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S02.E08: The Eternal Engineer

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An engineering catastrophe on Snowpiercer forces Layton to make a difficult choice, one that might cost him everything.

Airing Monday, March 15, 2021.

 

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I just read two different recaps of this episode on other websites, and neither one explained why Andre was handcuffed and led away at the end of the episode to be a prisoner on Big Alice, or how or why Mike O'Malley's wife and daughter (and now he, too)  ended up in the drawers (and sorry for referring to the actor by his real name; I've never learned his character's name). I am completely at a loss as to how either of those two events happened. Someone please explain it to me like I'm in kindergarten. Were some scenes cut? I'm just not understanding how one minute Wilford is "saving" the train and literally the next moment, Andre's in a room in handcuffs. Same for the wife and daughter ending up in the drawers - why? How? Who did that? Maybe I fell asleep while watching??

Edited by Biggie B
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56 minutes ago, Biggie B said:

I just read two different recaps of this episode on other websites, and neither one explained why Andre was handcuffed and led away at the end of the episode to be a prisoner on Big Alice, or how or why Mike O'Malley's wife and daughter (and now he, too)  ended up in the drawers (and sorry for referring to the actor by his real name; I've never learned his character's name). I am completely at a loss as to how either of those two events happened. Someone please explain it to me like I'm in kindergarten. Were some scenes cut? I'm just not understanding how one minute Wilford is "saving" the train and literally the next moment, Andre's in a room in handcuffs. Same for the wife and daughter ending up in the drawers - why? How? Who did that? Maybe I fell asleep while watching??

Thank you! I thought I missed something and I was thinking I was going to watch it again today. Totally confused. 

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But basically: Wilford's ploy to take over the train worked. By fixing the engine (he broke,) he got most of the people on his side. The brakemen largely sided with Wilford, as I'm assuming so did the group of former Jackboots that was mentioned. Looks like Layton and Roche took most of the heat for it. 

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Wilford's plan in this episode was predictable but effective.

Create a disaster that forces Layton to invite him to Snowpiercer, and then make it clear to the inhabitants that, not only did he fix the problem, he was the only one who could fix the problem. At the end of the last episode, most of the train wanted Wilford in charge. Now they, and others, are convinced that they need Wilford in charge.

Wilford's decision to take Layton prisoner tells me that he's not worried about keeping even a semblance of peace. Otherwise, given Layton's influence among the Tailies, one would think that he'd want to make a show of having Layton as an advisor or in some official-sounding post as a token Tailie. Instead, he wants everybody to know that he's in charge.

The decision to drawer Roche and his family seems off. I can understand drawering the family to serve as leverage to get Roche to do his bidding, but why all three?

Wilford is obviously very confident in his ability to sway people to his side if he has allowed the Headwoods to make an Icy Josie (Frozie Josie?). That moment where she put her hand out the porthole was pretty cool.

I like the way some characters, like Ruth, Boki and the Headwoods, who started as fervent Wilford loyalists, are becoming disillusioned with him.

 

ETA: I may have missed it, but has there been any indication of how long there was between the release of CW7 and the launch of Snowpiercer. My initial impression was that Wilford built the train as a cruise train for the wealthy, and then he and Melanie used it as an ark/pleasure palace once the temperature dropped, but if the portholes were part of the initial design, did Wilford know in advance that the Earth was going to freeze. A train like Snowpiercer would have to be the work of years.

Edited by ReganX
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Sorry, I don't get the plot. So Wilford came with a spare part and saved the engine he destroyed in the first place, but how does that lead to him taking power on the snowpiercer? Who put Andre in handcuffs? The head of the "police" is on Andre's side, who else is there to enforce Wilford's will? And then the police head Roche's family and himself got put in the drawer? again who will enforce that?

Also, why would Andre hide the fact that Wilford sabotaged the train? Shouldn't that be enough for him to rally the masses to his side?

 

 

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6 minutes ago, showme said:

Sorry, I don't get the plot. So Wilford came with a spare part and saved the engine he destroyed in the first place, but how does that lead to him taking power on the snowpiercer? Who put Andre in handcuffs? The head of the "police" is on Andre's side, who else is there to enforce Wilford's will? And then the police head Roche's family and himself got put in the drawer? again who will enforce that?

