Snowpiercer Episode 6 Trouble Comes Sideways-Review And Recap
An action-packed Snowpiercer Episode 6 showed but politics by calamity look like when the train has a nearly catastrophic error.
This was a departure for the politically focused series it has been for five episodes. There was some discussion of a work stoppage, but primarily Trouble Comes Sideways was about saving the train and all the people on board. A predictable but effective use of time put a deadline on their lives if a repair couldn’t be completed before they reached the bridge. More big-budget blockbuster than intricate morality play Snowpiercer Episode 6 was placed well within the ten-episode arch to break up the heavy-handedness of the first half and prepare us for the slow descent into the finale.
The strike that was hinted at in the last episode is happening. Despite Melanie’s best efforts, the people in Third are rebelling. They are tired of being the workhorses without even fundamental justice. In this near future, race, gender, religion, or sexuality don’t matter as much as money does. Systemic racism exists as it does today, just with a new focus. If you don’t have money or extreme intelligence or talent, you have no chance at a better life. No amount of hard work can guarantee equality, as Snowpiercer Episode 6 points out. The one equalizer, however, is the train and her fragile existence they all rely on.
Melanie is an iron-fisted leader. She may very well be the smartest person on the train with clearly the most control. It’s possible she earned that right, but it is equally likely she took it because no one else wanted it, and she believes her own hype. That’s the problem with being as intelligent as she is. She has a hard time realizing someone else might have an idea worth listening too. Melanie gives every appearance of being a dictator with a robust heroic bent. She goes herself below the train partly because she wants to save the train but also because he doesn’t think anyone else can do it. Regardless of her motives, she was right. She possesses the skills necessary to fix the train.
Her motivations are not based on vanity. Melanie does not need applause, as witnessed by Bennett and others getting all the glory. She only needs the self-gratification of a job well done. Icy and insulated her job is survival of the largest number of people regardless of the costs. It is what allows her to march right into the Third class quarters and demand they stand down. It’s not that she doesn’t care about them; she just cares more about the final number instead of each individual. The confounding grey area she lives in gives her room to take the moral high ground and claim superiority.
She is running out of time and knows it, though. People are beginning to suspect there is something wrong. Melanie can’t keep the ruse going too much longer. What lengths will she go to to ensure she keeps Wilford’s secret? Does she do it out of loyalty to the man or the train she designed?
You can’t keep a good man down, and Layton is as good as they come. Now that he has gotten over the worst of the physical symptoms of withdrawal, the mental ones are more pronounced. He is angry, agitated, and impatient. That isn’t an excellent cocktail for someone trying to keep a low profile. After starting a fight with Zara, Josie appears to calm him down. He tells her Melanie is Mr. Wilford and that they should keep it a secret until they decide how best to use the information.
Josie has developed an asset and information chain during her short time in Third, and she knows Dr. Pelton(Karin Konoval) is a safe bet to both keep Layton hidden and help him detox. She is a treasure trove of information and tells them there is a rumored Kill List of citizens and at least eleven additional Drawer cars. Before any dust can settle from that revelation, though, the train almost derails, and Layton gives in to his urge for revenge.
He tracks Melanie down in the engine room, trying to fix the train and attacks her. She manages to convince him that the train is the priority, and he releases her, but not before she tells him the Drawers are lifeboats where people can be placed in stasis to preserve humanity. She is concerned the train is near a tipping point, and everyone will be lost if she doesn’t take steps to protect the human race. The Kill List is actually a hand-picked group of diverse individuals she believes can carry on after the fragile society of Snowpiercer collapses. There is no way of knowing if this is true, but it would explain Jinju’s involvement. She seems less morally gray than Melanie, and I doubt she would be involved in imprisoning enemies of the state with abandon.
Osweiler is a perfect choice to narrate the beginning of Snowpiercer Episode 6. He sees all the angles and appreciates the simplicity of the “zero-sum game” the world has become. He used to be bullied and beaten; now, he does the abusing. To get ahead, someone else must fall back. It’s easier now until that whole system implodes. Sam Otto(Osweiller) shines this week. His backstory is beginning to explain his current decisions. He is a fascinatingly complex character who could be very interesting to watch in the remainder of the season. There is a reluctant likability to the opportunist that Otto brings to the screen. Everyone loves a reformed villain.
Osweiller and Till strike an uneasy alliance as they focus on the future. They both know each other’s secrets. He wants to blackmail Till, but in typical Bess form, she flings what she thinks could be her last words at him, “I won’t let you extort me, and you’re a dick.” Mickey Sumner(Bess Till continues to impress with her controlled Brinkman that has a heart of gold. She is a bright spot in this dark world.
Allison Wright(Ruth) is fantastic this week. She shows a rare moment of normalcy this week when she steps up to tell the passengers what is happening. There are moments her fear overwhelms her and others, where she pushes past her emotions to comfort the train. Melanie’s second in command in Hospitality is not a horrible person, just a complacent one. She doesn’t want to question things or rock the boat. She is less a product of hate and more of circumstance. Apathy breeds that kind of evil more than anything.
When it is all over, Snowpiercer remains viable and racing along its icy tracks. For now, the mechanical crisis and the political ones are contained. Fear is a powerful weapon, and nothing brings people together, like near-death experiences. She may be safe from a strike now, but we are inherently impatient and short-sighted. Soon talk of a strike will begin again. What disaster will she use to distract everyone than? Catch up on all our Snowpiercer coverage here.
- What role will brilliant Miles and Miles play in Melanie’s world? Does she want to “drawer” him too?
- I had no idea they could show that much skin on network TV. That sex scene was hot. Kudos to you, TNT!
- The scared Brinkman seems like a very odd choice for a classroom speaker.
- Zara’s pregnancy could be very problematic moving forward.
- I loved the Tail sections projection of the outside world. Those poor people needed a win, even if it was a tiny one.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.