Welcome back, passengers! It’s time to reboard the train for Snowpiercer season 3. This season, you have a choice between riding Mr Wilford’s Snowpiercer, powered by the leaden Big Alice engine and turned into one long, cold prison camp, or Layton’s 10 car pirate train, powered by Snowpiercer’s original engine, running fast and hot with a rebel skeleton crew on the lookout for Melanie Cavill and warm spots on the Earth’s surface where survivors could eventually settle outside the trains.
Where Season 2 Left Off
By the end of season 2, Wilford (Sean Bean) had outmaneuvered Layton (Daveed Diggs) and convinced the people of Snowpiercer to hand control of the train back over to him. Wilford locked Layton and Ruth (Alison Wright) in the compost recycling car as punishment while he decided what to do with the rest of the rebels and senior staff. Though Wilford has his own cult of personality, he envied the loyalty Layton’s people continued to show toward their deposed leader and set about winning them over rather than executing or imprisoning them.
Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) spent much of season 2 at the Breslauer Research Station in the Rocky Mountains collecting data to determine whether the climate is warming, which would mean there’s a chance for the survivors to build colonies outside the train within their lifetimes. She found evidence of warming spots around the globe, but when it came time for Snowpiercer to pick her up, Wilford forced the train to pass by without stopping.
Layton, Ruth, Javi (Roberto Urbina), Ben (Iddo Goldberg), Bess (Mickey Sumner) and Melanie’s daughter Alex (Rowan Blanchard) led another rebellion, hoping to turn back and get Melanie. After a tough battle, with several casualties, including Javi, they settled on a plan to decouple Snowiercer’s first ten cars at the aquarium car, allowing them to steal the main engine and create a pirate train.
Wilford had the Headwoods send Josie (Katie McGuiness) outside the train as a secret weapon to stop the escape, revealing that during the healing process they gave her even more cold resistance than Icy Bob (who Wilford had sacrificed earlier in a mission to sabotage Snowpiercer). When Ben realized Josie was the new cold warrior, he trusted that she wouldn’t want to help Wilford and asked her to join Layton’s rebellion by smashing the aquarium car in half, defeating the jackboots, who were in the midst of stopping the decoupling.
Zarah (Sheila Vand), who is pregnant with Layton’s baby, chose to stay behind on Snowpiercer, certain she was safer there. Layton took Miss Audrey hostage on the pirate train and told Wilford that his girlfriend would stay safe as long as Zarah was safe. Ruth got caught up in a fight with Kevin (Tom Lipinski), Wilford’s head of Hospitality, and was stranded on Snowpiercer. Sykes (Chelsea Harris), Wilford’s security chief, was guarding Ben in Snowpiercer’s engine and was captured.
The pirate train went back to find Melanie, but by the time Layton and Alex hiked to the research station she was gone. She left behind her climate data and a journal for Alex. She said she’d eaten all of the rats she’d survived on after losing her provisions in an avalanche. She’d found the rats living inside the wall of the station. They were being kept alive by a geothermal fissure that had opened up due to rapid climate change.
Prioritizing her mission over surviving a short time with no hope of rescue, she set up her remaining batteries to protect the data and then went “into the white”. The pirate train crew resolved to continue Melanie’s mission by using the data she’d collected to search out the warm spots she’d identified, hoping to find one they could eventually colonize.
As is traditional, the season begins with animation of the exterior of the train and a voiceover by Layton. We pick up 6 months after the end of season 2.
“Two trains, two chapters to tell. One runs hot and fast. The other lumbers slow, cold cast in Wilford’s iron grip. An armored tortoise plodding after a hare. Everyone under a single thumb, serving a single obsession. To retake the pirates and exact his revenge… Inside it’s a backwards world. Only one class now, the working class, freezing stitching, fixing, suffering. But frostbitten fingers hold fast. Deep in the iced-over bowels where Wilford never treads, a spark still lives: The resistance, nurtured and protected by the bravest of the brave. The heart of hope still beats aboard Wilford’s rolling gulag, 1,023 cars long.”
As Layton describes conditions on Big Alice-piercer, Wilford gleefully picks up the scent of his quarry, the pirate train, who followed the same track about a month ago. He can tell how long ago they went through by the condition of the ice on the tracks.
Wilford tells the Engineer to switch to the south track, then tells Jupiter, his dog, that they’ll get Snowpiercer’s engine back, “whatever it takes.” Jupiter sits next to the Engineer, staring at the man, barking and growling occasionally. The Engineer sits rigidly straight, bundled up in layers of clothing and hooked up to an IV. He might be tied to the chair or he might be paralyzed. Or both. The only part we see of him is the tips of his fingers.
