Sunday, June 14, 2020

REVIEW: 'Snowpiercer' - Melanie Carefully Controls the Trial to Maintain Her Hold on Power in 'Justice Never Boarded'

TNT's Snowpiercer - Episode 1.05 "Justice Never Boarded"

Tensions between Third Class and First Class are boiling as Melanie stages the trial of the Snowpiercer killer. Third Class threatens a work stoppage, demanding representation on the jury, and Melanie makes a fateful decision about which side to favor.

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.

"Justice Never Boarded" was written by Chinaka Hodge and directed by Frederick E.O. Toye

Melanie's position of power is threatened by Layton and L.J. They both possess knowledge that could topple everything she has meticulously built. She created the systems on the train in order for the human race to survive the apocalypse. She understands the potential benefits of making such harsh and divisive actions. But the train is on the precipice of revolution. The class system may collapse during L.J.'s trial. Melanie has to maintain some sense of order. She does so out of self-preservation mostly. The First Class passengers are already talking about overthrowing her to ensure that Second and Third Class remain in their place. Meanwhile, Audrey sends a message that highlights just how important Third Class is to the sustainability of this entire ecosystem. As such, they deserve equal representation amongst the tribunal. Melanie has to juggle all of this delicately. With Layton, she could sentence him to the drawers without much disturbance or thought. It was an action she embraced fully knowing that it would carry no severe consequences for her. She let him out of the Tail. He made it all the way up to First Class. He saw some incredible things. He learned the secrets of Snowpiercer. And now, Melanie can't let him return to the Tail. That information falling into the hands of the most abused in this world would only ignite tensions further. She also knows the train operates on nothing but fear regarding the Tail. The majority of the passengers don't know what it's like back there. They only have the rumors that the people there have resorted to cannibalism. L.J. even sees the power of that fearful image. It distorts reality so that those citizens can then buck the perceptions and get away with whatever they want when they break free. The Tail already has that opportunity though. Josie has the access to break free and save Layton. She gets to him in time to ensure his torture in the drawers is short. Sure, she's horrified by the sight of even more of her friends confined to this prison. She will have to save them as well. The drawers aren't the peaceful hope that Melanie has long offered. They aren't a way to escape the apocalypse. They can't provide slumber until the world is ready to be inhabited fully again. Melanie hopes for that. The reality is far from achieving that goal though. She knows that. She has faith that the doctor can improve the system. But it's a foundation built on secrets and lies. That's the way Melanie operates. She has crafted numerous laws and regulations to maintain order on the train. That allows Audrey to find a way to get a representative from Third Class on the tribunal. However, that event is mostly just for show. Melanie understands that she has to put on that performance. She needs to do that in order to prove to the train at large that something is being done about the killer in their midst. She can't just unilaterally sentence L.J. to the drawers because she knows people in First Class have the means and ambitions to usurp her power. She can't let go of her command over the train. She has to remain in charge. That also means L.J. gets to go free by the end of this episode. That is a startling moment. It's not because the members of the tribunal see her as innocent. She is far from that. She is incredibly manipulative and her parents coddle her just because they want to protect their bloodline at all costs. She has just enough information to remain a threat. She could still do a lot of damage to Melanie after all of this is over. She doesn't have to protect her. She believes Melanie and Mr. Wilford are two different individuals. Melanie is all the power and control this train has though. People question her decisions. The engineers navigating the train are torn about what she asks them to do. The temptation is very real for them because she is very alluring and commanding. She can get so many people to do what she wants. It's a delicate balance to keep everything in check. She remains in control of the narrative. She decides L.J.'s fate. And yet, Layton has been freed from the drawers. Josie returns to the Tail. She has to rely on Zarah to keep Layton safe. That melodrama is incredibly forced between them. As such, it's not all that engaging to watch. But Layton being able to make his impact known is important to the narrative. He has to be more than the detective who solved this murder. That is more than what the drama is all about. And so, Layton has to evolve beyond that too because so much is at stake and only one person is in charge to determine the future of the human race.