|Almost all of them died without ever knowing that humanity existed outside the Walls. Still... 'As long as this island is free, that's good enough.' Do you think a single one of them would've been so selfish as to say that? We only have one chance to stop this slaughter... and it's now.|
|— Hange Zoë chooses to oppose Eren's genocide|
The remnants of the Survey Corps, Marleyan military, and Anti-Marleyan Volunteers gather in a small and wary group to stop Eren Yeager. Still, several of them find it difficult to understand and trust one another, given that they have been fighting for so long. Annie Leonhart is concerned that Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert have no alternative if they fail to reason with Eren, and Jean Kirstein learns the truth behind the death of Marco Bott. But they also realize that they have only been fighting because none of them took the time to talk before, and they are now. Despite this, enraged at Marco's death, Jean attacks Reiner Braun.
Hange Zoë plans to go to the harbor and retrieve Kiyomi Azumabito's flying boat to approach the Founding Titan, but once they are on their way, Pieck Finger returns from scouting ahead to announce that the Yeagerists are aware of their plans and have already taken over the harbor.
Jean Kirstein imagines a world where his life as a soldier is over, and he is living in peace with his wife and child thanks to the battles they have fought, but he cannot ignore the knocking on his window from Hange Zoë, letting him know that they are outside. Reluctantly, he comes out to meet Hange and Mikasa Ackerman.
Hange briefs the two of them on Levi Ackerman's present condition and how they joined forces with Theo Magath and Pieck Finger to stop Eren Yeager. Given the destruction of the island's military structure, Hange no longer feels that they can be considered Jean and Mikasa's commanding officer, but Hange still wants their help. Hange feels that their current team is powerless without Jean and Mikasa's assistance or that of the Nine Titans.
Mikasa agrees, hoping to spare Eren from any additional attacks, even if he ultimately means to protect her or Paradis Island. Jean is skeptical. Even if they stop Eren, that will not end the world's hatred of them. That will take decades to end, and Eren would only possess the Founding Titan for another four years due to the Curse of Ymir.
Hange and Jean debate over the hypotheticals, and whether they could realistically buy time by stopping Eren. Jean points out nothing they have tried so far has worked, which is why Eren decided that it was necessary to wipe out the rest of the world. Hange snaps, refusing to accept or support genocide as a solution.
A moment later, Hange apologizes and acknowledges that their idealism led Eren to his current path. Hange wanted to run away and forget everything, but they are still the 14th commander of the Survey Corps, and they cannot forget their devotion to the freedom of humanity. Most of their comrades died without knowing the truth about the world outside the Walls, and they wonder if any of the fallen soldiers would be so narrow-minded as to only wish for freedom for those on the island. Hange believes they have only one chance to stop the slaughter, and it is now.
Jean agrees, saying that he is still a member of the Survey Corps.
The following night, after the rescue of Yelena and Onyankopon, a diverse group consisting of the Survey Corps, Marleyan soldiers, and Anti-Marleyan Volunteers gather around a campfire while Hange is cooking. Hange encourages them to help out instead of staring each other down, while Magath marvels at the fact they are united at all, given the time they spent trying to kill each other. He does not understand why the Survey Corps is willing to help him, given that they will get a world of freedom if they let Eren go.
Hange reminds him that they do not want genocide, which Magath misconstrues as seeing the side of justice, prompting Jean to bring up all the Titans Marley has sent at them over the years. Jean says that is why they fought so hard, and Magath retorts that thanks to their dedication, Marley's fears about Paradis have come true.
As the two dig deeper into historical grievances, Hange calls an end to their bickering, reminding them that none of the people present saw anything that happened two thousand years ago. Hange explains for Magath's benefit that the group of them in the Survey Corps have lived in the outside world for a few months so they cannot go back to being ignorant "island devils."