Last season, Wilford monologued at his little family of Alex and Miss Audrey (Lena Hall), with Kevin bouncing through. This season he has no one he trusts enough to bring into his inner circle, so he’s stuck talking at his dog and the Engineer, who’s drugged and probably worse. It’s not quite at the level of Norman Bates and his mother, but it’s close.
Meanwhile, in the classroom, Ms Gillies (Fiona Vroom) accompanies herself on the ukulele as she sings The Seekers’ Morningtown Ride, a classic train song. She continues as Dr Pelton (Karin Konoval) opens the classroom door and gestures for Winnie (Emma Oliver) to join her. Pelton whispers in Winnie’s ear, then Winnie runs off down the corridor of the former Second Class, through the Night Car, where Oz (Sam Otto) is playing Morningtown Ride on the piano and Bartender LJ (Annalise Basso) yells at her, “This isn’t a pass-through,” into Third Class, then down a hatch to the sub-train, where she whispers her “message for the top” to Pike (Steven Ogg).
Pike climbs into a hidden corner that serves as hideout and HQ for the tippity-top of the resistance and informs the leader that he has a message for her. She’s working at a makeshift desk, surrounded by route maps and notes pinned to the wall.
But the rustic nature of her current squat doesn’t stop Ruth from expecting her people to follow protocol and she tells Mr Pike so- her second in command forgot to give the password! He chuckles, half in amusement and half in relief that she still hasn’t been found, before giving her the message: “They picked up sign of Snowpiercer. We turned south, back on the main line.”
It’s Ruth’s turn to be relieved. As she attaches a pin to one of her maps, she notes that it’s been 32 days since they had proof that the pirate train was still alive. She wonders why they’ve traveled all over the world for 6 months and if it has anything to do with Melanie. Pike asks if she thinks the pirate train will abandon them. Without hesitation, she tells him no. Then she reminds him that he must have faith as well, somewhere deep inside, since he’s risking his life in the resistance.
Pike scoffs a little. Stalwart Ruth will never understand nihilism or why her rogue’s gallery of boyfriends, bosses and second in commands all find her boundless faith such a balm to their hopelessness.
Ruth passes Pike packets of antibiotics for the seamstresses, to keep them healthy while Wilford has them packed together in sweatshop conditions. She aims to do what she can to ease the passengers’ journey and keep hope alive until Layton and the pirate train return.
In voice over Layton tells us there is now only one class, which isn’t strictly true- there’s always a 1% at the top, even if they don’t have as many perks as they used to. This time the top of the heap is composed of Big Alice-piercer’s senior staff. Now the other 99% now have a standard of living slightly north of the Tail and distinctly below the Third Class Chains under Melanie. Wilford’s train is clothed in Dickensian layers of icy grime and rags from one end to the other. But instead of breaking the passengers, as Wilford hoped, it’s finally made them OneTrain, just as Layton wanted.
Probably anyone near a window or who pays close attention to the train’s movements could tell when the train took the south fork, but the news about Snowpiercer isn’t public information, or else they wouldn’t need to send a secret message to the resistance about it. It’s possible that there was a curve in the track that allowed someone toward the back of the train to see the clear track ahead and make the same deduction that Wilford did. Since it was Dr Pelton who gave Winnie the message for Ruth, I’m wondering if
Javi the Engineer found a way to slip her the information when she was changing his IV.
After the opening credits, we check in on the pirate train, which has come to a full stop, something that usually signals disaster on this show. This time, it’s for their ongoing scientific mission. They’ve made good on the decision to check out the warm spots suggested by the weather balloon data that Melanie collected in season 2 and have traveled the world for months collecting information at each site. They are currently in North Korea in a windy basin.
Ben is outside the train collecting ice samples and joking with Layton about the warm, sunny weather. Josie is all business and tells them to focus on the science. Alex is in an engineering compartment in the corner, trying to keep the engine from bursting into flames. Bess is exercising her sarcastic sense of humor, pointing out that -86°, the current outdoor temperature, is not actually a habitable climate.
Since I can’t recall them ever saying it was warmer than -100° when Hospitality used to read the temperature each day, this does seem like a warming trend, but maybe it’s just normal weather for the new tropics. At the other extreme, if the average temperature has risen from -115°ish to -85°ish within the last year, that’s significant. If it’s true, the compound that created the freeze could be rapidly falling out of the sky and the freeze could end just as rapidly.
Josie and Layton tell Bess that weather and climate aren’t the same thing and they’re following the computer model and trends. Each stop adds new data to the model. Bess and Alex won’t be impressed until they see a lush, green landscape with their own eyes. Slightly less frozen hellscapes aren’t going to do it for them.
