Has Andre Layton become too ruthless or not ruthless enough? Almost everyone had to compromise themselves or sacrifice something for the greater good this week on Snowpiercer, but the bloody finale shows their efforts may have been all for naught.
Ruth hated Melanie for lying about Wilford all these years under the justification of keeping hope alive but finds herself in Melanie’s position. Only now Wilford really is here, and it’s Melanie believed to have perished but for whom the illusion of her survival must be maintained to keep hope alive. Melanie whom the schoolchildren now idolize much like we saw them celebrate Wilford in Season 1.
But where Zarah vomited due to jitters before delivering her first train-wide morning announcements, Ruth, ever the consummate professional, powers through the fake news of receiving Melanie’s eleventh signal despite her misgivings.
It’s here that we really see Ruth’s growth. She’s come a long way from the cruel overseer who casually sentenced inhuman arm shatterings of Tailies and whom most resembled Tilda Swinton’s Mason from the eponymous 2013 film. Ruth ultimately goes along with the lie, but in doing so she perhaps reveals herself to be the most honest person on this train by how much it matters to her. Ruth says her reverence for Mr. Wilford won’t impact her loyalties because her greatest loyalty is to Snowpiercer itself. She views the role of delivering the announcements as a sacred duty to the passengers, and now it’s been tainted.
Pike too proves nobler than he seemed. Never coming off as trustworthy and even briefly betraying the Tail during the revolution. he’s then spent much of Season 2 trading weed on Snowpiercer’s black market. His profile would seem to make him the perfect candidate for a hired assassin, but even he’s uneasy about killing Terrance to keep him quiet about Josie’s spy operation. So much so that he still insists on a fair fight.
To serve the greater good, Audrey walks back into the lion’s den, returning to her abuser once more. Wilford has always had a powerful psychological hold on her. Wilford’s very arrival was triggering enough. So spending a whole evening with him and then ultimately choosing to stay on Big Alice means reliving her trauma every hour of every day.
Then there’s Andre. He’s already rolled back his democracy experiment during a crisis and has moved into a luxurious cabin in First Class. The Tail felt so abandoned by him that Josie had to vouch for him. Now he’s ordering assassinations, conspiring to coverup losing Melanie’s signal, and sending both Josie and Audrey on spy missions. He’s at least as guilty of violating the non-aggression pact with Big Alice as Wilford is, though of course, Wilford is doing so in a far more brutal way by ordering Snowpiercer’s Breechmen to carry out a violent coup.
This is the second strong performance for Lena Hall in a row, and Sean Bean is really able to explore new facets of Joseph Wilford here. There isn’t much Alexandra this week, but Rowan Blanchard still shines in even her smaller scenes.
I liked the Bess Till material this week, but her story felt rushed. I know this is a short season and the writers really need to cram a lot of story into just 8 episodes, but I would have loved an entire episode watching a stressed-out Bess emotionally spiral during her mandated day off that climaxes in an impromptu boxing match with Pastor Logan.
It’s a shame because I’ve felt like Bess could be a great character but the writers have never really given actress Mickey Sumner strong material. Bess feels like she’s only around to move plot and kick ass. I never even felt the writers were truly invested in her Season 1 relationship with Jinju. My message to the Snowpiercer writers: GIVE MICKEY SOMNER MORE TO DO OTHER THAN MOVE THE PLOT FORWARD!
“Keep Hope Alive” is about sacrifice, both moral and psychological. Everyone’s making choices here to put their own sense of self on the line or surrender a piece of their souls to achieve some larger goal. I look forward to seeing how that impacts the characters going forward.
New episodes of Snowpiercer air Mondays on TNT.
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