Dark Season 3 Episode 2: The Survivors

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After the Harry Potter costume party of getting to know Martha/Eva’s world in S3EP1, in episode 2 it’s finally time to visit Adam’s post-apocalypse world, which is a form of the world without Winden that Hannah and Ulrich have dreamed of for decades. Ironically, Hannah and Ulrich both flaked out on the apocalypse and have retired separately in the Winden of previous decades. Katharina followed Ulrich.

Peter and Elizabeth serve as our point of view characters for the aftermath of the shockwave as they search for Charlotte and Franziska. Charlotte has jumped forward 33 years and is now in the barren future with Adult Elizabeth. The version of Young Alt Martha who transported Jonas to her world, then left him behind, is with Stranger, Bartosz, Franziska and Magnus in 1888.

We spend much of this episode in 1987, where things have changed in the last 3 months.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 8: These Are His Revolutions Recap

Snowpiercer S1Ep8 LJ & Javi

Revolution comes to Snowpiercer in episode 8, along with the truth about Mr Wilford’s fate. Melanie is taken into custody by the jackboots and everyone finally has to choose their side. Miss Audrey finds a fabulous outfit for the occasion and LJ fires the first shot before things take their bloody turn.

Recap

Ruth has the voiceover this week. At first it appears we’re viewing a commercial for her posh Bed & Breakfast from the Old World, but before long the ways she’s been changed by life on the train sneak in. This is the Ruth whose Hospitality protocols include freezing off the arms of children in retaliation for their attempts to make a better life for themselves, not the Ruth who takes in strangers from the storm and gives them personal attention even though they don’t have a reservation.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 7: The Universe Is Indifferent Recap

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Episode 7, aptly titled The Universe Is Indifferent, brings us not just the fridging of Josie, but the actual freezing, at the hands of her fellow white woman, Melanie Cavill. Though she dies so that others can live and emote, Josie goes out calling for justice and a sense of morality based on what’s right and wrong, rather than moral relativism based on convenience.

This might have the most self-aware fridging in TV history, given the way Snowpiercer narrowly avoided the Bury Your Gays trope. Josie could have saved herself by giving up the name of Bess Till, a lesbian character, probably dooming Bess to death instead, but she refused to betray another woman the way Zarah betrayed her. (Zarah is pregnant and her unborn child was threatened, so that’s a different issue.)

Josie hasn’t been one of my favorite characters, but she went out fighting for the greater good even beyond the needs of the train, proving she was the conscience of the Tail all along. I respect that. Before she died, she passed the role of Train Conscience on to Bess. Let’s hope Bess can rise to the occasion. And stay alive.

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Dark Season 3 Episode 1: Deja-vu Recap

 

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“You and I are perfect for each other. Never believe anything else.” – Jonas Kahnwald, June 20, 2019, in an episodic pattern of behavior with no beginning or end.

“We’re never free in what we do because we aren’t free in what we desire.” – Noah, opening voice over, S2,Ep8

Buckle up, kids, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. As we enter the post apocalypse prime world and the Alt Martha world and try to figure out whatever Claudia’s up to this time around, let’s keep the endgame in mind.

What is the endgame? Lol, I’m not going to give away spoilers!

Or am I? Even I don’t know anymore.

“What we know is a drop. What we don’t know is an ocean.” – Bernd Doppler, November 5, 1986, S1Ep3

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 6: Trouble Comes Sideways Recap

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In episode 6, Melanie saves the train from derailment and a workers’ strike, Andre tries and fails to assassinate Melanie, and the train has a party. It’s another busy day in the life of Mr Wilford and the Train Detective, odd couple of the apocalypse.

However, the train is bleeding and none of Melanie’s fixes address the underlying causes.

Recap

Snowpiercer S1E6 Oz Finishes Shaving

Oz gets the voiceover this week. It’s the morning after Till knocked him out so she could help Josie save Layton. He seems not only recovered, but feeling good after his ordeal in the Drawers and wherever he disappeared to while she was gone.

Oz is in his tiny, industrial gray cabin, shaving with a straight razor.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 8: The Horse Cabbage Heart Recap

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In episode 8 of Reprisal, the characters deal with the aftermath of Katherine’s attack on the Bang-A-Rang and other recent events. Joel tries to go backsies on Konstantinov’s death, but Jukes points out that if there’s anything you can’t take back, it’s a relatively unprovoked murder. Avron discovers that the Monster Ring had an inside man among the Brawlers, but Bru doesn’t want to believe him, since no one likes him anyway. Ethan, the inside man, knows Avron’s right and alerts Katherine.

This is the episode of hitting bottom. Between Burt and Katherine’s messes, most of the characters feel angry, betrayed, helpless and confused, even Katherine herself. They’ve all made mistakes and are letting their emotions get in the way of good judgement, compounding the mistakes. This episode is spent gathering information while also ignoring the obvious. Or mentally escaping and then forming the beginnings of their next terrible plans.

We also learn more about Katherine and Witt’s pasts. Katherine is the queen of personal reinvention that allows one to stay the same deep down and Witt is the king of lying to oneself in order to ignore painful truths forever. Both skill sets allow them to protect their true selves when Burt and the Brawlers try to break them.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 5: Justice Never Boarded Recap

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In episode 5 of Snowpiercer, LJ goes to trial for her part in the murders of Sean and Nikki, Josie goes uptrain to search for Andre and Miss Audrey takes action to ensure that Melanie will get Nikki the justice she deserves. The Folgers pressure Melanie to go easy on LJ. Bess moves in with Jinju and gets a 2nd class chip implant to go with her bourgeois 2nd class privileges.

