DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Snowpiercer episode “A Beacon for Us All” has spoilers. Prepare to brace and proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, passengers of the Eternal Engine! We’ve reached penultimate episode territory while on this path to New Eden, and “A Beacon for Us All” marks the triumphant return of Jennifer Connelly, a.k.a. The Queen of Acting. Connelly’s performance catapults this outing above the rest. She elevates Snowpiercer by her sheer presence alone.
I’m glad we didn’t waste time getting Melanie back on the train, as it gave way for far more exciting narrative threads to unravel. “A Beacon for Us All” poses the age-old conundrum plaguing humanity since the dawn of time — is it better to have faith or reason on your side? Religion or science? It’s a common theme among many sci-fi shows, but I always enjoy its exploration.
Ready to dig deep into “A Beacon for Us All”? Let’s get to it.
We open with Ben (Iddo Goldberg), providing narration for this episode. He sits in the engine with Alex (Rowan Blanchard) and calls for Melanie. A track scaler comes into view. We see Melanie (Connelly) lying inside, unconscious. She wakes up.
We hear Melanie record a vocal log of her day, including external statistics and the number of internal resources at her disposal. Melanie puts herself to sleep for a week at a time with the suspension liquid utilized for the drawers. When she wakes, she drinks fluids and keeps her body active until it’s time to undergo suspension again.
However, as the days pass, Melanie reaches the end of her suspension drug supply, realizing she might not wake up again after falling unconscious.
Melanie tells Alex she’s thinking of her before going to sleep. Even in this brief scene, Connelly proves she’s a juggernaut of an actress.
Meanwhile, Layton (Daveed Diggs) finally gets Liana to sleep, and Zarah (Sheila Vand) urges him to get to the engine. He joins Ben, Alex, Javi (Roberto Urbina) and Josie (Katie McGuinness) as they all keep their eyes peeled for Melanie’s track scaler. Wilford (Sean Bean) also observes the tracks, spotting Melanie simultaneously as the others.
Bess (Mickey Sumner) wakes after spending the night with Audrey (Lena Hall), and she dresses for her brakeman shift. Bess asks Audrey to define their relationship. Is something happening here? Audrey not-so-subtly hints that yes, their friendship is turning into Romance Lane. Honestly, I’m here for it. They deserve happiness.
Everyone gets to work, with Josie and Layton endeavoring to bring Melanie’s track scaler closer to Snowpiercer so that Ben can lift it with the train’s crane. Josie, being the Icy Bob of the crew, hops atop the scaler and secures it for lifting.
I think it’s poetic that Melanie and Josie’s last scene included the former locking Josie in Hospitality to face certain death. Their first interaction since then features Josie saving Melanie’s life. Poetry!
After Josie secures the scaler, Ben lifts it, dropping it inside the train. She’s alive! Dr. Pelton (Karin Konoval) helps Ben and Layton with wheeling Melanie to the med bay.
Melanie wakes in the med bay three days later, with Alex sleeping soundly at her bedside. The mother-daughter duo has the reunion of the century. Admittedly, my eyes were not dry during this bit. Not in the slightest. Connelly and Blanchard’s scenes are downright magical. Ben arrives, joining the momentous reunion bliss.
Ruth (Alison Wright) informs Roche (Mike O’Malley) about Melanie, and the pair reminisce about their time together serving the train. They decide to throw the passengers a party to ease the transition from Snowpiercer to New Eden. Once they pass the pyramids for the final time, it’s a straight shot to the Horn of Africa.
Alex tells Wilford about Melanie, and our fave villain asks to see her. After all, Wilford’s the one who found her (after he sent her outside to die).
Then, we get the highly anticipated reunion between Layton and Melanie. Melanie acknowledges Layton’s New Eden lie, but she doesn’t condemn him for it. She lied to the train for years to sustain the passengers. It can be a form of empathy. However, Melanie cautions that reason and logic should guide their New Eden journey.
Layton leads Melanie to the engine, wherein she reunites with Javi. She notices the claw marks from Jupiter on his face, but she doesn’t question them. Melanie could tell Javi endured quite a lot of trauma while she was away.
Next, Melanie tells Ben she plans to visit Wilford. He found her, but why? What’s his ulterior motive?
LJ (Annalise Basso) exhibits peculiar behavior in the Night Car (more so than usual), so Osweiller (Sam Otto) follows her into the third-class marketplace. He observes her meeting with Dr. Headwood (Sakina Jaffrey), who hands her a vial. Suspicious!
