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Snowpiercer: Sound The Alarm

It would be almost unbecoming if, after a wonderful hosted night on Snowpiercer, Wilford didn’t return the favor. In his own charming and cruel way of course. Last night on Snowpiercer’s halfway point in the season, the audience was treated to dinner with Wilford and Audrey, Josie’s activities on Big Alice, the possible solution to Till’s spiraling emotional state, a Pike and Layton team up and another shift in the slate of allies and enemies. Life is never dull post apocalypse.

To start, the kind of hold Miss Audrey has over Mr. Wilford may not be the kind that it needs to be. Last week it was portrayed like Audrey could mold Wilford into anything she wanted, like she had a spell over him and he was puddy in her hands. However this week, on his own playing field, Wilford gave a little push back against that idea. He was still charming, polite and completely attentive to Miss Audrey; but he’s not an idiot. In fact, the one true thing about Mr. Wilford that is known is that he’s a genius. An evil one, but a genius nonetheless. He has a plan, his main objective is taking back Snowpiercer. He wants Miss Audrey by his side but it’s not exactly a deal breaker if he doesn’t have her. Which is why he keeps things from her, for all the love and obsession Wilford claims to have for her, he doesn’t trust her and inviting Miss Audrey to dinner was simply a surface level decoy. His people are already on Snowpiercer and are set to make the biggest amount of trouble they have yet. All the while Wilford and Audrey dance around each other in the engine room of Big Alice. He’s been telling any and everyone that no one is prepared for what’s coming next, and it’s looking like he’s going to be right.

Just like Mr. Wilford has his own plan, so does Miss Audrey. She’s a part of Layton’s inner circle, the people he’s entrusting to help him keep Snowpiercer a Wilford free zone. She’s probably the most important person in the circle besides Andre himself, her closeness to Wilford is the upper hand that Snowpiercer needs. She even goes as far as risking Wilford’s wrath by attempting to quickly switch wires in his communication box so that Ben and Javi can hear everything said. Miss Audrey is the perfect person to be their middle man. Until suddenly she isn’t. At the end of their evening, right when Audrey is about to cross back over the train border, the alarms on Snowpiercer begin to sound. Something is very wrong and despite knowing that it’s Wilford who caused it, when faced with the decision of going back to Snowpiercer or staying on Big Alice, Miss Audrey chooses to stay. A conclusion that will likely get her branded as a traitor, or having flown the coup on those who are her friends. At this point, it’s hard to see why Audrey picked staying with Wilford over returning to Snowpiercer to see what’s going on. It’s also hard to see her flipping the script that quickly, but rash decisions usually have harsh consequences and Miss Audrey deciding to stay with the man that abused her for years does not bode well for anyone, no matter what kind of hold she thinks she has on him.

In other spaces on Big Alice, Josie is being treated for her severe frostbite and trying to learn everything she can about the things that happen on this train. Lucky for her, Mr. and Mrs. Headwood are always told whenever Wilford is going to make a move and when one of his men comes to tell them that something is going to happen on Snowpiercer that same night, Josie rushes to get word to Layton. They have a connect to pass messages now, Big Alice’s last Australian, and Josie isn’t about to let her people get attacked with no warning. However, the status of those on Snowpiercer really should be the last thing Josie is worried about. Her entire body is covered in frostbite, she’s being fully dipped in the gel that the doctors smoothed over Melanie’s frozen shoulder, they’re taking tissue from her whole body for tests constantly and the pain is never ending. She may never recover one hundred percent from this, which is obvious in the way the Headwoods never answer that question when she asks it. They can fix her, in a sense, but she’ll most likely never be the Josie we met in S1 again.

Josie isn’t completely alone though. Icy Bob is also constantly in the Med Lab being tested and poked and prodded. He knows exactly what Josie is going through, he even helps her calm down from a panic attack caused by the consistent pain. He may not be an ally exactly, but he also hasn’t yet snitched on her for sending secret messages and not taking her anesthesia pills so she could listen in while the doctors took deep tissue from her. They have a mutual understanding almost, and it would be interesting to see if Josie can flip Icy Bob to Snowpiercer’s side before it’s all said and done. He would be a great addiction and a much needed power boost. That is if he’s not already completely brainwashed by his alliance to Mr. Wilford.

Over on the train that really matters, it’s chaos. And this chaos has been brewing for a while. There’s too many rumblings and rumors gaining ground and traction. It’s been two weeks since Lights fingers were cut off and Till’s tunnel vision on the Breachmen is causing her to lose sight of everything else. Even Layton has started to side eye Till and her erratic behavior, so he gives her a day off. He probably could have done more by simply sitting and talking with her but Andre has his own issues going on, so it’s understandable that he doesn’t have time for Till’s declining mental health. But Pastor Logan does and after stopping Till from starting a disrespectful fight in the Market car, he takes her to a boxing cage and beats her up. Literally. Which is apparently what Till needed because she comes out of the cage looking more refreshed than we’ve seen her since before the revolution. Till needs someone in her corner, a person who can clear her head without sex. And it seems like that person is being found in the Pastor. The possibility of their growing friendship could easily be one of the most interesting aspects on the train, as long as he doesn’t end up dead because of association.

