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Snowpiercer: Chaos Reigns

After spending some quality time with Melanie and watching her battle not only stationary cold but her mind as well, we rejoin the passengers of Snowpiercer and find ourselves at the eve of budding chaos. As Till circles in on her Breachmen killer and Tailley maimer, Layton loses about 80% of his support from third class and Ruth comes faces to face with the consequences of her pre revolution actions. Not to mention over on Big Alice, Miss Audrey dances a fine line with Wilford after choosing to stay with him instead of return to Snowpiercer.

It was only a matter of time before tensions rose pass the point of no return. It’s been a stressful time for the passengers since the revolution and Wilford’s return. Day after day there’s some kind of unrest, and day after day Layton, Roche, Ruth and Till scramble to hold onto to any kind of peaceful order. The death of eight Breachmen at the same time, in the name of what looks like revenge no less, is definitely not sending the message of unity that the train needs. Till is doing her best to handle it though, she knows that she’s close to catching her suspect; all she has to do is look a little closer at those around her but it’s hard to do when everything is descending into chaos. It’s not until she leaves a heavily grieving Breachmen Boki with Pastor Logan and searches out the only antique seller on the train do the last pieces of the puzzle fall into place for her.

Till’s uphill battle this season has highlighted one of the most interesting parts of Snowpiercer on the show, the other passengers on the train. There are just under three thousand people aboard, we stick with our main characters of course but that doesn’t mean that the other passengers aren’t just as fascinating. In her search for the murderer, Till has to find the origin of a vintage Wilford button and she is led to the last antique seller on the frozen planet. Who shares a small, almost overstuffed car with her grandson. Turns out, she has know Wilford personally since he was a child, she was his neighbor. And she easily places the button Till has to a jacket that a fancy first class lady traded a fur hat for. Though this leads to an arrest, a fight between Boki and The Last Australian shifts Till’s focus back to the last person she would suspect to have an evil hand in the situation: Pastor Logan.

While Till fights an enemy that’s too close for comfort, Layton let’s his emotions and loyalty to the Tail get the best of him. In his morning address to the train Layton means to unite third and the tail as both think they other is out to get them, but his speech is flawed and puts too much blame on Wilford. Most of the people aboard Snowpiercer aren’t ready yet to fully let go of Wilford as their savior. Instead of taking responsibility for not coming through on anything he’s promised and being transparent in a way that would appeal to everyone, Layton pushes the already iffy passengers into picking a side; his or Wilford’s. And whether he realizes it or not, there are far more people boarding the idea that they need Wilford to return to Snowpiercer’s engine rooms than those that believe Layton has brought good change.

Layton’s been off his game for nearly the entire season. Or maybe he’s losing a battle he never wanted to be part of in the first place. Either way, his decisions of late leave much to be desired. He’s losing his footing more and more as the episodes pass, it doesn’t seem like Layton is the leader those in the Tail thought he was. But it’s not like Layton ever stood up and declared himself to be such, he just happened to be able to rally the people like no other. His presence in the Tail was large and it’s not small beyond it either, but outside of the Tail there are complexities that catch Layton up every chances they can. However, those closest to him haven’t lost faith in him just yet. It’s especially surprising how loyal Roche has become to him, though at the end of the episode we learn this could change at any moment. Zarah, who admittedly can’t do much besides trying to keep people calm, is trying to be the rock Layton needs. Yet her words of encouragement don’t light fires in Andre the way Josie’s used to. And Ruth, well, she and Layton has struggled with trusting each other the entire season. But her loyalty is given the ultimate test when a group of rage filled third class people attempt to take Pike’s arm via the freeze. Layton being who he is, offers up his own arm as a replacement. This is extra upsetting to Ruth who just had a startlingly realization when she comes face to face with small Winnie and the girl is absolutely terrified of her. After being reminded that she is the one who took Winnie’s mother’s arm, Ruth is left with the sickening guilt of the trauma her actions can cause. And it’s that guilt that gives her the courage to shout down the third class passengers and save Layton’s arm. The chaos of it all.

While everyone falls into panic on Snowpiercer, over on Big Alice things are still as calm as they’ve ever been. At least on the surface. While pleased that Audrey decided to stay, Wilford still doesn’t fully trust her. After seven years, he knows that she isn’t as loyal to him as she once was and after finding the screwdriver meant to help her rig the com lines, he’s even less happy with her. So he decides to put her to the test, as he does with everyone on his side. Miss Audrey’s powers of persuasion are the stuff of legends, so Wilford does what any sensible evil con man would; he puts her skill to work. Turns out, Kevin isn’t dead. The slitting of his wrists in the bath with Wilford wasn’t a forced suicide, but a forced breaking of Kevin’s mind. And now that Wilford has Audrey back, he wants her to fix Kevin. Because he knows that if she’s really returned to him, Audrey will be able to persuade any to do the same.

