For those who expected Layton and Wilford to spend the whole season chasing each other around the world with their respective trains, Snowpiercer Season 3 Episode 3 is a delightful surprise.
For those who couldn't wait to see Kevin get what was coming to him, there must be an intense level of satisfaction.
And for those who want to know what happened to Melanie? Well, y'all can just keep waiting, I guess.
There are select, magical moments throughout this series where I marvel at the cleverness of the scripting.
Wilford's voiceover here is every bit the pompous, bombastic, ego-centric ramblings of the megalomaniac we know him to be.
I was born for battle. Built for it. Sometimes, in battle, a perfectly crafted plan gets compromised. A true general comes up with a better one right there on the spot. Working without a net and sticking the landing to thunderous applause.Wilford
And yet, his description of what a great general must do in the heat of battle foreshadows Layton's victory over him in detail.
Layton may not have been "born for battle," but with his child's life on the line, he musters up a killer strategy, incorporating distraction, surprise, and considerable forethought. Basically, Wilford narrates Layton's voiceover. Pretty epic twist. Gold star, writers.
There's a moment in a fight when that first blow lands and everything stops. And in that flash of clarity, you know who you are. I'll push as hard as it takes to get my engine back. Snowpiercer, one thousand and twenty-three cars long.Wilford
Wilford's error is that he projects what he would do onto Layton's thought process. It lacks imagination. Layton and his team prepare for what they know Wilford will do.
Forcing Snowpiercer to hook up to save the main train is a classic Wilford tactic. In his mind, compassion is his enemy's weakness, making them predictable and manipulatable.
Knowing that he thinks like that, the pirates prepare for it, executing their takeover of Big Alice before Wilford's jackboots can board and overwhelm the Snowpiercer crew.
Wilford: Look at you. The monster come for his creator.
Josie: It's poetic, isn't it?
Javi is key to their plan, opening the train car hatch surreptitiously when Ben calls to him in Spanish. Without him, Layton would have had no way into the train car to take out Wilford.
It's a brilliant examination of the depth of Javi's loyalties. Where Zarah and Ruth couldn't reach him, Ben is able to connect. While Javi's buried himself in his trauma, imprisoned in his mind by Jupiter's attack and Wilford's control, Snowpiercer's return triggers his inner hero.
What remains to be seen is whether he can heal from both his physical and emotional scars now that Wilford (and Jupiter, one would assume) are no longer riding herd on him.
If he can come back, he'll be a vital asset to Layton's team since he was privy to Wilford's defense plans, designing and programming the EMP cannon, as well as the harpoon.
Furthermore, with Melanie still out of the picture (and no indication that Miles will be called up), Javi, Ben, and Alex are the only engineers the train has to monitor and drive with any level of expertise.
Well, there's Wilford, but he won't be driving anything from his cell, will he?
Speaking of heroes, Ruth and Pike are a pretty unstoppable team.
I love their dynamic. At the same time, I wonder at the difference in Pike when compared to his reluctant support of Layton's leadership.
There's two things you should know about Tailies. We have loooooong memories, and we win wars.Pike
Is it because Ruth wasn't in the Tail with him all those years?
Does he see this as a chance to reinvent himself as someone noble and reliable in her eyes?
Pike. Mr. Pike. You're a dear man and a brave one, but this war is bigger than us.Ruth
What we know of Ruth's track record with men is riddled with tragedy. From the lover in the Pre-Freeze times who died at sea to her short-lived partnership with Commander Grey, she hasn't had much to sing about.
Pike comes with a lot of baggage, but he's always been effective when not inebriated. His devotion to Ruth has him really stepping up his game.
The defining moment here is when Z-Wreck and Strongboy stop him from provoking the jackboots, recognizing that, as the interim leader, he is more valuable to the cause free.
I think Pike has always wanted to be valued.
We saw it on Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 8 when he is pulled from The Drawers to provide Grey and the Firsties with information on Layton.
After the Tail wins the Revolution, we see it again when he sets himself up in the Folgers' car.
He pays a steep price for his value when he kills Terrence for Layton on Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 5.
As Ruth's second-in-command, he is finally feeling valued and respected.
Under her amazingly creative direction -- chalk another point up for imagination -- he literally lights the way back for Layton and the pirate train. (OMG, those fireworks were AMAZING.)
With all his successes as Ruth's right hand, how will he react to Layton's resumption of the train's leadership?
In contrast to Pike's rise in status, Miss Audrey returns to the train with her life in shambles.
Once the Queen of the Night Car, she is now confined to Third and barred from her previous realm for her choice to side with Wilford.
Has there ever been a right side on this goddamn train?Audrey
I wouldn't count her out, though. Audrey's shown that she's resilient like nobody's business and can manipulate most people with very little effort.
She just needs a little time to gather her resources, and then LJ had better watch her back.
A fascinating thing to note is that this offering presents our first on-screen body count of the season, yet none of them were the result of the pirate crew taking back the main train.
Strong Boy dies from Kevin's Wilford-sanctioned sadistic torture session. Seriously, Kevin, WTH?
Fittingly, Kevin is shivved by LJ. (I acknowledge that we don't actually see his corpse and that he's come back from the dead list before, but until he appears with some stupid-looking cravat tied around his Headwood-healed neck, I'm calling him D-E-A-D.)
We're not the torturers. We're just... providing a venue.LJ
LJ's psychopathy knows no bounds. I can't help but wonder how much Oz regrets showing her how to peel an egg all those months ago.
Anne Roche dies in The Drawers. I'd lay good odds that her death will have some serious repercussions on Roche and Carly. Till's face says it all.
Even for a show with a history of abrupt resolutions and sudden reversals, A LOT is going on here.
In brief, they manage to retake the train, free Ruth; introduce Asha; reunite Ben with Javi, Layton with Zarah, and Till with Roche; AND conduct a train-wide vote on heading to New Eden.
Till: What's one more lie?
Layton: The difference is this is the last one we will have to tell.
Ruth: I doubt that. I've come to think this train demands a lie.
They even make time to traumatize Winnipeg one more time by having her look Strong Boy in his frozen, mutilated face. That kid. My heart breaks every time she loses another person she loves.
As you watch Snowpiercer online, keep in mind that the trauma we're witnessing is already layered upon the shared trauma of everyone who lost the planet.
My name is Asha. I am a survivor. Layton found me out there. Outside, along with trees, green grass, and life. I come from New Eden.Asha
While Asha can sell Layton's story to the train, clearly, she is still working through her eight years of thinking she was the last person left on Earth and the things she did and saw on the journey to being the last.
Will Layton's lie backfire? Or will his vision prove to be prophetic?
How will he react to whatever Mrs. Dr. Headwood has done to his and Zarah's child?
Hit our comments below with your favorite moments and your biggest questions moving forward! All aboard for New Eden!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.