DISCLAIMER: This recap of Snowpiercer episode “994 Cars Long” is rife with spoilers galore. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, occupants of the Engine Eternal! We’ve reach our final destination aboard Snowpiercer, folks. Well, for this season. “994 Cars Long” ushered in a new era of democracy. Chaos descended upon the train and Layton struggled to keep everything afloat. Two major plot twists in this episode: firstly, Wilford is alive and apparently well. Secondly, Melanie’s daughter Alexandra is also alive and apparently well. While this episode was a tad slower than its predecessor, Snowpiercer successfully managed to build a new threat/through line for Season 2. I can’t wait to see what the next season has in store for us.
Ready to delve into “994 Cars Long?” Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) officially abdicating the Snowpiercer throne to Layton (Daveed Diggs) via intercom announcement. Later, we see her sitting in the engine room — her permanent home. Bennett (Iddo Goldberg) and Javier (Roberto Urbina) are hard at work beside her. Melanie informs Bennett that she has one last thing to do prior to her banishment to the engine room. Something that must be done solo.
Next, Layton and Miles (Jaylin Fletcher) have a heart-to-heart chat. Miles already had a sinking feeling that Josie died, but Layton confirmed it. The two hug it out, and Layton asserts that Josie would be so proud of Miles. No, I’m not crying. Just conveniently cutting onions while watching TV.
Then, Layton rallies everyone together in the first class dining car for a unifying speech. Apparently, Tailees and third class are running amok in first, ransacking supply rooms and defacing train cars. Ruth (Alison Wright) silently glares at Layton while the latter delivers his speech. He assures the crowd that he’ll keep the peace. The war is over. Everyone is on equal ground and of equal standing now, as it should’ve been. Roche (Mike O’Malley) reminds Ruth that, as leader of hospitality, she should want to strive for peace. Ruthie, don’t be a Debbie Downer. What’s wonderful to see is the eclectic mix of Tailees, first, second, and third class civilians among the group.
Later, LJ (Annalise Basso) barges into her home to find Pike (Steven Ogg) and his cronies have taken over. It’s essentially one giant orgy. She’s beside herself with grief over losing her parents. LJ urges them to leave, but her threats are empty to Pike. He ousts her from her own home, citing that only poor people are those without friends. Oh, how the tables have turned.
Meanwhile, back in the engine room, Javier and Bennett pick up on peculiar music hitting the airwaves. Initially, Bennett chalks it up to music someone is playing on the train. However, Javier notes that said music is coming from outside. Meaning, there could be more survivors. Bennett remains incredulous.
Next, Melanie makes her way to the Night Car, where Miss Audrey (Lena Hall) awaits her. Apparently, Melanie had been avoiding a certain emotional purging for quite some time now. Audrey leads her back to one of the rooms and begins the process. This reminds of elaborate hypnotism. Audrey urges Melanie to focus on her surroundings and to manifest a mental door inside the Night Car. Melanie crosses the threshold and wanders into her own house. It looks like the dining area. We see her daughter Alexandra is sitting at the dinner table.
Now, Audrey urges Melanie to express her innermost feelings to her daughter. What has she always wanted to say to Alexandra? Melanie dictates what she would tell Alexandra if the latter was with her in the moment. It’s a heartbreaking, beautiful scene. Good God, Connelly is extraordinary. This is, easily, her best scene in the series thus far.
Meanwhile, Till (Mickey Sumner) and Jinju (Susan Park) have a frank discussion regarding their relationship status. Both of them are primarily focused on what’s best for Snowpiercer. That, and both kept their fair share of secrets from each other. Secrets are not a sturdy foundation on which to foster a relationship. So, the pair decide to call it quits.
Then, after having a cathartic cry, Melanie waltzes into hospitality to pay Ruth a visit. Update: Ruth still wholeheartedly despises her. Melanie insists that democracy will work for everyone, while Ruth has chosen to die on the “law and order” hill. Thus, the duo parts ways on shaky terms.
