Blu-Ray Review: ‘Snowpiercer: The Complete Second Season’

by Rachel Bellwoar

[***Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-Ray I reviewed in this article. The opinions I share are my own.***]

When you have a train that needs to keep moving to run, the last thing you want is to see it brought to a standstill… unless it’s the season finale of a TV show, and then that’s a pretty good cliffhanger to leave things off on.

Such is how Snowpiercer ended season one. Having impersonated Wilford (Sean Bean) for years, season one closed with Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) realizing Wilford’s alive and in control of Big Alice, a shorter supply train that’s attached itself to Snowpiercer. The first matter of business, then, in season two, is to get the train rolling again without conceding power to Wilford.

This is somewhat managed by ensuring that staying still is mutually destructive, but while that problem’s sorted, Wilford isn’t going away and season two is all about whether Layton (Daveed Diggs) can withstand Wilford’s assaults and avoid a coup, while the passengers become more divided.

While season one’s Blu-Ray wasn’t much better, in the bonus features department, at least there was some discussion of the train and production design. A lion’s share of the bonus features for season two are on Wilford, but they’re more promotional than behind the scenes featurettes for fans. The most disappointing one is the roundtable, which went to the trouble of getting a bunch of the key cast members together for a conversation that barely scratches the surface.

In all of the Wilford commotion, it’s also a shame that the Blu-Ray doesn’t acknowledge the other big addition to the cast this season: Rowan Blanchard as Melanie’s daughter, Alex. Technically Blanchard debuted in season one (for a brief scene in the finale) but it’s only in season two that the news reaches Melanie, and their relationship is one of the highlights of season two. As much as Alex resents Melanie for leaving her behind (it was Wilford who saved her on Big Alice), she shares her mother’s curiosity, and while the show writers could be accused of being generous, when it comes to the timeline, for how quickly their relationship evolves, it’s not unwelcome — especially since the sooner Alex forgives Melanie, the sooner they can start to bond.

Season two also sees Snowpiercer have to do without Melanie for a few episodes, as she goes off train to investigate whether the Earth is warming up and could support life someday. Episode six is a wonderful showcase for Connelly, as she gets to basically carry the episode solo, but with Melanie away, Snowpiercer also gets to prove that it isn’t dependent on one character to succeed.

If anything, Snowpiercer’s investment in its cast is its biggest strength. Both LJ (Annalise Basso) and Josie (Katie McGuinness) are characters other shows would’ve dropped by now — LJ because her actions in season one were so disturbing, and Josie because she was supposed to be dead — but Snowpiercer doesn’t let them disappear and while that might seem like a mistake at first, it’s all because the show has bigger plans for them, and that should be encouraging.

Snowpiercer: The Complete Second Season is available on Blu-Ray and DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. As a content warning, a few episodes deal with suicide this season (the show includes a hotline number at the end of those episodes).

Season three is currently airing on TNT and the series has been renewed for a fourth season.

%d bloggers like this: