DISCLAIMER: This recap of Snowpiercer episode “Trouble Comes Sideways” is rife with spoilers galore. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back to Wilford Industries! Snowpiercer was almost derailed tonight — literally. Melanie Cavill saved the day by preventing Snowpiercer from going off course after an electrical malfunction. Say what you will about Melanie’s questionable decisions/morally murky center, but “Mr. Wilford” knows a thing or two about engineering. Layton began to regain all his faculties post-drawer coma. Speaking of which — we finally discovered the real purpose of the drawers. Repopulating humanity if everything goes pear-shaped! Again, Melanie’s decisions aren’t always kosher, but her intentions are well-meaning. Right?
Alright, ready to delve into “Trouble Comes Sideways?” Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Osweiller (Sam Otto) providing the narration for this week’s episode. Apparently, he’s a big fan of life post-freeze. In fact, he’s thriving on Snowpiercer. Meanwhile, Layton (Daveed Diggs) is vomiting black liquid, which is always a good sign. Zarah (Sheila Vand) is anxiously watching over him. Up in the engine room, Bennett (Iddo Goldberg) and Javier (Roberto Urbina) notice something is amiss with the electrical panels. There’s loads of sparks flying and even some oozing unidentifiable liquids that appeared during Osweiller’s narration. Essentially, Snowpiercer is not a happy camper. Bennett decides to check out the issue himself.
Next, Jinju (Susan Park) is trying to relax Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) via meditation. However, Melanie isn’t the “relaxing” type. She reveals that there’s too many irons in the fire in regards to hospitality problems. Till (Mickey Sumner) finds Osweiller safe and sound when it’s time for their shift. Naturally, Osweiller is irritated by Till’s decision to save a Tailee over her partner. He assures Till that her acts will see the light of day and she may lose her arm for it. Literally.
Then, Melanie catches wind of third class intending to revolt. Their first move? Stage a riot. Refuse to go to work. Third class is responsible for maintaining Snowpiercer. She addresses the class as a whole and subtly threatens them to call off their revolution. Otherwise, the perpetrators will be thrown into the Tail. Watching her guards publicly beat naysayers is eerily similar to what’s transpiring with our own law enforcement today. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: this show is almost too relevant.
Later, Josie (Katie McGuinness) shows up at Zarah’s humble abode and absconds with Layton. Her plan is to hide him somewhere safe while he recovers. As they’re en route to Josie’s purported hideout, Layton reveals that there is no Mr. Wilford. Melanie Cavill is the one behind the curtain. The Great Wizard of Oz. Next, the duo arrive at Dr. Klimpt’s office. Now, the good doctor is nowhere to be found. However, his partner Dr. Pelton (Karin Konoval) is present. Layton is reticent to trust her, but Josie assures him that she’s on their side. He relentlessly questions her regarding Melanie’s doings and what the drawers are actually for.
Next, Dr. Pelton reveals that Layton and Josie’s files are marked with a red “x.” Why? Because they’re apparently “enemies of the state.” Numerous individuals on the train are categorized as such…including Dr. Pelton. Meanwhile, Till and Osweiller pay the third class dining car a visit. They interrogate the local paper maker regarding the revolt flyers being passed around third class. Osweiller injures the poor old man while Till stands idly by, feeling helpless. Essentially, Osweiller is leveraging his brutal acts against her protection of Layton. Her job is on the line, after all.
Then, Melanie reunites with Bennett while the latter is studying electrical panels. The pair pinpoint the issue together. Melanie asserts that a faulty motor is in need of swapping and it must be done immediately. Next, Melanie pops in to Miles’ (Jaylin Fletcher) classroom. He hands her a series of equations scrawled on paper for her review. She’s impressed with his work. Back in the Night car, Zarah confides in Audrey (Lena Hall) that she’s expecting. Huzzah! Presumably, the father is Layton.
Meanwhile, Layton is hellbent on enacting revenge against Melanie. He seizes a moment of isolation to swipe Josie’s chip and flee the scene. Josie chases after him, but to no avail. She reluctantly lets him go. He finds Melanie roaming in the train’s underbelly, dressed to the nines in a work jumpsuit. Layton corners her with a knife and demands blood. Melanie lets slip the true intention with the drawers — to preserve humanity. A wide variety of folks were selected for diversity and trade skills to be put in stasis in case what’s left of the human race is wiped out. She’s playing god and she knows it. Layton decides to let her pass after it’s clear that only Melanie can fix the train disaster.
Suddenly, a jolt rocks the train and everyone on it. That faulty motor was accidentally dropped while Bennett and his team were attempting to extract it. We see the exterior of the train precariously swaying on the tracks. It appears as if Snowpiercer could derail at any moment. Melanie suits up and prepares to head outside to fix the issue. Because when you want sh*t done, sometimes it’s best to do it yourself.
Now, Melanie has a series of cords wrapped around her ankles to keep herself in place. We see her stick her head (she’s donning a helmet) outside and attempt to wrangle a loose pipe that’s flapping about. Javier reveals that they only have minutes before they could potentially careen off the bridge ahead of them. Ruth (Alison Wright) delivers a heartfelt speech to calm the passengers. While things look bleak, the Eternal Engine will provide. We see main and supporting characters alike hunkering down in place to prepare to brace. Layton returns to Josie and the two share a passionate embrace.
Finally, after wrestling with the loose pipe, Melanie successfully reattaches it to its rightful place. Hydraulics are present. We see the lights return to the Tail and elsewhere. And Snowpiercer seamlessly travels across that bridge without faltering. Huzzah! Cheers from everyone train-wide rent the air.
Next, Till reunites with Jinju. She apologizes for being absent during the crisis. Just when it appears she’s going to spill the beans to Jinju regarding Layton, Till continues to keep mum. Secrets don’t make friends, Till. Bennett arrives to a chorus of raucous cheers in third class. He imparts an encouraging speech and makes sure to give credit to “Mr. Wilford” a.k.a. Melanie. The real hero. Unfortunately, she can’t take credit for something like this, otherwise the illusion is shattered.
Later, Dr. Pelton houses Josie and Layton in her quarters. She mostly bunks with her work partner, anyway. Dr. Pelton urges the pair to keep quiet lest anyone approach from the outside. Then, it’s sexy time! Layton and Josie get down to business after their shared near death experience.
Meanwhile, Melanie calls Miles to her office in hospitality. She gifts him with a caliper that “Mr. Wilford” gave her. Every engineer needs one, after all! Then, she beseeches him to do her one huge favor. What could that possibly be? We’ll find out next week…
Now, “Trouble Comes Sideways” is easily the best episode of Snowpiercer yet. I have a sneaking suspicion that these final four installments will be jam-packed with action and suspense. While the first half of the season was a slow build, it provided the catalyst for this episode in particular. Connelly was nothing short of brilliant this week. She’s a force to be reckoned with. In addition, you can’t help but root for Melanie despite her questionable decision-making. Of course, this begs the question: is there really such a thing as “bad guys” in a survivalist setting? Or are they just people making whatever decisions necessary to survive? Decisions with pure intentions that eventually give way to devastating consequences.
So, do you think Melanie’s big secret will be revealed train-wide soon? What does she want with Miles? Will Osweiller protect Till from potential job loss? 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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