Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 10: Into the White Recap and Analysis

Snowpiercer S2Ep10 Layton, Miss Audrey & Conversation Axe

“Okey dokey, let’s go make coup.”– Boki

In episode 10, it becomes clear that for Wilford, the one currency of value in the Freeze is pain. That’s what allows him to hold onto his train and his order. Without the threat of pain, people might do whatever they want. Such as pirate one of the train’s engines.

In episode 9, Wilford held out restored order, fresh food, the carnival and the glamorous dinner party as examples of rewards that cooperative passengers could expect under his rule. But positive rewards aren’t his natural style and he couldn’t maintain the good times he’d implicitly promised with those rewards. They all sank into negative experiences: Wilford’s order comes with heavily armed Jackboots distributed throughout the train; his abundant fresh food comes with a census and a questionnaire that will determine who lives and dies; the carnival is a just a delivery system for his propaganda, specifically that he won’t be returning for Melanie and no one will be leaving the train, ever; and he used the dinner party as a trial and sentencing for Melanie and Layton’s co-conspirators.

The message should be clear to anyone who’s paying attention- Willy’s World is a dangerous place, with monsters lurking around every corner. No one is safe and no one can be trusted. But the 3rd class masses aren’t ready to pay attention to the realities of life under Wilford yet. Many of Wilford’s loyal 1st class supporters are now ironically dead by his own hand. With one pull of the lever, Wilford dispensed with the witnesses who could confirm that he ordered the Breachmen murdered. The Jackboots won’t talk and no one will believe Till- she didn’t even see the murderers’ faces.

Which brings us to episode 10, which mirrors the point we were at last season at the beginning of the finale. Just when Layton and the rebels had won the war and started to figure out how to run the train, the engine picked up mysterious signals that turned out to be Big Alice, which captured Snowpiercer. By the end of the episode, Alex had boarded her and Melanie was on the outside, discovering that it was snowing.

In this episode, Wilford has won complete control of the train. But just as Layton continued to work with Melanie after he took over, Wilford finds that his own victory is hollow without the approval that Layton enjoyed. So he keeps a few of Layton’s key people close- Bess, as an advisor; Zarah, as a Madonna-like symbol of hope; LJ, for her youthful admiration; and Javi as the engineer.

Wilford is a psychopath- don’t try to make sense of his skewed perception of reality. In his mind, he’s plugged the same or similar people into what he sees as stereotypical roles that they’ve previously filled, helping to prop Layton up.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 9: The Show Must Go On Recap

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In episode 9, it’s all fun and games until Wilford gets everything he’s ever wanted. Or as close to it as he can get on Snowpiercer, anyway. After outsmarting Layton and taking over the train in episode 8, it’s time for Wilford to remake Snowpiercer’s social order in his own image. He dealt with the top names on his hit list last episode, without unnecessary fuss. Now he takes his time, toying with targets culled from the list of Layton and Melanie’s closest friends and family.

Except Ben. Melanie’s closest confidante spends most of the episode in Snowpiercer’s engine. Out of sight, but not out of mind.

Wilford can’t bring himself to dispense with Layton, who he’s sentenced to work in Big Alice’s compost, the worst job on the trains. Wilford is troubled by the loyalty and even love many continue to show Layton. He needs to know the secret of his rival’s success. He’ll never truly be the winner if someone else on Snowpiercer has something he doesn’t.

Episode 9 is full of surprises, most planned by Wilford. Let the games begin and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 8: The Eternal Engineer Recap

Wilford lends Josie a hand.

Snowpiercer S2Ep8 Layton & Wilford

In episode 8, The Eternal Engineer, Wilford makes good on his promise to burn down the world if that’s what it takes to regain control of Snowpiercer. Snowpiercer experiences catastrophic failures which her leaders soon realize were caused by Wilford. Unfortunately, only Wilford can repair the damage. They have no choice but to invite the devil himself onto the train and into the engine room.

