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S01.E02: Prepare to Brace

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Layton uses his new position as train detective to investigate the murder while gathering intelligence for the revolution on the side; Melanie faces a resource crisis, with potentially drastic consequences for the entire train.

Airing Sunday, May 24, 2020.

 

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Well I gave this a shot, watched two episodes and I'm out. 

The movie was interesting though. 

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I thought this was a lot better than the first episode, a lot less exposition and more of the plot moving forward.  

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Looks like the train's entire beef supply is no more. Things are going to get a lot more uncomfortable. And they're passing that same unstable section of track again in less than six months.
 

When the Tailie kids are being "apprenticed," does that mean they're being brought forward to learn, or to be used for protein?

 

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My DVR really screwed this episode up, it was half way over by the time the DVR started to record, I had to watch it on the TNT website.

5 hours ago, Sir RaiderDuck OMS said:

When the Tailie kids are being "apprenticed," does that mean they're being brought forward to learn, or to be used for protein?

Since the kid says they need the Tailies to be ready whatever section on the train they end up at, the Tailies don't think they will be killed. 

Seems like the Tailies only plan is to "Eat The Rich".

I wonder if people use some form of money on the train or they just have access to certain places based on their status.

Anybody else think Mr. Wilford is in one of the drawers and has been in there for a very long time and Melanie Cavill is worried that he won't be "normal" when they thaw him out.

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36 minutes ago, AnimeMania said:

My DVR really screwed this episode up, it was half way over by the time the DVR started to record, I had to watch it on the TNT website.

There was a golf event before that ran late. I happened to notice it and just left my TV on TNT. TNT repeats it right afterwards, and I think they show it on TBS. 

37 minutes ago, AnimeMania said:

Anybody else think Mr. Wilford is in one of the drawers and has been in there for a very long time and Melanie Cavill is worried that he won't be "normal" when they thaw him out.

Yes. I think there's way more to Mr. Wilford than what's been shown. 

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7 hours ago, Sir RaiderDuck OMS said:

Looks like the train's entire beef supply is no more.

That would indicate very poor planning & space allocation on the train. You don't have to be a genius like Mr. Wilford to know you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket.

57 minutes ago, AnimeMania said:

Anybody else think Mr. Wilford is in one of the drawers and has been in there for a very long time and Melanie Cavill is worried that he won't be "normal" when they thaw him out.

That is one very real possibility. Another is that he missed the train and Melanie Cavill is pretending he is on board and that she consults him. Or perhaps she is Mr. Wilford, and is avoiding the mantle of fame so as to remain effective as an executive officer? There certainly is more to Mr. W that will surely be revealed in later episodes.

Hmmm. Short scene where Melanie puts the W badge on upside down, therefore making it a M badge. A portent? Because Chekhov's Pistol.....

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I had the same problem with my DVR, but it taped the first half of the second showing too, so I got a very confusing look at the episode.  It all worked out.  I got a kick out of the engineer drawing a W on his uniform as a salute.  Very Mel Brooksian. 

 

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11 hours ago, Sir RaiderDuck OMS said:

Looks like the train's entire beef supply is no more. Things are going to get a lot more uncomfortable. And they're passing that same unstable section of track again in less than six months.

The cows are frozen--frozen meat is still consumable.

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1 hour ago, CeeBeeGee said:

The cows are frozen--frozen meat is still consumable.

Yes, but dead frozen cows can't produce baby cows. When this supply of beef is gone, it's gone for good.

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I thought this was much better than the pilot. I'm not sure I understand the whole thing with the Night Car and the special water room of memories though. I wish they would stay away from the more abstract concepts like this. It's kind of what killed the movie for me. Some of it is just a little too far out to grasp.

I also think Layton is being counterproductive if his ultimate goal is to help the taillies revolt. Better to cooperate and work from that side of the train than get this crap kicked out of him and be sent back to the tail. He's not going to do anyone any good back there.

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That would indicate very poor planning & space allocation on the train. You don't have to be a genius like Mr. Wilford to know you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket.

Yeah, in the pilot they said there were something like seventeen cars growing fruits and vegetables. You mean to tell me all the cows were in one car? That doesn't seem like it would provide enough for 1,001 cars. 