When they blow a thermal switch on the main line, Alex asks for advice from Ben. He tells her to vent the excess, but she can’t, because they’re already venting as much as they can. She adds that she told him they came in “too rich.” Alex thinks the solution is to get Ben back on the train and then get moving. Ben doesn’t think the issue is as serious as she does. He needs ten more minutes outside and tells her to, “Ride the levels.” Since Ben is the more experienced engineer, Layton listens to him and tells Alex to do what she can.
Bess leaves for the library car, where Miss Audrey is being held prisoner in a makeshift cell. Martin Colvin (Stephen Lobo), who’s standing guard, gives Bess an update on the prisoner’s mood (cranky and uncooperative), then says that Sykes is on her way with the MREs for lunch. As Bess opens the cell door, Audrey plays the role of Axis Sally, as entertaining and seductive as ever while viciously trying to undermine the pirates’ confidence in the mission and each other. She tells Sykes that Wilford will punish her for cooperating with their captors. Sykes claims she’s just a POW who’s doing her time.
The MRE flavor choices are boeuf bourguignon, carbonara, chicken mushroom and the last Thai vegetable. Sykes mentions that the food supplies are dwindling.
Back in the engine, Alex has kept the engine from bursting into flames but the situation continues to deteriorate. Josie tells Ben that there’s a front coming in, so it’s time to wrap things up. He heads toward the train, complaining about the high winds and blowing snow. He agrees with Josie that they could be caused by the warming climate.
Ben’s snow shoes sink into the snow a few inches with each step, something that shouldn’t be possible in such cold temperatures. Everything should be frozen solid. As he slowly pulls the equipment sled toward the train, the camera shows the exposed corner of a structure, which Ben can’t see from his position. The snow could be melting from warmth caused by a geothermal vent or some other feature underneath the structure, similar to the situation at the Breslauer Research Station that kept Melanie and the rats alive.
On his next step, Ben’s foot goes through the roof of the structure and he falls through, landing on the floor in the room below. He’s in an old control room, with overturned office chairs and long panels of switches and dials. Layton, Josie and Alex take turns attempting to raise him on the radio, but he’s out cold.
In the Library, Audrey asks how Bess thinks Wilford will respond when they bring their climate model back to the main train. Sykes answers for her, “Negotiations.” Martin adds that hostage negotiations should be first on the agenda. He’s not a hostage, but he became a pirate accidentally. He slept through the battle and woke up to discover his husband and twin sons were on Snowpiercer, while he and their cabin were part of the pirate train. Audrey thinks 7 pirates against 2700 Snowpiercer passengers makes for poor odds in any negotiation.
Layton calls Bess up to the engine to help with the Ben situation. She tells Martin to lock Audrey up. While he does that, he and and Audrey have a silent conversation. Sykes whispers to Bess that she saw Ben go outside and offers to help if needed. Bess doesn’t share information with any of them and sends Martin to his quarters.
Once Bess reaches the engine, there’s an argument about who’s going outside to get Ben and whether the train can handle sitting in place during the rescue mission. Alex wants to leave Ben behind, which is super cold of her, especially given how much she’s asked for his advice in the last few minutes.
To avoid a melt down, the engine needs to spend 8 minutes getting up to speed, then 10-12 minutes to run a discharge sequence. Layton tells Alex to leave, run the discharge sequence and come back for him and Ben when she’s done. The cold suits have 30 minutes, so there should be just enough time.
Am I the only one who’s noticed that these plans never work out?
Layton and Josie argue about who gets to be the hero all the way to the door, even as they’re both putting their cold suits on. He wants to go and he doesn’t want to risk all three of their cold workers. Josie refuses to follow direct orders because they aren’t a military operation. Neither state the most pertinent argument, that with her augmentations, Josie is their best cold worker. The rescue has a higher chance of success if Josie is the one who goes alone or if they both go.
Josie thinks they need to give up on the overall mission anyway. Though she supported Layton’s quest for New Eden in front of the others, in private she tells him that she’s tired of chasing Melanie’s ghost. She’s worried it’ll be the end of them, just like it brought about the end of Melanie.
Let’s recall that Josie and Melanie fought to the death at the end of season 1. Josie only survived because Nolan Grey realized there was still a spark of life in her and thought she might have information he could use against Melanie, so he had her hospitalized anonymously. When she woke up from her coma in mid season 2 and Wilford heard she’d been an influential Tailie, he thought she could be useful to him in his fight against Layton and Melanie.
He arranged for her to have her terrible injuries healed by the Headwoods on Big Alice, which turned out to include cold augmentations similar to Icy Bob’s. But Josie is uncompromising and can’t be bought. I suspect she still holds a grudge against Melanie and she hates that Layton accepted Melanie’s help so easily. She’s also practical and will follow the science. If they were getting substantial results, she’d make the cause her own, just as Layton has.
