While Snowpiercer chugs its way along the track its destined to follow for the rest of time, or until the freeze ends, the passengers aboard become restless. The call for change from the tail is being heard all the way up to the front of the train, only the message has been manipulated, muddled and pretty much completely changed on its journey. The end of the train wants justice and equality, third class just wants to heard and the people up front, well they just want to feel safe; even if it means everyone has to suffer and possibly die. It’s not really shocking, standing on top of those who are miserable has been the way of the privileged since the beginning of time. And those who can stop it rarely, if ever do.
In episode seven, the race to find Andre is on for Melanie and she’s going to stop at nothing to do so. Even if it means tearing apart every single class section to get to him. With the help of those who take orders and don’t question her for it she works her way through everyone he was in contact with before being thrown into the drawers, including the head janitor Terrance, Zarah, and eventually Josie herself. And all the while being a calm holy terror, she manages to pull Miles even farther up train and farther away from the taillies who raised him. All for the sake of keeping Mr. Wilford’s secret.
While we get closer and closer to the season finale, it’s in this episode that we find the line between allies and enemies has finally truly blurred. Melanie knows how to get under people’s skin in the right way to make them do what she wants, and she uses that to her full advantage. She knows that a baby is the thing Zarah has wanted more than anything, something that she can really love. So armed with the news that she’s pregnant, Melanie threatens to have the privilege of bearing that child taken away from her and Zarah leads her straight to Josie without a second thought.
Meanwhile Layton tries to gain allies in third class. Miss Audrey is already on his side but convincing others isn’t as easy. He has to share with them the secret he’s been keeping and hope that none of them are secretly spies for Melanie. It’s going to take team work to pull this take over off and the slightest misunderstanding or miscalculation could get them all killed. But the reveal of Zarah’s betrayal has the possiblity to make him spiral or it could push him to fight even harder.
This is the first time we’ve really seen Melanie’s evil nature, in previous episodes she’s always had someone else carry out the violent acts for her. However last night, in her desparation to get to Layton she began to become unhinged. But it’s not the violence that makes Melanie truly scary. During her interogation of Josie, she is asked why she doesn’t change the order of the train because deep down she must know it’s wrong. Melanie’s answer is simple and terrifying: she didn’t create the system, she just inherited it. The reason that sentence is so terrifying is that it reflects our world today like a textbook.
In today’s world, there are so many white women who have the power to make real true change, but they don’t. And the reason they don’t is because they feel like it’s not their place to fix or clean up a mess they technically didn’t make, even though they partake in the mess every single day. It doesn’t matter if everyone around them is dying, it’s not their responsibility in their minds. There’s a reason the Karen meme is rapidly gaining traction on the internet, because so many of these women lose their minds at the slightest inconvenience. It’s not hard at all to see their desperation in Melanie. It’s not at all that far of a reach to say that Melanie is the biggest Karen of them all, she is a white woman who would rather make life hell for everyone else than do real hard work towards a better future.
There’s also the issue of Zarah. While she may not be on Melanie’s level, she is most certainly participating in making life hard for others for her own selfish reasons. Her betrayal seems to have cost Josie her life and Layton another person he cared for. Zarah’s been shady since the beginning but this traitorous act is a bit of shock, seeing as how she spent the entire previous episode hiding Layton from Melanie. Her constant switching of sides is something that we often see in the real world as well. Very often white women claim to allies of Black people and POC but when things get hard and their lifeihood is threatened they fold and take the side of the oppressor. We watch it happen over and over again in real time. While I hope that Layton or someone from the tail is able to take revenge on Zarah, it’s more likely she’ll be given a redemption arc instead. Further playing into the trope that white women can do no wrong, even when it’s clear as day that they rarely have everyone’s best interest at heart. We even saw a glimmer of this trope in the episode when after freezing and smashing away Josie’s pinky, Melanie has to go throw up in the bathroom because the act has made her physically ill. It’s a small moment but definetly plays into the idea that Melanie isn’t “that bad” and is only doing these things to keep order.
Snowpiercer is one thousand and one cars long and every single one of those cars is a massive problem. From first class and their desire to overthrow Melanie, which seems kind of pointless considering they should be more worried about the revolution brewing down train, to third class and their ever-growing need for respect; it’s only a matter of time before emotions explode and people start to take action. It’s just a question of who is going to make the first move or what is going to set everything off. The more third class as a whole slides into siding with the tallies the closer Layton gets to taking the train. But on the oppsite side of that coin, the more people The Foldgers get on their side the closer they get to having Melanie and everyone below second class under their shiny iron boot. It’s only a matter of time.
Snowpiercer airs Sunday nights on TNT
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