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snowpiercer 3.5.1
Photo Credit: TNT

Television

‘Snowpiercer’ season 3 episode 5 review: ‘A New Life’

On tonight’s Snowpiercer, almost everyone is questioning their roles or finding new ones in their lives.

There’s a saboteur on board, and the train celebrates the arrival of its second new passenger this season as everyone finds themselves at a crossroads in Snowpiercer‘s latest episode.

The title “A New Life” refers not only to the birth of Andre and Zarah’s daughter but to how almost everyone is questioning their roles or finding new ones in their lives. Andre and Zarah are taking on new roles as parents. After Javier’s PTSD episode last week, Bennett has taken him out of the engine to inspect the train’s systems with Sykes. Sykes has already adjusted nicely to the new leadership, though she too carries the psychological scars of being mauled by Wilford’s dog, Jupiter.

Meanwhile, Snowpiercer’s other engineer, Alex, sits beside Wilford in his hospital bed, wrestling with her feelings for her surrogate father after being confronted with the horrors of his rule last week. Josie is being opened up to a whole new world of possibility when Bennett suggests training her as an engineer. They may both be beginning a new romantic relationship as well.

Bess encourages Miss Audrey to return to her former life treating people’s psychological pain, but it’s unclear if she even wants to return to that life. Ruth has returned to her teal Hospitality uniform, but it no longer seems to suit her after she found a new purpose in leading The Resistance. And Pike? More on him in a moment.

The bulk of the episode focused on Andre and Bess’ investigation into who started the fire in the cabin with the baby naming tree — part of an onboard tradition. That investigation led them to discover someone has absconded with bootleg alcohol from the underground speakeasy and ammonium nitrate necessary to cause the fire and a small, remote-controlled explosion that was perhaps meant to kill Layton. And that brings us to Pike, last seen disappearing down a hall looking distraught before dropping a remote control and stamping on it.

Pike has been openly critical of Andre’s leadership. Last season, he killed for Layton, an act that haunted him afterward. So maybe he hasn’t changed his role at all and is still operating as The Resistance after the war ended for everyone else. It may finally be time to learn who Pike was in his former life because there’s a real possibility he’ll be a major antagonist going forward.

Pike may have a legitimate point though considering that Layton has deceived everyone regarding the existence of New Eden and undermined the very democracy he claimed to fight for from the beginning. Or perhaps Layton is still the best to lead Snowpiercer and Pike, like the protagonist in the book Alex began reading to Wilford, is just tilting at windmills.

“A New Life” serves as more of a setup episode. The stakes never feel too high here. While it makes sense the saboteur wouldn’t want to do any real damage that would put the entire train in jeopardy, an unexpected mistake that caused a major problem could have built greater suspense and threat. Another option would have been multiple small sabotages that more clearly targeted Andre and his family to stronger indicate a would-be assassination effort.

As a result, much of the action propelling the episode falls flat. We never feel like the danger is real. It’s almost the reverse issue I had with the more action-oriented “The First Blow,” this season’s third episode. There, I noted the one thing it lacked was giving time to develop the human stories amidst the action. Here, the writers are developing the human stories well but the central suspense plot feels a little undercooked.

snowpiercer 3.5.1
Snowpiercer S 3 E 5: "A New Life"
Much of the action propelling the episode falls flat. We never really feel like the danger is real. The writers are developing the human stories but the central suspense plot feels a little undercooked. 
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Strong character development
The Pike reveal raises interesting questions
Love learning of traditions developed since departure like the baby-naming tree
Subpar suspense plot
Bess should have gotten the investigation plot to herself wiithout Andre tagging along
6.5

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