DISCLAIMER: This recap of Snowpiercer episode “The Train Demanded Blood” is rife with spoilers galore. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, occupants of the Engine Eternal! Snowpiercer aired a two-hour season finale tonight, starting with “The Train Demanded Blood.” Melanie was spared from execution by “Lung of Ice,” which looked like a pretty brutal way to go, to be honest. Layton gained access to Snowpiercer, but not without sacrificing a few hundred souls along the way. In an effort to quell the first class rebellion led by the Folgers, our protagonists relinquished 7 cars from the train, leaving them to freeze on the tracks. Bye bye, Folgers! Zarah dropped a pregnancy bomb on Layton, which explains why she fed Josie to the wolves. Roche finally joined the good guys. Oh, and Pike is still a devious fiend, but we already knew that.
Ready to delve into “The Train Demanded Blood?” Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with narration from Melanie (Jennifer Connelly), who is awaiting execution. We see she’s handcuffed and sitting among a group of rebels from the previous episode. If you recall, Grey and his lackeys utilized a smoke bomb to detain a slew of Layton’s crew. Next, the elderly paper maker meets his demise via “Lung of Ice.” The guards attached a breathing apparatus to his face and he was forced to breathe in the outside air. Of course, freezing is instantaneous, so thankfully his suffering wasn’t prolonged. This scene gave me major Battlestar Galactica vibes.
Meanwhile, Layton (Daveed Diggs), Till (Mickey Sumner), and Miss Audrey (Lena Hall) are plotting their next move. Grey and his men are still at large, with the mounting rebellion threatening to break free in first class. Layton spots Zarah (Sheila Vand) but promptly ignores her. I don’t blame him.
Then, we see the Folgers and Grey (Timothy V. Murphy) in first class. Ruth (Alison Wright) asserts that she wants Melanie executed immediately. Naturally, her desire is fueled by anger and vengeance. The Folgers insist that seizing control of the train is paramount. Grey reveals that he’ll gas bomb the cars in third class to wipe out the remaining resistance fighters. Javier (Roberto Urbina) retorts that said gas could infiltrate the vents and potentially kill everyone train-wide. Grey doesn’t seem to mind that itty bitty fact, though.
Next, Bennett (Iddo Goldberg) and Miles (Jaylin Fletcher) are sequestered away in the engine room courtesy of Melanie in the previous episode. Bennett spots the footage of Miles granting LJ (Annalise Basso) access to the engine room, much to his dismay. He’s not a happy camper. Bennett orders Miles to sit in silence for the foreseeable future.
Later, Pike (Steven Ogg) reunites with Layton and co. in third class. He ushers Layton aside and reveals Grey’s plan to take everyone out via noxious gases. Layton is bewildered that first class is willing to use civilians as collateral damage. Pike informs Layton of the Folgers’ ultimatum: either he give himself up to save everyone on the train or innocent folks will die. Layton has an hour to decide. No pressure.
Then, Layton reveals the ultimatum to Till and Audrey. Of course, they don’t want him to take the bait. They’d rather fight their way to victory. Besides, the revolution won’t die with Layton. Meanwhile, Ruth is rummaging through Melanie’s belongings. Grey finds Ruth mid-rampage. Then, one thing leads to another and…sex! You knew it was going to happen eventually.
Next, Melanie is forcefully shoved into the execution chair. Guards that used to work for her are now securely strapping her in for an impending death sentence. Her charge for treason is grandly announced, the breathing apparatus fastened to her face…then Javier saves her. Phew! Now, I didn’t think Snowpiercer would actually kill off their lead actress, but that was cutting it close.
Javier urges Melanie to descend into the underbelly of the train and seek shelter. Jinju (Susan Park) is waiting for her. Apparently, she was the one behind Melanie’s escape. What a good friend! However, instead of heeding Jinju’s advice and keeping a low profile, Melanie makes a break for the air vents. Meanwhile, at Audrey’s behest, Layton reluctantly pays Zarah a visit. He still despises her and rightfully so. After acknowledging the fact that Layton will never forgive her, she reveals that she’s got a bun in the oven. His bun. Her oven. Time to make things exponentially more complicating for Layton!
