The Promised Neverland Episode 11 – Zwischenzug

Zwischenzug

: An “in between move”, where a player, instead of playing the expected move, first inserts a move which the opponent must answer, before making the expected move..

cookieI finished episode 11 of The Promised Neverland about 12 minutes ago It’s taken me this long to start writing the post because I had to sort through the unreasonable amount of screencaps I took. It’s like I wanted to hold onto the moment. I was anxious, scared, angry and then… But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself.

First once again, all my thanks to Crow for agreeing to take this strange and powerful trip with me. This is a series I’m sure glad I had a friend to watch with! A BOLD friend at that! I always have a mix of dread and excitement when Thursday comes around as you never quite know what The Promised Neverland will put you through next, but I always love talking it over with Crow.

cropped-Banner-400x175The feeling’s mutual! Even more than usual, I was dying to read what you’d come up with for this episode! It’s no exaggeration to say that I spent half the episode with my jaw hanging open. I’m pretty sure my cat’s questioning my sanity!

I’ll be bold… but you already told everyone that! So let’s see where this leads!

The Promised Neverland ep11 (1)

this episode was entirely dark blue or blazing orange yellow. The rare full colour scenes really stood out

It’s been a tough couple of months for Emma and Ray but this week was a non nonsense, take no prisoners, leap forward in the narrative.

First we got the confirmation that neither Ray nor Emma had given up or changed their plans in any way after Norman’s…*departure*. Did you have any doubts Crow?

After the end of the the last episode? No. I trusted completely in Emma and Ray’s resolve. Looking back, though, I realize that I gave them too little credit. And I’d given them a lot!

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yeah!

I liked how they used Ray’s tactical recap and explanation to Emma as a nice little cover to bring the audience all back on the same page before the final sequence begins. Once again we are truly reminded who Ray is and why he is such a great character. Ray has been planning this escape for years. And it was always meant for someone other than him. Once again, he calmly tries to talk some reason into Emma, but he gives up quickly. He does love her and his siblings, he just wants what’s truly best in a difficult situation.

We also get a glimpse of the petty childish Ray. Of the kid who’s been living in fear and oppression his entire life. Who’s buried countless brothers and sisters in his heart and carried it all by himself. The child who had to grow up way too fast so he held onto his resentment until the bitter end. Even his paltry lashing out is tactical and carefully planned!

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we wouldn’t dare!

 

Ray who is lazy and uninterested in studies. Worked, studied and exercised all his life just so he could get this moment of tiny vengeance. Just so he could buy himself more time to plan out his siblings’ escape. It was simultaneously naive, silly and grand!

Seeing Ray’s will crushed by hopelessness put me in mind of Denethor, Steward of Gondor, broken by despair yet still powerful among mortals, as he stood in Rath Dínen, Faramir dying of fever behind him, and said, “‘Better to burn sooner than late, for burn we must. … And I? I will go now to my pyre. To my pyre! No tomb for Denethor and Faramir. No tomb! No long slow sleep of death embalmed. We will burn like heathen kings before ever a ship sailed hither from the West. The West has failed. Go back and burn!’

Yeah, last week I compared The Promised Neverland to Dune. This week, I’m comparing it to Tolkien’s The Return of the King. I really don’t have any higher praise to offer! Don’t forget Buffy! We did Buffy as well!!! Excellent point! Buffy for Emma, Lord of the Rings for Ray, and Dune for Norman. Solid combination!

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wait…no…

I was devastated for Emma here. Watchin Ray stoically readying to sacrifice himself for the greater good, after giving her a picture of herself and Norman. How many friends does she have to lose?  What was your read on it, Crow?

It was only in retrospect that I was able to think enough to realize what I was feeling. I realized I was saying “No no no no no” on Emma’s behalf, for exactly the reason you just said. She’s suffered enough; she can’t witness one of her best friends burn right in front of her!

And she acted just as Emma would act. But we didn’t know until later. This show…

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Emma, I…I don’t know what to say…

It’s night time at the farm, we see Mother watching over the little ones before going to bed herself. We once again see the smallest child and I’m reminded how much she looks like Emma. I figure there aren’t that many breeders out there, maybe this kid is genetically related to Emma. The children all look rather different but a few could be blood siblings. Not that it changes anything but it still makes me wonder.

And she was so gentle to the kids! Just as a mother should be! Talk about feeling conflicted! Me, that is. She seemed completely at peace!