In an almost ironic parallel, Layton is spiraling just as much as Till is. To the point where even Zarah has made points that should have come from Andre but he is hesitant to say. Being a leader is not what Layton was meant to do, as tough as that is to acknowledge. His heart is too soft, his goals too caring and his need to shed as little blood as possible just might get him killed if he isn’t careful. Or at least, that’s the running rumor on the train. Layton wants peace, but 50% of Snowpiercer wants Wilford and to them the only thing standing between them and the original creator returning is Andre Layton. He has an even bigger target on his back now, and fewer friends than he realizes. However, if there’s one thing Layton doesn’t play about, it’s the two women he loves. No matter who audiences ship Layton with, he clearly loves both Josie and Zarah, just in different ways. So when Terrance threatens Josie’s safety, over trades no less, Layton is sent into a quiet rage. One that hints at just how terrifying of a leader he could be if he would allow himself to. In a very quick, clean and Mr. Wilford like way, Layton sets up to have Terrance taken out. He even gets LJ, Osweiller and the guards of the car, who work for Terrance, to take a walk and pretend they don’t know what’s happening up in the man’s quarters. When he wants to be, Andre can be scary, he can be a killer or a leader or even the mob boss who sends others to do his dirty work. But only when it comes to Josie and Zarah, which doesn’t make a lot of scene. What keeps Layton from unleashing that side of him upon Wilford? Upon those who only oppose his leadership of the train because he’s from the tail, and they are probably racist; why doesn’t he fill the job description the way it was meant to filled? Most likely because he doesn’t want to turn into Wilford, or even Melanie really, but the longer he tries to keep the peace by being peaceful, the harder it’s going to hurt when everyone turns on him, including his inner circle.

However the most interesting thing about Layton this episode was not the way he handled Terrance, it was the display of the friendship he and Pike have. Often, back in S1, it seemed like Pike was out to get Layton. He doesn’t agree with his soft approach to things, he knows Layton doesn’t really have it in him to lead the train. But despite all that, Pike is also very loyal to Layton. And Layton to him. They are two tail brothers, and being a tailly matters more than anything when it comes to standing up against those outside of the tail. It doesn’t help that Terrance decided he was going to try and intimidate Pike into being one of his men. So it wasn’t very surprising that Pike stuffed his head full of cement from a glue gun on Layton’s orders. What is surprising though is the way killing Terrance made Pike emotional. We don’t know much about Pike at all, other than he can at times be a pain in Layton’s ass. But last night we did learn that Layton is the reason Pike wasn’t killed for cannibalism, which makes his willingness to kill for him all the more clear. When it comes down to it, Pike is actually pretty high on the list of people Layton can turn to and trust to get the job done.

The most surprising development of the episode comes in the form of Ruth finally picking a side. As the alarms blare on the entire train and Audrey stands on the Big Alice side hesitant to return, Ruth finally lays down her loyalties. And it’s not with Wilford, it’s with Snowpiercer. When Wilford attempts to get Ruth to cross the border over onto Big Alice, she declines. It’s a bit shocking, seeing as how she’s spend most of this season being overjoyed at his returning and quietly fighting her own battle for Layton’s trust. But in the moment, when it really matters, it’s clear where Ruth stands. She’s on Snowpiercer’s side, on Layton’s side. Which only makes Miss Audrey’s choice to stay on Big Alice all the more confusing. If anything their position should be switched and it should be Ruth choosing Big Alice, the fact that it’s Audrey adds another layer of mystery and future conflicts. No one is going to be happy about Miss Audrey not coming back, but hopefully everyone will have an extra nice word for Ruth. She deserves the praise.

Something sinister is happening aboard Snowpiercer but no one other than Wilford knows the true extend of it. Not even Alex has been privy to certain conversations, and she’s starting to realize it. But it may be too late, especially with how easily Wilford’s men were able to take out every Breachman except for Boki. We’d been under the impression that Snowpiercer had the advantage over Big Alice, but now we see that’s absolutely not the case. We’ve underestimated Mr. Wilford and it looks like we’re all going to pay for it.

We’ve reached the middle of the season, usually the point where shows slow down, but with Snowpiercer there is no pumping the breaks now. And it’s a better show for it .

Snowpiercer airs Monday nights on TNt

-Danyi

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black girl blogs · reviews · tv reviews

Snowpiercer: One Chance Only

Trauma comes in all kinds of shapes and forms, it’s so common that many people make friends by way of bonding over their similar misfortunes. Trauma brings people together and it also pushes them apart from each other. On Snowpiercer, everyone is traumatized in different ways, for some the physical trauma of trying to survive takes everything they have; while others drown mentally in the encased ocean of their minds. Last night in “A Single Trade” we were given front row seats to be entertained, or horrified, by Miss Audrey as she tried to keep her head above water and her mind out of the storm that is Joseph Wilford.

