What They Say:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
If last week’s focus was on everything blocking the kids’ escape, then this week’s is on those same barriers slowly closing in. Sister Krone’s involvement adds a new layer of complication, as the kids have yet another adult to deal with, and one they’re not as familiar with. Krone’s design may be an offensive caricature, but Promised Neverland wastes no time in establishing that she’s a serious threat. Whereas Isabella is perfectly content with waiting for the three kids to be shipped off so she can get rid of them without revealing her mistake, Krone’s plan to go behind her back means they have even less time to escape than before.
The episode is full of shots that remind us of the threat, as it frequently frames things in narrow close-ups and claustrophobic shots from between rails and through bushes. It gives the feeling that Emma and her friends are growing more and more isolated, as though the entire world around them is working to close them in. Even when they’re just talking while they clean, the camera slowly pans from person to person, lingering on the side of the shelf between them. It’s an unsettling reminder that, even when they’re together, all three of the kids are isolated by what they know about the world. In the same vein, the close-up shots of Krone while she grins with wild eyes further emphasizes that she’s both dangerous and slightly unhinged in a way that makes things even worse for the kids. Krone is wild and unpredictable as Isabella is calm and focused, making her a completely different type of threat.
This episode also marks the first time we get a scene from the adults’ point of view without the kids’ involvement. Amidst the dim lighting, Isabella and Krone’s conversation hints that there’s more going on than just the one farm, including something about a ritual of some sort. All the information we get from them is conveyed through vague hints and implications rather than “as you know” style exposition, which keeps it both interesting and disturbing with what it might mean for the future. It’s becoming more and more clear that escaping from Grace Field House is only going to be the first step in a much longer journey, especially with so many questions about the world and how it ended up the way it is hanging.
While all this is going on, Emma, Norman, and Ray are making their own plans. One of their biggest problems is that a lot of the kids there aren’t in good enough physical shape to escape, and their solution is a clever one: train them by playing tag. It simultaneously lets them prepare the other kids for escape without causing a panic, and doesn’t look suspicious to the adults watching over them. Of course, they aren’t able to do this for long before Krone gets involved.
Though the stakes are low, the game of tag with Krone can’t help but feel like a preview of things to come: the kids running away, Emma, Norman, and Ray trying to keep the younger ones safe, and Krone catching them one at a time. It’s a strong reminder that they still have a lot of work to do before they’ll have a chance of actually escaping. Comical as she is, Krone is clearly both clever and fast, as she’s able to either trick or outrun all of the kids except Norman and Ray. Her knowledge of their backgrounds and personalities also gives her an advantage in predicting their reactions, something the kids can’t do with her.
Things only grow tenser as we learn that one of the kids might be a traitor. It’s pretty obvious who-nobody with opaque glasses in anime is ever trustworthy-but it still has a lot of implications for the future. Why is she working with the adults? Does she know the truth or is she just a pawn? How do the others escape when someone might be leaking their plans? All of these questions will need to be answered soon if the kids are going to actually act on their plan. With both Isabella and Krone making plans to dispose of them, Emma, Norman, and Ray have an even tighter timetable than before to make and execute their plan.
Though it doesn’t have quite the same level of nail-biting tension as the first two episodes, this is another strong entry in Promised Neverland’s story. Krone’s involvement changes things, and the glimpses we get into the outside world only build the mystery of what happened. With consistently excellent direction to make the most out of every scene, Promised Neverland is consistently engrossing even when it’s only focused on building up to something bigger.