With both Isabella and Krone to contend with, Emma, Norman and Ray decide to let the other eldest children in on their plan. It’s clear that one of the kids is feeding information about their plot to the adults, but no one is sure who the traitor is. As their plans accelerate, Norman tries to find a way to suss out the betrayer.
I was hooked from episode 1 of Neverland, and I’m glad that the show has stayed strong. The last episode was all about the kids prepping their siblings for the escape and gauging the threat posed by Sister Krone. This time, we shift focus to whomever is willing to betray the children, and why.
One of the neat tricks in episode 3 was how much of it was shot as if we were looking at the characters from behind bushes, bookshelves and such. It seeded the idea of a traitor among the children even as the main crew figured it out themselves. In this episode, we get some cool close-in and first-person shots as we take on the perspective of the gang as they play mental chess with both their caretakers and the traitor.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a show do such a good job at building tension through limited information, and how different people react to it. Emma doesn’t want to believe anyone is a traitor, but would escape with them regardless out of compassion. Ray is cagey and suspicious of everyone, and Norman is his usual strategic self. It puts emotion in conflict with logic in a way that feels real.
This extends to how they go about telling the older kids, Don and Gilda, about their plan. Emma doesn’t reveal the truth about the demons raising the children for slaughter. Instead, she says that Conny and the other “adopted” children have been sold to “bad people”. It’s a lot more believable than “demon-run child farm”, but I’m sure that Emma’s good intentions are going to be put to the test soon.
On the flipside of the children’s practical and ethical conundrums is the tension between Isabella and Krone. Isabella’s disdain for her assistant is palpable, and Krone is becoming desperate for a way to undermine her. It seems that their position within the hierarchy run by the demons is tenuous, which explains why their both so driven.
There’s a ton of potential for this to either help or hinder Norman’s escape plan. Around the children, the caretakers have put up a united front, so it’s not clear how much of their division he might be able to exploit. As of the cliffhanger at the end of this episode, he has more immediate concerns.
This far into the show, my only criticism is that sometimes the choice of music doesn’t seem to fit the scene, such as when Norman and Ray commiserate with a hopeful trill playing the background, or when Krone violently dismembers a doll to a carnival ditty. If they’re trying for some sort of juxtaposition between the music and the imagery, it’s getting lost on me. Overall though, Neverland continues to be a tight, focused thriller than uses tension and looming dread to great effect.