5 ‘Attack on Titan’ Moments That Foreshadowed Eren’s Dark Turn

Attack on Titan Season 4 has thrown a number of twists viewers’ way, but perhaps none so surprising as Eren Jaeger’s recent turn. At the end of Attack on Titan Episode 80, the anime’s main character announces his plan to eradicate all life outside of Paradis Island. This surprised his friends and comrades, as well as some of the show’s fans. However, these five moments foreshadowed Eren’s dark turn before it happened.

Eren Jaeger in 'Attack on Titan' Season 4 Part 2. The image shows a side profile of his face and he's angry and shouting.
Eren Jaeger in ‘Attack on Titan’ | Hajime Isayama/Kodansha

Killing the men who kidnapped Mikasa

Attack on Titan Season 1 flashes back to the day Mikasa joined Eren’s family, and it paints a disturbing picture of Eren at an early age. Although viewers can hardly feel bad for the men who killed Mikasa’s parents — and attempted to traffick her — the ease with which Eren eliminates them is unsettling.

Eren is only 10 years old when Attack on Titan opens, and he’s even younger when he saves Mikasa. However, the series’ main character shows little emotion after taking three lives. In fact, he tells his father the world is better off for his decision. And even if he’s right, his statement highlights his willingness to play god, especially when he believes it’s for a righteous cause.

Eren’s reason for joining the Survey Corps

Before Eren joins the Survey Corps, he receives a visit from Captain Levi and Commander Erwin. Suspicious after discovering Eren’s ability to transform into a Titan, they question his motive for choosing the Scouts. His answer? He wishes to “slaughter every Titan that crosses” his path.

That sounds great to Levi and Erwin, but Eren’s bloodlust when he says this proves his quest for freedom was always tangled in anger and vengeance. It’s no wonder he turned his sights on those behind Paradis Island’s persecution after he realized Titans weren’t the true enemy.

Eren’s final words in ‘Attack on Titan’ Season 3

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Attack on Titan Season 3 ends with some major revelations, including the fact that Titans aren’t the true enemy. Instead, Eren and his comrades learn about the humans on the other side of the sea. And Eren’s last words as they stare out across the ocean tease what comes later.

As Attack on Titan‘s third season closes, Eren points toward the outside world and asks, “If we kill all our enemies over there, will we finally be free?” It’s an eerie moment, even without knowing what’s coming. But learning Eren’s true intentions in season 4, it seems he was always willing to go this far in order to obtain freedom.

The Survey Corps’ visit to the outside world

Attack on Titan Season 4’s flashbacks of the Survey Corps visiting the outside world highlight the shift in Eren’s demeanor. Although the series’ main character always went to great lengths for freedom, his passion seems to die as he learns more about the outside world.

While Armin, Mikasa, and the others attempt to enjoy their visit to foreign nations, Eren becomes increasingly aloof. Viewers can see the light leaving his eyes as he realizes how many people have stood by and watched Marley destroy Paradis Island. In hindsight, he was probably coming to terms with the fact that no one was coming to save them — and that he might need to take extreme measures in order to achieve his ends.

Pushing Armin and Mikasa away in ‘Attack on Titan’ Season 4

Attack on Titan Season 4 opens with Eren separated from Mikasa and Armin, and the anime’s lead does everything he can to maintain that distance. During the first half of the final season, Eren attempts to provoke both of his friends. He says horrible things to Mikasa, and he picks a fight with Armin that escalates into a physical altercation.

Many questioned why Eren would push his two closest friends away during his fight against Marley. Now it seems they have an answer. Eren likely knew his childhood friends wouldn’t approve of his use of the Founder. However, he feels this is his only way to save his people. He probably didn’t want to risk them convincing him otherwise — or worse, give them the chance to prevent his grand plan.

Attack on Titan is currently streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu.

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