DISCLAIMER: This recap of Snowpiercer episode “Keep Hope Alive” is laden with spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome back, occupants of the Engine Eternal! Snowpiercer episode five started at a slower pace, but by the episode’s end, it boasted a white-knuckled, edge-of-your-seat cliffhanger. “Keep Hope Alive” stoked the fires of contention aboard Snowpiercer as those who deemed Layton unfit to rule sought to unseat him. Wilford enacted a devastating blow against our protagonists. I’m still unsure about the ramifications, but the episode did an excellent job ramping up the suspense. Not to mention, the lack of contact from Melanie exacerbated said suspense. Ruth put on her Hospitality pants and delivered a little white lie concealed by comfort. Josie struggled to keep her mission under lock and key while in Wilford’s lion’s den.
Are you ready to delve into “Keep Hope Alive”? Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with narration from Josie (Katie McGuinness). The doctors on Big Alice are working around the clock to literally save her skin. We see her discreetly jot a note to, presumably, Layton on a piece of paper. She surreptitiously conceals said note in a small vial that’s hidden under what appears to be a cart full of clothing. The vial is taken over the border into Snowpiercer and passed through a variety of hands before it makes its way to Layton (Daveed Diggs). He reads that Wilford is about to make his next move. Whatever it is, it’s a big one.
Meanwhile, Wilford (Sean Bean) has Miss Audrey’s records on a perpetual loop for the listening pleasure of Big Alice’s occupants. Alex (Rowan Blanchard) notes to Emilia (Georgina Haig) that Wilford is clearly obsessing over Miss Audrey. Emilia, in turn, is still thinking about her encounter with The Last Australian a.k.a. Murray. Wilford calls a slew of passengers into his quarters for a salon of sorts. The group will be delving into the 1938 novel Rebecca.
However, Wilford is ushered aside by Sykes (Chelsea Harris). Their plan is a go for that night. Alex appears to be hurt that she’s not privy to Wilford’s operations. Back on Snowpiercer, Miss Audrey (Lena Hall) receives an invitation for dinner on Big Alice. She meets with Layton in the engine to discuss her impending mission. Is she okay with being this close to Wilford again, given how volatile their past relations were? Audrey’s willing to take one for the team. Plus, Wilford would never hold her against her will.
Then, we see the doctors are still hard at work speeding up Josie’s rehabilitation. The doctors are given the lowdown courtesy of Sykes regarding Wilford’s next move. Josie knows something is happening. She succumbs to a panic attack. Icy Bob (Andre Tricoteux) urges her to immediately list five red items in her line of sight. This helps alleviate her anxiety. He also suggests she refrain from getting involved in the doctors’ affairs.
Meanwhile, Layton is hosting a meeting with Ruth (Alison Wright), Roche (Mike O’Malley), Bennett (Iddo Goldberg), Javier (Roberto Urbina), Zarah (Sheila Vand) and Bess (Mickey Sumner). Javier reveals that they’ve sent multiple weather probes into the atmosphere with established contact from Melanie. The science is safe. That being said, the train is not. Wilford is staging an attack, so everyone has to be on their A-game. After the meeting, Bess reveals that she’s no closer to uncovering the culprit behind Lights’ assault. Roche and Layton both believe Bess should take a day off to unwind.
Next, Ruth is confiding in Zarah. Ruth is definitely aware that Layton is withholding information from her. She wasn’t born yesterday, you know! Zarah tries her hand at the announcements and has a knack for it despite undergoing a bout of morning sickness in the process.
Later, LJ (Annalise Basso) knocks Pike (Steven Ogg) unconscious. Terence (Shaun Toub) isn’t happy with Pike. All deals are made through Terence, and it would appear that Pike is circumventing that. He threatens our favorite Tailie weed dealer. Pike goes to Layton, who vows to remedy the situation.
Meanwhile, Miss Audrey is dressed to the nines for her date with Wilford. Everyone at the border is there to see her off. She may have the most vital role yet — gaining Wilford’s trust. Layton pays Terence a visit. He proposes that he’s willing to go 60/40 to satisfy Snowpiercer’s resident mob boss/janitor extraordinaire. The Tailies rely on Pike’s weed business to eat, so they need some of that revenue. Otherwise, Layton could have Terence thrown in jail. Terence reveals that he knows about Josie. He knows that she’s Layton’s informant on Big Alice. Uh oh.
Then, Miss Audrey and Wilford reunite for a romantic evening. Alex leaves the two alone for their tête-à-tête. Ben and Javier are worried about Melanie. They’ve launched another balloon, but this time Melanie has failed to make contact. Ben wonders whether something happened to her. The engineers reel in the rest of Layton’s council to impart the news. Ben states that they may not hear from Melanie again. Layton believes that it’s best to keep this info from Wilford. Ruth decides to deliver a message of hope to the train. Spin a tiny white lie for the sake of morale. She’ll tell them that Melanie is continuously making strides in her research.
