TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE
Sorry about the delay on this article. I’m bundling episodes 3 and 4 together because these in particular follow a continuous story, because they pull a lot from BTS’s “Prologue” video, which has a fairly consistent narrative arc. To avoid rehashing the story and to leave certain things open to interpretation, I won’t be covering the story itself, just particular choices I made while editing this.
Starting with “Death in the Afternoon,” the title doesn’t actually reference a death that occurs in the episode, because no such death occurs. I have been maintaining a convention of using literary references to address plot points. “Death in the Afternoon” is a reference to a book by Ernest Hemingway, where he talks about Spanish bullfighting. However, Death in the Afternoon is also a cocktail, made up of champagne and absinthe, and invented by Hemingway. Absinthe is a highly alcoholic spirit, often associated with hallucinations (though this is not substantiated by scientific research.)
We actually see Namjoon drinking absinthe in “Blood Sweat and Tears” – absinthe is often vibrant green, and served with a sugar cube. Typically, you pour water over the sugar cube to dilute the absinthe and mix the sugar in. However, Namjoon lights the sugar cube on fire to melt it and we never see the water. This likely means that Namjoon did not dilute it and is drinking it effectively raw. This is not the first or last reference to mind altering substances in these music videos.
The second episode is called “Crossing the Water,” which comes from a poem by Sylvia Plath. Sylvia Plath was a brilliant poet who committed suicide in 1963. There is a line from this poem: “This is the silence of astounded souls.” As you’ve probably noticed, much of Neverland is done without dialogue, but in some moments there is almost complete silence. These are moments to reflect on what the story might entail.
Building on the idea of hallucination and alteration of the mind, there’s a scene in the middle of the episode that acts like a montage, set to “Run”. There are moments that occur squarely in reality, signified with a camera filter (we see Jin running around with a camera several times.) But then there are foggy, vibrant sequences, where characters are partying. It’s not so much that the scenes are not reality, but they’re not the same – it’s a perception of reality.
I also focused heavily on Jungkook and Jimin. This is because, as you’ll see in other episodes, they are often victims of circumstances caused by others. I hinted at this through a number of things – the blindfold sequence with Jimin, and Jungkook on the swing and drinking absinthe from his finger (and eventually flying.) Namjoon and V also get some screen time in this sequence, as Namjoon’s character falls into escapism and V is shrouded and self-isolated.
Building on the theme of perception, Jin is constantly flickering in and out of black and white. I have mentioned in other articles I use color as a means to tell story and say something about a character. Jin exists on a plane of existence separate from the others, as signified by the grayscale environments he’s seen in. But when he’s around the others, he flickers in and out, like a broken TV. This shows maybe he doesn’t see himself as being on a different plane, even though he is.
There are numerous moments where the colors attributed to Jin change in order to indicate an alteration of perception. In the museum scene, the painting and world around Jin turns black and white. When Jin is “summoned” to see the other members again in the normal plane, Jin’s black-and-white world turns vibrant and he begins to glitch out. He stays entirely black and white at night, and generally stays colorful at the beach. And when V knocks down his house of cards, once he sees the vision of V underwater, the people around him change into black and white as well.
The main plot point throughout this arc, however, is V coping with the death of his father in the previous episode. We start with him crying on the phone to someone, then move to him meeting his friends. They have fun for a while, and in another dream sequence, V sees a puppy, signifying his hope. But a cage falls around him, and the puppy leaves – he becomes someone without hope.
At the end of the video, V is on top of a tower by the beach. He looks towards his friends, then just before he jumps off, he enters the same plane as Jin – he turns black and white as well. As the video fades out, the colors become vibrant again.
As I’ve mentioned before, I intend to leave much of Neverland to interpretation for my viewers and readers. Do I have clear ideas of where I want it to go? Yes. But the thing about film, particularly fan films made out of existing material, is there’s fun in ambiguity. The symbols I pick mean something to me that could resonate differently for others. If you have your own theories or ideas of what the story says, you are welcome to comment, be it on this article or the videos. I hope that you are able to find your own meaning in this story, particularly as it unfolds in the coming installments.