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2 hours ago, iMonrey said:

Yeah, in the pilot they said there were something like seventeen cars growing fruits and vegetables. You mean to tell me all the cows were in one car? That doesn't seem like it would provide enough for 1,001 cars. 

Well the people in the different Classes would get different parts of the cow. First Class would get Filet Mignon, Second Class would get Beef Pot Pie, Third Class would get Beef Fried Rice, and the Tailies would get Cow Stomachs boiled with Cow Fat and Cow Bones.

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Ok, 2 episodes in and i've already got some picky points.

First is, after 6 years, you'd think all the avalanches that could have been set off would have been, barring earthquakes. It's not as if there could be new blizzards-- at -118 degrees, the amount of water in Earth's atmosphere should be about the same as Mars's. I suppose there might still be windstorms, but none was shown. Not to mention, the snow should be a rock hard mass.

Next, they never stop the train, so how could they do maintenance on the tracks? What happens when a rail comes loose?

And they don't have armored shutters to cover the lovely full wall windows-- stupid. I assume, eventually the staff from another cattle car will salvage the carcasses. Including the human ones-- i think part of the long term plan is to make maximum use of the meat supply. Sure, most of the executive staff is horrified about cannibalism, but some are quietly pragmatic.

Anther thing, they keep referring to *the* engine. Or perhaps it's Engine, since they sometimes deify it. Only one? I've seen quite a few freight trains of our time with multiple engines, include some at the rear. That makes more sense, especially if you can't stop, and apparently one engine is not enought to keep full consumer electricity going and power through a snowdrift. With multiple engines you could stop one and service it, while another takes over. Assuming we're talking about Trident sub style nuclear plants, you're going to need about a week to cool down anyway.

And why a train, anyway? Why not a fixed bunker? The need to move increases the number of points of failure.

And how naive are the first class passengers, acting as if this is just another cruise? They don't seem to realize that they have no power anymore. Their money is spent, they funded this shiny big train, but that's done. It's the executive class that's in charge, and any onepercenter who can't actually help out is just another deferred source of protein. You'd think some of them could figure that out.

Finally, what is the end game here? Wait for a new geologic era to come, hundreds of generations in the future? That would be another reason to have a stationary survival plan-- reopen the coal mines, and bring back carbon dioxide and global warming.

 

That being said i'm going to keep watching for now.

 

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36 minutes ago, dr pepper said:

And how naive are the first class passengers, acting as if this is just another cruise? They don't seem to realize that they have no power anymore. Their money is spent, they funded this shiny big train, but that's done. It's the executive class that's in charge, and any onepercenter who can't actually help out is just another deferred source of protein. You'd think some of them could figure that out.

I don't get the let them eat cake attitude with the First Class. As you say, what does their money mean now? They can't access more of it--or is there some kind of nascent banking system, complete with speculation/stock market, that creates income for them?

8 hours ago, Sir RaiderDuck OMS said:

Yes, but dead frozen cows can't produce baby cows. When this supply of beef is gone, it's gone for good.

Good point--either they have redundant cattle cars, or there's an animal husbandry car where they're breeding more cattle. I don't think dairy cows are slaughtered while they're still nursing? So I think there might be some more.

Yeah, I thought the Layton rebellion was not strategic, in addition to being bad storytelling. We had a violent uprising at the end of that last episode, a violent punishment for said uprising at the beginning this this episode (Jesus, the thing with the arm was horrifying) and we end the episode with...another violent set piece, ending with his interrogation with him wearing a literal mask of blood.

I did like the Third Classer with the punk haircut (can't remember her name) who was so suspicious of him last episode and at the beginning of this one, gradually start to respect him to the point that she took down the bigoted heavy-set dude toward the end. 

In these first few episodes, I want to see as much of this world as possible.

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Any theories why they box away criminals/people in the drawers and don't just execute? 

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9 minutes ago, JasonCC said:

Any theories why they box away criminals/people in the drawers and don't just execute? 

Waste not want not?    Plus I am guessing it’s the same reason they never just kicked off the tailies in the back.   The powers that be (whoever they really are) open the doors as little as possible.   For train maintenance and such.   But once the doors were closed they were closed.     The last thing you want is dead bodies stinking up the joint.   Plus it works on a “civility” level that might appeal to the first class.

