Tag Archives: snowpiercer

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1EE7 The Universe is Indifferent

Snowpiercer

Layton is free and the trio at the head of the train needs to decide what to do. Do they tell the train the truth about Wilford? Do they do something else? Melanie has a card up her sleeve to handle Layton and plays it in this intriguing episode of Snowpiercer entitled “The Universe is Indifferent.”

With an opening in engineering, Melanie has declared Miles, Layton’s son, will be the apprentice to take the position. It’s clearly a trap as both a hostage and bait to capture Layton and more than likely route out more insurgents.

Layton is free and Melanie is smart enough to know that he didn’t get out on his own. What’s interesting is, you’d think there’d be more security, at least cameras, on this train to help them figure out the answers as to what happened.

The episode is full of intrigue as Layton attempts to seek allies in the Third Class train and the Night Car. Then there’s also the recruitment of Miles. A plan is hatched to get Josie to Miles and interestingly, there seem to be quite a few folks in on the plan. It’s a fascinating turn of events as you realize how deep and spread the revolution is and who’s in on it.

“The Universe is Indifferent” also focuses on Ruth, a character who has been close to the spotlight but not quite. She had her moment calming the train and this episode gives us more. She’s a bit of a mystery character. Kind of a second to Melanie her loyalty and her thoughts have been a bit of a mystery. It’s hard to tell exactly where she lies and what she’s thinking. And here, we find she’s a key figure in what she’s lobbied to do.

The episode is an interesting one. Melanie attempts to bring control to some aspects of the train all the while those around her plot. Her control is tenuous at best and like a mad despot, we see moves in an attempt to cement her power. Imposing fear among the tailies, threats to other passengers, and black bag renditions to “Hospitality.” We can see those around Melanie questioning her rule beyond those we know of. You can see the unease all around her. The show about class shifts a bit to a focus on rule.

What’s interesting is the show subtlely makes Melanie’s views make sense. She sees the train as a system that is designed to function a certain way. “The train demands it.” What the tailies represent, what Layton threatens, would undo that equilibrium and stability. We also get to see that Melanie is more than willing to get her hands dirty to achieve what she wants. This is the episode where she goes from a simple bureaucrat to a despotic ruler. But even in her actions, we still get some sympathy, She has issues with what she’s done giving her a bit more depth than someone who’s just clearly and singularly evil.

And Melanie’s actions also has the show shoving Bess further into action. She’s been an interesting character who has shown real growth over the season, the person who’s eyes are opened about the injustice around her.

Out of the episodes so far, this is one that has really stood out. It begins to bring together so many of the plotlines that began to be seeded from the beginning. The show is finally on track and things are a bit clearer as the pieces of the puzzle come together.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1E6 Trouble Comes Sideways

Snowpiercer

With justice not found in the previous episode of Snowpiercer, where does the train go from there? The opening moments of the episode are interesting showing a mechanical issue for the train but also setting up a strike due to the injustice. It shows the dichotomy of the train in that it’s inequality within a system that requires all to work together. It’s an interesting situation in that the system has to find a balance to work and everyone is in it together but a small set live comfortably off the work and suffering of others. It’s a microcosm of capitalism and our current socio-political spin. “We’re in this together” when only a few benefit.

The episode dips its toes too into unionization and strikes. Melanie threatens to break it by sending those who do to the tail. She sees the tail as leverage to keep those not there in line. The investigation into protest too shows off the corruption of the train’s police echoeing the real world.

The truth about Wilford also spreads as Andre spreads what he found out. The truth about the imprisonment too is dicussed describing it as “North Korea tucked away in second class.” Where Andres goes is interesting as we get to see cracks in higher classes and the tailies gaining allies. The decision may not be completely altruistic and more for one’s own survival but it points to the order being surface deep.

The episode gets interesting further as it throws in aspects of the surveilance state. A question hangs as to why some individuals are highlighted and Melanie delivers a reason why but it’s unknown how truthful she is. She is the one keeping Wilford’s secret afterall.

And finally, the episode really dives into disaster distracting the masses. The train is teetering on collapse due to malfunction. It of course survives leading to celebration. Much like Presidents starting wars or blaming others, it’s a momentary distraction from the grievances of the masses. It shows Melanie is more than capable of creating the narrative to muddy the seeds of revolution.

