DISCLAIMER: This recap of Snowpiercer episode “These Are His Revolutions” is rife with spoilers galore. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, passengers of the Engine Eternal! Snowpiercer delivered a whopper of an episode tonight. Layton’s meticulously planned rebellion swept the train from engine to tail. Ruth, enraged by Melanie’s long-term deception, took matters into her own hands by condemning “Mr. Wilford” to death. Meanwhile, we saw Melanie crumble under the weight of her secret. Oh, and we learned that the real Mr. Wilford died long ago. He was a fraud that apparently only sold tickets while Melanie did the heavy lifting. Once again, Jennifer Connelly gave us a masterclass in acting. Does she ever have any “bad” acting days, I wonder? Probably not.
Ready to delve into “These Are His Revolutions?” Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Ruth (Alison Wright) providing narration. She reasserts her belief in Mr. Wilford and how he’s sacrificed so much for the train. Meanwhile, Miles (Jaylin Fletcher) is playing his role in the revolution. He gives LJ (Annalise Basso) access to the engine. She’s taken aback to find not even a trace of “Mr. Wilford.” LJ also puts her hand to the fire when she sneaks up behind an unsuspecting Javier (Roberto Urbina). Prior to her departure, she snags a photo of Melanie with her child.
Later, we see jackboots patrolling third class. A girl passes on the news that the lights flickered on in the Folger’s car, meaning LJ reached the engine. The message makes its way to Layton (Daveed Diggs), who is hammering out final details with Till (Mickey Sumner) and Miss Audrey (Lena Hall). Layton’s plan is to stage the rebellion that day. Next, Till stops by Jinju’s (Susan Park) place to urge the latter to stay put. There’s already tension simmering beneath the surface between these two. Jinju demands to know what Till has been up to, while Till asks Jinju to share what she knows about Melanie. Till assumes that Jinju has known all along and is merely protecting “Mr. Wilford.” The pair depart on shaky terms.
Meanwhile, Ruth is called to the Folger’s residence. Commander Grey (Timothy V. Murphy), the Folger family, and other first class occupants are present. They collectively reveal to Ruth that Mr. Wilford isn’t on Snowpiercer. In fact, Melanie has been parading about as the great inventor ever since the train departed seven years prior. Initially, Ruth refuses to believe this. She even reveals that if this is all untrue, they’re in the throes of a mutiny.
Next, we see Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) is teaching Miles a thing or two about a thing or two in the engine. Bennett (Iddo Goldberg) informs Melanie that she’s being summoned to first class for a matter of utmost urgency. We see Melanie descend the staircase to the first class dining car. It mirrors the first time Melanie makes her debut in the pilot and I appreciate that symmetry.
Now, the whole lot accuse her of committing treason. LJ baits her with the photo of Melanie and her “dead daughter,” which sends the latter off the deep end. Grey orders his jackboots to escort Melanie to a holding area until further notice. In addition, he orders all guards to make their way to first class. Roche (Mike O’Malley) and Osweiller (Sam Otto) observe the avalanche of jackboots whizzing by their station and tail them to see what all the fuss is about.
Next, Till pops some handcuffs on Layton. It looks as though they’re masquerading as brakeman/prisoner to keep up appearances. Down in the tail, they receive a raggedy strip of red cloth, which symbolizes that the revolution is about to begin. We see a handful of tailees head outside to partner up with someone from third class. Meanwhile, Melanie is escorted to the hospitality quarters. She beseeches that one of the guards allow her to grab another photo of her daughter to keep on her person. They acquiesce. However, while Melanie is “rummaging” through a drawer, she smacks a button underneath that locks the main engine room. This is where Javier, Bennett, and Miles are currently.
Then, we see Bennett is aware of Melanie locking the engine room. Outside said engine room, Ruth, Grey, and several others are banging down the door. Javier can see the group on camera. He decides to give them access. Bennett is enraged by this and promptly decks Javier, sending the latter flying outside the safety of the engine room. He proceeds to keep himself and Miles locked within. Grey catches Javier and orders for his arrest.
Next, Ruth wanders into the engineers’ sleeping quarters. No sign of Mr. Wilford. She begins to sob — the man has been dead for years, and nobody knew. Ruth was probably the closest to Melanie and even she was kept in the dark. Grey reassures her that justice will be served. Order will be restored. Ruth wants Melanie to face her crimes.
Meanwhile, we see the tailee/third class pairings are hard at work dismantling the train’s communication system. Till and Layton encounter a not-so-nice jackboot while en route to the tail. Layton poses as Till’s prisoner. She knocks the jackboot out cold. Well, more like kills him in one fell swoop.
