If any chess move can describe this situation, it’s checkmate. Episode 9 resumed with the despair the kids experienced when Isabella shattered their hopes of escaping. Norman was particularly the focus of this episode as we know he is to be shipped soon, so the story had us see Norman break down for probably the first time. Knowing Norman, when he broke down in front of the fountain that means he truly could not find any shred of tangible hope to hold onto. The kid truly despair, and it was felt by both Ray and Emma.
These two were willing to go to the moon and back for Norman, I though that was so cute. At that point, a glimmer of hope was restored in both their hearts, and ours. When Emma spontaneously came up with her plan, backed by Ray, it was able to lift Norman’s spirit yet again, making the recent events seem like a setback they could all handle as long as they could think of something. The escape plan had been resumed.
Determined, the three take on their roles, Norman sprints to the wall, ties the rope, runs on the wall and grabs the edge just in time. The animation played a key role in making the revelation quite something. As Norman stands atop the wall, we see a typical forest scenery, nothing really unexpected except for what Norman himself saw. The following scene got pretty intense, Norman comes back with a look of complete and utter despair, even worse than what he had last episode, he smiles to mom and she smiles back, knowing she had checkmated them a long time ago. Norman’s reaction at that point reminded me of what mom said, to keep on living happily even though it was fake and temporary. Norman looked as if he dropped the entire plan along with his will to escape altogether when he smiled at Isabella.
Knowing of the gigantic cliff separating the plant and the mainland, who could blame him. The gap is too wide for a ladder, too wide to jump over, when faced with this reality, knowing his mentality, he saw the foolishness of wanting and attempting to escape, the ultimate reaction to that was to pretend as if nothing ever happened, come back, smile and acknowledge defeat. The life drained out of his eyes when came back and when he spoke to Emma and Ray, we have yet to see their reaction, but perhaps it’s going to be similar.
I have to add that three kids out of the whole excluding the main trio, stand out. Phil and the two others. I think something is definitely up with them. Their reactions are always opposite of those around them. When Norman’s “adoption” was announced, these three were the only ones who did not say congratulations. and had a pretty odd reaction.
Now, I am at a complete loss, just like Norman, I do not see a way out. The plot played a really deadly card at probably the worse possible time. Between the time Norman has left, Emma’s healing and Ray’s shipment, the kids are literally checkmated, and they didn’t see a shred of it coming. At that point, I can only see a potential outside intervention, or perhaps Krone’s final gift to come of aid. The situation is so brutal, I do not see how the kids can get out of it, if they will that is. Crow mentioned the other day that perhaps the series will portray a different group of kids after this generation will have passed, to attempt the same thing and get closer to victory and so on, much like Grey’s Anatomy. At this point, this outcome looks a lot less far fetched. Maybe we will see Phil succeed.
On the other hand, what if what seems to be the gates of hell the only exit. Perhaps if Norman gets shipped, he might bypass the demons and HQ and make his way “outside”. Although Ray mentioned that it’s not the case, and that the gate is out of question, I genuinely do not see what else they could do. We also don’t know what Krone’s final gift was, maybe it could help somehow, and we also have this William Minerva person. What I mean is that there is a lot we don’t know about the outside, or even HQ, and the picture that we have of it is only based on what we’ve observed and heard, which might be inaccurate or lacking in information. I remember Krone scoffing at the word “demons” when the kids spoke of them, Krone had this air of uppity that implied “there is so much you don’t know, you need me”, and when her fate got sealed, she decided to play her trump card, ultimately against their common enemy, Isabella, which she left in Norman’s desk. Remember Grandma was only okay with the situation because Isabella had it under control; we need no reminder, but Krone knew that if she could disrupt this order, by helping the kids escape, it would cause a chaos.
I’m pretty confident her last gift will be the key to get the kids back in the game and offset the checkmate. Until then, I’ll see you next time.