In episode 7 of The Promised Neverland Season 2, viewers get more insight into Norman, one of the original children from Grace Field. Now set on vengeance and complete annihilation of the demons, Emma and Norman find themselves on opposite sides of a fight for humanity. Quickly, it became clear that Norman was dead set on creating a world without demons. Yet will the divide between Emma and himself continue to widen, or is there still a middle ground for humans and demons alike? Well reader… I don’t know. I genuinely don’t. But maybe Promised Neverland Episode 8 will answer that question.
That being said, The Promised Neverland Season 2, Episode 8, opens in the past with Norman, shortly after he departs from Grace Field. Rather than being killed and butchered for food, Norman meets Peter Ratri, a platinum blonde-haired man who will be his new father.
Peter Ratri is immediately suspicious. After all, viewers from season 1 know that the children of Grace Field never actually got parents. However, it seems Norman’s not fated to be food, and perhaps…never was. I’ll admit that it’s interesting. Yet it comes far too late in an already baffling season.
Here’s the thing.
In another story, this would actually be quite compelling. Actually, The Promised Neverland Episode 8 would be really compelling and really interesting. In fact, this entire episode would be quite horrific and memorable. And by all means, it is horrific… in theory. It lacks any emotional impact to make viewers feel horrified.
True, Norman suffered during the time that Emma and their family were escaping. He struggled, oftentimes in vain. Norman was also constantly monitored. He had little freedom and was always at risk of some unknown, grim fate. Overall, those tidbits of his past we see in this episode are a good foundation for why Norman became who he is.
But it’s not a good enough explanation for his senseless cruelty.
Viewers had no build-up to this version of Norman. Instead, everything feels out of leftfield, leaving viewers -including myself- baffled by the changes. The Norman we encounter in episode 6 and episode 7 is already cruel, desiring nothing but the annihilation of the demons. This Norman -still his younger self- feels much more authentic and so much more relatable. I wish this were the character we were dealing with instead of the cruel young man viewers see in episode 7.
I think I speak for many viewers who read the manga by saying that there’s no longer a desire for the Goldy Pond Arc. That proverbial ship has long since sailed. In fact, by episode 4, it became apparent that this iteration of The Promised Neverland would be something different entirely. However, I think that many viewers like me wanted a story that still had empathy and heart. After all, that’s what made The Promised Neverland such a different shounen series. It wore its heart on its sleeve.
Moreso, the characters -especially Emma and Norman- sought not to harm. They were together in their desire to get everyone out of Grace Field without killing. Thus far, Emma has stuck to her ethics. On the other hand, Norman has gone left on us, becoming just as cruel as the demons who bred humans.
I think that all of this is due to how the showrunners chose to make this season. It’s clear that massive amounts of content were cut. And I imagine that within all that cut material is what I’m looking for: growth. In fact, I imagine that there are loads of character development arcs on the proverbial cutting floor. Perhaps if we’d have had even a dollop of that, Norman’s growth into who he is now would have hit differently.
However, The Promised Neverland Episode 8 doesn’t contain that growth arc. The Promised Neverland Episode 8 has flashbacks, yes, but it’s not enough to give me a valid reason for Norman’s behavior. It’s not enough to help viewers understand why he’s like this now and why he’s so cruel. I think that anime-only viewers must be feeling the same dissonance I do. It’s hard to imagine viewers not being baffled.
In the end, The Promised Neverland Episode 8 isn’t bad, but… it’s also not good. It continues the strange, disconnected feeling the majority of the series has had. In many ways, The Promised Neverland Episode 8 offered a good chance to explain Norman’s complete 180 into being an anti-hero. Yet the brief look into his life after Grace Field doesn’t satisfy. It only hints at what could have been and what viewers lost.
Ultimately, The Promised Neverland Season 2 continues to be a roller coaster ride of “emotional” scenes that lack impact. Most of this episode falls flat, making it hard to watch with any enjoyment. I don’t know if the final three episodes will pull the story back. Honestly, I’m not optimistic, though I’ll be watching to the bitter end.
The Promised Neverland Season 2 is streaming now on Funimation.
The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 8
In the end, The Promised Neverland Episode 8 isn’t bad, but… it’s also not good. It continues the strange, disconnected feeling the majority of the series has had. In many ways, Promised Neverland Episode 8 offered a good chance to explain Norman’s complete 180 into being an anti-hero. Yet the brief look into his life after Grace Field doesn’t satisfy. It only hints at what could have been and what viewers lost.