DISCLAIMER: This recap of Snowpiercer episode “Justice Never Boarded” is rife with spoilers galore. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back to Wilford Industries! We’ve reached the halfway point in Season 1 of Snowpiercer! Time flies when you’re staging an uprising against social hierarchy. Melanie sent Layton to the drawers in last week’s episode, so Josie fought tooth and nail to break him free in “Justice Never Boarded.” Third class discontent steadily brewed, starting with LJ Folger’s murder tribunal. Just when we thought justice might actually be served, that LJ would receive the comeuppance she so desperately needed, “Mr. Wilford” commuted her sentence. Well, Melanie commuted LJ’s punishment, since the latter was too close to revealing her grand secret. Now, third class is truly in an uproar, since “Mr. Wilford” made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t care about third class lives.
Alright, ready to delve into “Justice Never Boarded?” Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Layton (Daveed Diggs) slumbering peacefully in his drawer. Well, not so peacefully. We see he’s dreaming. He finds the deceased Nikki standing in a corridor drenched in blood from head to toe. She’s singing an eerie tune. Not creepy at all. Audrey (Lena Hall), Night Car Mistress Extraordinaire, is providing narration for the episodic intro. We see third class is preparing to retaliate against first class for the slew of murders committed at LJ’s behest.
Meanwhile, Roche (Mike O’Malley) is watching over an incarcerated LJ (Annalise Basso) while he eats lunch. Melanie (Jennifer Connelly), Lilah Folger (Kerry O’Malley), and Robert Folger (Vincent Gale) arrive to pick up LJ before the trial. After the Folger family departs to prepare for the tribunal, Roche expresses doubt that first and second class will bring LJ to true justice. Money (and an unsullied reputation) talks, after all.
Next, we see Josie (Katie McGuinness) receives a note stating that Astrid wishes to meet with her in third class again. Perhaps she has vital information regarding Layton’s whereabouts? Josie utilizes the chip Layton gave her as her means to escape the Tail. Speaking of chips, Bess (Mickey Sumner) has a chip implanted in her hand that grants her exclusive access to second class. Jinju (Susan Park) is sitting beside her in elation. Talk about next step in the relationship!
Then, we rejoin the Folgers in their opulent residential car. Lilah and Robert fret over whether LJ can sway the audience to her side. We know that LJ is a top-tier bullsh*tter, so this should be a cake walk. LJ asks if she can play with her father’s prosthetic eyeball. Yes, you read that correctly. Robert eagerly pops it out for LJ. She sticks it in her mouth (ew) before Lilah demands she spit it out. Robert proceeds to put the unwashed prosthetic eyeball back in his eye socket. The germaphobe in me is internally screaming.
Later, Ruth (Alison Wright) is in the first class dining car with her assistant discussing how to set up for the impending tribunal. Suddenly, a third class man disguised as a waiter delivers a piping hot plate of insects to a first class couple. Chaos ensues. Melanie pays Audrey a visit in the Night Car and tells the latter that her latest trick was “beneath” her. Audrey urges Melanie to ask Mr. Wilford for a third class representative on the jury. For the past seven years, only first and second class had the right to participate in jury duty. It would be prudent, considering LJ murdered civilians from third class.
Next, Melanie pulls Bennett (Iddo Goldberg) aside for some rest and relaxation. In a twist that surprises no one, we see the pair horizontally (and vertically) tango. After the act, we see Melanie’s vulnerability rear its head. Bennett, who knows she’s actually Mr. Wilford, asks if she’s planning on fulfilling Audrey’s request. Melanie sheds tears as she reminisces on all the things she misses from the outside world. “I just want to breathe,” she whispers. God, Connelly is so brilliant. She makes it all look so effortless.
Then, we see Melanie is back in her hospitality office delivering announcements. As it turns out, “Mr. Wilford” heard the third class plea for representation on the jury. A representative is selected at random from each class. We see the chosen trio meet each other and exchange pleasantries. Ruth vehemently disapproves. There’s no free will – only order, she asserts. Sounds like a dictator to me.
Meanwhile, Josie is dressed in her sanitation garb once again. She meets with Astrid (Jane McGregor) in secret and the pair exchange uniforms. Astrid urges her to meet with the janitors and to look for the “yellow butterfly.” Josie stumbles upon said yellow butterfly, but not before Terence’s lackey shoves a knife blade against her throat. She leads Josie to Terence (Shaun Toub). Terence is under the assumption that Layton returned to the Tail until Josie reveals the opposite. He decides to help her break into the drawers. Should be easy since security will be lax and present at the tribunal. Rescue time!