Also, why would Andre hide the fact that Wilford sabotaged the train? Should that be enough for him to rally the masses to his side?

 

 

It feels like there are a few scenes missing from this episode, but as near as I can tell, Layton & Co.'s hope that they would be able to keep Wilford's presence on Snowpiercer a secret didn't work out, and after he saved the day, most of the people on the train wanted Wilford in charge. They had already chosen him in the last episode, so perhaps Layton had to step down in favour of Wilford because the alternative would be a massive escalation of hostilities, and there was no realistic prospect of him keeping control of the train when most of the inhabitants wanted him gone.

As to why Layton would hide the sabotage, he has no proof that it was sabotage. Ben and Javi are the only ones who could attest to it, and they were both involved in a seven-year deception, so I doubt their word would be enough to convince people that Wilford is responsible. I doubt that they could even explain how it was done, given that they don't know Icy Bob's limits.

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1 hour ago, ReganX said:

As to why Layton would hide the sabotage, he has no proof that it was sabotage

He could have played the extinction card, and bluffed Wilford into publicly admitting that he sabotaged the train.  Since they were in a death spiral unless the computer got fixed, Wilford would die as well as all the other inhabitants.  So, it comes down to 'admit you placed everyone's life in danger to retake the train', or die a hero along with everyone else.

1 hour ago, ReganX said:

A train like Snowpiercer would have to be the work of years.

This, to me, is a major plot contradiction that, I guess, has to be handwaved.  In order to build a massive bridge over the Bering Sea, and another one over the North Atlantic and the South China Sea.  the oceans would have had to be previously frozen, and frozen hard.  That means the global freeze would have been going on long before Snowpiercer was finished, and negates the idea of a pleasure cruise.  But that in turn negates the idea of paying a gazillion dollars for first class passage and all those entertainment cars.  And how do you build through much of the world when they know the world is ending?  Where's your workforce?  On and on and on.  I did like the fact that it was finally mentioned that Wilford had installed the freeze portholes in the design of the train, indicating that he always meant it to be his personal kingdom and death to all that stand up to him.

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3 hours ago, ReganX said:

As to why Layton would hide the sabotage, he has no proof that it was sabotage. Ben and Javi are the only ones who could attest to it

And Boki who actually found it, not that anyone would believe him either although he is probably the least biased of the group.

 

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4 minutes ago, Dminches said:

And Boki who actually found it, not that anyone would believe him either although he is probably the least biased of the group.

 

I see Boki and Ruth leading to the inevitable downfall of Wilford. 

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6 hours ago, ReganX said:

Wilford is obviously very confident in his ability to sway people to his side if he has allowed the Headwoods to make an Icy Josie (Frozie Josie?). That moment where she put her hand out the porthole was pretty cool.

I thought Anti-Freeze Frozie was stupid to put her good hand out the porthole. I prefer to be able to wipe my own arse, feed myself, etc. I would have put my frozen nub out of the porthole.

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6 hours ago, ReganX said:

Create a disaster that forces Layton to invite him to Snowpiercer, and then make it clear to the inhabitants that, not only did he fix the problem, he was the only one who could fix the problem. At the end of the last episode, most of the train wanted Wilford in charge. Now they, and others, are convinced that they need Wilford in charge.

The ending seemed a little abrupt, they could have done a better job of explaining what was going on.  Maybe there will be more details next episode.  But I think you've explained it pretty well.

I almost thought there was a kind of abdication on Layton's part also.  Wilford telling him "How can you lead the train?  You don't even know how it works" might have hit home with him, Layton can't protect the train if something goes wrong mechanically.  Then when he fired off the flair signal, it had a very red glow, which was Wilford's color in the "train voting".  It was almost like he knew he was done and gave up willingly.  I might be reading too much into it though.

Up until this episode I wasn't even certain that Wilford had any actual engineering skill or knowledge, I thought Melanie was the designing genius.

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2 hours ago, rmontro said:

It was almost like he knew he was done and gave up willingly.  I might be reading too much into it though.

That makes sense, to be honest. I can see him giving himself up in the hope that the Tailies would be protected. Tensions were already sky-high on the train, and a lot of the resentment was directed towards the Tailies. I can buy Layton allowing himself to become the scapegoat, hoping that the Wilford supporters will take that as their victory and back off the Tailies.

