Adrien finally realizes that Marinette is in love with him and also that he is in love with Marinette, and decides to start dating her. However, because that realization used up his One Intelligent Thought for the day, it doesn’t occur to him that he actually needs to tell her this. He just starts acting like a boyfriend, with no context or explanation.
So, like I said, Ephemeral is the 22nd episode of the 4th season, a parallel to Chat Blanc.
We know, from what Thomas and other's have said that this will be a "What If" style episode.
I've said before (like literally yesterday holy shit) that to keep with the parallel, Adrien will be akumatized in Ephemeral, but this time as himself.
An lo, and behold,
The looks like a father and son dastardly duo (complete with complete lack of fashion) if I ever did saw.
Now...that trailer. HOOOOOO BOY THAT TRAILER...
Mari is talking to Su Han, my guess because he wants her to find out who the cat miraculous belongs to, for Guardian reasons. He actually looks kind like he's trying to helo out here. I don't think he's telling her he's going to take it away at all.
And so, perhaps she starts speculating on who Chat might be....or maybe she connects the dots.
Incidentally, remember the last time we saw a rain scene in the Chat Blanc timeline? What if we've reached the same point as as that timeline...where Marinette discovers, once again, who Chat is (I'm gonna write a meta about the Chat Blanc parallels just from the trailer don't you guys worry.)
So the "What If" scenario for Marinette is discovering Chat's identity....
But what about Adrien?
Adrien obviously discovers his mom...
So my theory: He discovers his dad is Hawkmoth and needs the miraculous to get her back.
We've seen a lot of shots this season where Adrien misses his mom...so maybe because he doesn't know who Ladybug is and because he has been feeling sidelined, we get an alternative timeline where he joins his father's side.
Remember this part of the summary we got before?
What would happen if Ladybug and Cat Noir discovered their secret identities? To beat a villain, Ladybug calls on nine superheroes when all she needed was Cat Noir and his cataclysm. But she couldn't call the latter, as she still doesn't know his secret identity. The Celestial Guardian of the Miraculous decides that this situation cannot go on. It is too dangerous to leave Cat Miraculous in the wild with a stranger. If Ladybug wants to remain Guardian, she must find a way to tell Master Su-Han who Cat Noir really is. Someone must know, to control. Faced with this ultimatum, what will Ladybug do?
Clearly, the big akuma battle we saw with the others was the battle referred to here, so we can assume that battle happened at the beginning of the episode, perhaps while Adrien was attending this for his dad.
Once again, he was forgotten. Perhaps, this was the final straw? So he decides to join his dad, maybe even lure Ladybug into a trap.
Or it's confirmed he's a senti-being and his father decides to force him to.
He allows his father to take his miraculous, unifying the black cat and the butterfly to create the ultimate monstrosity unification and akumatize himself so that he can take down Ladybug, while in the process learning her identity as his good friend Marinette.
This, would be the end of Ladybug and Chat Noir.
Now of course, this is a "What If" time line so there has to be the saving the day of course?
That's where Cosmobug and Pinkdrien Astrocat save the day.
The next question then...is who would be the one to bring them back and reset the timeline?
There's been some good meta on the "Two Sides of The Same Coin" Theory (shout out to @coccinelle-et-chaton and @miraculous-clowncar for this one).
What if Adrien realizes what he's done and goes to extreme lengths to undo it all, and chooses to be better than his father?
Like say, breaks his own akumatization, defeats his dad, and steals back both miraculouses to reset the timeline?
Edit cause I have realized the error of my ways:
OKAY lesson learned folks: don't write your theories when you are shaking from new trailer.
I agree with what others (specifically these guys) have said that Adrien wouldn't willingly get akumatized.
But I still think he's the akuma.
So let's say he is in so much shock and betrayal and accidentally reveals himself to be Chat Noir and then we have two options:
1. Adrien is in so much shock and pain from seeing his mom that he becomes the perfect akuma target for Mr "I Have No Soul" Agreste who forces him to give up his miraculous
2. Sentiadrien, and it turns out that my theory Gabe never controlled him because he didn't want to "sink that low" (listen even assholes have some standards....probably) but is willing to because suddenly, like in Chat Blanc, it seems like his prize is even easier to get (especially if he needs both rings to control him and has gotten the rings back from Felix in Gabriel Agreste)
Both are equally devastating options....