Miss Audrey aces Wilford’s test for her, successfully rewriting Kevin’s brain to worship Wilford. In doing so, she solidifies her place at Wilford’s side and proves herself dedicated to him taking over Snowpiercer. Making it seem as if Miss Audrey has become a full blown traitor. However, as much as it’s being pushed that Audrey is now on Wilford’s side, it’s hard to imagine that after all the pain and trauma he caused her that she would return to him this quickly and this easily. The hope is that Miss Audrey is playing the long game, still loyal to Layton and Snowpiercer but understanding that no one other than can get this close to Wilford. We want Audrey to be playing Wilford like an instrument, however I was very wrong about Pastor Logan being good for Till so Audrey actually switching sides could be the case. After all, it’s very hard to women to truly leave their abusers; especially when forced back in close proximity to them.

The seventh episode of season two both concludes an arc started at the beginning of the season and sets up for the finale three episodes. Till catches her rat, proving that Wilford has had people on the inside since the beginning. But the damage is already done, the people of Snowpiercer do not want to hear about how Wilford has been playing them all along. They just want to feel safe and that’s the last thing Team Layton is doing, if anything since Andre took over the train things have gotten less safe and more violent. Though it may not be directly Layton’s fault, the blame still falls on his shoulders. The perks of being a leader.

If there’s anything I love about Snowpiercer it’s the way everyone has to eventually meet the consequences of their actions. Whether the actions are good or bad, everything comes back to a full circle eventually. Ruth took Winnie’s mother’s arm back in the beginning of the first season, last night she had to face the fact she sees herself above certain people but is just as barbaric as they are. In her grief, Till put on blinders and zeroed in on being a good detective. It made her desperately search for someone who was standing right there the entire time, but she could only see him once the blinders she’s been clinging to were ripped away. Andre is being dragged for filth at every turn for not coming through on the promises he made to push the revolution through. Every action, no matter how big or small eventually comes back for its consequences, and we get to see them and sit with them just like the passengers on Snowpiercer do. And I think that’s beautiful, and what makes this show so compelling.

Snowpiercer airs on Monday nights on TNT.


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Snowpiercer: One Woman Show

While the passengers of both Snowpiercer and Big Alice fight themselves and each other to stay alive, thousands of miles away from the trains Melanie fights her own battle of survival. And in comparison, she might be having a tougher time than the lowest of the low tail resident. Between the always ready to kill cold, wild hallucinations, the constantly fight to not lose body heat and the pressure of proving her theories correct, Melanie has her work cut out for her. And she also has some answers to the many questions that circle around her and Mr. Wilford. Out in the freeze, there’s nothing to stop her mind from going over every little detail of the relationship between them. Whether she likes it or not.

If there’s anything to admire about Melanie as a character, it’s her resilience. When she puts her mind to something, there is nothing other than death that will stop her. She ran Snowpiercer as Wilford for seven years with next to no problems, she started the seed in Andre’s mind that leading the train would mean making hard decisions, she’s literally risking losing everything she worked for in the small hope that life can restart off the train, and she’s standing up the most feared man of the apocalypse. Wilford himself said it, Melanie is the glue that holds everything together. He’s ready to un-stick her now though, she’s done her job a little too well for Wilford and gotten the best of him one too many times. If he has to take her out through a taunts, jabs and jousting by hallucinations; he’s all the more for it.

While struggling to survive, both physically and mentally, Melanie relives the moments that got her to where she is now. Including the many conversations she had with Wilford in the time leading up to when she stole Snowpiercer from him. Before he returned, it was thought that Wilford and Melanie were of the same mind, cut from the same cloth. Both geniuses who simply wanted to make sure humanity didn’t end. Now we know that to be not quite true, Melanie has always been for the cause of preserving life. Whereas Wilford was more about making sure of his own survival and his own comfort, everything else came secondary. This much is clear when, he cuts the passenger list of scientists down to make room for more personal security. And he doesn’t even bat an eye when he threatens to take Melanie’s family off the list as well after she confronts him. Snowpiercer is his train, his creation, what he says goes. Or at least it did back then, in the days before the freeze.

