So this is me before I watched this episode:
“Alright AoT, I know you made it pretty obvious what you’re about to do next. I’m not sure if I’m really on board with Eren coming back as a Titan, but let’s see how you play it out. I’m still kind of holding out hope that you’ll just let him stay dead so I can see how that plays out”
Then I watched the episode.
Of course, it turned out to be pretty much exactly what I think we all expected. The rouge Titan with the vaguely Eren-esque features turned out to be Eren after all. Added bonus, he pops out of the Titan at the end completely healed and seemingly alive.
As predictable as this might’ve seemed the way the rest of the episode played out made it pretty forgivable. When I look back on the last few episodes I feel like AoT basically tried to pull of the same character development strategy as shows like Gurren Lagan; i.e. sacrificing an important character in order to trigger growth in the other characters. In this case it was Armin and Mikasa in the earlier episodes.
Mikasa developed a little emotionally when dealing with Eren’s death and found a deeper resolve to fight and Armin started to develop his potential as a leader. There are two really nice things about this, the first is that it happened in a span of 2-3 episodes. Normally those kind of character developments take an entire season to slowly develop and are usually incredibly annoying. The second thing is that, even though his resurrection was predictable, Eren’s death was really believable. You really felt the death of the character was a legitimate influential force instead of just a trope-y plot device.
But now that this has all happened it’s time to work out the aftermath. First of all, you’ve got the obvious issue of explaining how Eren ended up inside a Titan, let alone controlling it. Then there’s still the issue of his father who was quickly introduced and then never talked about again. There’s also going to probably be the issue of recovering from the attack and how people treat Eren knowing that he was a Titan. Finally, they still have to figure out where the random “intelligent” Titans are coming from.
I actually believe that those things are intertwined. My guess is that the Titans are somehow connected to people. Either there some kind of medical or military experiment gone wrong, which would explain why a person could merge with one. I’d also guess that Eren’s father has something to do with the creation of the Titans. All of Eren’s flashbacks or dreams before where things that seemed to have really happened or were premonitions that were explained later. Except for the one of his father standing over him with a needle. Whatever was in that needle probably has to do with Eren’s transformation. If that’s the case, it means that there’s still “work” being done on the Titans, which would explain why new types of Titans are appearing.
Anyway, that’s just my speculation. I really hope the show continues to handle stuff as well as it has. Also, I still just love that opening theme song.