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'Snowpiercer' 2.08 Review: The Eternal Engineer

Andre Layton is stuck with an impossible choice on this week's 'Snowpiercer.'

Bennett Knox (Iddo Goldberg) looks pensive in the engine of Snowpiercer.
(Image: © TNT)

Our Verdict

A huge penultimate episode that shifts favor in a less than ideal direction for the revolution.

For

  • 🚄Andre Layton's hubris finally comes at a cost.
  • 🚄The feud between Bennett Knox and Wilford remains great.
  • 🚄Protect Breachman Boscovic at all costs.
  • 🚄Things are dire and there are no hints at how they're going to improve. Intrigue!

Against

  • 🚄There's a two week gap before the finale thanks to basketball, sorry fans!

This post contains spoilers for Snowpiercer.
Check out our last review here

What do you do when you have to choose between winning the war or saving the world? Layton and Wilford’s chess match comes to a head in tonight's Snowpiercer, but their different motivations will set them apart more than their respective strategies. Andre is still driven by his heart. And, as the last several episodes have made abundantly clear, there’s nothing Joseph Wilford knows how to manipulate better. As things between the two of them reach the inevitable climax, the rest of the train is just trying to stay alive. There’s a civil war brewing on Snowpiercer, and their leader’s about to lose control.

Despite the fact that Bess Till (Mickey Sumner) has her suspect — the Wilford-worshipping Pastor Logan (Bryan Terrell Clark) — in custody, the people of Snowpiercer refuse to hear that it was Wilford who facilitated the attack on the Breachmen. This includes Boscovic (Aleks Paunovic), the last of his fallen brothers and sisters. His loyalties might be questionable, but it’s hard to begrudge him for his fury. Everyone he loves is dead, and Till was all but throwing hands with them before they were murdered. In his mind, this is the Tail, and his grief is outweighing his logic.

Like Ruth Wardell (Alison Wright) before him, Bosc is forced to decide if he is loyal to Snowpiercer or loyal to Wilford. When the train's “gills” are forced to remain open, Bosc has to decide whether he’s willing to save the train or let it drown in its own snow overflow. He chooses the former — likely because the train dying would mean his own death as well — but it comes at the cost of his faith. Bosc knows that the only way the gills could have been forced open was through sabotage, and there’s only one man who could be behind it. Despite everything else that goes down, it’s nice to see Layton (Daveed Diggs) gain an ally. Bosc is a powerhouse, and Andre’s about to need all the help he can get.

While Bosc is able to remove the giant nail wedging the gills open, their interruption was enough to put Snowpiercer’s proverbial motherboard on the fritz. Not to be dramatic, but this means the entire train will die in about two hours if they don’t fix the issue. Thing is, there’s no “fixing” the part. It must be replaced, and there’s only one man on Earth who has the replacement.

In the moment of Andre’s decision, it’s made clear that his hubris matches that of Wilford (Sean Bean). His motives are better, and his intentions are true, but this guy genuinely believes he can sneak Joseph Wilford onto the train, have him fix it, and the word won’t get out that he’s the savior (of a problem he created). I’m not saying the guy had a choice, Andre was completely screwed in this moment, but his unfettered belief that he would win was pretty impressive.

What unfolds next is interesting for a myriad of reasons, but none so much as the fact that it proves that Snowpiercer cannot survive without Andre and Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly) working in tandem. Wilford snidely notes that “there’s only one conductor of the orchestra” after he hops on the live speaker and deftly directs the people of Snowpiercer on how to save their collective lives. But that’s just not true. There are two, and the world cannot function without them. Melanie is the brains. She knows the train better than anyone — Wilford included — and she knows what choices have to be made in order to ensure humanity’s survival. Andre’s the heart. He’s the one that ensures their future is one worth fighting for.

Of course, that future is going on hold for the time being. It took some time, but we now know why Snowpiercer sped past Melanie when she reached their rendezvous point. With their loss and subsequent surrender, Layton is to report to Big Alice along with Rosche (Mike O’Malley). While both are ensured that they’ll be treated well, Rosche is immediately placed in the drawers with his family. Layton’s fate is currently unknown.

I’ve got to take a moment to heap some praise on Snowpiercer’s dad — Sam Rosche. He wasn’t the first to join the revolution, but once he did he was stalwart in his convictions. He has no interest in going back to the way things once were on when they were taking arms, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that they don’t. Layton will be used as a token to show that Wilford can be merciful. Rosche and his family? They’re expendable, and they’ll rot in those drawers if someone doesn’t do something.

Things look pretty bad for the revolution right now. But, as we head into the season’s two-part finale, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love that things are so dire that we genuinely don’t know who’s going to be the catalyst to start setting things right. Will young Alex (Rowan Blanchard) and her Last Australian, Emilia (Georgina Haig) kick off a rebellion of their own? Was Miss Audrey’s (Lena Hall) betrayal a ruse to lull Wilford into a sense of comfort so she could take him down from the inside? We don’t know! That’s thrilling!

Less thrilling is the fact that you’re going to have to wait an extra week for the two-hour finale to air. The NCAA tournament is taking over next Monday, so the Season 2 finale won’t hit until March 29th.