The episode is an interesting one as it builds off the previous arc and shows the various obstacles that stand in the way of equity and revolution.

Overall Rating: 7.95

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1EE5 Justice Never Boarded

Snowpiercer

When the last episode of Snowpiercer ended, Layton was thrown into their version of prison, a suspended animation which left a huge question as to where this series was going. The episode kicks off with a voiceover focusing on the revolution to come. It feels like a focusing of the show on the themes that have been teased throughout. A revolution will be fought to replace the tyranny that replaced the previous tyranny.

The episode really dives into class with a few storylines including the trial of LJ Folger and Bess Till moving to second class. How would a trial work on the train? What happens if LJ is found not-guilty? Will that shake up other classes? Does it matter when things are already volitile?

LJ is clearly a manipulative sociopath and it’s interesting the focus on her parents and their planning for the trial. They talk about who makes up tribunal and how unlikely they will find one of their own guilty. It reeks of white priviledge and dances around real world issues. We also see more of her interactions with her parents who… clearly have issues of their own.

The episode really focuses on the split of the train as can be seen with the Nightcar. The first and second class are overseeing a trial of one of their own who has killed individuals from other cars. We get to see more of the laws and rules that govern the train. It’s not the tailies that are pushing the revolution, it’s the third class who “touches every system of the train.”

The episode is interesting as Melanie figures out how to navigate the various political factions and what it means if the tribunal does see some equality. It’s an interesting discussion as we see similar issues playing out in the real world, clearly guilty individuals not be judged by the right parties and being found not guilty leading to unrest.

The episode is an interesting one as it feels like it explores the sparks of revolution. There’s the tailies who have been working to overthrow the oppression for quite some time. Then there’s everyone not in the first or second classes who may see the trial as their spark. One is an underclass who have been shat on the entire time then there’s those who may finally stand up after directly being impacted by injustice.

Justice is not reserved for the rich. There can be justice for all.

The above sums up well what the episode is about as the trial commences. And things really come together in the last ten minutes of the show as Layton’s fate, the trial, all come together. It’s some fascinating weaving of threads really getting to the “heart” of the episode. We get more information on Layton who is mostly away from the episode and really dive into the class divides on the train. It’s taken a while to get to the meat of the show but it looks like we’re finally getting there.

Overall Rating: 7.75

Review: Snowpiercer Vol. 1: The Escape

Snowpiercer Vol. 1 The Escape

In 2014, Titan Comics released the English translation of the acclaimed French comic Snowpiercer. The graphic novel was a translation of a French series released in 1982. Snowpiercer Vol. 1 The Escape might as well have been released in 2014. It’s even more relevant being re-released in a new softcover edition in 2020. Since that initial release, a praised film has been released and a television show has spun out as well. In comics, the following two volumes and the beginning of a prequel series have also followed. The train really took off. What follows is the original review published on this site back in 2014…

Coursing through an eternal winter, on an icy track wrapped around the frozen planet Earth, there travels Snowpiercer, a train one thousand and one carriages long. From fearsome engine to final car, all surviving human life is here: a complete hierarchy of the society we lost…

The elite, as ever, travel in luxury at the front of the train – but for those in the rear coaches, life is squalid, miserable and short.

Proloff is a refugee from the tail, determined never to go back. In his journey forward through the train, he hopes to reach the mythical engine and, perhaps, find some hope for the future…

This claustrophobic tale hurtles you through this microcosm of life. Class, castes, social and political themes are wrapped up in an apocalyptic story taking place on a train. It’s Speed with thought. The train can never stop and each train section clearly is a statement on social stratification. One can say life is a struggle in every sense, especially for the poor, and here we see that manifested in a battle along the train, a mini-revolution in a small space. First the poor must take on and win over the army, whose leadership is the real issue. Then they all must move on to overthrow the political and religious leadership. On top of all of that social commentary, there’s also a religious aspect of it all, with the train taking place of god.

Even without the much deeper layers, this sci-fi dystopian thriller on a train is entertaining just for its tense action. The writing by Jacques Lob is enhanced by Jean-Marc Rochette‘s art which feels like something from the British heyday of the 80s.

Altogether, Snowpiercer Vol. 1 The Escape is an entertaining action thriller that’s much deeper than you’d expect. I absolutely recommend checking it out. I can’t wait to read the second volume myself.