While Miss Audrey quickly became a fan favorite during season one, we haven’t really gotten to know much about her character other than she runs the Night Car is pretty much the train therapist. She has her place on Snowpiercer but it was unknown how she got there in the first place. Come to find out, Miss Audrey might be the one to know Wilford best not Melanie. She has a history with him that runs deeper than anyone, audience included, could have imagined.

Since Melanie is officially off the train, it’s time for both sides to put plans in motion. Wilford is certain taking Snowpiercer will be easy as cake now, he’s so confident about it that he’s even decided to offer treatment to the passengers of Snowpiercer that suffer from frostbite. Passengers like Josie. It’s a generous offer, but a highly suspicious one as well. In return, Layton and his inner circle, come up with the idea to host Wilford and a few of the passengers from Big Alice in a night they’ll never forget. It’s time for the two sides to finally attempt surface level co existence. And what better way to start than by coming together to wait to hear from Melanie. She’s supposed to be sending a signal that she’s made it to the station. It’ll be like killing two birds with one stone.

Of course nothing is ever that simple or easy. After being slighted by Layton, Ruth expresses her frustrations to Zarah. She knows that it seems like she’s rooting for Wilford to take back the train but Ruth insists the only being she’s loyal to is the one that ultimately keeps them alive. She’s hurt by the fact Layton doesn’t trust her, but running to Zarah with the problem might not have been the best decision. In the midst of chaos, Zarah is still always for herself and herself only. She takes the opportunity of Ruth’s frustration to throw out the idea of her joining hospitality. In a duel role nonetheless, telling Ruth it’ll help ease Layton into trusting her and telling Layton that her joining will give her the advantage she needs to keep an eye on Ruth. Both reasons seem fishy.

Meanwhile Till spirals even more. Impatient with her lack of results, a few of the tallies jump Breachman Boki in the Market car. They believe for a a fact that he and his crew were the ones that cut off Lights fingers. And even though Till believes it as well, they can’t have passengers fighting and seeking revenge on each other. Especially not this close to Wilford coming aboard Snowpiercer, Till knows that some of their passengers are already on his side and it’s making her anxious. Not to mention she doesn’t have Layton to look to for assurance that she’s doing her job right and making the correct decisions, technically she even outranks Roche now. Till is, in a sense, on her own. And it’s weighing on her heavily. Luckily though, Pastor Logan seems determined to be some kind of friend to Till.

These problems seem minuscule compared to what Miss Audrey has to deal with though. Wilford coming aboard Snowpiercer opens the biggest wound she has. Their past is a long one and it’s buried deep in trauma, manipulation, abuse and weirdness that falls on the bad creepy side of things. Miss Audrey is the only one who can make Wilford fall to his knees, literally. But the abuse he inflicted upon her makes the idea of her regaining his trust almost impossible. She’s knows who Wilford is at his core, she knows just how truly evil he can be. However for the safety and the promise of life outside the train, without Wilford permanently, Miss Audrey is will to be the spy Layton needs her to be.

It’s through Miss Audrey that we learn Wilford has always been the egotistical jerk that he is presently. She became his personal, exclusive escort at eighteen and though she never wanted for anything she lost herself completely. Though Miss Audrey has the upper hand now, because Wilford is so desperate for her to return to him. In the Night Car, in one of her magic rooms, Miss Audrey asks him to open up his heart to her; which he does but it also lets out the inner creep inside him. A part of him that only Miss Audrey has access to.

Despite being the perfect sub behind closed doors and in the presence of Miss Audrey, in front of everyone else Wilford is smiling, charming man he knows the people of Snowpiercer want him to be. Even when he’s less than happy that Melanie is able to make contact and prove she’s still alive. He’s all smiles for the crowds but behind the cheerful disposition, he’s plotting something dangerous. Something that Layton and many on Snowpiercer won’t survive.

In other areas of the episode, Layton grapples with his slipping grip on leadership. It’s here where Josie comes in, she may still be wrapped in bandages from head to toe and confined to her bed but she is the voice of reason. Everyone in the tail trusts Josie’s judgement, and she believe in Layton completely, so they will too. Which is why the offer of treatment from Wilford’s doctors seems too perfect of a coincidence. But Josie isn’t going to recover if she’s only treated by Snowpiercer’s doctors, the two mad scientists on Big Alice are decades ahead of them medically. So, off into the enemies hands Josie is wheeled. Layton needs someone close to him on the inside that won’t betray him, Josie is fits that mold perfectly. Especially since Wilford doesn’t know who she is, or so they think. We were also treated to a special appears from Miles, who came to see his train mother off. It’s always nice to see him because with as smart as he is, Miles could become a key puzzle piece to whichever side wins in the end.