Lots of reunions in this episode! Finally, Wilford and Melanie reunite. He apologizes for leaving her outside to die. Wilford advocated for her return because he grew weary of being the “only sane person” on Snowpiercer. Wilford decries the idea of New Eden, citing the journey there might yield dangerous results. Melanie counters that it’s not safe to remain on Snowpiercer, as she won’t last forever.
Meanwhile, Layton and Ben talk romance and Ben encourages Layton to tell Josie how he feels about her. Will Ben ever reveal he slept with Josie, or will that get swept under the dystopian rug?
Osweiller confronts LJ after what he witnessed in the marketplace. He reminds LJ that her involvement with the Wilfordites reflects poorly on him. LJ shoves him on the bed and blatantly threatens him with a knife. She can do what she wants, Osweiller!
Alex and Melanie get ready for the big shindig, and Alex obsesses about looking perfect for Carly. Methinks a potential romance is on the horizon? Melanie voices her concerns regarding the New Eden data, asserting that it’s inconclusive. She agrees with Wilford. Alex retorts that it’s giving everyone hope, and they don’t know what will await them when they arrive. But there’s the rub — uncertainty.
Layton pulls Josie aside and confesses his love for her. Newsflash: she also loves him! However, Josie believes they shouldn’t be together. Layton will be too busy leading the train to greener pastures; he won’t have enough in his tank for her. While Josie has a valid point, this still breaks my heart.
Melanie arrives at the party to thunderous applause from the partygoers. Wilford receives a tray of desserts in the library and pockets something suspicious that a Wilfordite concealed in a cloth napkin. He’s up to no good, as per usual.
However, he breaks out the cigars for himself and the brakemen holding him captive.
Next, Bess leads Audrey to the Night Car. Forget the numerous Melanie reunions — this is the reunion we all needed. Miss Audrey’s back in her Night Car. Bess tells Audrey that she made this place special, not the other way around. Our lovebirds dance together.
Meanwhile, Melanie unloads her New Eden doubts onto Layton at the shindig. She doesn’t believe the data is sound enough to transport them in one piece. But Layton’s made up his mind, asserting they’ve endured great pains to get this far. Asha sacrificed herself because of New Eden!
Ruth gives a speech welcoming back Engineer Cavill as everyone gazes upon the majesty of the pyramids for the last time. Bess and Audrey finally kiss, and it’s glorious.
Osweiller warns Roche about LJ and the Wilfordites, putting him on alert, while Melanie slinks away to Hospitality to offer a speech of her own to the passengers. Melanie praises the train for its unity, noting that she’s never witnessed a Snowpiercer more aligned than this moment.
She addresses the risks of traveling to the Horn of Africa. Melanie believes the research isn’t conclusive. Then, she drops the truth bomb on everyone: Layton lied about spending time in New Eden. Uh oh.
Layton and Ben venture to the engine, but Melanie and Javi lock them out. Javi’s infuriated with Ben for lying to him. Later, Melanie calls Ben, who’s in Big Alice. She explains why she did what she did, but Ben sees red. Melanie reminds him that it’s their job to protect the passengers, first and foremost.
We see Ben, Bess, Josie, Zarah and Layton in Big Alice while they plot their next move. Layton believes their counterattack most involve swords and shields, a.k.a. the Tail way.
Javi vents his frustrations to Melanie regarding Layton’s lie and reassures Melanie that she has a ton of support on the train. They’re fast approaching the turn for New Eden, so having said support helps tremendously. Melanie tells Javi she’s visiting their resident “snake in the grass.” She notices something’s amiss when she stops by the library — Wilford’s gone, and in his wake are a trail of dead brakemen.
We’ve got a Wilford on the loose!
“A Beacon for Us All” lays the groundwork for what’s sure to be an intriguing season finale. I think we’ll see a few factions spring forth, with Melanie, Layton and Wilford all asserting power from their various positions. I wouldn’t be surprised if Melanie and Wilford join forces on this front, as their feelings regarding New Eden veer on the side of science.
Melanie’s not the villain — she spent several months out there in the cold, teetering on the brink of death and subsisting on solely suspension fluid to keep herself alive. If anyone can assess the risks of traveling to New Eden, it’s Melanie. She has a valid point, but so does Layton. Interestingly, nobody’s genuinely the baddie here, except for Wilford.
Do you side with Melanie or Layton? Will war erupt between the factions, or will they find a way to establish peace? Will we see the Horn of Africa? Join me next week while I recap Snowpiercer here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Snowpiercer season finale airs on Monday, March 28, at 9 pm on your TNT affiliate.