Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 3 Review: Access is Power

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The real detective work kicks in on Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 3, but there are a few key questions that have been left unasked by the world's only homicide detective.

The main one being: WHO was the first murder victim?

Shouldn't that have been one of the first things discussed? How might Sean Wise be similar to the first victim? Why was the murderer targeting (and castrating) the victims?

Honestly, this unasked question distracted me a lot more than Fight Night did.

Ringmaster Audrey - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 3

Not to say that Fight Night wasn't a fascinating study of the train demographics. 

So far, we've learned that the Tailies are stowaways, individuals who didn't have tickets or jobs to justify their presence aboard the Great Ark Train.

The First Class passengers are the richest of the rich from before The Freeze, people who could afford to bring their families and fox furs when they boarded this endless "pleasure cruise" of a journey.

From what I can tell, the difference between the Second and Third Class is the line between white-collar and blue-collar working class.

It's only doors between us!

Layton

But the numbers are telling. Layton says that Thirdies and Tailies make up seventy percent of Snowpiercer's population. Cavill mentioned that the whole train carries three thousand. That leaves maybe twenty percent in Second and ten percent in First.

Coy Zarah - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 3

Is it any wonder why moving "uptrain" is such a big deal?

However, it's interesting to look at the perspectives presented on the motivations and reactions of an upgrade.

Zarah's departure was soundtracked with jeers and taunts from the other Tailies. (I do wonder how exactly you get recruited for the Night Car though.)

I got my own bunk, with a curtain! My own fork! And I ate this thing. It's called a tangerine?

Miles

In contrast, Miles' apprenticeship is celebrated as a group success. He represents all the hopes of The Tail.

And Miles has the most potential to go all the way from The Tail to The Engine. The engineers (and Cavill in her role as Mr. Wilford) are beyond the class system, in a stratum of their own.

Train Detective - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 3

So,  understanding the different skills/traits of each class, the question that hangs in the air around Fight Night is what happens to the Thirdie who wins the upgrade to Second Class?

Do they continue to work the same job but live in Second Class?

That seems an untenable situation as, no matter how happy your fellow Brakemen/Tunnelmen/Janitors are for you, someone's going to make your working environment toxic if they know you have running water and electricity when they don't.

Do they get retrained and redeployed in a Second Class Hospitality or Medical Car or Jackboot job?

You'd think loneliness would be impossible all crammed in here. But this train was designed to separate us from our possessions, from our loved ones. Now, every last shred of us is worth something to someone. Everything's rare so you gotta pay with something personal. And we're all trading up for the most valuable thing there is, access.

Dr. Klimpt

With the way First Class was treating the groundlings in the Night Car, I'm a little surprised LJ is the only one with a dedicated bodyguard, if that's what Erik actually is.

Dr. Klimpt - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2

And there's another class distinction. Assuming Erik was who was with Sean the night he died, Terence referred to him as First Class. That would situate the Folgers' personal hired help above the likes of Ruth or Klimpt or Jinju in The Order.

Oh, Klimpt. Dear Dr. Klimpt. The unwitting source of all Kronole. Is it possible that he could be so clueless?

And why did he keep Miles' hair?

What if Sean had tracked back the suspension drugs to Klimpt?

People avoid me because I care for the Sleepers. But that's my value, how I open doors and live in Second. I can trade for things while the weakest can only trade their carbon for compost.

Dr. Klimpt

"Carbon for compost." What a great description of life aboard Snowpiercer.

Cavill Dresses Up - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 3

Beyond the mandate of Wilford's urging to "survive, survive, survive," at all costs, the people onboard -- whether Tailie or Engineer, Brakeman or First Class -- are fighting the ennui of stagnation.

The exception is probably Cavill, who spends her life in a constant state of hypervigilance and perpetual trouble-shooting. No time to stagnate when your train full of the last remnants of humanity could freeze or crash or revolt.

Luckily, she has a team she trusts, although I wonder if she's careful to make sure no one person knows everything she's hiding.

Jinju and Klimpt obviously know about the plans for The Drawers. But do they know she's Wilford?

Bennett and Javi know she's Wilford, and Bennett seems to share her affection (?) for the Tailies, but do they know what she's willing to do to keep the Order?

Ruth: It was a great success. Despite a riot breaking out. Maybe even because of it.
Cavill: Well, I'll put the riot to bed and you put them to bed.

The Hospitality Staff - Snowpiercer

And Ruth is the best little soldier a commander could ask for. Unquestioning, completely devoted, willing to pivot on a pin for the good of Mr. Wilford and his Eternal Engine.

But even devotees are fallible. Jinju's pillow-talk with Till jeopardizes the Sleeper project, and it takes Layton less than a minute to connect the Sleeper suspension drugs to Kronole.

Kronole's not new. It's been in The Tail for two revolutions. Oh, you're not getting a cut? Authoritarian states usually control their own drug trade.

Layton

The fact that Roche and Cavill only started looking into Kronole when it started to become a problem in Third speaks to the importance of that large population of blue-collar workers.

The Brakemen are the police. The Tunnelmen and Breachmen keep the train running and repaired.

Breachman Boscovic - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2

The janitors? Well, one would assume they clean up, but we know Tailies are used for Sanitation services, so it may be more a "waste disposal" business they're in.

And this all comes back around to Layton and his Big Unasked Question.

Access is freedom. Access is power. We kill for that on Snowpiercer, one thousand and one cars long.

Dr. Klimpt

Who was murdered and castrated two years ago?

Who is the big mysterious boss who shook hands with Roche before boarding but doesn't exist now?

If Mr. Wilford was murdered by someone who was not Nikki Genêt two years ago, how does it connect with Sean's murder now? And how is Erik, LJ's lapdog bodyguard, involved?

Cavill at Her Desk - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 3

It's worth it for you to watch Snowpiercer online multiple times as the mystery starts to deepen as there are details embedded in seemingly innocuous moments all over the place.

For example, the opening montage spans a time-frame from before the events of Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2 when the Butcher removes the access capsule from Sean Wise's severed arm to the moment Terence receives it from Osweiller.

Without a doubt, that capsule is going to prove crucial to the Tailies' Revolt.

I'm looking forward to how Cavill and Layton react to discovering two (possibly three) more dead people in the Medical Car. Things are bound to get exciting pretty quickly.

Place your bets, people! Who is the killer? Is there only one? And, truly, who was the first victim?

Access is Power Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (16 Votes)

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

People avoid me because I care for the Sleepers. But that's my value, how I open doors and live in Second. I can trade for things while the weakest can only trade their carbon for compost.

Dr. Klimpt

You'd think loneliness would be impossible all crammed in here. But this train was designed to separate us from our possessions, from our loved ones. Now, every last shred of us is worth something to someone. Everything's rare so you gotta pay with something personal. And we're all trading up for the most valuable thing there is, access.

Dr. Klimpt