Snowpiercer (Season 1): Keep It Going – HBO Max Review

The second season is coming next week, so just enough time to catch up.


Welcome to the Apocalypse: Snow Edition. It turns out that global warming was, in fact, real, but then the people assigned to fix it screwed up and froze the planet instead. The only survivors of humanity, apparently, are inside Snowpiercer, a 1001 car long train that runs on a perpetual energy engine built by Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean). The train has four classes: The ultra-rich first class, the skilled labor second class, the trained labor third class, and the slave-class in the tail, consisting of people who forced their way onto the train. The train’s operations are overseen by the head of “hospitality,” Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly). After a grizzly murder happens in second class, Cavill recruits former homicide detective and tail revolutionary Andre Layton (Daveed Diggs) to solve it, resulting in the entire train being thrown out of whack. 

But that train keeps a rollin’ on down to San Antone… and then to India and back.


If you didn’t see the film Snowpiercer (or read the graphic novel, I guess), then the setting for this series may take a bit of adjustment. It’s all set on a train, because everything else is death. The train can’t stop or everyone dies. There are 1001 cars, which means that there are not just housing and basic services, but also things like farm cars, cattle cars, ocean cars, restaurants, clubs, bars, etc. The cars are not all the same size, but the show does a good job of making the most of the spatial allotments and forces a lot of creativity into the designs. It also creates an environment that is simultaneously isolated and overwhelmingly crowded, which means that you can have almost any character reacting to either of them at the same time. Putting people in such an insane situation means that major character trait changes can be justified, which helps keep the show refreshing. 

Lot of stuff happens in the bar car.

Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly both nail their characters in this show. Diggs is a revolutionary who has been living in squalor for seven years who is now being offered a better life essentially in exchange for leaving the rest of the people behind. He’s having to question the strength of his principles. The same is true of Connelly, who is constantly sacrificing to maintain enough order to keep the last vestiges of humanity alive. It’s interesting because Connelly would clearly be the villain if this weren’t literally the last hope for life on Earth, but instead she’s often shown to be somewhat justified in her actions. Each one constantly has an air of moral ambiguity.

Such piercing eyes. Snowpiercing. Yeah, I hate myself for that joke.

Overall, this was a solid series and a good alternate take on the movie’s premise. I still recommend seeing the movie (directed by Parasite director Bong Joon-ho), but this show is a worthy follow-up. Can’t wait for Season 2 next week.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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