Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Prepare to Brace

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Well, the honeymoon was short. Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2 throws us into the harshest realities of train life without so much as a, "Hey, you ready?"

Although there are still a lot of logistics questions -- which I'll try to keep to a minimum for the sake of the fact I'm enjoying the more fantastical elements of the show, we actually get a bunch of answers to the most obvious mechanical ones.

In terms of the social fabric, there's a lot of messy bits that only seem to get messier. "Mr. Wilford's Plan" has a lot of elements that I'm pretty sure First Class never signed off on knowingly.

Josie - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1

In The Tail, the punishment for their attempted revolt is termed "taking a significant arm," which is a pretty dispassionate way to refer to removing a limb from a live person.

"Significant" feels like the keyword in the phrase. It could be interpreted as the strongest or the most dangerous to the order (or even the arm) of the person who led the revolt.

Of course, the three leaders submitted to The Drawers, so they were out of the running.

Instead, "significant" is determined to be the most tragic. Ruth chooses (if indeed, it is her choice to make) to take little Winnie's arm. Winnie, who is probably the youngest Tailie and, by that reasoning, the last to be born in The Tail before sterilization began.

The fact that Ruth relents when Suzanne offers herself up to be punished instead, claiming that Winnie's actions were her fault, speaks to the fact this truly is just a job to Ruth.

Ruth Wardle - Snowpiercer

She has no vendetta against the Tailies. Someone with an ax to grind would have been deaf to Suzanne's pleas. Someone truly cruel would've gone forward with Winnie's mutilation because it was the worst thing they could've done.

Ruth Wardle demanded the punishment on Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1 but not because she takes any pleasure in torturing the Tailies but because the Order of the train demanded a spectacle.

Not that I think for one minute that the Tailies will see it that way.

They can take our limbs, our children, our leaders. They keep trying to take our dignity. But any survivor will tell you they checked their dignity at death's door. The more they steal from us, the more human we become. Humanity will fill our bellies one day. When we eat the rich of Snowpiercer, one thousand and one cars long.

Josie

At the same time, Ruth provides a weird sort of hope when she returns to take the young Tailies selected for apprenticeship opportunities.

I know that in the 2013 film adaptation, the children who were taken uptrain were enslaved to service the engine, but that doesn't seem to be the situation here. Still, did anyone else get hit with a massive sense of foreboding seeing Miles leave Josie in the dark of The Tail?

Miles - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2

At the other end of the train, we learn why the train has to keep speeding along as fast as it's going despite the keen observation by readers that a slower speed would be safer, especially in terrain as nasty as the Cascade Mountain Range.

The train's speed creates the power needed to provide First Class with its luxuries and everyone (including the crops) with running water and electricity.

Cavill: Javi, I can't announce blackouts. Not today.
Javi: Well, you can slow for safety or you can have electricity.

Thanks for clearing that up, Javi.

Cavill's stress is palpable. Starting with the avalanches in the morning, through her encounter with the Folgers, past the problems with reviving Nikki Genêt, and right smack into the breached cattle car, she is strung tighter than trapeze's high wire.

Melanie Cavill - Snowpiercer

What seems to REALLY bother her out of all the issues this very bad day is presenting her with is Nikki Genêt's recovery from suspension in The Drawers.

A very slow and problematic recovery which Dr. Klimpt and Jinju repeatedly reference in discussion about "the program," and that's a lightbulb clue that The Drawers were part of the Snowpiercer design from the beginning.

However, they were probably meant as a long-term Plan B for saving humanity.

Cavill: What do you see when you look at this train?
Layton: I see a fortress to class.
Cavill: Is that all? I see three thousand souls surviving. On a planet determined to freeze all life in place. We're still in motion, alive and kicking. And it's not thanks to chance or fate or God. It is thanks to order, meticulously maintained by Mr. Wilford, a balance of need and greed and speed.

Cavill (and probably Wilford wherever he is now) planned for the possible reality that the Engine Eternal fails to keep moving or that resources become truly limited.

If they could suspend a large number of the passengers to revive in warmer times, humanity might hold on for a few more years.

Dr. Klimpt - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2

It would probably make Klimpt very, very happy to have more "subjects" for the program. He puts a lot into his care for the suspended -- a LOT.

Layton: I've been wondering for a long time what exactly it is you do up here in the Night Car.
Miss Audry: We offer epiphanies, darling.

The Night Car truly lived up to the hype. Besides being fairly T.A.R.D.I.S.-esque in its ability to be far larger inside than any of the previously visited cars, it is a lush oasis of comfort and hedonism.

Loved that Layton walked into it like being dropped directly onto the set of a Broadway musical and never really recovered his equilibrium.

The Night Car's never actually been a brothel, Andre. When the world ended, most people needed something else. To grieve. To connect with everything we've lost.

Zarah

Between Miss Audrey's enigmatic welcome and Zarah's guided meditation session (and its nostalgia-fueled sexy encounter), Layton's visit accomplished a helluva lot in a short twenty(?) minutes.

Breachman Boscovic - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2

Breachman Boscovic exemplifies the dark humor that so many high-risk professionals exhibit. It's almost a yearning to give into the danger -- a titillation sparked by how near death he lives.

There's that moment of cold-exposure in which he revels. The jokes he cracks about reporting for duty. The knowledge that he is only ever called upon in the most desperate of circumstances.

Breachmen are obviously a relief to have, but no one, most especially Cavill, ever wants to have to call upon them.

You'd think, with all we've lost, defeat would break us. But the only reason we're here is we refuse to die in the first place. We're as persistent as the cold, forever trapped beneath the ice. We keep our eyes on the floor, dig our nails in, and prepare to brace.

Josie

So my big quibble with this whole situation is how that cattle car window shattered. I watched the scene multiple times to try to figure out how a train that is supposed to travel forever in -117C temperatures has windows that can't withstand a bolt pistol.

All the cannibalism? I get that. I thought "taking a significant arm" was a way to stock-pile "mystery meat" for Third Class.

Brakeman Osweiller - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2

Heh. Remember LJ Folger's comment that she wanted to go to Third Class for noodles? Now we know what made them so good!

While we're talking about the Folger's, how much do you want to bet that LJ stands for "Lilah Junior"?

My family may not think I'm capable, Melanie, but The Freeze taught us all we have the capacity to kill.

Lilah

There's so much to look out for when you watch Snowpiercer online.

As I mentioned, there were scenes I had to rewatch multiple times.

The singular stand-out was Miss Audrey's performance of Murray Head's "Say It Ain't So, Joe." Lena Hall is a Tony award-winning performer and wow, does it ever show.

Miss Audrey - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 5

What's our next (figurative) stop on this journey? How will they repair the cattle car damage? I imagine Breachman Boscovic will be attempting some truly spectacular maneuvers with his "mountain work" at a 12% reduction in speed.

Any ideas of who killed the snitch?

Where will Miles be apprenticed?

Do you want to bet the noodle bar doesn't even see a dip in business?

Prepare to Brace Review

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Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

They can take our limbs, our children, our leaders. They keep trying to take our dignity. But any survivor will tell you they checked their dignity at death's door. The more they steal from us, the more human we become. Humanity will fill our bellies one day. When we eat the rich of Snowpiercer, one thousand and one cars long.

Josie

You'd think, with all we've lost, defeat would break us. But the only reason we're here is we refuse to die in the first place. We're as persistent as the cold, forever trapped beneath the ice. We keep our eyes on the floor, dig our nails in, and prepare to brace.

Josie