One of the final images in the closing minutes of Season 1 finds the now quite familiar Wilford Industry’s “W” logo rotating 180 degrees. While perhaps a bit heavy-handed in the symbolism department, the arrival of Big Alice, a prototype engine and supply train, appears to herald a Season 2 that’s going to flip the lives of everyone on Snowpiercer upside down.
And fortunately, because Snowpiercer wrapped production on Season 2 just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down productions, we may just get Season 2 sooner than we think.
First, my apologies to LJ Folger, whom I incorrectly assumed had deliberately lured her parents to their doom in the previous episode. Rather, she’s surprisingly handling their deaths poorly for a sociopathic serial murderer, especially as Pike, Terrance, and lots of random tailies have occupied her former residence and tossed her out on her privileged ass. Her relationship with her security guard Eric is starting to make more sense, particularly as she immediately latches onto Osweiller as a possible new companion.
Melanie, on the other hand, is handling her new lowered status far better, trading in her signature blue Hospitality uniform for an engineer’s jumpsuit and an occasional casual civilian look. But while she’s taken to the new chain of command well, she finally has the time to face her demons in the form of seven years of repressed self-loathing and guilt over abandoning her daughter plus all the people she’s sacrificed along the way, including 147 passengers on board the seven cars she just cut loose. With the help of Audrey’s Night Car experience, she’s able to see her daughter again and find a cathartic outlet for her anger and loss.
But there will be no reconciliation between Bess and Jinju, who break-up. Bess feels betrayed by the lies Jinju kept in service to Melanie. Disappointingly, we gain no greater insight into how Jinju came to be Melanie’s loyal lieutenant and one of the privileged few to know the truth about Wilford. Maybe next season [crosses fingers].
Miles too is finally told he will not be reuniting with his train mom, Josie. He still doesn’t know Melanie killed her though, so I still suspect that secret is a timebomb waiting to eventually go off. It’s hard to keep a secret on a train that’s 994 cars– Scratch that. We now have more than just 994 cars to deal with thanks to [dramatic pause ] the real Mr. Wilford. Maybe?
Just as one door closes, another opens. As Snowpiercer approaches Chicago, back where it all started, Javi — who everyone seems to have forgiven for mutiny, I guess — picks up a radio signal. Bennett, suspecting it was coming from Wilford himself in a supply train called Big Alice, unilaterally decides to steer Snowpiercer right towards it hoping it still carries enough supplies to last Snowpiercer a long time. That may have proven to be a big mistake.
Big Alice hacks Snowpiercer’s systems, docks with the tail, and then brings Snowpiercer to a complete stop. If the train doesn’t start moving again in ten minutes, they’ll start to freeze. Ruth — who also seems to be forgiven for mutiny — almost literally rolls out the welcome wagon for Wilford while Andre and Roche prepare to fight a possible invasion force and Melanie tries to stop Big Alice from outside. Instead of Wilford or an invasion force, a young woman emerges from Big Alice. Speaking on behalf of Wilford, she demands their unconditional surrender and reveals she’s Melanie’s daughter.
“994 Cars Long” is a strong finish for Season 1. While I suspected the series would eventually find survivors elsewhere, this second train offers lots of exciting possibilities for Season 2. Given what Melanie told Ruth about Wilford, we have some sense of what to expect when he finally makes his appearance. However, we may find a Wilford who presents himself quite differently, one who plays into the propaganda Melanie has been selling for the last seven years.
I also look forward to learning more about life on Big Alice these past seven years. I’m reminded of the Pegasis in Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica and the survivors in the tail on Lost, both of which were revealed to be hardened by even worse circumstances as the survivors the audiences were following. If Big Alice is only a prototype and if its primary function is carrying supplies, conditions likely weren’t as accommodating as Snowpiercer was for its first and second classes, but probably not as dire as life for the tailies because food would be plentiful. Then again, if that’s the case, what does Wilford have to gain by a hostile takeover of Snowpiercer and more mouths to feed? Snowpiercer would have more to gain from a stocked supply train than the reverse. We’ll just have to wait and see.