DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Snowpiercer episode “Ouroboros” has spoilers. Prepare to brace and proceed at your peril. 

Welcome back, passengers of the Eternal Engine! “Ouroboros” might be a bit too on the nose with its theme — the snake perpetually biting its tail, a.k.a. Snowpiercer’s loop around the globe — but it’s a refreshing departure from Snowpiercer‘s usual fare. The show experiments with its storytelling, spending 75 percent of the episode inside Layton’s dream world while he dies in real life. 

I’m a sucker for metaphors and visual cues, and “Ouroboros” presents some delightful ones with Winnie’s doll, Javi’s hula girl figurine, Pike’s bomb and Asha’s surplus of plants; lush greenery overtaking the train to represent Layton’s New Eden vision. 

Seeing Liana at the end unexpectedly surprised me, and it’s not often that Snowpiercer throws me for a loop. It’s an intriguing outing and a lovely change of pace, with a much-needed conversation between Zarah and Josie. 

Ready to dig deep into “Ouroboros”? Let’s get to it. 

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We open with Layton (Daveed Diggs), waking in a Snowpiercer he doesn’t recognize. The lighting leads us to believe he’s dreaming. He wanders into an abandoned engine, wondering where Ben or Alex might be. Suddenly, two men seize Layton and try to inject something into him. 

However, Wilford (Sean Bean) makes a stylish entrance, dressed to the nines like a 1920s British explorer. Javi (Roberto Urbina) and Ruth (Alison Wright) appear, shooting the two insidious men. Javi withdraws his hula girl figurine from Layton’s pocket. They’ll need it for some inexplicable reason.

Snowpiercer Season 3 Episode 7 Ouroboros

Pictured: Daveed Diggs in SNOWPIERCER Season 3 Episode 7, “Ouroboros.” Photo credit: David Bukach

Layton follows Wilford, Ruth and Javi down-train, and he notices that many things look amiss. He breaks from the group and meanders into the library, reuniting with Bess (Mickey Sumner). Layton spots a bevy of tropical greenery. Bess urges him to get his “sh*t together” and that he’s not dreaming — he’s dying. 

Meanwhile, Josie (Katie McGuinness) finds Layton unconscious on the floor beside Pike’s corpse in the real world. She orders someone to grab Dr. Pelton.

Back in Layton’s-not-dreaming-he’s-actually-dying land, Bess tells Layton he’ll adjust to his new reality. However, he needs to see the Tail boss if he wants to leave. 

Pelton and her team work tirelessly to revive Layton while Josie, Bess and Zarah (Sheila Vand) wait outside. 

Then, Bess slices Layton’s hand to remind him that he’s perishing in real life. The cut will guide him on his path home. Layton encounters Ben (Iddo Goldberg), who crafts a pass for Layton so that he can navigate the train. But if Layton wants to get to the Tail, he needs to speak with “the cartographer.” 

Ben inquires about the operatives “that got whacked” near the engine, but Layton doesn’t rat, so he leaves Ben hanging in the wind. 

Layton reunites with Wilford, Javi and Ruth, and Javi informs Layton about his cover story. He’s a dancer! Z-Wreck (Kwasi Thomas) and LJ (Annalise Basso) ask for Layton’s identification, but LJ doesn’t seem to buy the dancer thing.

Later, Bess wanders off to cry in solitude in the real world. However, Bess doesn’t see Audrey (Lena Hall) behind her, and the latter watches her sob. Bess tells Audrey to get lost but then asks her to perform her Night Car mind magic on Layton. Audrey doubts it’ll work, but Bess persuades her into trying. 

Snowpiercer Season 3 Episode 7 Ouroboros

Pictured: Chelsea Harris in SNOWPIERCER Season 3 Episode 7, “Ouroboros.” Photo credit: David Bukach

Layton and the crew wind up in the Night Car back in Dream Land. Javi flirts with Sykes (Chelsea Harris), who slings booze behind the bar. Wilford dances with Dr. Headwood (Sakina Jaffrey). Layton wanders off (again) into third class to ask the cartographer and stumbles into Zarah. Layton’s real-world memories dissipate, making room for this peculiar version of Snowpiercer, but he vaguely recognizes Zarah. 

Zarah shows Layton a map of the train and how to get to the Tail. According to Zarah, finding the Tail is easy enough, but gaining ingress is another story. He needs the word (and it’s not the bird, unfortunately)!

Our gang makes it to the third-class dining car, where Alex (Rowan Blanchard) gives them an ocular patdown. Roche (Mike O’Malley) grants the all-clear to Layton, so he moves ahead. Once Layton sits, Roche motions for Wilford,  Javi and Ruth to follow suit. 

