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S02.E04: A Single Trade

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The Big Alice crew are granted shore leave on Snowpiercer. Layton and Wilford have differing opinions on the future.

Airing Monday, February 15, 2021.

 

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Is this a 10 episode season?  Because unless something more exciting happens soon, I am not sure if I can make it to the end.

The only part of this episode I found good was the meeting of the Last Australians, male and female.  So funny.

Miles from Tomorrowland is alive!  Where has he been?   Was he in the same place where Jinju must be hiding?   Who is naked diving in the Ocean car for oysters if Jinju is missing?

Of all the characters, I can’t decide whose story I am least interest in - Audrey or Zara.   I find both equally boring.  I think the actress who plays Audrey in particular is awful.  She seems to think she is doing a fantastic job playing a mysterious vamp, while I found myself laughing at how cringeworthily bad she is.  I really don’t need the show to waste so many minutes on her singing.

Melanie is one of the only ones I care about, and without Melanie, I didn’t find much to care about in this episode.  I recall disliking Jennifer Connelly’s Oscar win for “A Beautiful Mind” because I really thought that Maggie Smith should have won for “Gosford Park” so I’ve kind of held that against her all these years.  But I suppose she is a pretty interesting and compelling actress.

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This season is 10 episodes.

I like this season better than the last one because they are not spending all their episodes fighting and killing each other. It made me wonder why Till was so upset about all the people who died now instead of when she was killing everyone in sight.

Wilford seemed to really like Audrey's Mango or was that symbolism for something else. 

Someone throw Lilah off the train, pleeeease!

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Some TV shows are built to tell a particular story. That story ends at the end of Season One. Season Two is nothing but a mad scramble to find some sort of story line that justifies their continued existence.

It occurs to me that a strong person could drown LJ and Alex simultaneously, in the same bathtub.

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2 hours ago, Netfoot said:

Some TV shows are built to tell a particular story. That story ends at the end of Season One. Season Two is nothing but a mad scramble to find some sort of story line that justifies their continued existence.

In the writers’ room when they got the news that the show was renewed: 

“Oh, shit! Now what are we going to do?”

Edited by Auntie Anxiety
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9 hours ago, AnimeMania said:

Wilford seemed to really like Audrey's Mango or was that symbolism for something else. 

I do think there was some symbolism going on, but the main takeaway from that is that Wilford is a freak.  

I'm glad to see there are others who are less impressed with the season so far.  I noted in the last episode that the Wilford character has all the depth of a piece of cardboard.  Maybe Jennifer Connelly wanted some time off.  I was expecting to get an episode detailing Melanie's solo journey, but maybe that would be too expensive. 

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3 minutes ago, rmontro said:

I noted in the last episode that the Wilford character has all the depth of a piece of cardboard.

SB can act. So, I have to assume that this caricature we are seeing is at the direction of the, uh, director.

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14 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

SB can act. So, I have to assume that this caricature we are seeing is at the direction of the, uh, director.

Oh, I'm not criticizing Sean Bean, I think he's great.  I'm just saying the way the character is written is as a cardboard villain, which unfortunately is about as uninteresting as you'd expect.

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4 hours ago, Netfoot said:

Some TV shows are built to tell a particular story. That story ends at the end of Season One. Season Two is nothing but a mad scramble to find some sort of story line that justifies their continued existence.

It occurs to me that a strong person could drown LJ and Alex simultaneously, in the same bathtub.

Agreed, the first season started off with a murder mystery and then once that was solved, it became about class warfare.  Which predictably ended with the have nots getting what they wanted.

Somehow, now we are supposed to care about these people as individuals and follow their stories as they carry on with life aboard the train.  There is still an overarching storyline... Wilford trying to reclaim what he feels is his.  But along the way, the people are living their lives, and I don’t find many of them interesting at all.  If I have to see sad sack Zara passive aggressively staring and looking resigned and despondent again, I will reach into my TV and kill her myself.

If we are going to be seeing people’s lives, could we at least see more about the the mythology of the train itself?  The commercials for this show keep pushing the website and how we can design our own train cars and see them published on the web site.  But as far as I can tell, apart from the engine room of Big Alice, the brakemen’s car and that canteen from last night, I don’t think we’ve seen any new cars at all.   I want to see what these people do in their spare time, surely there is a spa or a gym or a library.

Just seems hard to believe that this train is 1,034 cars long when we hardly see any of it.  In a prior episode we see Ruth squawking COMMUNIQUE and running through cars to get the message delivered.  So are we supposed to believe she got the message from the last car where Snowpiercer is connected to Big Alice and then physically runs 950+ cars to Layton?

Who knows, maybe she uses that undercar transport system, but if she’s so concerned with getting people out of her way surely she could have gone from the end to the engine room in it.

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12 minutes ago, blackwing said:

If I have to see sad sack Zara passive aggressively staring and looking resigned and despondent again...

Which one is Zara again? See, I measure my own immersion in a show by how many characters I know, or care to know, by name. And it turns out I know very few characters by name in this show.  Wilton, Melanie, Ruth, LJ, Alex, ... and that's about it. 