Story: Jacques Lob Art: Jean-Marc Rochette
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: AmazonBookshopZeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Adventureman #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week. It’s the third week of new comics after the shutdown and that also means the return of Marvel!

Adventureman #1 (Image Comics) – Matt Fraction, Terry Dodson, and Rachel Dodson come together for this pulp adventure about a hero who was forgotten and an imagination that spans decades. Read our review.

Archangel 8 #2 (AWA Studios) – Heaven and Hell wage war for the souls of mankind.

Artemis and the Assassin #2 (Aftershock) – A time traveling adventure that’s over the top exciting.

Decorum #2 (Image Comics) – The debut of this series was impressive as far as Jonathan Hickman’s writing, but it’s Mike Huddleston’s art that blew us away. This is the story of the most well-mannered assassin in the known universe.

Excellence #7 (Image Comics) – Spencer Dales has one purpose: tear down the Aegis and free everyone under their “protection.” The series has been solid and feels even more relevant today.

Ginesng Roots #4 (Uncivilized Comics) – Craig Thompson’s autobiographical comic about growing up around ginseng in Wisconsin. One of the best comics of the year.

Old Haunts #1 (AWA Studios) – Three made men are assaults byt the ghosts of their past.

Snowpiercer: Escape (Titan Comics) – If you haven’t ever read this amazing series, now’s your chance with a new softcover edition.

Undiscovered Country #6 (Image Comics) – America is walled off and while the story is fantastical, it’s getting all too real.

Zero Day Threat #1 (Red 5 Comics) – The 21st century arms race is a digital one. Neumann is a secret agency that protects the US from these threats but a mysterious woman holds secrets that could bring down the agency.

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1EE4 Without Their Maker

Snowpiercer

In the fourth episode of Snowpiercer, “Without Their Maker,” a shocking twist in the murder investigation brings Layton and Till’s manhunt to a cat-and-mouse climax. Layton gets closer to Melanie’s big secret, which may prove the most dangerous game of all.

The fourth episode of this series is a fascinating one in that it ends one chapter and opens up another. It’s an unexpected episode in so many ways and really leaves viewers scratching their heads as to what to expect next.

As we saw at the end of the previous episode, we know who the killer is and throughout the episode, all of that is revealed and the case “solved.” When the series began, I expected this murder mystery to play out far into the season but this episode goes heavy on that plotline and wraps it up in a way.

So where does the series go from there?

The episode hints at what’s to come not just with it’s shocking ending but also that the truth about Mr. Wilford will be what drives more of what’s to come. Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) has been clearly acting as Mr. Wilford with digitally put together speeches and acting as his voice. The rest of the trains seems to begin picking up on the fact something is up and Layton clearly knows something is up.

So Melanie’s actions at the end of the episode makes a lot of sense but where that puts Daveed Diggs’ Layton for the series is up in the air.

The exploration of class in this episode is limited and subtle. There’s a lot of talk of which class the killer is from and it’s likely any trial to come will touch on class further but as far as the big picture themes of the series, the focus on them is limited.

The episode is an interesting one as it could easily be a season finale. It for the most part wraps up what seemed like a major plotline but really was an engine for Layton’s story and to explore the train. It also sets up nicely what’s to come for the series. It’s an unexpected episode and one that is welcomed in many ways. We can move on from the odd detective story which felt shoehorned in and get to the real meat of the series.

Overall Rating: 7.15

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1E3 Access is Power

Snowpiercer

In the third episode of Snowpiercer, “Access is Power,” Layton descends into Snowpiercer’s black market with Till, searching for both the killer and a valuable commodity for his revolution. Also, Melanie stages a prize fight to distract the passengers from mounting class tension.

The third episode is a strange one to watch as its themes touch upon the real world chaos we’ve been surrounded by these past few days.

Melanie and those in charge’s control is slipping and that’s being noticed by the ticketed passengers. Much like a certain Cheeto colored elected official, the plan is to distract the masses with a prize fight, gambling, and a speech by Wilford. The episode is striking as it an “extinction event” is touched upon as the train hits some technical issues.

It’s hard not to watch this episode and think about the protests filling the streets across the United States, the attempts at distraction and controlling the narrative by the media, and COVID that still spreads undaunted.

