Monday, January 31, 2022

REVIEW: 'Snowpiercer' - Layton Discovers That His Vision May Lead Humanity to Salvation in 'The Last to Go'

TNT's Snowpiercer - Episode 3.02 "The Last to Go"

Layton goes on the hunt, as Wilford works to boost morale. The resistance discovers a threat that could undermine everything they've worked for.

"The Last to Go" was written by Marisha Mukerjee and directed by Christoph Schrewe

Two trains existed for years. Wilford carefully rode the tracks waiting for the right moment to strike without Melanie noticing. That patience allowed him to take over Snowpiercer quickly. Two trains exist once more. However, Layton can't wait years to mount his attack. A personal priority for him is Zarah's pregnancy. Six months have already passed. She will deliver soon. For the good of humanity though, Layton and his crew need to return with the evidence Melanie left behind. They have her data. They know the likely places to rebuild the world. And yet, the world doesn't appear to be thawing fast enough. Not much has changed in the months since the trains split. Instead, Layton is having prophetic visions. He witnesses a tree full of life once more. In the brief research he can do, it all points to the horn of Africa being the location they have long searched for. That was the destination they were heading as well. It's the one place from Melanie's list they haven't examined for future prospects yet. Layton feels armed with the certainty that it will all work just as Melanie envisioned. He may not have the evidence to prove it to the last remnants of humanity though. Wilford has done his best to stomp out all resistance to his leadership. Humanity has to stay aboard his ship and under his rule. He can make their lives miserable. He designed the train to inflict that harm when people step out of line. Sure, it's ironic that Ruth is now in a position where her arm is at risk of being frozen off to send fear through the resistance. That's a significant role reversal from the start of the series. She was the one once inflicting that punishment. Her loyalties haven't shifted. She has always done what she felt was best for the train. She can't abide by Wilford's leadership because he demands unconditional love and loyalty. That's not how this society should work. Humanity hasn't figured out how to survive after nearly ending the entire world. They are still a complicated and selfish species. That hasn't changed now that Asha has rejoined society. Layton breaks that news to her. And yet, she still feels saved. She gave up hope of ever experiencing life outside of the nuclear reactor again. She suffers from radiation poisoning and dehydration. She's still alive. That's miraculous. Layton couldn't believe it. It was a tangible thing he could return with during his expedition though. The same can't be said for his vision. Till is skeptical of his reasoning. She is concerned that he too may be going mad because of how desperate he is to be proven right. So much of this journey has been driven by ego. Wilford has a monstrous one that dictates humiliation and annihilation. Melanie started from a cruel place as well. She offered hope at the end of her time at the helm though. Layton serves as that symbol for something more beyond what Snowpiercer has become. He has served in that role every season now. He has always been in a different world offering salvation to those trapped behind in squalor. Now, he simply exists on a new train altogether. He returns thanks to Pike and company destroying the electromagnetic pulse weapon Wilford had developed. The trains come crashing together much soon than anyone probably assumed. Wilford is full of glee despite being taken by surprise. He didn't even know Ruth was the one leading the resistance against him. He still has powerful allies though. LJ remains in awe of him while Oz can be beaten into submission. However, their wedding mostly serves as a convenient distraction to set other plot points into motion instead of serving as some kind of sweeping celebration of love between two characters the audience enjoys and wants to be together. They each have the potential to be wildcards in this ongoing conflict between the trains. Most of that potential has gone unrealized though. That may not change any time soon. And if it does, it may not pack much of a punch considering how nonessential they have been to the overall narrative for years now. That does bring this episode down because those characters just aren't as engaging as those elsewhere in this world. That's a problem with a crowded ensemble and episodes that focus on the wrong characters. Ruth's evolution across the years has worked tremendously. She operates with respect for Pike and his ability to get the job done. She will sacrifice herself for a greater cause. Her arm remains intact too. That development of character works and is too infrequent elsewhere in the narrative where several faces are just asked to be one-dimensional or wildly inconsistent.