By the end of the episode, it was clear to me that there’s only one engineer who knows Snowpiercer backwards and forwards and her name doesn’t start with a “W”. However, that doesn’t stop the (relatively) bloodless coup the train has been heading toward for 9 episodes, ever since Javi first picked up unusual signals on the radio at the end of season 1.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 7: Our Answer for Everything Recap

Snowpiercer S2Ep7 Alex, Wilford, Audrey- Big Alice's 1st Family

Episode 7 returns to Snowpiercer, the train, after a field trip to Breslauer Research Station in the Rocky Mountains to visit Melanie in episode 6. Snowpiercer is in the Himalaya Mountains in Asia this week, in the process of turning around so that it can retrieve Melanie from her mission. The trip through Earth’s highest mountain peaks is surprisingly smooth, considering the tough time the train has had in the Rockies in both seasons. No bracing required.

Instead, the turbulence is all inside the train, where most of the hour is filled with aftershocks from the murder of every Breachman except Boki in episode 5. Till continues her investigation and finally finds a couple of suspects. 3rd class boils over and takes their dissatisfaction with Layton’s government out on any Tailies they can find. Pike is still in the midst of his breakdown over Terence’s death. Ruth, Roche and Miss Audrey realize they’ll soon need to choose a side in the Wilford-Layton war that’s brewing.

The population of Snowpiercer is spiraling and Layton still doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening. Unlike Melanie and Wilford, he’s not attempting to become the leader of the entire train or finding ways to restore law and order. The new version of freedom is sink or swim anarchy, which allows the people to oppress each other rather than the government doing it for them. The weight of accumulated grief, trauma and now the unfairness of his new government is bringing the population to a breaking point. Wilford is taking advantage of the chaos, but they might have reached this low without him. Layton seems just as traumatized as the others by his losses and the unrelenting pace of events.

This episode deals with suicide once again.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 6: Many Miles from Snowpiercer Recap

Snowpiercer S2Ep6 Wilford Pours Champagne for Melanie

In episode 6, we finally catch up with Melanie, who’s been on her own since she left for the Breslauer Research Station in episode 3. We follow the end of her harrowing journey to the station and watch her bring the research center back to life. Then she struggles to survive on her own in the harsh environment at 11,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains for a month. Her inner monologues are supplemented by flashbacks and present day conversations with the Wilford, Layton and Alex in her head.

There are more references to suicide in this episode. Please be cautious with your mental health.

Recap

Since Melanie is the only real person here, she gets the voice over:

“This cold isn’t something we can tame. We did this to our climate. Now only the Earth herself can restart her warm heart. I believe we can find her pulse again. And my biggest fear isn’t dying out here. It’s that the cold-hearted among us will crush that hope before I can prove it.”

Melanie’s volt sled breaks down within sight of the research station, so she takes as much of her cargo as she can drag with her and walks the rest of the way. By the time she reaches the station, a snowstorm is raging around her. She finds the dead, frozen body of one of the researchers outside the station’s front door. There’s a bullet hole in his head.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 5: Keep Hope Alive Recap

Snowpiercer S2Ep5 Wilford & Audrey

In episode 5, we visit Big Alice with Miss Audrey for a date with Wilford and to check on Josie’s progress. The turf wars continue on Snowpiercer, creating a situation where Layton feels he has to act decisively. By the end of the episode, loyalties are in question once again and Snowpiercer’s power structure is in jeopardy.

Recap

Josie gets the opening voice over, while the Headwoods work on her tissue damage. The goop in that first vat (above) looks a bit slushy to me. Are they increasing her cold tolerance without her even realizing it?

Josie: “It’s easy to fight when you’ve never been hurt before. Until it happens, you’re invincible. But, with every fight there’s a risk, and sometimes you’re sidelined. The road to recovery is long- endless, when it’s not clear if you can recover. Some days, I lose sight of who I am, but I can’t forget what my mission is. I have to keep the hope alive that I can still make a difference. If not, then what was coming back from the dead for? I count the days and pray to be whole again, back with my people on Snowpiercer, 1,034 cars long.”

As Josie speaks, the Headwoods work on her tissue. They appear to be culturing skin grafts for her. The atmosphere on Big Alice is such that even the most charitable acts seem sinister. I’m terrified to find out what kind of monster they’re turning Josie into.

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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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