Annie Leonhart asks if that means Eren's friends are capable of killing him now. Mikasa does not believe that killing him is the only way to stop him, but Annie is undeterred. She pushes Mikasa and Armin Arlert for a last resort plan should Eren not listen to reason, but they do not answer. Annie believes they will end up fighting again if the Warriors try to kill Eren. She doubts Mikasa, in particular, has ever considered anything to be more important than him.
As Mikasa prepares to face her, Annie flicks out the barb on her ring so she can injure herself, but before they clash, she tells Mikasa that she understands how she feels. The only reason she wants to stop Eren is to protect her father. If Mikasa can convince Eren, so much the better, and they should not fight until it comes down to that. Mikasa agrees.
Hange announces that the stew is ready, and lays out the plan as everyone eats. They are going to rely on Kiyomi Azumabito's flying boat to approach the Founding Titan, but before that, they need to locate the Founder itself. Magath says that is why he requested Yelena's capture. However, Yelena is uncooperative. Connie Springer is surprised, expecting that she would want to save her homeland, but Magath and Pieck reveal that is not the case. Yelena is Marleyan. Disillusioned with her own country, she came up with a story after she met Zeke Yeager, one which would paint a picture of her saving the world with a prince.
Yelena is unbothered by the truth, and explains that she does not see her actions as any different from the ones they are currently taking. They also say they are saving the world, and in her eyes they are using it as an excuse to pretend their hatred for each other never existed. She calls out how Reiner Braun and Annie killed numerous citizens of Paradis, including former comrades. Yelena questions Armin's tactics at the port in the city and how someone so sensible could recklessly destroy the Marleyan naval fleet using the Colossus Titan, showing everyone the extent of the power he stole from Bertolt Hoover. She then talks about how the Survey Corps, in turn, wreaked havoc on Liberio, taking few casualties because they were so effective against military and civilians alike. Yelena does not omit more personal wounds either, such as how Jean nearly killed Falco Grice, and Gabi Braun succeeded in killing Sasha Blouse.
Jean breaks the silence by telling Hange the stew is great and asks for seconds. He expresses gratitude for Yelena airing their grudges so they can put them behind them, but she does not let him off easily, suggesting that he ask about Marco Bott.
Annie begins to explain that she was the one who took off Marco's vertical maneuvering equipment, but Reiner adds that she only did so under his orders. Marco had overheard Reiner and Bertolt speaking and they were afraid of being found out, so they removed his gear and left him to be eaten by a Titan.
Jean asks if Marco had said anything to them at the end, and Reiner replies that Marco said, "We haven't even tried to talk this out yet." It is the reason that all of them have been fighting against each other. If they had talked sooner, this bloodshed could have been avoided. Hange says that it is not too late to start. Though they would not have imagined it before, they are all eating around a fire now.
Reiner still feels guilt over Marco's death and does not want forgiveness, but is unable to stop talking about his feelings even though Jean no longer wants to hear about it. After an unrequested apology, Jean gets up and throttles Reiner. Connie and Armin have to pull him away and he accidentally kicks Gabi when she tries to protect her cousin. The shock of hitting her gets Jean to stop.
Falco runs up, asking if she is all right, but Gabi turns to Jean and tells him that they wanted to slaughter the people of Paradis so the world would accept and forgive them, but now everyone they care about is going to be taken away because of it. She apologizes and asks Jean and the other Survey Corps members to help them stop the Rumbling.
Jean asks to be let go and stalks off into the woods. Gabi despairs over his departure, and in the woods, Jean holds his head in agony.
The next morning, Jean lets Gabi know that he does intend to help them, and they leave for the harbor in a pair of wagons. He apologizes to Gabi for kicking her, but does not apologize to Reiner, who accepts that. Pieck approaches the group in her Cart Titan after having scouted ahead, and informs them that the Yeagerists have captured the harbor. They must have gone ahead using the steam engine and they are currently prepared for battle, with soldiers equipped with anti-Titan gear.
Inside the harbor, Floch Forster stands behind a captive Kiyomi with a pistol in hand.