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.
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.
The cliffhanger from last week quickly deflates as Phil turns out to be the one entering the room that Don and Gilda are snooping in. As the children determine their plans to escape, the outside is what remains a complete mystery. The trio collectively decide that they need to explorer the outside in some way. Norman explains the three steps needed to escape. First, “get over the wall and escape,” second, “get away from this farm safely,” and thirdly, “establish a way to survive outside and become self-reliant.” The first thing they need to so is determine what’s outside the wall.
Mr. Minerva and his Morse code
Emma presents Mr. William Minerva to Norman and Ray. The previous owner of the books in the library, Emma believes that he could be “on their side.” She has noticed that he has been putting secret messages in the books. Minerva uses Morse code to send the messages, “run,” “doubt,” “danger,” “truth,” “harvest,” “monster,” and “farm.” Even Ray believes he could be an ally. However, they don’t know if he’s still alive. If Minerva is real, then he proves that humans exist on the outside. Inside the books are tags that note that at least one book was published after 2015. Emma notes that two books had Morse code she couldn’t understand. One has no code, the other says “promise.” The book has missing pages.
Don and Gilda’s recklessness
Don “bumps” into mom, stealing the key to her secret room. I’m on record believing that Don is the weak link in the series so far. Don uses the key to open the door. The head down a cellar. He and Gilda realize that mom was lying. However, Don becomes angry when he learns what happens to the children that leave. While down in the room, someone returns. Norman, Ray and Emma notice that they were gone and fear the worst. Don and Gilda manage to escape as Eugene busts in the door to return the key Don stole. After, Don yells at the trio and assaults Norman and Ray, both he and Gilda are told the whole truth.
Working with Krone
In the latest cliffhanger, Krone, that has been gone for what seems like the last few weeks. She claims to have been spying on them and want to join forces with them. I’m not buying this cliffhanger. While, we know that Krone hates Mom and is plotting against her, joining with the kids would be a bad for her. If they manage to escape, they would bring questions about her competency. She would most likely just screw them over anyway.
Don and the others have made up. However, he remains a weak link. He’s to rash and now he seems prone to physical attack. I think he was justified to feel the way he did, but his tendency to have outburst is troubling. Another, problem this series still has is the loud talking in public or places that should have echoes. You can’t have everything in a series, but it is jarring that they can be so loud so often and not get caught at all.
I gotta be honest I though the series was just messing with us. However, it turns out that they were sincere. I turns out that Ray was indeed the spy. Of course things are always more complicated in this series. Ray claims that he “sold himself” for the purpose of escaping. According to him the most “efficient way to learn about the enemy and gather things is from inside their pocket.” He asked Mom for two things, ” that he won’t be ship out immediately,” and “he would receive awards.” It was clever to as for awards from the outside, as Ray says “he got to probe the outside world.” Ray of course presents himself as their trump card. While, conceding that he’s not an enemy or an ally. What he wants is for Norman to lie to Emma.
Ray’s the double agent
Ray wants to abandon the other children at the last minute. The episode does something I think is brilliant. While confirming that Ray is a spy, he isn’t instantly rendered a useless enemy. They complicate matters further by having him become a double agent. In addition to that he uses his position as Mom’s informant to levy his positions to his best interest. Regardless, of which side “wins” he would be on it. This assumes that he’s not betrayed by either side. Finally, he manages to convince Norman to drop the kids increasing his chances of living and making Norman a co-conspirator, as well as putting him in the position to have to lie to Emma. Ray could use that as blackmail to get more concessions from Norman later. The problem with Ray is he can’t be trusted, so Norman may need to betray him before they escape.
Don and Gilda are weak links
Ray meets with Mom to discuss his conversation with Norman. He quickly changes the subject to Sister Krone. The following morning the trio meet, Ray surprisingly reveals that he was the traitor. Emma’s shows her naivety again, assuming Ray felt terrible for doing nothing to stop the harvesting of the other children. It’s not that Ray had much choice anyway. The question I have is whether Emma’s personality is a front, a weakness or a weapon that will change Ray’s mind. Don and Gilda are left out of this conversation I wonder what role they’ll play.
Regardless, Gilda and Emma come up with a plan to spy on Mom. They notice that she disappears into a “secret room.” Don shows that he could become a problem for them. To be simple he’s not as smart, and more importantly he seems like he might be impulsive. He could become a weak link and expose himself or the others to more trouble. Instead of going to start dinner he and Gilda go to find the hidden room. When they do, someone enters.
