The final episode of the first season of The Promised Neverland has arrived. It shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise that the second season of The Promised Neverland was announced, set to premiere in 2020. Anyway, the episode begins with the children reaching the wall. In a flashback, we see that Phil is the mastermind behind the escape. He’s brilliant, he figured out the secret messages from William Minerva. In a series that has a number of genius children, is it plausible that a four year old can be this smart?
I would say no, but the series can’t work otherwise. Regardless, his age certainly meant that Isabella wouldn’t even think that he figured out what happens at the farm. Phil’s most important value of course is that Emma could leave the youngest children behind as they are in good hands. It would have been impossible to scale the wall while holding infants. Some might consider this a cop out of sorts. Emma never has to make the devastating decision to leave the children behind.
One of the shocking Revelations in this episode is that Ray is the son of Isabella. This seems to be a moot point considering that all the children considered Isabella their mother. That said, it’s strange that Ray didn’t tell anyone that she was his biological mother. Like with Sister, Isabella is humanized. Like Emma she hope to escape. Unlike Emma she failed to do so. In the end she seemed genuinely happy that Emma and the others escaped. The concerning problem for Isabella is how will she be treated after what must be a major failure on her part. This is probably the end for Isabella, but just the beginning for Emma and the other children.
To say this episode marks a major turning point in this series is the definition of an understatement. Emma reveals that she had never stopped planning their escape. Mom’s constant surveillance of Ray and Emma backfire as they are able to use this to their advantage. Emma leaves the rest of the training and preparation to Gilda and Don. Norman continued to plan the next phases of their escape. Ray continues his skepticism, and decides that he will sacrifice himself. He concludes that if he sets the house and then himself on fire Mom will be too distracted to pursue them.
Emma has other plans of course. She pretends that Ray set himself on, then she leaves while Isabella tries to put the fire out. In a shocking move, Emma cuts her ear off. She meets with the other children. The other kids were informed of the situation at the house and allowed to eavesdrop on the conversation they had with Sister. Emma had actually pretended to be devastated while giving orders to the other children. The plan largely works perfectly, until it turns out that Phil was left behind.
Of course this episode would put a wrench in the plot. Phil has always stood out, even considering the fact that he’s just 4 years old. The question is whose side is he on? It seems ridiculous to believe that with all this careful planning Emma and Norman wouldn’t have a plan that included making sure that all the kids were accounted for. Clearly, Phil is either in on the plot or a foil for it. Finally, I’m not convinced that Norman is dead. I predict that he will be helping them escape across the bridge.
With the massive cliff in their way, Norman develops a new plan. He concludes that Grace Field House is on “a hexagonal property surrounded by a cliff.” The only way to escape is to cross the bridge. However, Mom wants Norman. Before he goes he returns the tracker breaker and says his goodbyes. Emma still hopes that he’s willing to run away and hide, he refuses. He remembers his childhood when Emma visited him while ill. In this flashback, Isabella makes things feel odd. She is sending him to his death and caring for Norman reminds use of how fake she is. It undermines the sweet moment between him and Emma.
When it’s time for him to leave, Emma tries in vain to stop him. Mom threatens to kill her if she tries it again. Norman and Isabella walk to the bridge, where he waits for his death. Considering the fact that The Promised Neverland hasn’t been shy about showing the death of the children. Meaning that NOT showing Norman’s death is telling. Does that mean he won’t be killed, not really. However, his intellect is still intact so he may have a plan. At the house, Isabella seems to reveal in the misery of Emma and Ray. She attempts to break their spirit completely. In particular she tries to break the devastated Emma. Telling her to “give up.”
Isabella is actually right. If they could accept their fate the would be happier. However, how or why would they accept that. If their going to die, they may as well try to escape of at least make Isabella’s life miserable as well. She offer’s Emma a sponsorship to become a “Mom or a Sister.” What I found interesting is that while Emma and Ray became more miserable, Don and Gilda seemed fine. I get that they were close to Norman but they do know what happened to him. Ray’s final day arrives. He asks Emma if she really gave up? She returns a a smile.
