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Snowpiercer: Welcome To The Night Car

There will always be classism, racism, and capitalism, even on a train where the three thousand people on board are the only living souls left. Human beings apparently cannot help themselves, we see as much in the news today. Snowpiercer has decided not to shy away from this, but to shine a light on it. Even when the world has ended and humanity is fighting to survive, there will always be those that have to maintain some kind of status above others.

Because of where on the timeline TNT’s Snowpiercer falls, it cannot keep its entire focus on the revolution and liberation of the tallies. It has to weave those details throughout the episodes and on the underside of a murder mystery. Not because the murder mystery is a better plot but because one, we’ve already seen that part of the timeline and know how it ends. And two, the show would get discouraging and boring very quickly if we had to watch failed attempt after failed attempt of the taillies revolting. It’s more interesting to follow Andre as he comes to discover that nothing is as simple as it originally seemed.

While still searching for Sean Wise murderer, Andre spends a day following leads with Bess Till. First, they visit the Night Car where the beautiful Miss Audrey not only serenades the passengers but also offers them a bit of therapy. The Night Car isn’t just booze, dancing, and entertainment; it’s a safe space for the survivors to go and heal. It’s here where we see a tiny bit of the relationship Layton and Zarah used to have. Once upon a time, they were in love and they did, after all, board the train together. Zarah may have moved up in class sections but feelings don’t just disappear. During their time in their night car therapy, Zarah lets Layton know he isn’t being told everything about the murder he’s investigating. There’s more to it and knowing those details are what’s going to keep Layton’s revolution alive.

As Layton and Bess Till work to find the killer, Melanie has her own set of problems to deal with. When the noise of the train on the tracks causes multiple avalanches the car holding the cows is breached, all the cows and the butchers who were in the car are frozen to death within seconds. Effectively making cows as a species extinct and cutting off several resources they provided for the whole train. Not to mention something is wrong neurologically with Nikki, the woman who was sentenced to the Drawers unlawfully. If she isn’t able to recover, then word will get out that Mr. Wilford doesn’t have everything uncontrol like Melanie wants the passengers to believe. However, not one to be shaken easily, Melanie has temporary solutions to her ever growing problems. And she doesn’t forget to threaten Andre after he breaks out of his cell while she’s at it.

“Prepare To Brace” is only the second episode of Snowpiercer but it’s established what I hope to be favorite characters, favorite moments, and some foreshadowing that if executed correctly could earn a big satisfying payoff. The Night Car section of the train is the most entertaining yet. Lena Hall, usually found on Broadway, only partially sang but the moment was enough to assure that her scenes and songs will be some of the best of the season. It’s in its characters that Snowpiercer finds it’s footing, the forced partnership between Layton and Bess Till also promises to be a future highlight. Both were part of law enforcement before the world ended so they fall into rhythm with each other naturally as they track down the missing limbs, but it’s still too early to tell if Till will switch sides and support the revolution.

After an explosive premiere, Snowpiercer returned for its second episode with even more fast-paced action and nerve-rattling drama than its opener. In its first hour Snowpiercer managed to not only pay homage to its predecessor, but it also set the stage for the story it is going to tell. The connections to the movie and the graphic novel needed to be found but after only one episode of groundwork, it’s clear Snowpiercer made the right choice in shedding the strings that pit it against the content before it. This part of the trains’ journey is a paradise for us context junkies who are always looking for an expansion of something great. Which this show is.

Snowpiercer airs Sundays on TNT

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-Danyi