Snowpiercer 2×02 Review – ‘Smolder to Life’

smolder to life snowpiercer season 2 episode 2 review
Layton and Melanie coming up with a plan in ‘Smolder to Life’ (Image: Screengrab)

‘Smolder to Life’ had Wilfred and Layton meet each other for the first time. Melanie made a decision about her next mission. And we got a revelation that made me extremely happy!

Trigger Warning: This review of Snowpiercer season 2 episode 2 ‘Smolder to Life’ mentions suicide.

A lot unfolded during the second episode of Snowpiercer. Everything is happening quickly and that just makes me excited about where the current narrative’s going. Let’s talk about Melanie first. She knows for sure that it was snowing outside in the previous episode. Seeing her work with Ben and Javi to obtain concrete proof about what she saw made me happy. The Earth is healing itself. With the temperature warming up, Melanie and the other adults might just see the planet return to a habitable environment in their lifetime.

Snowpiercer does link to current talks about finding ways to save the environment. In a sense, people misspeak when they say they have to ‘save Earth’. Don’t get it twisted. The planet doesn’t need saving. She’ll be okay. Mother Nature always survives (even taking thousands of years to undo certain types of destruction). It’s the humans that need saving. An extinction-level event will wipe away humankind and a majority of other living beings. Earth will still exist.

Melanie’s current theory is that in a month she should be able to find a particular place where humankind can live outside the train. However, for her to find such a place with bearable temperature, she needs equipment Snowpiercer doesn’t have. That’s when Melanie and Layton decide to invite Wilfred to a Scientific Summit and come to a compromise to preserve what’s left of humankind.

Of course, Wilfred being Wilfred is ready to use such an opportunity to kill Layton. I liked how he wanted Alex to do it. Wilfred is quite dramatic and he’s all for using Alex to punish Melanie for stealing his train.

The good news is that Wilfred stops Alex from killing Layton. The bad news is that he wants Melanie to travel to the research center somewhere in the Rocky Mountains to collect the data she needs. It’s clear that Wilfred thinks it will be easier for him to handle Layton with Melanie out of the picture (even for just a month).

I’m looking forward to seeing how the show will divide screentime between what Melanie will be doing at the research center and the game of chess Wilfred and Layton will play. Frankly, things aren’t great for Layton. An unknown number of people on Snowpiercer are loyal to Wilfred and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an uprising against Layton.

The scene with Bess and the pastor talking about different religions was quite chilling. It’s obvious that Wilfred’s return has religious parallels. It’s a very strong narrative that can quickly spread through the train if not stopped.

Speaking of Bess, I liked her being promoted to Train Detective. Getting such a promotion brought back some purpose in her life. She’s been tasked to uncover who attacked Lights (one of Layton’s friends from the Tail) and trying to cause a rebellion. Let’s see if Bess can solve the mystery before danger completely surrounds Layton. 

Another disturbing scene was between Wilfred and Kevin. Even though Wilfred was willing to swap Melanie for Kevin, I knew Wilfred wasn’t going to let his Head of Hospitality go without facing some kind of punishment. The fact that Kevin, under interrogation, told Layton that Big Alice had 100 passengers with scarce food supplies was information Wilfred didn’t want Layton to have. Kevin had to pay for his mistake.

Kudos to the writers for the way they handled the entire scene. At first, I thought Wilfred was going to drown Kevin in the warm bath he was preparing for him. However, it turned out that Wilfred operated differently. After the two got into the bathtub together (both men were naked. I know! I was surprised too), Wilfred persuaded Kevin to slit his own wrists. Wilfred then proceeded to continue sitting in the bathtub as it filled with Kevin’s blood.

The scene showed the power Wilfred has over the passengers of Big Alice. Everyone adores Wilfred and they will do anything for him, even kill themselves without putting up a fight. It’s very cult-like behavior. Of course, Wilfred isn’t interested in Melanie studying how the Earth is growing warmer because he wants to continue holding onto such power.

smolder to life snowpiercer season 2 episode 2 review
Wilfred and Kevin in ‘Smolder to Life’ (Image: Screengrab)

Now, coming to the moment in ‘Smolder to Life’ that made me yell with happiness. If you have been following my coverage on The Geekiary, you already know I’m not a fan of fridging women to cause manpain. Even though the first season showed Josie fight until the end, she was still killed (by Melanie) to cause emotional pain to Layton.

Well, I’m glad the writers had something else planned for her. It was revealed that Josie’s still alive. Melanie didn’t kill her. Zarah’s the one who found an injured Josie being treated in a clinic meant for the Upper Class. Melanie was keeping Josie’s condition a secret.

As a fan of Josie, I’m glad the writers have more to tell through her. Josie’s incredibly brave and has a strong moral compass. The first season implying she had died wasn’t the right move, in my opinion. So, yay, to her still being around.

I can’t wait to see Layton tell her everything that’s happened. As far as Josie’s concerned, Melanie is the main threat. She also has to have a conversation with Zarah for ratting her out to Melanie. And, of course, I can’t wait to see Josie reunite with her adoptive son Miles.

Josie’s return has disrupted Zarah’s fantasy, though. I think Zarah was hoping to stay with Layton and go back to the time they were married and in love (before the Earth froze). As far I can tell, even though Zarah’s pregnant with Layton’s child, he’s not interested in her like that anymore. She’s the one who left him in the tail, years ago, to live a better life uptrain. Josie, on the other hand, stuck with Layton and Miles through thick and thin. I am ready for the drama!

Some other thoughts and questions:

  • I think the healing gel the Headwoods created will be used during Josie’s recovery.
  • Is Audrey going to get close to Wilfred to assassinate him?
  • The writers need to figure out what to do with Oz and LJ.
  • Who was the little girl Melanie was hallucinating about?
  • I would like Bess to be the one to take down Icy Bob.

What did you think of ‘Smolder to Life’?

Let us know.

smolder to life snowpiercer season 2 episode 2 review
Resource shared at the end of ‘Smolder to Life’ (Image: Screengrab)    

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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