Monday, January 24, 2022

REVIEW: 'Snowpiercer' - Layton's Crew Discovers New Danger That Lurks Beneath the Frozen World in 'The Tortoise and the Hare'

TNT's Snowpiercer - Episode 3.01 "The Tortoise and the Hare"

While Wilford emphasizes his rule aboard his icy train, Layton's pirate train continues its dangerous quest for warm spots, and comes across something entirely unexpected.

"The Tortoise and the Hare" was written by Graeme Manson & Aubrey Nealon and directed by Christoph Schrewe

The second season started with two trains coming as one. It finished with a split that produced two trains again. Now, the narrative has become a hunt. Layton and his crew need to find the continuing proof behind Melanie's theory that the planet is warming once again. Wilford looks for any clues as to where he can eliminate this threat to his tyrannical reign aboard Snowpiercer. The people in charge are willing to wait. They will strike when the moment is right. However, six months have gone by with this as the new status quo. The power dynamics are constantly under threat with the appearance of fluctuation. That is the standard tease from this drama though. The people in control always perceive that as slipping through their fingers. And yet, they have always been able to make the adjustments necessary to survive at the end of the day. Sure, the second season built to Melanie's grand sacrifice for her cause. That offers hope. But it can only save those who are capable of escaping Wilford's wrath. Ruth and the underground resistance can't stay in any singular place for too long. No sense of normalcy can be found on the train that has called all of civilization home for years now. It's all covered in despair now. That comes from the temperature going down. That's the biggest difference in stakes at the start of this new season. Snowpiercer runs cold while the pirate train is hot. That's symbolic of the ultimate goals from their respective leaders. Layton and his crew believe in a hospitable world once more. Wilford demands a civilization that he controls no matter how much fear he has to incite along the way. The drama continues to present him as incredibly influential and capable of miraculous results. Some incredible science was developed on Big Alice. And now, he uses that to heal Javi and tamper with Zarah's baby. That's terrifying. It shows him as controlling fate even beyond death. He has that within his grasp. Everyone should be in fear of him. The resistance hasn't been crushed though. Ruth continues to find a way to survive. She has her standards of what this world can be once again. But she has also adapted to being the symbol of connectivity and prosperity on this train. That's a resounding victory too. Her hideout is ransacked. She still persists. Those are the stakes aboard Snowpiercer. Terror may reign but people desperately cling onto the hope that Layton will return to save the day. They simply have to remain patient and stay alive. Of course, Layton has bought into that savior's complex. Josie criticizes him for that but the audience isn't expected to look at him as anything objectively beyond that. The show continually presents him as the man who can do no wrong. Even when the odds are against him, he can miraculously survive. He even makes a crucial discovery underneath the ice. Of course, that's mostly just a new twist for the season to disrupt what has largely been known about the world. A survivor is discovered. They've lived through this apocalypse in what remains of a nuclear power plant. All of that is beneath the surface of what the world has become. It's now opening up to discovery, which also supports Melanie's overall thesis. It can be horrifying as well. It's executed mostly as an action of convenience. Plus, it's a twist without enough power in the end to jolt the audience into feeling excited about the new season. It's chaos that threatens each power structure in this new world order. It's constantly threatened. Audrey and Martin rally against their captors while Layton, Ben and Josie are off train. Of course, their motives are murky at best. That quality extends to cooperative prisoner Sykes as well. Nothing really changes through this uprising. It just continues to point out how precarious all of this truly is without actually committing to something serious and drastic in the process. That was always the case. And so, this premiere offers a sense of comfort in providing the same stories and stakes that have always been present within the narrative. The situations are different. That helps indicate a shift in seasons. But the show can only exist with such concise and limited aspirations for so long before they grow tiring. That point has probably been reached. This story can only extend for so long before it has grown repetitive. It's a quest for power. Everyone is fighting for it. Little changes. Repeat over and over again.