I wanted to say something about The Promised Neverland as a whole since we’re finally on the last episode. Partly because I know most of the comments are gonna be negative as usual.
I feel like I’ve been one of the few people who has somewhat defended the second season of The Promised Neverland online. Not that I think the second season is good or anything, but I don’t think it’s complete garbage either. I think this season as a whole has its share of good moments in the midst of the bad moments. And I want to voice my opinion because I know most people will just point out the bad.
I will also be pointing out the bad stuff, which there is a lot of.
The good stuff
I thought the first three or four episodes of The Promised Neverland season 2 were of the same quality as the first season. It’s crazy to think back, but the first couple or so episodes of season 2 were really compelling and intriguing. It really did feel like it was building to this huge crescendo.
The animation quality of season 2 was excellent. However you feel about the writing of the series, I don’t think you can criticize the animation. Sure, some of the faces look silly and cartoonishly out of proportion, but I never noticed a step down in animation compared to season 1.
I really liked the stuff between Emma and the demons. One of the things that I felt season 2 really did a good job in building up was Emma and her not wanting to hurt the demons. I thought that was actually well done.
Speaking of Emma, I don’t think she became a Mary Sue like a lot are saying. To me, her character has been consistently written the same way as she was in season 1. Sure, she practically solved all the problems that were occurring, but I don’t think that makes someone a Mary Sue.
I like in theory the character change of Norman. I think him going in the dark side, if written better, could have worked and been very enticing. It had potential, which I’ll get more into.
Lastly, I like the reunion between Emma and Phil in episode 10. That was legitimately a heartwarming moment seeing them hug.
And now we get to all the bad.
The pacing issues in this season is atrocious. So much happens in these episodes and very little feels like it matters. I think the pacing really started to go off the rails with the reintroduction of Norman. From that point on, it’s like we get so many time cuts.
Speaking of Norman, I really don’t like what they did with his character. Specifically, him just deciding out of the blue to not hurt the demons. The conflict of him wanting to hurt the demons and Emma being against it had a lot of potential. But Emma literally told Norman to stop it and he just went “Okay.” Lazy, lazy writing.
I also feel Norman’s new friends were wasted potential as well. Each one of them despised the demons with every fiber of their being. But when Norman has a change of heart, it’s like there’s very little resistance. Instead, they all collectively went “Well, I guess we don’t hate the demons now.” It’s so frustrating because of all the new characters introduced in season 2, I feel Norman’s friends, particularly the one with a bag on his head, has such interesting, unique designs. And they just feel wasted.
I hated— hated, hated, hated— what they did with Isabella. What a waste of a character. To have the entire first season be about escaping from the clutches of Isabella, only to have her become good in season 2, makes it feel as if season 1 was pointless. And the real kicker is Isabella becoming good could have worked. If, you know, THEY ACTUALLY FUCKING BUILT UP TO IT! Isabella turned good with nothing to hint at her turning good. It literally came out of nowhere. Of the things that happened in season 2, this is the one that left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m an amateur writer, and even I could have written something better than that.
Lots of scenes where it’s a bunch of talking and not much action. I can’t criticize this too much because in my light novels that I’ve written, I have a lot of scenes that involve dialogue. But I kinda feel my dialogue heavy scenes and the way this show does it are vastly different. With my scenes, it’s done to express the characters emotions and further advance the plot by increasing the tension and the drama. With this show, they explain key plot points through dialogue, instead of just showing you it firsthand. This show is very guilty of violating the “show, don’t tell” policy, and is one of the main reasons why people don’t like this season.
Lastly, let’s talk about how convenient everything feels. The main criticism I’ve seen thrown at this show is that everything gets dealt with very conveniently. And honestly, it’s easy to see why. Isabella redeeming herself with little to no reason given, Norman having a change of heart, the demons being able to regrow limbs by drinking blood, a lot of this feels less like “Oh, this makes sense” and more “Because the plot demands it,” like it’s some kind of deus ex machina. The thing that frustrates me the most about this is that they could easily take the time and explain these things. And yet sadly, they choose not to. They already spend half the fucking episode doing nothing but dialogue, but God forbid they explain any of the lingering plot holes.
Overall, I rate season 2 a 6 out of 10. I understand why this season is getting maliciously destroyed, but I do legitimately feel there are some good ideas in it. The first 3 or 4 episodes are great, the stuff with Emma and the demons is legitimately compelling, and I like the idea of Norman going to the dark side. It’s just the show can’t put it together. It’s like the show has all the pieces to the puzzle, but they can’t form the pieces together. As such, you’re left with a show with a ton of wasted potential. A show with a ton of good ideas, but no way in which to execute it.