So the clock chimes in midnight and Ray bids his final goodbye as the orphanage is set ablaze. A devastated Emma is screaming her guts out for Mom who comes rushing in. Just as Ray had planned, she sends the children out while she tries to figure out a way to salvage Ray’s brain. Se yells for Emma to get out as well but Emma i already gone. What did you think of this scene Crow?

This is another scene that I can talk about only in retrospect. In that moment, all I could hear was Emma’s agonized scream. All I could see were the flames. Yet when Isabella turned to tell Emma to evacuate as well and Emma wasn’t there — that’s when I started to become aware of myself again. There was hope! There was yet some plan that I didn’t know. I hoped something would be all right, because right then, things looked really dark.

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RRAAAYYYYY!!!!

Like you my brain was too engrossed in the moment to properly think. I sort of thought something was odd. It’s unlike Emma maybe or…something was off. I was morbidly staring at the screen fascinated and disgusted. But something felt uncanny. Obviously there’s more to the story. They can’t just kill all the kids here (although, respect if they have the guts for that downer!).

Respect, yes! But everlasting fury…

Well, maybe not everlasting, but I’d be quite cross for days.

I couldn’t put my finger on it right away. Mom’s tracking device showed Ray in the fire and Emma just around the corner but no one was there. Of course Mom soon found Emma’s ear in a bucket. But why do that, they have the device to disable the emitters. Why bother???

Talk about guts! Emma’s a kid! And yet driven by need, following a plan we only dimly perceived at the time, she freaking sliced off her own ear!

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who cares about one ear – you have two!

When a smiling Emma reached the kids, short one ear, I felt the edges of my mouth strain a little from smiling. Of course, and then I saw Ray flabbergasted. For his plan to work, Mom had to believe he was in that fire, his emitter had to keep sending a signal from right there. Emma could probably have disabled hers but we are also reminded that who Emma is. She wouldn’t let a friend suffer alone and she would not hesitate to lose an ear to buy them a few extra seconds. And then the clock chimed midnight. I loved that audio cue for the flashback transition!

Even more, if Isabella saw a tracker disabled, she’d know instantly that they were escaping. Now, she had to spend the time to find the ear — minutes only, but precious minutes!

The Promised Neverland ep11 (23)

we didn’t see you much but good job Gilda!

Emma was at her most Emmaest this week. Catching the match mid flight with a quippy line at that. Calmly explaining to Ray that neither he, nor anyone else was getting left behind. Emma was a paragon of joyful strength and indomable hope. Even cynics like Ray and me couldn’t help but believe! I like this Emma!

“Emmaest?” I love that! She was definitely in Momma Bear mode.

Of course Ray was shaken, but a nice sharp slap brought him to his senses and then we got one of the best lines I’ve ever heard in response to a death seeker: Norman’s final message for Ray: – “You can die anywhere, it doesn’t have to be here. I’ll show you something cool so shut up and come with me!”

Remember in our last review when you said “Why do I ever doubt this kid?” No lie — that’s the first thing I thought of.

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look how focused they are!

This is when The Promised Neverland played a particularly dirty trick by reminding us how awesome Norman is. Ray is strategic and determined. He learned and probably knows more than any of them. Emma is quick witted and flexible, she can adjust to any situation and seize it up in an instant. But the smartest had to be Norman. He had seen right through Ray months ago and just like I thought, he left something: Answers to most of my questions!!! I miss you Norman!!!

Norman is a genius, even compared to Ray. Not only that, he didn’t despair. Even after learning of the cliffs, even after foreseeing that he had to go to the gate to buy them time, he stayed in the game, thinking of their next moves, staying ahead of all of them. That’s what heroes do!

So we learn that not only had Norman figured out pretty much exactly what Ray was planning, but also how to play off that to make their escape plan work. We found out the kids DID KNOW the secret of the house and that’s why they were so incredibly sad to see Norman go. And he knew that they knew so… way to play it cool!

Remember back in episode 6 when you pointed out Emma, Norman, and Ray’s hubris for keeping the secret from Don and Gilda? Looks like the writers agreed with you! Finding out the other kids were in on the secret was an amazing moment!

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and then?

