The Time of Two Engines
Smolder to Life
A Great Odyssey
A Single Trade
Keep Hope Alive
Episode 6 (Title hidden to avoid spoilers)
Our Answer For Everything
The Eternal Engineer
Snowpiercer season 2 is a wild ride. From start to finish, the show moves past its big-screen influence to deliver a much more action-driven slice of madness. There’s a much larger conflict bubbling over the course of its second season and the show is all the stronger for it.
While the first season felt like it was stuck in the shadow of its big-screen cousin, season 2 moves past that and knows exactly who its target audience is. Across 8 pulsating episodes, Snowpiercer unashamedly throws everything, including the kitchen sink, in the hopes that something sticks.
From super-human behemoths that can withstand the cold to a solo episode far away from anything you’d expect from this series, Snowpiercer doubles down on its drama to deliver a season of unashamed excitement and tension.
Once more the story returns to our 994 carriage train revolving around and around “a rolling steel artery on a dead marble,” as Joseph Wilford so eloquently puts it in episode 1. Yes, the infamous Mr Wilford; the ghostly voice of reason onboard the Snowpiercer for so long, makes his shocking return. There’s no doubt that he is very much the focal point of this second season.
In fact, the narrative predominantly revolves around him and his influence, picking up with a pulsating premiere that sees the 40 carriage long Big Alice attach itself to the back of Snowpiercer and assume control of the metal, snaked train before it.
With a surprising face from Melanie’s past by his side, Wilford slowly begins to weasel his way back into the minds and hearts of the people onboard Snowpiercer. Can Layton and Melanie keep the train in check before another rebellion rises up?
This is essentially the main crux of the season while more investigative busywork sees Bess Till, the Brakeman-turned-freedom fighter return with a more purposeful sub-plot to keep her busy. Tailie Lights has had her fingers severed by an unknown attacker and it’s up to her to figure out who’s responsible. In truth, there’s not actually a lot of substance to this and you’ll probably guess the outcome several episodes before Till does.
Thankfully, other character-driven subplots are much more intriguing. Ruth’s loyalty is tested in the face of Wilford returning while Melanie makes a shocking discovery about the world that changes everything we knew about Snowpiercer and the direction of the show. No spoilers here but suffice to say, Melanie has a big decision to make and this culminates in a well written solo episode that feels like it was heavily influenced by The Martian.
Season 2 is a heck of a lot more creative with its ideas and blends that in with an action packed cold-war between the two trains pitting the brains of Big Alice against the brawn of Snowpiercer and those in control. Because of this struggle, the earlier themes about class are essentially lost this time around. Given Bong Joon-ho’s film was really an allegory for inequality and social class, it’s perhaps a little disappointing to instead see this adaptation lose that initial charm in favour of something more befitting of Hollywood blockbusters.
However, this is made up for somewhat by the inclusion of a couple of nice juxtapositions and ironic lines of dialogue sprinkled in that show Layton has really become the thing he wanted to destroy for so long. All of this culminates in a suitably fitting ending for his character that leaves the door wide open for the already green-lit third season.
Snowpiercer is a real thrill ride from start to finish and while some of its episodes are a little slow and lethargic (namely episodes 3 and 4), the rest of the show does a pretty good job with its run-time. Make no mistake about it though, this is a show that works so much better as a binge-watch but as the show moves into its second half, the pace does quicken considerably which helps.
Overall, Snowpiercer is a wild, wacky ride that sometimes feels like it’s close to careering off track. The carriages never topple though, instead delivering an enjoyable 8 episodes with Sean Bean at his deliciously sinister best. This show has no right to be as good as it is but yet, you’ll find yourself desperate for one more revolution when the final credits roll.
Snowpiercer releases weekly starting on 25th January for TNT and the 26th on Netflix (outside the US)