The stakes are raised in this episode. Krone who made it clear from her first day, that her goal was to dethrone Isabella. Making her intentions know was always going to lead to her death I guess. When she is finally given the opportunity to expose Isabella to Grandma at the gate, it’s all for nothing. However, she’s left something for the children to discover. While I think Krone’s death was drawn out too much, it was rather sad to see. She remembers her life growing up as an orphan and learning to become a Mom. Her death is contrasted with the children eating, which was well done.
Isabella has shown herself to be more monstrous than previously thought. That’s the larger theme of this episode, Isabella is in control. Isabella had been moved to the back burner as the children plotted and dealt with Krone. Little did they know that Isabella was planning to take over control. She manages to abruptly end the plans. While, Emma and Norman begin the to implement their plan, Ray is informed that his services is no longer needed. She tells him that she “disposed” of Krone, and for a second I though Ray would die when he started coughing. She locks him in Krone’s old room.
The broken children
Ray is devastated from these event. He and Don head to save Emma and Norman. However, their too late as Isabella catches up to them. She tells them to ” stop resisting, that they have lived happy and carefree lives and will die quickly.” They refuse to accept this end and Emma grabs Isabella so Norman can scale the wall. Isabella breaks Emma’s leg causing her to scream in pain. She says that they are the “highest quality meat fit for the One,” and that Norman will be shipped out tomorrow. Isabella crushes the dreams of the children. Until this point we were lead to believe that Krone and the children were making some progress. It turns out that Isabella had everything under control from the start. Will the children have the will to start over? What did Krone leave for them? It seem like the only options for the children is to become dinner or a broken adult. It might be better if the just died.
Krone exposes her own intentions regarding Isabella, the fact that she was once a child for harvest like them, the system in which only girls are permitted to survive to adulthood and how the transmitter in an adult’s body work. Krone exposes a lot in this moment. She admits her desire to become a “Mom.” As her life is limited to farms, she believes that the life of a Mom is superior. She already knows that the children aren’t on the side of Isabella, so by telling them this she actually presents herself as an ally.
Krone shows the children her tattoo revealing that she was once like them. I think this is her attempt to create a connection with them. She knows what it’s like to be farmed. Krone also protects herself from being murdered, when she reveals that doing so will expose the children. Finally, she cements herself as a trustworthy ally, by using the fact that Ray is a double agent and she won’t expose him and he won’t expose her. However, trust isn’t easily gain and can be lost quickly. Regardless, she can’t be trusted.
Of course, Norman is able to dissect her motivations thoroughly. He believes that she wants their trust in order to gain “evidence,” against them. They conclude that if they use “her well,” the could obtain her information. They plan to lie to Krone about what they know about the tracking devices. When they ask her she tells them the truth. She recommends “taking it out” instead of breaking it. She offers helping them get the equipment needed to remove them. She reveals that she herself has never seen the outside, but knows that human do exists outside.
The lie that Norman and Emma present about the tracking devices, doesn’t work. Krone reveals that their body language gave away the truth. She seems disappointed that they didn’t trust her yet. However, she piques their interest by mentioning someone she refers to as “him.” The next day she searches their room to find out where the device is. Ray has planned for this, leaving a note for her to find. Excited to find more evidence on Isabella, she is interrupted by a knock on the door. Isabella gives her official instructions stating that she will be transferred out.
This series keeps me guessing. It’s such a joy to watch. I find the constant back and forth, secrets and lies and plots to be intriguing. The dynamic between Krone and the children, Norman, Emma and Ray are important. A smart adult probably trumps a smart child. She has known that they need and no amount of genius is going to get them this knowledge. She shares enough info, but also dropped some new information. Who is him? Why did girls only get the option to survive? Is it because they can become Mom’s? Why are there no Dad’s? Is it purely a sexist trope that women make the best parents or do boys taste better? Finally, if there is still Polaroid cameras in this World, how did they get the tech for transmitter. I don’t know, but I’m dying to find out.