|We're not good people anymore.|
|— Armin comes to terms with the Survey Corps' new role|
Erwin Smith presents Dot Pixis with his proposal to overthrow the Royal Government. The commanders discuss the risks involved in doing so, and Pixis challenges Erwin to convince him of the value of his plan. While they wait for a messenger to arrive with news crucial to the plan, Erwin reveals his backstory and the event that shaped his life: his father's death at the hands of the government. Hange and Levi carry out the interrogation of the captured members of the Interior Squad, brutally torturing Djel Sannes for information. His screams disturb the younger members overhearing this. They realize just how far they may have to go to win. Sannes finally breaks and discloses a crucial secret: the Reiss family is the true royal bloodline. Armed with this information, Erwin finalizes his plan by proposing that they install Historia as the new Queen.
Erwin Smith begins explaining his proposition to Commander Pixis to dethrone King Fritz and displace the Royal Government. After brief thought, Pixis admits that he knew one day when they would no longer have the capacity to accept those seeking shelter in their world, the time would come when he would have to point his gun towards the king. However he confesses that an old soldier such as himself does not have the power to lead his subordinates towards a fight for mankind, Erwin then tells him that he is seeking Pixis' authority to judge him. Pixis agrees to listen to Erwin's plan and if he is persuaded he will abandon his current position and join the Survey Corps with loyalty to operations no matter how gruesome. However, if he is not persuaded he threatens to throw Erwin to the gallows.
Briefly, Pixis examines the idea of beheading the king and the reaction humanity may take to that. He mentions that even during the fall of Wall Maria when over 20 percent of the population was destroyed, riots did not happen. He theorizes that because everyone was forced into the same Wall, they shared the same fate. Starting a war would mean bringing destruction to the world. The royal families, kings, and people that governed over humanity before the Walls remained a peace symbol and a form of emotional support for the people. Pixis challenges Erwin to show him a world without a revolution of bloodshed. Continuing with his explanation, Erwin proposes that they plan to exchange the kings head without Military forces or killing. He admits that he does not have the key factor allowing that plan to work and that if it is wrong then he will probably be killed. As he waits for the information to arrive, Erwin discusses some of his childhood analogies with Pixis.
During Erwin's childhood, his father was a teacher. One day in his father's classroom, they were learning about history and how they had managed to create a utopia within the Walls. After that, Erwin posed a question to his father and without an answer, the class was ended. Later at his home, his father answered the question and stated that the history textbooks provided by the government contained many mysteries and contradictions.
Even if these mysteries were not contained in the book, past generations would be able to pass them on and keeping information regarding the outside world would be almost impossible. His father then shared a story with him and he could not fathom the reason for it not being appropriate for the class. Erwin then told the other children of the story and his father never returned home. It was revealed to Erwin that his father had been killed in an accident in a town far away from home. However, according to Erwin's sources, his father had been killed by the government so his theory could not be exposed. People became Titans, and Titans became Walls.
Erwin states that memories are erased too easily, and Pixis confirms he means to state that without a revolution the community inside the Walls would never change. Erwin theorizes that the government wants to use Eren and his ability to control Titans with his scream. Though Pixis assumes it would be to keep Titans away from mankind, Erwin discloses that Eren's scream would be used to protect the royal families standings and ownerships. Just then, Nifa dashes into the room with a message containing the information Erwin had been waiting on.
A few hours prior, Hange and Levi begin their torture of Djel Sannes by ripping out his nails for information. Levi's squad overhears his screams and are visibly unsettled as they realize how far they will have to go to win. Armin begins to theorize how to get the people on their side, he suggests possibly taking advantage of the confusion caused by the repeated Titan attacks by rousing the public to shift responsibility on the monarchy. Armin worries about putting lives in danger but states its for the good of mankind. He also proposes causing a significant accident and making it look as though it were caused by the monarchy. Seeing the discomfort of his friends, he claims to be joking. He states that they are now criminals and they may have to kill enemies with a different way of thinking. He also claims that they are no longer good people.
Continuing the interrogation, Levi punches Sannes and Hange shows him all ten of his fingernails on a plate, smiling and asking how many they would have to rip out to get as good as he was at it. Sannes explains that the peace within the Walls was actually created by someone. He states that the Interior squad got their hands dirty by eliminating anybody who challenged the order of the Walls with ideas, inventions, or actions seen as unfit, such as the death of Historia's mother. Levi then grabs Sannes' face, stating he understands he did his best in his own way. He then further breaks his nose and threatens to punish him if he does not answer his questions properly. He asks him who the Reiss family are, to which Sannes responds by saying they are the kind of aristocratic family they would find anywhere. Levi then asks if they have the right to disclose information about the Titans inside the Walls and if it is them trying to keep people away from the Walls using religion, and why they are doing this instead of the royal family. Sannes claims to have said all he knows and Hange quickly pushes a pair of pliers into his mouth and rips out a tooth stating he took too long to answer. Sannes then proclaims that he has never seen someone enjoy hurting someone so much and admits to enjoying hurting someone who can not defend themselves. He then implores them to torture him to death. He claims that they are monsters and that he has the king and believes in the security of the Walls. He also states that what they have done is not wrong, that he wants to believe but it was so painful. He again asks them to torture him to death because his entire life is covered in blood. Hange and Levi then set down their tools and leave to take a break.
As Sannes begins to say his last words to himself, he overhears Hange and Levi speaking with his comrade Ralph about giving up the information so quickly, and he begins to panic. Levi is then seen holding a knife to Ralph's throat as he explains that Sannes was always crazy and he does not care if he dies. Hange is then shown holding the script he is being forced to read, and Ralph continues to say that they can kill him off and everything he told them so far was true. As Hange and Levi re-enter the room, Hange states that they will begin torturing him to death as he wishes, asking him which testicle he would rather lose first. At this threat, Sannes reveals his secret: the Reiss family is the true royal bloodline.
Elsewhere, Erwin receives this crucial information from Nifa's message. He proudly states that his bet was true and it is possible to change the king without killing anyone, so long as they can enthrone Historia Reiss as the true Queen.