We’ve finally come to the end of The Promised Neverland Season 1. No more agonizingly long weekly waits and twenty-minute episodes that seem to go by in the blink of an eye. We’ve held out for twelve weeks, (hopefully) resisting the temptation to read ahead. Now, all our hard work has paid off. Let’s jump into the incredibly satisfying conclusion of the ‘great escape’!
Isabella sounds the alarm that the children have escaped. The demons are on high alert, and cover the one exit, the bridge. Thankfully, this has been planned for. Instead of going the obvious route, the children get ready to cross the gorge. Flashbacks reveal the extent of their planning, some of which we’ve actually seen sprinkled throughout previous episodes. Isabella realizes their plan and begins to track them down. It’s a nail biting last few minutes!
Leave the young ones: One point of contention throughout the series has been how they will escape with the younger children. Ray had been against it from the start, but Emma wanted everyone to escape. Emma’s final decision reflects a maturity that has been fostered within her. Rather than steadfastly holding onto her ideals, she takes the time to evaluate all possible options. Even if those options are unbearably painful.
Ray of Sunshine: Emma wasn’t the only one who had significant character growth this episode. When a younger child, Jemima, is terrified of ziplining, Ray does not hesitate to step in and help her. I doubt, if they had escaped earlier on, he would have been so gracious in his actions.
Phil the Legacy: Phil is by far the real MVP of this episode. Emma and Ray have entrusted him with their hope for the future, something he accepts without any question. Imagine being four years old and seeing everyone escape, and agreeing to being left behind. Seriously, what a legend.
Who’s your mommy?: I’m glad the infantile amnesia talk in Episode 9 wasn’t a random throwaway. The revelation that Isabella is Ray’s mother really shook this episode up. It’s interesting to look back at her interactions with him, and vice versa. But more on that below!
Themes & Trivia
Special Intro: For the final episode, noitaminA changed their introductory segment to Emma, Ray, and Norman standing together.
This is not the end!: Soon after the episode aired, it was announced that The Promised Neverland will be renewed for a second season. The season will be released in 2020, and a short PV released hints that it may follow the children as they try to survive in the outside world
What an incredible final episode. To start off with, let’s talk Phil. I really appreciated how the creator managed to reflect a sense of paranoia back on the audience through his character. Just like Ray, Norman, and Emma, we have to be careful who we trust in this series. Phil is such an enigma. He appears in the right place at the right time far too often. It’s impossible NOT to distrust him. The final arc in his character really solidifies the family bonds the children have with one another. He trusts in his older siblings so much he agrees to being left behind. But his last scene leaves the audience with a sense of unease. While Isabella has failed to capture the other children, she now has her eyes on Phil.
As I mentioned above, the revelation that Isabella is Ray’s mother was beyond shocking. It really brings a new dimension to their spy-captor relationship. Looking back at previous episodes, I can see Isabella almost looking at Ray with pride when he talks to her. Especially when she knows he’s just being sneaky and lying, she just can’t help it. It also made Ray’s attempt at self-immolation in Episode 11, even more of a statement. He was not only denying the demon their meal but hitting Isabella where it hurts. But amongst all that, it also showed a deeper conflict within Isabella. Her son is right in front of her, and she knows there’s nothing she can do to save him. So, she chooses to distance herself, a cruel but necessary way to ensure her own sanity and survival.
Besides her relationship with Ray, what was really interesting this episode was seeing her past in her own orphanage/ farm. The bonds she made with another child called Leslie and her own attempt at escape. Her relationship with Leslie seemed to parallel Emma’s relationship with Norman. Child Isabella and Emma are both quite athletic and adventurous, but became close to their opposites, Leslie/Norman, who were a bit more reserved. Even the farewell between Isabella and Leslie was very similar to Emma and Norman’s – especially each boy’s final smile! Ray may be her child, but Isabella really does see herself in Emma. With this in mind, I still believe, deep in her heart, she wants to escape. When she stood in front of Emma on the wall, she could have very easily leaped and grabbed her. But instead, she let Emma go. Even more than that, she gathered their zipline ropes, giving them a better chance of escape. Her final farewell to the children seemed genuinely heartfelt.
I always knew they would pull it off. But at the same time, I’m so bloody relieved they managed to. The last few episodes of The Promised Neverland have been so emotional, so it makes sense the finale made me a wreck! Reveal after reveal changed the way I viewed certain characters and their interactions with others. With it all over, I feel there’s a bit of a hole inside that desperately needs filling. Guess, I’ll just have to restart the series!
That’s it for The Promised Neverland. Make sure to check out what the MANGA.TOKYO team will be covering for Spring 2019! You can find the full list over here.
The Promised Neverland
Winter 2019 | Anime Info | Simulcast