Hello, everyone. Last week, I had to take a few days off to deal with some personal stuff, but I’m back now with my latest recap for TNT’s Snowpiercer series that digs into episodes 4 and 5, where we see the culmination of the murder mystery aboard the titular train, as well as the resulting actions and fallout from everything that follows once the killers and their motives are revealed. Oh, and there’s a whole lot more happening as well.

Now, on to the good stuff…

In “Without Their Maker,” the theme of episode four is spelled out rather simply: systems resist change without their maker, which of course is in relation to the fact that Mr. Wilford is more myth than man after seven years aboard the Snowpiercer. And with Nikki now brutally murdered, Layton (Daveed Diggs) sets out to find the killer that must be a First Class passenger, since the borders between classes had been shut down after the huge melee at Fight Night. In an effort to weed out their suspect, Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) orders Ruth (Alison Wright) to wake all the rich folks up, and once Layton begins poking around, we come to find out that Erik (Matt Murray), the body guard for the Folger family (who I honestly had no idea even had a name until this episode), never came home, which can only mean one thing: he’s definitely the one who has been up to no good.

Layton interrogates LJ (Annalise Basso) and she reveals that not only were she and the body guard lovers, but he also killed on her behalf. It was LJ that claimed the male victim’s genitals (and hid them in her jewelry box—yee-ikes), and it was up to the former Marine-turned-private-security to dismember and hide the corpses to help protect her crimes. Meanwhile, both Till (Mickey Sumner) and Oz (Sam Otto) are busy chasing Erik down in Third Class, where he ends up taking Till’s lady love Jinju (Susan Park) hostage, but he ends up being overtaken by a Snowpiercer security force who go hog wild on him with a bunch of axes (for some reason he also shoots the wall of the train, which doesn’t make a lick of sense, but whatever), and Erik ends up getting hacked to death, leaving LJ alone to answer for their crimes.

What’s interesting about episode four is that in very unsubtle ways, we watch as LJ (which stands for Lilah Junior, and honestly, I think I cackled once I realized that—because of course she’d be named after her soulless and narcissistic mother), pretty much toys with Layton throughout their whole exchange, and she does so because she believes her rich bitch white girl privilege affords her that kind of power over someone like him. She doesn’t even try to deny any of her involvement in the murders aboard the Snowpiercer when Layton confronts her; she’s that confident that she’s untouchable and even tries to dangle access to weapons for the Tailies revolution as a means to buy Layton’s silence, which of course doesn’t work. But you can’t help but admire the utter balls on LJ’s actions, in both of these episodes really, and Basso’s commitment to go full-tilt with her performance is entertaining as all hell.

Also, it’s worth noting that the Folger family has a cat hilariously named Snowpeter, and now I want a series devoted entirely to the exploits of Snowpeter.

Beyond that, though, most of us know that Snowpiercer revolves around a story about class warfare and those oppressed rising up against those who have been suppressing them for far too long, and it’s Josie (Katie McGuinness) who springs into action now that she has the access to Snowpiercer courtesy of the microchip nodule Layton slipped her last week during their kiss, and she sets out to find him, which isn’t exactly an easy thing to do.

Why is that? Well, now that LJ has been charged for the murders aboard the Snowpiercer, and the investigation has now been handled, Melanie has decided that Layton has seen far too much to ever return to the Tail End of the train, and ends up drugging him and tucking him away in one of Doctor Klimt’s (Happy Anderson) dreaded drawers. But with Layton missing, that only fuels Josie to push harder, and it seems like the Revolution is inevitable now.

Which brings us to episode five, “Justice Never Boarded.” Whoo boy. What this show lacks in subtlety it more than makes up for in moments that are totally and completely bananas. This week’s WTF moment comes courtesy of LJ, who doesn’t seem all that concerned about preparing for her upcoming trial, where her very life hangs in the balance. Rather than rehearse her testimony (or maybe “performance” is a better word for it), LJ would rather play around on her Nintendo Switch. And when that gets taken away, the petulant teen coyly asks her enabling father (Vincent Gale), “Can I?” And in turn, he pops out his gosh darn fake eye so that his daughter can not only play around with it, but she puts it in HER FREAKING MOUTH. Egads.