It’s a tough episode for Melanie, but she manages to find some stress relief.

Recap

We begin with Andre, who is sealed up tight in a drawer. He normally looks so robust, despite 7 years in the Tail, but now he has a grayish cast to his skin. The version of kronole used as a suppression drug is so poisonous that it gives the entire body a death pall, while turning the insides jet black, which can be seen externally by viewing the gums.

As Nikki claimed, it’s not like sleep. He’s having a combination of flashbacks and dreams. He’s back in the Tail, reliving memories of subduing the cannibal cult. That story was real, and largely happened the way he told it, if these dreams reflect reality. But he killed the cult leaders alone, at the insistence of the rest of the Tail, using a shiv they’d created, instead of the story about group solidarity overcoming an evil villain that Andre told in the Drawers.

The Tail leaders did all share in eating the heart, including Josie, Pike, Last Australian, Z-Wreck, Strong Boy, Big John and Lights.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 4: Without Their Maker Recap

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In Snowpiercer episode 4, Sean’s murder is solved, Josie visits 3rd Class, Andre visits 1st Class and Melanie pulls out her bottle of poisoned sake. Andre and the writers go with the “Lolita made me do it” murder defense to explain why a trained soldier killed several people.

This is a disappointing development for Snowpiercer. No matter what layers and nuances the show might add to the scenario later, a young woman has been publicly blamed for provoking the crimes of her abuser. This is an abuse tactic in and of itself.

Recap

Jinju provides tonight’s opening monologue. As she speaks, she prepares a meal of sushi for herself and Bess, starting with gutting the fish and ending with the two lovers toasting each other over beautifully presented food.

Meanwhile, Erik finishes slaughtering Nikki and lovingly examines his handiwork. Presentation also matters to him. He takes care of his appearance, and Sean’s corpse was certainly presented in a very specific way. Nikki’s is as well.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 3: Access Is Power Recap

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Episode 2 of Snowpiercer takes us deeper into the logistics, relationships and class system of the train, plus we attend a big prize fight in the Night Car. It’s very aspirational. And educational. After Melanie reestablishes her dominance over him (That’s hot- Metamaiden, editor), Andre conducts a series of interviews, first with Roche as his partner, then switching back to Till. Not all of the interviewees realize they’re being interviewed. By the end of the episode, he may have solved the case.

This show is worth watching for the acting performances alone, both those of the core leads and the ensemble. Daveed Diggs (Andre), Jennifer Connelly (Melanie), Mike O’Malley (Roche), Lena Hall (Miss Audrey), Happy Anderson (Dr Klimpt), Susan Park (Jinju), Mickey Sumner (Till), Sheila Vand (Zarah), Sam Otto (Oz), Katie McGuinness (Josie), Kerry O’Malley (Lilah), Timothy V Murphy (Grey), Madeleine Arthur (Nikki), Iddo Goldberg (Ben) and more- it’s a huge cast- all bring the characters, the writing and the Snowpiercer world to life in a way that science fiction lives and dies by.

They all fully inhabit not just their characters, but the circumstances of Snowpiercer and their individual places in it. In a dystopian reality, no matter how realistic or unrealistic the sets and special effects are (and these are also amazing, don’t get me wrong!), it’s ultimately up to the cast to sell the emotional reality of the premise. This cast is all in.

I praised Daveed Diggs and Lena Hall in particular in my episode 2 recap. I was remiss to leave Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly out of the explicit praise. She has the difficult job of finding the humanity in an ice queen dictator. The show’s fantastic writing helps her out, but in the end, Melanie’s character lives and dies based on Connelly’s performance.

It’s the nuances in her delivery that help us realize that Melanie actually cares about the entire population of the train, including the Tail, and desperately hopes to keep them all alive. These are HER people, just as the Tailies are Andre’s people, and she’s fighting at least as fiercely as he is to keep them alive. But her job is complicated by living a double life and the complexities of keeping the train running.

Each episode, we watch Connelly pull Melanie back together at the beginning of the day, then we watch Melanie hold the train together for 12 hours through the sheer force of her iron will, strained compassion and large intellect, as the energy that takes slowly breaks Melanie down inside. Because of Connelly’s performance, we can see that process, but few on the train notice it. In someone else’s hands, she might be a tropish dictator. Thanks to Connelly, I want to weep for her struggle by the end of each episode.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2: Prepare to Brace Recap

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In episode 2 of Snowpiercer, the Tail pays for episode 1’s rebellion with several men in drawers and the removal of a significant arm, as promised. The train travels through the tough terrain of the Cascadian Mountains in Western North America. Melanie refuses the engineers’ advice to slow down, leading to an avalanche and a broken window, both disasters in the -100° C weather. Meanwhile, Andre makes significant progress on the murder case and children are chosen for the apprenticeship program.

Recap

Josie gets tonight’s opening voiceover, spoken as Ruth takes an arm from one of the Tailies in punishment for episode 1’s rebellion:

“You’d think with all we’d lost that defeat would break us, but the only reason we’re here is we refuse to die in the first place. We’re as persistent as the cold, forever trapped beneath the ice. We keep our eyes on the floor, dig our nails in, and prepare to brace… They can take our limbs, our children, our leaders. They keep trying to take our dignity. Any survivor will tell you they check their dignity at Death’s Door. The more they steal from us, the more human we become. Humanity will fill our bellies one day, when we eat the rich of Snowpiercer, 1,001 cars long.”

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