WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 4, Episode 12 of Attack on Titan, "Guides," now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Amazon Prime and Hulu.
The final season of Attack on Titan is starting to build towards something big -- we're just not sure what exactly that is yet. But one thing has become clear. As of Season 4, Episode 12, "Guides," Yelena is simply not what she seems. At first, she seemed like a background character without much personal motivation in the anime, but this latest episode reveals not only that she does have something motivating her, but she's also been scheming to achieve it. What makes Yelena so dangerous and what could this villain-in-the-making possibly be planning?
The first major warning sign is the fact that she met with Eren prior to the Marley attack -- unbeknownst to the rest of the Scouts or the government in general. She only relinquishes this information to Commander Pyxis because the disastrous mission in Marley is over. This choice puts all of her fellow volunteers at risk, as they're now under suspicion as to whether they were involved in the mission against Marley or not. Yelena admits this fact, but she must've known that her choices would affect her comrades -- something she seems relatively unbothered by.
Later in the episode, Hange reveals that Yelena has placed volunteers in inconspicuous jobs in places like restaurants. Hange is dubious of her intentions and it's clear why. After the bombing of the Premier, who knows what other public venues are vulnerable? It's hard not to connect the bombing and Yelena's weird placement of the volunteers. Could they be plotting similar events in public spaces to get the most attention and the most casualties?
It's also worth noting that Yelena has openly admitted her obsession with Zeke Yeager. Her reverence for him alone is a thing to be feared. The Jeagerists are one thing; loyal to Eren as the savior of Paradis and Eldia. But Yelena views Zeke as some type of god and is absolutely devoted to him in the literal sense of the word. Obsession can drive people, like Yelena, to do things they normally wouldn't do, regardless of rationality, especially if it also means her history of oppression can somehow be redeemed.
Commander Pyxis is suspicious too, especially now that he knows she met with Eren in secret to potentially plot the Marley invasion. He knows she's keeping her secrets under a tight lid, but at the moment, there is nothing to do except wait and see how her plans unfold -- unless he or Hange can start to see her pattern. Yelena has nothing to lose and everything to gain in this situation, which is perhaps why she volunteered in the first place to join Paradis' side.
Everything is coming to a head all at once in Attack on Titan's final and it's easy for Yelena to get lost in the chaos. But the Scouts should be paying closer attention to her, especially now that she's coordinated the volunteers into what might be strategic positions all around the district. Even though the Jaegerists have now been publicized, Yelena seems somehow disconnected from them, as evidenced by her not being there to greet Eren upon his prison break. What we do know is that her motives lay somewhere near Zeke's, and she could potentially be the most dangerous person for him to align himself with considering how deeply she worships him.
Yelena has been slinking around the corners of Season 4 so far but clearly, she has something up her sleeve that is slowly coming to fruition. Who knows how far back her plan goes... She already planned the betrayal of Marley upon arrival on Paradis, so it's possible her partnership with Zeke goes even further back. She's quiet, respectful and (mostly) honest, which makes it hard for the Scouts to label her as dangerous. But the truth is she's exactly that -- we just don't know how or why yet.