Episode 7 of Snowpiercer season 3 starts with Layton on the train. Only…not really. Everything is one big dream, with him hallucinating and seeing everyone onboard Snowpiercer in different gear.
According to dream-Till, he’s dying. She’s a sort of spirit-guide for Layton as she tasks him with navigating down to the end of the train to see the Tail Boss, who can help him return to the real world.
Just before he leaves, Till cuts his arm as a reminder in case he gets lost in the depths of the train. The thing is, the longer he stays in this alternate reality, the longer it’ll take to get back.
So off Layton goes, on an elaborate fetch quest as he speaks to the train’s cartographer, who gives him a riddle that’ll present the word needed to get into the Tail.
The thing is, Layton isn’t actually alone heading up the train, he’s also with Wilford too, who’s dressed in a white suit and hat to boot. Pike’s here as well, dressed up as a priest. He urges Layton to repent for his sins, pointing out the trail of dead bodies he’s left in his wake (both in this world following a shoot-out just prior to this scene and in the real world too.)
On the real Snowpiercer, Till is distraught following what’s happened to Layton and the drama involving Pike. Audrey convinces Till to let her head in and see Layton, touching his chest and whispering to “remember himself.” This seems to work too, as Layton begins to hear the echoing voice bleed through to this alt-reality.
Elsewhere on the real Snowpiercer, Wilford begins sifting through numerous different charts and books. He’s heard about Layton’s brush with death and brings Alix up to see him. He’s excited about something, but all will be revealed at the end of the episode!
Layton makes it down to the Tail, where he solves the riddle the cartographer told him earlier (“Death” is the answer) and he’s brought before the Tail Boss.
This woman happens to be Liana, and as she looks up at Wilford, she admits that he’s there to face her death. There’s a bomb in her bag, which soon explodes… and brings Layton back to the Snowpiercer. Or does it?
Layton awakens to find himself with Asha but the cut on his arm starts bleeding, indicative that he’s still in the dream, only a different layer of it from the looks of it. Asha hides her locker from Layton, pointing out that he won’t like what he’s going to find in there.
Layton shoves past and opens the door, where he finds a calendar sporting the tree of New Eden. Layton made up the whole New Eden thing based on this calendar, and the hallucinations appear to be memories of what he saw when he was with Asha. Off the back of this, Layton finally awakens aboard the real Snowpiercer.
As the episode closes out, Wilford’s research and constant searching brings new clarity. It turns out he’s come across signals in France when she was away finding Melanie. They’ve never been to France to produce this signal themselves so it would appear that Melanie is alive. She’s still out there!
The Episode Review
Snowpiercer delivers another bottle episode, an alt-reality dream world where Layton has to complete a series of tasks to make it down to the tail.
While the idea is nice, the episode also lacks much in the way of direction, hanging feebly to the theme of death and repentance while also struggling to justify its existence given this is another throwaway episode.
Despite the group chugging along to New Eden, this season has felt quite directionless, losing the initial tension and thrills that the two trains brought and dissipating into more of a slow-paced romp than it perhaps should be.
Hopefully the tail end (pun absolutely intended!) of this season can pick things up a bit and end on a positive note. I’d imagine we’ll probably see a big cliffhanger to round things out again but is that enough to keep people sticking around after such a humdrum season?