As for the tracks and the avalanches I think that was the whole point of the crash.   It was only a matter of time before something like this happened and the “speed at all cost” approach backfired.  

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I think this episode did seem a lot better in terms of moving the story along.  It was interesting to me that Layton said he wanted to return to the Tail, and that he did not want to go to Third Class, despite what he said last week.  

I'm curious about what Second Class looks like.  We saw in First Class that the people are very snobby, especially that hoighty toighty redhead who said she was a lawyer and therefore should be able to handle whatever Layton is doing.  Seems like the daughter was thoroughly embarrassed of her, however.  I wonder if the daughter is going to actively help Layton in the future. the show seemed to be hinting at something.

In Third Class they sit around listening to music in dark lounges and eat noodles with mystery meat, supposedly the unwanted parts of cows, and possibly human flesh.  I believe that Layton and the blonde lady only recovered two legs and one arm.  Leaving one arm and his penis unaccounted for.  Ugh.

Are the Tailies living in such squalor that they don't even have enough water to bathe?  Or do they not even have the facilities to do so?  I thought that Melanie was talking about rationing the running water to them.  It seems to me that water is so precious that they don't shower.  We have seen Layton get washed each day before he is deemed presentable to interact with people.

Three of the leaders of the attack from last week were put into the Drawers... Pike, the big guy, and another.  The little girl was going to lose her arm for her part in it, I guess she wasn't going to get the Drawers because she's a kid?  But they took the mother's arm instead.  I'm unclear on the purpose of the Drawers either, unless there is some kind of rehabilitation/reprogramming going on.  Is the goal to wait until the world defrosts so they can transfer them into a real prison?

I didn't fully understand what Layton was doing at the end... he wrote a symbol on the floor and he had ripped out the elastic from his pants and there were symbols on it, including the one he had just written on the floor?  Then he wanted his friends from the Tail to get this code?  What was the purpose of this?

 

On 5/25/2020 at 8:18 AM, AnimeMania said:

Since the kid says they need the Tailies to be ready whatever section on the train they end up at, the Tailies don't think they will be killed. 

Seems like the Tailies only plan is to "Eat The Rich".

I'm not sure what their plan is either... they keep talking about "the revolution" so I do think it appears that their only goal is equality for all.

On 5/25/2020 at 1:57 AM, Sir RaiderDuck OMS said:

Looks like the train's entire beef supply is no more. Things are going to get a lot more uncomfortable. And they're passing that same unstable section of track again in less than six months.
 

When the Tailie kids are being "apprenticed," does that mean they're being brought forward to learn, or to be used for protein?

 

I agree that there have got to be multiple cars of cattle.  There were only maybe 20 cows at most on that car.  20 cows can't feed 3,000 people for 7 years.  Plus I am assuming there might also be chicken cars, pig cars, etc.

I did take it at face value that these kids are being apprenticed.  Miles' foster mom (the English lady, the actress who played Viven Leigh in "Hollywood") was very skeptical and said that he might never see her again.  But Mia's parents were overjoyed, it appeared to mean a new life for these kids.

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Anther thing, they keep referring to *the* engine. Or perhaps it's Engine, since they sometimes deify it. Only one? I've seen quite a few freight trains of our time with multiple engines, include some at the rear. That makes more sense, especially if you can't stop, and apparently one engine is not enought to keep full consumer electricity going and power through a snowdrift. With multiple engines you could stop one and service it, while another takes over. Assuming we're talking about Trident sub style nuclear plants, you're going to need about a week to cool down anyway.

Not to mention it would be a stretch to think a single engine could power 1,001 cars. 

The whole premise of this story falls apart pretty quickly when you start picking at the threads. That's why I said it services a 2-hour movie better than a running TV series.

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I didn't fully understand what Layton was doing at the end... he wrote a symbol on the floor and he had ripped out the elastic from his pants and there were symbols on it, including the one he had just written on the floor?  Then he wanted his friends from the Tail to get this code?

