Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 4: A Single Trade Recap

Snowpiercer S2Ep4 Layton & Wilford

In season 2 episode 4, Snowpiercer throws a party and invites the gang from Big Alice over to wait with them while they send up another weather balloon to collect data. Once the balloon has done its work, Melanie is meant to collect the data from the research station, proving she’s still alive and has reached her destination. As the party approaches, emotions run high and tempers flare. Miss Audrey attempts to dance away her nerves, but the dancing seems to affect her more like the cursed child from The Red Shoes, as she spirals back into Wilford’s toxic orbit.

Josie was wrong last week, when she compared Layton to politicians and revolutionaries. He’s still treating the train like it’s the beat he worked as cop and the other passengers as if they’re either other cops, criminals or criminal informants. He’s thinking like an emotionally distant head detective or chief of police, putting his problem solving efforts into foreign relations and law order. In this episode, Audrey’s status moves from fellow cop to criminal informant, while Zarah figures out how to get herself off Layton’s informant list and back into the coworker category.

Layton needs to figure out that he’s the mayor of a troubled small town, soon, and begin to work on his domestic policy, regardless of Wilford’s shenanigans. With Melanie and Jinju MIA, Till, Zarah and Ruth might be the only people who fully understand the ways he’s dropping the ball, since the Train Detective and Hospitality serve the whole train and see the full extent of the friction between the factions each day.

This is another episode that deals graphically with suicide. Please take care of yourselves and consider carefully what you watch during these dark times.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 3: A Great Odyssey Recap

Snowpiercer S2Ep3 Mel & Alex

Season 2 episode 3 is another tense episode of Snowpiercer, as the characters prepare for Melanie’s solo trip to the research station. Wilford does everything he can to jeopardize her mission, short of outright sabotage, and seems like he might be holding that Icy Bob card in reserve for later. Till continues to investigate Lights’ case while also keeping an eye on the overall mood of the train. When Josie and Layton talk, she shows her usual pragmatism.

During the episode, Snowpiercer leaves the worldwide loop of track she’s followed for the last 7 years. She gives up comfort and familiarity in order to pursue an even larger goal than season 1’s war for democracy- the recolonization of the Earth. But Wilford hopes the chance for a new homeland will give him an opportunity to get rid of his perceived enemies so he can take back complete control of both trains. His dream is to spend the apocalypse toying with the trains like a cat with a mouse until everyone is dead.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 2: Smolder to Life Recap

Snowpiercer S2Ep2 Layton & Melanie

In season 2 episode 2 of Snowpiercer, we discover that when Melanie explained why she left Wilford on the side of the tracks 7 years ago, she underplayed how terrible life under his rule would be. In fact, I have a feeling we’ve only begun to learn how much worse life on Big Alice has been than life on Snowpiercer. Wilford appears to be a combination of a bloodthirsty cult leader like Charles Manson and a ruthless tech billionaire who only values competition and his own desires.

Smolder to Life brings us a hostage exchange, a promotion, a summit meeting, a death, a resurrection and a maiming. Ruth finally comes face to face with Wilford and LJ learns the value of work as a commodity.

Pay attention the characters’ hands in this episode. There is a strong motif focusing on hands as the symbols of the person and the body. Individual passengers, cars and mechanical parts make up the train as a whole and losing even one can make the crucial difference to the survival of the train as a whole. In the same way, hands are a crucial extension of each human mind and body. Losing all or part of a hand makes a huge difference in an individual’s life and potentially in the life of the entire train. Taking away the thumb of the wrong passenger could someday mean the difference between the life and death of everyone on the train, when they aren’t available to provide their expertise.

This is also a bloody episode. Following the trail of blood gives insights into character motivations and blind spots. Early on, Mel speaks about fire while there’s also blood in the room. The two are often symbolically linked, since both are red and blood contains the spark of life.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 1: The Time of Two Engines Recap

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Snowpiercer is back for season 2, with a bang, a few crashes, some frostbite and a bottle of Mr Wilford’s favorite Scotch. With the addition of supply train Big Alice to the Tail at the end of season 1, Snowpiercer is now 1034 cars long. The class wars continue, with a new twist- Mr Wilford has brought a class of elite tech geniuses with him who use scientific innovations to raise their possibilities above even the 1st class of Snowpiercer.

The crisis forces Snowpiercer to continue under martial law, but Andre still depends on and delegates to his council of advisors and department heads, so a democratic process is developing on its own, even without formal meetings. Thanks to Melanie’s tolerance of Snowpiercer’s trainwide black market and the Tailies’ development of independent governance, the train has always been more democratic than it appeared at first glance, especially economically, which means it already has a foundation to build from.

Snowpiercer’s population puts those skills to use now as they approach the need to become a unified population while facing a common enemy, in addition to coping with post war resource shortages and infrastructure damage. But will their numbers and sheer determination be enough to outwit Mr Wilford’s ambition and improved technology?

