Snowpiercer returns on TNT this week with "The Universe is Indifferent". Our weekly monologue is kicked off by the nefarious LJ Folger (Annalise Basso), who notes that to be human is to be self-involved.
It's always been obvious that the young socialite thinks herself above all the rest. She finds herself superior to the lower-class cars because of her status, and above her fellow first-class members because she deigns to slum it with the "dirtier" people down train.
Snowpiercer's very own sociopath will end up playing an important role in this episode, but not until the very last moments.
When Andre (Daveed Diggs) and Josie (Katie McGuinness) begrudgingly part, it's to general their respective areas of the rebellion. Andre is delivered to Miss Audrey (Lena Hall) by laundry cart, and Josie heads to ensure young Miles (Jaylin Fletcher) has his next instructions now that Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) has fast-tracked his apprenticeship in engineering. While Andre has the more difficult task, Josie certainly has the more dangerous one. Recruiting an army during systemic oppression can be a tall order when folks higher on the social ladder are afraid of losing their spot, but that pales in comparison to having to deliver instructions to a young boy while your oppressor stands five feet away.
Josie doesn't find herself captured in the hospital room with Miles, though. Her apprehension is made possible by much more nefarious means. Zara, currently pregnant, sells out the tail a second time in order to protect her unborn child. While her actions are a little bit more understandable this time, this whole betrayal thing is becoming a bit of a habit with her. And this time it could result in someone's death.
"The Universe is Indifferent" spends just the right amount of time focusing on the complexities of two key characters. Once again, we see the nefarious Melanie Cavill displaying an impressive amount of depth. One moment she's torturing a stalwart Josie, the next she's throwing up in her quarters over what she's done. Josie is ever-empathetic through the experience, despite being Melanie's victim. She tries to reach her, just as she tries to reach a horrified Bess Till (Mickey Sumner).
Melanie is too far gone, lost in a world that she believes is all Wilford's doing. She insists that had she been the one to create Snowpiercer and the social systems that are used to keep her on track, she would have created a world less cruel. But she didn't, and so she is beholden to the system around her. Though Melanie is unreachable, Bess is not.
In the brief time that they are able to speak, Josie tells Bess that she's one of them now. She reminds the cop that she's not too far gone, or too engrained in Snowpiercer's system to change. Josie makes Bess feel like she belongs in a way that she's never felt welcome while working on the train. Life on Snowpiercer may have made her hard, but Bess has never agreed with the cruelty of her compatriots. While she did remain complicit to it, sometimes all it takes is someone showing you that there's another way. Josie and Andre did just that.
I've talked about Snowpiercer being an intricate web from the beginning. Appropriately, that remains truer than ever seven episodes into their ten-episode arc. Complicating things further (yes, further than a class war), is first class's vendetta to oust Melanie. Unfortunately for the head of Hospitality, her trusted second Ruth Wardell (Alison Wright) might have remained loyal had she not been deeply cruel to her when Ruth tried to raise the alarm over the coup.
While there are endless aspects of the show to remain engaged with, it's this brewing situation between Melanie and Ruth that I find the most interesting at this exact second. Snowpiercer has spent a lot of time humanizing Melanie. It's illustrated to us time and time again that while she puts on a cold front, she remembers her humanity. Her cruelty is inexcusable, but it's also reactionary. All of this makes me wonder if the writers have spent their time showing us this deeply complex character to build up a more interesting villain, or if we will eventually see the home-grown girl turned overlord turn her allegiance to the tail and the lower-class when her back's against a wall.
We don't yet know what Melanie will do with her feet to the fire (y'know, more than they already are), but we are made completely aware of how Andre will react to a similar situation. A devastating casualty among his ranks will result in the leader of the Tailies to do the unthinkable with his one leg up in this complicated game: he tells the young and wretched LJ Folger that Melanie and Wilford are one and the same.
This is the first move we've seen Andre make in haste (while not hopped up on drugs). He's a smart man, but he's introduced a chaos card into an intricate and calculated game. In the moment the decision is made, he's only thinking of how he can hurt Melanie the most. We'll have to wait and see how much the move ends up hurting him instead.
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