An alarm goes off on Snowpiercer’s dashboard and Alex tells Bess to take the con. She has to go put an actual fire out.
While she’s got Layton alone, Josie continues to unload.
Josie: “You’re starting to believe your own hype. You do know that, don’t you?”
Layton: “I’m just trying to keep everyone alive.”
Josie: “Yep. We know. Our great savior.”
Layton: “Never my words.”
Josie: “I was there at the beginning, in the Tail, in the muck and the sh*t. I know who you are.”
Layton: “You encouraged me to be a leader.”
Josie: “Not for this. Didn’t ask for any of this.”
Josie tells the engine to open the door to the outside. As Bess releases the safety, Layton pulls Josie in and kisses her. I’m not sure if she kisses back. When he lets her go, they both stand there in shock for a second, not knowing what to do with their feelings since they have to go rescue Ben. They tell each other to be careful and head out into the cold.
OMG, Layton, you have a pregnant wife who’s Wilford’s hostage. Leave Josie alone. Let her explore her lovely chemistry with Ben.
Once Josie and Layton are clear, Alex tells Bess to take the train up to 20.
Back on Alice-piercer, Kevin goes through the evidence of pilfering that the quartermaster has found dispersed along the supply chain. They assume it’s Laytonites redistributing supplies.
Zarah arrives, very pregnant and saying she feels enormous. She’s brought the engineering report and speaks to Javi, the Engineer. We finally get a glimpse of his face. Kevin, who has absolutely no shame, attempts to wrest the report from her hands, until Wilford tells him to stop. He prefers to hear bad news from Zarah.
Wilford says it in a pleasant tone, but he’s being backhanded. It’s not really a compliment, coming from a man like Wilford, who hates to lose. He’s reminding himself that she’s the focal point of his revenge.
Zarah reports that the water pipes are frozen in most of Second Class and parts of Third. Ag-Sec’s output is slightly down, which Kevin attributes to pilfering. 162 passengers had to be evacuated when The Chains and 43 sleepers lost heat. Wilford suggests allowing people to get warm in shifts. Zarah counters that he should drop the First Class cars, which are now, ironically, the train’s Tail. The empty cars are dead weight.
Wilford refuses, asserting that he’ll bring First Class back to its former glory once he gets Snowpiercer’s engine back, along with Audrey. Kevin suggests a cull instead.
Wilford performed a major cull on Big Alice, after all. Why should the people of Snowpiercer get to avoid one?
Zarah objects. Wilford’s deal with Layton prohibits a cull. Wilford reminds Kevin that they need to “keep everyone as alive as possible, so Audrey stays as alive as possible.” And Zarah, too, he adds as an afterthought. Zarah gets nervous about her survival, which was what Wilford wanted. She says goodbye to Javi on her way out.
After she leaves, Kevin laments that he has to follow the rules, but the resistance doesn’t have any. Wilford tells him that games always have rules. He just needs to play creatively.
This scene reminds me of the meetings between Melanie, Jinju and Ben in season 1. Ben argued that integrating the Tailies with 3rd Class and cutting those cars would increase efficiency. Melanie thought combining the Tail and Third would be bad for morale and Jinju couldn’t maintain First Class rations while increasing Tailie rations to the level of Third Class. When you’re the real Mr Wilford, you can go ahead and eliminate First Class, in the sense of killing many of them and in the sense of removing their privileges.
The resistance and black market economy move hand in hand through the train. Seamstresses surreptitiously pass antibiotics around while still at their sewing machines, Lights (Miranda Edwards) looks the other way as a case of something disappears from her cart and is distributed amongst several children. The children disappear into the shadows within seconds. Pike visits Jackboot Tyson (Andrea Ware), formerly loyal to Wilford but now relegated to the compost. She asks if he can get her out yet. He says it’ll take one more week, but he does have a bath token for her, “for services to the cause.”
Kevin shows up in the Night Car looking for information that will aid in the capture of the resistance leader. Oz suggests they speak to Jackboot Stu Whiggins (Kristian Bruun), former Firstie, currently passed out drunk in one of the Night Car booths. Stu is currently assigned to Water Security, but can’t think of anything useful. LJ and Oz encourage him to give Kevin “a little thread to pick.” Stu remembers that he heard the Second Class Watermaster was trading hot baths for aid to the resistance.
Wilford pulls back Javi’s hood and examine’s his cheeks, determining that his injuries, maybe even skin grafts, are healing well. He asks if Javi has applied his healing salve to the wound yet today. When Javi shakes his head no, Wilford decides to do it himself. He uses a gentle touch, but Jupiter barks and growls at Javi.
