Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. Now, this not only includes fictional female characters in geeky media but creators as well. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.
DISCLAIMER: The following is laden with spoilers for TNT’s sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly) spent her formative years on a farm in Pennsylvania. She didn’t have much growing up. She became a brilliant engineer who teamed up with Joseph Wilford (Sean Bean) to construct Snowpiercer, a perpetually moving train that boasted over one thousand cars. It was meant to withstand the volatile elements that culminated from The Freeze. However, the two incessantly were at odds over how to manage the train.
Later, Melanie and Bennett Knox (Iddo Goldberg), another engineer, made the tough decision to leave Wilford behind, as it was in Snowpiercer’s best interest. As a result, Melanie embarked on the train’s maiden sojourn around the globe without her daughter and parents. It’s a decision that continues to haunt Melanie on the show. Over the course of seven years, Melanie feigned to be the elusive Mr. Wilford. She acted as Head of Hospitality while working alongside Ruth Wardell (Alison Wright). To the public, Melanie was Wilford’s right hand. But she was really running the show behind closed doors.
The Revolution and Fallout
Then, Melanie brought in Tailie Andre Layton (Daveed Diggs) on a murder case. Layton was a detective prior to The Freeze. Another Tailie, Josie Wellstead (Katie McGuinness), figured out that Melanie was Wilford. In an effort to keep her secret under wraps, Melanie left Josie to die in a room exposed to the well-below freezing outside temperatures. Thankfully, Josie survived. Ruth sentenced Melanie to death. Layton staged a revolution in the name of class equality. But he ordered Ruth to spare Melanie because her engineering skills were needed to run the train.
Next, a vessel named Big Alice rolled alongside Snowpiercer with the real Wilford at the helm. Melanie’s daughter, Alex (Rowan Blanchard), was also with him. He apparently saved her after Melanie abandoned the girl. Tensions brewed between the two trains as Wilford sought to seize control of Snowpiercer again. Inevitably, Melanie and Alex rekindled their bond.
Later, Melanie made a vital scientific discovery. The Earth’s atmosphere was slowly warming up. Melanie was deposited at a research facility to gather climate data from a series of weather probes released by Snowpiercer. Wilford saw this as an opportunity to get rid of Melanie for good.
Now, Melanie is at the research station for one month, waiting for the train to return. Unfortunately, she lost her rations amid her embarkation and has been subsisting on rats for food. Additionally, Melanie is using the time to reconcile with her mistakes and collect as much data as possible. However, upon Snowpiercer’s return, the train whizzes right past her, leaving her in the cold.
The Real Deal:
Melanie is the real deal. Yes, she’s immensely flawed. But who isn’t? Her imperfections make her human. Initially, Melanie’s role in Snowpiercer was the antagonist. Layton was fighting for equality while Melanie spearheaded some unspeakable acts, including torturing Josie. Not to mention, she left her family behind. That being said, Melanie is genuinely a good person. She empathized with the plight of the Tail. Melanie operated the train to the best of her ability, even though her methods didn’t pan out.
Season Two is all about redemption for Melanie Cavill. She’s currently utilizing her badass engineering prowess to save the world! Her progress may result in a flourishing planet. What’s left of humanity could repopulate Earth, if it really is stabilizing. Melanie can admit when she’s wrong. She’s kindhearted, loyal, fiercely independent and highly intelligent. She’s willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good. To give up her own livelihood for others. Melanie is ever-changing and evolving into a better person. She’s proof positive that even humans with good intentions can make severely life-altering mistakes.
Why She Matters:
Why does Melanie matter? She’s a tenacious engineer with the ability to survive in a dystopian wasteland. She’s the epitome of strength. Young girls everywhere can witness her ingeniousness and pursue engineering themselves. We could always use more women in science.
Additionally, while her flaws and mistakes are too impactful to ignore, Melanie’s intentions are pure. She’s willing to do everything she can to make up for her transgressions. As far as she’s concerned, humanity’s needs supersede her own. That much is evident from her dangerous mission at the research station.
So, be like Melanie Cavill. Learn from your mistakes. Evolve, survive and thrive. Don’t be afraid to take a different path if something doesn’t work. Put that badass brain to good use. Oh, and don’t listen to egotistical British entrepreneurs. When all else fails, you can always steal their train and leave them in the snow.
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