Snowpiercer – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

The Butcher

Snowpiercer returns this week for another simple dose of investigative drama and although we do see more of the train, including the nightcar, the episode itself ultimately serves to distinguish more of the class issues playing out at the heart of this one. Layton starts to set his plan into motion too while the true nature surrounding the severed limbs on the murder victim spells bad news for the passengers ahead.

Thanks to the rebellion last time, episode 2 of Snowpiercer begins with several Tailies punished for their actions. Suzanne is one such victim and she has her arm frozen and smashed off as punishment. At the same time, the actual rebels are put to sleep.

After talking to the engineers about the precarious situation outside involving avalanches, Melanie suggests the train carry on moving at the same speed regardless of consequence – something that later comes back to haunt her. The rich passengers start to grow restless despite Melanie reassuring them that everything is okay, demanding the Tailies be sorted out.

Meanwhile, Brakeman and Layton head out together to continue their investigation. This brings them to the Nightcar, a glorified nightclub that sees a singer give a heartfelt song to a room full of people. After giving Layton some whiskey for his troubles, he’s taken away in private by Miss Audrey where he meets Zarah and we learn more about Layton’s past thanks to some fuzzy flashbacks.

After this, Zarah reveals that Sean may have been a snitch working undercover given he had perks other passengers did not. Contemplating whether he may have been working with someone uptrain, Payton and Brakeman head off to get the autopsy results. Given the clean cuts for the limbs, Layton suggests there may be cannibals onboard and the butchers would have tools to accommodate for that. Unfortunately they need a notary to get in there so for now, that theory remains just that – a theory.

An avalanche causes chaos in the train as the windows crack in the cattle car and freeze everything inside instantly. Layton and Brakeman manage to seize thermal suits and head in to the freezer where his theory is proven thanks to a hidden vent at the back; someone is chopping people’s limbs off. Brakeman finally starts to come around to Layton’s methods and shows some genuine concern for him outside.

Only, Layton is ready and continues his crusade in the rebellion, writing down the train layout on scraps of fabric and breaking out to give this intel to the Tailies. Despite his distraction, it’s not enough for one of the men to grab the fabric and he’s beaten down for his troubles.

Meanwhile, down in the tail some of the tailies are given new lives up-train. As several kids head up, Layton is questioned by Melanie who reminds him that the investigation is the only reason he’s still alive now, which is where the episode ends.

Admittedly episode 2 is a little slow, as you may expect given this one still has another season to come, although the final act does well to add some urgency into the fold. The one questionable element here though comes from the song rendition in the Nightcar which I’m not 100% sure this episode actually needed. It feels like filler rather than adding anything to the characters we’ve already met but the room itself is a nice touch, adding to the world-building on the train so there are some positives.

The ending certainly leaves the door wide open for the future episodes and the inclusion of the avalanche and the dangerous tracks is a nice way to tie both the tail and front ends of the train together into one narrative. It’ll be interesting to see what direction the show takes from here, and whether we’ll get some nice twists and turns along the way, but in the meantime Snowpiercer delivers another pretty good episode even if there’s nothing all that groundbreaking or outstanding on offer in this series so far.


Published: 25 May 2020 at 3:51pm on 

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