One Piece certainly ended on a moment last time around where you really
felt like every other character in the midst of that battle where you're
wide-eyed and staring at what just happened. With Squard having made an
appearing, to the surprise of some to be sure, he manages to be the one
to get close enough to Whitebeard to thrust his sword right through his
chest. With Sengoku having laid out numerous plans to deal with this
kind of battle, not all of which have gone well, Squard's attack is one
that managed to get the closest and caused the most surprise across the
board. Especially for poor Ace who continues to watch all of this while
in chains and unable to move.
What comes of it is a surprise, one that throws the motion of the show off a bit even as things are picking up the pace even more. Squard's attack has him revealing that there may be a deal afoot between Whitebeard and Sengoku where none of his pirates nor Ace will be hurt. Squard's story takes him back to when he first met him and became an ally of his and eventually found himself siding with Ace for quite some time. Squard's information is intriguing to be sure though as it paints Whitebeard as being able to sail into the Navy and get Ace back at the expense of his allies, the non-Whitebeard pirates, which Squard realizes means everyone else will get picked off or captured and leaves Whitebeard in the prime position to become the King of Pirates with no real competition.
It's a compelling case based on the circumstances and with the battle going as it has been and the way they all feel trapped now by events and the actions that have taken place, the seed of doubt has most certainly been planted. Even with the very strong bonds that Whitebeard has fostered with his family angle, Squard has fed that doubt and it's not that everyone is about to turn on him, but they've been stopped in their tracks (when not attacked for a moment) by the potential revelation. Whitebeard's style throughout this definitely fits with what we've seen before, but there's something more to all of it when it gets down to the core of what's going on with him. The emotion here, the bonds of it all, is well played and adds another excellent layer to the show even if it is a bit overly dramatic, which fits in perfectly with the show and the nature of this fight.