Snowpiercer 2×08 Review – “The Eternal Engineer”

the eternal engineer snowpiercer season 2 episode 8 review
Wilford talking to Alex in ‘The Eternal Engineer’ (Image: Screengrab)

‘The Eternal Engineer’ featured a moment I wasn’t expecting at all. And while I understood why a particular event took place in the manner it did, I do think it could have been handled better.

A thing I liked about ‘The Eternal Engineer’ was that it clearly stated the allegiances of certain characters. The episode opened with Roche talking about being stuck in the middle of the war between Layton and Wilford. As head Brakeman, his department’s supposed to remain neutral. However, after everything that’s happened, Roche’s been finding it hard to not pick a side. The fact Roche’s wife wanted him to stand with Wilford only complicated things.

I don’t mind Roche as one of the main characters. ‘The Eternal Engineer’ did a great job of allowing us to get to know him better and to see how tough it’s been for him to continue his duties as head Brakeman while ensuring the safety of his family. The scene, near the end of the episode, where Roche realized what Wilford had planned to do with him and his family was devastating. I hope someone comes to rescue him soon.

The main narrative arc in ‘The Eternal Engineer’ dealt with Wilford relentlessly going after Layton to regain control of Snowpiercer. After causing a number of people to stop trusting Layton over the course of the previous episodes, the remainder of Wilford’s plan involved sending Icy Bob to sabotage the train’s water system and then boarding the train to fix said problem and cementing himself as the savior.

This week’s episode also made Layton realize his incompetence when it came to running Snowpiercer. Yes, he’s a good guy who’s trying to look after everyone. However, to be a leader on such a train, you have to know how it functions. Melanie, even though she was hiding behind a fake Wilford, was able to keep the train and its community running because she played a vital role in the train’s construction. If an issue arose, she could handle it.

In contrast, Layton’s not equipped to handle engineering emergencies in such a manner. Once the water system and the main computer failed, Layton had no choice but to bring Wilford to Snowpiercer. And Wilford made the most out of such an opportunity. After having the train go into manual shutdown, Wilford’s literally brought the lights back to the train and into his supporter’s hearts. Wilford’s the Eternal Engineer mentioned in the episode’s title.

I felt for Layton as he registered the game Wilford had played. However, as Zarah mentioned, there’s still hope. Josie’s been recovering in Big Alice. I wouldn’t be surprised if Josie and Layton started working together to try and take control of Snowpiercer from Wilford.

Talking about Josie, I smiled at the writer’s decision to have her body become resistant to extreme cold (due to the healing process she went through). It made sense for her body to begin working similar to how Icy Bob’s did. I need Josie to use her new ability to help Layton somehow. I also wouldn’t mind Josie being the one to go outside and bring Melanie back to the train.

Josie’s conversation with Audrey was also interesting. I think we can all say that Audrey has indeed defected and has become loyal to Wilford now. Both women had to bear a lot of responsibility while trying to keep their friends safe over the years. However, as Audrey put it, she doesn’t have to be pushed down under the metaphorical weight anymore. She can relax because of being with Wilford. Josie can also decide to stop fighting Wilford and join him for an easier life.

Seeing Wilford assist Josie with addressing her phantom pain (over losing a hand) had me worried. There’s no way she will side with Wilford, right? I hope not!

As for Layton not killing Wilford when they were down in the Engine Room, I think such a move would have been quite risky. A majority of people don’t like Layton. Killing Wilford could have made them come after Layton and wreak havoc across the train.

Having said that, I think the writers could have handled the situation better. Seeing Layton not stop Wilford from directly talking to the passengers through the communication system felt out of character for him.

Other thoughts and questions:

  • I don’t think anyone wants LJ and Oz to be a romantic couple. Did Oz forget the people LJ killed during the first season?
  • Boki seeing the truth about Wilford and siding with Layton made sense.
  • Wilford’s going to make Ben’s life a lot harder. Uh-oh!
  • I thought the dead bodies of the Breachmen would be used as fertilizer. Seeing them be thrown out of the train felt like a waste.

We won’t be getting an episode next week. Instead, a two-episode finale is scheduled to air on March 29, 2021.

Feel free to share your thoughts about ‘The Eternal Engineer’ with us.

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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