5 minutes ago, blackwing said:

But as far as I can tell, apart from the engine room of Big Alice, the brakemen’s car and that canteen from last night, I don’t think we’ve seen any new cars at all.

When the terrible twins went off to smoke a splif, they walked up a passageway, then turned 90° left into another passageway. I know it's been speculated on before, but the carriages on this train are definitely much larger than any standard railroad car we have today. So, the next thing will be a car with a cricket field in it, or at the very least, a tennis court!

But has anybody actually designed their own train cars on the website? Are there size restrictions on the design? It would be interesting to know, but I'm not going to find out myself. Without a doubt, they will want my name, address, e-mail, bank account number and in-seam measurement. None of which do I feel inclined to tell them.

16 minutes ago, blackwing said:

In a prior episode we see Ruth squawking COMMUNIQUE and running through cars to get the message delivered.  So are we supposed to believe she got the message from the last car where Snowpiercer is connected to Big Alice and then physically runs 950+ cars to Layton?

I worked out last season that the train was very close to 10 miles long, not counting inter-carriage coupling and basing my length on the longest carriages in actual use today. So to run from the junction with Big Alice to the engine of Snowpiercer would take a relay of 10 Roger Bannisters about 40 minutes minimum. Somehow, I don't see Ruth bettering that time...

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29 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

Which one is Zara again? See, I measure my own immersion in a show by how many characters I know, or care to know, by name. And it turns out I know very few characters by name in this show.  Wilton, Melanie, Ruth, LJ, Alex, ... and that's about it. 

I believe Zara is Second Choice.  Wasn’t she Layton’s girlfriend when they illegally boarded the train?   Then she got an offer to move up to second to be the meditation master (I think) and they broke up.  In the 7 intervening years, he was stuck in the tail and never saw her.  He grew closer to Frozie and finally they got together before her untimely freezing.
 

He thought Frozie was dead (as did we all, but why wouldn’t the doctor or somebody have told him she wasn’t??) so he reunited with Zara and got her pregnant.  But now that Frozie is somehow alive, Zara is constantly fearful he will dump her and leave her and their unborn baby.

Speaking of forgettable characters... what is the purpose of Bess Till at this point?  Last season she represented the authority police figure who sided with the rebels.  Now she’s just kind of... there.  They are trying to make things for her to do as Train Detective, I so don’t care.   She was looking at some photos of presumably dead people on some kind of memory wall and crying.  Were these people on the show last season?  Are we supposed to know who they are?   I didn’t recognise any of them.  I was half expecting to see Jinju on there.

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16 minutes ago, blackwing said:

Speaking of forgettable characters... what is the purpose of Bess Till at this point?  Last season she represented the authority police figure who sided with the rebels.  Now she’s just kind of... there.  They are trying to make things for her to do as Train Detective, I so don’t care.

Bess Till, the janitor/dealer, the Breachmen and Pike are all characters we're supposed to think are important, but they don't tell us why. They have that "throw something at the wall and see what sticks" feel about them. 

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I guess I am in the minority but I am enjoying this season more than last.  I prefer watching each of the characters deal with the new reality and playing off each other.  I thought the scenes with Melanie and Alex were great.  I like seeing Ruth navigate the space between her devotion to Mr W and her role on Snowpiercer.  This won’t go down as a top-notch written drama but the character interactions have been good enough to keep me interested.

 

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For me, the bloom is off the rose this season. The novelty of their strange existence has worn off. I really, really dislike Wilford's character. He's not compelling or deliciously evil - he's just a sick piece of crap, who apparently gets off by watching/making people commit suicide in an extremely horrific way. That's not good, exiting writing - that's just f-ing gross. I actually sort of like Till, but agree that her character was more interesting last season. And I totally agree that Audrey is not the siren she thinks she is. I wish we'd found out how she survived the Bathtub of Death. Did Wilford change his mind and save her, or what? Yuck. Ruth is annoying, but the actress does a great job with her. At this point, I'd be OK if the series ended with this season. I'd be fine if Wilford gets tossed out into the freeze, and Melanie and Alex can establish some sort of decent relationship. I'm not at all invested in the Andre/Zara/Frozie triangle, so I can't think of how I'd like that to wrap up. But I hope it all ends happily and everyone can get the hell off the train. It's hard to imagine what a third season could bring to the table.

Edited by Biggie B
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1 hour ago, Biggie B said:

I really, really dislike Wilford's character. He's not compelling or deliciously evil - he's just a sick piece of crap, who apparently gets off by watching/making people commit suicide in an extremely horrific way. That's not good, exiting writing - that's just f-ing gross. 

The characterization on this show is what's really hurting it.  The Wilford character is a colossal disappointment.  He should be a larger than life, fascinating character who is driving the plots.  But there's just nothing there.

It's hard to care about many of these characters.  Layton, Melanie, and Ruth are interesting to me for various reasons, and that's about it.

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Well, that was an hour that I'll never get back.  The only thing I found compelling was the ad for the return of Animal Kingdom this summer.  On the technical side, why is there an observation dome?  Why are there lights on top of the cars?

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Why is Aubrey so popular? Her drug/alcohol addled brain is a downer. She has nothing to do this season except be depressing. 
 

