**This article contains spoilers for the latest episode of TNT’s “Snowpiercer.” Proceed at your own risk.**
Criminal underworlds can creep in anywhere — even on a 1,001-car, magnetically sealed high-speed train protecting the world’s last survivors. This is the big theme for our third episode of “Snowpiercer,” aptly titled, “Access Is Power.”
Picking right up from last week, we see a collection of moving images tied together in voiceover by Dr. Klimpt (Happy Anderson), the oddball guardian of the cryosleepers in the Drawers. As a tiny vial passes from one hand to another from third class to first and back again, Klimpt explains Snowpiercer’s one true currency: access. The Tailies want access to very basic necessities. The Thirdies want access to Second. Second wants to move to First. Everyone wants access to Mr. Wilford.
Layton (Daveed Diggs) dreams about the day Zarah left the Tail. She needed a better life, one he couldn’t give her. He gave her his wedding ring to trade if she ever got into trouble. And then she was gone and he found comfort in Josie (Katie McGuinness). Layton is ripped from the dream by guards grabbing him out of bed and shoving a mask over his head.
Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) has a staff meeting in First. With everyone getting concerned about things like dwindling resources and murders, Melanie reads a “letter” from “Mr. Wilford” that doesn’t help like she hoped. So she moves up “Fight Night” to distract everyone from the bad, like all leaders do when trying to stave off an insurrection.
Layton’s homicide investigation continues. With Nikki still unavailable, Layton asks what sort of informing Sean Wise was up to before he was relieved of his limbs and life. Sean was passing along info on a new drug called Kronole. Except that it isn’t new at all and has been making the rounds in the Tail for “two revolutions.” But, of course, no one ever cares what happens in the Tail as long as it stays there and doesn’t mess with the economy in the forward cars.
Brakeman Till (Mickey Sumner), temporarily relieved of duty after Layton’s escape, spends her time off going to visit her girlfriend, Jinju (Susan Park). During their post-coital chat, Jinju makes an off-handed remark about the murder witness being confused. Which is not the same as being unconscious, and Bess is off to tell Layton, despite Jinju insisting Mr. Wilford will want her to leave it alone for now.
Layton and Roche (Mike O’Malley) go find Brakeman Osweiller (Sam Otto), who’s been trading K for sexual favors. But Oz swears he only did it once to help Suzanne after her arm was frozen off. It was “humanitarian” he insists and probably believes.
Up in First Class, Lilah Folger (Kerry O’Malley) whines about how the rich built the train and now they’re being distracted from the fact that their world is falling apart. Her husband Robert (Vincent Gale) and daughter LJ (Annalise Basso) want to go catch the fight. LJ exchanges a Look with her bodyguard. LJ also has a lot of contact with Third Class and seems to pop up at random times week after week. So the chances of her not being a key player in the murder are very small.
Layton and Till go to see Nikki and very quickly realize she is not only not unconscious, her “confusion” is actually Kronole withdrawal. Turns out Kronole is the street version of the suspension drug they use on the folks in the drawers. Klimpt explains couriers would trade him some of the suspension drug for things he needed for the patients because “Mr. Wilford didn’t think of everything.” He gives Melanie a Look when he invokes Mr. Wilford’s name.
Layton sees a bag full of Miles’ hair and panics. Melanie tells him Miles made it into the apprentice program and Layton insists on going to see the kid immediately. Miles is happy and healthy and thriving. He even has his own fork.
Layton convinces Melanie Fight Night is the place for him to be. If Janitors are part of the drug ring, he needs to go where the Janitors are. And the Janitors are at Fight Night in the Night Car. First he has a chat with Zarah, who gives him back his wedding ring. He tells her he still loves her, she says she loves him too, they kiss, and then he ends up face to face with Oz again.
Layton persuades Oz to set up a meeting with Terence, who manages the Janitors and controls the drug trade.Terence talks of being a janitor Before, and explains how working in a high-rise helped him understand the world of Snowpiercer. Layton and Terence come to an agreement in which Layton won’t stop the supply if Terence gives him helpful information on Sean’s murder. Layton also exchanges his ring and says he needs something small in return. And then Nikki shows up in the Night Car and chaos ensues. LJ — there she is again — says, “She’s not the murderer.”
Layton brokers a deal to tell Melanie what he learned about the man who was with Sean before the murder. But not until he gets to see Josie and let her know Miles is all right. And when he does that, he tells Josie he loves her and he kisses her too. Melanie separates them and Josie gets all the way back to her bunk before pulling a tiny vial out of her mouth that bears a striking resemblance to the one being passed around at the top of the episode. Layton has given the Tailies some useful information.
But there’s bad news for Nikki when someone shows up in the dark of night and kills the guard outside her door. And then also the night shift doctor. And then sits down at the foot of her bed and says, “You don’t remember me, but you know who I am.” Oh, and it happens to be LJ’s bodyguard.