A funny thing happened on the way to the conclusion of the Krista-Ymir arc. That is to say, I actually found myself missing the main trio by the start of this fourth episode. Not surprising with Armin, who’s probably the most interesting mind in the cast, but even to a certain extent Mikasa and Eren. I can’t fully explain this, because the minute they’re on-screen I still find both of them incredibly annoying (for completely different reasons). But I guess on some level it doesn’t really feel like Attack on Titan without the original core somewhere in the narrative. And my affection for that feeling is a bit stronger than I thought it was.
Maybe part of it too was that I was just kind of ready for this diversion to come to a close, though on the whole it’s been a pretty good one. The way this episode jumped straight into flashback, in fact, almost made me think I was watching the fifth episode of the first season and not the second – but the point here was to give us the explanation of how Krista and Ymir got where they got. I still don’t know if we’ve heard the full story on Krista (real name “Historia”) – her being the illegitimate bastard of an important church figure explains her exile to the survey corps, but not necessarily why they remain so fixated on her.
As for Ymir, though she certainly seems dead I’m not sure her story has fully been told either. As the third (unless I mis-counted) human-titan crossover she represents a priceless piece of narrative evidence, and I don’t think the reasons why she latched onto Krista have been fully explained (though that could just by my cynicism at play). It’s interesting that the three hu-titans are all superficially different – Eren had no clue about his true nature (though to be fair he barely has a higher-functioning central nervous system), Annie seems to have been actively working against humanity as a sleeper agent, and Ymir was something in-between – she knew what she was, but seemed to be siding with the humans out of genuine will, not subterfuge. Though at this point, that’s all speculation.
What does seem clear is that Ymir told Krista the truth (or at least part of it) about herself on that fateful snowy night, that Krista lied about it to the others, and that Rainer strongly suspected that she did. One of the seemingly endless layers of the onion has certainly been peeled away here, and there are enough people with half a brain amongst the humans to put the evidence together and figure out something very strange is going on with all these kyoujin inside a wall with no breach in it. But these are all just small pieces of the puzzle for now, one we’ll surely be dancing around the edges of for the rest of this season. When you put a jigsaw together you start with two places: the edges, and the images you can pretty much figure out. And that’s the exact approach Shingeki no Kyoujin seems to be taking with its conspiracy plot.