Daveed Diggs’ Layton has been a strong point in the series so far. This episode? Not so much. But that’s ok, because the Snowpiercer train is picking up steam. Having put the murder mystery that drove the first half of the season mostly in the rearview mirror, Snowpiercer took last episode to recalibrate. With this entry, the show finds its footing again, focusing on the class conflict and returning to a thread it has abandoned for a while – if the last of humanity is kept alive by a train, what happens when that train starts to break down?
In the aftermath of the trial, third class has had enough. This episode continues their fight and sprinkles in a little bit of the tail car so we don’t forget about them. The caste conflict moves forward, but takes a back seat to a train breakdown.
The train calamity that occurs in this episode is the first time the passengers were truly put in peril, and the show effectively builds suspense using the oft abused ‘countdown technique.’ It also gives Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) a chance to show her mettle, though I’m not sure why she needed to be involved when they have dudes whose job it is to fix stuff (one of whom is awesome and given nothing to do). That aside, it was nice to get to see her do something other than pretend she’s Mr. Wilford and talk to the jerks in first class.
Meanwhile, Till (Mickey Sumner) puts in a nice performance dealing with the aftermath of her role in helping Layton out of the drawers. Ah, Layton. We are told coming out of the shelf has some hangover like consequences, but Layton lurches randomly between being passed out, running around, acting crazy, being rage filled, having normal conversations, barely being able to walk, and hatching a plan. While I’m no expert on imaginary drugs that allow you to stay alive in a drawer in suspended animation, it seemed a bit much for me.
At this point the series is standing on its own, but if you’ve read the graphic novel, I think the cold suits used are consistent with the design in those books, which is a nice touch. There are also some really nice shots of the train exterior. For some reason, I really like it when we get a glimpse of the outside world. While this episode isn’t perfect, it is definitely a return to form coming off an episode that showed way too much of my least favorite characters – first class. Now we are in position for an exciting back half of the season.
The sixth episode will air Sunday, June 21st at 9:00pm ET/PT on TNT in the United States.
Check back next week for my thoughts on the 7th episode of the series.
Are you excited for this series? Are you liking it so far? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!