|Reiner is dead. If you need Marcel, I'll be Marcel.|
|— Reiner Braun convincing Annie Leonhart to continue their mission|
Reiner Braun recalls his youth when he trained as a Warrior so that his Eldian mother and Marleyan father could live together. Faced with many struggles and shortcomings, Reiner's dream kept his resolve alive. He recalls his final days in Warrior training when he, Bertholdt Hoover, Annie Leonhart, and Marcel Galliard were sent to Paradis Island to reclaim the Founding Titan.
On their journey, Reiner learned that Marcel set him up to inherit the Armored Titan instead of his brother. Reiner's shock was worsened when, shortly afterward, a Titan consumed Marcel. The Warriors lost hope for their mission after Marcel's death, but Reiner's determination to live and succeed spurred his comrades on. Meanwhile, Falco Grice continues to struggle with his Warrior training, becoming more and more convinced that he has no hope of inheriting the Armored Titan and saving Gabi Braun's life. On his way home from the Warriors' headquarters, Falco meets a wounded soldier who wants to speak with him.
Karina Braun sat next to young Reiner Braun, explaining to him why his father was not around. Reiner's father was a Marleyan, and since relations between Eldians and Marleyans were strictly forbidden, he could not be with them. Karina tearfully wished they were Marleyan. Back in the present, Reiner lies in his old room and recalls how he strove to become a Warrior so that he and his mother could be Marleyans.
One day after training, Zeke Jaeger, another candidate, announced to his fellow candidates that an attack on Paradis Island was being planned to commence in a few years, and that the time for the next Warriors to be chosen was drawing near. However, only six of the seven candidates would be chosen to inherit their Titans. Reiner was ecstatic to hear that he would soon become a Marleyan. Porco Galliard, annoyed at Reiner's optimism, reminded him that the only positive trait he had demonstrated as a candidate was his intense loyalty, which would not be enough to gain one of the seven Titans in Marley's possession.
Reiner, believing Porco to be making light of the Warriors' mission, threatened to report him to the commander, resulting in Porco angrily striking him. As Marcel Galliard separates the two, Porco mocked Reiner before leaving, and Marcel apologized to Reiner. Bertholdt helped Reiner up, who despaired at the thought of not being chosen for one of the Titans. Bertholdt reassured him that there was still a chance for him to be chosen based on his loyalty.
As the two went to catch up with their fellow candidates, Bertholdt asked Reiner if he was okay with becoming a Marleyan if it meant he only gets to live thirteen more years. Reiner replied that in thirteen years, he would be a hero for having defeated the devils living on Paradis Island and would make his parents proud.
As the newly-chosen Warriors used their Titans in battle, Marleyan officials observed from a safe distance. They observed the abilities of the Female, Armored, Jaw, Beast, Cart, and Colossal Titans, and one official admitted to feeling bad for the inhabitants of Paradis Island, the future victims of the Colossal. Magath conceded that the new Warrior unit outperformed their predecessors, but worried at the idea of sending children to retake the Founding Titan.
An incredulous Porco was furious to find out that Reiner had inherited the Armor, despite being the "worst" candidate. Reiner responded mockingly that it was actually Porco who was the worst candidate, and Marcel had to restrain his brother to stop him from attacking Reiner, advising Porco not to defy the military's decision. Porco broke down crying, and Marcel once again apologized to Reiner.
A parade was held for the four Warriors, during which Reiner spotted his father among the crowd. He followed the man to his kitchen. Reiner explained that, since he and his mother were now Honorary Marleyans, they would be able to live together with his father. He was interrupted by his father, who demanded that he leave, angrily telling him that should Reiner's heritage be revealed, his entire family would be killed as a result.
After arriving at Paradis Island the Warriors traveled to the Walls on horseback. While camping in the middle of the night, Bertholdt wondered whether it was true that the King of the Walls would not unleash the Founding Titan if they broke the Wall, but Reiner told him to believe in Marley's research. Marcel was similarly dejected, and Reiner began to worry that his comrades were having second thoughts about their mission, reminding them of all the harm the devils of Paradis Island brought to the world.
Ignoring Reiner's words, Marcel apologized to him again, confusing Reiner, then revealed that Porco was the one supposed to inherit the Armored Titan, and that Reiner was only chosen after Marcel had criticized Porco to the military while talked favorably about Reiner, all in order to keep his brother safe.
Reiner was left dumbfounded, to the point that he was unable to react when a Titan, awoken by the rising sun, rose up out of the ground and lunged at him. He was only saved by Marcel, who pushed Reiner out of the way and was grabbed by the Titan instead. The remaining Warriors fled as Marcel was devoured.
After running for some time, Reiner stopped at a tree to catch his breath. Noticing that he was all by himself, Reiner freaked out, fearing that Annie and Bertholdt had also been eaten. His thoughts were interrupted by a sudden kick from Annie, who observed that this had been the first time Reiner had outperformed her in a foot race. Annie told Reiner and Bertholdt that, had they not fled, the three of them could have captured the Titan and kept the Jaw Titan's power in their possession.
Annie ordered the two of them to follow her back, with the intention of retrieving the new holder of the Jaw Titan, and then returning back to report their mission as a failure. Reiner protested that they could not return. Annie corrected him, saying that he was the only one who could not go back, as he would be forced to give up his Titan to another Warrior for his failure.
