As Snowpiercer rolls into its third episode, we learn more about how life on the train functions. Along with the things people are willing to trade to be able to make their way to first class. There may be only three thousand people left in the world, but humans cannot deny their ingrained teachings of classism and capitalism.
After failing to communicate with the tail Layton is under intense supervision by not only Roche but Bess Till and Melanie. Forced to focus on the murder case, he and Till track the source of the popular train drug Kronol back to Dr. Kilmpt. He needed supplies for upkeep on the prisoners in the drawers, so he made due. After all, Mr. Wilford didn’t think of everything; so those closest to him have to fix his shortcomings. While frustrated with all the shady dealings going on right under her nose, Melanie has bigger problems. Repairs to the car that suffered heavy damage are taking too long and using up too much power and heat, she entertains the idea that most of the upper train passengers agree with: cut the tallie car lose and they will be able to survive on even longer. She’s not that desperate yet.
It might only be the third episode but the murderer is revealed to us and twists the hands of the plot even more. The killer is someone from first-class, which means he is almost untouchable to Layton. He has to go about this carefully if he wants to not only catch him but pass information back to the tail. It’s a dangerous path Layton is about to go down, though it can’t be much worse than being stuck on a never-stopping train that’s overrun with capitalism, racism, and class structure.
If there’s anything Snowpiercer does right it’s the way it focuses on classism. There is nothing more apparent than the fact that the train is heading for class warfare, and it may not start with the tallies but in first class. Rich people will do anything to keep their status, from suggesting that the hundreds of people in the tail be left behind to having their bodyguards commit murder. Second and third class passengers will do just about anything to be upgraded, including trading drugs, winning vicious fights, and being secret informants to Mr. Wilford. And passengers who are comfortable in the luxury of first-class aren’t unaware of the tensions growing down the train, but they also aren’t really ready to do anything about it. It’s compelling to watch them squirm one moment and then be distracted by something like Fight Night the next.
Another point I really enjoy with the show so far is the extensive look we’re given into life on the train. There are groups inside of groups, allies that cross-class sections and subplots that are hopefully given more attention later. For instance, how did the janitors come to be one of the most feared/respected groups on the train? Why is it third class seems like barely a step up from the tallies? I’m also very curious to see who outside of the tail is the first to switch sides and be a true ally to Layton. Some could say that it’s Zarah, after all the information she provided him in episode three, but I still think she can be fully trusted. I’d like to see Bess Till or even Roche make the choice to join Layton’s cause.
I’m not into the romance plot of Layton and Zarah but that’s honestly a personal thing. I’m rarely if ever into romantic plots. I will say that it would be nice for Layton to not only kiss on white women but that’s a casting choice discussion. I don’t have many gripes with the show as a whole though there are definitely small details that can be improved on with a simple conscious decision and more diversity behind the scenes.
Three episodes in and I’m still completely invested in Snowpiercer. It doesn’t shy away from the fact that humans are flawed and can be incredibly cruel to each other. Violence isn’t always physical, and even though there’s plenty of it in the show; it’s the little acts and mentalities of the passengers that truly stand out. Things like Roche eating his lunch in front of Andre and only offering him a piece of the apple as an afterthought. It’s the first-class passengers suggesting cutting the tallie car from the train and letting them die with smiles on their faces. The Braechmen withholding medicine and supplies from lower levels for sexual favors. It’s Melanie dangling rewards and prizes in the face of anyone she needs something from. So many little acts of violence that are festering and growing and will hopefully lead to some kind of revolution.
Snowpiercer airs Sundays on TNT
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