I *think* he is counting the number of junctions or something. It's some kind of map he wanted that guy to take back to the taillies. He'd been telling the others (the ones that got put into drawers) he was working uptrain so he could feed intel like this to the tail. Which makes his plan to escape, draw attention to himself as a distraction, and the get the crap kicked out of him, all the more stupid.

Also, did Layton pull that bobby-pin looking thing out of his ass? Because . . . ouch.

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So, what is the Tallies plan, exactly? They want to be treated better and take down the rich people who run the train, but what next? Do they know how to run the train? What do they do with everyone else, like the second and third class passengers and employees? Are they going to try and recruit them to join them against the rich (which might be their best play) and try to make the train more egalitarian? Whats the plan beyond "get to next car"? I also wonder why, if the people running the train think that the Tallies are such useless mooching garbage people, why dont they have them do stuff more often. Kids who show promise can be taken out to learn skills to move up cars, and apparently its possible to get jobs and go to other cars (like Laytons ex and they offered to do the same for him) so why dont more people do it? Solidarity? 

Oh that arm! I am not super squeamish, but that was nasty

I feel like Layton should just play along for awhile, it seems like the best way to possible help their revolution. The murder mystery stuff is decently interesting, partially because it allows us to explore the world here, which is the most interesting part of the show. I love exploring the cars, its really interesting seeing more of how people live here, and the differences between the sections of the train. I am guessing Laytons investigation will take us up the train, starting here in third class, then second class, then first, then the people actually in charge, including the mysterious Mr. Wilford...who may or may not be Melanie, or someone she is covering for. 

As much as Melanie talks about their perfect train ecosystem, it seems like a lot of these shortages could have been dealt with through more long term planning. 

I like the former Detroit cop who is working with Layton, and seems to be warming up to him. Really, he should work on getting some of the security people on his side, or some of the other working class people from the train. They probably have more in common with the Tallies than the 1%ers at the front of the train.

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39 minutes ago, blackwing said:

Are the Tailies living in such squalor that they don't even have enough water to bathe?  Or do they not even have the facilities to do so?  I thought that Melanie was talking about rationing the running water to them.  It seems to me that water is so precious that they don't shower.  We have seen Layton get washed each day before he is deemed presentable to interact with people.

[SNIP]

I didn't fully understand what Layton was doing at the end... he wrote a symbol on the floor and he had ripped out the elastic from his pants and there were symbols on it, including the one he had just written on the floor?  Then he wanted his friends from the Tail to get this code?  What was the purpose of this?

I am not sure if we should be watching what is happening at face value or as an analogue for Capitalism.

The Tailies are smart and resourceful. Melanie Cavill knows that the Tailies have a source of food and water in their compartment. The Tailies seem to be exhibiting all the traits you need to survive in a post apocalyptic world. How many of the other passengers would be able carry on any normalcy or be able to function, if the train stopped feeding them even for a short period of time. 

Layton was using some kind of code to describe what cars were on the train so that when the Tailies do attack, they will know what to expect.

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20 minutes ago, AnimeMania said:

Layton was using some kind of code to describe what cars were on the train so that when the Tailies do attack, they will know what to expect.

That's what I thought as well, he was drawing a map of the different cars he'd seen so far.

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I think In regards to the Tailies there is a short turn plAn and a long term plan.  The short term plan is to just be treated better.  More rations.   Maybe nicer living conditions.    The long term plan was hinted at at the move of the kids to other cars.   They are hoping that as the kids grow up they will have friends in third class and even second class that might switch the opinion on them to those in charge.   They must know they will never accomplish anything with a riot but it does show they are there and forces the people in charge to make even small consessions like bringing kids whose loyalty will always be in flux to other cars.

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I've been trying to figure out the classes. We have a first, second, and third class system, plus the tailies. I think the first episode clarified that the first class are the rich and the third class are the employees of the train. So who's in second? I'm assuming it's people they need, but who wouldn't have the money to pay for an actual ticket, so maybe these people paid a sum and also barter services for their upkeep - people like dentists, doctors, etc. I couldn't imagine only having one dentist or doctor for the entire train. But that still doesn't seem like enough to fill up another class section, so perhaps those in service to the first class group are here as well? We saw the bodyguard in first class with noodle girl. He's got to stay somewhere when he's not protecting his employers from naked Scandanavians.    

