Kriegspiel (‘War game’) is an unorthodox chess game in which the players only know for certain the moves of their own pieces. They have to deduce where the opponent’s pieces are by questioning an umpire. It is played on three boards with partitions between them. – via Wikipedia
You know, Crow was a bit nervous about reviewing this show, I think I strong armed him into it. I felt a little guilty at first but man am I glad now. I am loving this show and in no small part because I get to have these wonderful conversations around it. Your comments have also been fascinating and insightful. Please keep them coming. I can’t get enough of these talks.
Strong-armed? Hardly! You said you would like to review it — very politely, I might add! — so I watched the first episode — and to keep a theme going, I’m glad I did! And you’re absolutely right about the comments! Thought-provoking and imaginative stuff!
Oh, and by the way, my turn to be bold! At least in print! (That was Crow)
So remember last week when I said the arrival of Sister Krone could prove to be a disruptive presence for both sides!!!
Criminey, you weren’t kidding!
First though, let’s talk about that tiny bomb shell we got a the beginning. Every episode of The Promised Neverland packs so much in that it’s easy to forget the details, but one of the biggest things that stood out to me came from Ray, Norma and Emma’s conversation in the opening act, when they were still speculating on the transmitters. Apparently, it’s 2015!
Obviously this is an alternate world but it places us in a grey zone. The technology we’ve seen so far in their daily lives is certainly not quite up to 2015 standards, but the teaching rooms seemed to be overly advanced. The demons may have some form of very advanced technology not available to the children but we haven’t seen it yet and the frequent use of nature (especially flower) motifs makes the seem more mystical than technical.
I’m not entirely sure why, but having the story clearly situated in time like that, felt important somehow.
Maybe an alternate timeline. But honestly, I’m not 100% convinced this is Earth — as in Sol III. It looks the same, but we’ve only seen a small part of it.
I’m not either which means we don’t know the rules governing what’s “human” which opens lot of doors!
At this point we also had a little speculation on the world beyond the farm. The kids discuss the fact that they must not be the only facility and that livestock comes from somewhere. The idea that demons probably rule the world. The kids seem to have pretty much the same line of thinking as we did. Except they have more pressing questions and trying to guess what’s out there isn’t very productive right now!
I’m still amazed at how clear-thinking they are! No unreasonable leaps of logic; just applied thinking based on their observations and thoughts.
These kids keep their eyes on the ball, then again, they’ve never known any other world. Emma, Norman and Ray, having figured out last episode that there had to be some type of tracking device on them are now busy trying to figure out where it is, while we get to know the newly arrived Sister Krone.
I must say, with this much story and background to unpack, I don’t blame the show for resorting to Ray, Normand or Emma explaining the situation to each other (and by extension us) , but I couldn’t help but snicker a bit at Krone’s schizophrenic exposition. It was fun but just a little clumsy.
Did you like how she was portrayed? She almost seemed like a caricature, though her interactions with Momma (Isabella) were fascinating. And when she ran, she reminded me a lot of the T-1000 Terminator model from Terminator 2 Judgement Day!
I have to say, I quite like the notion of an addled, almost pathetic yet still threatening and entirely terrifying antagonist. Movies way too often play up particularly cruel villains as brilliant masterminds but I’ve always found that an opposite characterisation was very effective, and interesting. Someone who is just not bright or sane enough to tempt or coerce. Someone you can’t reason with….
Someone who’s bound to do anything…When I was really small, we had this electronic chess board you could play on. It had difficulty settings up to 10 (hardest). When you set it to 10 it would beat you instantly, unless you didn’t know how to play chess. You see, nonsense moves confused its algorithm. It would start taking forever, trying to figure out what your strategy was, while you were happily licking all the chess pieces or something. Once you get too smart, it starts to be very difficult to understand stupid, or senseless. Krone may prove to be a challenge… for everyone.
Meaning maybe Isabella won’t take her seriously as a threat — until it’s too late? This show has way too many ways to keep us off guard!
Of course she immediately decided to betray Mama, which I predicted cause I’m totally psychic and no other reason whatsoever. Say Crow, any thoughts on the judgement call behind deciding to loudly sing your treason plans in a crowded house with only a thin wooden door to block the sound?
That’s what I always do when I decide to betray someone! Seriously, I had to wonder at her sanity. Why would she possibly do that? Was the show just being funny? Or was it telling us something about her — namely, that she’s not entirely rational?
This said, even with her very limited presence this episode, I still find Moma to be the most chilling presence on screen. I also suspect that Moma let Krone know about the *older* children who had discovered the secret, for a specific reason. She doesn’t strike me as a woman who trusts readily or speaks carelessly. (I do both!)
I think your observation is spot on. There’re reasons Moma’s where she is, and one of them is that she’s astute. I think your title for this post is perfect. It’s Moma on one side of the board and Emma, Norman, and Ray on the other. Krone doesn’t know it, but she’s just one of Moma’s pieces.
