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.
Structurally, episode ten of The Promised Neverland is so unlike the many that came before. An unraveling mystery for many episodes, taking place over two days, this one focused on Norman’s departure and the aftermath, which is a fairly quick montage, takes the action ahead two months.
That, however, doesn’t mean that schemes still aren’t unfolding.
After Isabella revealed just how sly she is, I’m hesitant to say that her cards on the table. But it certainly now seems that way. By destroying Norman’s connection to Ray and Emma, she attempts to break their will and see a worldview from her angle, one where you live swallowing the blue pill, enjoying what you have for the short time you have it and suppressing the futility of it all. A final scene demonstrate that Emma and Ray are playing along—both have made efforts to demonstrate that they’ve given into failure and depression, when they in reality have not.
But as always, there’s more to this than meets the eye. The central question for me is, What happened to Norman?
Isabella tells Emma that Norman is dead, but we as the audience don’t see the death. We don’t even see the demons. Norman expects to be taken to the wagon where he and Emma originally spotted Connie’s corpse, but Isabella instead leads him to a cell. There, he’s surprised and possibly frightened to see something. It could be the demons, certainly, and a little reverse trickery toward the audience might reveal it to be so, but it could also be something else.
Here’s my best guess: Norman sees another human—I would think it’s maybe the man who had been leaving clues in the library books, but the shock on Norman’s face leads me to believe he recognizes this person. Could it be Conny or Krone, who weren’t dead after all but in some sort of suspended animation?
Either way, I do believe Norman is alive, which means that Isabella has another scheme going, whether for the good of the children or for her own good. The small flashbacks we see of her, both in the show proper and the ED, make me believe that she might be fighting back against Grandma, and so does a little piece of info she drops when trying to convince Emma to become a mother: all mothers and sisters, apparently, have children—this, too, could be a reason that Isabella is rebelling.
And here’s another speculation—Norman is Isabella’s child.
Okay, I may be going off the rails, but that’s what this show does to you! And now, more than ever, I await another episode. Where are we going with all this? And have we done a timeskip that wasn’t done in the manga, I wonder? And if so, are we destined for an anime-original ending?
I hope not, because this has been a trip of a ride, and I hope to see the original author’s vision fulfilled to the happy or bitter end.
The Promised Neverland can be streamed on Crunchyroll.