2 hours ago, AnimeMania said:

I thought Anti-Freeze Frozie was stupid to put her good hand out the porthole. I prefer to be able to wipe my own arse, feed myself, etc. I would have put my frozen nub out of the porthole.

Cool visual, but a dumb move, especially as she can have had no way of knowing that the treatment was advanced enough to keep her from damaging her hand.

7 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

This, to me, is a major plot contradiction that, I guess, has to be handwaved.  In order to build a massive bridge over the Bering Sea, and another one over the North Atlantic and the South China Sea.  the oceans would have had to be previously frozen, and frozen hard.  That means the global freeze would have been going on long before Snowpiercer was finished, and negates the idea of a pleasure cruise.  But that in turn negates the idea of paying a gazillion dollars for first class passage and all those entertainment cars.  And how do you build through much of the world when they know the world is ending?  Where's your workforce?  On and on and on.  I did like the fact that it was finally mentioned that Wilford had installed the freeze portholes in the design of the train, indicating that he always meant it to be his personal kingdom and death to all that stand up to him.

The temperature was -45 Celsius when Snowpiercer departed. Would that be cold enough to freeze oceans?

If it was built after the freeze began, you'd think that even with money, getting the raw materials would be difficult, at best.

In 2012, when it is expected that climate change will result in natural disasters on a massive scale, Arks are built in secret, and funded by billionaires who buy tickets (€1 billion per head) to avoid the panic that would ensue if governments took that kind of money out of the budget. But it's a government effort, which helps ensure the secrecy.

How did Wilford building a ten mile long train, plus bridges over multiple seas, not draw enough attention to have the US government step in and forcibly take possession of Snowpiercer?

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To no one’s surprise, Wilford has re-claimed the throne.  The only remaining question is who is going to double cross him and hand the reigns back to Melanie.  I say Alex, with Ruth’s help. I was thinking it could be Audrey but I think she has fully swallowed the kool-aid.

 

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So, a self-satisfied Wilford takes the chair, closes his eyes and leans back... and the one word that springs to mind is Garrote.....

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I like the way some characters, like Ruth, Boki and the Headwoods, who started as fervent Wilford loyalists, are becoming disillusioned with him.

 

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I see Boki and Ruth leading to the inevitable downfall of Wilford. 

I too have enjoyed some of these characters who were firmly with Wilford starting to be disillusioned (even while much of the train seemed to be going the other direction). Ruth last week (and continued this week) and then Boki (whose name I finally know) this week. I think Boki will be all in on trying to secretly take down Wilford, and Ruth seems to be there as well (probably especially once they don't stop for Melanie). I really hope by the end of the 2-hour finale in a couple weeks that Wilford is done, and if there's a cliffhanger, it's not related to that.

I too was also a bit confused at the end, but I think one of the keys was the brief throwaway line about the remaining jackboots starting to take power again. I had completely forgotten about them and didn't even realize any were still around, but apparently some were just biding their time. Before the ending, third class was all in on Wilford, to the point that Layton and others couldn't even set foot in some cars. And first would clearly go Wilford's way when the time came. Things were clearly at a tipping point and Wilford "saving" the day was just the thing that pushed it over to where Layton could no longer be in charge, and he knew it. Hence the red flare signifying that Wilford was now in charge.

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Wow, that was interesting. 
 

I don’t get what Frozie was doing unless she fell for both Wilfords and Audrey bs about picking Wilford  and doing his bidding. 
Goodbye Icy Bob  you spent 7 yrs getting tortured for one stupid job. I don’t think the docs are turning , just being  practical about the situation. 
 

Alex was good tonight, she really is an excellent engineer.  But it looks like she’s being left out now that Audrey is around. I think Audrey is gone, she can’t be doing the long con, unless she’s breaking Layton out in the final or killing Wilford. 
 

So this is why they didn’t stop for Mel. Something tells me we will see a repeat of that scene but from the inside as Alex yells for her mom and we end season 2 on the cliffhanger of Mel stranded. 
 

I did not understand why Layton was arrested. Was it because the other classes wanted to punish him for the rebellion? A scene was definitely missing. Same for Roche, are they using his family as leverage on him? Or is he in the drawers? 