In the last episode, Krone made it clear that she was coming for Isabella’s head. In this episode Isabella turns the tables. She asks Krone how she feels about living here. Krone tells her that it’s a “wonderful house,” and all the children are well behaved. Isabella notes that Krone has been “well-behaved as well.” This is a interesting juxtaposition. I think Isabella is reminding Krone that she’s her inferior.
As the children are beneath her, so is Krone. Isabella is also the reason that the children are well behaved. The tomboy crack clearly insulted Krone. She tell Krone that she’s “her pawn.” Finally, she promises to make Krone a “mom” if she’s obedient. Obviously, this pisses Krone off. who “murders” her baby doll. Ripping it’s head off and then stomping the stuffing out of it.
Tag in teams
Norman informs Emma that they should “plat tag in teams.” Ray believes that most of the children will die if they escape as individuals. So team will work better. Norman also suggest that he should inform Don and Gilda of the situation. He aims to find out who the informant is, while simultaneously “winning them over.” This is a clever but risky plan. It’s unlikely that Isabella told the informant the truth.
So, Norman would be informing them of the danger, while revealing to Isabella that he knows. Of course, he is one of the most valued cattle, so she would unlikely kill him. However, she could trap him or even speed up his “harvest.” The team tag exercise was successful. Norman reveals that he’s moved the time table up to ten days. He trying to outwit “Mom.”
The trio tells Don and Gilda
Emma, Norman and Ray inform Gilda and Don of the trafficking. Don understandably believes that they’re trying to prank him. He becomes infuriated when Emma tells him that Mom is involved. Gilda notes that she has noticed a change in Emma’s behavior and she believes them. Norman withholds the truth of Conny’s death. He then presents them with the scores of the children, seemingly proving to Don and Gilda what they say is true. Emma then asks them to help them “run away.”
Ray doesn’t like the lie. He considers it “cruel” especially if neither one of them is an informant. Norman doesn’t seem to care. However, he does plan on setting a trap for them. He’ll tell them two different locations of the rope. At night we see that Gilda gets up, a letter saying the location of the rope is slipped under Isabella’s door and Gilda heads to Krone’s room. This sequence is deliberately confusing, however, Gilda seems to have proven her innocence. As Emma eavesdrops on their conversation, Gilda refuses to tell Krone anything.
The traitor is . . . Ray
For all the far fetch situations this series has presented this is the most ridiculous or is it? Norman accusing Ray of being the traitor is certainly shocking, but is it sincere. It’s hard to tell with this series as depiction is an important part of The Promised Neverland series. Ray has been a foil in this series from the beginning. While he believes that they should escape, he only thought the trio should do it.
Is it possible that he betrayed them because he believed they would fail anyway? The conversation Norman and Ray had earlier may be pertinent to this situation, when Ray and Norman discussed why someone who betray them Ray answers “maybe it’s because there must be some merit in doing so.” This could be a trigger for Norman’s suspicions or he could just be paranoid.
Emma now with the burden of knowing that Conny has been killed by monsters. Having nightmares as a consequence of this event she can’t put the genie back into the bottle. Mom (Isabella) sweetness towards the children must now feel like a thin facade. She is clearly frighten by Isabella and justifiably so. However, Norman is able to put on a facade of his own. He greets Emma with a exuberant smile. He explains that he believes that “Mom found the bunny,” but doesn’t know who dropped it. He believes that they must smile so they won’t let on what they know.
The quality of the meat
Emma and Norman discuss what the likely parameters are for the “meat.” Norman concludes that ” age equals the grade of meat.” The siblings aged six represented the normal quality of meat and higher quality meat was from the twelve year old children. He deduces that the students with the lowest test scores get shipped out first. They both figure that the significance of the test are connected to the brain. Norman determines that they need to escape in 2 months.
Preliminary escape plan
Emma and Norman head to the wood to hatch their escape plan. At this point you have to wonder where everyone else is. All the siblings and Mom seemed to disappear. Regardless, Norman states that the “house is in the center, then the gate and the forest surrounds them.” They conclude that escaping through the forest during the day would be the best opinion. However, there’s a massive wall that’s tall and thick. It’s too smooth to climb as well. When they return to Mom they discover something more troubling.