Speaking of deceptively smart, even though the series has so far established Ray and Norman as the masterminds of the series, with Emma seemingly playing the role of the enforcer, it was Emma who came up with the brilliant insight that the newly arrived baby might still have a scar from the tracing device incision. And when ging to check for herself, she also came up with the brilliant line of reasoning that the demons would probably not want to eat the implanted tracking device so it would have to be somewhere “easy to remove”…. Turns out, it’s the ear! That’s where we tag cattle – makes sense.
Remember I talked about feedlots? Yeah, we tagged the calves’ ears. The newer tags nowadays even have microchips in them. This is all terrifyingly familiar!
We are slowly seeing themes of human connection. The baby’s fingers coiling around Emma’s, creating that visceral instinct to protect our most vulnerable. It reminds us on this base level of the idea that we are all human and in this together. I assume this blatant set up is to only make those upcoming hard decisions even more devastating!
I’m having flashbacks to Made in Abyss… Which is to say, I think that’s exactly what they’re doing. And we’ll see those hard decisions through Emma’s eyes!
I desperately want t see that. I should get whatever platform i’s on…
After having found the tracking device, or at least a likely place for it, it was time to turn to the practical question of escaping with everyone. Ray very appropriately pointed out that the smaller kids would have a hard time keeping up in their current state. Thankfully, it seems that hide and seek is already the main form of entertainment there, so this comes in handy for practicing kills like running away and, well hiding…
A game with Norman as the seeker serves as an excuse for Ray and Emma, serving as teachers, to show the kids some tricks. I quite liked this scene. It had all the ominous implications but because most of the kids think this is a simple game it was presented as joyful and sunny and relaxing. The contradiction was interesting to take in.
Very effective, dramatically. I felt like it also made the upcoming decisions that you already referenced feel even more dreadful. Those kids playing so happily will soon be running for a much different reason. With a much different consequence for being found.
Speaking of blissfully unaware. More than once, the episode went out of it’s way to point out how beloved the caretakers are and how happy the children. Ray and Norman are eve gearing up for the possible necessity of lying to everyone because there’s a strong chance they would simply refuse to believe the truth and get them all killed. Once again, we’re being confronted with the limitations of Emma’s mercy.
It’s a great moral dilemma. Is it permissible to lie to save someone? And if you do, how far can you take the lie? Because once the kids found out they’ve been lied to, there’s no telling how they’ll react!
Krone had been eyeing all the older kids ever since Moma told her someone had discovered the truth. By not reporting it immediately, it seems Moma as broken the rules. Krone figures that if she can figure out the culprits and turn them over herself, she could usurp Moma’s role and become the new Moma.
Seeing the children play, Krone sees her own chance to do some recon and evaluate the children’s skills at the same time.
At this point, the game got a lot more menacing. How did you feel about it Crow?
Oh, yeah! All those subtly menacing feelings we got while the kids were playing tag alone got bumped up a couple notices. Remember when she gathered up several kids at once and picked them up? I thought that was terrifying!
Having Krone discover a cowering Emma hiding two small children was pretty chilling, but not quite as much as Norman looking down from that boulder as Ray snuck up on Krone to win the game… See what I mean about Norman, gotta watch out for that kid.
He and Ray make a dangerous combination. I just hope they’re dangerous enough! And by winning, I wonder if they just made Krone more resolute? Or do you suppose that’s Moma’s plan — to make Krone and the kids focus on each other and leave her more free to operate?
So test run no. 1 went a bit better than expect with Norman and Ray coming out on top. Still, depressingly predictable, Emma’s insistence on trying to save two small children, so they were all caught. Let’s hope it’s not foreshadowing…but it totally is. (I don’t know, this is as far as I got in the story)
It sure felt like foreshadowing! But if it was for a terrible decision Emma will have to make, or if it’s showing Emma preparing the kids to control even their breathing, only time will tell!
Man, I hope they can get themselves out of this mess!
The episode ended on yet another bombshell and I must say I adore this one. After the game, Krone decided to back off, while Moma had completely disregarded Norman, Ray and Emma despite her obvious suspicions. The three soon come to the conclusion that the adults aren’t bothering with them because someone else must be keeping tabs and reporting back. But there’s only one option left, that someone else must be one of the kids.
This mic drop moment was spectacular. It completely changes the dynamics and interaction of the narrative. And since we the audience don’t have any extra information, we get to share in the kids’ paranoia! This was perfect!
If Emma’s hopes to get everyone out before looked unrealistic, now they look self-defeating. Because if they try to take everyone, and if “everyone” includes the snitch, then, to quote Han Solo, “This is going to be a real short trip!”
They’ve built a lot of suspense in three episodes, don’t you think?
I can’t believe this is episode 3. It could have been a built up season. Yet – it doesn’t feel rushed. Magic I say!
I just got over my Tsurune screencap disease and now The Promise Neverland is trying to drag me right back into it!