An action-packed Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 1 showcased where the series is headed and introduced a gaggle of new survivors who are more than a little bizarre.
Snowpiercer Season 1 was accused of being slow on occasion. Being somehow Snowpiercer-lite. All of that changed with an exhilarating Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 1 that was as action-packed as it was insightful. Layton and the Tailies won a battle, but a Cold War is just getting started. Let the games begin.
When last we saw our beloved train, Layton and the Tailies had managed to take Snowpiercer, and Melanie was on the outside looking in, literally. Big Alice had snuck up on Snowpiercer and linked, effectively ending the sovereignty of the train. The Season 2 opener provided answers in a hurry to precisely the sort of man Mr. Wilford is and what he has been up to. Big Alice may be small, but it makes up for its size in mad scientists and ice giants. Big Alice is only 40 cars long, but that’s 40 cars of sheer insanity. Everyone’s going off the rails on a crazy train.
A telling insight into Ruth’s motivations came from two exchanges that were as different as they were important. Ruth has seemed a little delusional in the past. She so rigidly held onto the belief Mr. Wilford was a hero. Her hero. She firmly believed he was a brilliant saint. That is why she worked so hard to maintain the status quo of the train all those years. Mr. Wilford impressed on her the difference between the haves and the have nots. It wasn’t that she was a monster, just misinformed. When Alex arrives through the coupling door and demands a bizarre list of ingredients or the trains will remain still, everyone jumps into action to provide it.
The list that reads more like a great brunch menu did have one thing missing they couldn’t provide. There is no morphine left on the train. Instead of worrying about the dangers of negotiating with terrorists, Ruth is hilariously distressed that Mr. Wilford might be injured. If the second train leader was injured, I doubt very seriously he would be requesting omelets, beer, and a copy of Rebecca. What she should have noticed is the indulgent nature of the list. It is everything we need to know about Wilford. He is selfish, egomaniacal, and narcissistic. Sean Bean is loving playing this larger than life villain, and we love to watch him. Characters we love to hate are what make good conflict.
The second and more critical look inside Ruth’s mind is her decision to move Zara and Layton into the empty Shorts’ car in first class. Pregnancy comes with perks, and those include the safety and luxury of privilege. As much as the glitz of Wilford fooled Ruth, hope is her real motivation. The hope he sold her about saving humanity and the hope a pregnancy means on the train. Alison Wright(Ruth) is a fan favorite because she is so relatable. She isn’t a hero; she is a regular person who could be anyone just playing their role in the machine—trying desperately to keep it moving.
Layton is still in charge but just barely. It isn’t Daveed Diggs'(Hamilton) first revolution, and it is going to require all his gravelly-voiced gravitas to keep his train together. Layton has moved up in the world, but his problems persist. Superior storyboarding sets up an exciting season where Layton gets to do more than fight from behind. His may turn into the most compelling arc.
Some of the questions about Melanie’s past got answered while even more intriguing mysteries were revealed. Melanie came face to face with her previous mentor turned enemy. Melanie was wrong to keep the train’s structure, but she wasn’t wrong to steal it from Wilford. If Icy Bob and the brig’s scribbled words are anything to go by, he is a monster who everyone should fear. What kind of troubled mind wrote, ” If you blow the math, you’ll take a bath?” Also, what kind of punishment is a bath? Likely Wilford worked his scientists until they produced at all costs using all means necessary.
Before boarding, Big Alice Melanie managed to place the only charge she had on the two trains’ coupling link. She then is taken into Wilford’s side of the train and is immediately reminded how cruel he could be. He scooped up her daughter Alex. Mr. Wilford’s dog Jupiter who remembers Melanie raises a few questions. Is Jupiter Alex and Melanie’s dog, or is it possible that Melanie and Mr. Wilford’s relationship and Alex is their child?
Finally, new faces have joined the cast in Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 1. Big Alices’ answer to Ruth, Kevin, The Knick’s Tom Lipinski is the picture of white male privilege. His behavior is no doubt indicative of what Big Alice stands for. He also drops an intriguing nugget about Mr. Wilford’s capabilities. We all knew he doesn’t care about anyone but himself, but Kevin says he could start everything all over again if he needed to. What does that mean? Is there a bunker somewhere with livestock, materials, and seeds stashed?
Next, if Snowpiercer’s Dr. Klimpt was creepy, he has nothing on Big Alice’s duo of doctors that seem more Dr. Frankenstein than Dr. Fauci. Who knows what the self-titled goop will do to Melanie. These two open all kinds of doors for sci-fi gold moving forward. We may have already seen one of their creations. Wilford’s very own white walker is an ice giant that is super-powered and seemingly unstoppable. Until Snowpierecer can find an answer for him, they will be controlled by Big Alice.
Lastly, Sean Bean(Wilford) and Rowan Blanchard as Alexandra Cavill are the two we have been waiting for. Wilford took Alex when Melanie’s parents refused to board the train. Melanie’s daughter has been groomed and poisoned by Wilford for this moment. She is brilliant like her mother but young and impressionable. A heartbreaking moment between mother and daughter ends with Melanie claiming victory. After Snowpiercer attempted to take over Big Alice Wilford ordered Alex to uncouple the trains and leave Snowpierecer to freeze. He underestimated Melanie’s resolve and her resourcefulness, though. When Melanie failed to convince Alex not to uncouple them, her bomb went off, fusing the trains. Alex adorably calls Wilford dubs, but this time Melanie got the W.
The Tale of Two Trains is really the tale of two minds. Melanie is ahead for now, but the conflict is only getting started. Mr. Wilford is ruthless and hiding secrets. Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 1 perfectly set up the season to come. Do all the riders on Big Alice think Wilford is a savior? Don’t they know they are beating up the wrong guy? Wilford knows he’s in the best selling show. Bring on the Cold War and save the weed. Follow all our Snowpiercer coverage here.
Stray Frozen Bolts
- The best line of the episode is a cry for bravery. “If you don’t embrace extinction, you’re already dead.” It’s clear, don’t live for tomorrow, because it might never come.
- Pike is still a dangerous hedonist. SMH
- David Bowie’s Sci-fi fantasy classic Life On Mars is about a young girl who has become disillusioned with the media. Melanie became disillusioned with her mentor a long time ago.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.