“A Single Trade” is my favorite episode of the season so far because the action took a step back and we were able to dive into the mental aspects of what life post apocalypse is like. Ruth is suffering mentally from the feeling of being rejected by Layton. Zarah is suffering mentally because she’s afraid Josie will take Layton from her and ruin the family she’s trying to build (though I did notice Zarah was the one who said they aren’t together). Till is suffering mentally and spiraling quickly. Layton is suffering mentally with the weight of less than three thousands people’s lives in his hands and every decision he has to make for them. Everyone has something going on mentally that the show doesn’t get to explore often because of all the physical violence and survival that goes on.

It was also nice for Miss Audrey to take center stage. It’s her episode completely, all the pain, grief, anxiety and trauma that she’s been through was portrayed beautifully by Lena Hall. Especially her opening and closing ballet dances sequences that spoke clearly to us about how she’s really doing than her dialogue ever could. The episode reminded me why the Night Car is my favorite car on the train. All the possibilities that could come from it story wise. Miss Audrey gives Snowpiercer an interesting advantage over Big Alice, it seems like Wilford would do absolutely anything for her. If she can make him fall to her knees for him, what else can she persuade him to do? Will there for once be no blood shed over who is in charge of the train? Maybe, but just because Miss Audrey can wrap Wilford around her finger doesn’t mean she should have to sacrifice her mental health to do so. The strain could be too much for her and will all the kindness that Layton has shown so far, one would hope that he wouldn’t let Miss Audrey suffer just for the sake of winning the war against Wilford. We’ll have to see though.

Snowpiercer airs Monday nights on TNT

-Danyi

P.S. if you made it to the end and enjoyed my review cashapp me some money for lunch please! CashApp: $danyi13

black girl blogs · reviews · tv reviews

Snowpiercer: The Long Game

For the third episode of Snowpiercer’s second season, the train loses speed for a bit to clear a curve but the passengers problems aboard are gaining more momentum. Melanie’s going on a suicide mission in the hopes it’ll create a better world for Alex. Layton struggles to be the revolutionary he promised his people while protecting the entire train from Wilford. Rounding out the episode, Bess Till attempts to threaten the Brakemen of Snowpiercer and Josie gets more done from her hospital bed than lowkey Layton has done since the battle ended. And while we don’t know much about the crew on Big Alice we know one important thing: they’re hungry. Starving people can be talked into anything.

To start off, Mr. Wilford is either a genius or he’s the best villain to exist in a long time. It seems to be a bit of both honestly. The episode opens with him giving his perspective of how things are going on the newly sealed together trains. To him, this is all apart of the plan especially now that Melanie is practically getting rid of herself. He won’t have to kill her or brainwash her daughter into doing it. Layton is pretty much a non-factor to him, a nobody that happened to outsmart Melanie but will never be ahead of him. It’s a win win situation all around for Wilford. And that’s only because he’s put the fear of God in the Big Alice passengers, maybe it’s more accurate to say he’s put the fear of himself in them. While Wilford eats luxury breakfasts of eggs and toast, only sharing with Alex, the passengers of Big Alice go without. To Wilford it’s for good reason, if he keeps them all at a certain point between death and life they’ll hang on his every word, follow his every command, die for him under the false narrative of honor and respect. To which they all do. Except for Alex.

Melanie’s daughter is still a bit of a mystery. In “A Great Odyssey”, Alex spends a majority of the episode trying to stamp down her growing soft spot for her mother. She’s been waiting seven years to basically tell her mother she was the worst and she hates her, but the more time they spend together the more Alex starts to see that maybe the woman who birthed her isn’t as bad as Wilford made her out to be. Maybe it’s Wilford that is the one in the wrong. However with her closeness to the man, it’s easy for him to notice the change of demeanor in his protégé. And he’s not having that, he can’t lose this game this early one. So makes a move by having Alex be the one to drive the trains through the mountains and around the curve without derailing them. He gave all that power to a teenager, and it cracked something inside of her. It pushed a wedge between her and Wilford that he either doesn’t realize or doesn’t care about. If things keep going the way they are, it may be Alex who solves our Mr. Wilford problem.

Enough about Big Alice though, it’s the passengers of Snowpiercer that really had major breakthroughs in episode three. Starting with Bess Till and Roche as they chase down whoever is responsible for maiming Lights. Taking the woman’s thumb and pinky which only left her the three fingers in the middle was a clear indication that whoever did it is on Wilford’s side. For the rest of Lights’ life she’ll only be able to raise her in praise of the trains true creators. And that disturbs Till, it makes her angry, so she vows to find whoever did this to Lights. She’s even already got a few hunches, including some of Snowpiercer’s own who could be acting on Wilford’s half. Passengers like the Breachmen. They’ve been true Wilford supporters for the seven long years the train has been circling the earth, and the dedication to him only grew after learning of Melanie’s deception. They didn’t even fight during the recent revolution, they just stayed in their quarters working out. They’re so sure that Wilford will come out of this the winner, they don’t need to fight. They’re content to wait.

