The Tortoise and the Hare
Episode 1 of Snowpiercer Season 3 begins six months after the events of the previous season. There are two trains now of course, the proverbial tortoise run by Mr Wilford, and the fast hare with Andre Layton running the show. We all know how this fable turned out; will Layton rest on his laurels and find himself at Wilford’s mercy?
Till, Alex and Layton work together with Bennett to start taking ice samples outside. They’re looking for a habitable spot, given the planet is heating up. Thanks to Melanie’s research, they’re continuing the work she started and seemingly making good progress.
Midway through though, the thermal switches blow on the main-line, sending alarms wailing up and down the carriage. Alex suggests they abandon the plan, leaving Layton in a difficult position. Eventually he decides to continue on for as long as they can.
Out on the ice though, Ben starts to slip and eventually plummets through the ice into an underground bunker. With Ben in serious trouble, Layton decides to grab some gear and head outside to save him. Josie joins him, much to Layton’s disdain. However, they both remain fixated on heading across the ice and bringing him back.
With the classes broken down, Big Alice has come together as one; the working class. Ruth is part of the resistance against Wilford’s rule though, deep in the heart of the icy recesses of the train. She eagerly awaits Layton and the others to return.
News of the resistance spreads through the train as Wilford tasks Kevin with finding out exactly who the ringleader behind all of this is. Wilford encourages him to “be creative” in order to get results.
It doesn’t take long for Kevin to stumble upon bath tokens being used as an incentive for services to the resistance. The blame falls squarely to Watermaster Arnaldo Reyes. Although, as we saw earlier in the episode, it’s Pike who’s distributing these out.
When Wilford and his men begin investigating, Ruth is well prepared and collects up her gear quickly. This seems to be a regular game of cat and mouse, with Ruth and Pike heading out on the sub-train through the carriages to escape Wilford and the others.
Back on the Snowpiercer, things take a turn for the worst. Till is knocked out and imprisoned, leaving Miss Audrey released from lockup with the help of Martin.
Audrey heads to the engine room and, with a taser in hand, decides that Alex should join Wilford and the others rather than helping Layton.
Till manages to break free though and knocks out Audrey. Unfortunately, she also seems to have got through to Alex, who begins questioning whether their choice is correct or not. She does eventually succumb and stop the train, but it feels like an ominous sign of things to come.
Unbeknownst to them of course, outside in the ice, Layton manages to save Ben but decides to go and inspect the reactor. However, he’s attacked by a strange figure in a red costume and metal helmet.
Layton manages to overcome her though and eventually the group make it back to the Snowpiercer, with Layton carrying this woman over his shoulder.
As the episode closes out, we get a look at his attacker – briefly anyway – as she recovers on one of the beds. Layton reflects on his time on the ice, as flashes of aa strange tree echo through. Could this be a sign?
The Episode Review
So it appears that some people have managed to survive off the trains all this time. That certainly changes the game in terms of the worldbuilding and ideas Snowpiercer has been pedaling, and it works surprisingly well to keep things interesting.
The other part of this episode comes from the continued resistance movement on Wilford’s train. Ruth is all-in on following Layton and remains dedicated to his cause.
That’s a dangerous game to play though, especially as we know how ruthless this man can be. Alas, that much is true here as the Watermaster meets a nasty fate for helping the resistance.
That train is only so long and it feels like it’s only a matter of time before Wilford catches up.
The fate of this world rests precariously in the balance though and quite what this means for the two trains remains to be seen. For now, Snowpiercer gets off to an enticing start.