfortunately, his judgment is being clouded somewhat by his emotions. Gabi Braun isn't just a military asset as a potential Shifter inheritor, she's his flesh and blood. Therefore, Reiner's desire to get back to the Island isn't just political, it's personal. Putting family first isn't, of course, a bad thing at all but in Attack on Titan's world, such sentimentality is often punished.