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Finale in two weeks.  Guess we'll find out if they signed Sean Bean to another season.

Haven't seen much Melanie either, for that matter.  Maybe she wanted to work a lighter schedule.

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3 hours ago, rmontro said:

Finale in two weeks.  Guess we'll find out if they signed Sean Bean to another season.

Haven't seen much Melanie either, for that matter.  Maybe she wanted to work a lighter schedule.

I really had no idea that Wilford knew so much and participated so much in the designing and building of Snowpiercer. It really seems like they need both Wilford and Melanie to survive in the "New World". It would be nice it the train thought about surviving "long term" rather than only their short term benefits. I guess more of "real life" creeping into the story.

I still don't understand why Wilford's Luxury Railroad Car Suite isn't somewhere on Snowpiercer. Where was Wilford supposed to have lived if the train hadn't left him behind. I thought that would have been the first place he would have wanted to visit if he ever got onto Snowpiercer. Where is he going to live now that he is back? Where is the car where they were supposed to hold the large orgies, the "Caligula Car"?

Does anybody else feel that Snowpiercer's hallways are really narrow. I would think that people would have taken to visiting/living in the bottom of the train for privacy and ease of movement. There has to be a ton of empty space down there, although it might be a little cold.

I bet L J is very happy Wilford is back, maybe these next 2 episodes will be heavy with her story line (There must be some reason they are keeping L J around).

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Just so incredibly boring and predictable.  Wilford sabotages train, Wilford fixes train, train thinks Wilford is their saviour.

I still don't understand why Layton and Roche got arrested/drawered.  Because Wilford thinks they are going to lead an insurrection against him?  The people clearly are with him so I don't know why he is afraid of them.

Way too much focus on LJ and Os... I think she is going to ascend to Head of Hospitality by season's end.  With only two episodes left, I see Wilford ordering Ben to keep going full speed and ignore Melanie (thus the Alex yelling for her mom scene).  Then Season 3 will be about a small group of Snowpiercer loyalists figuring out how to rescue her.  If this is the way the season ends, then I am definitely out.  I'll watch the remaining two episodes just to limp to the finish of the season... but I have no desire watching King Wilford lord over the train.  The comparisons to some of history's worst dictatorships which were led by maniacal leaders and supported by fanatical loyalists just isn't something I am interested in seeing.

Not a good thing to be Asian on this train.  Apart from the fact that there are so few, not one of the Asian characters has had a good ending.  Roche's wife and daughter - drawered.  Jinju - vanished.  Mia from the Tail - drawered.  Mia's parents - ?  First class man who was playing strip poker last season - gone, probably jettisoned with the Folgers.

There are only two more episodes, so I vow to make it to the end.  I am not a big fan of double episodes to begin with, but for a show that has become a chore to watch, they are even more painful.  I will have to watch in multiple dishwashings.  This show has really fallen off the tracks.  So much promise, and then the writers just didn't know what to do anymore.

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9 hours ago, blackwing said:

I'll watch the remaining two episodes just to limp to the finish of the season... but I have no desire watching King Wilford lord over the train.

I'm with you. I will probably finish the season, but Wilford taking baths with people he doesn't like is not something I'm going to find entertaining. Besides, they couldn't find a halfway decent story-line for season #2, so why would I expect season #3 to be anything but worse?

 

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The passive way they stood by as they knew Wilford was taking back the train was frustrating and a bit unbelievable. 

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I cannot wait for Wilford to get taken down, I just want to watch that smug smirk on his face disappear. I think it would be very appropriate if he ended up being taken out by Ruth or Boki, maybe revealing to everyone what a self serving sack of crap he is. Being former Wilford die hards who turned against him when they realized what a monster he was, people might actually listen. I cant decide to Audrey is fully drinking his kool-aid again or if this is an act, and if its an act maybe she kills him after everyone on the trains turn on him? Or maybe it will be Alex, just to really max up the drama. I picture them evacuating Big Alice and then just unchaining the drains and ditching him alone. Not practical at all, but thematically appropriate. 