As he rubs the cream in, Wilford explains that he needs Jupiter and Kevin adding chaos to his disciplinary methods. When it’s one man vs 3,000 people, uncertainty is the only way maintain control. “You can’t fight the unpredictable, Javier. That’s how I keep everyone safe. Anyway, I hope you see it for what it is. I do need you, Javier.”
Javi stays absolutely still, staring straight ahead, despite Wilford touching him on the shoulder and speaking intimately to him. When Wilford sees this, he says, “Good man.” Either Jupiter has been trained to attack Javi if he moves or there’s a paralytic drug in Javi’s IV. Or some of both. The drug could paralyze parts of him, but leave just enough mobile for him to drive the train.
Wilford’s idea of keeping everyone safe is extremely twisted. This scene was very much like the scene in S2 when he helped Josie with the phantom sensations in her hand. Josie didn’t switch loyalties and I doubt Javi will either. Wilford, who used to be able to count on lifelong love and loyalty from men like Boki the Breachman, has lost his touch. He’s forgotten how to motivate people to worship him and now only inspires hatred or cultish masochism in those that are susceptible to it.
He doesn’t seem to have thought through that one Wilford, one Kevin and one Jupiter are still only 3 against 3,000, even worse odds than 7 against 2700, the odds Audrey cautioned the pirate train against. When the people are ready to rise against him, his brutal chaos will have turned so many of his loyalists against him that they’ll easily take him down. Right now, it’s only fear and the lack of engineers to replace Javi, who is his hostage as surely as Zarah is, that keep him in power.
Or maybe the people left on Snowpiercer are particularly susceptible to cultish masochism.
Kevin calls to inform Wilford that he has a lead on the resistance. The two men join a squad of jackboots to raid the bathing car just as Jackboot Tyson settles into her hot bath. First they take the Watermaster (Jorje Vargas) into custody, then Wilford opens the curtain where Tyson is bathing and tells her to get out of the tub- while all of the men in the hall watch.
Pike rushes into Ruth’s hideout and says that the Watermaster gave up her location, so they have to move her, fast. Ruth can’t move as fast as Pike and tells him not everyone can be built like a whippet. They gather up her necessities and hide her in the back of a subtrain, then Pike drives her as far as First, which is too cold for the machinery to function.
Wilford, Kevin and the jackboots arrive in the abandoned resistance HQ just after Ruth escapes. They examine the maps, notes and other items she left behind, trying to determine her identity. Wilford is impressed with this new opponent, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Ruth has become another worthy adversary in Wilford’s game. I’m surprised that neither he nor Kevin recognized her handwriting. Maybe Kevin will find a writing sample of hers in the Hospitality office at some point and put it together.
Pike leads Ruth up to the main floor and through the frozen First Class Dining Room, where Ruth is horrified to discover that Kevin never cleaned up after Wilford’s last dinner party. Pike explains that they have the power in First on a bare minimum, leaving the temperature at -25°, normally too cold for anyone to survive, so he hopes they won’t think to search this section.
He takes her behind the bar, through a couple of hidden doorways, and into another storage/maintenance area that the forces of evil probably don’t even know about. Pike has set up a small heater in the living area he’s created, bringing the temperature up to -12°. This time Ruth even has a window. Both could be dangerous, since the heater will use more power than expected and the window might show light in an area where there shouldn’t be any. Ruth will have to be careful.
Before Pike leaves, he gets a twinkle in his eye and asks Ruth if she likes it that he’s built like a whippet. She laughs and tells him to mind his cheek. She also tells him to send her thanks to everyone who helped her escape to her new hideout.
Ben wakes up while Josie and Layton are setting up the apparatus to lower a cable into the building. With only 7:45 minutes left on his suit, he’s very relieved to discover Layton and Josie right over his head. He wants them to lower a rope for him, but Layton says he’s coming down.
Martin, Audrey and Sykes pool their information and figure out that the train is venting something and they left Ben, Layton and Josie behind. Audrey tells Martin that it’s time to enact their plan. He lets her out of her cell and she takes his taser. Sykes hasn’t been part of their plan before this, so Audrey explains that they’re going to force Alex to go back and rejoin Snowpiercer. Sykes refuses to join their mutiny, so they lock her in the cell.
Once the train reaches a speed of 75, Alex tells Bess to switch places so she can start the cooling sequence. She explains that Bess needs to match the colored lines to each other and calls her “Brakeman”. Bess bristles that she’s not a Brakeman any more.
Wonder if this is the job the kids in the film were doing in the hidden compartment.
As Audrey and Martin make their way to the engine, he tells her to say she forced him to let her out of her cell. How did she force him? Let’s not go there.
