A quiet week on 'Snowpiercer' is just what the show needed.
- 🚄The stillness of this week's episode works greatly to its advantage.
- 🚄We get a deep dive into Wilford's depravity and Melanie's regret.
- 🚄The specters of this week's episode are perfectly utelized.
- 🚄It feels like Alex and Melanie are just going to miss each other for perpetuity at this point.
We get a much quieter, more intimate episode of Snowpiercer this week. Gone is Wilford and his war, and Andre and his revolution. All that’s left behind is Melanie Cavill alone in a remote climate station doing her best to save humanity. But that’s what she’s always done, right? On her worst and best days, one thing has always remained the same about Snowpiercer’s creator: her decisions are always based on the survival of the species as a whole, and not what’s best for her personally. It was the kind of “evil” that we hated but couldn’t quite begrudge in Season 1, no matter how many deplorable acts she committed. Now, in Season 2, we know what real evil looks like.
Joseph Wilford (Sean Bean) haunts Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) as she boots up the climate station in what will ultimately be the first step in saving the world. His voice teases her as she realizes the sled she lost in transit will never be recovered, and hints at her cannibalistic future upon her realization that nearly all her rations are gone. Even Andre (Daveed Diggs) will join in later, reminding her that the starvation she feels is almost as bad as what she put the Tail through just months ago. She knows it all, of course. She knows what she did was monstrous. But, just like Snowpiercer’s viewers, Melanie Cavill has seen the fact of real evil.
But for the first ten days at the station, Melanie has a much bigger problem than the ghosts of her past. With her rations gone, she finds herself with enough food for about a week (including a pack of sweeties from Ben). When she arrives, she finds the three corpses of the family that once occupied. That is to say, she finds what’s left of them. She knows what faces her if she doesn’t find a new food source soon, but she’s not willing to take that leap.
Lucky for her, she won’t have to. In her hunger induced stupor, Melanie thinks she imagines someone eating the last bit of cracker she was rationing. But when she starts to hear scratching and scurrying, she starts to wonder if maybe she’s not going as crazy as Wilford’s apparition would have her believe. A rudimentary trap and a hunk of human meat later and her theory is proven: the station has a rat. As a matter of fact, it has many rats. Hidden between the walls of the building and the mountainside is a geothermal vent that has allowed a rat colony to flourish. This means that not only does Melanie have a food source for the remainder of her stay, she has proof that her theory is correct. The Earth is healing, nature is returning, etc. etc.
Despite a few major hurdles — including her satellite tower crashing into the station — Melanie ultimately manages to get everything she needs to from her data. They have a starting point, and a whole host of new hope surrounding the vent and the rats. But something’s amiss on Snowpiercer. We know that Wilford made his move on the remaining Jackboots, and thanks to “Many Miles From Snowpiercer” we know that it’s likely because they failed him, but we don’t know just how far things have devolved on the train. What we do know is that Melanie races to meet it just to see her daughter desperately trying to reach her. So, whatever went down, it ain’t great for the revolution of the future of humanity.
There’s value to the stillness in this week’s episode. By separating ourselves from the war for a brief moment, we’re able to get a real look at things like Wilford’s cruelty and Melanie’s regret. Each week we think we’ve seen the bottom of the benefactor’s depravity, but the writers have done a remarkable job parsing it out in truly jaw-dropping ways. Meanwhile, it’s hard to dispute that Snowpiercer has a god, she is a woman, and her name is Melanie Cavill.
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