Bess Till has uncovered Wilford’s operative responsible for the Breechmen assassinations 2 weeks ago on Snowpiercer, and it wasn’t loyalist Breechmen killing those in their own ranks who wouldn’t serve Wilford. Rather, Pastor Logan proved to be moonlighting as a secret ninja. But Andre Layton has bigger problems this week as a mob blames the Tailies for the murders, and the train finds a creative way to signal their desire for new leadership.
Ruth learns the mob targeting the Tailies over the Breechmen murders doesn’t discriminate and is willing to threaten anyone in its way. This chaos drives Ruth into hiding, which forces her to confront her own past sins. Way back in the series’ second episode, when Ruth behaved much more like Tilda Swinton’s Mason from the eponymous Bong Joon Ho film, she cruelly removed the arm of a Tailie woman in front of her daughter. That little girl is still afraid of Ruth until Ruth finally admits that what she had done was wrong and expresses true remorse.
Audrey, however, appears potentially less sorry about her recent decisions. Wilford confronts her about the screwdriver she tried to use to access Big Alice’s communication system. When she insists she’s loyal, he demands she prove it. This leads to the reveal that poor Kevin is still alive after all.
His wrist is bandaged up, but he’s tied to a chair because Wilford’s mental manipulations seem to have taken a toll on him. Audrey uses her psychic healing ability to seemingly brainwash him into a loyal lapdog willing to literally lick Wilford’s slippers on command. I suspect we may eventually learn she’s secretly also programmed him to be her own Manchurian candidate when the time is right, but we’ll have to wait and see.
For now, though, it appears Kevin isn’t the only one devoted to Wilford. As Snowpiercer travels down a spiral stretch of track known as “The Corkscrew,” giving passengers a rare opportunity to see the rest of the 1,034 cars from their windows, many display red lanterns as a sign that they choose Wilford. To Wilford, this means it’s time to prep Icy Bob. Perhaps Wilford intends another violent attack. Or perhaps the coming Wilford takeover that Melanie already glimpsed from afar at the end of last week, will come about through a more democratic process.
“Our Answer for Everything” most of all is about where our loyalties lie. Pike isn’t the same after carrying out a murder on Layton’s command, but despite it all, he still stands up to the mob to protect the little Tailie girl. Ruth comes to that girl’s aid as well, putting the final nail in the coffin of her former self that viewed those in the Tail as subhuman.
Wilford correctly identifies Alexanda’s now divided loyalties while he appears for the moment to be convinced Audrey and Kevin are loyal to him. Pastor Logan insists he never lied to Bess and that his faith isn’t an act, but he nevertheless justifies his murders by calling them “a small price to pay for peace.”
Boscovic might now be our lone surviving Breechman from the Snowpiercer side of the border, though that’s a bit unclear, as is why he alone was spared. But if his loyalty was called into question before, the murders of his fellow Breechmen have firmly turned him against Wilford. Then there’s Roche. He was one of the first to switch sides to Team Layton during the revolution, but when asked by his family if they should follow their fellow passengers in lighting a red lantern in support of Wilford, he responds, “I’m not sure yet.”
The introduction of The Corkscrew is a nice visual device, but I wish the episode had been building up to it throughout. If there was a reference to The Corkscrew or to the red lantern conceit earlier in the episode, I missed it. For such an event, it comes out of nowhere. And it seems weird that everyone already had these lanterns and knew what they would represent.
If The Corkscrew is a piece of track Snowpiercer crosses every revolution around the Earth, establishing this is a regularly celebrated holiday or observance would justify everyone having these lanterns, but it’s just not clear in the episode. As a result, this installment feels rushed. There aren’t many episodes left this season, and perhaps “Our Answer for Everything” is a victim of having too much plot that needed to be squeezed into it.
Another big leap is this near-universal approval of Wilford. Sure, Season 1 established an unhealthy Wilford worship. And Season 2 demonstrated that, even after Wilford threatened to kill them all, many flash the 3-fingered W salute and now even see him as a messianic figure returned from the dead.
But has Wilford really offered a plausible populist pitch? We haven’t seen Wilford advocate for any significant policy changes to substantively improve the material needs of the passengers. He’s not even depicted as being the central political figure scapegoating the Tailie underclass, which has real-world historical precedent.
Meanwhile, though several characters have told us how poorly Layton has lived up to his promises to the Tail thus far, it’s hard to square that with what we’ve seen. Given just how bad conditions were for the Tail, it’s hard to imagine any Tailies thinking they’ve seen little to no meaningful improvement.
If the red lanterns really are to say Snowpiercer has lost all confidence in Layton’s leadership and is demanding Wilford be installed as the big decision-maker, this moment doesn’t feel earned and, again, seems rushed. Then again, as recent real-world history shows, sometimes democracy just results in the almost inexplicable rise of a narcissistic despot with a quasi-cultish fanbase who care more about sticking it to the establishment than policies that will materially benefit their lives.
New episodes of Snowpiercer air Mondays on TNT.
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