By the time Layton reaches Ben, he has 2 minutes left on his suit. Layton plugs his own suit into Ben’s to share his charge. Ben warns him not to overdo it, since there’s no point in both of them running out. Ben is in such bad shape that he stayed lying down while he waited instead of sitting up. Now he starts to pass out again. Layton gets him talking to keep him conscious, asking if he’s really a surfer like they’ve been joking about.
Ben: “I spent a summer in Sopelana when I was 16. Yeah, the locals surfed a wave called El Bordillo… I learned more on that wave than in seven years of university.”
Layton: “You ever go back?”
Ben: “Yeah, once. By then, the rising sea levels changed the coastline. The wave was gone.”
Layton gets Ben hooked up to the cable so Josie can raise him up to the surface. By the time Ben is done talking, the meter on Layton’s suit is flashing with an alert- he must be on the verge of low power.
Bess asks if it’s time to turn back, but Alex says they’re still too rich. She gets panicky, because it’s taking too long. Bess assures her that she can do this and asks what Melanie would do. Alex says Melanie would just know what to do. Because Melanie is a goddess, y’all. Bess asks what Ben would do. Alex says he’d grab a piece of paper and start mansplaining. Because Ben was born to be the Dad in the group. Bess suggests that she try Ben’s method of talking it through out loud.
This is good advice- talking and writing each utilize different pathways in the brain from silently thinking through a problem, so they can legitimately trigger new ideas or understanding.
Alex picks up Ben’s pad and talks through the problem as she works it out on paper. Using this method, it only takes her a minute to figure out they can reverse in 3 minutes.
Holy cow, she has the same processing style as Ben. Please say this a clue that he’s her father.
No time to dwell on this revelation- Audrey strolls into the engine and stomps on the lid to the engineering pit that Bess is crouched in, knocking Bess out and trapping her. She asks Alex if she’s been avoiding her. Without missing a beat, Alex tells Audrey she advised the others to put her in the meat locker, but they thought the library was more secure. Audrey asks if the others are outside. Alex tells her she’s busy. Audrey sits on the counter and pulls out a cigarette, then lights it with the taser, cooing that she’s waited 6 months to smoke it.
Well, that’s a gratuitous promotion of smoking. She could have searched out the chocolate or spicy cajun jerky they were hoarding or exclaimed over how good it is to stretch and see the sun. People do crave things other than cigarettes and alcohol.
Once Audrey’s taken a drag of her cigarette, she tells Alex that it’s “time to go home, to Daddy.” Bess wakes up and pounds on the hatch door. Bess notices that the compartment is actually the start of a tunnel and starts crawling.
Layton sends Ben up to Josie, then tells her to get Ben to the meeting point for the train, since he needs medical attention. She throws the switch down so Layton can raise himself up to the surface, then sets off with Ben on a sled. Layton’s suit is getting low and he’s about to hook himself to the cable when he sees a pulsing red light in the back of the building and decides to investigate.
It’s not like he’ll get another chance.
The red light is coming from the small nuclear reactor Layton finds when he opens the wrong door. After that, he sees a radiation warning sign, but it’s easy to miss the warning since it’s partially covered by a dried blood splatter that suggests
someone’s head exploded someone received a like threatening head injury in that spot…
Layton’s suit is almost empty, but he hears movement in the facility, so he continues exploring. He follows the sound to a small room where someone has been camping out. There’s a family photo hung on a cupboard door and a heater running next to a bed with with mylar blankets. He calls out “hello,” but no one answers. Instead, a woman in a cold suit jumps him and frantically hits him all over with a cricket bat.
She must have played defense on the reactor crew’s cricket team.
Layton’s much bigger than her, so once he figures out what’s going on, he takes control of the fight and knocks her out. He sinks down to the floor as his air runs out.
Audrey works on undermining the confidence that Bess just built up, telling Alex that Melanie is dead and New Eden doesn’t exist. “Wilford has the answers, Alex. Just keep going and you solve everything. Just keep going.”
Bess reaches the back of the engine, picks up a hammer from a toolbox and uses it to knock Martin out. She goes for Audrey next, but Alex tells her to stop and Audrey surrenders. Bess tells Audrey to get away from Alex. All 3 argue about whether they should to keep going and find Wilford or go back and get the others. Audrey grabs the accelerator and pushes it forward, but Alex shoves her off. Bess hits Audrey in the head, knocking her out. Then she reminds Alex that they need to stay faithful to Melanie’s vision. Alex reverses the train.
Hopefully Audrey isn’t too badly injured, since she’s supposed to be returned to Wilford intact-ish.