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This episode definitely confirmed that Layton is from Chicago.  Given the skyline in the intro in episode 1, I'm wondering if this means the train originated from Chicago as well.  I guess it doesn't matter, since the entire world is frozen, but I'm curious.

I'm also wondering what happened between him and his fiance.  It almost sounds like they boarded the train together, but then she somehow got upgraded to Third Class?  He said something about things that have happened "since you left us".  I wonder if her skills as a yoga/meditation/whatever practitioner were needed and they upgraded her in exchange for working.  If that's the case, why wouldn't they have upgraded Layton years ago?  I would think there would definitely have been room for a homicide detective on the security forces.  But I guess if he had been there, then he wouldn't be the main character in this story about class.

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1 hour ago, blackwing said:

I'm wondering if this means the train originated from Chicago as well.

The train appears to have begun it's run on the west coast, somewhere quite far north. Seattle, maybe?

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On 5/25/2020 at 12:20 AM, Quilt Fairy said:

I thought this was a lot better than the first episode, a lot less exposition and more of the plot moving forward.  

Agreed, I was thinking about bowing out before watching this, but it turned out I enjoyed this episode a lot more than last week.  It is an interesting premise.  Not sure why they're so invested into maintaining "balance" though.

On 5/26/2020 at 9:24 AM, JasonCC said:

Any theories why they box away criminals/people in the drawers and don't just execute? 

Keep them around in case they need to eat them?

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Well, after two episodes, I'm out.

The world is just too messed up right now to make me want to watch a grim, dystopian show that makes little to no sense when you really look at it. (Some posters upthread have pointed out all the scientific and other issues).

I get that it may be trying to be a metaphor for a classist society, which is a fine premise -- for a film. I don't think that kind of abstract notion works as well in a weekly series. 

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The world is just too messed up right now to make me want to watch a grim, dystopian show that makes little to no sense when you really look at it. 

That's the way I felt about HBO's "Plot Against America." It was too damn depressing and hit way too close to home - deliberately. But I don't have that issue with Snowpiercer. It's far enough removed from the real world to take me out of that head space.

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I get that it may be trying to be a metaphor for a classist society, which is a fine premise -- for a film. I don't think that kind of abstract notion works as well in a weekly series. 

On that we agree. I'm willing to stick with it and see how it goes only because there's so little new content these days. But the premise definitely works much better in a film.

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7 hours ago, LucidDreamer said:

I get that it may be trying to be a metaphor for a classist society, which is a fine premise -- for a film. I don't think that kind of abstract notion works as well in a weekly series. 

I don't know, there are 1001 cars on the train and each one could represent an aspect of society or industry or culture, etc. There is a lot of potential story lines there. I still have no idea how the different classes interact with each other or if there is a monetary system.

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1 hour ago, AnimeMania said:

I still have no idea how the different classes interact with each other or if there is a monetary system.

I think a) Cruise Liner, b) All-inclusive Resort, c) Orient Express.

You pay for the experience up front, and enjoy the benefits of the 'package' thereafter. Perhaps certain things are billed extra, like booze on a cruise ship. 

Now, assuming there is no future after SnowPiercer, what use a monetary system?  Greenbacks, diamonds or TrainBucks are essentially worthless, because they can't be used to acquire any objects not already on the train.  Why would the SnowPiercer administration want your money in exchange for a bottle of wine? They can't use your money to replenish the wine, and they can't spend their profits on anything either.

Class interaction? Well, some people contribute more than others. More cash up front to finance the construction or completion of the train itself. Some people contribute less cash. Some, none at all. What you get in return is determined by what you contribute.

First class passengers on an aeroplane get Bucks Fizz. Coach passengers get lousy coffee. Is this classist? If I pay for a Roller and you buy a bicycle, is it classist to suggest that we shouldn't both be given a Toyota for our money?

If you paid for the train, you get to live the life of leisure and luxury that was promised you in exchange for your money. If you paid not-so-much, you get less leisure and luxury. If you paid nothing, you came on as a worker, and you get to earn your board and lodgings by doing your job. Everybody gets the right to stay on the train. 

