“Bound by One Track” brings Snowpiercer back onto the mainline by focusing on heavier emotional topics over action.
This is a review and recap for “Snowpiercer” Season 3 Episode 4.
As many viewers assumed and/or hoped, Melanie is back! But no, not in the flesh, but as a representation of certain characters’ fears and thought processes. I enjoyed this concept because it helped us see Alex and Wilford’s internal struggles in a way that was easy to understand.
Having taken a bit of a back seat in previous episodes, “Bound by One Track” put Alex in the driver’s seat. We follow her and Ben as they travel outside the train to clear some cars off the track.
When they first said there’s a blockage on the track, I was almost giddy with excitement that, finally, the issue of track maintenance was being addressed. But nope, the blockage is a Wilford-made problem, of course.
I quite enjoyed the “exploring ruins” part of this episode. I hope in the future, the crew will get off Snowpiercer more often to explore these vestiges of civilization.
Unfortunately, the only thing they find in the train is sorrow, as Alex explains to Ben that Wilford had the occupants of these cars “culled” to ensure the survival of everyone else. While Wilford explained it to her as a necessary action, given his previous decisions (and the luxury of his personal car), it was less about that and another one of his mind games to cement his control. It’s particularly distressing for Alex because her friend, Shilo, was one of the victims.
This leads Alex down a tough emotional path. She realizes Wilford manipulated her and understands what type of person he is, but she still has love for him. She hates this aspect about herself and suffers a great deal of turmoil trying to wrestle with her conflicting feelings. The show did a fantastic job showing psychological conflict after abuse and trauma and how one can still care for their abuser as much as they wish they didn’t.
Alex, channelling her mother, figures out the issue with the train clamps and Snowpiercer is home free!
Meanwhile, Layton is dealing with personal problems. He discovers the cold treatments that are being performed on Zara’s fetus. After a bit of a run-around, he approaches Zara, who tells him she consented to the procedure. Zara claims she’s giving the future child an advantage (and as the doctors are top in their fields in genetics, they likely know what they’re doing), but Layton is furious. Zara, exasperated with him, tells him to “get over it” and move on.
I laughed when she said that, to be honest. Layton needed to be knocked down a peg, especially after his lie to the population about New Eden.
We get a bit more of Asha’s PTSD this episode, as she endures flashbacks that show she had to make some mercenary decisions while living in the power plant. Perhaps that scar on her face isn’t from wearing her mask for years after all?
Also, what was in that alcohol, and where can I get some?
Ruth and Pike
Ruth, looking very much like she fell out of the 1990s with her jean jacket, is approached by Pike (looking dapper). He invites her on a date for some Bananas Foster, of which I will make no banana innuendo jokes.
But then again, maybe I should because they share an intimate evening! Finally, my ship set sail!
But, after their hook up, Pike seems … awkward. While he likes Ruth, he’s hesitant to engage in a serious relationship with her. Related to this, earlier in the episode, Pike refuses to choose a job in Layton’s cabinet and will not tell Ruth about his past life. As such, it’s clear he’s worried about hurting Ruth or being hurt himself when she finds out the truth.
Numerous possibilities could give him remorse. Perhaps he was a hitman or a gang member, or (even worse) someone who worked with Wilford or a businessman whose shady processes exacerbated the climate disaster. I’m assuming we’ll find out in later episodes.
Tying the episode together is Roche’s breakdown. His daughter is angry with him because he’s emotionally unable to console her over their shared loss (of her mother and his wife), and he feels incredibly alone and angry. We also learn they lost two other children previously. Till tries to help, but she’s much better with axes than grief, so he pushes her aside. Then, stealing suspension drugs from the med bay, he heads down to Wilford’s cell and stabs him in the heart.
Unfortunately, Layton arrives to save Wilford’s life, which, at least, lets Alex begin to work on closure.
While we assume Snowpiercer will be another story where a Sean Bean character dies, it didn’t happen in this episode. Maybe the next?
Episode 5 airs on February 21 / 22!