Usually, I’m all about the post-apocalyptic train show, but Monday night/last night’s episode (“The Last to Go”) was a little bit lacklustre to me. In truth, the tension was a bit forced, and despite the ending, it felt like a filler episode. I often enjoy a good filler midway through the season, but it’s only episode 2. I hope this isn’t an indication that the show is going to derail.
That being said, what happened in this episode?
First of all, let’s delve into the woman Layton rescued (kidnapped?) from what we now know was a nuclear power plant. She’s a scientist working there along with thirty-three other people when the Big Snow settled in. They survived for about four years until everyone died of either marauder attacks, the cold, or radiation poisoning. Asha survived four years alone by (according to the impressions on her face) wearing her mast near-constantly. It’s clear she has PTSD, or maybe she just really doesn’t like succulents?
I kind of wish the show had shown a few clips of her life trapped in the power plant rather than LJ and Osweiller (“Oz”)’s wedding. Speaking of that …
Kids grow up so fast. Just yesterday it seems Oz was trading sexual favours with the tailies for supplies, and LJ was helping a murderer kill men and chop off their … but I digress.
The wedding was not without purpose. It’s clear Wilford is using the “Loyal Wedding” (that got a big laugh from me) for multiple reasons:
- He’s grooming the younger generation to follow him (much like Alex had).
- He’s lulling the inhabitants of the train into thinking he’s “not all bad” by giving them a party.
- He’s using the wedding to instill religious importance to Snowpeircer. The literal steps he had LJ and Oz take during the ceremony and the line “our unbreakable pack with the train” imparts a spiritual link to Snowpiercer. Is his goal to be not only King but Train Pope too?
I foresee a Crusades-level clash between Wildordians and Laytonites at the finale.
In truth, the whole wedding, mixed with Wilford’s manipulations, moved too fast. Had this wedding built up over a few more episodes, and we saw some of the populace starting to worship the train already, it might have been more insidious, but there was just too much going on in this episode.
And what was with the ball-crushing? I have several theories (and maybe all of them are correct), but that scene was weird, even for Wilford.
Like the wedding, Ruth’s capture by Kevin seemed a bit rushed. We barely learned what she was doing for the Resistance when she sacrificed her freedom to save the others.
Yet, I did enjoy:
- The carrier rats. So cute.
- Ruth and Pike’s obvious attraction to one another. Her monologue at the start, where she talks about her “roughneck love” dying on an oil rig, gives us a clear president that Pike is her type.
- The scene where her arm is going to be iced was a great parallel to that harrowing moment in season one where she threatens to take off the little girl’s arm but sentences the mother instead. I was torn between thinking she deserved this but also wondering at what point have amends truly been made? And wasn’t that form of justice what they were trying to fight against?
Everything about this plot didn’t work for me. As I’ve said before, Snowpiercer requires a certain suspension of disbelief, but the EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) weapon made no sense. Maybe I’m just being picky about a show where a train runs on a perpetual motion machine, but…
- Why does it take so long to figure out how to dismantle it? Just pull off some hoses, or, more logically, just disconnect the power running to it.
- Why would smashing the top turn on the mechanism?
- When they shoved it out the door, the power was disconnected, so why were the lights still on?
- And why did it still explode when it fell out of the train? It’s not a bomb. An EMP weapon of that magnitude wouldn’t run on battery power, would it? Most likely, it would need to be plugged into a power source on the train to gain enough charge to fire a pulse of that magnitude. Therefore, when they pushed it out, it would just lie there.
Or maybe I’m overthinking this, but honestly, it felt like the whole EMP plot was a transparent device to bring the trains back together (Alex and Ben notice the pulse and it helps them figure out Snowpiercer’s location).
I’m not even going to get into Layton’s obsession with the Dragon Blood Tree! Let’s hope Till’s pep talk sinks in.
Overall, while I still love the show, this episode wasn’t the best. Let’s hope the next episode is like a passionate honeymoon after a chaste and lengthy engagement.
The next episode airs on February 7th and 8th!