Sunday, May 24, 2020

REVIEW: 'Snowpiercer' - Avalanches Create a Bumpy Terrain for the Train and Its Passengers to Navigate in 'Prepare to Brace'

TNT's Snowpiercer - Episode 1.02 "Prepare to Brace"

Layton uses his new position as train detective to investigate the murder while gathering intel for the revolution on the side. Meanwhile, Melanie faces a resource crisis, with potentially drastic consequences for the entire train.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of TNT's Snowpiercer.

"Prepare to Brace" was written by Donald Joh and directed by Sam Miller

Melanie and Layton need each other at the moment. That reliance though may only bring about the destruction of what they have expected life to be on the Snowpiercer. Melanie needs Layton to solve the murder in Third Class. She can't risk that being the spark that sends this train into chaos. And yet, she also has to accept the newfound access this privilege gives to Layton. He needs that in order to more successfully mount the revolution for the Tail. He understands that relationships and connections have to be formed outside those few train cars in the back. He needs Melanie to allow him to continue exploring the train. He does care about solving the murder. It's not his top priority though. It's not really the core thrust of the series either. It's still prominent for some reason though. It's a very strange and peculiar balance. This murder is used as the introduction to the various worlds on this train. Because it is so sprawling, the show can have a lot of fun showcasing the vivid atmosphere. At times, it is absolutely horrifying especially when the lights go out in the Tail. Other times, it is playful and colorful. Those extremes are apparent and are built on this rigid class structure. Melanie views it as the order that will allow life to be maintained even though the rest of the planet has fallen into the cold. She can't allow any chaos to get out of control. She has to carefully manage any risk. She has to be concerned about many things though. She puts on this face of being nothing more than the head of hospitality. In actuality, she is the mysterious Mr. Wilfred who understands the logical hurdles the train must face as it navigates across the globe. Avalanches are happening. When one train car is breeched, it can threaten the entire ecosystem. It's not easy to fix that either. The outside world is used as a punishment for those who step out of line. It's a tool to chop limbs off of those who disobey. That is eerie and terrifying. But it's also the always present threat that could kill everyone onboard. It has to be carefully managed. Melanie has made peace with the idea that some of the passengers will have to suffer more than others. The privileged bought their way onboard. As such, they should maintain that luxurious lifestyle for as long as possible. It means she doesn't really concern herself with the trivial matters on First Class. Those people believe they have power. But they are mostly just keeping busy because so much is just given to them. They can be callous to the world because they don't actually believe their lives are in jeopardy. Further back in the train though, people are fighting to stay alive and continually prove their worth. Even the fate of being frozen in the drawers is dire because it's uncertain what the complications will be coming out of that stasis. It may be an effective punishment. Or it could inflict so much pain to those who don't actually deserve it. Layton sees a way for his friends to be laying in wait ready to strike when the moment is right. He is actively trying to smuggle information to the resistance in the Tail. However, that still requires him to go big with his actions. He bears the brunt of that punishment. He is subjected to assault once more. The guards are more than willing to beat him down simply because of how he got onto the train. He would love to embrace the romance of what used to be. That's no longer his reality though. His relationship with Zarah is used to better flesh out the characters. It's mostly just pointless backstory at this point. The show really isn't playing into the apocalyptic nature of its premise. It's fundamentally a story about people desperately trying to maintain a sense of normalcy even when the human race is hanging on by a thread. A revolution threatens to unravel that once and for all. That may not be a bad thing. It may be embracing this world for what it truly is instead of trying to ignore it. Melanie and Layton view Snowpiercer from two wildly different perspectives. He sees an oppressive regime while she sees the salvation of the human race. They clash with those ideals. That is the most exciting aspect of the show. They trust each other while knowing that could easily be their downfall. It's just built on a flimsy murder case where Layton is only engaged by it because of his apparent devotion to still being a detective despite that no longer being a profession in the apocalypse.