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‘Snowpiercer’ Explained: The Telling Revelations In ‘Access Is Power’

The killer shows his face in this episode, but what is his real agenda and who is he working for? Let’s discuss the meaning behind all this madness.
Snowpiercer S
By  · Published on June 8th, 2020

Welcome to Snowpiercer Explained, the next in a long line of explainer columns about our favorite shows. With TNT dropping a new show into the Snowpiercer universe, we’re riding along to help you keep up with the mythology and filmmaking of this post-apocalyptic freight train.

The third Snowpiercer episode, “Access Is Power,” contains some big reveals that will leave fans with plenty to ponder going into the next installment. The first revelation confirms that Till (Mickey Sumner) and Jinju (Susan Park) are romantically involved, but it’s not the most trustworthy relationship in the world. Jinju is in cahoots with Melanie (Jennifer Connelly), suggesting that she knows the truth about the latter’s secret identity. Till, meanwhile, is a truth-seeker who is showing signs of rebelling against the train’s hierarchy down the line.

You only have to look at Till’s bird tattoos, which are visible when she’s getting dressed, to figure out the upcoming twists and turns. Birds symbolize freedom and self-sufficiency, two things that the powers-that-be on this train are against. Snowpiercer‘s symbolism is one of the most fascinating qualities of the show, and while it isn’t exactly subtle at times, it’s proven to be very effective and telling so far. Expect Till to turn on the system when the inevitable class revolution gains some momentum.

This episode also confirms that Mr. Wilford existed before Melanie took over the mantel. It’s unknown whether he’s dead or being kept prisoner somewhere, but Melanie has replaced him, and she uses edited audio recordings of Wilford’s old speeches to create the illusion that he’s still in charge. The voice used also belongs to Sean Bean, who is expected to show up in Season 2. As the weeks go by, Melanie seems at more risk of being exposed, and this episode features a couple of moments that tease her being found out very soon.

“Access Is Power” also delves deeper into the train’s black market, in which a drug called Kronole is all the rage, and a mysterious janitor is at the center of it all. The janitor also informs Layton that he spotted one of the murder victims with a man who resembles Erik (Matt Murray), the Folger family bodyguard, before his death. At the end of the episode, Erik shows up to kill Nikki, confirming that he’s the serial killer.

Erik kills Nikki because she’s a key witness to Layton and Till’s investigation. At the same time, he is obviously acting on behalf of the rich family who employs him. But what are they hoping to accomplish from all of the violence and slaughter?

Erik is looking for dirt on Melanie/Mr. Wilford, and he’s killing people to make sure word of his inquiries don’t get back to Melanie. The Folgers are onto Melanie because they are suspicious of the Wilford situation. It’s highly possible that they already know the truth and are just biding their time before they do something about it. Erik has already tortured, killed, and castrated one of Melanie’s informants, after all. That’s why Melanie wants him caught as soon as possible.

The Folgers are an entitled bunch, and they demand to be treated as such. The train staff bends over backward to make sure that they’re happy as their money helped finance the entire operation. That said, the family clearly isn’t happy with the way the train is run, and they think Wilford is losing control of his creation. The civil unrest and loss of resources risks costing them their life of privilege and their goal is to overthrow the train’s authority.

The planned Tailie revolution isn’t the only brewing uprising in Snowpiercer. The poor folks want to eat the rich, but the Folgers want to make sure that the rich keep getting fed at the expense of everyone else. If that means getting rid of Mr. Wilford, then so be it. But they must be smart and sneaky for the time being.

“Access Is Power” is an episode that lives up to its name. While the aforementioned characters haven’t officially discovered or revealed their own agendas yet, all the signs point toward each of them accessing the engine and trying to get rid of the train’s current rulers. Of course, Melanie won’t be willing to give up her throne without a fight, and she’s always one step ahead of everyone else.

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.