“Into the White” is a brilliant finale, with enough excitement and emotion to make the wait for an already-confirmed Season 3 an agonizing one.
This recap of Snowpiercer season 2, episode 10, “Into the White”, contains spoilers, including for the Snowpiercer Season 2 ending.
I expected the Snowpiercer Season 2 finale to be good — after all, it had set up far too many interesting subplots and dynamics for none of them to pay off. But I can’t say I expected it to be quite this good, a near-perfect culmination of all that has occurred throughout this season, with excitement and tension to spare and an emotional gut-punch of an ending, not to mention a perfect setup for the already-confirmed third season. Really, “Into the White” was everything a season finale should be, and perhaps even a bit more besides.
It began with Alex narrating the opening, explaining how since catching up with Snowpiercer she has come around to its passengers’ way of thinking. This is deliberately juxtaposed with scenes of Layton and Ruth making a dynamite team in composting, and for good reason. The beating heart of the train, and what remains of humanity, is not the swanky private quarters of a dictator like Wilford, but in those so devoted to the train’s survival that they’re willing to shovel its waste.
Layon and Ruth, though, are willing to do a lot more than that, so they kill their guard and break out, running into Alex, who sleeps in the engine, on their way. They plan to steal Big Alice and go to get Melanie, and Alex can help with that since she knows about a secret entrance in the engine that goes straight to Wilford’s bedroom. Up there, Ruth and Layton arm themselves with Wilford’s own vintage swords and butcher the guards in the engine while Alex goes to run interference up-train. They’ll need Ben on-side to make the necessary turn, but there’s time for Layton and Ruth to have a bath (not together) and get changed, at least.
Snowpiercer season 2, episode 10 really starts to build up the tension here. Alex tries to distract Wilford with insincere apologies but takes the opportunity to whisper to Till that Layon is coming, while Javi sends a coded message to Ben, who’s under close guard, tipping him off to what’s happening. Javi has to hold the engine for as long as he can, and the feeling that things aren’t going to go well for him is palpable. Still, his willingness to double-down on the plan anyway really sells him to the audience.
Meanwhile, Layton and Ruth are smuggled into Wilford’s carnival car, where they meet up with Lights and Boscovic. Their plan is to get Melanie to the tannoy in that car so she can make an announcement to the train and everyone will know she’s alive. As Boscovic puts it, “Let’s go make coup!”
The battle lines are clearly drawn. Till knocks out Audrey, who had gone to see Zara, and explains that Layton is coming. Ben fights with his security guard in the engine, but despite being woefully outmatched is able to shift the tracks to make the turn and get the upper hand. Wilford, though, notices the change in terrain. Alex tries to finesse her way out of it, but thanks in part to LJ, Wilford figures out what’s happening and orders that both engines be forcibly breached. He insists on taking Alex with him, but she slyly steals a razor blade and hides it in her mouth.
Here, “Into the White” delivers its first moment of nail-biting suspense, as Wilford, with the help of a cutter and his dog, attempts to break into Big Alice’s engine room while Layton and Boscovic prepare to grab Melanie. Layton spots her, but by then Wilford has sicced his dog on poor Javi and is in control, forcing the train to gain speed. From outside, we see it roar past, wheels aflame, proving that what Melanie saw in her episode wasn’t a hallucination. She really did get left behind.
Distraught, Alex tries to get Wilford to turn the train around. They argue, Wilford strikes her, and she slashes his neck with the razor blade. He’s taken straight to the Headwoods to be stitched up while Alex flees straight to Layton and Boscovic to tell them there’s still a way to save Melanie. As it turns out, the aquarium was designed to be jettisoned even during a lockdown, which means they can decouple there, take the engine and a few cars, and pick up Melanie on their new pirate train. It’s an incredibly cool-sounding idea, but it would also mean leaving the vast majority of the passengers at Wilford’s mercy until they returned. Till is all-in, and they have Audrey as a hostage, but Zara, fearing for the safety of her baby, elects to remain behind and contend with Wilford.
Wilford is, naturally, losing his mind in Snowpiercer season 2, episode 10, and demands that Josie is sent outside to breach the engine where Ben is. The Headwoods don’t think she’s ready but send her out anyway. Ben gets an alert that someone has exited the train, and his guard explains it’s Wilford’s new weapon. But Ben knows Josie well enough to know she won’t just blithely follow Wilford’s orders, so he radios her asking for her help.
Right on the spot where the carriages are to be decoupled, Layton confronts Wilford and his men. He has to hold them off while Boscovic uncouples the cars. But rather than fight, he instead presents Audrey as his hostage. Wilford orders his men back, but he sees the J-link icon on the floor as he puts the pieces together. His men come for Boscovic, and while he’s able to fight a few off, he’s eventually overwhelmed. Layton has no choice but to hold an axe to Audrey’s neck and threaten to kill her, but Wilford calls his bluff. Just as it seems like Layton might cross that line, Josie breaches the roof of the aquarium, and we’re treated to a cool-looking visual effect as the cold creeps into the water in icy tendrils, freezing the fish. Eventually, the whole car explodes, and Layton smiles at Wilford as the cars separate.
The next we see, Layton and Alex are out on Melanie’s trail. They arrive at the research station and follow the warmth to her stash of data drives, which she has kept warm at the cost of her own survival. In notes she left behind, she explains to Alex that she used up all her resources and ate the rats to extinction. But when she saw the train go past and saw Alex in the window, she knew she’d come back. With the power on a trickle, the data could survive for months, and she knew she could put on her helmet and “walk into the white in peace”. It’s a powerful moment. When Layton and Alex take the drives back, they plug them in, and the map of the world lights up with all the areas of warmth that are emerging on this frozen planet. There’s the hope everyone was looking for.
As if to remind us that Season 3 is already commissioned, Layton says, “Let’s go get our train back.” Yes, let’s.