TV Review: Snowpiercer S1E2 Prepare to Brace
In the second episode of Snowpiercer, “Prepare to Brace,” Layton uses his new position as the train detective to investigate the murder while gathering intelligence for the revolution on the side. Melanie faces a resource crisis with potentially drastic consequences for the entire train.
The second episode of the series does a bit better of a job diving into the themes of the show, especially the disparity and brutality of the reigning regime. The episode opens with punishment being meted out for the uprising in the first episode. It’s a brutal in your face reminder that those that rule see the individuals in the back of the train as less than human because they’re not ticketed. Adults or children, it does not matter, justice and order shall reign and those who rock the peace shall be sacrificed to “appease” the train.
The episode continues to tell much of its story and world through the visuals. As Layton explores the train, we the viewer, do as well. Each train car tells a story with so much detail pack in it begs to be watched again.
An prime example here is the nightcar concert. It’s hard to not watch the excess and free expression while knowing the suffering in the back of the car is occuring. What’s interesting is what we also see happen in that car, which hints that the order from outside the tail might not be as present as believed and there may be potential allies.
The nightcar does allow us to learn more about Andre’s life before the train. We get a better sense of who he is and it’s a positive direction. Up to this point we just know he snuck on the train with family, lying about being a detective, and plotting a revolution. These aren’t exactly the makings of a straightforward hero. Instead we at least get a better sense of who he was before in a “loving” sense.
But, where the episode goes from there is interesting. Andre discusses the gangs and cannibalism that happened in the tail creating a sharp contrast with the individual we just saw. And the episode continues its uses of visuals by then cutting to the cows of the cars setting a contrast between what the tail has needed to do to survive compared to what the rest of the train has done.
From there, we get a bit more potential of the show as threats in the environment itself emerge with the train taking a beating from the snow and entire cars wiped out from a breach and the cold. That, along with the choices that stem from it continue to tease the potential of the show. And the entire episode is mostly those teases. We see the disparity of the cars and the people. We also see the choices that need to be made due to resources. It really continues the first episode’s setting up the world the show takes place.
While the debut felt a bit too much focused on Andre and his solving a murder, the second episode uses that as just a plot to set up our exploration of the train and the world and a tool for potential revolution.
The second episode is an improvement on the first teasing the potential of the series and bringing it more into focus of what was expected from the previous graphic novels and film. While still a bit drawn out, it’s setting up an intriguing series with a lot of potential.
Overall Rating: 7.15