Mama’s got you tracked
Mark comes rushing towards Mom in a panic. He’s lost Naila in the woods. Mom pulls out a compass looking thing, she clear know Niala’s whereabouts. Norman and Emma concluded the obvious truth. Mom has a tracking device. Furthermore, Norman assumes that she did it in front of them on purpose. He message “No matter who it is. I won’t let you escape.” It appears that Mom can only know the current location of the orphans, otherwise she would already know who was at the gate. Norman is asked to help with repairing a clock. When he returns he finds Mom with Emma. Afraid of what she’d do he hides and watches from afar. Emma manages to fake Mom out. She does however ask them if “they went to the gate last night,” scaring the shit out of them.
Telling Ray the truth
Norman and Emma consider telling Ray everything. Ray shows up and asks them what happened last night. They inform him and he instantly believes them. He breaks down the various issues they would face. He doesn’t mince words when he tells Emma that getting 37, mostly six year olds over the wall would be improbable. In addition to that they don’t know what’s outside. He concludes that since they’re on a farm that likely means that they outside society is one for demons. Ray believes that leaving them behind is the best option. Emma believes that they can “save the world.” Finally, the stakes get even higher when Mom introduces the infant Carol and Sister Krone.
This episode had so much in it. First the main protagonist have already been established as geniuses or at least highly intelligent. At first I though it was a little convenient, but how else are several 12 year olds going to outsmart demons and escape. That said this series play’s with knowledge. What you know and when you know it is important. Emma and Norman quickly figure out that Mom must know about the bunny. They quickly realized all the obstacles they face. This mostly lets the audience know what the obstacles are.
There are some issues with the amount of knowledge they possess. How would they understand the concept of a “tracking device,” implanted in the body no less. Clearly, this show couldn’t exists with all knowledge having to be accounted for or it would take forever. Finally, the 2 month harvest period sets up a time limit. Every period they will lose on of the now 38 siblings, which is something that Emma doesn’t want. With the addition of a even younger child and a second adult, The Promise Neverland will likely keep viewers on our toes.
The Promised Neverland (Yakusoku no Neverland) is a series that starts off happy and endearing, but quickly becomes heartbreaking and horrific. The fact that the anime involves children makes it even worst. Emma (a happy and energetic girl) awakens, she then wakes her “siblings,” and gets them ready for breakfast. We meet Norman and Ray as well. We are also introduced to the seemingly kind caretaker, “mom” (Isabella) as engages the children in prayer.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the children have (what I’m assuming is tattoo’s or at least permanent ink) large numbers on there necks. It’s not made clear what the numbers are actually representing. The children are also subjected to testing, that requires the children to answer questions in 9 seconds. Regardless, Norman, Ray and Emma scored perfectly on them. Don seemingly jealous of Norman challenges him to a game of tag. The game seems to take on a significant importance in this series. The children even compare not getting caught to “surviving.” I might be reading too much into that though.
The game of tag is considered to be more complicated than just chasing after each other. Ray states that it’s “chess with your whole body.” Don challenges Norman again, this time he’s it. Everyone runs in search of Norman, Emma finds him at a short blue fence. Clearly curious as to why they were warned not to go “near” the fence, Emma considers touching it. She’s stopped by Ray. He’s skeptical of the “dangers” of the fence, calling it a “obvious lie.” Emma seems to believe anything Mom tells her, but Ray doesn’t.
The siblings discuss why they haven’t received letters from the children that were adopted. The conversation is hopeful, with the children discussing what they wish to see when they “go outside.” Interestingly, Emma claims that she doesn’t want to leave at all. Conny says her farewell, but leaves her bunny behind. Emma and Norman run to return the bunny. The tension at this point in the episode increases dramatically. I spoiled myself on what happens hear, but wasn’t sure that they would show Conny’s body. They did, instead of being horrified though I was sad. She was so happy to be “adopted,” and adorable too.
The animation at this point also becomes more dynamic. The camera zooms in on the faces of Emma and Norman as they discover the “monsters” and ease drop on them. The monster states that he wants the “top three” next. Emma and Norman leave Ray in the dark, they plan on rescuing all the children together. I really enjoyed this episode more that I anticipated. I would image that if I didn’t know the ending of this episode it would have more of an impact.
The Promised Neverland series reminds me of Made in Abyss. Both feature orphan children yes, but it’s the contrast between the innocent children and the horrible environments they’re trapped in that connect the two the most. The adults aren’t doing what’s expected, which is protecting and tacking care of them. In fact they are neglectful at best. This results in the children having to grow up and take care of themselves. Would this series be similar to Made in Abyss I don’t know, but I loved what I’ve seen.