But it would set him up to break his own akuma (which we've seen in previous episodes people can do) and defeats his dad to save the day.
it's been a hot second since i last theorized for an episode, but for ephimeral, I will do it.
let's go. it's time for nelle's clown theories.
As we know from the leak that happened a few weeks ago, the afternoon akuma happens alongside the press conference. Following that event, Su Han visits Ladybug to ask her to find out who Chat Noir is. Simultaneously, Adrien is discovering the corpse of his dead mom, which could be Gabriel's calculated attempt to sway Adrien to the dark side. Given this scene, it might be an important conversation/ the thing that convinces Gabriel to reveal his plan.
But we know it will backfire. Adrien will not yield, he will become akumatized because this is what happened last time he found out in Chat Blanc. He is in a vulnerable state, and at what has to be Gabriel at his absolutely most despicable, I bet he will try using force or his Miraculous, or both, to take the ring away from Adrien, merge it with the Butterfly, and akumatize him.
I also think that Ephemeral will be both akumatized and de-evilized in the middle of the episode, but the duo will deal with the chaos it created after it has been de-evilized because this whole sequence looks like the climatic act/resolution of the episode:
While this looks more like Ladybug caught in the very situation Su Han probably warned her about, being caught between a rock and a hard place WITHOUT Chat Noir. Hence why she's furiously typing on her bugphone. But little does she know, Chat Noir is actually standing right behind her, as pointed out by @gentil-minou. So this happens prior to them emerging from the sewers (HELLO ARE WE HAVING ANOTHER SEWER SCENE? PLEASE ? UMBRELLA AND SEWER SCENE IN THE SAME EPISODE?? you are SPOILING us Zag /j):
Now, regarding the Ladynoir Umbrella Scene. Based on Chat Blanc, Marinette thinks that when either of them learns the identity of the other at the wrong time, they set off a cataclysmic timeline. But this episode will prove her wrong. Because at the chance of standing corrected, Adrien finds out her identity AFTER shit hits the fan, and she learns his identity after he does.
It may be that Adrien breaks out of the akumatization when he sees Marinette detransforming in front of him. And once he does, and once they fight to recover his Miraculous from Hawkmoth, Marinette will tie the strings about who he is. The Umbrella Scene will be that final Eureka! moment. I mean, do these faces look like the faces of two idiots in love who just discovered each other's identity, or does it look more like the sudden assimilation and acceptance that they had been in front of each other all along?
Alternatively, it could be that this is the closing moment right before they reset everything, in which case, I will absolutely cry. Actually, either way I will cry because when you think about it, the realization that it WASN'T their love what caused the end of the world in Chat Blanc, that it's actually okay to know who Chat is, and that she doesn't have to stress out about loving him because their love is not the bad thing, Hawkmoth is, will leave as soon as they reset.
In other words, this knowledge that would allow her to fully embrace her feelings for Chat Noir, will be as the kids say, e p h e m e r a l.
Let me rant about "Ephemeral" and that trailer! Only because...I really need to!!
*Scroll down only if you don't care about spoilers!*
So, Adrien can't transform and fight the villain because he is busy with a press conference...The shocking part of this scene is that Gabriel is dropping him
Here, I assume they must be talking about the problem with their identities? because of what happened with the villain before? Although Su-Han doesn't seem upset, only Ladybug...
Why would Adrien go straight to Emily's painting? Was it just to see it or talk to Gabriel and did he discover something on it that caught his attention?
What?! Why?! How?
I don't think it is necessary to say anything...
Ladynoir umbrella scene! How long did I wait for her to make that connection! Besides, the way she looks at him...i love it!
All the new heroes+ the old ones... Yes please!
Gamer and Gorizilla are back?? How? I did not see that coming!
We have never really seen a full transformation of the Space Power Up, like we did with the Aqua Power or the Ice Power, so this is pretty cool!
So, that's Ephemeral? ... does he have a companion by his side? Who is it? And did he just took away the powers from Marinette ?! How?! This is to much!
I really hope this episode doesn't end as Chat Blanc or Oblivio, and in the end everything will go back to how it was before, like nothing ever happened...
I hope what Thomas said at that conference, (that episode #22 was like What If? episode) is just to mislead, because moths before, in another interview, he said that everything that happens in this season would be permanent ....