Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 9 recap: The Train Demanded Blood


Snowpiercer Episode 9 sets up the story for an exciting conclusion.

The penultimate episode of Snowpiercer Season 1 is chockful of suspense and intrigue. All the characters we have been following thus far are brought together to complete their shared goal—ownership of the forever train.

But running this 1001 car-long behemoth requires sacrifice—to run it, one needs to be prepared to shed blood.

By the end of this episode, the good and the bad will no longer exist—everyone will occupy an uneasy grey area that they won’t be able to leave.

Snowpiercer: Friends in High Places

The Tail’s revolt on Snowpiercer hasn’t been a massive success—over 30 people are dead, and many more have been captured and are slated for execution.

Because nothing on Snowpiercer can be done without ice and violence, the executions essentially call for the accused to breathe in frozen air till they freeze from the inside out.

No matter who is involved in the revolt—young, old, foolhardy, or righteous—they are all set to be given the same treatment. And Melanie Cavill finds herself in the same boat as the people that she has so callously treated all these years.

But it helps to be Cavill, and to have friends from the Front who will fight for her despite the circumstances. As Cavill is about to be executed, she is rescued by her friend Jinju, who has managed to wrangle support within the revolution. Lucky Cavill.

A Dangerous Alliance

Having escaped her plight, Cavill sneaks through the ventilation shafts on Snowpiercer until she gets to Third—the stronghold of the revolution and Tailie leader Andre Layton’s temporary headquarters.

Cavill is fortunate not to get her head lopped off immediately—but she also has a proposition for Layton. She knows how they can take back the train from the Folgers, Commander Grey, and Ruth.

Despite Cavill’s secrets and her problematic running of the train, Layton is desperate for a win. His old ally from the Tail, Pike, has pretty much given Layton up to Commander Grey—he told them about Layton’s distaste for violence and loss. A distaste not shared by Grey or the Folgers.

Grey’s teams have set up cannisters of gas to be deployed in every car on the train—it will kill everyone it comes into contact with, revolutionary or civilian. The passengers of the Front have proved time and time again that they are ruthless, self-serving, and sadistic narcissists—this ploy should not come as a surprise to anyone, but it still shocks Layton.

Then Layton learns that Zarah is expecting his child—it’s the reason why she gave Josie up to Cavill, resulting in Josie’s death. If the gas is deployed, Layton will lose his last connection to his former life and a future for his child.

He has no choice but to surrender—it will mean his death, as well as the deaths of every single revolutionary. Pike will get promoted to the Front to live a life of leisure—or at least that’s what he has been led to believe. There are no guarantees with the Front.

So, despite their differences, Layton and Cavill need to team up—she even offers to let Layton run the train once the revolution is over. Snowpiercer has been run Cavill’s way and it didn’t work—perhaps Layton’s run will be better?

Impossible Sacrifices

First, the revolutionaries need to put in place a plan that will not be easy to execute. Bess Till convinces her boss, Roche, to not just stand aside and let the revolution happen—he needs to be an active part now. Reluctantly, he agrees—and that’s a good thing, because he is essential to this plan.

Roche and Layton head to the middle cars of the train—all the jackboots, as the security teams are known, are congregated here. Layton surrenders—and in typical First fashion, the Folgers and Grey are more interested in taking photos of a beleaguered Layton than anything else. It’s all show with this lot.

But Layton and Roche have more pressing matters—as Grey and the Folgers delight in Layton’s imminent execution, Layton tries to get to a junction to separate a few cars from the rest of the train. It isn’t an easy task—all the jackboots want a piece of Layton, and aside from seriously injuring him, they’re eating up Layton’s time.

Fortunately, Roche manages to distract Grey and his lot, while Layton’s old pals, the Last Australian, Z-Wreck, and Strong Boy join in to fight and give Layton time to get to the junction.

All is well and good until Layton sees that one of the cars he is going to release will also include a number of Tailies—these are the people who have been slated for execution. He desperately searches for the keys that will uncuff them from their restraints and set them free but nobody has them.

With time running out, Layton makes the heartbreaking decision to release the cars—the jackboots, Grey, and the Folgers are sent off to their deaths, but so are all the revolutionaries whom Layton had promised to protect.

When Layton and Cavill link up the remaining 994 cars, Layton realises that Cavill knew all along what she was doing—she knew about that car full of Tailies and how Layton would have little choice but to let them go. This is what it means to run Snowpiercer—death even when one has the best of intentions.

Final Thoughts on Snowpiercer Episode 9

Snowpiercer has had some uneven moments in this premiere season but the latter half has picked up in pace and suspense. The penultimate episode was a triumph—exciting from start to finish, with plenty of moments that viewers wouldn’t be able to predict.

This episode has set the season up for an exciting finale and the possibility for an even more nuanced second season.

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What did you think of Snowpiercer Episode 9? Will Layton and Cavill’s alliance last? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Snowpiercer is currently airing weekly episodes on TNT and Netflix.