Gasping for breath and only semi-conscious, Layton plugs his suit into a switch hanging on the wall. Plugs must be standardized internationally in their universe. While his suit charges he has a vision of a desert landscape with exotic plants, including a strange tree. When he comes back to full consciousness he sits wide-eyed, trying to understand the meaning of the vision.
Meanwhile, Josie can’t raise the train or Layton. Finally, the train comes back and she gets Ben inside. When she tries to go back outside to find Layton, Ben stops her- Layton’s suit ran out 5 minutes ago. Five minutes without oxygen or in -86 degrees air is a death sentence.
But Layton appears in the distance, carrying the woman he found at the reactor over his shoulder.
Back to Alice-piercer, where Jupiter growls at Javi as he adjusts some knobs. He’s not quite as stiff without Wilford breathing down his neck.
I’m reminded that Jupiter obeyed Alex better than Wilford. Food for thought.
In the Night Car, Oz finishes mopping the floor and LJ asks what she can get him. He tells her he has everything he wants, “A girl, a club, and the gratitude of the great Mr Wilford.” Then they make out.
❤️ 😍 I don’t care if they’re as much Bonnie and Clyde as they are Merry and Pippin, I still love them together. Given the way Audrey’s acting, I’m fine if Merry and Pippin keep the Night Car forever, with Stuie as their jackboot pet.
Time for Kevin to take Wilford’s advice and get creative with the rules of the game. Tyson and the Watermaster stand in thin white shifts in front of a group of workers. Kevin tells the workers that they missed their turns to bathe because these two decided to help the resistance instead. He wants them each to throw a bucket of watery compost slop at the prisoners. Pike is dragged up to go first. Tyson tells him it’s okay, the hot water was worth it. Pike throws the contents of the bucket, and the others behind him follow.
I’d like to thank Snowpiercer for putting both the male and female characters in identical little white dresses of doom. Equality is all I’m asking for.
Wilford dines in the Headwoods’ lab, where Mrs Dr Headwood (Sakina Jaffrey) has Zarah on the table. Zarah is unconscious and there’s an ultrasound image of the baby on a screen. Mrs Dr Headwood sticks a very long needle into the baby’s abdomen.
Wilford: “Well, I hate to miss a public defiling, but the proceeding are rather foregone, aren’t they? I’d much rather be here with my friends, embarking on a fresh path.”
WHAT IS HE DOING TO THAT BABY? Some fresh genetic engineering horror, no doubt.
I knew Zarah made the wrong decision when she didn’t go with Layton on the pirate train. Wilford promised not to hurt her, but did he promise not to touch the baby in any way?
Ruth goes over her map and looks out her window, all alone in First Class.
Many miles away, Layton watches the newcomer, Asha (Archie Panjabi), sleep in Melanie’s bed. She’s hooked up to a medical monitor, but isn’t visibly injured. Layton continues to see flashes of his vision.
Jackboot Tyson was one of the group of jackboots who were most loyal to Wilford in episode 208. Her switch to helping the resistance shows that Wilford has lost the loyalty of almost everyone. The jackboots listened to Melanie until close to the end and she only lost them because of Nolan Grey’s ambition. The Brakemen stayed neutral until close to the end. But just like Melanie, if Wilford can’t keep the military on his side and he’s lost the people, he won’t be in power for long, no matter what tricks he uses to scare people into thinking he has more ability to hurt them than he does. All it will take is a leader they want to follow and the realization that they have nothing to lose.
The conversation between Josie and Layton as they prepare to rescue Ben, starting with Josie’s doubt’s about Layton’s mission to find New Eden, basically paraphrases the song Heaven on Their Minds from Jesus Christ Superstar, the song sung by Judas that opens the musical. It could be a coincidence, except now Layton is having prophetic visions. I thought they meant he’s Moses, until I looked closely at that conversation. What’s more worrying is the implication that Josie could still turn out to be Judas, inadvertently causing Layton’s death. Hopefully only his temporary death, since this show is known for its resurrections.
On the other hand, when Josie says she didn’t ask for any of this, she shows such exhaustion. After everything she’s been through, she must have a better role to play than Layton’s betrayer, the role Wilford groomed her for and she rejected. Josie was more popular in the Tail than Layton was, and the train chose Wilford over him last season. Could be she’ll get her chance as a political leader, while Layton will become a spiritual leader. With Pastor Logan gone, there’s an opening in the Tea Room.
Oddly, during that argument Josie never brings up the fact that, if the rescue mission takes too long and her suit runs out of power, unlike Layton, she’ll be fine exposed to the outside air for a while. She’d be the ideal person to top off Ben’s suit, not him. She never does take off her helmet and top off Ben, though it’s a close call. Though Layton’s heart is in the right place, he still hasn’t learned how to delegate, especially when there are women involved. It sounds like the women on the pirate train are getting sick of him and Ben pulling rank., given the way Josie told him they aren’t on a battleship, they’re on a life raft.