Questioning the Breachmen is one thing but it’s the inner turmoil of Bess Till that most interesting. Since she broke up with her second class girlfriend, she’s been sleeping in the office where Roche has his meals. She isn’t willing to talk about her situation though, she just wants to track down the perpetrator. But just because she isn’t willingly to talk doesn’t mean there aren’t people who don’t understand her. In the last episode she met with one of the religious pastors named Logan, Till simply wanted to know if he knew anything about the assault but it seems she’s actually found some kind of friend, guide or at the very least a ear to listen. While he knows next to nothing about her, Pastor Logan wants to help Till through the storm that’s inside her. He can see the way she’s barely holding it together. If she lets him, the friendship will be one of the most interesting and unique we’ve seen yet.

As the chaos continues, Andre has a thousand problems of his own. The democracy he hoped for Snowpiercer is pretty much a thing of the past, no matter how much he believes that they can still build that kind of society after they finish dealing with Wilford. Josie is alive and that alone has sent him spiraling, he’s not more in a love triangle than he was in the first season. And on top of that, he’s got this weird observation game going on with Wilford himself. The two men are locked in a battle of wits almost, Wilford hadn’t expected Layton to be as smart as he is. It catches the man off guard when Layton shows up with the offer to supplement all of Big Alice’s diet. Meanwhile Layton isn’t realizing that every interaction he has with Wilford puts him further in danger. To Layton, Wilford is just a man. Which is a fair assessment but perhaps a blinded one. Wilford is just a man but he’s a man with more power than Layton has. And power is important, especially when it comes to the easily influenced passengers. There’s also the fact the two men haven’t actually met face to face, there’s always a great bit of distance between them. The longer they play this game with each other, the bigger of an explosion it’ll be when they are finally within an arms length of each other.

However the growing dislike between Layton and Wilford would be the best part of the show if it wasn’t for one thing. The way the show continues to avoid the topic of racism. It’s hard to believe that all of Wilford’s snips, quips and verbal punches toward Layton are just because he’s the one in charge. Many of the things Wilford says to Layton have underlying racist tones to them, but it’s never addressed. Not even by Andre himself, which makes it all the more frustrating. Even something as simple as Andre walking back from the makeshift border mumbling about Wilford being a racist asshole would have gone a long way in the grand scale of things. It’s almost like the show is afraid of racism, afraid to get it wrong or afraid to get it too right I’m not sure. But it’s becoming an elephant in the room to me. That’s not saying it won’t be added in later down the season line or in season three but for now, it seems like a gigantic neon light that everyone is ignoring.

The MVP of the episode however, is Josie. While I wasn’t her biggest fan in season one, Josie is the kind of woman character that the show needs. Till is great at what she does but she won’t go against Layton the way Josie will. Zarah won’t get in Layton’s ear and tell him when he’s fucking up, but Josie will. And Miss Audrey well, she’s drowning her own issues to the point she’s turning into a drunk. So she can have a pass. But the other women, in a sensed don’t compare to Josie. She’s strong in a way that the others aren’t. She’s determined in a way that not even Layton is. We haven’t seen much of her but in the short time she’s been awake Josie has managed to drag Layton for filth and declare her revenge upon Melanie. She’s going to get things done, even if she has to do them by herself. I’m really hoping that season three is going to have a Josie vs Melanie feel the way this season is building the Wilford vs Layton tension.

Now that we’re away from the premiere and settling into the story of the second season, Snowpiercer is turning up the dials. Every minute of the episodes feel so far like waiting for a long impending doom, Melanie getting off the train is bad enough but the dread that Wilford’s mere presence gives is almost bone chilling. Which is very impressive for a TV show about a train that travels the globe and never stops. I’m still endlessly excited to see where this show takes it characters and how it’s going to continue to explain itself.

Snowpiercer airs Monday nights on TNT

-Danyi

P.S. if you made it to the end and enjoyed what you read buy me some lunch please! Cashapp: $danyi13

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Snowpiercer: Show No Weakness

Now that Snowpiercer is off to a rollercoaster of a start for its second season, it’s time for the inner workings of the train society to take center stage. With Big Alice permanently connected to it, Snowpiercer is now 1,034 cars long and for the original passengers that means one of two things: the beginning of a new hope, or the beginning of the end. The news of Wilford’s return has split everyone down the middle. Is he there to kill them? Or save them from Layton? And the answer is not quite what anyone was expecting.

Layton is in charge. In every sense of the word, he is now the one calling the shots on Snowpiercer. This also means that his original assignment of train detective is now empty and there’s another case aboard the nearly never stopping train that needs to be solved. A woman from the Tail had been attacked and maimed, but Layton’s got too many other things on his plate to really look into it. So he asks Bess Till to do it. She’s reluctant, even after Layton makes her the official new train detective, because Till is still shaken up by the recent war. She hasn’t had time to really sit in her trauma. But Layton needs her help with this, he trusts her fully and Till doesn’t want to let him down. So she gets on it as best she can.

