Let’s cut to the chase: grisly fate for Krone this week. To be honest, after the implication last week that Isabella knew of Krone’s shenanigans (perhaps we blame Ray here) I didn’t really have high hopes for Krone’s continued survival. Really, did any of you really expect Krone to win the Krone vs Isabella contest? Yeah, neither did I. Isabella always seemed to be in control even as Krone became more neurotic. It doesn’t help that Krone’s motivations were bare to us while Isabella remained inscrutable; as we all know, in fiction nothing sinks a plan like explaining it in detail to the audience. No, there was no way Isabella would be so easily dethroned, and this episode she demonstrates her dominance. It’s not just a matter of strength and cunning either; she obviously has a great deal of influence within her organisation, able to summon Krone and then have her transferred away seemingly at her discretion. And she’s not even the final boss. Scary.
As you know by now, I’m quite sympathetic towards Krone, and I wrote as much last week. I assume this was Neverland‘s intention. I’ve been reading the comments and one of the additions to the manga that you guys have pointed out is Krone’s doll. The reveal that she has had the doll since her childhood is, no doubt, meant to illicit some measure of pity from us right before her miserable end. And perhaps the doll was also the foundation of her madness. Krone had, apparently, always nursed a spark of rebellion. Emma and the gang were evidently not the only children who learnt of the secret and plotted escape. Perhaps there were many like them, and Krone, who dreamt of freedom and defiance. But Krone, even after becoming a matron herself, seemed to have held onto it. If her ambition was was just to become a ‘Mother’, then she should have been happy with her transfer to plant 4. And if she had just taken that quietly, didn’t try to report Isabella, and didn’t rock the boat, perhaps she would have lived. But she ostensibly wasn’t just seeking promotion for herself. She wanted to topple the one at the top. Part of her, it seemed, still resented this system. And therefore, I think, the emphasis in this anime adaptation on Krone’s madness. In this world, freedom and defiance are impossible. But Krone held onto those childhood dreams, held onto her doll. And it drove her insane. Insanity was the only refuge as she played both rebel and oppressor. Fittingly, Krone routinely destroys her doll in fits of rage and then repairs it again. And in her final moments, when she wished for the children to escape, we can wonder if it was then that she was truly lucid.
While Krone went mad because she could not square her ideals with her reality, Isabella remained sane by accepting it completely. In contrast, Isabella is defined by despair. She had given up long ago. All signs point to Isabella truly loving her wards. By her words, she strives to provide the best care possible to the children but has accepted that their lifespans can be no more than 12 years. Perhaps her despair is justified, that there truly is no possibility of freedom, and escape is impossible, and even if it was there was no life to be had outside the plant’s wards. Perhaps this is why Isabella is the most accomplished Mother, being the most capable of the doublethink that allows her to both care for her children deeply yet so casually let them die, breaking them without hesitation even as she cradles them. And then contrast both her and Krone to Grandma, who betrays no emotions at all, speaking only in terms of ‘plants’, ‘production’ and ‘profit’.
Well, our protagonists are pretty doomed now and have hit their nadir. The only hope, it seems, is Krone’s parting gift. Whether it was left out of spite for Isabella or thoughts for the children none can now say. Perhaps someone had shown her mercy in the past. I wouldn’t be exactly satisfied if our protagonists are just handed a trump card, but at this rate, they probably need it.