Ah… Snowpiercer. This series… how do I describe it? I have a lot of feelings about it, some of which I’ve expressed in a previous review, (which you can find here, if you’re interested), but to sum it up:
I know it has the potential to be so much better, and that disappoints me… yet despite its pacing flaws, logistical problems, and script issues, I can’t help but love it. It’s just such a cool concept (pun intended), the atmosphere is well-established, and its set designs are excellent.
This time, instead of just reviewing it as a whole, I’m gonna try something different. As the episodes comes out, I want to cover them each individually. It’s an idea I’ve thought about doing for a while, and what’s a better starting point than something I’m passionate about? I never thought I would get this attached to Snowpiercer of all things, but now that I am, let’s roll with it.
So, to quickly recap: in our efforts to fight global warming, mankind pushed too hard the other way, plunging the Earth into an uninhabitable ice age. Now, the last few survivors huddle aboard Snowpiercer, a self-sufficient 1,001 car train that generates power as long as it keeps moving. Long story short, a draconian government takes hold, and a socialist revolt overthrows them, only for the train to be re-taken by its designer, the revered tyrant Mr. Wilford, who survived aboard the prototype engine Big Alice.
In an explosive season 2 finale, the train is once again split into two parts. The original Eternal Engine, now controlled by Layton and the anti-Wilford faction, travels in search of proof that the Earth is warming up. Meanwhile, Wilford is left to clean up in Big Alice, now burdened by the weight of a thousand extra train cars.
S3E1 – The Tortoise and The Hare
Season 3 picks up pretty much the same way I figured it would: a time skip… a 6-month time skip, to be precise. After the chaos of the failed revolution, a new order has been established, one in which the class system has ceased to function. Also, both engines are experiencing heat problems: Big Alice wasn’t designed to heat that many cars, and power to the First Class section got cut off. Snowpiercer’s engine, meanwhile, is outputting way too much heat… as Alex so aptly put it, it’s like a jet engine powering a wagon.
On Big Alice’s side, we mostly just get exposition. Life sucks (no surprise there), and everyone has to work now. Wilford is working to hunt down the stolen engine, as well as the remaining rebels aboard the train. Ruth and Pike have taken the rebellion’s command in Layton’s absence. Kevin, as usual, is a terrible human being. We also learn that Wilford kept Javier alive, and may or may not be brainwashing him.
The Snowpiercer side, meanwhile, is much more exciting. During a science expedition in what was formerly North Korea, Ben falls through the roof of some sort of nuclear facility, so Layton and Josie go on a rescue mission. What they discover in there, however, may be their most important find yet: a survivor.
Okay, now that’s an interesting twist. A non-train survivor, from North Korea of all places? They don’t seem particularly friendly either, judging by how they attacked Layton on sight. What do they know? Does anyone on Layton’s side even speak Korean? I forget. Anyway, this mystery person probably isn’t that healthy, considering how long they’ve lived next to a red-hot nuclear device.
How will Wilford react to this new development once the trains inevitably reunite? When will the trains reunite? How will they reunite? Unlike the first time, they don’t have any proper docking mechanisms, as their exit was rather… forceful. Who will make the first move? I can’t wait to see where things go from here.
Of course, it sadly wouldn’t be Snowpiercer without a few logic problems. Layton has a vision of Africa (?) before the snowpocalypse, implying that’s where their ‘New Eden’ lies… but… did they not think to check out the equator? Surely that’s where the Earth would warm up first. I get that they want a more comprehensive climate model… but that close to Siberia? Really?
Also, there’s a mini-rebellion aboard the pirate Snowpiercer, as Audrey attempts to bring Alex back over to Wilford’s side. I guess it shows that she’s still struggling to escape his iron grip, but still, it didn’t really amount to anything.
Regardless, I liked this episode, even if a lot of it was just exposition.