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Television

‘Snowpiercer’ season 3 episode 4 review: ‘Bound by One Track’

We receive an unexpected appearance on tonight’s Snowpiercer.

“Face all of the things that haunt you; it will set you free.” These words delivered by Snowpiercer‘s long-absent star Jennifer Connelly herself are at the heart of almost every story in tonight’s episode. Does this mean Melanie Cavill has finally returned to the little engine that could? Well, perhaps not. But fortunately, that doesn’t mean “Bound by One Track” wasn’t one of the stronger entries of season three.

Almost everyone we follow this week appears to be haunted or traumatized in one way or another. Javi is experiencing flashbacks of Jupiter, Wilford’s dog that ravaged him. Roche and his daughter, Carly, are haunted by loss of the family’s matriarch, who didn’t survive the hibernation process in Wilford’s drawers. Both Pike and our newest passenger Asha appear to be scarred in some way from experiences in their former lives — both of which are still a mystery to us.

But it’s Alex’s trauma that “Bound by One Track” spotlights most. Season two gave a glimpse of Wilford’s pre-departure attempts to limit his Noah’s Ark passengers to what he perceived to be the best and the brightest. We also learned that at some point during the seven years since departing, Wilford gave the ghastly order to cull a hundred passengers, abandoning them to die to conserve resources.

Now, Snowpiercer — and Alex specifically — can’t move forward until they reckon with Wilford’s atrocity when they come upon three abandoned train cars blocking the path to the Horn of Africa. Due to rail clamps locking the cars in place, Alex and Ben must board the cars to jumpstart the system so they can release the clamps and move the cars.

Alex was only 10 years old when the cars were abandoned, and one of her childhood friends was among those Wilford disposed of, so the cull was never only theoretical for her, but this mission forces her to confront the horrors of Wilford’s crime on a whole new level. Even Wilford, narcissist that he is, recognizes this experience will be a challenge for his young, former engineer as he deduces Snowpiercer’s location from its erratic movements while locked in his cell.

And who should Alex visualize at her side to help her cope with the situation but her mom? Wilford also imagines talking to Melanie, but that seems more just an indulgence here due to the writers knowing they had a bigger window for Connelly’s availability than they needed with the scenes with Rowan Blanchard.

But it’s hard to fault them for milking as much Connelly as they could get considering how much her absence has been felt. Even if Connelly is somewhat restricted here to being Blanchard’s spotter, thanklessly helping to elevate her scene partner’s performance, it’s nevertheless a welcome return. Perhaps there’s hope we’ll get more Connelly in some form later this season.

The other potentially major development is this episode also confirmed what was hinted at previously, that Wilford was experimenting on Zarah’s fetus, though we learn it was consensual. This child may prove more adaptable to the extreme cold temperatures than the previous generation, and Layton may have to just learn to live with Wilford’s role in that child’s development, especially if the experiment does work and becomes standard medical practice for future newborns.

After weeks of largely sidelining Alex, “Bound by One Track” provides a great platform to showcase Rowan Blanchard’s talent. Not only is time and care given to let the scenes of trauma breathe, but Blanchard is given a world-class scene partner in Connelly to help Blanchard succeed.

Steven Ogg is the other MVP of the episode. Pike has long been more of a background character, and this episode explores Pike perhaps more than any episode prior. We see a Pike who’s wrestling with his identity here. Whoever he was in the past, he’s not proud of that man. But through his developing partnership with Ruth — both as Resistance leaders and romantically — he sees perhaps a glimmer of salvation possible. I hope the rest of this season delves deeper into Pike’s past and comes to some answer as to who Pike is at his core and what he wants.

snowpiercer 3.4.1
Snowpiercer S 3 E 4: "Bound by One Track"
After weeks of largely sidelining Alex, "Bound by One Track" provides a great platform to showcase Rowan Blanchard's talent. Not only is time and care given to let the scenes of trauma breathe, but Blanchard is given a world-class scene partner in Connelly to help Blanchard succeed.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Jennifer Connelly returns to help co-star Rowan Blanchard shine
Deeper exploration of Pike, one of the most underserved characters
Layton's lie is so stupid it remains hard to believe how many characters committed to it
8
Good

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