DISCLAIMER: This recap of Snowpiercer episode “The Time of Two Engines” is rife with spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome, Engine Eternal occupants! Snowpiercer is back for Round Two, and it has no intention of slowing down. While Season One took a while to build up speed, Season Two maintained momentum with an action-packed premiere. Melanie reunited with Wilford and Alexandra, although said reunions weren’t very joyous ones. Wilford exerted power over Snowpiercer. Melanie’s decision to ensure that Big Alice and Snowpiercer could never disconnect may come back to bite her in the ass. But it certainly saved lives in the interim. Layton mounted a small military attack in an effort to save Melanie. Here’s hoping that the remainder of the season can keep us on our toes!
Ready to delve into “The Time of Two Engines”? Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with a voiceover from Layton (Daveed Diggs). He explains that the Tail is no longer the caboose of the train, but a “border” between Big Alice and Snowpiercer. Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) is still stuck outside in absolutely frigid temperatures. Alexandra (Rowan Blanchard) gives Layton a list of items that Wilford wants. Should the train fail to deliver, Wilford will leave them motionless in the cold. Without motion, the temperature inside Snowpiercer will significantly drop. Bess (Mickey Sumner), Layton and co. scramble to find all of the items on Wilford’s wish list.
Meanwhile, Bennett (Iddo Goldberg) and Javier (Roberto Urbina) attempt to get Melanie back inside the train. She’s going to lose oxygen soon. But Melanie has one last mission: to inflict damage on the uplink that’s connecting the two trains.
Later, everyone manages to get most of the items on Wilford’s list save Morphin. Apparently, Snowpiercer is now bereft of the drug. However, Ruth (Alison Wright) tells Alexandra that she substituted aspirin instead. Alexandra leaves with her new goodies without informing the crowd regarding whether Wilford will move the trains again.
Thankfully, Snowpiercer’s overabundance of gifts was enough to sate the enigmatic Wilford. The now connected trains begin to move, but Melanie’s still outside. Bennett tries his best to usher her within. Melanie notices that it’s snowing. According to Bennett, that shouldn’t be a thing. She procures a vial and scoops up some snow as a souvenir or perhaps for future examination. Who knows? Melanie tells Bennett that she’s boarding Big Alice. We see her strip down to decontaminate aboard the smaller train. A nasty patch of frostbite is on her shoulder.
Next, a man bedecked in the traditional Hospitality garb ushers Melanie toward what’s presumably Wilford’s chambers. His name is Kevin, and he’s not a Melanie fan. He accuses her of leaving Big Alice to die in the past. Back on Snowpiercer, Ruth asserts that it’s time to inform the passengers that are spread over 994 cars about what’s going on. Layton agrees, but he’s got a lot on his plate right now.
Reunion time! Melanie wanders into Wilford’s luxurious quarters. The man lives like a king in this dystopian, post-apocalyptic world. Wilford (Sean Bean) wants to know what Melanie has been up to all these years. There’s a layer of mockery and disdain in his tone and words. Like Kevin, he’s also not a Melanie fan. He reveals that he’s been waiting for the perfect time to pounce. Wilford wants “his train” back.
Then, Alexandra appears with Wilford’s stolen goods from Snowpiercer. This is the first time Melanie has seen her daughter in several years. While Melanie is overtaken with a mixture of emotions, Alexandra is rather nonchalant about the reunion. We can see that she’s Wilford’s protégé. Connelly is superb in this scene, but she always delivers an acting masterclass.
Meanwhile, Layton and his advisors are giving everyone the lowdown in the Night Car. Bennett has even emerged from the engine to inform the masses regarding the train’s connection to Big Alice and whether they could sever it. Miss Audrey (Lena Hall) warns the crowd about Wilford. He’s hellbent on taking back their home, and he’ll do whatever it takes to reach his goal. While Layton and co. are planning on rescuing Melanie, Roche (Mike O’Malley) reminds them that ensuring Snowpiercer is safe, warm and fed is a priority.
Next, Ruth learns that Zarah (Sheila Vand) is pregnant. We see a few former Tailies try to assault Zarah. She has to pay for what she did to Josie. Layton comes to her defense. He reveals that Melanie was blackmailing Zarah, so the latter did what she had to do to survive. Ruth shoos the naysayers away and vows to set Zarah up in a place of utmost comfort. Later, Layton sits down to address the whole train. We see folks train-wide listening to his message. Of course, Layton and co. just spent a large chunk of time fighting for democracy aboard Snowpiercer. But now, times have changed. Wilford is an obvious threat to their newly tenuous democratic state. Layton enacts martial law until further notice.
