[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Snowpiercer Season 3 Episode 9, “A Beacon for Us All.”]
Jennifer Connelly’s Melanie Cavill was assumed dead in snowdrops Season 3. After being betrayed by Wilford (Sean Bean) in Season 2, Mel was left to fend for herself in the remnants of Earth’s frozen tundra. Despite the odds, Layton (Daveed Diggs), her daughter, Alex (Rowan Blanchard), Ruth (Alison Wright), Ben (Iddo Goldberg), Bess (Mickey Sumner) and many of the Snowpiercer passengers held on to hope that she survived.
Layton and his team searched for Mel on a disconnected section of Snowpiercer while Wilford maintained control of Big Alice. But months have passed and Mel is still missing. Other than appearing as a figment of Alex’s imagination, we haven’t seen Connelly. However, everything changed: Episode 8 offered hope for her survival, and she made her comeback in the penultimate episode of the season. She survived for six months in a solo train car, tossing herself in and out of consciousness to get by.
Here, Connelly talks about those six long months, about Mel reuniting with her family and Snowpiercer, and why she also crafted this major plot twist to set up the March 28 finale.
Fans were hoping you would return in the Season 3 premiere, but they had to wait a lot longer to see the real Melanie again. What was the energy like when you came back on set to film your comeback?
Jennifer Connell: It was great. I had come back to film a previous episode, but in this episode she was kind of summoned by Alex. She was in his imagination, walking beside Alex to help him come to terms with this part of his past. So it was really fun to come back in Episode 9 and be on set again with all these people. It’s a great group. The cast is fantastic. They’re so talented, and everyone gets along so well and supports each other so much. And the crew is amazing.
So on a personal level, it was really great to be back, and I really enjoyed those scenes. I absolutely loved the story of her survival, going in and seeing her in that capsule and what she did and how she made it work. And I loved the chance to get her back on the train and see all those people she thought she would never see again.
— Snowpiercer on TNT (@SnowpiercerTV) March 15, 2022
snowdrops it’s still life or death, but the stakes are above all life or death for Mélanie for the past six months. She had to cling to hope like never before. In your mind, what did Melanie tell herself during all these months to keep herself alive and believe that she would make it?
She says herself: “I am incredibly stubborn. I think he’s an incredibly strong-willed person. I think she’s someone who is able to compartmentalize and separate what she has to do from sentimentality and emotion. Not that she’s cold and doesn’t feel emotion, but that she’s able to separate her from what she has to do. She won’t sink into it. And I think he’s someone who really has one foot in front of the other, that’s the next thing I have to do. I think she would have established a routine of her checks she needs to do, everything she has to do, her exercises, her diary, things that will keep her focused on small increments of time in the future. She knows her team on the train and knows they are going to get her. And she thinks of those she loves and hopes they will seek her.
It’s such a touching reunion between Melanie and Alex, then with Ben. Melanie and Alex even get sweets and Ordinary mother/daughter moments in the episode. What is your hope for them moving forward?
I love that they found each other and that they are reunited. I think it’s really moving, because Melanie felt like when she first saw Alex in season 2, there was so much guilt and shame and loss and so much to overcome. Of course, she wanted this relationship so badly, but didn’t think she deserved it. She had been absent all these years. I love how it was written that she knew she couldn’t handle a relationship that was just some kind of theory. In terms of being together, she hadn’t earned this relationship yet. She had to wait and be patient.
I think the payoff when Alex starts moving towards her emotionally and expressing his love and even just asking her opinion on clothes is so beautiful and it means so much to Melanie because that’s all she wanted, but didn’t want to ask because she didn’t know if she had the right. So when it comes to her, it means the world to her. I want to see them together! I want to see them have more of these experiences together.
Melanie and Wilford’s reunion was interesting. It’s so hard to believe Wilford when he says he keeps everyone safe. Self-preservation seems to be his main goal. Melanie, of course, doesn’t trust him at all, but if you were a spectator, would you trust Wilford when he says he watches over everyone?
Personally, I would take everything he says with a grain of salt. I feel like it’s always an afterthought with him.
We don’t see a lot of good times from Wilford. He’s a really fun villain, but he’s a villain.
Yes I agree. He had this near-death experience – which Mel also does, and I think it affects him as a person. I’m not sure it has the same effect on Wilford.
Melanie definitely grew more through the adversity she faced than Wilford.
I think it’s safe to say.
Between Melanie returning, Alex arriving while Melanie was gone, and Layton and the rest of the crew running the train quite successfully, does Melanie think Wilford is still needed?
Things survived without him all season 1. There was just an idea of him. I don’t think his presence is really essential to the survival of the train. I think it’s more of a wrench in the works, actually. With his agenda, he is more of a handicap in reality. The idea of him still has influence and power. There are still people who are loyal to her, and I think that has to be managed, and she is aware that it has to be managed to some degree. But I think its reality is more of a handicap.
And because he still has a stable group of supporters, it would be difficult to simply say, “You know what, finished with you, Wilford. You are expelled from the train. It would cause more chaos. Melanie threw in a bit of a twist at the end, to say the least, by exposing Layton’s lie about New Eden.
Speaking of introducing chaos! She’s not someone who’s afraid to do it if she has to.
She survived those six months alone against all odds. Why do you think she finds it hard to believe in New Eden’s hope now? She pulls out the data and doesn’t believe New Eden will be a safe haven for them, but everyone tells her to keep hope alive.
She had no choice when she was in the car. She could only hope she could pull through, and she did everything she could to survive, but there was no choice at the time. There was really only one way for her to go. I think in this situation, she loves hope. She loves what hope does for passengers in how it unites them and gives them a sense of purpose and joy. But it’s based on a lie. And people don’t know that.
I think his interpretation of the data is very different from Javi and Ben’s, or maybe they don’t really want to look at it. It seems everyone is in denial, and she knows it’s complete fiction, the story Layton told the passengers who thus rallied them. This, to her, feels unfair. So knowing that there are these extenuating circumstances – that is, the way that goes to this place is really dangerous and unhealthy, and that they have to cross this bridge and that it is very unstable – it there could be no reversal of this decision. I think his feeling is why would we, maybe, take that risk? Risk throwing it all away?
I don’t think she’s pessimistic. I think she’s just being realistic and thinks there’s a more conservative approach to this that doesn’t deny the possibility, but isn’t as dangerous. I think she likes hope, but she just feels like she doesn’t want to be reckless about it. I think she thinks it’s a little reckless.
I think that’s a fair opinion to have when literally the fate of mankind is in your hands.
That’s all they did, what she fought for all along: keep passengers safe until it was time. That’s what she wants to do. It’s not like she changed her mind and was like, “I actually want to stay on the train,” or, “I’m scared of having a new future,” or, “I want to stay in power. “. It is not like that.
I literally think she’s just looking at the numbers and thinking, ‘Why not just make sure before you go? Why not just put the odds a little more in your favor? What’s the worst thing that happens if you wait? I think she just feels like she’d rather wait. And at a minimum, she thinks passengers should know what they’re getting into.
snowdrops, Season 3 Finale, Monday, March 28, 9/8c, TNT