Monday, February 21, 2022

REVIEW: 'Snowpiercer' - A Former Ally Targets Layton's Leadership While Zarah Goes Into Labor in 'A New Life'

TNT's Snowpiercer - Episode 3.05 "A New Life"

A series of terrorist attacks threaten to derail Layton and Zarah's big day.

"A New Life" was written by Adam Starks and directed by Erica Watson

Pike has essentially formed a one man resistance to Layton's leadership. It's a character pivot that has escalated quickly this season. Layton shut Pike down when he simply asked a question about where Asha came from. And now, Pike wants to kill Layton. That very much seemed like the goal during the second bombing. Pike was close enough to pull the trigger. He had the materials to create an explosive device. It certainly sent Layton flying and even compromised the security of the entire train. No lasting damage occurred though. It didn't prevent Layton from being there at his daughter's birth. Nor did it require any quick thinking from the engineers. That allows Pike to get away and reckon with what he has done. Even that may simply be him trying to cover his tracks. He appears to know this train better than those who were gone for six months. Things changed in that time for him. He can no longer embrace what was previously promised even though Layton is trying to make that come to fruition. Pike has to look out for himself. He still sees the best in others. He has even been a positive influence on Ruth. She now has the clarity to know that the mission has evolved. She doesn't have to be so beholden to the rules as laid out in the books in the hospitality suite. Of course, the train is meant to be celebrating right now. Zarah has gone into labor. The entire train is meant to be invested in the delivery. The show has at times struggled with depicting the new cultural rituals established on the train that bring comfort and unity to its citizens. Part of it was just a way for Wilford to control everyone. That's still present throughout the whole endeavor. He is crippled at the moment. He can't cause trouble for anyone. His acolytes could theoretically be responsible for the bombings. That makes the most logical sense for Layton and Till to investigate. However, their efforts mostly just reveal new train cars that offer depths of humanity they hadn't previously explored. That's all that it ultimately is. It's a way to provide Pike with the necessary resources without having to go to the obvious source at the Night Car. Again, it's mostly the show pronouncing its attentions before they happen so that the audience feels a sense of resolution when they ultimately occur. Audrey is told to hit rock bottom. She does and bounces back immediately with a performance to entertain the train and not Wilford personally. That's her demonstration of individuality and change. The audience has to accept that as good enough.

It's still necessary for the show to put in the work to earn these various moments. Audrey's character journey has been a mess. Pike's has gotten to the point where the audience can question how it all makes sense. Even the characters operating with clear convictions can come across blandly. Layton has a clear and simple story. That makes him consistent. It doesn't always ensure that he is the most entertaining story aboard the train. It simply allows him to lash out in the delivery room when things seem more dire than they should. Everyone views Josie as a miracle. She was brought back from death. The Doctors Headwood accomplished that. One of them is gone now. The science continues. Josie has complications as her body continues to adjust to the new reality around her. That's information that should scare Layton and Zarah considering the experiments done on their baby. Zarah agreed to the procedures because she wanted to ensure the best possible life for her daughter. It creates complications during the delivery. It comes with the very tangible threat that Zarah could die. That outcome would have easily allowed Layton and Josie to get together. The show still treats them as this great, romantic pairing. One that everyone else should aspire to have. It's mostly a fantasy. In fact, none of the relationships really burn with much passion. It's simply people choosing who to spend time with at the end of the world. It can be worthwhile exploring something new. Pike and Ruth have been exciting in that regard. And now, the potential is given to Ben and Josie. That's fascinating. Javi and Sykes are brought together for a story about coping with the trauma inflicted on them by Wilford. Sykes still doesn't exist as a multi-dimensional character. She is drastically different this season than when she was always loyally by Wilford's side. That change has been notable. Her words may help Javi. It's all just suppose to be trusted at face value. The show expects that of the audience while adding the layer of the train leadership lying to the citizens about the hopefulness of their destination. That creates a dichotomy that is hard to trust at times. That ensures that the ambitions don't necessarily signal greatness because everything is trusted to be spelled out as bluntly as possible in the end no matter how the show gets there.