The startling final scene in episode three took much of the mystery out of the train’s murder plot at the center of the series so far. The show pivots from a mystery to thriller as the circle tightens around the killer, whose identity Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) and Layton (Daveed Diggs) are confirming.
While I appreciate the show moving the mystery along instead of dragging it out to fill space, knowing who the killer was removed much of the tension from the investigative efforts to figure it out. The character they are hunting lacks any sense of motivation or purpose, so while we spend some time watching his efforts to get away, you don’t really care about that side of the chase. What saves this episode is the acting. Daveed Diggs turns in another excellent performance. You never know exactly what he knows, which allows for some surprises. He and Connelly also have established a great rapport, exchanging a wealth of information with a mere glance.
While the murder mystery has been a pleasant addition to the TV version of Snowpiercer, this episode’s strongest scenes involved the tail car’s efforts at freedom. At its core, Snowpiercer is about social status and injustice, so a returned focus on the plight of the tailies is welcome. It is fun to see them making plans with the barest of resources and almost no allies.
If the show is about the contest between the tail car and first class … there is no contest. The first class passengers continue to be the most annoying people on the show. Part of this is surely by design as that is part of the social critique, but they are too one dimensional and without any interesting qualities, good or bad. I hesitate to ask, because I don’t want to spend more time with them, but it might help to know who they are and how they got to a position where they can afford first class. All they seem to do is sit around and drink tea. It’s a sad state of affairs when the most interesting first class character is the random dude with the pet lizard that hasn’t had a line in the series.
That quibble aside, this show continues to be a must watch for me. It has a plethora of interesting characters and enough balls in the air to keep me interested now that the killer has been revealed. What happened to Mr. Wilford? How long can Melanie keep it secret that he’s gone and can her efforts avoid straining credibility? Will Wilford Brimley play Mr. Wilford in a flashback? How will the train compensate for the damage from a few episodes ago? As was the case with last week, this episode ends on a nifty cliffhanger that promises more excitement in Episode 5.
The third episode will air Sunday, June 7th at 9:00pm ET/PT on TNT in the United States.
Check back next week for my thoughts on the 5th episode of the series.
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