If you missed Snowpiercer season one and you like post-apocolyptic end-of-the-world drama with lesbians, you should loop back and check the show out. And let me explain why…
Previously, on Snowpiercer
There is a movie version of this show, but both are based on the French graphic novel of the same name. The premise is simple: Global warming is killing the planet, so scientists get together and figure out how to make things cool down. Except… They accidentally trigger an Ice Age. As the world gets colder and colder, the rich Mr. Wilford makes a train he calls Snowpiercer, and sells space to it for all his rich friends. Of course a train needs guards and people to maintain it, so there are First and Second Class passengers, literally. There’s also Third Class, where the grunts live.
The day the train is set to leave Chicago, a group of a hundred or so refuges force their way onto the train, becoming the Taillies. Life is rough enough in 3rd Class, but for the Tail? It’s miserable. They try uprising, it fails, and as they plan for another revolution, the unthinkable happens.
And guess what? The only damn detective on the whole freakin’ train is in the Tail. So they haul him up to solve the crime, and it turns out to be waaaaay worse than anyone thought. Plus there’s that pesky revolution thing about to happen, and just as everything comes to a head … a second train is spotted.
One of the secondary plots on the show is about Bess Till, a guard who always wanted to be a police detective and is, thus, very interested in the murder case. Her interest evolves in time to realizing she’s on the side of the Tailies, which does not actually help her relationship with Second Class fish maintainer (and diver), Jinju. Their relationship arc concludes in season one, but at the end, Bess is standing tall, proud of herself and the work she’s done.
If only the train hadn’t been boarded by that other train…
And now we’re on to season two!
The train has been boarded by ‘Mr Wilford’s train, and Melanie is outside trying to decouple. Which means she has no idea that her daughter (believed dead) is actually working with this other train. With the trains stopped, she has less than 15 minutes to decouple (if the train is idle for longer, it will never start up again) while her daughter is checking to make sure Snowpiercer is worth her time (it is, otherwise this would be a very short season).
Meanwhile, outside, Melanie has discovered it’s snowing. Now this is remarkable because it’s been too cold to snow for 7 years. She manages to get back on the train but it’s on the Wilford side (powered by Old Alice, the original train), and surprise surprise Mr. Wilford is alive! He’s also played by Sean Bean, so I immediately wondered when he was going to die.
Layton’s fragile democracy is in serious doubt and while Bess is trying to help, it’s a total cluster fuck. Everything they worked for in season one is is jeopardy, and no one knows where this next revolution will take anyone.
Season two gets a solid score with the fantastic upheavals and new characters. It would be even better if Bess had more screen time, but her new plot is perfect.
Season one was a slow ramp up to the real story, but season two jumps right in with the drama and wildness of a proto-democracy vs a totalitarian rule, and the world is nothing more than 200 train-cars in a frozen waste. Melanie’s daughter is alive, as is Mr. Wilford, and gosh is everything confusing and dark. And I want to be clear, Rowan Blanchard (whom you may know from Girl Meets World) is brilliant here.
The show remains a terrible/beautiful allegory to 2020, reflecting on our worst patterns of behaviour that, sadly, we’ve seen to be true too many times this year. No longer is it the Tail vs the rest of the train, it’s now Snowpiercer vs Mr. Wilford.
Or is it?
Check out the return of Snowpiercer on January 25th, 2020, on TNT.