Now, at the last minute, we have a buncha people leap on board. They are essentially trainhopper, who in the distant past might have been thrown physically from the train when caught. These trainhoppers have been allowed to stay and even provided with a (very unappetizing) food source. It would be easy to say they could simply sign on to the mobile workforce and 'pay their way' with their labour. But this assumes there are enough jobs for the trainhoppers, and there is no evidence of this.

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I agree with the above.  Money may no longer have any meaning, but I imagine that the tickets likely funded the train.  People bought tickets in advance, knowing their funds were used to design and build it.  The more you paid, the better perks you get once it departs.

10 minutes ago, AnimeMania said:

I don't know, there are 1001 cars on the train and each one could represent an aspect of society or industry or culture, etc. There is a lot of potential story lines there. I still have no idea how the different classes interact with each other or if there is a monetary system.

Agreed, I want to see more of the train.  Especially the sushi bar / ocean car.  They spent so much money to build that set (or on CGI)... they need to get more use out of it.  I want to see more cars.  There's some representation of cars we haven't seen yet on the show website but many of these seem to be fan art.  I want to see real cars.  Is there a swimming pool car?  If there's an ocean car this can't be that hard to imagine.  We already know there is a sauna, so what does the gym/spa car look like?  Library car?  Game room car?

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And of course there should be a movie theatre car, with downloadable copies of, say, Once Upon a Time in America, A Beautiful Mind, Hulk, Hamilton, just to name  a few...

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If you paid for the train, you get to live the life of leisure and luxury that was promised you in exchange for your money. If you paid not-so-much, you get less leisure and luxury. If you paid nothing, you came on as a worker, and you get to earn your board and lodgings by doing your job. Everybody gets the right to stay on the train. 

I think eventually the people who could fix the train and keep things running would become the most important people, and the useless first class passengers who sat around and did nothing would become irrelevant, and probably thrown off the train if they needed to start culling the herd. I can see it maybe starting out more idealized like the way the rich people expect, but we're talking post-apocalypse here. 

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7 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I think eventually the people who could fix the train and keep things running would become the most important people...

You are probably right. But at the present time, they have only been on the train for 6-7 years (did I get that right?) so maybe they have not yet experienced anything that would introduce such a thought. The issue with the trade-off of power to maintain speed vs. power to illuminate carriages seems to be the first sign of a crack in the system.

Still have to consider the idea that all the food, liquor, cigars, linens, etc, are the property of the first class passengers who literally paid for that stuff. So, if the question of who contributes what ever comes up.....

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9 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I think eventually the people who could fix the train and keep things running would become the most important people, and the useless first class passengers who sat around and did nothing would become irrelevant, and probably thrown off the train if they needed to start culling the herd. I can see it maybe starting out more idealized like the way the rich people expect, but we're talking post-apocalypse here. 

The rich people paid for the train, the food, and most importantly the long time loyal guards that keep order. So if push comes to shove the first people turned into soilent green are the 2nd class passengers (middle class) and any of the help not needed to keep the system running with the less passengers.

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Because the golfing whatever ran over I only saw the first 30 minutes of this episode, so I want to thank everyone for their comments and insights as it helps me understand what happened after it was cut off from my DVR.

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4 hours ago, seacliffsal said:

Because the golfing whatever ran over I only saw the first 30 minutes of this episode

It is probably available on "On Demand" and I watched it on the TNT website when that happened to me.

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On 5/31/2020 at 7:34 PM, UnknownK said:

The rich people paid for the train, the food, and most importantly the long time loyal guards that keep order. So if push comes to shove the first people turned into soilent green are the 2nd class passengers (middle class) and any of the help not needed to keep the system running with the less passengers.

However now the guards are on the train while the first class has nothing left to give them. And after 7 years I would imagine some will want to stop amputating arms and join the detective like I bet his escort will do . One or some  of them could be  the sociopaths harvesting people for food on the side.

I did catch one line from the detective saying that in the tail it wasn't a rumor, everyone had to eat human flesh so they were all in. Having not read or seen the source material for this show that came directly from the plot of Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven's Lucifer's Hammer as their version of the tailiees came up from the cities and got attached to a religious cult to attack the rural survivalist.

