Snowpiercer 3×03 Review – “The First Blow”

The First Blow Snowpiercer Season 3 Episode 3 review
Joseph and Zarah in ‘The First Blow’ (Screengrab: Snowpiercer Season 3 Episode 3 Review)

Snowpiercer season 3, episode 3, titled ‘The First Blow’, showed Layton’s crew trying to reconnect with Big Alice while doing their best to outsmart Joseph.

With Layton realizing that Snowpiercer needed to attach with Big Alice before the journey to the Horn of Africa, to find a suitable place for everyone to live, I had been looking forward to seeing how Layton was going to pull it all off because Joseph wasn’t going to just step aside and let Layton do what he wanted.

After Snowpiercer announced her appearance in the previous episode, Joseph was ready for war. I liked how the writers had Joseph theorize what Layton might try to do. Apparently, Snowpiercer couldn’t attach from the back because that would allow Joseph’s Jackboots to board Snowpiercer and easily defeat Layton’s crew in a physical attack. The only option left for Layton was to try and get Snowpiercer to attach from the side somehow. And Joseph, being a smart villain, had a remedy for that as well.

I don’t know about you, but I was very surprised to see that Joseph had managed to construct a freaking harpoon! It worked well to prevent Snowpiercer from reaching Big Alice from the side. Not only that, but the harpoon attack led to Snowpiercer having to detach four cars to stabilize herself.

That particular scene did show that Alex wasn’t a fan of Asha. I get that Alex had some issues to deal with, especially after losing Melanie. But the fact that she was okay with detaching four cars while Asha was still in them rubbed me the wrong way. It’s a good thing that Sykes was able to help Asha exit those cars before Alex pulled the lever. I understand that Alex was looking at the bigger picture, but still, at least try and help Asha a bit?

I guess Alex’s indifference toward Asha could serve as the catalyst for some interesting narrative developments later on? Hmmm. We will have to wait and see.

Even though Joseph had used the harpoon, Layton wasn’t done yet. As far as Joseph’s concerned, his biggest weakness was Audrey. I liked how Layton used Audrey to try and get Joseph to surrender. Layton’s deal made sense. After Joseph’s surrender, Layton was willing to allow Joseph and Audrey to live the rest of their years together in a separate car.

At first, I thought Joseph was going to accept Layton’s deal. But, surprisingly, he didn’t. Turns out, living his life with Audrey couldn’t triumph Joseph handing Big Alice over to Layton. Joseph bringing Big Alice to a halt, which led to Snowpiercer also stopping on the same track, was a bold move. Joseph was ready to let everyone freeze to death (or at least, threaten to allow such a thing to happen) instead of surrendering. 

But Layton had a plan within a plan. By using Audrey as a distraction, and with Josie’s help, Layton was able to enter the engine room and attack Joseph head-on. Big Alice was Layton’s now, but his troubles were far from over!

While Layton’s been doing a lot to free the citizens of Snowpiercer and Big Alice from Joseph’s tyrannical rule, it’s clear that there continue to be a bunch of people who just aren’t loyal to Layton, no matter how many times he’s helped them. For some reason, such people like living under Joseph’s rule.

‘The First Blow’ had Layton realize and accept the morally gray decisions that accompanied the world of politics. Yes, Layton’s all about applying democracy to how things were supposed to be handled inside the train. However, what good would democracy do if people voted against Layton’s goal?

I really enjoyed the conversation Layton had with Ruth. Layton was going to put trekking to the Horn of Africa up for a vote. But Ruth, knowing Layton, asked if he was ready to accept if the people voted against him. Turns out, that Layton wasn’t ready. He had already thought of a plan to influence the votes to be in his favor.

I’m still conflicted about what Layton did as I write this review. In a sense, I understand the importance of democracy in the type of world Layton wants to create inside the train. However, on the other hand, I can’t make myself be mad at Layton for using Asha as a way to lie to the passengers about why they should agree with his plan to travel to the Horn of Africa.

If I had been in Layton’s place, I think I would have done the same thing. With the Horn of Africa being the only place our protagonists hadn’t checked to determine if the area could support human life, don’t you think heading there was the right thing to do? Shouldn’t the possibility of humanity’s survival, no matter how small, warrant influencing the public’s votes? I love it when Snowpiercer makes me think!

Ruth did warn Layton about how the track to the Horn of Africa was quite dangerous. So, I’m looking forward to seeing how Layton and his crew will keep the public calm as they head to their destination. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s revealed that Layton had Asha lie to the passengers and civil unrest occurred.

As for what some of the other characters were up to in ‘The First Blow’, I have to say that I was impressed by how LJ handled Layton taking over the train. LJ’s a survivor. I don’t think she has any real allegiance to anyone other than herself. While she was okay with Kevin torturing the Resistance, she changed her tune real quick when Joseph announced the train now belonged to Layton.

I had been wanting Kevin to die for a while now. It’s fun to watch his weird obsession with Joseph, but he’s a vile person through and through. The current episode gave me what I wanted. LJ, wanting to appear sympathetic and not face the Resistance’s wrath now that Layton was in charge, killed Kevin and lied about being a supporter of the Resistance. I don’t like LJ, but I have to say that was a very smart move on her part.

I laughed at Oz’s expression as he witnessed his wife’s actions. If push came to shove, I wonder if LJ would be willing to kill Oz to save herself.

A bittersweet development involved Bess finally getting Roche out of the Drawers. While Roche and his daughter were okay, it was revealed that his wife had died during the scientifically-forced hibernation process. I’m here for Bess trying to support Roche through such an emotionally heavy time.

Also, while I get that Bess thought of Roche as a father figure and mentor, I was surprised by how Bess didn’t mention Jinju at all when Audrey asked Bess to name the people she cared for. Does Jinju not exist anymore?

And speaking of characters possibly not existing, where the heck is Miles? The first two seasons of Snowpiercer showed viewers that Miles was supposed to be Josie and Layton’s adoptive son. However, he’s not been mentioned once in season 3. Has he been written out? I would like to know.

Some other thoughts and questions:

  • Goodbye, Strong Boy. You will be missed!
  • Why not just kill Joseph and say he accidentally died during a fight instead of keeping him alive in a prison cell? Hmmm.
  • You know Audrey’s going to think of something to help Joseph get out!
  • I’m so not interested in the Josie, Layton, and Zarah relationship drama.
  • Yes, to Javi coming through and helping Layton!

What did you think of ‘The First Blow’?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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