Layton reemerges from his meeting with Zarah and informs Pike of his decision. He’s going to turn himself in to Grey and the Folgers. Surrender. My guess discovering that he has an unborn child really informed his decision. Pike brings the news back to Grey. LJ urges her parents to be present for Layton’s grand surrender. You know, show the train who’s really in charge now. Oh, LJ. Always stirring the proverbial pot.
Next, Melanie emerges from the vents in the greenhouse. Layton’s crew finds her and brings her in to third class. Melanie reveals that she has a plan to keep Layton alive. She knows the train better than anyone and it was never her intention to cause so much harm. Melanie asserts that she did everything she could to ensure humanity’s survival. Layton is skeptical, but Audrey believes Melanie is telling the truth. In addition, Melanie wants Layton to gain control of Snowpiercer. Team work makes the dream work, you guys.
Later, Melanie calls Bennett to reassure him that she’s alive and well. Melanie is donning an informal set of clothing this time. It’s so strange seeing her look like a run-of-the-mill civilian. Till convinces Roche (Mike O’Malley) to rally to her cause. Ruth makes her first announcement as de facto train leader. Well, until Layton seizes control. Melanie removes her chip that has access to every facet of Snowpiercer. She gives it to Layton. Perhaps Melanie didn’t relish having power after all. She really did want what was best for the train.
Then, Roche reticently joins Team Layton. He’s not a fan of Melanie being there, but desperate times. Next, the group goes their separate ways — everyone with their part to play. Melanie’s plan is to sever connections with a handful of train cars. More specifically, the ones where the Folgers/first class are located. However, Roche will be escorting Layton to an official show of surrender in the school car. You know, to keep up appearances. As per their usual, the Folgers throw on the theatrics. They urge Layton to literally wave a white handkerchief. They pose for a photo — several, in fact. Finally, Roche and Grey cart Layton away to be “executed.”
Now, Grey, Roche, and Layton descend into Snowpiercer’s underbelly. Roche whips out a pistol on Grey. After a few moments of physical fighting, Grey plans to execute Layton right then and there. That is, until Strong Boy and the other Tailees from Dr. Klimpt’s office charge onto the field, effectively taking down Grey. After the commander is out of commission, Layton ensures that Roche (who’s unconscious) is taken to safety while he makes a break for it.
Melanie begins the first phase of detaching the train cars. She relinquishes a horde of cars that includes the school car, wherein the Folgers are located. Bye bye! LJ is not with them, though. Bennett and Melanie are now waiting for Layton to do his part, but the clock is ticking. Layton finally arrives to find the holding cell from the beginning of the episode where Melanie was being held. Inside, he spots several of his fellow Tailees. He frantically searches for a key to unlock their shackles. However, that damn clock is still ticking. Time is running out. After realizing that his efforts to locate said key are futile, Layton incessantly apologizes as he detaches the final slew of train cars. He watches his comrades disappear on the desolate tracks as Snowpiercer moves further away from them.
Then, Layton reunites with Melanie. She knew that he would be saddled with a tough choice. To sacrifice the few for the many. He passed the test! Melanie reminds him that they all must live with their respective choices. Being a leader means having to make those heavy-handed decisions. She informs Layton that he has control of the train.
So much happened in this episode! Snowpiercer had a slow start, but these past few episodes prove the pay-off was most certainly worth the wait. Connelly was exceptional, as per her usual. Melanie is the very essence of an antihero — not necessarily an antagonist, but not a blatant protagonist either. She’s proof that we can have the best of intentions and still make terrible decisions that have disastrous repercussions. Diggs was also a force to be reckoned with and, despite Layton’s desire to be rid of Melanie, I hope he has more scenes with Connelly.
Be sure to read Part 2 of my coverage of the Snowpiercer season finale next!
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