Later, we see Bess and Osweiller (Sam Otto) having drinks in third class. We haven’t seen these two together in a hot minute. Osweiller reveals that he hasn’t heard anything concrete regarding Lights’ attacker. A few Breachmen appear with a shot for Bess. She proceeds to dump the alcohol on the ground. Thankfully, Pastor Logan (Bryan Terrell Clark) swoops Bess away before she decides to start a fight. Instead, he urges her to find some catharsis in boxing. The pair don gloves and duke it out in a makeshift ring.
Now, Ruth and Zarah are entrenched in their Hospitality duties. Ruth is keenly aware that people in power lie. She’s definitely engaged in her fair share of fibbing to keep spirits up. Of course, Ruth is also worried about Melanie. Wilford and Miss Audrey are enjoying some fine food and wine as they pass through The Forbidden City in Beijing. Wilford gets more libations for the duo.
While his back is turned, Audrey attempts to tinker with a box. She’s trying to grant Snowpiercer access to Big Alice’s communication system. Ben announces through the comms that they’ve made successful contact with Melanie. A lie, but a necessary one.
Next, Layton asks a huge favor of Pike. A dangerous one. One that involves murder. Pike swore up and down that he wouldn’t kill unless in the throes of battle. However, this is a task that must be carried out. Josie could potentially be in danger. Tailies before … bro-lies? Pike reluctantly acquiesces.
Meanwhile, Bess and Pastor Logan are chatting post-boxing. She feels better. During their sparring, Logan urged her to let it all out. Good and bad. The moment was a bit on the cheesy side, but the sentiment fell in line with Bess’s own evolution as a character. Feel the pain — endure the sorrow. That’s the only way to happiness. Then, the pastor proceeds to question whether Layton is the right man for the job. Is he truly leading the train into a time of prosperity? Bess thinks Logan needs to give him more time. Additionally, the pastor remarks on the change happening within the train. People that could prove to be an obstacle for Layton.
Later, Pike enters Terence’s quarters unannounced. He’s fashioned a pair of weapons for a fight. It’s evident that he’s been ordered by Layton to kill Terence. But Pike believes that Terence should be afforded a chance to defend himself. It’s the Tailie way. He gives the latter a shank. But Terence tries to fight dirty. Thus, Pike kills him. Ruth delivers an impassioned speech rife with hope and a promise for a new tomorrow. The passengers clap. Everyone is inspired!
Then, Josie is undergoing crucial surgery courtesy of Big Alice’s doctors. They administer pills that’ll put Josie to sleep, but she forgoes taking them. She’s such a badass. Instead, Josie stays awake while they operate on her back so she can overhear their conversation. We see her periodically whisper “red items” to herself a la the trick Icy Bob taught her. Presumably, for when the pain became unbearable. Amid all this, she learned from the blabbering doctors that Wilford is planning something that’ll unfurl that night with the Breachmen.
Next, after the surgery, Icy Bob catches Josie in the act of dispatching her note to Layton. He reveals that he knows Josie didn’t take her meds prior to the procedure. He asks for the pills. Thankfully, Icy Bob doesn’t see the note itself. He only advises her to be careful. Miss Audrey and Wilford are in the heat of intimate conversation. It’s quite clear that he wants to go further. He wants her by his side when he overtakes Snowpiercer. Audrey tries to elicit more information from him, but he remains tightlipped. Perhaps if she joins him he’ll be more forthcoming.
Meanwhile, Layton receives Josie’s memo. Layton and Roche immediately burst into the Breachmen’s quarters. Boscovic (Aleks Paunovic) claims to know nothing about an insurrection or Wilford’s planned move. Suddenly, we see a shrouded figure proceed to mercilessly slaughter every Breachman in sight. One by one. Miss Audrey and Wilford are standing at the border now, as their date is over. Ruth is waiting on the other side. Wilford invites Ruth to join him aboard Big Alice, but she knows that something sinister is already unraveling on her train. An orchestration by Wilford himself. She urges Audrey to return to Snowpiercer. However, Miss Audrey decides to stay with Wilford on Big Alice.
Talk about a cliffhanger! While the repercussions from this strike have yet to play out, I’m curious to see Wilford’s motive behind it. Did he purposefully slaughter the Breachmen because they were his ardent supporters? Will he target the Brakemen next? Who did he send to carry out the destruction? Is Audrey being held in Wilford’s sway or is she planning to solicit more vital information from him for the cause? So many questions!
If there’s one thing “Keep Hope Alive” executes well, it’s building suspense. Snowpiercer has always been a bit of a slow burn, but when it’s on fire, it’s on fire. I can’t wait to see what next week holds. We know that the train will circle back to pick up Melanie. I’ve missed Jennifer Connelly‘s presence these past two episodes. Here’s hoping nothing too detrimental affected Melanie or her mission. Side note: I loved that Miss Audrey wore red. It was a nice link to Josie’s “red items” exercise. Symbolism!
Join me next week as I recap Snowpiercer, here on Geek Girl Authority.
Snowpiercer airs Mondays at 9 pm on your TNT affiliate.