Roche mentions the dead operatives uptrain, but he’s primarily unconcerned with it so long as he gets what he needs — the hula girl figurine. Priceless! Then, Alex hands Wilford the doll Winnie laid beside Pike’s body in last week’s episode. Both parties inspect their new toys, and, thus, we’ve got a deal. 

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Suddenly, LJ and her henchmen rain hellfire upon the dining car, submitting those within to a barrage of bullets. Everyone dies except Layton, who narrowly evades the gunfire. LJ throws Layton in the holding cell. She nonchalantly reveals his sentence: death by firing squad. 

Pike (Steven Ogg) arrives as a vicar with a Bible. He urges Layton to confess his sins. Layton irritates Pike, who storms off after claiming, “May God have mercy on your soul.” Interestingly enough, Layton remembers Pike and what happened to him in real life. 

Next, on the actual Snowpiercer, Bess convinces Zarah to let Audrey work her mind magic on Layton. Audrey infiltrates Layton’s mind, and he hears her voice beckoning him to come home. Audrey opens the cell, and Layton flees, hellbent on making it to the Tail. 

Snowpiercer Season 3 Episode 7 Ouroboros

Pictured: Sheila Vand and Daveed Diggs in SNOWPIERCER Season 3 Episode 7, “Ouroboros.” Photo credit: David Bukach

Later, outside Dream Land, Wilford calls Alex into the library and asks her to be his research buddy. Meanwhile, Zarah and Josie bond outside of Layton’s room. Zarah even apologizes for throwing Josie under the bus with Melanie in Season 1! You know, the event that almost wiped Josie off the map. Josie forgives her, reassuring her that she understands the need for self-preservation. Zarah was pregnant, after all. 

But that’s not all: Zarah informs Josie that Layton still loves her. Zarah and Layton decided they were better off as co-parents and nothing more, giving Josie the okay to pursue that more. Huzzah!

Back inside Layton’s mind, Layton reaches the Tail, but Josie impedes his path. Thankfully, he figures out the password (“Death,” so the bird still isn’t the word). Layton meets the Tail boss, and it’s none other than an adult Liana (Kandyse McClure). Liana hands her father Zarah’s letter, the one she wrote before going into labor. 

Liana now runs the train, just like her dad. Layton refuses to accept this as his daughter’s future — New Eden will save her! Layton opens the back of Winnie’s doll that he handed to Liana, and Pike’s ticking bomb resides within. Liana insists that Layton’s not there to face his future but hers.

Layton wakes in Asha’s (Archie Panjabi) bunker in the nuclear power plant. After the pair take down some intruders, Layton fights Asha for access to one of the lockers, which contains something vital; a key to Layton’s mission. He finds a picture of the tree he envisioned in New Eden, smack dab on a calendar. Layton realizes he’s not a prophet; he conjured New Eden from seeing this image. 

Snowpiercer Season 3 Episode 7 Ouroboros

Pictured: Sean Bean and Rowan Blanchard in SNOWPIERCER Season 3 Episode 7, “Ouroboros.” Photo credit: David Bukach

Layton finally stirs in the real world, and he tells Josie he “made up” New Eden out of desperation to usher the passengers into a bright future. 

Meanwhile, Wilford makes a staggering discovery with Alex. He found a track switch signal near Marseille a few months back, leading him to believe Melanie is alive. Holy guacamole, Batman!

RELATED: Catch up on all the Eternal Engine action with our Snowpiercer recaps!

Battlestar Galactica, represent! It’s lovely to see one of the queens of sci-fi still kicking ass in sci-fi. I hope we see more of Kandyse McClure at some point. 

The Melanie revelation is simultaneously bewildering, expected and surprising. I assumed we were too far into Season 3 to revive Melanie, and I was ready to let her sacrifice fuel the train’s resolve to find New Eden, even if it technically doesn’t exist. However, it’s Jennifer Connelly, and she’s an acting beast. I’ll accept this only once. 

“Ouroboros” delivers more of the magical aspects of science fiction, dipping its toes outside of its comfort zone. It’s a delightful, surreal and dreamy romp through Layton’s mind, unearthing some fun scenes and metaphors aplenty. Here’s hoping Snowpiercer maintains this energy for the last three episodes. 

Do you think we’ll get a Bess/Audrey romance? Will Josie confess her feelings to Layton? Is New Eden still on the table? Do you believe Wilford’s telling the truth regarding Melanie? Join me next week while I recap Snowpiercer here on Geek Girl Authority. 

Snowpiercer airs Mondays at 9 pm on your TNT affiliate. 

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Melody McCune
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