Castling is a special type of chess move. When castling, you simultaneously move your king and one of your rooks. The king moves two squares towards a rook, and that rook moves to the square on the other side of the king.
Have you guys been looking forward to our next Promised Neverland discussion? I know I have. Talking things over with Crow is always really fun and interesting. On top of that, this series is certainly generous with the potential material. I feel like we go through almost an entire series’ worth of topics with each episode. For once, that’s not a bad thing.
If you remember, ad I’m sure you do, last episode ended on an epic cliffhanger with Norman pointing to Ray as the “traitor”. An of course, Norma’s always right. I feel like my brain still refused to accept it for a good minute. It’s like the show has already conditioned me to refuse the simplest explanation even if in retrospect the narrative hasn’t exactly done twists so much as simply shocks. Situations are often unexpected but not because we were lead to believe something else, simply because this particular fictional universe is very high drama.
That distinction — shocks versus twists — might be this show’s distinguishing characteristic! Well, that and dynamic and flawed protagonists as well as dangerously intelligent and dangerously unpredictable villains! Oh, this is Crow — I’m in bold this week.
That opening scene with the clock ticking and rapid succession jumps between the two characters was a fun, tension adding, directorial trick. Cheap but effective. In general, I feel the direction took a lot more risks this episode and I liked it. Did you?
Evaluating direction isn’t my strength, but to the extent I understand it, I think you’re right. It’s like the show’s gaining confidence in its voice. There were some relatively straight forward shots, like closeups of Norman and Ray as they realized something (I’m still not sure exactly what!). There was a shot of Ray, leaving the room after the first scene, framed by the doorway at the top of the stairs, as if the camera were on a landing between the first and second floors. It was simple, elegant, and it capture his loneliness that Emma was able to articulate later on.
The first half of the episode was basically one long expo dump with Norman and Ray having this almost quippy, slightly antagonistic chat in the room. I see your Buffy parallels here. Although the conversation was much more stern in tone, there was something in the quickfire delivery and unspoken implications that was very reminiscent of Buffy dialogue.
Now, if we can just get Anya to sing her song about bunnies being the villains… I think Gilda could pull it off! But now I’m sad thinking about Conny’s bunny, which makes me remember Conny…
Also, I was on the edge of my seat. I was watching two (only two) familiar characters talk to each other in a closed bedroom with nothing else at all going on, and I was on the edge of my seat. This is when you know you got your exposition right!
I think this proves your point about direction. I felt breathless during this scene, too, as if either Ray or Norman might do anything — explode into violence, transfer into an alien — anything! Good dialogue, well delivered, with effective pacing. That’s a heavy load for exposition to carry!
I have to say, Ray may be an informant, but can we really call him a traitor when he’s been doing this for 6 years? He’s gathering intel as best he can to formulate an escape plan. The boy’s no hero, but he’s merely trying to survive.
Also, if I remember correctly, they’re all 11. Which would mean that Ray found out the truth (that they were all destined to be butchered) and was trying to navigate this dangerous world all alone since he was 5 years old. Somehow, it’s difficult for me to blame a five year old in this situation.
I might have to quibble with “the boy’s no hero.” Fighting alone, well behind enemy lines, without a break, without assistance, from the time he was five? That’s why I adored Emma’s reaction…
The conversation leaves with vague results. Ray is still adamant about not destroying their chances by trying to do too much. Norman agrees in principle but is morally and mostly emotionally torn at the idea of going against Emma’s wishes. And an unsteady truce is formed.
What did you think of Ray’s grudging disgusted look and Norman’s attempt to hold back laughter? I didn’t know what to make of that…
You know what they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. If anything, this turn of events makes me more likely to trust Ray than before. Of course I have this super weird hang up about not trusting Norman. It may be the white hair.
Right at the end of this extended opening arc, it seems that both Norman and Ray realized something pretty big. It sort of bugs me that these little kids are so much smarter than I am but I’ve learned to accept it. I really wish they would have told us what Norman figured out though. It seemed big!
