Warning: May contain spoilers.
When I heard that they were doing a TV reboot of Snowpiercer, I was excited. I am a huge fan of Bong Joonho’s. I have seen all of his movies except for the first one. I also have nothing against reboots, unlike some people. I don’t believe that reboots ruin your memory of the original material because you can simply just not watch it if you are so against it. I don’t remember when I started but I watched the first 4 episodes in one go (so most likely right after Episode 4 was released), forgot about it, and finally finished the whole season (10 episodes) last weekend.
Premise (from Wikipedia):
Snowpiercer is set seven years after the world becomes a frozen wasteland and follows the remnants of humanity, who inhabit a perpetually moving train consisting of 1001 carriages that circles the globe 2.7 revolutions for a year (133 days to complete a revolution). Built by billionaire Wilford, the train is rigidly separated by class, with passengers caught up in a revolutionary struggle against the strictly imposed social hierarchy and unbalanced allocation of limited resources. The show questions class warfare, social injustice, and the politics of survival
The Snowpiercer movie came out in 2013 and I watched it that same year because I remember discussing this movie with some of my students then. It was such a big deal then because it was Bong Joonho’s first English-language movie and made headlines in South Korea. Since some of my students were young, they were definitely grossed out by the protein bars. That was a major topic of conversation during my classes then. There are some similarities from the movie, obviously, since this is based on the 1982 French graphic novel, Le Transperceneige. There were some familiar subjects like the tail revolting, they have a leader that they believe in, Wilford has a second-in-command that’s running the place, the protein bar and Kronole also made appearances, but the feel is totally different. And they have deviated a lot from the movie, which I really appreciate.
The two main characters on the series are Melanie Cavill (played by the beautiful Jennifer Connelly) and Andre Layton (played by Daveed Diggs). Melanie Cavill is the Head of Hospitality and the Voice of the Train. Her character is like Tilda Swinton’s in the movie. On the other side of the train, we have Andre Layton, a former detective and the leader of the revolution (like Chris Evan’s character in the movie). And then we have the supporting characters, some really annoying ones especially the elite ones.
I would say it started slow. Andre got involved with the people outside the Tail because a series of murders occurred on the train and being a former detective, he was tapped to investigate and find the real killer. This investigation lasted 4 episodes and I felt like that was a tad too long. They could have shortened that a little bit, because right after that, it totally picked up. Secrets were revealed and the revolution happened. I feel like they could’ve devoted more episodes on that instead of the murders in the beginning. The revolution happened for like less than an episode. But I love the whole history between Melanie Cavill and Wilford.
Melanie Cavill is so interesting! Towards the second half of the series, I just found myself really rooting for her! Before the revolution happened, everyone was basically against her (from the Tail to the elites), and I’m just like, “How do you think you all are going to survive without her?! She literally runs the train!” As if that old commander and the Folgers know anything about running a train. I’m so satisfied about what happened to them. They should have dragged Ruth with them. LOL. (She was so hilarious on the last few scenes though.) I also love that Melanie is not perfect. I mean, she’s done terrible stuff to cover up for her secret, but I do believe she had good intentions. Whereas, they painted Layton as someone who can do no wrong, so I am actually not a fan of that. I don’t know, I’m not buying it. I also hate it when this happens – when women have to die or sacrifice something for a man. Ugh, I hated that!
The final episode is basically the aftermath of the revolution and was setting up things for Season 2. I actually thought that they were going the same route as the movie when they started getting signals. But that twist was so much better!
I was searching on Twitter right after finishing it and aside from that surprise on the last scene of the final episode, it was revealed in the trailer they released that Sean Bean will be appearing on Season 2 as Mr. Wilford. Goddamnit, I am so freaking excited! I can’t wait for Season 2!