After last week’s episode focusing on mechanical failure, this week’s installment returns to the class conflict storyline, with a vengeance. This episode focuses on Layton’s (Daveed Diggs) efforts to build a coalition to capitalize on his knowledge that Melanie (Jennifer Connolly) has been pretending to be the esteemed (and presumably dead) Mr. Wilford. Meanwhile, Melanie desperately tries to track Layton down.
In the process, Melanie’s character loses some of her ambiguity and moves closer to black hat territory. While the character retains a little of the humanity that has made her an interesting character so far, she is starting to face opposition on multiple fronts and does some despicable things this episode that will likely make things worse for her. The question becomes, will she be given a redemption arc or will she veer further into bad guy territory?
Layton has seemingly kicked the shelving stasis hangover and is a lot more coherent this episode. However, the character I found most interesting was Till (Mickey Sumner). Where Layton and Melanie are becoming a bit one dimensional, Till straddles the line between the front of the car (her duty to her job and her girlfriend) and the back of the car (she helped Layton escape the shelf and is starting to see the bad things Melanie is doing). Till is given a little more emotional range this episode, which adds a layer of complexity to her character.
This episode starts off a little slow, as Melanie and Layton’s cat and mouse game slowly develops. In its final third, the episode provides some genuine tension and some major stuff happens. This episode has more twists than the prior installments – some of them can be predicted, but others are a bit more surprising (and perhaps shocking). After muddling through the end of the murder mystery arc, Snowpiercer is back on the right track. While new viewers can probably figure out what is going on, the episode is much more effective if you have watched the show long enough to become invested in the characters.