Reiner pointed out that all three of them might be punished for their failure, before arguing that it would be pointless to pursue the Jaw Titan's new owner, as none of their Titans would be fast enough to catch them in their new Jaw Titan form; when Bertholdt asks how any could learn how to use its power that quickly, Reiner yells back that Bertholdt needed only one try to master the Colossal, shocking Bertholdt. He also argued that the only way to ensure that none of them were punished would be to return with the Founding Titan, that they have no going home without it.
Angered at Reiner's attempt to manipulate her and terrified at the thought that what he said may in fact be true that her own life is not guaranteed without the founding Titan, Annie lost her temper and brutally attacked Reiner, repeatedly kicking him in the face. She ranted that Marley does not care about them; they are seen only as weapons, that they have been manipulated and that she did not care about Eldia or Marley, and simply wanted to go home. When she finally relented, Reiner retaliated by knocking Annie to the ground and began strangling her, declaring that "Reiner" was dead and that he would become Marcel if they needed it. He then told them that that all they had to do was finish their mission; then and only then could the go home.
After using his Colossal Titan to break a hole in Wall Maria, Bertholdt exited his Titan and was terrified to see a Titan approaching him. Strangely, the Titan ignored Bertholdt.
As Reiner made his way through Shiganshina District in his Armored Titan form, he reflected on his motivations for becoming a Warrior and on Marcel's decision to sacrifice himself to save him. Deciding that he did not want the mission to end while he still understood nothing, Reiner charged at Shiganshina's inner gate, ready to destroy it.
Annie awoke in a refugee camp inside Wall Rose with Reiner and Bertholdt. Reiner embraced his companions, vowing to become a true Warrior.
While with the refugees, the three met a man from a small village in the southeast of Wall Maria that was destroyed by the Titans. At dawn, he suddenly heard the Titans' footsteps and opened a window to find one staring at him. He claimed after that he did not remember anything aside from escaping on his horse, leaving behind his three children. The man was later found hanging from a tree, having apparently committed suicide.
The three eventually joined Paradis' military, being placed in the 104th Cadet Corps. On his first day, when asked by his commandant why he had joined the military, Reiner declared that he was going to save humanity.
One day Annie tailed a member of the Military Police Regiment. She was quickly discovered, and attempted to convince the man that she was his illegitimate daughter, coming to reconnect with him, but the man easily saw through her ploy. Lashing out in self-defense, Annie fled and managed to escape the man through the sewers.
That night, Annie informed Reiner and Bertholdt of her encounter with that man. Fearing that her face was seen, Annie suggested that the three return to Marley and turn over what little information they had found. Reiner disagreed, arguing that what they had uncovered would not justify the five years they had spent on Paradis Island. He proposed to destroy Wall Rose instead, noting that it was the only way to smoke out the Founding Titan. Annie told Reiner that his friends would die in the process, but Reiner insisted that he did not care for any of his fellow cadets. As the three headed back, Bertholdt revealed that he was having a recurring dream about the suicide victim who told them his story years ago.
Sometime later, during ODM training, Reiner noticed Eren losing control of his gear. He tried to convince Eren to take a break before he got himself killed. Frustrated and despairing, Eren asked Reiner what he must do to improve himself. Recalling his own struggles as a Warrior candidate, Reiner simply told him to not get discouraged and continue moving forward. He helped Eren to his feet and encouraged him by stating he would be the one to exterminate the Titans.
Back in the present, Reiner loads a rifle and sticks the barrel in his mouth, preparing to commit suicide. Before he can go through with it, however, he is interrupted by the sound of Falco training outside. As he watches Falco leave, Reiner realizes that the new Warrior candidates are his reason to keep on living.
On his way back from training, Falco walks nearby a hospital, where the soldier whose armband he adjusted, invites the boy to sit down next to him. The soldier confides to Falco that he actually does not suffer from mental trauma like the other patients. He asks if Falco will rat him out to the staff, which he denies. The man asks Falco about his injuries and training, and Falco shares his fears that he will not be able to inherit the Armored Titan. The man points out that it is good Falco will live a long life and not have to die young, but Falco insists that he wants to save his friend's life, lamenting that he likely will not be able to, given her achievements during the war.
The man begins pondering his experiences in Marley. Noting the crippled and mentally broken soldiers around him in the hospital, he muses to Falco that the people who push themselves into hell see a different hell from the rest of them and that anyone able to throw themselves into war must be able to see something beyond it, be it another hell or another hope, and that only those who keep moving forward would know.
Currently Publicly Available Information
A unit of child soldiers consisting of Eldian "devils." Under command of the Marley army, they undergo harsh training and are selected based on their grades, skills, behavior, personality, and devotion to Marley. As only "devils" can inherit the Nine Titans, the existence of Eldians is crucial for the defense of Marley. As such, Eldians selected to become Warriors are granted "Honorary Marleyan" status along with their immediate family.
Characters in order of appearance
- This episode reuses scenes from To You, in 2000 Years: The Fall of Shiganshina, Part 1 and That Day: The Fall of Shiganshina, Part 2 in its depiction of the Fall of Wall Maria.