Head injuries on the pirate train in this episode: Layton, Ben, Asha, Martin, Audrey, Bess. Uninjured: Sykes, Alex, Josie. This is not an encouraging ratio. At least their medic, Josie, and one engineer, Alex, were uninjured, but head trauma isn’t something to fool around with. In episode 2, I want to see every character who was unconscious complaining about headaches and holding ice packs to their head.
Since the Night Car now has strippers, we can probably assume Wilford has turned it into a brothel, which is what he originally intended.
Wilford is such a sadistic lunatic that it’s easy to forget he’s an expert engineer in his own right. He might not know the train itself as well as Melanie, but he understands track and weather conditions and the limits they impose with the same type of intuition.
Bet the citizens of Snowpiercer would welcome Melanie’s law and order back with open arms right about now, though hopefully First Class and the Tail will never be reinstated.
Martin was one of Melanie’s spies and worked with the resistance/Layton’s side during the season 1 revolution. If remember right, Melanie was paying him with bribes. Now he wants to get back to his family, not to Wilford’s rule. He’s a Firstie who’s looking out for himself and trying to avoid extremism (as he sees it).
Alex was the only one who saw how far Audrey was willing to go in season 2 and who isn’t hampered by the idea that she’s a friend who’s lost her way and can be brought back. Seems like the time Audrey lost her way was while she was helping Layton. She gave up fighting her natural instincts once she cured Kevin of his “anxiety”.
Someday, I’d like to understand Miss Audrey’s twisted psychology, but at the same time, it’s probably best not to follow her or Wilford too far down their rabbit holes. There’s addiction to pain and control involved, but in addition, I think they each may be the constant in each other’s lives, the only ones who know, understand and haven’t left each other. The fact that Audrey held onto his favorite liquor for years, waiting for him to return to her like he was her combined Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty, says it all.
Audrey is assuming the passengers are still on Wilford’s side, the wa they were when she moved into Big Alice. But things have changed since then. He’s made it clear they’re all hostages and slaves subject to his whims, which has had an effect on loyalty.
By the way, I love it that the people on board are all referred to as passengers now, giving them a sense of equality, but not a sense of ownership. They still ride at the discretion of management. Of all of the potential leaders of the train, Layton is the only one (along with Josie) who’s wanted to give ownership of the train to the people, which is their only security against getting
spaced thrown off as punishment.
LJ and Oz’s version of the Night Car feels like Rick’s bar in Casablanca, a black market hub that caters to all sides, no one sure which side the proprietors are ultimately on and assuming they will choose themselves when the chips are down. (As it turns out, that was true of Miss Audrey and her Night Car as well.) Kristian Bruun’s Jackboot Stu Whiggins sits in the shadows and watches, stone-faced, when Winnie runs through in the opening sequence. He may be more than he seems, since he chose a less incriminating piece of information to give Kevin.
There’s some chemistry going on with Bess and Sykes, but I’m not sure we can trust any of Wilford’s senior staff or the former Firsties without some kind of major loyalty test. They’ve put so much into believing in Wilford’s cult, and in some cases have been tortured and brainwashed into it, that their minds might break if they realize he’s a fraud. Sykes’ scars suggest she went through the near death experience brainwashing that Wilford uses to induce the most delusional levels of loyalty.
The nuclear reactor is probably a light-water reactor, the most common type of reactor. There are hundreds of nuclear reactors all over the world. Could some or all of the warm spots be caused by these reactors? And could some of them have colonies of survivors living around them, using the power and warmth they generate? Interesting that so much of the episode was spent discussing the train’s perpetual motion engine potentially melting down because it wasn’t in motion, while they were sitting on top of a nuclear reactor with the potential to melt down.
Is Wilford wearing Ruth’s coat or did they always have matching furs?
The new opening credits are shorter, showing less food and fewer cars. The route map ends by showing the tree from the promo in the Horn of Africa. Plant crops are focused on cotton for fabric, a few nutritious superfoods that are fast and easy to grow (berries, potatoes) and carbohydrate heavy foods for energy (wheat, rice, sugar). Plus cocoa, which has mood enhancing properties and also provides cocoa butter and caffeine. The animals that are left are all multipurpose beyond providing meat for protein- pigs/lard, chickens/eggs and goats/milk, plus their skins, feathers, horns, hooves. The butchers compartments that formerly housed the cows is being repurposed according to the plans in the credits, but I can’t tell what for.
Images courtesy of TNT.
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