Monday, March 1, 2021

REVIEW: 'Snowpiercer' - Melanie Endures the Frozen Landscape to Prove Her Climate Theory in 'Many Miles From Snowpiercer'

TNT's Snowpiercer - Episode 2.06 "Many Miles From Snowpiercer"

Melanie fights for survival in treacherous conditions, vying to do what others before her could not.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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.

"Many Miles From Snowpiercer" was written by Donald Joh and directed by Leslie Hope

Melanie is always trying to save the world. She happens to be right a lot of the time as well. And yet, the tragedies of her life compound. She is still haunted by the decision to steal Snowpiercer without Alex aboard. That felt like the only decision she could make in that moment. It had to be done to ensure Wilford's maniacal reign couldn't take hold over the last remnant of humanity. Of course, that didn't remove him from their lives forever. He found a new way to survive. He found new people to force his will onto. He never cared about what Melanie needed in order to survive. He praised her once for designing the train. He never could have accomplished this without her. His dreams were only realized because of her brilliance. He is always over her shoulder taunting her though. He is the devious persona who always lurks ready to strike at a moment's notice. He's not particularly subtle about that either. He wants a world he can control. He doesn't care if the world ever becomes habitable again. Melanie is still looking for that salvation. She has done many heinous things aboard the train. She hasn't particularly dealt with any of the consequences either. She still positions herself as heroic. She is the only person with the skills to survive a month away from the train at a research station hoping to collect all the necessary climate data to prove her hypothesis. It may still all be for naught. The train she left is very different than the one she may return to someday. It's a similar perspective to what Wilford had upon his return as well. And yet, he found a place where his influence still mattered. Melanie kept the illusion of him alive. He is reaping the rewards of that decision. He has followers still willing to kill for him. It's easy for her to take over control. This episode isn't fundamentally about that though. Layton and his allies are completely over their heads in dealing with this new adversary. However, Melanie's struggle to survive is much more compelling. It's more personal. It delves into the world before the froze. The dynamics are still largely the same. The audience knows how these interactions fueled the decisions that were made. It's simply painful for Melanie to experience them all over again. She probably starts hallucinating a little too early into her time off the train. And yet, the show creates the dire circumstances fairly early as well. She embarked on this mission knowing that it could lead to her death at any moment. The leadership of Snowpiercer has used her progress as the rallying cry for hope. It may still not be enough. Meanwhile, Melanie is the one having to endure all the hardships posed by the weather. It's draining and exhausting. She still finds moments that are absolutely magical. The existence of rats lifts her up. It means she won't have to resort to cannibalism in order to survive. She won't follow the same plight that brought shame upon the Tail. She makes different choices. The figures that whisper in her ear respect her ingenuity. She finds a way to survive. She has the determination to succeed. Every rough patch she hits doesn't immediately spell out doom. She is a survivor. She continues to be trusted with power. She has to rely on others in order to find salvation and redemption though. She carries so much of the burden for humanity's survival. She needs all of this to work. She is desperate for that to occur. She also needs Snowpiercer to leave behind signs of hope. When that too is crushed, she is left devastated in the ice with Alex pleading for her behind the glass. This remains a cruel and unforgiving world. One where Melanie can't control everything. Her life contracts in order for her to continue being of service. She leaves her mark and hopefully inspires more. She is given the tools to survive. But the train has to come back for her in order to offer her a path once more of a life beyond this research. She wants to be with Alex. She also feels a duty to the future of the world. She doesn't apologize for the choices she made along the way. She blames herself for the harm she has done just as much as others blame her. That perspective is necessary to make any significant progress. It's also very much contained to Wilford and Alex. When it comes to Layton, she is still coming to a new understanding of what their connection has been and what it can be. But again, that requires trust that the train will rally behind her and overcome Wilford's influence. That is not guaranteed and Alex may not be able to save her mother despite a willingness to do so. Life makes those devastating choices a grim reality sometimes.