Setting Itself Right
Episode 8 of Snowpiercer Season 3 starts with Asha being given a purpose aboard the train. Asha has become so ingrained in surviving at all costs that the very idea of being part of a community again (especially after poisoning her fellow scientists) feels alien to her. At least to begin with. Eventually she does get settled in and becomes part of the crew.
Layton heads down-train to talk to Asha, speaking to her in confidence about New Eden. Specifically he brings up the tree he’s been seeing and how his faith in where they’re going has been shattered. Layton is interrupted by Ben and Alex calling him to the bridge though with big news about this episode’s subplot. They believe Melanie is still alive, pointing out the signal that appears to be moving. Some among them deduce that she could have got a maintenance vehicle running which could explain the movements.
When Layton learns it was Wilford who found this signal, he questions the man’s motives. After all, he’s always had a masterplan and it could be another deception to catch them off-guard. Still, they cling to faith for now but that soon comes back to bite them as they head en-route to the signal.
Huge clouds cling to the horizon, as the train warns of a thick wad of toxic gas inbound. As they start rocketing toward it, Ben and Layton realize, to their dismay, that Wilford led them along this track on purpose.
Layton grabs Wilford and brings him up to the bridge, where he can see the deadly toxic cloud for himself. His look of genuine surprise seems to hint that he’s not responsible for this – and the others begrudgingly agree with that assessment. A Code Yellow warning is issued across the train, as Snowpiercer dives into the mouth of this orange cloud.
With all the passengers confined to their cabins, Till finds herself cozying up with Audrey. Elsewhere, Ruth is shacked up with Asha, who share a drink together. However, the real drama here stems from Audrey who tries to hypnotize Till, telling her she’s changed and despite having a rotten past, her present is where she needs to focus her attention. The pair hug.
Despite struggling with his new fear of dogs, brought on from Wilford’s influence, Javi heads down the train where he notices the scrubbers have been completely corroded and they need to seal the envelopes from the gas. If they don’t, it’ll spread throughout the train and cause serious damage. With Sykes starting to fade, Javi does his best to push through his fears, dragging her to safety despite hearing the echoing sound of a dog barking.
The toxic gas starts to do some damage to the crops, threatening to cascade through all the other carriages aboard Snowpiercer and doom their journey. With Javi out the way, Layton enlists Asha’s help and the pair show up with hazmat suits on. They communicate with Bennett to try and patch up the damage.
They need to close the vents but the gap is way too small to go down there with these bulky suits on. Asha makes a bold decision and sacrifices herself, removing her suit and heading down to shut the vents. Communicating with Layton, she manages to do just that but passes away soon after, having succumbed to the toxic gas.
As the episode closes out, we cut down the train to see our mad scientist, who does an experiment on LJ, taking part of her skin. Quite what she’s done though, is still a mystery.
We then cut to the bridge, where a signal pings when the Snowpiercer makes it through to the other side of this toxic cloud. It seems to be Melanie, as the group wonder whether she’s actually still alive.
The Episode Review
What is happening this season? Snowpiercer has almost gone completely off the rails, with a story that seems to be meandering from one meaningless subplot to the next. After last week’s hallucinatory episode to pad out the run-time, this week turns the attention to a toxic gas cloud that causes Asha to lose her life. So what was the point in her character? What did we actually gain from seeing her get onto the Snowpiercer? We could have had a fascinating glimpse of the world falling apart through her eyes but instead, we get flickers of visions and that’s about it.
That’s before mentioning Roche dancing about and Audrey with Till in a sequence about moving on. Without an end-goal here (are we still going to find salvation at New Eden?) the season just feels like a train set on someone’s tabletop – it’s just going round and round without an end-goal.
All of this adds up to a show that feels like its run out of steam. Thee finale will undoubtedly leave things on a big cliffhanger but honestly, this series has been a shadow of what it once was.