Till’s trauma could be one of the most compelling aspects of season two. The audience is constantly told that living on this train is a special kind of hell both physically and mentally. The blood and gore comes to remind us often but the mental terror is a little harder to show. Hopefully with Till being promoted to detective, the focus on how she’s fairing mentally can be a little more pronounced. Till’s character is easily one of the most fascinating on the show, her trajectory from police officer to rebel to Layton’s right hand man deserves to be centered a bit more. Out of all the characters so far, Till is the only one to fully have Layton’s back. Once he saved her way back in the first couple episodes of season one, she has not wavered from his side. It’s not often we get a male-female friendship that is this simple yet this strong. They’re honest with each other, supportive of each other and ready to make the whole train a better place for all. Layton and Till are an ultimate bro pairing that will hopefully strength their bond throughout this season and the next.

Meanwhile, Mr. Wilford is itching to get a look at the man that outsmarted Melanie and now holds all the power, so he proposes a trade. Big Alice will give up Melanie for their head of hospitality, Kevin. It’s not a fair trade, Wilford knows that Kevin has sold Big Alice out in some way and Melanie is literally the key to it all but his need to size up Layton outweighs everything else. And what he finds confuses and surprises him. Layton is not the all ruling King he has labeled him, and Snowpiercer is not the well put together force they’ve been pretending to be. The few moments during the civil trade gave Wilford all the information he needed, they will be there own undoing. All he has to do is sit back and watch.

The trade of Melanie for Kevin is probably the biggest moment of the episode, for me. It was a situation that neither side was exactly ready for and they both revealed things to each other during the exchange. Wilford got to see Layton, got to see that the organization on Snowpiercer is next to none but he also exposed Big Alice and their weakness. Everyone on Big Alice is hungry, they’re almost desperately hungry. Which is a little ironic considering Wilford lives like the King he claims Layton to be. He does not look starved, he does not seem to have the same sense of urgency in their survival. But once Snowpiercer is able to bribe Kevin with food, that whole image comes crashing down. Everything on Big Alice is not okay, there is something deeply wrong beneath the love they have for Wilford. He’s built himself a cult that has no problem unnecessarily dying in his name, for him. Which is made very clear by the way Wilford forces Kevin to commit suicide in the bath, while Wilford was in the tub with him.

On the other side of things, Zarah makes a chilling discovery that threatens everything she holds dear. When delivering medicine to the second class med bay, she finds Josie; badly frost bitten and comatose but still breathing. Now Zarah has to grapple with the fact the decision she made to rat out Josie to Melanie might be coming back to bite her in the ass. Could she lose the new life she just started building with Layton? Or should she make the impulsive decision to persevere what little happiness she can? Either way it’s not an easy choice.

I’m not a Zarah fan in any way, shape or forum, I think her constant betrayal in season one is unforgivable. However the moment she saw Josie, my heart did hurt a little bit for her. Because no matter what decision Zarah makes about Josie, to kill her in her coma or to tell Layton she’s alive; everything has once again changed. Layton’s love for Josie is vastly different than his feelings for Zarah, and she knows that. With Josie being alive, the hope for a semi normal family with Layton is pretty much a dream of the past. It also puts Zarah in an interesting position. She’s a caregiver now, actively working with the Snowpiercer doctor to treat patients, will she be assigned to care for Josie? Will she want to care for her to try and make things right? There’s a few different ways the situation could be played out, though very few of them end where everyone is happy. Originally I wasn’t too keen on the Zarah/baby subplot, and I’m still not too terribly invested however if we get Josie back as a fully developed character then I could be down for the Layton, Josie, Zarah love triangle. Maybe.

The episode ends with a meeting between Wilford, Melanie and Layton. Plus the entire Nightcar filled to the brim with both Snowpiercer’s people and Big Alice’s. Melanie has discovered that it was snowing outside, its now longer too cold. Which means that earth could be reversing the freeze and could support new colonization in the lifetime of the train passengers. Wilford, who is skeptical, did not see this coming. He’d assumed that the meeting was only so that Melanie could try to expose him to everyone, now he has to rework his plans and find a different way of getting rid of Snowpiercer’s leaders. Which isn’t too hard seeing as how the experiment Melanie wants to conduct means leaving her at a station while the trains continue on. Something she failed to mention to anyone prior to the meeting. None of that matters though because the news of possibly getting off the trains is going to spread hope throughout them, which is what all three leaders need right now. The people must have something to believe in, or else they’re going to rip each other to pieces. And then, if it actually snowing and life outside the train is possible, the passengers may be too far gone to care.

