The hotly-anticipated premiere of Snowpiercer Season 3 is imminent, and we will soon know what has become of Layton's pirate train and those left to suffer Wilford's crazed Nero-esque rule.
Two significant characters who sided with Layton in the final confrontation of Snowpiercer Season 2 are Bess Till and Alex Cavill. Both are on board the pirate train as Season 3 opens.
Speaking with TV Fanatic via Zoom, actresses Mickey Sumner and Rowan Blanchard, who play Bess and Alex, respectively, share some insights into their characters and how they'll grow as Season 3 unfolds.
As a quick refresher, Blanchard's Alexandra Cavill is Melanie's daughter and was Wilford's ward and protégée on Big Alice since the Freeze separated from her mother. She appears for the first time on Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 10 in the stunning final moments.
During Season 2, she overcame Wilford's brainwashing and reconnected with Melanie, only to have her mother leave her to gather the climate data needed to prove that the planet was warming.
Alex was just a child when Wilford scooped her up from the empty Snowpiercer platform to become part of the Big Alice contingent.
While everyone still alive lost something or someone in The Freeze, Blanchard has developed a profound understanding of what Alex mourns most.
"With Alex, she has such a little concept of normality and of family and of adults taking care of her.
"Part of what Alex deals with this season is grappling and addressing those feelings and the stuff that she's repressed.
"Obviously, it's a weird world where you don't have a dad, and your mom is sort of in and out.
"[And that's] on top of the things that make the Snowpiercer world already so severe.
"I think that she's mourning a normal childhood, but she also doesn't really have... nobody on Snowpiercer has a real comparative for that, right?"
Bess Till has been a striking and intriguing character since the beginning of the series.
When we first meet her on Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1, she is one of Roche's brakemen, visibly uncomfortable with -- but silently complicit in -- some of her colleagues' less noble behaviors.
After learning from Layton's detective work, she takes on the role of Train Detective in the wake of the revolution and Wilford's return. Her natural integrity asserts itself, and she has been an advocate, willing and able to speak truth to power ever since.
Rather than looking back at her life before the Freeze for meaning, Sumner believes that Bess's sense of purpose and belonging has grown and actualized with her life on Snowpiercer.
"I actually think that Bess found her place on the train. Meeting Layton, she found her mission and her fight, as in, what are you really fighting for? And who are you really serving?
"She was a rookie cop back in Detroit, so I think she had this sense of service, and it kind of got misplaced in the first season as a brakeman.
"Then Layton gets her on track, reminds her of who she should be in service to and to what cause.
"[And] there's loss. I think she's sort of a loner because she's so guarded, [but] she's had love.
"She obviously had a great love in Jinju, which sadly fell apart because they couldn't trust each other.
"I don't think she dwells on life before the Freeze. She lost her whole family, but I also think she's a forward-thinking person who isn't going to lie in bed and be sad."
Season 3 sees both Alex and Bess removed from all their prior influences. Life on the pirate train affords a form of freedom and self-awareness neither has experienced in almost a decade.
Blanchard recognizes that this is a novel situation for Alex.
"I think she's standing in herself for the first time.
"A lot of Alex's life has been determined by conditions that are really out of her control. Especially with Wilford. She was sort of serving another person.
"Part of what was the most fun about Season 3 was breaking away from that and [seeing] what things you realize when you're out of certain circumstances that you can't see when you're within them.
"[Also, she discovers] how you can recognize certain dynamics as being more contrived than you can when you're forced to deal with them first hand.
"It was really fun for me, as an actor, to tap into her growth and her voice and watch her stand up to people.
"That was one of the most exciting things about Season 3."
While loyal to the cause, Bess plays a bit of a devil's advocate on the pirate train, holding Layton accountable for his decisions and refusing to let hope cloud her sense of reality.
Sumner sees Till's journey through Season 3 as one of growth both as part of the leadership group and as an emotional being.
"She has this jewel job of questioning Layton, as well as fiercely protecting his vision and his mission.
"And then she also has this moment where she's forced to be vulnerable and think about matters of the heart. That's all I'll say about that."
As evidenced in the Season 3 trailer, Layton's ultimate goal is to lead the citizens of Snowpiercer to New Eden, a place on the planet warmed enough to colonize and begin to rebuild the world.
Both Blanchard and Sumner are admirably tight-lipped about whether their characters would choose to leave the train.
Blanchard simply shakes her head silently when the question is posed while Sumner exclaims, "Can't answer that!"
Now whether that's because it's too hard and hypothetical a dilemma to present or because it would be a major spoiler, we'll just have to wait and see.
What do you think Alex and Bess would choose? What would you choose, given the chance? Hit our comments with your pick!
Snowpiercer Season 3 premieres on TNT on Monday, January 24 at 9/8c.
Check back here after it airs for our review, and keep an eye out for more revealing and intriguing interviews with other stars from the show!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.