Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 2 Smolder To Life Review- The Caro-Kann Defense And Stormy Weather Ahead
In Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 2, a frozen Earth may be coming back to life while the insurrection fire is burning out of control.
There is a storm brewing both outside and inside the train. One offers hope of a second chance at humanity. The other offers only violence and oppression. The cold war between hope and control has begun in earnest. Big Alice and Snowpiercer must work together, but that doesn’t mean they will work peacefully. When fanaticism and tyrants collide, sparks ignite that even Layton’s cool head may be unable to squelch. Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 2 showed us just how far Wilford is willing to go to maintain power.
Snowpierecer is continuing to rebel against the new order. They fought hard for their democratic independence. That doesn’t mean everyone agrees with the new direction or leadership. Cracks are forming. Terrorist activity and hate crimes are increasing. Lights(Miranda Edwards), one of Layton’s fellow Tailies, was attacked and had two fingers removed. It is a message that all is not well on the train.
Layton needs order and appoints Bess Till to investigate. She is now reluctantly the official train detective. It is nice to see Mickey Sumner(Bess Till) get something to do this week. She is a complex character that represents the average person. She accepted her role as Brinkman and maintained the previous regime’s hierarchy not because she is a bad person but because she needed the stability her position afforded her. Revolutions are ugly and painful. No one comes out unscathed, but she is willing to embrace her new responsibilities. There is a fragile strength Bess that is just beginning to form. Her shaking hand is a concern, however. Layton needs all the allies he can get.
Lights arc is an interesting one because we see first hand what a hate crime looks and feels like. It isn’t as simple as wanting justice. She wants no part of Till’s investigation because she knows this was not as simple as Tailies prejudice. It wasn’t about rendering her unable to work but a clear message that Wilford has followers and has power. The fingers removed force Lights to display her solidarity to Wilford whether she likes it permanently.
The other exciting thing about Till’s investigation in Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 2 is her discussion with Pastor Logan in the tea room. Till initially goes to Pastor Logan to find out if anyone saw anything. She discovered that he suspects there is a growing problem. Faith is a tricky thing. It can build you up, unify a group, or be used for absolute control. Similar to The Witch Trials in Salem or the Spanish Inquisition, fear and propaganda are exploited. Wilford has supporters all over the train, and their faith is growing. The Wilford believers will bend their beliefs to think he is a God who resurrected himself instead of a tyrant who stepped on others to live.
It’s a complex development and a clever reimagining of Snowpiercer. Bong Joon Ho’s film version was politically charged and symbolic. One of the main complaints about TNT’s version is the plot seemed like it was a rehashing of the main plot points and had no real direction. Like the track it races on, there is nothing new to see. With the addition of Mr. Wilford, Season 2 has a whole new set of social constructs to examine. It isn’t just about maintaining what you have, but the mystique a star can possess. It’s not just first-class who love Wilford. There are tons of fans, including the servants who care for him relentlessly. How that happens is fascinating and makes for fantastic television. It doesn’t hurt that Sean Bean is clearly enjoying playing this diabolical megalomaniac.
Mr. Wilford is a monster. He isn’t just a passive monster either. He isn’t content to pull strings to maintain the status quo, but he will get his hands and body dirty. Wilford has been grooming Alex since Melanie left her. He is preparing her to be his personal science puppet and Melanie’s Achilles heel. He believes there are only two types of people the dreamers and the schemers. In his mind, Melanie is a schemer, and he has convinced Alex of it too. Alex doesn’t understand that Wilford hates Melanie because he couldn’t control her. She challenged his authority and his personal view of himself. She is literary a kingslayer.
Bean’s performance in Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 2 was chilling. This larger than life, a self-proclaimed hero of the people, commands absolute control. Strangely it is offered without question from most on his train. Poor Kevin was starving and tried to hold information back from Layton, but his need to eat overrode his fear. He paid the ultimate price for betraying Wilford in the weirdest way possible. Creative choices like having Wilford climb naked into the bathtub with Kevin and then convincing him he was doing him a favor by commanding him to end his life are brilliant. Wilford is a bully and a master level manipulator. His influence is so vast Kevin believed Wilford showed his love by having him kill himself. Wilford climbed in the tub with Kevin because it’s a power move that demonstrates just how much control Wilford has on people.
Melanie’s snow sample has significant implications for the remainder of the series. Ammonia Sulfate in the snow means the Earth may be slowly coming back to life. It means hope for a future off the train. It represents a possibility that doesn’t always include stormy weather. Until now, snow was impossible on Earth because it was too cold. It has begun snowing again, though, which means the compound that brought on the freeze is breaking down. Melanie took a vial of the snow when she was outside the train, and Alex had it analyzed. She didn’t understand what the results meant, but Melanie did. This version of Alex that has been warped by Wilford wants to connect with her mother but knows only cruelty and destroys the vial instead of allowing her mother to take it for further analysis.
After accepting an invitation to Snowpiercer for negotiation, Wilford orders Alex to kill Layton. She intuitively knows she is being used but isn’t able to think for herself just yet. She is so angry with Melanie. Her mother left her. It is the ultimate betrayal, and Mr. Wilford uses it against her. There is a twisted logic to his reasoning that makes sense to her while allowing her to get even with her mother. He strokes her ego and tells her how much farther she has come from Mel at her age. It’s a weak spot for her as she already feels insecure in her intelligence and abandoned by her mother.
Layton invited Wilford to Snowpiercer to convince him to give them supplies from Big Alice to reopen the weather station. Layton understands who Wilford is and where his motivations come from. Wilford doesn’t want things to go back to normal. He doesn’t want Earth to be reborn. If the train is all they have and he built the train, he will be worshipped forever. Layton understands that Wilford needs to crush hope, and if he does it in front of everyone, it will put them one step closer to debunking his mythos. The narcissist can’t give up a chance to be fawned over and worshipped. Both Layton and Wilford got something they wanted. Layton got the supplies and a chance for Melanie to investigate further, and Wilford got rid of Melanie and deepened the rift between her and Alex.
Lastly, Josie is not dead. Zara found her in the infirmary, where she has severe frostbite and is comatose. Zara has always been presented as a weak-minded individual. She left Layton for a chance in third class. Now she has the chance to kill Josie to ensure her perfect life with Layton is not destroyed. Despite Ms. Audrey telling her to protect herself and Layton at all costs, she chooses to tell Layton. Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 2 closes with the opening of one blue eye. There is about to be one more tough lady in the mix. Will the train gain a new thruple soon?
All aboard Mr. Wilford’s publicity tour. The next stop will be false narrative station. Let’s hope Melanie and Layton have an answer for his message because the peace is too delicate right now, and it won’t take much for the train to tip. Catch all our Snowpiercer coverage here.
- As suspected, Icy Bob was augmented to withstand the cold temperatures. Curiously the Headwoods who experimented on Icy Bob and developed the goop that cured Melanie had no trouble experimenting on Bob but side with Melanie when she suggests reestablishing the weather station. They may be on Big Alice, but their loyalties may be to science alone.
- LJ, Ossweiler, and the Janitors are a deadly grouping. It won’t take them long to take back some of what they have lost. LJ is a pyschopath. I wonder if she is involved in the attacks? She does have a violent streak.
- The Caro-Kann Defense is a chess move that is traditionally used against the King’s Pawn Opener. It is a very solid open against an aggressive opponent. That sounds about right.
- Trotsky is not a good baby name. It is a famous Russian Marxist revolutionary. He was exiled to Siberia twice and unsuccessfully fought against Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union. He eventually was assassinated by the Soviets at Stalin’s order. How very fitting Layton wants to name his child after the politician.
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.