We eventually learn via Lilah Senior (Kerry O’Malley) that the reason her husband has a glass eye in the first place is because seven-year-old LJ decided one day to take a fork and ram it right into her daddy’s eye, and despite this heinous act of violence, he still coddled his daughter, completely ignoring her violent tendencies (which apparently is still very much a thing in their family, obviously).

Early on, LJ’s impending trial has caused quite a stir amongst the Third Class passengers, as many of them feel that they have no sense of justice, since these crimes were perpetrated by folks in First Class and they have not been given any sort of seat at the table, so to speak, when it comes to the tribunal that’s being assembled to determine whether or not LJ is guilty. Melanie recognizes that she needs to do something in order to satiate Third Class’ need for vengeance, so she ends up allowing one person from each class of passengers be represented on the panel, which seems like a step in the right direction.

But for every one step forward on the Snowpiercer in terms of classism, there’s always several steps backwards, and despite the fact that it seems like little psychopath-in-training is getting exactly what she deserves once she’s found guilty, Melanie realizes there’s more at stake than justice at the moment, and Mr. Wilford steps in to commute LJ’s sentence, and that pisses off a whole lot of people who don’t have the last name Folger.

Seemingly, this puts to bed the whole murder mystery storyline in Snowpiercer and it seems like things are finally back on track (pun intended) when it comes to the social commentary we have all been expecting from the series. Josie frantically sets out to find Layton (one odd thought I had was that not a single person thought it was weird that the investigator into the murders didn’t testify at LJ’s trial, but maybe I’m too fixated on details), and switches places with a waitress named Astrid (Jane McGregor) so that she can move about Third Class freely.

For as wonderfully over-dramatic as LJ’s trial was (it was playing straight out of the playbooks of all the great nighttime soaps of the 1980s and 90s, which I freaking LOVED), Josie’s frenzied search for Layton is really where Snowpiercer began to feel like Snowpiercer should. The pacing was excellent and I feel like this episode was the first time where we really got a chance to see McGuinness shine as a performer as well.

“Justice Never Boarded” also gives us a whole lot more of Till, and Sumner has consistently been one of my favorite people to watch on Snowpiercer thus far. She and Jinju take their relationship to a new level, and now Till has been upgraded to Second Class alongside her girlfriend, which comes with more perks for the Breachman, including dessert after dinner, which is something that apparently Third Class isn’t afforded. But Till also steps up in a big way when she and Breachman Oz stumble across Josie attempting to free Layton from the drawers. Her comrade attacks Josie, who is clearly doing something very much against the rules, but rather than do her job, Till lays out Oz, and helps Josie and Layton escape to the confines of Third Class.

And I’m guessing Sumner’s character is going to have a whole lot of explaining to do in the near future, but for the moment, it’s evident that the time she spent with Layton has meant something to her, and it’ll be interesting to see where that goes.

With the police procedural storyline pretty much all wrapped up now, it seems like Snowpiercer is set to focus more on the social thriller aspects of its narrative, which means we are most definitely ramping up for all-out class warfare. First Class passengers are feeling “underappreciated,” Third Class is angry and riled up after LJ is set free by Mr. Wilford, and I guess Second Class is just doing what it does, because we don’t know much about them, other than they get to enjoy dessert.

But with Layton now out of the drawers, his return to his fellow Tailies is imminent, and I’m guessing there’s about to be a whole lot of bloodshed to come on Snowpiercer, and I for one, cannot wait.

[Photo Credits: Top two photos courtesy of TNT / Justina Mintz, third photo from top via CBR.]

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.