Later, an informant reveals to Melanie that first class is planning a sedition. According to Robert Folger, Melanie will be the first one on the chopping block. Why? Because she decided to grant third class a seat at the jury table. What’s next? Equal food rations for all?
Then, Ruth commences the tribunal proceedings. LJ will have to represent herself and we know she’ll produce the apropos waterworks so the jury will pity her. We see Roche, Jinju, and others give their testimonies. All signs point to LJ. Audrey takes the stand and delivers an impassioned plea for first and second class to do the right thing and convict LJ for her atrocious crimes. Nikki and Sean weren’t just victims – they were people with names and they deserved the right to live. Audrey also reminds the crowd that third class is responsible for much of the train’s commodities and luxuries. She’s my gal, that Audrey.
Next, Terence and his lackey lead Josie into Dr. Klimpt’s offices/drawers. Terence begins stealing drugs for himself, tosses Josie the keys to the car, and leaves her to her own devices. So much for helping. Thus, Josie must begin the search for Layton and subsequent escape all by her lonesome.
Now, it’s LJ’s turn to take the stand. Like clockwork, she cues the crocodile tears and takes the “Erik manipulated me” route. She was helpless to stop him as he carried out the murders. However, it looks like the jury might not be buying her faux tearful display. After the jury deliberates, we see them return with their verdict. The third class representative reveals that they find LJ guilty on all counts. Boom! Cheerful roars erupt in the room.
But wait! Ruth receives a message from “Mr. Wilford” that he wishes to commute LJ’s sentence because of how young she is. So, she’s being released without so much as a reprimand. As it turns out, LJ divulged that Sean Wise, the Wilford informant, revealed that he knew Wilford’s secrets prior to his unfortunate demise. Melanie surreptitiously sent a message to Bennett, demanding he enact something to put a stop to the trial’s proceedings. My guess is he wrote the note as “Mr. Wilford” on her behalf. This is not the way to serve proper justice, Melanie.
Later, after opening a few drawers, Josie discovers Layton. She proceeds to pull out his IVs. He starts convulsing. However, Bess and Osweiller (Sam Otto) discover that Dr. Klimpt’s office door is slightly ajar so they investigate it. Josie dives into the drawer with Layton to hide from them. Unfortunately, she doesn’t close said drawer completely, so Osweiller finds her instantly. He roughly pulls her out and proceeds to beat her. Thankfully, Bess whacks him over the head and helps Josie and Layton discreetly escape. Bess brings Josie and Layton back to third class and urges they hide out with Zarah (Sheila Vand). Josie beseeches Zarah to keep Layton safe as he recovers from essentially being put to sleep. Zarah acquiesces and brings him to her place while Josie returns to her sanitation team.
Meanwhile, Melanie reminds LJ that “Mr. Wilford” is taking a massive risk by commuting her sentence. Thus, discretion is crucial. If LJ knows any Wilford secrets (such as Melanie being Mr. Wilford), then she must keep them to herself. LJ agrees that mum is the word. We see LJ reunite with her parents, putting on yet another fake show of ingenue/Mary Sue hysterics. I haven’t despised a character this much since Joffrey Baratheon, but LJ is swiftly moving up the list.
Next, we see Layton is convulsing in Zarah’s arms. He’s dreaming about an incident that took place in the Tail, wherein he slaughtered a slew of Tailees for committing cannibalism. Then, he emerges soaked with blood and brandishing the culprit’s heart in his hand. He divides it up into pieces and doles them out among the bunch. They all vow to “never again” eat each other. Desperate times, desperate measures.
Then, Bess returns to the drawers where she knocked Osweiller unconscious. However, her partner is nowhere to be found. Just some blood streaks left in his wake. Uh oh. That’s not good.
Now, I’ve been digging Snowpiercer thus far, but I feel this episode pried open a can of worms that cannot be closed again. It provided a much-needed catalyst for the back half of the season. Two insurrections are on the rise: third class revolting against upper classes and first class insisting on tightening the leash around lower class throats. We’ve slowly (but surely) built this narrative and fleshed out these characters and it’s high time we see the pay-off. I have hopes aplenty, folks.
How long do you think we have before Melanie’s big secret sees the light of day? Will Layton fully recover from his previously comatose state? Who will throw the first punch when all is said and done? Join me next week as I recap Snowpiercer, here on Geek Girl Authority.
Snowpiercer airs Sundays at 9pm on your TNT affiliate.
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