I do wonder if Frozie is playing the long game and just plans to gut Melanie when she gets back.  I can’t quite tell yet about her. And can someone please explain about Miles again who we finally saw? Is he Laytons and Frozie natural son ? If so why has he been acting like Miles barley exists? 
 

Bess Till is all over the place but at least she’s getting help.

 

I honestly thought Alex and LJ were going to make out. I don’t trust LJ though. If she knew Alex before the freeze why did she act all surprised last season about it? She’s up to something , possibly thinks she get weasel her way between Wilford and Alex. Jokes on her, that man is insane. His crew live in fear. 

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48 minutes ago, rtms77 said:

Why is Aubrey so popular? Her drug/alcohol addled brain is a downer. She has nothing to do this season except be depressing. 
 

I do wonder if Frozie is playing the long game and just plans to gut Melanie when she gets back.  I can’t quite tell yet about her. And can someone please explain about Miles again who we finally saw? Is he Laytons and Frozie natural son ? If so why has he been acting like Miles barley exists? 

I thought Audrey was like that last season too.  She thinks she’s too cool, she always acts aloof and detached.  
 

I forget if Miles’ parents didn’t make it onto the train, or if they died on the train.  But they are not around, so Frozie kind of adopted him and became his “Tail Mom”.  In the Tail, people took care of each other.  Layton has no connection to Miles, but he was with Frozie so I don’t know if he has any further love for Miles because of Frozie.  Why wouldn’t they have sought out Miles earlier if they knew she was alive?

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11 hours ago, rtms77 said:

 

I honestly thought Alex and LJ were going to make out. I don’t trust LJ though

Alex foolishly told LJ that she has deeper feelings for Melanie than she thought she would and to please not tell that to anyone. LJ will be knocking on Wilford’s door in 3....2.....1

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25 minutes ago, Auntie Anxiety said:

Alex foolishly told LJ that she has deeper feelings for Melanie than she thought she would and to please not tell that to anyone. LJ will be knocking on Wilford’s door in 3....2.....1

That's what I thought too.  Big mistake.

 

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This actually was actually pretty...upbeat? At least for this show, things actually seem to be looking up, and people were actually not miserable for a few minutes. Till finds some love (what happened to her chef girlfriend after they broke up anyway?) the big night out goes well, Ruth and Zara bond a bit, Josie is reunited with Miles and is getting treatment, LJ and Alex actually take a break from being bad seeds, everyone celebrates the launch going well, they actually have some hope of getting off this crazy train one day, and best of all, The Last Australian is NOT the Last Australian! And she's a cute girl from Perth and they get along great! 

Of course things are less great for Miss Audrey who has to deal with Mr. Wilford, who has the very creepy and very specific fetish of making people slit their wrists while he gets to watch. Delightful. What a weirdo, I assume that people worship me because they only know he's super rich and built their train and because they haven't had to actually deal with him. Also, I know its because of Audrey's angst about having to go back to mega creep Wilford, but that seemed like a pretty crappy opening song to start with for a big party. Start out with the excitement and then get into the slow sad songs. 

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1 hour ago, tennisgurl said:

I know its because of Audrey's angst about having to go back to mega creep Wilford, but that seemed like a pretty crappy opening song to start with for a big party.

Glory Box is never inappropriate.

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1 hour ago, Netfoot said:

Glory Box is never inappropriate.

Oh don't get me wrong, its a great song, but is it really the song you play to get the party started? 

Audrey looked like a ballerina on the way to the Rocky Horror Picture show, and I don't hate it. 

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12 hours ago, Auntie Anxiety said:

Alex foolishly told LJ that she has deeper feelings for Melanie than she thought she would and to please not tell that to anyone. LJ will be knocking on Wilford’s door in 3....2.....1

No doubt about that, she over heard what the big janitor boss was saying. She deliberately introduced herself to Alex so she could weasel her way in Big Alice and either ingrate herself with Wilford or get a jump on the illegal black market going on. 

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And can someone please explain about Miles again who we finally saw? Is he Laytons and Frozie natural son ?

Miles' real mother was killed by guards during the opening scenes of the pilot showing the stowaways storming the tail. 

Frozie. hehe.

This show is trying way too hard to be smarter than it actually is. The opening and closing monologues are pretentious enough as it is, but playing them over the visual of Audrey's awful dancing just made them even more stupid, somehow.

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On 2/16/2021 at 7:02 PM, Dminches said:

I guess I am in the minority but I am enjoying this season more than last.  I prefer watching each of the characters deal with the new reality and playing off each other.  I thought the scenes with Melanie and Alex were great.  I like seeing Ruth navigate the space between her devotion to Mr W and her role on Snowpiercer.  This won’t go down as a top-notch written drama but the character interactions have been good enough to keep me interested.

 

Agreed, I love it. I do wish they'd explore the train more, I am dying of curiosity.

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On 2/22/2021 at 11:15 AM, Snickerdoodle said:

I think I'm going to bail out on this.  I'm not in it for pot-smoking and Soylent Green eating.  

I'm sticking with it, but I admire your conviction.  Peeling yourself away from a show you no longer enjoy is usually a good thing.

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