Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 3 Recap: Access Is Power
In the third episode of TNT’s Snowpiercer, Layton descends into Snowpiercer’s black market with Till, searching for both the killer and valuable commodity for his revolution. Meanwhile, Melanie stages a prize fight to distract the passengers from mounting class tension.
The episode begins with Dr. Klimpt narrating, discussing how in Snowpiercer, access is power, and how the privileged are able to trade for things to get access to things uptrain. In this case, a capsule with blue liquid discovered in a dead body is being passed through classes, as well as the Brakeman, to an individual on the train named Terrance. In his cell, Layton is dreaming of the day his ex-wife Zarah left the Tail section. Layton is roughly woken up by officers who throw a bag over his head and drag him out of his cell.
Elsewhere, Melanie reads a letter from Mr. Wilford to her team, assuring others that they will get through this hardship. Commander Grey interrupts Melanie to tell her that there is unrest brewing between the murders and the Tailie uprising. Melanie reminds her crew that they need to work to ease the minds of passengers. She tells Ruth to move the prize fight to that night as a means of distraction. The winner will receive an upgrade from Third to Second Class.
Layton is dragged into a room with Melanie and Roche, the scare tactic having meant to remind him “we each have our place up here. Our lane.” Roche says his only concern is investigating the murder of Shawn. He warns Layton to not attempt to communicate with the Tail section again before revealing that Shawn kept tabs on the black market and was trying to find the new drug, Kronole, which is “wreaking havoc in Third.” Layton says the drug isn’t new, that it’s been in the Tail for “two revolutions” and that Brakeman Osweiller “trades K for blow jobs in the Tail.”
We find out Brakeman Till and Head Agricultural Officer Jinju are secretly hooking up. In bed, they briefly discuss Nikki’s false imprisonment and how she is their only witness but Melanie is blocking access to her. Jinju says Nikki is still confused and also warns Till not to challenge Melanie because what Melanie says or does is what Wilford wants. Till doesn’t want to back down, unaware that Jinju is one of Melanie’s secret confidantes.
Layton tells a heated Roche, unhappy to learn about Osweiller’s dealings with the Tail section, that he’s taking the lead this time as they continue their investigation. Layton and Roche sit down with Osweiller and demand to know who his supplier is. He says the Kronole is just bits of the drug they had already confiscated and denies that he knew Shawn. Later, Osweiller speaks with Terrance who questions why Roche was leaning on him as Osweiller says he didn’t say anything about his connection to Kronole.
Roche wants to speak with Zarah about what she knows about Shawn being an informant. Zarah claims she had no clue about him being a spy or about Kronole. Back in First Class, Ruth speaks again with the Folger family about fight night. Lilah Folger accuses Ruth and Melanie of using fight night and gambling as a distraction from the “extinction event” and the Tailie uprising. Ruth says that it’s an “entertaining distraction.”
Where is Miles?
Back in Roche’s office, Layton asks about the Lead Brakeman’s family, who says he had three kids but two didn’t make it. As they eat, they begin to discuss the case before Layton asks Roche if he’s ever met Mr. Wilford. Roche says he “shook his hand before he boarded” but now he only speaks to Melanie. Till interrupts the conversation to take Layton to speak with Nikki, who’s awake. Meanwhile, Melanie meets with Ben who gives her an update on the damage after the broken window killed the cattle and the butchers. Melanie says they can’t keep pumping heat down there, and Ben says one solution is to uncouple the Tail, clarifying they move the Tailies into Third Class and disconnect the car. Melanie says it would lead to civil war and that she needs a more viable solution. Jinju then contacts Melanie to give her a heads up that Till is on her way to see Nikki.
Till and Layton attempt to speak to Nikki, who’s sick and disoriented. Layton determines that Nikki is suffering from Kronole withdrawal. Melanie shows up and immediately removes Till and Layton, saying Nikki needs to rest. Layton tells Till he thinks Kronole is the street version of the suspension drug they use for the drawers. Melanie asks Dr. Klimpt if that’s possible. The doctor admits that he skims the suspension drug and then a courier comes to collect the drug in exchange for supplies, but that he had no idea they made Kronole from it. Melanie then speaks to Klimpt privately while Till and Layton question what’s going on with them.
Layton then spots a bag full of young Miles’ hair and assumes the boy is in the drawers, demanding to know what they did to him. Melanie calms Layton down, telling him he made the apprenticeship program and they gave him a haircut. Layton demands to see him. After Miles is done with class, he’s able to tell Layton about his new, better living quarters and how well he’s doing on his tests. When they hug, Miles tells Layton that he’s keeping his eyes open before he leaves with the teacher.
Back in the Tail section, the Tailies are trying to figure out their lowering rations and fearing that Wilford could eventually uncouple them. Back uptrain, Layton asks if he can speak to Josie about Miles, but Melanie brushes him off, saying Till can update Josie the next time she goes down to the Tail. Later, Melanie is playing tapes of Wilford’s old speeches (before she secretly became Wilford), leaving us wondering what happened to the original Snowpiercer mastermind.
In Third Class, Layton and Till scope out fight night in order to see if anyone is slinging Kronole. Melanie officially announces fight night over the train’s intercoms before playing pieces of the real Wilford’s old speeches to make it sound like he is speaking directly to the people. As the fight begins, Layton goes to speak to Zarah who is bartending during the event while Till keeps an eye on Terrance and his crew of janitors. Zarah gives Layton his old wedding ring back in order for him to trade it if he needs to when he approaches Terrance. Layton tells Zarah he still loves her, but, again, the Tail needs him. She says she loves him, too, and that she understands.
In the medical car, Nikki is feeling a little less disoriented and leaves her bed. Back in Third Class, Osweiller goes to speak with Layton instead of Terrance. Osweiller says Layton is pissing Terrance off. Layton tells the Brakeman to relay the message that he will speak to him away from Till, and then reminds Osweiller that he has more dirt on him that he can share with Roche, even if he has to make it up. As the fight gets bloodier and spins out of control as the entire crowd begins throwing fists, Nikki suddenly appears in Third Class where Till quickly takes her away from the area.
Layton is finally able to speak with Terrance privately, asking him if he ever sold Kronole to Shawn. Terrance says he didn’t kill him. Layton tells Terrance if the head janitor gives him any details about the murder, maybe he can get Wilford to forget about the Kronole situation. As they talk about the hierarchy of Snowpiercer and how 70% of the population exists in Third Class and the Tail section, Terrance wonders if maybe they could “see what’s in the penthouse.” Layton replies that it’s “nice to dream.”
Terrance reveals he saw Shawn the night he was killed with another guy he had never seen before with a buzzcut. Layton offers up his wedding ring to trade for something “very small” that he needs. Elsewhere, Roche, the Brakeman, and the train’s military unit clear out the fight night event while Ruth and Melanie talk about the success of the fight.
Layton seeks out Roche to tell him he has new information before the pair approach Melanie and tells her that they have a description of a man who was with Shawn before he was murdered. However, Layton won’t give them those details until he gets to speak with Josie in the Tail. Melanie gives in. Layton is able to tell Joe about Miles and how he made the apprenticeship program. He then tells Josie that he misses her before they kiss and he is pulled away.
Back in the medical car, Nikki sits in bed. Outside of the room, a mysterious man kills the officer standing guard as well as another worker before making his way inside of the room with Nikki, pulling up a chair. He tells Nikki: “You don’t remember me, do you, Nikki? But you do know who I am.” Back in the Tail section, Josie pulls out the capsule Layton slipped her while they kissed, likely the small favor he got from Terrance.
What did you think of the series premiere of Snowpiercer? Let us know in the comment section below!