Fear and loathing in an apocalyptic world is what Snowpiercer Season 3 offers with a healthy dose of hope.
In less than two weeks, Snowpiercer Season 3 premieres. It’s been a long cold wait for all the characters we love, hate, and love to hate to grace our screens again. Before Miss Audrey sings us another haunting toon or LJ bats her psychopathic eyes one more time, let’s dissect how this little show that could, became the most compelling engine on the planet.
At the end of Snowpiercer Season 2, Layton and a few allies blew up the aquarium separating Big Alice and the bulk of the train from a small, fast ten-car pirate train to rescue Melanie. Pirates get a bad wrap. There’s the whole rape and pillaging thing that is hard to live down. But, anyone that watched the sublime Black Sails knows that pirating is also about opportunity. It’s about hope against all odds and the allure of freedom. That’s exactly what the hot zones Melanie seems to have found are all about. Since that’s the case, give me an eye patch, a peg leg, and a parrot cause a plundering I will go.
It’s that intelligent balance of fear and hope that has garnered Snowpiercer a rabid audience. At first, it was a morbid curiosity to see what possible ways TNT might screw up this story. Then, after it became evident that this might actually be a good show, it was growing fear for our heroes. Later, it became the hope for a brighter future for those on the train and the series that superseded all expectations.
Many could say it was folly even to make a Snowpiercer series. Boon Joon Ho’s original is a masterpiece of class warfare and dystopian nightmares. To translate that into a multiple-episode arch is daunting. It must have been, in fact, considering the rumored mess that was Snowpierecer Season 1 rewrites and reshoots. Yet, somehow and someway, TNT had faith that with the right cast and right story, magic could happen. Sure heavy hitters like Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly and GOT’s Sean Bean were intriguing, but the real genius was casting the rest of the train.
Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs was perfect as the face of the next revolution. A trio of women showcased the best and the worst in all of us with Mickey Sumner’s Bess Till, Alison Wright’s Ruth Wardell, and Tony winner Lena Hall’s Miss Audrey, who rode the crazy train all the way to the last stop last season. Seriously who thought LJ would look like the sane one? It was also found in the supporting cast of Iddo Goldberg, chilling Annalise Basso’s LJ Folger, and Katie McGuinesses Josie. Even Mike O’ Malley’s Sam Roche was an inspired choice. Seriously who would have thought Kurt Hummel’s dad from Glee could be such a hero? When Melanie’s daughter Alex was discovered, along with Wilford and Big Bertha, even more intriguing characters came to replace the ones that we unceremoniously jettisoned during the first train rebellion.
Fear is what kept the 1%ers silent even before Wilford officially boarded the train in Snowpiercer Season 2. The rich were pampered and indulged, always told how they were better. They had a lot to lose if the strict hierarchy fell. Unless you were a Tailie, the lower classes always had someone below them to scare them into submission. It’s easy to be complacent when the alternative is sacrifice. Netflix’s Don’t Look Up was a run-away hit because of that dumb fact. Unfortunately, it’s easier to believe the lies than face the truth. This is why Wilford was so quickly able to squelch the rebellion and tale the train from Layton.
It was only the Tailies who had nothing to lose that could change the game. They needed a few brave souls to join the fight, but mostly as with most revolutions, they were held together with duct tape, spit, and hope. Hope is what causes the best of us in the face of Adrian shouting, we “can’t win,” to stubbornly say I have to try instead of yeh, your right. Better not to go to Russia and train in subpar, sub-zero temperatures so I can fight the Russian Ice God Ivan Drago to avenge my arch enemy turned BFF Apolo Creed in Rocky IV. In my opinion, the single best sports movie alongside The Replacements(don’t judge Keanu Reeves is my future husband even if he doesn’t know it yet) ever.
Hope keeps us from curling into a ball and crying and instead has us make a fist, albeit sometimes a frozen one, and strike back. It’s why Mr. Wilford is so afraid of the news about Earth heating back up. The minute hope comes back; he is over. Don’t pass go. Thanks for all you did for us, but now don’t let the door hit you on the ass kind of done. All but the richest won’t care about his rules anymore. With the trains separated, he has control, but the minute Layton has proof and the trains merge again, Richy Rich has a major problem. That’s what scares and motivates him. Not fear of death, but fear of losing power.
Fear is what makes us leave people stranded to die littered on the train tracks like frozen bloody reminders of what could be if we didn’t get lucky enough to get on the train. Fear is what makes us shove and punch our way on the train while kicking others to the curb. Fear of how badly we screwed up our environment is what caused this whole mess to begin with. For all our advancements and technology, we are stupid.
We are still Icarus flying too close to the sun. We believe that somehow we can fix our catastrophic mistakes. Instead of doing the hard work to repair things before we are in disaster mode, we wait until we don’t have a choice and then let tech billionaires declare there are actual Bond-level super-geniuses among us who will alter the Earth’s environment to fend off the looming threat. What could go wrong, right?
For two seasons now, we have watched what fear could do. First, the direct aftermath of Wilford’s plan with his fully intact rules and then later the potential of a new reality off of the train were explored. In both cases, Wilford’s fear drove the action and the drama even without his physical presence.
The train is constantly reinventing itself. Season 1 was about the Snowpiercer we knew. Season 2 was about what could be, and Season 3 will be about hope and fear. Any citizen detective with a laptop and fingers knows Connoley’s Melanie is not dead. She didn’t freeze to death on a mission to prove the Earth was recovering. Although we don’t know where she is and what that looks like quite yet, we know it provides hope for everyone part of the rebellion.
A look at the Snowpiercer Season 3 trailer reveals a new face who has survived on the frozen planet proving Mel was right. Whether she is friend or foe remains to be seen, but there are plenty of both on the two trains. Wilford’s control may be slipping with all his torturing and grinning, so saboteurs like Ruth and Zahra have a chance to derail him. This is especially true if Boki and Roche can join the fight. Layton doesn’t have it so easy either. Miss Audrey, who has been gaslit into oblivion, will try to undermine Layton at every turn.
Both sides have their weapons armed and their pawns in place. Where things go from here is anyone’s guess, but I have no fear about the direction Snowpiercer is headed for once. That’s the funny thing about fear. Hope can burn it out if given a chance. Rise up, Layton. You are young, scrappy, and hungry!
Snowpiercer Season 3 premieres on TNT on January 24th at 9 pm. Find all our coverage here. Watch the trailer and prepare to brace.
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.