Attack on Titan Showcases the Scouts’ Incredible Growth – but There’s a Problem

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 4, Episode 6 of Attack on Titan, "The War Hammer Titan," now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Amazon Prime and Hulu.

The sight of the Scouts swinging their way to back Eren up in Episode 6 of Attack on Titan's fourth season will have been cause for celebration for anime fans. Not only is this the first we've seen of the main cast since the final season began but they also make quite the explosive entrance. Just as Eren looks as if the War Hammer Titan has him beat, Mikasa -- sporting a new bob cut -- leaps to his aid (as usual), pumping the Tyburs' secret weapon full of Thunder Spears. The rest of the squad aren't far behind her.

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Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 6 Levi
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The battle that ensues in Liberio is a brilliant reminder of just how well-equipped the islanders are to handle Titan attacks, as well as an urbanized field of combat -- leaving the Marleyan soldiers stunned. But a few hurried conversations between the cohorts' members are enough to demonstrate that behind the scenes, they aren't quite the unified force they appear to be on the surface.

Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 6 Attack Titan Jaw Titan

It's been four years in-universe since the end of Season 3 and the start of Season 4. In that time, not only have the core former members of the 104th Cadets Corps been busy getting new haircuts and growing several inches, but they've also become more efficient than ever. We've grown used to seeing the Ackermans -- Levi and Mikasa -- pulling some extraordinary stunts in combat but in "The War Hammer Titan," it's a pleasure to see the rest of the group, like Sasha, Conny and Jean, firing on all cylinders, too. That's not to say that Humanity's Strongest are upstaged, though: Mikasa's mid-air backflipping and Levi's superhuman speed are crucial in Eren's showdown with the War Hammer Titan he's hoping to consume, as well as the Jaw Titan who tries, in turn, to do the same to him.

But when Mikasa pauses for breath, perched on the Attack Titan's spent body, her words to her adoptive brother aren't encouraging. In fact, she makes it clear that Eren's decision to attack Liberio was one he made alone, pointing out the Eldian civilians he willfully massacred (some of whom are children). To this, Eren, the anime's supposed leading hero, is despondent, instead focussed on his mission to gain the power of the War Hammer Titan. One could argue, optimistically, that he's forcing his feelings down for the sake of an important military operation, as he's been trained to do. Still, this is a far cry from the unbridled emotions we're used to getting from Eren, especially at the sight of the death of innocents.

Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 6 Eren Mikasa

But not all of the Scouts are only going along begrudgingly with Eren's plan. A heated exchange of words between Jean and Floch reveals that while Jean hates the fact that they're being forced to fight other Eldians -- as was the first part of Season 3's focus -- the latter soldier sees things from Eren's point of view: Marley has been happily slaughtering islanders in their homes for years, so why not give them a taste of their own medicine?

What Episode 6 of Attack on Titan Season 4 makes clear is that though the Scouts are more formidable than ever, there are deep divisions starting to worm their way through the forces that bind the tightknit group. Killing a common and inhuman-seeming enemy united the Survey Corps through the toughest times of any of their lives in previous seasons. But with Eren going rogue and an all-too-human foe in front of them, the disharmony can't be ignored.

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