Yay me! Norman left Emma some pretty detailed instructions, including faking her depression and staying away from Ray which allowed her to get everything ready completely under the radar. He even showed us what was in Krone’s box. A key (it looked exactly like Isabella’s, but I wonder whether it might unlock the side room Norman was led into) and a scalpel pen. She did find it in the hospital after all.

I have to say, Norman’s god-like intellect is straining credulity here. I was left as slacked jawed as Ray but I also didn’t care. I was happy to see him again, even if it was just a memory.

In the words of the immortal Miles Lane, “I’ll allow it!

So the kids make i to the wall. We get a nice scene of Emma feeling Norman’s presence at her side and then I was sobbing a bit too much so I went to get some water which somehow ended up being wine…

Samuel Adams for me. Purely medicinal.

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how?

All along, Ray is still in shock. And in this shock he suddenly notices that someone is missing.

PHIL!!!!! Was I right, wrong? Did he stay with Mom out of loyalty? Did Emma not notice him missing, cause you know she wouldn’t have left him behind no matter what…. What is going on here Crow? I miss Norman and I want Ray to be o.k. and I’m so proud of Emma!

Emma ruled this episode.

Of all of the astonishing moments in this episode, the instant that Ray realized someone was missing was probably the most impactful. My guard went up instantly when Ray asked who wasn’t there. Then we see Isabella maniacally deciding she would save her children, and just as she’s about to dash off, there’s little Phil. Grabbing her skirt. Effectively pinning her in place.

And my mind immediately went back to The Lord of the Rings, when Sam faced Shelob in Cirith Ungol, alone except for the still figure of Frodo. Armed only with a tiny sword, Elvish thought it may have been, against an ancient and dreadful power.

How much time can Phil buy for them? And at what cost?

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I don’t know!?!

And how can there only be one episode left??? We just barely got out of the orphanage!

I’m half afraid to look forward to next week! Okay, more like 3/4s afraid…

For all the anxiety and grief his show has put me through, this episode left me with cold, raw and sharp hope. I’ve rarely felt this aggressively optimistic! And yeah, I’m scared too!

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The Promised Neverland ep11 (40)You know how I start taking unreasonable amounts of screenshots when I get really wrapped into a story?

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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30 Responses

  1. ospreyshire says:

    That sounded like a really intense episode and super dark. I hope the rest of the series goes well. Also, thanks for sharing the Top 7 Underrated Anime Villains list! I’m glad you liked it.

  2. Dawnstorm says:

    To be honest, I’m losing interest. It’s still entertaining, and around half the shows I’m watching, I’m enjoying less, but it’s harder and harder to find things to say about the show for me. I’m reading all this praise, and I’m getting a little jealous, since to me it’s… an mildly entertaining prison break show and little else.

    I’ve been saying how my emotional involvement has declined, but it’s been stable for a while now. I do like the kids and feel for them, and while it’s nowhere near the level the events would warrant, there’s still a bottom line of sympathy for those kids there. However, for a while now, and I’ve been in denial about that, my intellectual involvement’s been taking a hit. I’m trusting the show less and less. It’s a lot of little things: this week, the most prominent thing is all the little kids being in on it. Remember how this was one of my earliest points of interest? How would they do it? They played it for drama with Gilda and Don, and then the little ones? Off camera, and with little hitch. The show’s been building a little kiddy utopia, where they’re all nice to each other all the time from episode one, so this shouldn’t come as a surprsie, but I’m finding it harder and harder to buy into. They played it off with Emma saying that they may be more mature than they’ve been giving them credit for, and look at that, they are. It’s less a feeling of disappointment and more one of resignation. My mind’s going to be a lot less active watching the show (I’m guessing there’ll be a second season at one point, though I’d be more confident of that if the show didn’t air in the Noitamina slot) from now on.

    As for Phil: I was thinking, Oh, no, run Isabella! It’s Phil! Run while you still can! It’s a joke, really. I certainly hope they’re not using him as the outlier (the one kid who won’t abandon Mom). I don’t think they will; I think there’s a plan, and I’m not sure who’s in on it, but I’ll find out. However, if (against likelihood) they do use Phil as the one kid who doesn’t play along, then that would amount to a Gambit in the service of suspension of disbelief: See, not all kids were mature enough. For me, that sort of move would backfire. One out of lots doesn’t make this easier to belief; rather you’re rubbing it in. It’s easy to ignore this sort of thing for all kids, but if you then go and put a prominent failure in the spotlight it gets a lot of harder to buy that none of the other kids were like that, if you get what I mean. I still think something’s up with Phil, but if we find out next week I was wrong, then you’ll witness the moment, when my suspension of disbelief crumbles and my faith in this show’s writing will lie in pieces on the floor.