Of course the fight goes off the rails resulting in a riot. That too feels like it reflects the real world as the rich and powerful watch the masses destroy each other for entertainment. With this segment alone, the show begins to touch upon it’s promise, though does so slowly.

The “detective” aspect of the show moves forward bringing in the concept of the train’s black market and an illicit drug trade based on the drug used for those in suspension. And all of it feels like it comes quickly as we’re also treated to the serial killer among the train. While this plotline all felt shoehorned in to the previous two episodes, now things feel a bit rushed as the reveals come quickly.

And underneath are the continued steps to the revolution which is underplayed and teased out slowly. And that’s one of the more fascinating aspects of the show. Some of it feels like its pace is rather quick while other aspects drag out creating a tone that’s all over. It touches upon class warfare and then at other times focuses on a police procedural. The show feels like numerous concepts mashed into one and none of it stands out. But, much like the Snowpiercer itself, the show might need to be judged by how the episodes come together as opposed to each individual car.

Overall Rating: 7.15

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1E2 Prepare to Brace

Snowpiercer

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

Around the Tubes

Disaster, Inc. #1

It was new comic book day yesterday! Who went to their shop? How’d it go? Let us know! If you got any of the new comics, what’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments. While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Hollywood Reporter – “It Will Be an Entirely New Thing”: Zack Snyder’s $20M-Plus ‘Justice League’ Cut Plans Revealed – Sounds like the film isn’t finished and nowhere near completed unlike what his stans have claimed.

Deadline – ‘Snowpiercer’ Series Premiere Tops Sunday Cable Programming, Marks Largest TNT Debut Since ‘The Alienist’ – Huh, didn’t expect those sort of numbers.

Newsarama – STARGIRL Tied for CW’s 2nd Highest Rated 2020 Premiere – It’s a really solid debut. Check out our review!

Minneapolis Star Tribune – Treasured comic book collection found in Drake Hotel rubble reunited with owner – An interesting story.

Reviews

Newsarama – 2020 Ironheart #1
Newsarama – Disaster, Inc. #1
Newsarama – Hawkeye: Freefall #5
Geek Dad – Superman Smashes the Klan

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1E1 First, the Weather Changed

Snowpiercer

When the news that Snowpiercer was coming to television, I wondered how they’d take such a compact story and adapt it for television without stretching out what we’ve seen so far. Based on the French 1982 graphic novel series and praised film spun out from that, the show takes the familiar and mixes in… the familiar.

The story of Snowpiercer tells the tale of the last of humanity. The world has become a frozen wasteland and all that remains, that we know of, is a 1,001 car train the can never stop and circles the Earth. Along with the ticketed passengers a rush of those trying to survive fill the back of the car with stowaways. That sets up a story of class and caste. The “tailies” and ticketed passengers. The haves. And the have nots. It’s a story of class warfare while the survival of everyone is on the line. In the age of COVID-19, the series takes on an even more interesting twist layering on the haves representing those who want the world to open at the expense of the lives of tailies.

But, where can the show go? A police procedural.

There’s been murders on the train and actor Daveed Diggs‘ Andre Layton is tapped to solve it. Layton is a tailie and uses his newfound role to explore the train so that his fellow oppressed can rise up and take the train. We’re not getting the uprising, instead of a familiar genre with an unfamiliar backdrop. There had been a previous murder and now there’s doubt the individual found guilty committed the original.

Jennifer Connelly, the other marquee name on the series, is relatively underused acting as the voice of Mr. Wilford and keeping the train running. The talented Steven Ogg is the other face you might recognize, but his role is also rather short and abrupt. That leaves the focus, and pressure of success, on Diggs’ shoulders.

It’s an interesting start that teases the show’s themes as it introduces us to this world. There’s something intriguing about the direction and choice of how to plot this season but the end result is a bit cold in the end. The excitement and tension of the graphic novel and film are missing and we’re left with the shell of the original concept. It feels like a different show was fused with the Snowpiercer story.

The first episode teases a possible great series but doesn’t quite deliver on its concepts. It doesn’t commit to the struggle. But, as a debut, it’s more than enough reason to explore this world further. Hopefully, we get a more to connect with, instead of CSI: Train.

Overall Rating: 7.0

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