Isabella is done playing games. She’s finally found a way to deal with Sister Krone and secure her position. With that done, she can focus on how to deal with the masterminds behind the escape plan. After turning the tables on Ray, she confronts Emma and Norman, making it painfully clear that no breakout will happen on her watch.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say the last few episodes of Neverland have been slow, but after the earlier tension, the middle stretch has felt more leisurely than i expected. Now, it’s clear what all of the interactions between the kids and the introduction of Sister Krone has been leading up to: Mom taking the freaking gloves off.
It seems that the letter Isabella delivered to Krone at the end of episode 7 was an order to take charge of another farm. By giving Krone what she’s been after this whole time, Isabella is effectively promoting her out of the way. Angered at not being able to tear Isabella down, Krone departs for the gate, potentially leaving something useful for the children.
Krone’s send-off gives us a glimpse into her past, and the struggle that led her to become the person we’ve come to know and fear. I’ve often seen these kinds of montages used to try and make the audience sympathize or pity the villain because of their hard life or tragic past, and most of the time it doesn’t work, because the person has been so irredeemable that nothing could excuse their actions. This doesn’t seem to be the case with Krone; the scenes are just to give us context for how someone could become so selfish and vicious in a world where the only choices are servitude and death.
After Krone is out of the way, the rest of the episode focuses on Isabella asserting her power over Ray, Emma and Norman. Unlike Krone, whose friendly facade cracks at the drop of a hat, Isabella remains calm and collected throughout. Her cold confidence makes her incredibly intimidating, and when she finally shows her physical superiority to the kids, it confirms everything we’ve come to fear.
Isabella is a fantastic antagonist because she’s intelligent, deceptive, and completely faithful to her role. For all their cleverness, the children are just that; children. They are confronting a system that has run smoothly for years, thanks to people like Isabella. She’s a true believer in the current order, and genuinely seems to love the children in her own twisted way. After all, their short lives are happy and fulfilling, and death is a mercy compared to whatever world the demons and their collaborators have built… right?
Episode 8 feels like the lowest point for our heroes so far. Isabella is firmly in control, and their only remaining ally is someone sending coded messages in books from the outside. It’s going to take a huge change in fortune, or a far more cunning plan to break free now, and I’m not seeing a happy ending anywhere on the horizon.