I know that infantile amnesia is a thing. I hardly remember what I ate for breakfast, let alone thing from back when I was four. I also know that it’s not a uniform phenomenon, and some remember more of their early childhood than others. But, memories from when one was a foetus? Seriously, Ray? I disbelieve. Memories from back before you were fully developed? Is this supposed to be a demonstration of Ray’s superior intellect because he somehow had a fully functional cerebral cortex back when he was still a glorified parasite? Is this what weird shounen superpowers have come to? ‘World’s smartest foetus’?.
Also, take that, pro-choicers. I guess.
Nevertheless, the mystery of how Ray discovered The Secret is finally solved, and I must say that it felt… anticlimactic. I suppose this is on me, because I was expecting a story of careful sleuthing and dramatic reveals, in which a young but precocious Ray follows a trail of clues leading to a truth almost too terrible to conceive. That is, something more along the lines of Lovecraftian horror, but with kids! I know that’s not really what Neverland set out to be, but I think it’s reasonable that, considering that we already know that there are clues hidden in the library books, there might be other such hints and signs around that Ray could have put together. I feel that would have made for a rather engaging story in and of itself. This is especially because Emma and Norman basically stumbled into the secret (thanks to Ray’s manipulations) and it would have been interesting seeing how Ray managed to deal come to terms with the terrible reality and live with it alone for so many years. Instead, Ray basically knew all along and there’s no narrative to be had from that. It’s the difference between solving a problem yourself and just flipping to the back of the book for the answer. I know, I know, Neverland doesn’t have that much episode time left and it needs to tie off all the loose ends, but doing so in a perfunctory manner actually actively makes Ray a less interesting character (by removing his mystery) without much to show for it.
Actually, a lot of this episode felt a bit unambitious, or perhaps simply predictable. Sure, I appreciated the drama of the moment, as our protagonists desperately tried to save Norman. Truely, the bond between the main three has been their greatest asset. And of course, the twist at the end got the tension high again with a obstacle and gave us a new crazy-face. But of course there’d be another obstacle. This is not just because walls are easily circumvented defensive measures (hi there, Americans. No letters.) and have historically needed supporting defences like guards and, in this case, a moat (though historically moats were more useful for keeping the enemy from digging under your wall). So, in such a tight operation like these plants it’d be daft if they truly relied on no security other than a plain wall. But more importantly, we know there’s no way that Norman was getting out himself. There’s only three episodes left and we’re not going to have time to tell the story of Emma dealing with her crippled state over months while trying to stall Isabella and looking after Norman in secret like Anne Frank. There simply isn’t the anime time.
But that’d be a pretty interesting story, no?
Alas, we’ll probably have to fall back on Krone’s parting gift in some way or another after all. Chekhov’s gun had been hung over the mantle and it must be fired before we’re done. It’d be too easy if the kids were able to just make more rope and sling themselves to freedom so simply. It’d be much more exciting if they were forced to leave through the front door, and perhaps Krone can aid them there posthumously.
Personally, though, I’m betting on air balloon.