WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 57 of Attack On Titan, "That Day."
The latest episode of Attack on Titan is a Grisha Jaeger origin story, but it also connects the dots for some more recent history directly linked to his son, Eren.
On a macro level, we learn Grisha’s bloodline is that of the Eldia race -- which is blessed with the unique potential to become Titans thanks to a deal that their progenitor, Ymir Fritz, struck with the "Earth Devil" about 2,000 years ago. From this mysterious being, Ymir and her kin gained the genetic blueprints to become Titans. This advantage put them at odds with just about every other human faction, particularly when they exploited it to establish a global Empire.
Naturally, their marginalized subjects fought back, with the Marleyans stealing seven of the nine Titan powers that branched off from Ymir, and turning the tables on the Eldians. While King Karl Fritz isolated and lobotomized a large swathe of his people inside the walled kingdom of Paradis Island (Eren's home), the Eldians left on the main continent of Marley became second-class citizens.
80 years on from the Great Titan War, Marley's imbalanced hierarchy leads Grisha to become one of the leaders of the Eldian "Restorationists." He also meets and marries a member of the Eldian royal family, Dina Fritz. This is where we get into the nitty gritty of the complicated Jaeger family.
The couple have a son named Zeke, who, between the ages of five and seven, becomes at risk of being taken by the Marleyan government to become a "Warrior" -- a carrier of one the seven Titan powers under the government's control. Warriors would then be used to attack Paradis Island and plunder it for its rich fossil fuel deposits.
Grisha and Dina plan to allow their son to be taken so that he can become their inside man. That name and that destiny makes it clear that this child, Eren’s half brother, has to be the Beast Titan. (Plus, he mentioned Grisha to Eren during their recent run-in.) As if to reinforce this inference, Zeke can be seen playing with an ape-like doll as a child.
Shockingly, we learn Zeke betrayed his revolutionary parents to save his law-abiding grandparents, which is the last we see of him in this episode. Our best guess at this point is that, given he's been the one mounting the extended assault on Paradis Island and refers to Reiner and Bertholdt -- the Armored and Colossal Titans, respectively -- as his "Warriors," that Zeke has been acting as a Marleyan agent this whole time.
This isn't the only revelation we get about the Jaeger family, though. As Dina and Grisha are brought to outer wall of Marley to be transformed into mindless Titans -- their "life sentence" for their planned coup -- Dina tearfully promises her husband that, even in Titan form, they'd find each other again. She's injected with spinal fluid by a sadistically gleeful Marleyan law enforcer, and takes on Titan form... a very familiar Titan form.
Yes, that's right: Dina is the "Smiling Titan" who ate Eren's mom. She's also the same Titan that her husband's youngest son got his revenge on at the climax of Season 2. What are we supposed to draw from this twist? That Dina deliberately targeted Grisha’s new family? Or that it's just a fateful coincidence in an unfair and cruel world? Either way, it's groan-inducingly silly. But, this is Attack on Titan we're talking about. There's no room for subtly, and plenty of room for families chowing down on each other.
New episodes of Attack on Titan are available to stream on Crunchyroll and FUNimation, and air every Saturday night as part of Adult Swim's Toonami block.