Episode 41 of Attack on Titan is very appropriately entitled, “Trust.” Hanji rescues Flegel from Interior Police troops who seek to kill him, but should he trust her and the scouts? Levi and the others capture Hitch and Marlo, who decides he wants to join them: should they trust him? And should Hitch and Marlo trust Levi’s words about Annie?
I think it’s relatively easy to take people for their word when failure doesn’t affect us very much, but when a situation is dire, it gets harder—Flegel more so than what we might experience. Hanji tells him he should join them and do what’s right, even at the expense of his life. Flegel’s response is, well, human.
Maybe you’re different from me—maybe you’re like Hanji, willing to make the right choice in any situation. I would say this, though—maybe you were built that way. Maybe you were raised with such character. Maybe you just have more integrity.
I feel Flegel, because I often say the same in a situation—I’m not going to do what’s right because the cost is too high.
And then, sometimes, I’m like Jean. Marlo shows character by agreeing to do what he feels is right. When Jean tests him, Marlo wonders why he is taking the dangerous route.
Jean, I believe, is going with the flow. He’s caught up in all this and hasn’t made a choice one way or another. He keeps moving forward.
I’m like that sometimes, too—I’ll go along with some situation without thinking or I’ll just dismiss it from my mind, forgetting that people need help. When I consider suffering halfway across the world while I live in peace, I act this way, or when I drive by a homeless person, I also choose to dismiss their situation in my kind. Whether I go with the flow or expunge troublesome thoughts, either way, I’m choosing not to think.
What’s interesting is that by episode’s end, Flegel has decided to act in his father’s footsteps, which means dangerously acting against the government. And Ultimately, I think Jean will also make a choice. Right now, he’s confused, but I think Jean will realize that he’s a much better man than he gives himself credit for, that he loves his friends and would sacrifice himself for them. And so while Jean isn’t necessarily the gold standard, being like Horseface isn’t all that bad. His way is both real and good—and I could do a lot worse than that.