As much as I enjoyed the second episode of season two, I also have one tiny gripe. The brutalization and maiming of Lights, while its great for a plot device and to move the story along, it sucks for us Black women who aren’t really represented on the show anyways. Lights is a minor background character that is slowly working her way towards becoming a supporting character, which is great, but not if it comes at the price of torturing her. Having her fingers cut off, as a message to everyone on Snowpiercer, makes it seem like Black women on this show are only there for continuation of the story and nothing else. We don’t get moments of happiness or sweetness or even moments of anger, those are reserved for the white women characters. Lights is great, she’s been incredibly useful in the past. But now her shining moment comes at the hands (no pun intended) of abuse? Not what I was hoping for. I also worry that after they discover she was maimed to signify the return of Wilford, she’ll fall back into being a character thats only given one line quips. Instead of being given a more developed, fleshed out, reoccurring character arc, like she deserves.

As always, I’m more entertained by Snowpiercer than anything. That’s why I keep watching. And so far season two has exceeded my expectations. We’re only on the second episode of the new season but already it’s made leaps and bounds to better itself as a story. Which is promising as a whole. I have my few issues, but Snowpiercer is truly a show made for the times. Life on that train feels more and more like life here and now in the real world by the episode. And for a show that was written before the world went to shit, I think it’s pretty cool to basically be looking in a mirror for an hour once a week. I find myself looking forward to it.

Snowpiercer airs Monday nights on TNT.

-Danyi

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tv reviews · Uncategorized

Snowpiercer Returns, And So Does Mr. Wilford

After premiering its first season in the peak of a national lock down, during the height of uncertainty and managing not to get lost in the chaos; Snowpiercer returns for a second season with an even more wild ride and bigger stakes to lose. It’s always a toss up when shows decide to start their new seasons in the same place the first one ended, especially when the timeline is as close as mere moments between them as is the case with Snowpiercer. However here, the decision to begin right where we ended was the best choice and the madness of the season premiere puts this roller coaster levels above the first one even though this is just the first episode.

First, the briefest summary of season one I can give: Classism, capitalism and white privilege rule even when the entire population exist on a one thousand and one cars long train. The haves pretend that the have nots don’t exist except for when it’s absolutely necessary. While first and second class live in luxury, the tail end of the train live in poverty and third class chases the dream of better while fending off the threat of less. Andre Layton, a taily and their unofficial leader, quietly plots the next revolution that will lead his people to better living conditions. However all of that comes to a halt when he’s pulled to the front of the train by the Head of Hospitality and Voice of the Train, Melanie Cavill. A women with the biggest secret on the train. She needs Layton to solve the problem of a murder in first class. The murder though, is nothing compared to the secrets and betrayals that run rampant through out the season. And when the revolution finally does happen, new democracy has been just been born before it’s shoved to the back burner for a bigger problem. The real Mr. Wilford has returned, latched his impressive train Big Alice onto Snowpiercer and he is pissed. Melanie had better count her days. Now it can no longer be the front vs the end, if our favorites are going to live then it must be Snowpiercer vs Big Alice.

In the season opener, there is no time for reflection. A battle may have just been fought and won (lost for some) but the passengers aren’t allowed a moment to mourn those who have died, think about the actions they took to survive or even celebrate the relief of victory. Snowpiercer has been viciously jerked to a stop, shocking everyone aboard no matter what section they reside in because we all know the one thing the train can never do is stop. As the end of the train is opened by force, and the taillies stand ready to attack, Melanie risks everything by getting off the train to see if she can get them back rolling and to install some extra security of her own. But when the train starts moving and she’s still crawling through the snow, getting back on means climbing aboard Big Alice and facing Mr. Wilford now instead of on her own terms.

Inside where it’s warmer, but not by much, Andre, Ruth, Till and the others are greeted by Melanie’s thought to be dead daughter Alex. She has come through the hole made in the tail end of Snowpiercer by Big Alice and she has a list of demands that the passengers must meet or else Mr. Wilford will leave them to freeze. The list is incredibly mundane and seems almost like a joke but Layton can’t afford to take chances, soon he and several people are running off to collect the items. Since word travels fast on Snowpiercer before everything can be collected they all know that Wilford has returned but none of them really know what that means.

Meanwhile Melanie is met with hostility from pretty much every person she encounters on Big Alice. They all know that she stole Snowpiercer and left them to die in the cold. Her having the audacity to still be alive seven years later is like salt in the wound to them. Even though the tension of a Melanie and Wilford reunion has only been building for less than a full episode, the pay of them coming face to face for the first time is a great one. Wilford is not what we were expecting. His almost cheery demeanor and casual attitude makes for a confusing first impression. Mr. Wilford is supposed to be revered by all, frightened by all. But the man that Melanie meets is full of light tones and playful banter. Until suddenly he’s not. With the quickness of a light switch, Wilford can go from fun and playful to deadly serious and scary. Not to mention he’s got the ace up his sleeve that Melanie didn’t see coming, Alexandra is still alive. Obviously nothing about Big Alice latching onto Snowpiercer is as simple as survival of the fittest, there is something else at play here.

