The Promised Neverland: Season 1, Episode 12 “150146” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Norman making his final appearance.
Norman: Well?
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While learning how and if Emma, Ray, and the others escaped you’d think would be the high point, it is actually an emotional sendoff to someone else.


Network
Crunchyroll
Director(s) Mamoru Kanbe
Writer(s) Toshiya Ono
Air Date 3/28/2019
Introduced This Episode
Phil Kouno Hiyori
Leslie  

What Changed Emma’s Mind: Phil, Gilda, Emma

Emma has long been unwavering on taking everyone but with Gilda bringing up the possibility of the babies dying, among other issues, it really hits Emma that she’ll be sacrificing a lot of lives if she tries to save everyone. This leads to her telling Phil, a 4-year-old, the truth. Thus leading to him revealing he had some semblance of the truth through overhearing conversations, like Sister Krone mentioning a harvest, but now he has confirmation. The kind which leads him to cry a bit, as the truth hits him, but then he accepts the mission he knows he is being given. Emma will escape with 14 others, and it is Phil’s job to watch and train the next batch.

Though Emma vows she will return for not just those of Plant 3, but to rescue kids from the other farms.

A Leap Of Faith: Ray, Emma

Isabella watching Emma cross the gorge.

Now, the question has been for a while: How do these kids escape? Between demons, who we see from calf to head, a giant gap between the outside world and farms, alongside limited tools, what can these kids do? Well, thanks to bottle rockets and Don having a good arm, they climb the wall, find a cliff on the other side, and Don throws a cloth and rock, and once it locks in, he ziplines. This is followed by the bottle rockets sending more zip lines so that there are three and then every kid flies down using wooden hangers.

All the way down to Emma, who goes last.

Goodbye My Children, Goodbye My Son: Isabella, Leslie, Ray, Emma

As the kids are prepping and ziplining over, Isabella has sound the alarms. However, with the kids not showing up at the bridge comes her checking the walls and encountering Emma. Someone who has a moment of fear but before leaping, she loses it and just says goodbye and jumps. Leading her to escape and the zip line ropes being cut.

But that’s not the only thing cut. Like with Sister Krone, we get Isabella’s backstory and see when she realized the harvest was real. It was as she was climbing trees, basically being a raven-haired Emma, and heard Leslie play his instrument. Now, it isn’t clear if she had a crush on him but with his death came a bit of misery. So, taking that pain, she numbed herself and focused on survival for a long time. Leading to her eventually becoming a mom.

Ray when he was a child.

However, something, or rather someone, created a gap: Ray. We learn Ray is Isabella’s biological son and while it isn’t clear who the father is, Ray knows the truth. He knows Isabella gave birth to him and this explains perhaps everything. But, it should be noted, Ray doesn’t tell anyone this, assuming he remembers, and as for Isabella? Well, while tired of fighting for survival, it isn’t clear what she may do next. She still has all he four and under to take care of, and she’ll have to answer for the kids who escaped and the burnt down house.

Yet, at this point, who knows if Isabella cares anymore. Her son, her brilliant son, found a way to escape in ways she didn’t. He won’t be harvested, or subject to what the demons do. He is free, and with that, she has perhaps found peace.

Highlights

Isabella’s Backstory & Realization She Was Ray’s Biological Mom

Let me just begin by saying, I cried when Ray was revealed as Isabella’s son and just writing a recap of that triggered tears all over again. For while Isabella has been presented as a villain, we got reminded by Sister Krone that the desperation to survive and have some sort of guarantees drives the mothers. This became evident especially when Isabella approached Emma. There comes the point where you either have to focus on your survival or be ready to die.

But the kicker for me was we went beyond seeing the schooling and also saw Isabella pregnant. Meaning, there are stages to this. Beyond the schooling, women are probably impregnated and forced to give birth to children they may not have hopes ever to see. Never mind breastfeeding until they can be weened off. So imagine breaking out of that and, yes, having to shepherd kids towards death, but having a certain amount of freedom? Yeah, with the empowerment of those who could have killed you, but sometimes you have to side with your oppressor if you or anyone else isn’t willing to stand up and fight.

Which made her revealing Ray is her son such a kicker since, probably like dogs, most women probably gave birth and never saw their kids again. So this rare opportunity, even if Ray wasn’t born out of love, it reminds you of how little each person has. I mean, they may have dolls, as Conny and Sister Krone had, but your own child? Someone who is part of you? That has been stripped from most and to have to deliver your only known child? Can you imagine that? Having to decide between their survival and yours?

Also, it makes you realize, considering Isabella wanted to escape herself, why she probably helped Ray get materials and let things slide. While she didn’t know if they could do it, she hoped they would try. For why else would kids head towards the wall and past the fence? Isabella likely kept good inventory, so she had to know when things were missing. And lastly, taking note she didn’t try to stop Emma, I think she wanted her and Ray to succeed. I mean, isn’t that what most parents want? For their children, be it biological, adopted, or those like Emma who remind you of yourself, to surpass you?

It Was A Really Good Finale

With a second season confirmed for 2020, it makes how epic this finale was satisfying without any sort of asterisk. For while we’ll likely have to wait a year, or more, to learn what became of Phil and the younger kids, or Emma and the older, we were given a rare balance between stuff to look forward to and answers. So rather than give us a cliffhanger which fills you with anxiety and clamoring for what’s next, you are given most of the answers you need. All the while, enough to question the future of, like how will Isabella handle Phil knowing the truth, or Emma and company in the woods, to have the second season on your Google alerts.

Phil Proving He Was Smart

Phil (Kuono Hiyori) talking to Emma.
Phil (Kuono Hiyori)

For a good part of the show, Phil seemed just to pop up and have moments when you had to wonder if he was a spy. If not Isabella’s backup to cross-check Ray. However, he wasn’t, and with him coming to realize the truth, that was perhaps the final reminder that these are all children. Ones who want to believe Isabella has their best interest, wants to protect them, and give them the room and freedom to be children. So seeing Phil’s comfort blanket go up in flames and him having to mourn his now lost innocence, that was a real hit in the gut. Yet, him being willing to step up also reminds you of the resiliency of children and their ability to adapt to even the worst circumstances.

That There Were No “Will It Rip?!” Moments

While I get the use of tension and fear to excite viewers, there is the vibe that sometimes it is used lazily to hype up a situation that already has high stakes. Making me glad there weren’t any issues or even when Ray went with another child, we didn’t see any ripping due to the extra weight. It’s little things like that which makes you appreciate that The Promised Neverland wanted to both respect the ages and abilities of the children, as well as the viewer – even if things seemed kind of slow at times.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. It was such a great season final and gave us everything we needed. That said, I’ll be very happy next year to see this one return for a second season and I’ll just hope that the same standard is maintained as this season has just been a joy to watch.

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