Monday, March 8, 2021

REVIEW: 'Snowpiercer' - The Train Decides Its Leadership as Ruth Reflects on Her Past Actions in 'Our Answer for Everything'

TNT's Snowpiercer - Episode 2.07 "Our Answer for Everything"

Layton and Till investigate the murders. Wilford leads Miss Audrey down a dark path.

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.

"Our Answer for Everything" was written by Tina de la Torre and directed by Rebecca Rodriguez

In the battle for leadership, the train chooses Wilford. It's a choice made largely because Wilford exists as some great and powerful myth. He represents the change that can restore order to this world. Layton has proven himself incapable of doing so after he made so many promises during the revolution. People fought alongside him to take the train away from Melanie after she deceived them for years. And now, he has offered nothing but chaos and confusion. The train is just as dysfunctional and violent as ever before. Layton has even contributed to that. He believes he has to kill in order to keep the things he cares about safe. He has to ensure that Audrey and Josie return from their extended stays aboard Big Alice. He refuses to allow anyone to jeopardize that. He has forced others to compromise their morals. He believes he can make up for it by presenting himself for a big sacrifice. But again, he is playing into the chaos and destruction that has always informed this world. These citizens only know how to react through violence. It's the instinct that has been beaten into them by Wilford. Most people don't even know that he will ask his most loyal followers to try to kill themselves to prove their devotion to him. It's incredibly depraved. Moreover, that display of loyalty is no longer good enough for Audrey. She has to prove herself again. And so, she too becomes the perpetrator of this abuse. She conditions Kevin into believing the story of being completely indebted to Wilford. His life only has value because Wilford has decided so. He has to remain grateful and loyal no matter what. The show may attempt to provide uncertainty in this moment regarding Audrey's motives. She knows how to care for people when they are in these fragile states. Here, she essentially uses his skills to inflict more harm just to assert herself into Wilford's life once more. She needs that benefit of the doubt in order to provide information back to Snowpiercer should the opportunity ever arrive. That seems to be her likely motivation. Or she could truly have fallen back into this pattern of being loyal to him because the pain of her apparent betrayal would likely get her killed. That's simply how Wilford operates. He trains people to only expect violence. That was the only outcome that could have occurred when a group of people tried to climb up from their station in life. The Tailies have to be beaten back down because they wanted more. They were abused constantly in this world. Their oppressors don't even remember all of the horrible things they have done. Ruth argues that she was rarely in the Tail. She was never the one making these life-or-death decisions. That isn't true though. Winnie's life was forever changed because Ruth needed to exact punishment on the Tail. The continuation of that violence became commonplace in her life. Ruth is starting to have doubts about her devotion to the mission. She never questioned herself before. Now, she has to provide safety to Winnie. Plus, she has to save Layton from needlessly suffering in order to appease the masses. That moment of character reflection works incredibly well. It takes a note from a past action to inform how she suddenly has a new perspective on the world while also making her atone for the mistake. She fights for Layton now. She needs to help him actually follow through on his promise of a better future. And yet, the train may already be lost. It's easier to back the story that has long been fed to them. Of course, Wilford has forced all of this into happening because people are more than willing to kill when he asks. The big reveal with Pastor Logan isn't that surprising given his philosophy on the world isn't that different from what Wilford has been saying all along. They both professed needing to suffer in order to get to peace later on. Till found comfort in that message for awhile. An objective viewer could see the manipulation and coercion though. Till wasn't a strong detective this season. That is the point. She has been flailing around lost essentially. She doesn't know how to use this position and responsibly shape the train during this turbulent time. She couldn't do that while also addressing the death that consumes everything. None of this needs to be positioned as inevitable. In fact, the show always delivering on that fact has grown quite repetitive and boring. Fascinating things still happen in this episode. Some of the big reveals though felt quite transparent and forced. Wilford is in control now. He won't stop for Melanie. That too will create a rift. It just makes an uncertain future when the show should be building to its finale climax at this point.