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SNOWPIERCER Season 2 – Episode 1 “The Time of Two Engines” and 2 “Smolder To Life” reviews – Snow Day

SNOWPIERCER’S final episode in season 1 wrapped up the ‘tail vs first class’ storyline and teased an exciting new direction for the series. It turns out Mr. Wilford isn’t really dead and he has control of a second train called Big Alice that managed to latch on to Snowpiercer. Oh, and Melanie got thrown from the train and in the process hints are drawn about future adventures outside of the train.

A whole new train brings a new cast of characters. Some of them land – Sean Bean’s Mr. Wilford is sublime. Bean has a penchant for playing noble guys who die too early (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones), so it’s nice to see him take a bit of a heel turn. Wilford also has a suitably creepy juggernaut looking guy that has a lot of potential. Some of the new characters miss. The Big Alice doctors are a bit too over the top weird and the hospitality guy is kind of lame. With all the carnage in the Snowpiercer war, a new tailie is getting more lines, voicing his displeasure about the situation. He’s kind of annoying so far.

photo credit: David Bukach

It’s nice to see some of the old characters get more to do, particularly Strongboy and Pike, who were sidelined most of the first season in the sleep chamber. Speaking of which, I’m dying to know why Strongboy speaks Chinese now. On one hand, I wish they’d explain it, but on the other hand, I kind of dig that it is just a random detail that has no answer. The second episode gives first season standout Till more to do, which is a welcome decision. While many returning characters are a welcome sight, I’m not all that interested in Zara. She’s never given us a reason to invest in her, and her plot line just isn’t landing. I also wish the writers would give up on LJ. Any time spent with her at this point is an unnecessary distraction.

The first two episodes deftly set up the conflict for season two, which in many ways mirrors the structure of the first season.  Instead of tail vs. first class, it’s Snowpiercer vs Big Alice. Instead of Melanie vs. Layton its Layton vs. Wilford. There’s even a new crime whodunnit mystery subplot to solve. While the plot is quite interesting, I found Layton to be less riveting a leader than he was as a rebel. Daveed Diggs is a great actor, but some of his lines felt kind of award.

photo credit: David Bukach

Unlike many returning shows, which lean on the relationships between the characters we have become invested in, SNOWPIERCER relies heavily on its plot and some surprises thrown in to keep us on our toes. In doing so, it returns to its science fiction roots, pointing the series in an interesting new direction that has a chance to intersect with the source material (though this season thus far is going its own direction). If it sounds like I am being negative on this season, that is not my intent. SNOWPIERCER has become one of my favorite shows and the first two episodes are very entertaining. If you liked Season 1, you will most likely enjoy these episodes immensely. If you haven’t seen Season 1, I recommend catching up before jumping on the train.

The second episode of season 2 will air Monday, February 1st at 9:00pm ET/PT on TNT in the United States.

Check back next week for my thoughts on the 3rd 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!

Darren Shulman
Darren Shulman
Darren is a professional lawyer and amateur movie/comic/TV reviewer who is lucky enough to have found a wife who is into the same geeky things he is. Darren has been making the trip from Ohio to San Diego Comic-Con since 2009. Other interests include, in no particular order: monkeys, LEGO, dinosaurs, and playing basketball poorly.

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