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SNOWPIERCER Season 2 – Episode 8 “The Eternal Engineer” review – Things Fall Apart

The second season of SNOWPIERCER has largely abandoned the class warfare origins of its first season, replacing it with a battle of wits and wills between Layton and Wilford. Wilford’s overall plan has remained somewhat obscure, masked by a bit of craziness that has made me wonder if he’s all he’s been built up to be. This episode makes his long game more clear. Meanwhile, Layton seemed to start in way over his head, but has gradually gotten his leadership legs under him.

This episode was a key one for me in showing Wilford is more than a crazy rich guy. The writers have tried to portray him as a genius manipulator, but thus far hadn’t really backed that up. In this episode, Sean Bean drops some of the over the top elements of the character and really dialed in what makes Wilford such a force to be reckoned with. If you stop and think about all the holes in his plan and the ways it could have either failed or been accomplished a different way, you may be disappointed. But this is escapism TV, don’t think too much about it.

For the most part, Layton’s decision making in this episode is fine, aside from one glaring omission where both my wife and I were yelling at the screen hoping someone would hear us (in the interest of remaining spoiler free, I won’t say what it was). At the end of the day, the plot required the characters not to do what we wanted, and I suppose it was consistent with how the characters had acted throughout the series. But it could have solved a lot of problems.

The plot this week started off a little slowly, focusing on characters talking about the political situation laid bare by the ‘red lights for Wilford’ showing last episode. In the back half of the episode, things shifted into a higher gear with real tension and stakes. By the end, some truly impactful events had occurred that could really change the direction of the series.

One of the things I enjoy about this show is the supporting characters. This episode was Mike O’Malley’s time to shine as Roche. He’s always been good for some subtle humor, but in this episode he is given more depth than he has had the entire series. Out of nowhere, we even get to meet his family. This was a little jarring, as they’ve been referred to but never seen. I’ve always liked what little we’ve seen of the head breachman (Boscovic). He gets some more attention this week and I could see him becoming a bigger character as the show barrels down the tracks.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I’ve decided I’m over Audrey. Is she deep undercover or has she switched sides? I officially don’t care. Whichever way the writers are planning on playing this, it won’t move the needle for me at all. The best thing I can say about Audrey is my disdain for her allows me to connect with Alex (who also dislikes her) more. On a more positive note, I still don’t like AJ, but she’s given a more interesting storyline this week.  

This is a great companion to the prior episode while providing some answers for what happened at the end of the Melanie focused installment (206). While this episode wasn’t the strongest of the series, it deserves praise for how it used Roche and Wilford.

The eighth episode of season 2 will air Monday, March 15th at 9:00pm ET/PT on TNT in the United States.

Check back in 2 weeks for my thoughts on the 9th episode of the season (airs on March 29th), which is the 2-hour season finale. There is no new episode on the 22nd due to the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Are you enjoying this new season? 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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