WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Promised Neverland Season 2, Episode 7, now streaming on Funimation and Hulu.
It's not fun to rag on the failings of The Promised Neverland Season 2. The past three episodes have been a series of disappointments, and while Episode 7 isn't as bad overall, it's still bland, rushed and almost entirely exposition. Even so, there is still hope the anime is finally build up to a good episode again.
The ending of Episode 7 could imply the show is going to do what it needs to in providing stronger motivation for Norman by showing his experiences with the other farms. Of course, it could also just be another one of The Promised Neverland Season 2's dead-end cliffhangers to soon be forgotten about (Remember the "HELP" graffiti? Isabella's prison deal?).
Episode 7's main plot development is that Norman explains to Emma that Mujika's magic blood allows her and those who ingest her blood to not need to eat humans. Mujika's believed to have been killed by the royal family who felt threatened by this power, Norman is shocked to find out that she's not only alive but also someone Emma considers a friend. Emma now wants to use Mujika's blood to make peace with all the demons, while Norman wants to kill her along with the rest of them. Nevertheless, he makes a truce with Emma, allowing her five days to bring Mujika and Sonju to him before he starts enacting his genocide plot.
The drama of this conflict falls flat because the experiences that led Norman down his darker path have been completely breezed over in exposition. Anime viewers get where Emma is coming from because they've seen her interactions with Mujika and Sonju, but Ray in contrast just comes across as a stock antagonist rather than a person coping with heavy trauma. His story has been so rushed that the whole William Minerva mystery gets resolved unceremoniously in a single line of dialogue.
The episode's final scene is the same scene from Season 1 in which Norman says goodbye to Emma and gets shipped off from Grace Field. The cynical read on this is that the troubled production is looking for any excuse to recycle old footage, especially stuff that reminds people of the better first season. The positive read is that ending on a Norman-centric flashback means the next episode will finally show what happened to Norman between Season 1 and his reunion with Emma.
The human experimentation at the Lambda facility has been referenced in dialogue, and both the intensity of Barbara's reaction to Emma's defense of the demons and Norman mysteriously coughing blood offer hints of how traumatizing the place was. Actually showing it, however, would do a lot of good in making it clear just why Norman became so radicalized. For that matter, it would also be good to show the factory farms, which haven't even been so much as referenced in the anime but in the manga make Grace Field look like heaven by comparison.
At this point over halfway through a rushed Season 2, an episode properly showing the horrors Norman's endured might be too little, too late to redeem the season's poor adaptational choices. Even so, it absolutely would allow for a stronger conclusion to the anime.
New episodes of The Promised Neverland premiere Thursdays on Funimation and Hulu.