The first impactful thing Reiner says after coming home is about how he endured his mission on Paradis Island. To our quiet discomfort, he describes all the Survey Corp members he was close with, in a twisted and negative way.
Just like how Marleyans would like to think of them.
And yet, the next shot shows his mother shocked beyond belief. Why was that?
The twist lies in the stories Reiner used.
He uses the story of Sasha stealing a potato and breaking it into uneven pieces in an attempt to say they have no sense of fairness. The fact that she stole it shows how they don’t fear anything, rules or otherwise, says Reiner.
Then he talks about Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, saying they would go headfirst into danger along with their friends.
Reiner even described how Connie came to the bathroom once only to forget what he came for, trying to portray it very negatively.
He tried to twist these incidents as much as possible by framing them in extreme views. But really, how far can you twist incidents like that?
Some are even funny.
This is what shocked Reiner’s parents.
Marleyans indoctrinated Liberio Eldians their entire lives that everyone on Paradis Island are monsters. Now, everything they hear Reiner say, no matter how much he twists them, sounds nothing like any monster.
This was against the very foundation of what brainwashed Eldians in Marley have in their minds.
Reiner’s parents couldn’t, and certainly didn’t, want to process that horrible realization. Instead, they justified their established belief, saying Paradis Eldians are monsters who abandoned them in Marley.
This scene can be confusing at first watch because Reiner himself doesn’t show any sentiment that goes against the Marleyan narrative. He is portraying Paradis Eldians in the worst light he can.
His parents’ reaction, therefore, takes a moment to make sense.
It’s not about Reiner’s conclusions, which are completely conventional, that shock them. Instead, it’s the stories he uses, which are all very normal, and certainly all very human, that do.