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 10: 994 Cars Long

Snowpiercer S1Ep10 Layton Till & Ruth

In episode 10, we reach the end of Snowpiercer’s season 1 revolution. The train hasn’t completed a full revolution across the Earth’s surface this season, but maybe we’ll make it the rest of the way in S2. S1 began with Snowpiercer somewhere between Alaska and Vancouver, BC, CA, then followed the train down through South America. It ends as the train approaches its own Mile Zero in Chicago. The train slows down and marks this moment on every revolution, because it’s where the passengers lives were saved but at the same time many, many other lives were lost.

It’s also where Melanie pirated the train from Mr Wilford more than 7 years ago. This is their first time passing through Chicago when everyone on the train knows it. As First and Second are mired in post revolution chaos, Third and the Tail enjoy the freedom to slow down and explore the entire train, rather than just struggle to survive. But a few Wilford diehards haven’t given up hope that their demi-god is alive and out there somewhere.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 9: The Train Demanded Blood Recap

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In Snowpiercer’s penultimate episode of the season, the train’s class war ends and power is transferred to a new regime, but not before more intrigue and tragedy occur, turning the tables around and then around again. Layton and the engineers pull off a daring feat to win the day. It’s a tightly constructed episode that’s one of the best of the season.

Recap

Melanie gets the opening voiceover:

“I thought I could let him go. Over time, with miles traveled, I thought I could strip Wilford away. Shed his rules one by one, and finally, his mask, until he was just a logo on the wall… I thought I could create a kinder, gentler world, but the train demanded otherwise. The train demanded blood… I fed her. And now they will. Until we reach our final destination, everyone the same in pain and doubt. Holding our losses close, on Snowpiercer, 1,001 cars long.”

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Hanna Season 2 Episode 2: The Trial Recap

Amazon Studios, Prime Video, Christopher Raphael

Episode 2 finds Marissa working at an office in Paris while keeping Hanna stowed away in an apartment and making plans to move her permanently to Canada. Shockingly, Hanna makes other plans.

Carmichael brings Clara to The Meadows. She reconnects with Sandy and Jules and figures out exactly who pointed Carmichael toward her mother. With her name changed to Clemency, 249/Clara observes her new environment and takes action, then observes some more. Terri and Leo both step in to help her adjust to her new life.

Jules and Sandy sink deeper into their new personas while also soaking up their political and tactical training. Sandy learns that she enjoys acting as a big sister to the other girls, while Jules delves into literature and philosophy that asks questions about society and identity.

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Hanna Season 2 Episode 1: Safe Recap

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Hanna, the series based on the 2011 film of the same name, returns for its second 8 episode season on Prime Video. Season 2 picks up not long after the end of season 1 and follows Hanna (Esme Creed-Miles) and her new sister, Clara (Yasmin Monet Prince), as they try to survive on their own in the Romanian forest without Hanna’s adopted father, Erik (Joel Kinnaman).

S1 Big Bad Marissa (Mireille Enos) is still involved with Utrax and is soon brought back into Hanna’s orbit. She’s also asked to consult in the new school that the rest of the Utrax trainees have been taken to, where they undergo socialization training so they can blend in when deployed as assassins. The trainees are given new identities and carefully managed by John Carmichael (Dermot Mulroney), the director of The Meadows, and his team of operatives.

While S2 still has plenty of action and movement across Europe, it’s focus is on the characters’ struggles with their identities and finding (or holding onto) their places in the world. S1 introduced us to Hanna when she was new to the outside world, as she struggled to make sense of herself  and the urban forest environment she was plunged into, while wars were fought around her and over her.

In S2, Hanna understands her own abilities and history, at least according to Erik’s perspective. Now she’s discovering for her herself how she might fit into the world outside the forest. Marissa goes through a similar struggle as she continues to dig deeper into the truth about Utrax. She faces more decisions about what she’s willing to live with and what she needs to fight for. 

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Dark: What Did It All Mean? Thoughts on Season 3 and the Ending

Dark S3Ep8 Jonas & Martha Disintegrate from Bridge

Because of the odd structure of season 3 of Dark, there were several ideas that I wanted to write about that didn’t fit into any of the recaps. I’m going to discuss some of the ongoing metaphors and and plot points here that I couldn’t easily explain in my regular posts without spoiling future episodes or making the final recap overlong.

Recaps for all episodes and more analysis can be found at the Dark tag, HERE.

Reader beware- spoilers for all 3 seasons and 26 episodes of Dark ahead!

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Lovecraft Country Season 1: Review

 

Now that I’ve finished recapping the German time travel nightmare that is Dark, let’s move on to the quintessentially American nightmare that is HBO’s Lovecraft Country. The series is adapted from Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel of the same name, which takes place in 1950’s Jim Crow America, emphasizing the competing horrors of racism, trauma and monsters of pure fantasy.

The “Lovecraft Country” of the title is a pun, referring both to scifi-fantasy author HP Lovecraft’s non-human creations, which are referenced sporadically, and to his racist, xenophobic and misogynist beliefs, which permeated both his writing and mainstream America at the time. Lovecraft Country is an intricate dance competition between metaphorical, cinematic and human monsters. It’s not always clear who wins, but the people of color definitely fight for their lives, on every level.

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