    I liked the moment, a few episodes back, when Isabella broke Emma’s leg, but they pay-off never came for me, it’s been downhill ever since. It’s about time for something to happen to renew my interest.

    • Irina says:

      well there’s just one episode left so even if they do manage to win you over, you’ll have nothing to look forward to. Unless more seasons get made.

      • Dawnstorm says:

        In my head, I’m treating a second season as virutally certain. It isn’t, but that’s how I’m thinking of it. It’s one of Shounen Jump’s most important new series right now, and the anime seems to have given it a good push. Normally, these kind of series start with a two cour, though, and the really big players tend to get a weekend day-time run (e.g. MHA). There should be enough material for a second cour, so unless this is already an unannounced split-cour, that it’s only one cour at premier to begin with is a cause for caution, but I still think there’s going to be a second series.

        But more importantly, if something happens that catches me off guard, that might re-frame the way I watch the show, and I might come away feeling better about what I’ve already seen. I’m always coming across as more negative in these posts than I actually am. I’m enjoying the show, and there’s nothing that actively annoys me (as in MHA, for example), so part of me is actually hoping for something to change my mind. It’s one of those shows I might enjoy more if people around me weren’t praising the show so much. I tend to get swept up in the hype, but the show’s not delivering on the same level for me, and my posts tend to reflect that gap.

        • Irina says:

          You know. I always look at your responses as counterpoints to my own posts which tend to be emphatic! It’s good. If someone reads the post and comments it gives them a much more balanced view.

  3. Fred says:

    If Phil would be kind enough to kill Isabella… probably not.

  4. ramon3ljamon says:

    I think Ray’s too quick to assume his sacrifice is necessary. Partly because his distrusting nature leads to the few pawns in his plan being forced to overcompensate. And obviously he loves his close friends too much to let them suffer the damages that’d incur. I don’t think that’s entirely it though.

    It’s like part of him believes he doesn’t deserve to live. Survivor’s guilt must be at play, after a powerless Ray witnessed so many of his siblings getting killed for so long. And when he finally does get some semblance of power, a means to actually escape hell, he’s too quick to write off the younger kids & send them to their deaths too. Securing the escape of the few peers he loves gives him purpose, makes him believe his life wasn’t all in vain. Deep down though, he must still pay the ultimate price for his perceived sins. Maybe?

    Thankfully Emma exists. Very satisfying how the show tied up this conflict. Wonder if she has a Jajanken up her sleeve.

    All that wonderful work aside, I personally got taken out of the moment when it was revealed the younger kids were in on the plan. It’s consistent with Emma’s character & her priorities, but I simply cannot believe Isabella couldn’t have caught on to that. The genius tweens were smoked out so easily. And somehow, scores of very young children who aren’t as smart or mature managed to escape her watchful gaze? Okay, maybe she’s focusing on the older kids, but this to go on for weeks on end? It doesn’t compute to me.

    I also happen to be a cynic who’d have left these kids to die however, so make of that what you will.

    • “It’s like part of him believes he doesn’t deserve to live. Survivor’s guilt must be at play, after a powerless Ray witnessed so many of his siblings getting killed for so long.”

      I think that’s a great interpretation. It explains a lot about his decisions.

      “I personally got taken out of the moment when it was revealed the younger kids were in on the plan.”

      I think that’s fair. The way I justified it to myself is that the younger kids didn’t have to do any planning; they just had to keep a secret. Kids can be pretty good at that!

    • Irina says:

      I think Isabella did catch on. Why would she care if the little kids know? In her mind they have nowhere to escape to anyways so it’s business as usual. The only reason they keep it from the kids n the first place is that it makes their brains more tasty to be carefree.

  5. Karandi says:

    It was such a great episode and I’m still trying to work out how I feel about everything that happened. Literally kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Loved it and really looking forward to seeing what happens next (desperate to know would probably be a more accurate description).

  6. DerekL says:

    “Emma was at her most Emmaest this week.”

    I’m totally going to steal this line…

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    […] Please watch the episode (our review is more than 10 words, so of course it contains spoilers!), then head over to I Drink and Watch Anime to share the experience with us!  […]

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