There are a couple of things that concern me on Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 3.
Besides the obvious danger that Melanie is in — trekking across drifted snow on a mountaintop in -118 degree Celsius temperatures to live for a month on her own — she also doesn’t appear to have been informed of Josie’s survival.
Whether Layton and the Tailies have been deliberate about that omission, or if it just didn’t come up in conversation, it feels like one should probably be informed if the woman you killed turns up alive.
Meanwhile, Wilford’s sadism is beginning to look less calculated and crazier. The man seems torn between hedonistic nihilism and his survival instinct.
I do have to tip my hat to Wilford’s showmanship. That throne-like armchair from which he attempts to whittle down Melanie’s supply list was a perfectly grandiose prop. All he was missing was the crown.
Apocalypse isn’t so bad, really. If you can just muddle through, show a little ingenuity, people line up for tickets to the only show in town, aboard Snowpiercer — my train — all one thousand and thirty-four cars long.
But where he really steals the spotlight is in his powerplay moments.
On Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 2, it was his ability to coerce Kevin into slitting his own wrists.
Wilford: Hello, Melanie. Have you got your woolies on for your grand exit?
Melanie: Not yet. But you’re nearly rid of me, Joseph.
Wilford: Well, in that spirit of cooperation, Alex will be in the driver’s seat. I think it’s only fitting she drive her mother into the Great Beyond, don’t the rest of you?
Here, he’s intent on turning Alex’s carbon into diamonds by applying the pressure of responsibility for all the lives on-board Snow-Alice as well as her mother.
I’m reminded of Gene Hackman’s character, Herod, in the 1995 film The Quick and the Dead, where he forces the child who grows up to be Sharon Stone’s Ellen to try to save her father from hanging by shooting the rope.
The fact that Alex can let Melanie into her heart and reconnect with her mother just as Melanie prepares to leave is an obvious and expected agony.
Alex: Just what do you think is going to happen here over the next few hours?
Melanie: As much as possible.
Alex: Kind of ironic, right? Cause we’re here, packing your shit so that you can leave me. Again.
Melanie: It’s worse than ironic. It’s awful. I’m sorry.
Alex: You leave once, that’s a decision. Then you leave me twice. And then, that becomes a choice.
Wilford’s influence is still an overwhelming force in her life, leaving Alex in a precarious situation for the next month. Maybe longer.
He is not only her rescuer and her de facto parent for the last seven years; he is her mentor, training her to be an engineer just as he trained her mother.
Alex: They smell our eggs, you know. Now they’re craving fresh food like never before.
Wilford: Good. Everyone needs to stay hungry.
But she doesn’t follow blindly, which is heartening. She recognizes the terrible things he does, although she has no way to stop them.
And because Melanie remembers what it was like being Alex’s age and in the thrall of Wilford and his power, some of her last words to her daughter are to remind her that she is not Wilford, that his actions are not hers to own.
You know he put that pressure on you on purpose, when he made you drive the train?And when he ordered you to disconnect Snowpiercer, it’s because he wanted all that death on your conscience. I just want you to know that’s his cruelty. It is not yours. Never forget that. It’s not your fault.
If Melanie’s redemption is as a mother, there are hopeful signs already.
However, she has other things to atone for as a person. She admits that she wronged Ruth by lying and repeatedly advises Layton to keep Hospitality close and loyal.
My advice. Don’t lie to her. I regret that I did and I’ll probably never make it right but, for you, she’s a rare straight arrow if you can keep her.
And Josie’s already prepared to settle the score with Melanie given the chance one day. She saved one fist from the cold, somehow knowing the chance would come.
Josie’s role remains one of revolution. Only now, she may be revolting against the system Layton leads.
Her brush with death hasn’t dimmed any of that fire for equality for the Tail. And her return from the dead has made her an even brighter beacon for the Tailies.
Despite her love for Layton, she’s straight-up pissed at how he ended the war. And she pulls no punches in telling him that her endorsement is his only chance of keeping the Tailies on his side.
Revolutionaries make terrible politicians.
Maybe, now that she’s awake and making plans, they’ll let Miles out to see her? Unless he’s been completely retconned, it’s super weird that we haven’t seen him in the Tail or the Engine so far.
At least with Till, they’ve addressed her change of circumstances now that she and Jinju broke up.
Mind you, being berthless really does seem to be low on her priority list as she tries to find the attackers and pin down her gut-sense that Wilford’s people are already in play on Snowpiercer.
As with the Tea Room, it was interesting to see where the breachmen (and women) hang out. Also, hearing Boki explain how they “sat out” the revolution was an eye-opener.
Roche: Breachmen. I hate these guys.
Till: Well, I used to be police so just do what I do.
Roche: What’s that?
Till: Think of them as firemen.
(I also chuckled at the attention to detail in Boki’s tattoo where “honor” was spelled with the British “u” in keeping with Wilford’s English origin and the show’s Canadian production.)
Considering the average size of the breachmen, wouldn’t it be pretty easy to identify them if they were the assailants, even if they wore masks?
I mean, the size range on Snowpiercer-Alice basically starts at Winnie, slides through the average-sized folk to Strong Boy, bumps up at the breachmen with Boki at the top end, and then takes a huge leap up at Icy Bob.
While I appreciate the inclusion of the mystery plotline to keep us guessing whodunnit until Wilford’s own plans start to churn, it feels like an awful lot to keep track of at times.
We all know how this ends, don’t we? Everybody dies. That shouldn’t be a surprise. So what’s an old, whilte man to do with a lifetime of knowledge, doomed to erasure, except wield it like a sword? Great men say ‘Balls to Death’. My crew respect that.
The train still hates the Tailies, but the Tailies don’t trust Layton anymore.
The breachmen are loyal to Wilford. The Tailies are loyal to Josie. Till is loyal to Layton. Layton is loyal to science.
Layton represents the citizens of Snowpiercer, while many of those same citizens see Wilford as The Creator.
And, somewhere in all this, there’s either a seditionist plot a-foot, a civil war brewing, a one-man invasion in the form of Icy Bob, or all of the above.
Ruth: Make way, Mr. Roche, and best make your way to the border.
Roche: Why, what’s going on?
Ruth: Engineers and mountains almost as big as their egos.
As you watch Snowpiercer online, you might need to rejig your sense of space regarding the train as we get more exterior shots than we ever have before.
Who knew that First and Second cars sat so much lower than the Night Car and Third?
Whatever happened to the cattle car that was breached on Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2? Was it ever repurposed?
What else has occurred to you as the season’s major story arcs get boosted into action?
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.