Edited by Raja

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1 hour ago, Raja said:

Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven's Lucifer's Hammer as their version of the tailiees came up from the cities and got attached to a religious cult to attack the rural survivalist.

You are showing your age!

(I remember that book.)

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On 5/29/2020 at 5:10 PM, Netfoot said:

I think a) Cruise Liner, b) All-inclusive Resort, c) Orient Express.

You pay for the experience up front, and enjoy the benefits of the 'package' thereafter. Perhaps certain things are billed extra, like booze on a cruise ship. 

Now, assuming there is no future after SnowPiercer, what use a monetary system?  Greenbacks, diamonds or TrainBucks are essentially worthless, because they can't be used to acquire any objects not already on the train.  Why would the SnowPiercer administration want your money in exchange for a bottle of wine? They can't use your money to replenish the wine, and they can't spend their profits on anything either.

Class interaction? Well, some people contribute more than others. More cash up front to finance the construction or completion of the train itself. Some people contribute less cash. Some, none at all. What you get in return is determined by what you contribute.

First class passengers on an aeroplane get Bucks Fizz. Coach passengers get lousy coffee. Is this classist? If I pay for a Roller and you buy a bicycle, is it classist to suggest that we shouldn't both be given a Toyota for our money?

If you paid for the train, you get to live the life of leisure and luxury that was promised you in exchange for your money. If you paid not-so-much, you get less leisure and luxury. If you paid nothing, you came on as a worker, and you get to earn your board and lodgings by doing your job. Everybody gets the right to stay on the train. 

Now, at the last minute, we have a buncha people leap on board. They are essentially trainhopper, who in the distant past might have been thrown physically from the train when caught. These trainhoppers have been allowed to stay and even provided with a (very unappetizing) food source. It would be easy to say they could simply sign on to the mobile workforce and 'pay their way' with their labour. But this assumes there are enough jobs for the trainhoppers, and there is no evidence of this.

The 1st classies may have funded the train, but they're functionally useless now. This isn't a cruise or a plane ride--this is the survival of an entire species, with pretty limited resources that could be put to better use giving everyone a medium-ish standard of living instead of a handful of people a ridiculously lavish lifestyle and other people, invited or no, treated as more or less subhuman. Obviously the show has to require a certain suspension of disbelief, but there's no way that sort of system would hold up for long. Class and money no longer have any relevance in a post-apocalyptic world, where they need engineers and sanitation workers and have zero use for hedge fund managers or even sushi chefs.

"Wilfred" needed the first class folks to sign up, so "he" promised extravagant luxury, but once it became obvious that humanity was more or less extinct, other considerations presumably have to come into play. And while I don't have much sympathy for someone stowing away on a cruise liner, survival is the most basic instinct we have, so it's not exactly fair to expect the tailies to have just been like "oh, well, we didn't pay to live, so we don't have the right to live" before getting on the train. Especially since it's clear that this isn't a situation where there aren't enough resources to go around--there are, if they  just bump the first class to like, a second class standard of living (I mean, saunas and sushi in the apocalypse? And the first class Marie Antoinette complaining about the nude Swedes in the sauna when the entire world is a dead frozen hellscape? Come on).

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3 minutes ago, Hatshepsut said:

Class and money no longer have any relevance in a post-apocalyptic world, where they need engineers and sanitation workers and have zero use for hedge fund managers or even sushi chefs.

Essentially, you are suggesting a meritocracy.  The engineers and sanitation workers have value because of their skills, and for what they can offer the society of the train. But the useless 1st Classers have nothing to offer and should be thrown off so as not to waste resources that could be enjoyed by the worthy.

This same argument could be used to justify euthanizing our elderly. They may have contributed in the past, perhaps hugely. But now they are too old to pull that plough, so off with their heads!

It might be argued that those 1st Classers actually contributed more than any engineer or sanitation worker, and also, they did it first! Besides, if it is morally and ethically OK to eliminate 1st Class just because we find them inconvenient, it must be equally acceptable on an ethical and moral level to eliminate the Tailies because we find them inconvenient. And because they stink.

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5 hours ago, Hatshepsut said:

Obviously the show has to require a certain suspension of disbelief,

Somewhere around the neighborhood of an A-frame made out of 1" thick steel, I would think.

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