Of course when we finally get to know Roche's wife and daughter, things go bad. I thought he was going to die, but this isn't exactly great either. I even felt bad for giant train yeti Icy Bob, what a miserable existence. And now he cant even make it to the next book club! But now Josie is Icy Bob 2.0? 

I wish Layton had at least tried to keep Wilford from taking all of the glory, but I can imagine that anything he would say would just sound like spin, everyone knows that Layton cant stand the guy and wants him gone. The only people who I guess could really confirm that he was the one who broke the train other than Layton on a technical level I guess would be Javi, Bennett, and Boki, who all would be seen as having their own reasons to lie about Wilford to make him look bad. I actually think he should have play acted that he was willing to work with him for longer, then if he told people that Wilford started the train problem to start with, it might have seemed like less a political move. But there had to have been something they could have at least tried. 

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Why did Layton even let Wilford address the train? He stood there as Wiford took the phone and took back the train. My fear is this season ends with Wilford in complete control and we wait until next season for Mel to come back, (probably the last scene of Ep 10) and she and Layton spend the whole season taking down Wilford.  Meanwhile Wilford will kill people we like in the next two Eps.

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4 minutes ago, edhopper said:

My fear is this season ends with Wilford in complete control and we wait until next season for Mel to come back, (probably the last scene of Ep 10) and she and Layton spend the whole season taking down Wilford.  Meanwhile Wilford will kill people we like in the next two Eps.

I'd put down some $$ that this is almost exactly what's going to happen. 

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18 hours ago, edhopper said:

The passive way they stood by as they knew Wilford was taking back the train was frustrating and a bit unbelievable. 

What choice did they have, really?  They could let everybody die, but that doesn't seem like a good option.  As Wilford said, it was going to get out that Wilford saved the train eventually anyway.

 

4 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

I cannot wait for Wilford to get taken down, I just want to watch that smug smirk on his face disappear. I think it would be very appropriate if he ended up being taken out by Ruth or Boki, maybe revealing to everyone what a self serving sack of crap he is.

I can't get too invested in wanting to see Wilford defeated, just because I find his character so ridiculous.  If he gets taken out, I have a feeling Alex might be involved, or possibly Audrey.

 

1 hour ago, edhopper said:

Why did Layton even let Wilford address the train? He stood there as Wiford took the phone and took back the train. My fear is this season ends with Wilford in complete control and we wait until next season for Mel to come back, (probably the last scene of Ep 10) and she and Layton spend the whole season taking down Wilford.  Meanwhile Wilford will kill people we like in the next two Eps.

What else are they going to do?  Although I think it's possible we see Wilford permanently disposed of, depending on whether or not Sean Bean has signed for another season.  But with the pandemic, acting gigs are probably harder to pick up.

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4 hours ago, rmontro said:

What choice did they have, really?  They could let everybody die, but that doesn't seem like a good option.  As Wilford said, it was going to get out that Wilford saved the train eventually anyway.

 

Yes, but they didn't have to let him pick up the phone and let him address the train. Everybody knowing and Wilford telling them he's in charge are two separate things.

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On 3/16/2021 at 8:26 AM, showme said:

Sorry, I don't get the plot.

Join the club.

On 3/16/2021 at 10:07 AM, Dowel Jones said:
On 3/16/2021 at 8:24 AM, ReganX said:

A train like Snowpiercer would have to be the work of years.

This, to me, is a major plot contradiction that, I guess, has to be handwaved. 

One of the few believable aspects of the train is that they have it start (and continue to go through) Chicago, which is one of the largest freight and passenger train hubs in the country (and my hometown).   It is nice to have something that isn't focused on NYC or LA. 

Edited by Quilt Fairy

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2 hours ago, edhopper said:

Yes, but they didn't have to let him pick up the phone and let him address the train. Everybody knowing and Wilford telling them he's in charge are two separate things.

The general address system was used because of the manual restart, which had to be done throughout the train.  Obviously Layton should have given the order, but he didn't know the procedure, and Wilford wasn't telling him.  It was a life and death situation, and the best thing Layton could do was stay out of the way.  He didn't know the manual restart would be required, so Wilford caught them flat footed.

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They knew he sabotaged the train, they knew he was going to try something to take control. And they stood there and let him. It was stupid. The other engineers should have given the announcement for the restart. It was just bad writing.

