Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1 Review: First, the Weather Changed

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There is a lot of world-building on Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1 and, fair enough, that's what a series premiere is meant to do.

However, the world of Snowpiercer is not new to some audience members as it already got explored in a 2013 film of the same name. The two share a theme of class conflict and highly-guarded secrets.

What is new is this cast, the murder, and the physicality of this train.

Melanie Cavill - Snowpiercer

Jennifer Connelly is iconic in her role as Melanie Cavill, the Head of Hospitality.

Ruth: Some concerns about the sauna.
Cavill: Oh no, I'll send Maintenance right away.
Lilah Folger: No, it's not broken. The Europeans are body-shaming again. Americans and the rest of the world prefer bathing attire. It's just... easier.

She has a very precise nature and incredibly adaptable demeanor. She projects everything the last bastion of humanity's leader needs to command respect and assert authority.

Andre & Cavill - Snowpiercer

Whether she's speaking to a First Class passenger, her second-in-command, or a Tailie who she needs to solve a murder, she is exactly who she needs to be in the moment.

In contrast, Andre Layton lives a life in constant conflict. Trying to orchestrate a rebellion, he butts heads with friends and foes alike.

Furthermore, unlike Cavill (at least as far as we can tell so far), Andre's life has undergone a lot of change since boarding Snowpiercer by force seven years ago.

I could've gone with my mom. We could've joined your brother, died together, like people we admired were doing. But, instead, you made me live. For what? For the hell of The Tail?


Seven years in The Tail can't have been easy for anyone, and it's not surprising that some do what they need to do to escape. Whether that means moving uptrain or finding a way out via electrical cord, the purpose is the same.

Andre & Zarah - Snowpiercer

The fact that Hospitality seems to know everything about everyone, no matter how they joined the train, is a little disconcerting.

When Andre realizes Zarah was the informant who brought him to the attention of Cavill and Roche, there's a light bulb that goes on for him.

It isn't the system tracking people. It's people tracking people, and that's a system he understands.

It's how things work in The Tail, after all. The revolutionaries depend on the advice and experience of people like Old Ivan.

Resistance is never futile but Wilford's train is a fortress to class. Maybe it is perpetual.

Old Ivan

I like the relationships that have been introduced so far.

In The Tail, there intimacy and community that is part physical necessity and part social imperative. They need to feel like they belong in order to want to stay and fight.

Andre and Josie - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1

Josie and Andre are central, and Miles is part of their family unit.

What's interesting is how Zarah speculates that Andre and Josie probably hooked up as soon as she was out of the way.

Instead, they seem to be a couple that functions as a partnership of equals.

Josie stands up in her own right during the revolution discussion and voices her concerns for the Tail's needs and rights.

Josie - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1

With Andre moving uptrain for the investigation, I suspect we'll see Josie in a more prominent role in The Tail. Especially now that Pike and his buddies are going into The Drawers.

Old Ivan's suicide was a hard hit even this early on simply because he was so freakin' likeable.

Old but not crotchety. Honest but kind. And when he pointed out his arm stump -- the evidence of Snowpiercer's justice system -- he established his credentials as a survivor.

Old Ivan: There is only one extravagance that I would wish for my birthday.
The Last Australian: What's that, old fella?
Old Ivan: Privacy. To be alone for one hour.

Even his birthday wish was just so genuine and so simple for his fellow Tailies to fulfill, not suspecting his real motivation for sending them away.

But it's not all teamwork and dreamwork in The Tail. The faction that follows Pike reflects the impatience and impulsiveness that Layton warns against.

However, even Josie isn't willing to wait for more intel, the situation is so dire.

Tailies Gather - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1

Leveraging Hospitality's need for his skills appears to be Layton's one move. All this on the strange certainty that he will definitely be able to find the murderer.

The opportunity to see more of the train is impossible to turn down.

And, seriously, this is an amazing train. Not only are the cars themselves, especially in First Class, as opulent and luxurious as any yacht or five-star hotel, but the tech that is hinted at throughout is also mind-boggling.

This is a train with its own subway. Huh.

Also, someone give me a better word for it than "subway," please. Conveyer? Transport? Shuttle?

The Engine Car - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1

What I'm looking forward to learning more about is this mysterious "Balance" that's been referenced.

Does it refer to balancing the train for engineering purposes?

Balancing the society aboard the train? Does that mean the Tailies were allowed to board for a purpose?

On a train of 1,001 cars, a class system is bound to develop. Even if the Tailies had never stowed away at departure, it's highly unlikely that First, Second, and Third Class passengers would have ever intermingled.

First Class Dining - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1

The fact that, seven years into their journey, there have been "new" segments of society developing like the Chains is fascinating. Did the Balance account for this?

This berry represents five or six kilocalories -- sugars, dietary fiber, Vitamin C. Its place here is commensurate with these values. Now, strawberries. They're susceptible to soil fungi, nematodes. So are we, actually. You, me, everyone on this train. So we don't let these proliferate either. Everything here survives at the mercy of his Balance. And the truth is you need Wilford's strawberries more than he needs you.


The twist in the final scene, revealing Ms. Cavill to, in fact, be Mr. Wilford for all intents and purposes, has incredible potential for complications down the line.

After all, she's just invited a homicide detective to come and poke around with free access anywhere on the train.

Hospitality and Homicide - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2

There's also the issue with the woman they put in The Drawers for a crime she didn't commit. What will the repercussions of her return to society be?

The Drawers themselves are a strange inclusion on the train. Stasis containment doesn't seem like the first (or even the twentieth) thing a luxury train or a survival arc would need.

I'm sure we'll meet many more intriguing characters as the story progresses, including, as mentioned by the stars and creator at NYCC, Miss Audrey and her infamous Night Car where Zarah now works.

Miss Audrey - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 5

As you watch Snowpiercer online, try to pay attention to the action and the interactions as the sets are bound to distract.

As it is a murder mystery, do you have a guess on the killer's identity?

What exactly is so good about the noodles in Third Class?

What the heck was being sent to the Tailies as food rations?

And finally, who repairs the tracks that Snowpiercer uses? How are the tracks even still intact after seven years of temperatures like "minus one hundred and nineteen point six degrees Celsius"?

First, the Weather Changed Review

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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (23 Votes)

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Resistance is never futile but Wilford's train is a fortress to class. Maybe it is perpetual.

Old Ivan

Pike: You know what I think, Layton? I don't think you got the guts to stand with us.
Layton: Pike, you can question my plan if you want. You question my fight and we got a serious problem.