SNOWPIERCER Season 2 – Episode 5 “Keep Hope Alive” review – Compromises

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Season 2 of SNOWPIERCER has focused on the cold war (pun intended since the whole world is frozen) between Daveed Diggs’ Andre Layton and Sean Bean’s Wilford. After being hidden through most of the first season, then presumed dead, Wilford stormed back courtesy of a second train that smashed into and connected with the Snowpiercer. This second train has provided a whole new supply of characters to explore in addition to the fairly large cast from season 1.

Thus far, Wilford has kept his big picture plan hidden, but he has shown there isn’t really a line he is unwilling to cross to take over the train (Wilford’s character is starting to suffer a bit as a result, running the risk of becoming a standard half crazy bad guy). This episode is all about the moral compromises the Snowpiercer crew takes to keep up. Layton, who is finally finding his footing in his new role as a leader, shows his nasty side. But it isn’t just Layton. Pike, Ruthie, and Audrey also have to make moral compromises, begging the question: Is it ok to do bad things for a good reason?

While the moral dilemmas were entertaining, the strongest part of the episode focuses on Josie, who has thus far been relegated to lying in a bed covered with bandages. Having been resurrected this season after seemingly being frozen solid, she hasn’t been given much to do. This episode finally gives her a purpose and reminds us why she was such a cool character in season 1. While getting less screen time, Icy Bob (the huge guy who can withstand the cold) is a treat in this episode as well. 

The episode ends on an action filled high note, with one major event followed up by an even bigger one. A lot was going on and we will have to wait until the next episode to figure out exactly what went down and how it will impact the story going forward.  

Now that the story has shifted from first class vs. poor folks to a struggle between Big Alice and Snowpiecer, the class warfare story has taken a backseat. One casualty of this is my ability to process how some cars seem appropriately cramped and other seem way bigger than a train car could possibly be. It made sense when the sets were used as a way to emphasize the inequality on the train. Now it just seems weird. That minor quibble aside, SNOWPIERCER continues to be a fun piece of science fiction that consistently delivers tension and quality acting performances. Obviously, it is tough to start a show on the fifth episode of the second season so I recommend starting at the beginning of the story. That failing, you should watch episode four at a minimum as it bleeds directly into and sets the stage for this one.


The fifth episode of season 2 will air Monday, February 22 at 9:00pm ET/PT on TNT in the United States.

Check back next week for my thoughts on the 6th episode of the series.


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