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2 hours ago, edhopper said:

They knew he sabotaged the train, they knew he was going to try something to take control. And they stood there and let him. It was stupid. The other engineers should have given the announcement for the restart. It was just bad writing.

I agree, it was completely ridiculous.  I don't understand why Layton or Ben couldn't have gotten on the address system and tell Snowpiercer that Wilford sabotaged the train, and with Melanie away, they have no choice but to let Wilford into the engine because he's the only one that knows how to fix it.  And that after it was fixed, they would arrest Wilford for tampering with the train.  Instead, they set up Wilford to be a hero and now it's all over.  So stupid.

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5 hours ago, blackwing said:

And that after it was fixed, they would arrest Wilford.....

How civilized of you. I was thinking they should let him complete the restart, then hurl his ass overboard!

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8 hours ago, blackwing said:

I don't understand why Layton or Ben couldn't have gotten on the address system and tell Snowpiercer that Wilford sabotaged the train

Considering opinion was already turning in Wilford's favor, would it have done any good?  Would anyone have believed them?  

Another problem is if Wilford sabotaged the train once, what's to stop him (or his crew) from doing it again?  Arresting Wilford would be dangerous, and put the whole train in danger.  It's a sticky wicket.

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On 3/17/2021 at 10:29 AM, blackwing said:

I am not a big fan of double episodes to begin with, but for a show that has become a chore to watch, they are even more painful.  I will have to watch in multiple dishwashings

Love this. You know your love affair with a show is over when you grudgingly watch it in dishwashings. 😁

For me it's when episodes of a show I used to eagerly await start piling up on my PVR, and I keep putting off watching them like it's an unpleasant chore I'm procrastinating on. 

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I'm SO intensely annoyed by this episode! I'm glad that I'm not alone in this regard!
The number of people Layton has personally killed (and eaten, back in the day) - to not simply stab Wilfred when he was alone, unarmed, and surrounded... the mind boggles! As some have pointed out, Wilfred had useful knowledge of the train - but so does Melanie's daughter Alek. Between them, the rest of the engineers would have managed fine. AND - by not killing Wilfred, they directly killed Melanie - because if Wilfred had died right then, Snowpiercer would have managed to pick her up as planned!
This is just the stupidest plot hole, terrible writing on a show that otherwise has made good sense - it's almost like this episode was written by someone else.
There was ample opportunity to kill or at least beat up and detain Wilfred, and absolutely no downside. They've been at war with HIM - not the starving people he rules over with an iron fist! The second Wilfred was announced dead, his grip of fear over everyone on Big Alice would be loosened. There's more than enough of them to convince Wilfred's supporters on Snowpiercer that he was an evil bastard. And if not, who cares? Layton and co still control the train, hospitality is on their side, and the tail - who still comprise the only significant force of warriors on the train. No-one is going to fight for a dead Wilfred, and if that was such a major concern, they could have suggested that he gave his life heroically in fixing the train, and died a saviour to all.
He's still gone! And no problems now, with collecting Melanie, reuniting her with her daughter and fella... happy days!
This was just a writer so stuck and so lazy that they couldn't even answer the question themselves - so they didn't bother writing or filming a scene, we just suddenly see Layton in handcuffs!?!?! Bizarre. I haven't yelled at the TV in pure annoyance for ages 😉

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On 3/17/2021 at 7:12 PM, Netfoot said:

I'll watch the remaining two episodes just to limp to the finish of the season... but I have no desire watching King Wilford lord over the train.

Hub and I are catching up On Demand and just saw this one last night.  The predictability of the Wilford character is just awful.  He's pretty much TWDs Negan minus the barbed-wire bat to bash people's skulls in.  Instead, he uses psychological abuse. And instead of Negan's followers kneeling when he walked by, Wilfordites give the 3-finger salute.  Comes across Nazi-like to me. And the diva-esque qualities they're giving him (dressing in suits, cape, walking stick, taking luxurious baths all the time) just makes him come across as campy and cartoonish

On 3/17/2021 at 9:29 AM, blackwing said:

I still don't understand why Layton and Roche got arrested/drawered.  Because Wilford thinks they are going to lead an insurrection against him? 

They're being 'cancelled'

 

Edited by ctlady

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