Snowpiercer: 10 Times The Show Tackled Deep Issues


Snowpiercer recently concluded its second season. Already in the 20 episodes that it has produced, there have been plenty of fights, drama, death, hefty decisions, emotional reunions and so much more. Granted that the world isn’t livable given the Freeze, life on the train is the only life anyone knows, and with that confined environment, there are bound to be issues, especially when it comes to social hierarchy and resources.

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Layton and Wilford had a power struggle that led to Layton taking a few passengers and 10 cars, Melanie made the ultimate sacrifice for humanity, and Snowpiercer dealt with dangerous killers and a revolution. No two episodes are the same as those onboard struggle to survive and find a better way of life for all.

10 Melanie’s Reunion With Her Daughter

Melanie and Alex facing each other in Snowpiercer

Melanie suffered and carried a heavy burden of guilt and grief for years, believing she’d left her daughter, along with her parents, to die in the Freeze years before when she took Snowpiercer from Wilford.

However, in the first season finale, she happily discovers her daughter to be alive, having been onboard Wilford’s other train, Big Alice. Alex was led to believe that Melanie abandoned her thanks to Wilford’s influence, and the mother and daughter have some issues to work through as a result. Nonetheless, the two gradually grow closer and repair their relationship.

9 When There Was A Killer Among The Passengers

Lilah looking down in Snowpiercer

LJ is a manipulative villain who was the mastermind behind the murders on the train in the first season, and her bodyguard Erik covered for her. Layton discovers this, and LJ is subsequently sent to trial. She was selfish and frankly, terrifying.

Why she caused such horror on board the train when life on the train was hard enough is beyond awful, especially since being the mastermind appeared to bring her some kind of pleasure. In any case, her crimes and her trial were definitely deep issues, and LJ eventually got her karma when she was evicted from First Class and forced to take up work as a janitor in Third Class following the tragic deaths of her parents in the revolution.

8 Wilford’s Dastardly Plans

Wilford in the snow in Snowpiercer

Wilford doesn’t care about democracy, or anyone other than himself for that matter. When Wilford catches up to Snowpiercer courtesy of Big Alice, Melanie and Layton certainly know that it means big trouble, and that their problems aren’t over just yet. While many others happily welcome Wilford’s arrival, it quickly becomes clear that he doesn’t have good intentions.

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He harbors a grudge against Melanie for leaving him years before, he intends to run both trains with a dictatorship approach, and he expects everyone to pretty much bow down before him and do whatever he wants. He knows how to break people, he’s used to getting what he wants, and he’s ruthless. It’s clear as to why Melanie had left him behind years before, as she knew his rule over the train wouldn’t lead to anything good.

7 Melanie’s Lies

Snowpiercer Melanie Jennifer Connelly

Melanie had assumed the identity of Wilford for quite some time before the secret came out. Many people were quick to challenge her, and Melanie faced serious opposition from First Class passengers. Ruth, previously a good friend, was angry at Melanie and considered Melanie’s lies quite the betrayal.

However, Melanie had sacrificed a lot and carried a heavy burden to keep the train running, and audiences gradually find out why, as a flashback to Melanie taking over the train when it left Chicago is shown, showcasing Wilford’s brutal manner and dangerous qualities.

6 The Power Struggle Between Layton And Wilford

Wilford and Layton facing each other in Snowpiercer

Layton had led revolutions on behalf of the Tail and Third Class sections of Snowpiercer in order to offer those passengers a better way of life and to establish a more democratic government on Snowpiercer by the time Wilford showed up in Big Alice.

Wilford, the power-hungry and selfish man that he is, of course does everything he can to win over the passengers of Snowpiercer, as he is admired greatly for his creation of the trains that saved the last of humanity (though Melanie is really the one that made the trains a reality with her engineering skills). Layton had come far only to be forced to rebel once again, taking some of his most trusted allies and ten cars of Snowpiercer with him in response to Wilford’s takeover.

5 Whenever The Characters Questioned Their Own Way Of Thinking

Ruth looking to her left in Snowpiercer

Ruth was always dedicated to her job onboard Snowpiercer. She did everything she was ever asked, even if she thought it was beneath her. She initially didn’t question anything. However, her worldview is shattered when she discovers Melanie’s lies about Wilford being onboard the train (as Melanie had really been acting in the role of Head Engineer for all the years the train had been running).

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The revolution and Ruth finding out who Wilford really was once he appeared in Big Alice further inspired her to question everything, and she eventually joined Layton and the others, intending to rebel against Wilford. Ruth wasn’t the only character to question herself; Melanie and Layton certainly had their moments of self-doubt too.

4 When Melanie Sacrificed Herself For The Future Of Humanity

When Melanie discovers that the planet is warming up again, she ends up being the one to take on the assignment to lead the data collection mission. It means going outside into the Freeze, but she is willing to do so, to see if there is a possibility that humanity can once again live outside and recolonize.

Unfortunately, Wilford being Wilford, refuses to pick up Melanie when her mission is complete, and Melanie is forced to make a tough decision when she’s left behind. She sacrifices herself, leaving the last of her batteries connected to her drives containing the information they need. She did what she had to do so that her daughter and all those aboard Snowpiercer and Big Alice could have a future, which shows just how selfless, kind and courageous she was.

3 The Social Injustices

Layton and Melanie looking towards the audience in Snowpiercer

Frequently, the show highlights the social injustices onboard Snowpiercer. There are obvious and significant differences between each of the classes, with Third Class and the Tail living in the most brutal conditions. First Class typically has no consideration for anyone but themselves, and certainly don’t care about the ongoing social injustices on the train.

Layton’s revolution brought the social injustices to a head, as he insisted on a war that would turn bloody that things had to change to ensure a better way of life for all, and he wasn’t taking no for an answer.

2 The Treatment Of Those In The Tail And Third Class

Occupants in the Tail hanging out in Snowpiercer

Clearly, life in the Tail is far from pleasant. Their conditions are horrid and they’re treated terribly; in fact, they were considered more of a nuisance than not, and not much regard for them or their lives in general was given. The Third Class isn’t much better.

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They weren’t treated like human beings and were considered expendable. It’s no wonder Layton organized a revolution to help them; their way of life was pretty brutal.

1 Life On The Trains

Snowpiercer in a snow storm on the tracks in Snowpiercer

Every day, the passengers on board the trains that never stop, those being Snowpiercer and Big Alice, all face the same issue: life on the train.

They can’t go outside and breathe fresh air, they can’t go for walks, they don’t see any other season other than winter, and they’re not sure when, if ever, they’ll be able to live outside again. Like it or not, they are all confined to the train, and that’s hard for the passengers, especially those who remember what life was like before the Freeze.

NEXT: Snowpiercer: The Worst Thing Each Character Has Done 

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