Then, we see Alexandra paying Melanie a visit while the latter sits in the brig. She asks her mother what it was like being outside. Alexandra is too young to truly recall the world before the Freeze. Additionally, Alexandra wonders why Melanie had a vial of snow nestled in her suit. However, when Melanie proffers an answer, Alexandra assumes she’s lying. She still believes that her mom abandoned her, and Wilford was her rescuer.
Meanwhile, Ruth ushers Zarah and Layton into first-class accommodations. The elderly couple who formerly lived there took cyanide together on the morning of Layton’s revolution. Layton isn’t a fan of the swanky lifestyle, but since it’ll keep Zarah and the baby safe, he lets it slide. Me? I’m still mad at her for ratting out Josie. Josie was a true advocate for destroying the class system.
Next, Melanie is sent to a pair of doctors that have made jaw-dropping innovations in the medical field. They apply what they refer to as “goop” or synthetic tissue to Melanie’s frostbitten shoulder. According to the doctors, she won’t even have a scar when the skin heals. Clearly, this is Wilford’s way of subtly showing her that he has what’s necessary for Snowpiercer’s survival.
Now, we see Pike (Steven Ogg) standing at the border between the two trains. The guard standing near Big Alice’s border pops open the door and asks if Pike has any fruit. In exchange for fruit, Big Alice’s guard will give Pike some weed. Being the debaucherous fellow that he is, Pike eagerly scoops up some fruit for drugs. We see that Kevin is on the other side overseeing the transactions. The fruit is apparently for him. However, Pike gets caught smoking a blunt when Layton notices the smell of grass. He realizes that this is their way onto Big Alice. Layton urges Pike to coerce more weed out of the Big Alice guard. When Pike initiates another transaction, Layton and co. break down the barrier and flood the opening of Wilford’s train.
Meanwhile, Wilford invites Melanie to dinner in his opulent chambers. We hear music playing. Wilford even has a taste tester to ensure that his food hasn’t been tampered with. The elder man insists that Snowpiercer belongs to him. He molded Melanie into the ingenious engineer she is today. We see Layton’s military attack is still in effect. He captures Kevin as a hostage. When Wilford learns of the battle raging outside his doors, he sends in a brawny guy named “Icy Bob” to end the fight. The burly man instantly cools the car down to freezing temperatures. We see people’s limbs freeze off. Layton orders everyone to retreat back into Snowpiercer.
Later, Ruth sees that Layton has kidnapped Kevin. She knows him. Kevin reveals that Wilford doesn’t care whether anyone lives or dies. Throughout the episode, we’ve seen Ruth’s cotton candy vision of Wilford slowly evaporate. It appears that the veil has been lifted, and she tells Layton that she works for the passengers. Just like him.
Then, Wilford takes Melanie to his engine room. We see Alexandra is his sole engineer. Like mother, like daughter. He orders her to stop the two trains. Then, to reverse. His plan? Leave Snowpiercer stranded in the cold to die. Melanie asserts that the train won’t survive 20 minutes before everyone freezes to death. But something happens when Alexandra attempts to disconnect the trains. She can’t. Remember when Melanie tampered with the uplink earlier? Melanie chalks it up to Wilford’s faulty mechanics from years earlier. Now, both trains are perpetually connected.
Now, in my humble opinion, this episode is leagues better than the Snowpiercer series premiere from last year. The stakes are higher than ever. Not to mention, the train’s fragile democracy and Layton’s revolution to obtain equality have always been eerily timely and relevant. Bean is a terrific villain as the smooth-talking Wilford. He’s not too over the top, so hopefully, the writing doesn’t take him down that route. Connelly is a force and I can’t wait to see more scenes with her squaring off against Bean. Diggs is the beating heart of this series.
Do you think Layton will stage another risky operation to rescue Melanie? Will Alexandra finally open her eyes to the man Wilford truly is? What did Pike do with all that weed? Join me next week as I recap Snowpiercer, here on Geek Girl Authority.
Snowpiercer airs Mondays at 9 pm on your TNT affiliate.
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