Sunday, July 5, 2020

REVIEW: 'Snowpiercer' - War Finally Arrives with Layton Advancing His Troops Against First Class in 'These Are His Revolutions'

TNT's Snowpiercer - Episode 1.08 "These Are His Revolutions"

Revolution has finally come, and Layton leads the lower classes forward in armed rebellion. Melanie's house of cards collapses and she's in danger of becoming the first casualty in the battle for control of Snowpiercer.

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.

"These Are His Revolutions" was directed by Everardo Gout with story by Hiram Martinez & Tina de la Torre and teleplay by Tina de la Torre

At the start of the series, Layton argued that the Tail would need allies in order to mount a successful rebellion aboard the Snowpiercer. When they forged ahead through brute force, they only managed to make it a full train car. They were severely and immediately punished for their actions too. The narrative quickly gave Layton the opportunity to make those alliances. And now, it's time for his version of revolution. He has been plotting this for awhile. This episode doesn't remotely feel like how the show started. That's fortunate because the murder mystery was never the most engaging plot construct. It's meaningful to see the social order of the train called into question. No one has ever doubted that Mr. Wilford was aboard and leading humanity through this crisis. The people in engineering were the only people who would interact with him though. It was up to Melanie to handle every other crisis. She was the public face of the operation. But now, she admits that she saw the ideal of what this journey could be. She claims that Wilford didn't have the strength and conviction to lead humanity through this crisis. She designed the train. She has made sure that it has kept running for seven years. She won't relinquish her control easily. But her removal from power may just be a distraction. It's all a performance to move the security forces to the front of the train while the Tail advances forward with no opposition. Sure, it's tense for a moment when Layton and Till have to convince Roche and the Brakemen to step aside. That is a fraught moment because Oz and the other Brakemen have never treated the Tailies well. They have abused them on countless occasions. They had power and they took out their rage on those who didn't in this society. Roche is presented with a choice. He has to choose which side to fight for. However, he essentially takes himself out of the fight entirely. He steps aside so that the Tail and Third Class can continue to advance. He doesn't arm them or help with the strategy. He just worries about having to go home to his wife with the bad news about Wilford. That's the extent of the law in that portion of the train. It's not long before war is fought on the Night Car. That is the battleground. The substation is as well. In fact, the assault going on beneath the main train is the more captivating one. It features the ingenuity of these characters. Guns are present on the train. The privileged are armed. The Tailies fighting for revolution are not. But the spirit of this fight is enough to propel them forward with such inventive solutions to conduct these battles. They may be limited in their resources. They may not survive a dragged out fight. That's what Commander Grey is hoping for by the end of this hour. And that highlights the biggest problem. The episode closes on the reveal that Pike has been taken out of the drawers and is advising First Class on how to stomp out this rebellion. That makes virtually no sense. When was there any time for that action to occur? Before the fighting started, Henry was monitored and started bringing allied forces back to life. He may know that Pike isn't there. He has to because he is the only one who can bring people out of this stasis without major side effects. But what would have been the thought process behind that action? It's important to Grey because he needs insight on the forces he is fighting against. People have allied with the Tail because they share a common goal. It's an exciting thought to see someone break from the Tail because they prioritize their own freedom. It just makes no sense logistically. That also extends out of the audience having no feelings one way or another about the people who die in this battle. Layton knows there will be casualties. Everyone has to prepare themselves for that. And yet, the closing message is that Layton can't handle the brutal realities of war. He is too fundamentally good. That hasn't exactly been his perception so far. The show may be asking the audience to buy into this deception solely to keep things exciting and intense for the final stretch. But it's blatantly manipulative despite the action and the claustrophobia being so well done throughout the majority of the story this week. Not everyone can survive. Important characters have died. That has to be more than just symbolic though. No one even mentions the loss of Josie here. It seems to have had no impact whatsoever. That's just weird and lame plotting that may further highlight just how constrained the show is when it comes to character details and investment.