This season, Beneath the Tangles will be offering dual posts each week for The Promised Neverland, one for viewers who are new to the series and one for those who have read the manga. This post is for beginners and will only include spoilers up to the episode being discussed. We ask that you avoid any spoilers from the manga if you comment below. If you would like to discuss spoilers and other content from the manga, please read thathilomgirl’s posts for the series.
They can have my life. But I have no intention of giving them anything else.
The crucial part of episode nine is not its shocking conclusion—instead, its the middle of the episode, where Norman has to make a decision. The news has been delivered that he’ll be “adopted” the next day, and Emma and Ray refuse for that to happen. Flush with anger, Ray hatches a plant to help Norman, while Emma, passionate and dedicated, pushes him toward a route that will save him. The decision? Norman will go to the wall, spy it out, destroy his tracker, and hide, lying in wait until the day when Emma’s leg has healed and all the kids escape.
But what we’re not privy to is Norman’s thoughts on the matter, not beyond him telling the other two that he doesn’t intend to escape. I think he knows that Ray’s plan to hide him is not likely to work—talk of paper cup phones and delivering dinner outline how emotionally charged it is. But Norman wants to be with everyone; he wants to live as well. So when he breaks down, in what’s the most emotional scene of The Promised Neverland so far, its with a hope that he will somehow survive.
Of course, Norman doesn’t go through with the faux escape. He returns to Mama instead of “leaving,” and later delivers the next piece of challenging news—not only will Emma and Ray need to contend with planning to escape without Norman, but once they reach the wall, they’ll need to cross a deep chasm. I wondered why the wall around the plantation was relatively small, and the answer is given here: it’s merely to hide the view from the children. The real obstacles is the sheer drop following it.
Roughly one day passes in this episode. Norman is about to be adopted out, but time remains for him to escape or for some other plan to begin. However, my belief is that he does intend to go with Mama, though I’m sure some surprise remains. When Norman saw the gap, he smiled—it could have been a grin of resignation, but with how emotional he was earlier, I don’t think that’s it. It would be too calm of him in the moment. Remember that Norman found the package that Krone left, and that must be key for something.
Norman’s part in this story is not coming to a close.
But I say that with little certainty. The show has taken so many turns already, and who knows how much more are ahead? Some of the turns don’t quite make sense, either, like Ray’s “infant memory.” He mentions the idea of infant amnesia, which is a real concept, but the vividness of his memory as a newborn feels shockingly unrealistic in a story about demons farming human children. Then again, maybe it’s mean to be so, and there are more lies hidden here as well.
We’ll see as we move forward, though with the series inching ever closer to torture porn, I’m not sure if I’m emotionally ready to see what happens next.
The Promised Neverland can be streamed on Crunchyroll.