We are officially halfway through the first season of Snowpiercer, and now with the murder mystery all wrapped up, it’s time to get down to business. Or so I thought heading into this week’s programming. This latest episode, entitled “Trouble Comes Sideways,” puts the brewing class warfare on hold so that Melanie and those in charge of keeping the Snowpiercer rolling along can deal with a near-catastrophe that threatens the very lives of every single passenger aboard.
The opening montage shows us that trouble is brewing for the titular train in a multitude for ways: not only do we see some electrical gear short-circuiting but there seems to be an uprising about to happen amongst the Third Class passengers who are planning to strike as a means to get justice for Nikki and the sham trial that allowed LJ Folger (Annalise Basso) to walk free despite being found guilty. At one point, Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) confronts Third Class, while thugs in riot gear beat down anyone who dares speak out against Mr. Wilford, and explains to them that if they do move forward with their planned strike, Wilford won’t hesitate to throw some of them in with the Tailies as punishment for their insubordination.
In the meantime, Andre (Daveed Diggs) is still feeling the gnarly after-effects from being in the drawer. After hiding out with Zarah (Sheila Vand), Josie (Katie McGuinness) gets him to Doctor Pelton’s (Karin Konoval) office so that she can help him transition completely out of stasis and get him back on track. While in her office, Dr. Pelton informs both Andre and Josie about Wilford’s nefarious plan and how that one room of stasis drawers is only the beginning when it comes to that conspiracy. In fact, “The List” that has been referenced in a few episodes now includes every tenth passenger, and according to Pelton, they’re all people who have been marked “Enemies of the State.”
Enraged, Andre breaks out so that he can attack Melanie for trying to keep him quiet by tucking him away from the rest of the Snowpiercer passengers. He locates her underneath the train, as she’s working her way toward the electrical failure, and as he prepares to use a scalpel to end her right then and there, Melanie tries to reason with him: if she dies, it would be the end of the Snowpiercer and every single living person aboard. Once Andre realizes that if he kills Melanie it would mean certain death for everyone else, he stands down and instead heads back to Josie to ride out the possible derailment with the woman he loves. Before she runs off to play hero though, Melanie tries to explain to Andre that “The List” isn’t what he thinks it is; it’s not a means to control people, it’s their way of ensuring the hope for humanity if something happens to the other passengers aboard the train.
“Trouble Comes Sideways” also gives us a peek as to how train repairs would even be completed while the train is still in motion and while the overall episode was more fixated on some dramatic filler, the sequences featuring Melanie hanging upside down underneath the moving Snowpiercer as she struggles to reconnect the hydraulics line. Connelly really gets her hands dirty this episode, and I did enjoy how these scenes felt reminiscent of Speed in some ways.
Other developments in “Trouble Comes Sideways” is that Zarah is officially pregnant, although we’re not sure if it belongs to the now-deceased Sean Wise or if it might belong to Andre, since they got busy a few episodes back. And speaking of sexy time, Andre and Josie end up doing the deed too, after Pelton provides her own living quarters for them to hide out in for the time being. I’m sure none of this will complicate things moving forward, of course.
Till (Mickey Sumner) and Osweiller (Sam Otto) cross paths again after she had laid him out while allowing Andre to escape from the drawers. Initially, Os decides he’s going to blackmail his partner to fulfill his own greedy nature, but the fact that they both almost died (along with everyone else) has him thinking differently once they come out of the train catastrophe unscathed. And back in the Tail section, the woman who lost her arm in the first episode (which I honestly don’t think we were ever properly told her name, which tends to be an ongoing Snowpiercer issue) ends up dying from her injuries.
One more interesting reveal is that Melanie has taken a special interest in Miles (Jaylin Fletcher) and his genius, and the episode wraps up with Connelly’s character giving him a special engineer’s caliber that had once been gifted to her by Mr. Wilford, and explaining to the young prodigy that Mr. Wilford needs something from Miles.
In the end, the emergency conditions on the Snowpiercer end up curtailing the Third Class strike, but we get a sense that it’s only for the time being, and a reckoning is coming sooner than later (or at least I’m hoping after this week’s episode that felt a little too transitional in nature, especially when we only have a few episodes left of this season, too).