Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 4 Recap: Without Their Maker
In the fourth episode of TNT’s Snowpiercer, a shocking twist in the murder investigation brings Layton and Till’s manhunt to a cat-and-mouse climax, but Layton is getting too close to Melanie’s big secret, which may prove the most dangerous game of all.
Jinju narrates the episode as she talks about humans adapting and how Snowpiercer itself is an adaptation as Mr. Wilford “dusted off his trainset” while the other mega-rich hid in bunkers as the world froze over. As she speaks, we see images of our killer, none other than the Folger’s First Class bodyguard Erik (Matt Murray), with Nikki’s blood-soaked body while Jinju and Till happily dine together unaware. Farther uptrain, Ben tells Melanie she needs to get some rest so she doesn’t burn out.
Roche wakes up Layton in the middle of the night at the same time Melanie gets an urgent call. In bed, Till and Jinju discuss the complications of dating publicly, particularly because of living in different classes, before Till and Jinju also receive the call like the others that Nikki is dead. Melanie tells a sobbing Dr. Klimpt to not let anyone else see Nikki and that they need post-mortem data. Layton, Till, and Roche are already on the scene, and Layton demands to know where Melanie was, that he gave her a description of a First Class killer. Melanie looks upon Nikki’s bloodied dead body and says she was waiting until morning. Roche says they all failed her. The group is able to narrow down that the killer is from First Class and that he must also be stuck at the moment in Third Class because the borders have been closed since fight night.
Erik is eating and asks a worker how long the border will be closed. The guy says they’ll close it all night if they want because “that fight was a mess.” Elsewhere, Roche and the group are strategizing with Commander Grey about how to sweep uptrain to locate the killer. When Ruth and Grey attempt to argue that Layton should not be allowed to assist or go up to First Class, Melanie says that Layton will do whatever Wilford wants. When Layton gets heated over Ruth calling it “unpopular” to wake up the First Class citizens, Melanie takes him aside to tell him that after the search is underway he will go with her to First. Layton is curious if Melanie needs to clear that with Wilford or if that’s her call.
As they wait to begin the search, Layton speaks with Miss Audrey. Layton tells her he’s sorry for her loss. Audrey wants justice for Nikki; they wonder how Third will react since the victims have been from that class. Layton wonders if Melanie has ever had a confidential session in the Nightcar, but Audrey says no. Layton says Nikki’s death could be a catalyst after hearing a lot of workers in Third are getting fed up. Audrey says he needs to step carefully before Melanie interrupts. As the search is about to kick off, Till is annoyed that Brakeman Osweiller is no longer suspended, but Roche says it’s all hands on deck and she needs to work that out with her partner.
In the Tail, Josie and the others are discussing the blue chip Layton snuck to the Tailies. They wonder if it could be used to open the doors to First. They remember that you can also “chip out” the sanitation crew. They discuss getting word to one of their own uptrain, a woman named Astrid. Josie decides she’ll make the trip uptrain by joining the sanitation crew, taking John’s place who is getting sick.
Up in First Class, Layton expresses anger when he sees that the rich are the only ones who get to have art up on their walls after they were the ones who caused the destruction of the planet in the first place. Melanie tells Layton she grew up on a dirt farm and knows about class — she gives permission for Layton to become the First Class’ “nightmare” in order to get answers.
As Melanie and Layton enter the room where the First Class citizens have been gathered, Layton takes over, intentionally making the group uncomfortable before demanding to know where the bodyguards are since they were all at the fight but Ruth apparently failed to invite “the help.” Young LJ Folger says that their bodyguard, Erik, never came home after the fight and knows he still had his gun with him. Melanie tells Ruth to let Roche know Erik is a suspect. When Layton wants to search the Folger’s quarters, Lilah Folger demands to speak to Wilford.
In front of everyone, Melanie contacts Ben and asks to be transferred to Wilford. Ben plays along as Melanie pretends as though she’s speaking with Mr. Wilford, telling him how Lilah is demanding to speak with him. When Melanie goes to hand over the phone, challenging her, Lilah backs off. Instead of taking the phone and speaking with Wilford, she agrees to let Layton search their place as part of the investigation as long as Melanie accompanies him.
Erik makes his way through Third before finding a place to lock himself in and hide, with his gun, as he waits for the borders to open up. Meanwhile, when the sanitation crew is left alone momentarily, Josie quickly changes her clothes into pajamas and uses the security chip they have to leave and infiltrate the train. While searching Erik’s room in the Folger’s quarters, Layton learns Erik was a former Marine and was hired when the freeze started to keep the Folgers safe. Layton then finds a j hook; LJ says it was used for bee-keeping and Erik grabbed it after he scrounged through the old apiary they used to have.
Quid Pro Quo
Josie quickly finds Astrid (Jane McGregor) and tells her they need Astrid to make contact with Layton. Astrid is scared to lose her new life but Josie reminds her that they need her to help the other Tailies. Back in First Class, LJ talks about how Erik saved her life by “wasting” rioters when they tried to grab her on the way to Snowpiercer years ago. LJ’s parents tell Ruth they don’t want the other First Class citizens to think they intentionally harbored a monster. When Layton questions LJ about her relationship with Erik, she is difficult, but he and Melanie realize there was more going on between them.
Josie makes her way back to the sanitation crew in time to switch back into her clothes, as though she was never gone. Osweiller and Till search for the old apiary and find Erik as a chase begins. As they hunt their killer, the Folgers admit that Erik and LJ “are close” as Layton asks LJ if Erik ever told her what the bodyguard used the j hook for. He tells her that cutting up the bodies is where Erik screwed up, particularly the castrations, saying that doing so is actually a crime of passion, a “punishment that women lay down on men.” Layton knows that wasn’t Erik’s idea; he knows Erik held down the men for LJ as she castrated them and she “finally got to feel something.”
LJ doesn’t admit it, but she says if he was right about her role in the killings, she knows Tailies need stuff, like blueprints. Layton asks about guns instead. Back in Third, Erik takes Jinju as a hostage who overhears Erik say something about how “she said this would happen” and wonders if Erik is talking about his girl. Roche, Till, Osweiller, and Commander Grey’s unit converge on Erik and Jinju. Instead of shooting Jinju, Erik shoots a hole into the wall and is then chopped up into pieces by Grey’s men.
The Power of Myths
Melanie receives the news and informs Layton, Ruth, and the Folgers that Erik is dead. LJ cries, pretending to be upset, and Layton sees right through her as they lock eyes. Layton then glances up at Melanie and nods in LJ’s direction. Melanie brings in an officer to arrest LJ as Layton explains that Erik was only following LJ’s orders and that she’s a killer. After LJ attempts to stab Layton in the back, she’s subdued and arrested.
After Melanie makes the announcement to the rest of the train that the killer is dead and another suspect is in custody and order has been restored, Layton asks Melanie if Mr. Wilford or her will follow through on her promise that “justice will prevail.” Melanie offers to buy him a drink. She wants to “put the politics down and celebrate a win.”
As they drink, Layton tells Melanie that he wants to go back to the Tail, but she says she can’t let him because he’s seen too much. And she knows that he figured out her secret, that she is Wilford. Layton says that a myth is a powerful thing before realizing that Melanie has drugged him. As he goes unconscious, Melanie tells Layton she’s sorry. In the Tail, Josie receives a message from Astrid that Layton has gone missing. Melanie has Dr. Klimpt place Layton in the drawers, off-book, and she tells the doctor Mr. Wilford does not want Layton damaged.
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