We were in for a bit of a different feel in this third episode of Snowpiercer‘s second season, and I quite liked it.
We’ve come to expect two major elements of the show so far: violence and intrigue. But in this one, we skipped the violence for some real genuine character development and solid tear-jerker moments. Let’s take a look at how it all went down.
Warning! This post contains major spoilers for Season 2, Episode 3.
“Apocalypse isn’t so bad, really.” These are some of the first words of the episode, spoken by Mr. Wilford himself. It’s a great intro to his twisted philosophy on keeping control over both trains and his entire world. But as has been no secret so far, that control is slipping further and further away.
— The A.V. Club (@TheAVClub) February 4, 2021
One good example of this is his treatment of Icy Bob, the behemoth of a man who has been augmented with synthetic skin to help him endure colder temperatures. Icy B is placed in a freeze chamber for 54 minutes at temperatures reaching 96 below zero, but that’s still not good enough for Wilford. He wants more time on the clock and even colder temperatures. The scientists balk at his request, but I have a feeling that they know better than to outright refuse his impossible requests.
— Snowpiercer on TNT (@SnowpiercerTV) February 9, 2021
And so Melanie proceeds with her plan to leave the train and continue her warming-trend research at the Rocky Mountain facility, but Wilford is not on board (pun!). He believes that Melanie’s mission is futile and that she has some other nefarious plan up her sleeve.
In order to have the proper supplies for Melanie’s month-long stay at the facility, she realizes that a trade is inevitable between the two trains. She and Layton call Wilford to a “borderland” meeting where they present a cart of fresh fruit in exchange for the parts, batteries, and other supplies Melanie will need for the stay.
Wilford eventually agrees, and Melanie is brought back to Big Alice to further negotiate and to chat with her daughter, Alex, who will oversee the transaction.
This is a crucial time for Melanie to win over Alex, who has so far put up impossible emotional walls around herself. Alex has treated Melanie like an enemy, convinced that Melanie abandoned her when the world was freezing over and the survivors were first boarding Snowpiercer.
Alex takes Melanie back to her bunk to show her her own piece of the world. They bond in a way that Alex wasn’t expecting, and Melanie can see that there’s hope. The walls between them are slowly tumbling down.
I predicted in a previous write-up that Melanie and Alex would eventually join forces to take down Wilford, and I’m actually surprised that it’s happening so soon. I guess that means that there will be more complications along the way and a simple alignment between mother and daughter will not be that simple. But there’s no denying that the creators of this show did a wonderful job expressing the difficulties that exist between a rebellious teen and her parent.
For anyone who has or has ever had a teenager, or for anyone who was a rebellious teenager themselves, you know how powerful this episode was. Alex went from hardass Wilford zealot to someone who finally sees the importance of letting her mother back into her life.
I don’t watch Snowpiercer, I cry over Melanie Cavill for 40 minutes straight
— indina (@indinart_) February 9, 2021
And I totally get her perspective, don’t get me wrong. She was taught her whole life that the vacant parent is the enemy, when in fact the other side of that whole story was much more complicated. Alex finally realizes that her mother isn’t this evil witch that Wilford painted her to be, but that she genuinely crumbles when she sees her daughter; Her expression completely changes when Alex enters the room. A parent-child love is an unspeakably powerful thing, and no matter how hard other people try to break that down, only that parent and that child can know how and why they feel so connected.
— Snowpiercer on TNT (@SnowpiercerTV) February 9, 2021
But Wilford is starting to catch on. His biggest fear is not only losing control of his trains, but also Alex. And he knows that it’s coming. “You’re not going sentimental on me?” he asks Alex after her meeting with her mother.
Meanwhile, Layton is back tending to Josie in her disfigured state. While Zorah is evacuating the first class cars, Layton is running back to the hospital car to see Josie. Zorah seems disappointed, but understands that Layton is going to keep Josie company while everyone else is gone. Or so he says.
Josie being alive is the biggest flex of 2021. Thanks @SnowpiercerTV I needed this.
— MONTY (@IamAlexness) February 9, 2021
Josie is understandably not happy with Layton getting all buddy-buddy with Melanie after she’s the one who burned Josie so horribly with the frigid outside air. Layton tries to reason with her, but Josie reveals that while she lay in that cold room, enduring those icy burns, she kept one hand protected so she’d have a fist to take down Melanie. It gets weird when Layton kisses that hand, though.
So now who does Layton side with? Does he continue his allegiance with Melanie for the good of the train, or empathize with the former lover whom he thought was dead? This is a brilliant breakdown of our faith in any of these leaders, but whether you’re Team Layton, Team Melanie, or Team Wilford, you have both pros and cons on your side.
— Engine to Tail (@enginetotail) February 9, 2021
As I stated earlier, there are no big fight scenes in this episode, but there is an edge-of-your-seat sequence where Alex struggles to keep enough momentum with the connected trains to make it up a steep mountain grade in the Rockies. Not only does this scene create tension in an otherwise sappy episode, but it also shows us another angle of Alex’s perspective against Wilford. He’s shouting in her ear to get the train faster and faster to climb that hill, but the threat of derailment is all too real. And she knows that if the train makes it up that hill, she won’t see her mother for at least a month (or maybe forever).
And with that, Melanie is off the train.
Snowpiercer is a weird tv show in that I am constantly surprised that it is good. Every episode I go – “that was good?!?”. It will never not get me.
— Dara McWade (@DaraMcWade) February 9, 2021
I don’t have any new predictions in this episode’s write-up because I feel like all of my previous predictions are still on track (more train puns!). Melanie and Alex are closer than ever, Wilford is losing more of his mind, the ice is still thawing, and there will certainly be some upcoming conflict involving Josie and others who can’t stand Melanie (like maybe Ruth).
But who will eventually come out on top?