Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 26, 2022)
2013’s Snowpiercer adapted a French graphic novel. This property leapt to the TNT Network as a series in 2020.
With this Complete Second Season package, we find the series’ second 10 episodes spread across two Blu-ray Discs. The plot synopses come from IMDB.
A Time of Two Engines: “Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean) has arrived, and as this new threat rattles Snowpiercer to its core, Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) makes a move that can't be undone.”
Season Two offers no sop for no viewers, as it picks up where Season One ended without an update. That doesn’t seem like a bad thing, though, especially because it allows S2 to kick into high gear right out of the gate.
S1 left me fairly underwhelmed, so I appreciate the intense launch to S2. “Time” also sets up some intriguing character elements and leaves me with hope this year will work better than the first.
Smoulder to Life: “An exchange is made between the two trains, but a greater revelation might be just over the horizon.”
Bean’s Mr. Wilford didn’t really appear in S1, and he acts as a breath of fresh air here. Bean adds spark and charisma to the often dreary series. He helps make “Life” a good shot that moves along events well.
A Great Odyssey: “Melanie embarks on her most dangerous mission yet, while Layton (Daveed Diggs) reckons with his personal choices.”
“Odyssey” focuses more on interpersonal relationships, with an emphasis on Melanie and her estranged daughter Alex (Rowan Blanchard). That brings some emotional resonance to the series, and the episode throws in enough intrigue to become a balanced and solid show.
A Single Trade: “As the Big Alice crew are granted shore leave on Snowpiercer, Layton and Wilford have differing opinions on the future.”
Expect an inconsistent episode here, mainly because S2 starts to branch off onto too many secondary characters. The Layton/Melanie/Wilford triangle feels like the core, and shifts away from that can become a distraction.
Still, we get enough of the primary focus to allow “Trade” to largely work. Maybe I’ll eventually tire of Bean’s gleeful scenery-chewing, but so far I love it.
Keep Hope Alive: “Layton and Miss Audrey (Lena Hall) make a risky play for Big Alice, but Wilford has his own plans.”
About halfway through Season Two, “Alive” finds the series in a bit of a flat spot. While the episode comes with some moments of intrigue, it becomes too bogged down in various less than fascinating interpersonal elements. Hopefully the second half of the season will rebound.
Many Miles From Snowpiercer: “Melanie fights for survival in treacherous conditions, vying to do what others before her could not.”
After a few shows without her, “Miles” brings Melanie back into the mix – and also allows for some prologue that shows the times before “the freeze” and the series’ events. This follows some interesting paths and adds some depth to S2.
Our Answer for Everything: “Layton and Till (Mickey Sumner) investigate the murders. Wilford leads Miss Audrey down a dark path.”
Snowpiercer the movie as well as Season One involved a murder investigation, and “Answer” echoes those roots. This doesn’t make the episode a retread, though, as it finds some intriguing new paths to follow.
The Eternal Engineer: “An engineering catastrophe on Snowpiercer forces Layton to make a difficult choice, one that might cost him everything.”
With little time left in S2, one expects matters to percolate even more, and that becomes the case with “Engineer”. In particular, we see more direct confrontation between Layton and Wilford, and that adds zing to the show.
The Show Must Go On: “Those who are close with Layton grow anxious to learn their fates. Josie (Katie McGuinness) tests her newfound ability.”
As one expects of a penultimate episode, “Show” acts as more of a plot-thickener than anything else. That means it brings good intrigue as it builds toward the finale.
Into the White: “As the train approaches Melanie's retrieval point. Layton leads a furious attempt to try and pick her up but not without some sacrifices.”
Season Two concludes with the inevitable Big Confrontation that pits Layton and Wilford… again, kind of, but with higher stakes. Throw in the apparent resolution of Melanie’s story and this becomes a largely solid final episode, with a clear push toward next season as well.