Between her hallucinations, hunger pains, and dreams, Melanie’s month at the station is the personification of hell having frozen over. While the cold bears down and her memories stroll through the past, the unsettling presence of the dead scientists around her haunts her present. She’s starving, and her hallucination version of Andre isn’t going to judge her for taking a small bite of another human. They had to do it in the tail all the time. Melanie’s not quite there yet though, and decides to try her luck at building a mouse trap. If there’s anything that would have survived, it’s rats.

And whether it’s by chance, fate or just pure dumb luck, Melanie’s trap does catch a mouse. And that mouse leads her to the inside of one of the walls of the station, where a geothermal vent has created the perfect living conditions for the rodents to live, procreate and survive. Now Melanie has food with actual substance, things for a moment are looking up.

Of course though, this is Snowpiercer and even though Melanie isn’t on the train, nothing can ever go right for very long. It is the post apocalypse after all. So the very next day, after having finally gotten to really eat, the tower Melanie’s been using to make contact with Ben’s balloons comes falling down. Which in turn causes Melanie to lose the data she’s been collecting, her digital map and her way of letting the passengers of Snowpiercer know she’s still alive. It all happens in about five minutes and the frustration that has been building in Melanie’s core finally bubbles over. And we’re able to relive the night that Snowpiercer launched, the night Melanie chose humanity over herself and over her own daughter.

As I said in the beginning, Melanie is resilient. She’s a fighter and after a whole month of hell, she’s finally reached the day that Snowpiercer is supposed to pick her up. Only when she radios to them, she gets no reply. Either Snowpiercer isn’t coming back or something terrible has happened aboard and no one on her side is able to respond to her. Both options are the worst case scenario. But when Melanie suddenly feels the floor of the station rumble, she darts outside ready to jump back on board. The train has indeed returned, though at the speed it’s going the return seems to be just a mockery one. They have no intention of slowing down and as Melanie fights the deep snow to try to keep up, she’s met with the sight of Alex screaming for her and trying to call out to her from the back of Big Alice. Something has definitely gone wrong on board, but it doesn’t matter because the train continues on and Melanie is left behind to freeze.

This Melanie centered, off train episode is one of the best Snowpiercer has put out since its first season. While this show is set in the future, because we spend so much time on the train itself, it’s hard to remember what the world outside looks like. Life is still going on Snowpiercer, it’s still happening. So to be outside with Melanie, where everything has died and gone still, is a bit jarring. In the back of our minds we know, outside of Snowpiercer is an ice age, but it doesn’t really register until watching Melanie spend a month in a radio station. Which is important to reground and re-stabilize the narrative on the train. It is hell on Snowpiercer but it’s a better hell than the one that’s waiting for everyone outside. And that makes the fight over who is going to lead the train all the more important.

My favorite thing about “Many Miles From Snowpiercer” are the hallucinations that join Melanie. I found it very interesting that out of all the people Melanie’s brain could produce to keep her company, it picked Wilford, Alex and Layton. The first two aren’t very surprising but Layton is. I expected her to think of Ruth, or even Miss Audrey. Having Layton to the one to appear, the one to give her the idea of catching rats, is a development I’d like to see go further. I’m a big fan of whatever the relationship between Andre and Melanie is, whatever it could grow to be. They could easily run Snowpiercer together and be beyond powerful as a unit while they do it, but they also have the potential to become bitter enemies. To me, Layton and Melanie are better fitted for the term “different sides of the same coin” than she and Wilford are. He has always been cruel, he just hid it behind handsome smiles and dazzlingly charm. Melanie may be a lot of things, but she’s never been cruel just for the sake of. She did have her moments in the first season but nothing compared to half of what Wilford has done in the first half of this second one. Whereas Layton mirrors Melanie’s need for the survival of the human race. He might have a tunnel focus on making sure it’s the tail that survives but the core value is still the same. Melanie and Andre want others to live and have lives, which is why I hope that they’re able to build something closer to a partnership than a rivalry.

Now that Snowpiercer has crossed the halfway checkpoint, the last few episodes of the second season are expected to turn even wilder. Melanie has to get back on the train, or die trying. Layton and Wilford have danced around each other long enough and the inevitable collision is rapidly approaching. And fingers crossed that, after seeing her mother get left behind, Alex is radicalized into taking action against the man that “saved” her. Snowpiercer just had a revolution, but with the way things are going it seems like the next one is closer than anyone realizes.

Snowpiercer airs Monday nights on TNT


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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


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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


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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


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