What I like most about Snowpiercer, is the complexity of its characters. In terms of development, this show is one of the few that leaves no story behind. Obviously the one to have the biggest development this season is most likely going to be Melanie but it’s the progress of other characters that I find myself more drawn to. When it comes to Melanie, I’m pretty split about her. I don’t dislike her, but I don’t actively like her either. Her constant excuses that she simply inherited Snowpiercer and all of it’s injustice plays heavily into the trope that white women are always throwing rocks and hiding their hands. Melanie ran Snowpiercer for seven years, and in not one of those years did she think that she could make life better for all? It’s upsetting but not surprising. So now that she’s going to have to deal with the fact she’s more like Wilford than she wants to admit, season two has potential to turn me into a Melanie fan. But only if she’s going to be given a redemption arc that looks more like accountability than redirected blame. As a side note though, the plot to have her daughter be under Wilford’s mentor ship is brilliant and could provide some pivotal moments in Melanie’s character progression.

Our other lead however, might have been given a plot line that could hinder the development of his character. I am a massive fan of Andre Layton, I think he’s probably the best thing to come out of this show. But I am not a fan of the baby subplot that he’s been hooked with. Zarah’s never ending betrayal all throughout season one has soured me to her character permanently, so I don’t have even a corner of a sympathy card for her. The pregnancy situation between her and Layton doesn’t make me yearn for them to rekindle their relationship, it doesn’t even make me hopeful that there will be future generations in this world (which can be questionable with the state of things). The reason I have such resentful feelings for Zarah is because she only seems to care about Layton when it benefits her. She left him in the tail for a better life and as soon as that life went to shit she was selling him out in the hopes his pre-freeze job could save her from a murder charge. She didn’t want to get back with him once he became the train detective and she wasn’t helpful at all in any plan for the revolution. Sure she took care of Layton when he was having withdrawal from being stuffed in the drawers but that was only because if he dies then she is screwed. To me, the relationship between Zarah and Layton falls into the toxic trope of white women only using Black men as shields and nothing more. No matter what they claim to feel for them. I would have much preferred if Layton’s subplot of season two was dealing with the racism that’ll come with him being in charge now. If classism and capitalism still exist in this world, then there’s no doubt that racism does too. And to gloss over it, especially with a Black lead feels like a disservice to the story. Still though, I’m excited for Layton’s journey this season and I’m really interested to watch the partnership that he and Melanie must have to survive, get a little bit more attention.

Despite how interested the two leads of the show are, it’s the supporting characters that I’m most excited to learn about this season. In particular, Bess Till. Her switch from Brakemen to honorary tailly was quick and almost completely in the background of the first season. One minute she was following Roche’s orders and then the next she was helping Josie break Layton out of the drawers and standing at his side ready to fight. She lost her girlfriend and the respect of those she’d been working hard to like. Not to mention she just fought in her first ever revolution. Till is probably going to spend a lot of season two reeling and trying to cope. Plus, Layton and Till’s friendship was the highlight of the few episodes we got to see it in. It would be great to see them strengthen the bond and get closer in this new chaos they’ve been thrown into.

Last thing I want to talk a little about is Mr. Wilford himself. The new shiny villain, played by Sean Bean, is like a character straight out of a fairy tale. He’s charming and suave and handsome, but his smile can turn terrifying with a simple tweak of his lips. Which means he is dangerous as hell. But he’s also fascinating as hell. This man has waited and plotted his revenge for seven years. Over two thousands days he’s been working on getting his train back. And since he was thought to be dead by Melanie, he has the upper hand on her for now. Though he never so much as raises his voice in the first episode, it’s the passengers of Big Alice and their reaction to him that says everything one needs to know about how life is on Wilford’s train. At the end of the wild first episode, we’re left with something that completely blew me away. When Wilford gives Alex the order to get the trains moving again, his Head of Hospitality Kevin who has been captured by the taillies of Snowpiercer begins to pray and give thanks to Wilford for sparring them; like he is their literal god. We only got to meet a few of the people aboard Big Alice and though they seem better off and far more advanced in their medicine than those on Snowpiercer they all have an air of fear about them. And if all of his passengers fear him like he is God, the things they’re willing to do to stay in Wilford’s good graces promises to be unheard of, unsettling and hopefully irredeemable.

The first season of Snowpiercer wasn’t the best thing on television while it was airing but it was compelling enough. I personally really enjoyed it despite the glaring flaws. However it seems that season two intends to fix some of the small setbacks of its predecessor, especially its pacing. Season one was a ride but it was a slow burning one, this first episode of season two gives off the vibes that things are being kicked into high gear and there will no longer be a slow burn of anything. The chaos and urgency of the “The Time of Two Engines” leaves viewers sitting on the edge of their seat even when the scenes in front of them are easy. There is a sense of underlying dread that comes with Wilford and his Big Alice. And I can’t wait to watch it all play out.

Snowpiercer airs Monday nights on TNT and can be streamed on HBO Max

-Danyi

PS: if you made it to the end and enjoyed what i had to say, cashapp me some lunch $danyi13