Attack On Titan Just Changed Everything We Know About Eren

Attack on Titan's anime series just changed everything we (thought we) knew about Eren Jaeger – and not in a good way. Episode 79 of Attack on Titan like a nightmarish version of Back to the Future, as Eren and Zeke traveled back through time via the Paths dimension to visit the memories of their father Grisha. We learn that not everything in Grisha Jaeger's backstory is at all what it's always seemed to be – and that one pivotal moment of truth changes everything we know about Eren Jaeger's place in Attack on Titan's story

(WARNING: Massive Attack on Titan Anime SPOILERS Follow!) 

Episode 79, "Memories of the Future", earns its title by revealing some key twists on what we thought was Attack on Titan's established backstory. 

The first big reveal is that the Attack Titan that Eren Jaeger has always held has its own special power: the power to see the memories of all future inheritors. That's a key piece of information as it establishes that the link between Grisha and Eren isn't a one-way trip down memory lane: Grisha was able to see the span of Eren's time with the Attack Titan – including the imminent (possible?) future of Eren's master plan. Based on Grisha's reaction to that knowledge, Eren may not be the heroic figure Attack on Titan first promised... 

To that point: Grisha Jaeger was depicted as being a calculating schemer who did unspeakable things like slaughtering the Reiss family and use both his sons, in order to avenge the Eldian people and his dead sister. However, Episode 79 of Attack on Titan paves over that image of Grisha Jaeger with an entirely new (and true) portrait.

Despite the horrors he faced from the bigotry of Marley and the Titan curse, Grisha Jaeger actually found happiness in Paradis Island. His second family brought him peace, and he found he deeply regretted losing his first family and son to the cycle of war and violence. We learn Grisha never "forced" or "brainwashed" Eren to carry on the legacy of Eldian revolution on his back – he let his son be free to choose any kind of life he wanted. What we instead learn is that when Eren committed the bloody act of saving young Mikasa and killing her attackers – that was simply Eren's own dark stance on achieving "peace" by eliminating threats. 

(Photo: MAPPA)

The final truth about Eren Jaeger comes in the reveal that the pivotal moment of judgment in Grisha Jaeger's life (his slaughter of the Reiss family and theft of the Founding Titan) did not happen as we all thought. Grisha faltered at the moment of bloody conflict with the Reiss family and Freida Reiss; however, it was Eren, using the power of the Attack Titan who went back in time to coerce his father into doing the deed, in the name of protecting Eren and saving the world. After the slaughter, Grisha was left half-crazed and broken, screaming at Eren whether this horrific event was worth the future his son promised. 

Who is Eren Jaeger? By the end of Attack on Titan Episode 79 it seems like Eren is a kind of fundamentalist that may turn out to be more frightening than any of the foes(?) he's faced throughout this series. Our "hero" just put a hit out on kids, and both his dad and half-brother are standing against him. Even more disturbing than the thought of what Eren has done, is wondering how long he's had the full power of the Attack Titan's memories unlocked – and how long he's known what was done in the past – and what the world might yet be in the future, via the next Attack Titan users. 

Could Eren still be a "good guy" working on a long game that extends over generations? 

Attack on Titan is streaming it final anime episodes on Funimation and Hulu.