I’m listening to Neil Gaiman narrate The Ocean at the End of the Pond. (great book) I’ve come to accept that when it comes to a lot of topics, kids are smarter than me! Yeah, Norman’s laugh put me on edge, too. I’m beginning to suspect that we’re only watching the outer edge of the crazy — or maybe a meta representation of it…
Ray’s interaction with Mom was one of the best scenes so far. Mom is a formidable foe but because of the construct of the story and the necessity to keep up the pretense of unity, we have not seen her actually clash with anyone except Krone and let’s face it, at the time Krone was hardly even worthy of the title of opponent. Mom and a forcibly relaxed Ray made for a much more interesting back and forth. I look forward to seeing more mind games.
Watching that scene, I had to wonder: which one of them really has the upper hand? Ray mentioned that Mom only gave him older models of things. What if they weren’t representative at all? The show has me so paranoid that I wonder if Mom’s put the pieces in place so their escape attempt is actually part of their shipment protocol! Kinda like a Hunger Games sorta thing…
We finally got to see that Norman is in fact human and that the situation is getting to him. That nightmare was just great. It was also a nice, visually interesting sequence that put the stakes into perspective for the audience. It was a bit on the nose (a lot of the directing is unsubtle in the series), but I don’t mind that too much when the storyline has a lot going on.
The episode then cleaned up the intel by bringing Emma into the loop. I’ve said this before but Emma is not exactly as straightforward as she plays it. Of course she immediately forgives Ray, of course she gives this compelling and heartstring tugging speech about him no longer being alone. But she let her mask slip for a split second there and we saw it.
She might be the most intelligent one there.
You saw it too, right Crow? That moment when Emma realized that Ray had probably at some point sacrificed members of her precious family, and willfully decided to brush the realization aside and ignore everything it implied. The second when her mind was telling her that if he’s capable of throwing the kids to the wolves once, he could do it again, and she chose to take the risk but pretended not to understand it.
I know you loved the scene between Ray and Mom, but this was my favorite scene in the episode. You could just see her mind connect the dots — and I think she connected more than she spoke of. She has this gestalt perspective that lets her assemble the big picture with only tiny disjointed parts.
I think you hit the nail on the head — she knows who Ray is. She knows how he thinks. She’ll go along for now, but she’s on guard. What more? She’s confident she can make it work.
Finally we looped Don and Gilda back into the action. As the other two oldest kids in the place, they have the greatest odds of survival, but I’m not so sure the have the nerves required. This might be where Norman’s (somewhat kind) lie may really cost them dearly.
By not telling Don and Gilda that Conny is already dead but still conveying the great danger everyone is in, they have effectively put a ticking clock on everything and are encouraging Don and Gilda into action.
Talk about being damned if you do and damned if you don’t…
Basically, Gilda and Emma have been observing Mom (enemy recon) and have realized that she disappears somewhere at the same time every evening. Ray comes to the natural assumption that she must be checking in with however she reports to.
Moreover, a discrepancy in the dimensions of the rooms and hallway has lead Emma to conclude the whereabouts of a secret room next to Mom’s bedroom. Naturally, this seems like a place that should be investigated but the kids want to play it slow. Not take any more unnecessary risks at this time.
Not all the kids that is. Determined to save Conny, Don storms off to immediately find this secret room while Mom is away. After some prodding, he and Gilda do manage to discover a decoy bookcase with a locked door behind it.
Their hearts were in the right place. Their minds, though? Let’s just say as bright as both of them are, they don’t hold a candle to Emma, Norman, or Ray. I just hope they don’t have to pay the ultimate price for their mistake!
As usual with this series, I had not realized that this was the end of the episode. Well not this of course. Before that someone had to be slowly opening the door to Mom’s room in time to catch them both red handed and potentially doomed. And you thought last week (or every single week so far) was a cliffhanger!
That’s how I guessed it was over despite it seeming like 10 minutes. I was like, “Dang, that’d make a good cliffhanger… d’oh!”
Also, no Krone at all this week?
She’s still sulking, and it takes time to stitch her doll back together! Interesting point, too, how Ray says mom brought Krone in to watch over him for failing to keep Emma and Norman away from the gate…
So this is it for this week. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait for next week. Please feel free to catch up on our past episode reviews in the meantime:
- The Promised Neverland Episode 1 – 45,000,000$
- The Promised Neverland Episode 2: 121045
- The Promised Neverland Episode 3: 181045
- The Promised Neverland Episode 4: 291045
and of course – I got a few more caps for you guys!