Many Miles From Snowpiercer
After the dramatic, bloody end to the previous episode, episode 6 of Snowpiercer Season 2 is a suitably subdued and lonely chapter. Here, we follow Melanie alone on the frozen wasteland making her way to the research station. She’s close too, within walking distance…which is just as well given her equipment shuts off as she reaches the door.
Melanie does her best to pry open the frozen steel door, using her tools to head inside and prepare to do her job. As she heads in deeper and sees the remnants of a life left behind, she makes a heated tent for herself and a hot drink too. With the area insulated, she writes in her diary about the dead bodies she’s found; a reminder of the harsh and inhospitable conditions she finds herself in.
Melanie manages to turn on the power, which includes the AC units that pulsates and rumbles to life. Unfortunately trouble brews outside.
Melanie checks out the supplies – or lack thereof – and realizes that this is going to be a very long month. Unfortunately Wilford crops up as an apparition as we begin counting down the days until Snowpiercer returns to collect Melanie. Well, the start of her adventures sees Melanie able to make the scheduled ping for the weather balloon – the first one we know the Snowpiercer received.
It’s here we cut back in time to see Melanie working as an engineer in the old world while sharing drinks with Wilford and discussing the future. There’s also some fragments of her family life too but mostly what we receive are cracks beginning to grow between Wilford and Melanie who disagree over the best way to save humanity.
Wilford wants all the power for himself while Melanie wants to distribute it out and save as many people as possible.
These flashbacks continue as we lead up to the last moments of life on Earth before Snowpiercer departs. Commander Grey speaks to Wilford on the bridge and tells him things could kick off soon. Wilford wants a shoot to kill order but the engineers thankfully stop him, claiming the engines need another 30 minutes before they can depart.
All hell breaks loose as Wilford defies these suggestions and opens fire. Melanie makes a difficult decision when he does and chooses to depart the station while the soldiers and Wilford fight outside. As Snowpiercer shuts her doors, Melanie breathes heavily over her life-changing decision.
Back in the present, Melanie catches a rat and uses it to find a geothermal vent behind the wall. She claims it’s a miracle as she eventually skewers that same rat to eat.
Just as a quick history lesson that no one asked for, cockroaches and rats are both incredibly resilient creatures and are able to survive for a long period of time – even surviving through the Ice Ages. In fact, earliest records indicate they may well have lived alongside dinosaurs!
Anyway, back in the present more trouble brews for Melanie as she loses her signal thanks to one of the masts falling outside. After scrambling to patch up cracks in the walls, Melanie tries to work out her next move. This, of course, is why the signal faded on Snowpiercer.
Melanie refuses to take this lying down though. She heads outside and does her best to try and lift the tower again, creating a makeshift winch using ropes. With her signal fading, she heads back inside as the signal finally turns back on again.
Melanie gives an impassioned plea to the train and asks for its return as Snowpiercer passes by Melanie’s weather station. Only, it races straight past her as Alice screams at the window of the train, asking her for help. Is Melanie’s time up?
The Episode Review
Snowpiercer bows out with an interesting episode that borrows heavily from The Martian. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially given how alien this new world is, and Melanie’s plight and struggle to secure the signal is indicative of her mental toughness.
The episode also revealed some pretty interesting facts about the past, namely the issues surrounding the train and how Melanie came to be in charge of Snowpiercer. It’s obvious this wasn’t an easy decision to make and she was forced into a difficult decision about her future.
Having said that though, this feels like a very make or break episode for people though, especially given the intense focus on Melanie as the sole character. It’s something that’s certainly different compared to the rest of the show and it’ll be interesting to see how audiences react to this.
Will Melanie be stranded out in the snow? Will Snowpiercer and Big Alice reverse back and pick her up? Given Big Alice has the power to do this it seems likely but you never know with this unpredictable series.
In the meantime, Snowpiercer delivers a suitably artistic episode, one that could well be the best – or the worst – 40 minutes of this series, depending on how you view this changed focus.