Later, Melanie returns to the engine to find Bennett and Javier debating over the inexplicable music on the airwaves. She notices that there’s a second train approaching from behind Snowpiercer. Melanie believes that it’s Big Alice, Mr. Wilford’s train. Apparently, the aforementioned train was a prototype of sorts. She calls Layton to update him. Layton is bewildered at the thought of more survivors out there. He thinks they should try to make contact, but Melanie warns him that if it is indeed Wilford, they may be in for a rude awakening. He vows to have a nice, warm but armed welcoming party at the ready in case there’s trouble.
Next, we see Osweiller (Sam Otto) drinking his sorrows away in third class. He runs into LJ and the latter delivers a whopper of a punch. The pair bond over the fact that they’re both “bad eggs.” I’m actually glad they found each other. As much as I despise LJ, I also feel for her. She lost her family and home in one fell swoop.
Now, Ruth catches wind of another encroaching train. Everyone train-wide is peering outside to get a glimpse of it. Ruth is wholly convinced that it’s Mr. Wilford. She excitedly urges her assistant to help her gather a welcoming party. Layton, Till, and Roche arrive at the Folger residence and promptly kick the revelers out. Then, Layton enlists Pike’s help in standing with him in case Mr. Wilford takes action against Snowpiercer.
Meanwhile, the trio in the engine room are keeping a close eye on the other train. It appears they’re slowing down so they can latch on Snowpiercer via the Tail. She tries to formulate a plan to prevent Wilford from doing so. Bennett reminds her that Big Alice is primarily a supply train with double the cars that they have. Back in the Tail, Layton and co. are greeted by Ruth with her children’s choir welcoming party. They’re eerily marching in step and simultaneously singing some hymn that’s dedicated to Wilford. It’s all very creepy. Layton demands Ruth clear the kids out of the area immediately.
Then, Ruth brandishes a pistol from her coat pocket. She throws a tantrum about how the train has been overrun by hooligans and how order must be restored. In addition, she demands to meet Mr. Wilford first. It’s customary for hospitality to be the “welcoming committee” to new boarders. Layton talks Ruth down and asserts that she’ll have a place right beside him in the front. Ruth is now reticently satisfied and Roche takes away her pistol.
Suddenly, Wilford’s train latches on to Snowpiercer’s tail. So, they have the technology to do that. Melanie makes the executive decision to go outside and manually sever the link between the two trains herself. Bennett is about to accompany her when the two begin to bicker. Apparently, he knew it was Wilford all along but tried to distort the soundbite so Melanie wouldn’t find out. Secrets don’t make friends, Bennett. So, she cuts Bennett’s air supply tube on his suit so he can’t go outside with her.
Now, we see Melanie carefully walking atop the train while attached with a cord of some kind. However, she does away with said cord so she can move more freely. There were a few times when she almost fell off. Back in the Tail, we see the opposing party is attempting to open the caboose of the train. In the engine room, Javier puts on the brakes. Snowpiercer grounds to a halt for the first time in seven years. As it so happens, they’re on the outskirts of Chicago, where it all began. Roche informs Layton that they have roughly 10 minutes before everything and everyone freezes. Outside, Melanie is catapulted off the train into the snow below.
Next, the tail end of the train is successfully breached. We see a young girl sauntering toward our crew. She looks like a teenager. The girl introduces herself as Alexandra Cavill. Of course, everyone gasps in awe. They were under the impression Melanie’s daughter was dead. Then, Alexandra asks to see her mother.
Melanie wakes up in the snow and clambers uneasily to her feet. She’s still armed with an instrument to sever Wilford’s train from hers. She proceeds to make her way toward Snowpiercer’s tail, where she’ll undoubtedly be reunited with her daughter and Wilford himself.
Holy guacamole, Batman! Snowpiercer ended on a high note. Overall, I enjoyed this season. While its pacing was inconsistent at times, the overarching story and compelling characters are what kept me intrigued. Seasonal MVPs: Connelly and Diggs. Without question. Diggs has such a commanding presence and is perfectly suited for Layton. Connelly is just a massive talent with a legendary career that needs to be in more projects. Snowpiercer‘s timeliness and relevancy to our own social climate did not go unnoticed by me. This series arrived on the heels of the current global crisis and held a mirror up to us, reflecting back our own reality. That’s what a good sci-fi show does. In addition, the show’s premise could easily unfurl in real time in the near future if we’re not careful enough.
Snowpiercer will return for Season 2 in 2021 on your TNT affiliate.
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