Suddenly, they’re at the tail and the door opens to a myriad of tailee’s poised with weaponry. Once they see it’s Layton, they stand down. He delivers a poignant speech about ensuring that they get the piece of the pie. That Snowpiercer also works for residents of the tail. Diggs is brilliantly convincing here. Watching a black man lead a resistance against oppressors is so damn beautiful. Incredibly timely and relevant. After the speech, everyone rallies behind Layton and heads up train.
Meanwhile, Miss Audrey and a tailee make their way into Dr. Klimpt’s (Happy Anderson) quarters. He’s Team Tail, so he helps them wake up their brethren in the drawers. The trio start with Strongboy, the sturdy and silent fellow from the pilot episode. A brakeman flags down Commander Grey and informs him of the Tail uprising.
Later, Ruth interrogates Melanie in the hospitality room. Again, we’ve got another mirror moment — this time, Melanie is sitting in the same spot as Josie in last week’s episode. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Ruth pressures Melanie into admitting she murdered Mr. Wilford. Melanie tearfully explains that Wilford was a fraud who solely sold tickets to Snowpiercer. He just wanted to ensure his own safety and live in opulence aboard the train. So, prior to departure, Melanie left Wilford outside to die. She asserts that she did everything for the good of the people. Wilford was intent on letting humanity die out, while Melanie worked tooth and nail to protect humankind.
Now, this scene is just aces. Connelly is a force of nature and Wright never once falters in keeping pace. Both women work so well together. After a few minutes of verbal volleying, Ruth reveals that Melanie will be executed the following day for treason. While I don’t agree with most of Melanie’s methods, I truly believe that she has pure intentions. This scene is easily the best in the whole episode.
Meanwhile, Layton, Till, and their group find a roadblock in third class in the form of Roche and his brakemen. Eventually, Layton and Till successfully persuade Roche to stand down and let the rebellion unfold. Roche is a good cop, according to Layton. Again, this perfectly mirrors our current social climate. Wherein good people need to find the courage to stand up to injustice. Thankfully, Roche allows them to pass.
In the underbelly of Snowpiercer, we see Grey and his jackboots arrive to take on Big John (Jonathan Lloyd Walker) and his fellow tailees. They have a device that spits forth spears at rapid-fire speed. It feels very Game of Thrones-like. After Grey notices that his men are being speared like fish left and right, he delegates control to another jackboot and retreats.
Now, Grey and his men wind up in the Night car. They find a cardboard box containing the head of the not-so-nice jackboot that Till punched to death. Suddenly, a swarm of tailees/third class occupants descend upon the jackboots. The battle has begun! There’s lots of stabbing, amputating of limbs, chopping, and just a mess of blood flying about. After a while of intense fighting (and my girl Till looking like a stone cold badass), Grey orders his men to retreat, but not before slicing the throat of an innocent third class girl right in front of Layton.
Meanwhile, Big John is overtaken by the jackboots in the train’s underbelly. They stab him like people who enjoy stabbing? It was all very macabre. Layton and the survivors tend to the wounded and count their dead in the Night car. Suddenly, more jackboots arrive and they’re armed with a smoke bomb. Said smoke bomb is tossed into the crowd. Layton orders his crew to make a break for an exit.
Next, we see Dr. Klimpt wakes up Strongboy. He begins vomiting that black liquid. Oh, and now he apparently speaks Mandarin. Quite a drastic change from never speaking at all. After waking up another tailee, they search for Pike. However, Pike is nowhere to be found…at least in the drawers.
Now, Pike (Steven Ogg) is in first class chowing down on chocolate cake while Grey looks on. Grey asks for critical information regarding Layton. His strengths, weaknesses, etc. Pike claims he’ll tell the commander everything he needs to know. But first — more cake!
Meanwhile, Layton and his group take up shelter in the third class dining car. We see Zarah (Sheila Vand) is also present and she’s tending to the wounded. Miss Audrey is doing her part as well. Layton wanders around in a haze as his brethren lay bruised and bloody on either side of him. Pike is explaining to Grey, via narration, that Layton is truly a good cop. He doesn’t have the stomach for prolonged violence. Inevitably, he’ll succumb if enough pressure is applied.
This episode blew my mind. The intricate buildup to that climactic fight was executed so well. Not to mention, Connelly and Wright’s big scene was gut-wrenching. Melanie is such an interesting character. I’d go so far as to call her an antihero. Diggs also brought his A-game to “These Are His Revolutions.” There’s only two episodes left this season and I can’t wait to see how the story continues to play out.
Do you think Layton will properly gain control of the train beyond his successful revolution? Will Melanie actually be executed before the season ends? Will Pike continually betray his comrades for an extra slice of cake? Join me next week as I recap Snowpiercer, here on Geek Girl Authority.
Snowpiercer airs Sundays at 9pm on your TNT affiliate.