Snowpiercer Episode 4 Recap: Without Their Maker

Andre Layton knows exactly what he's doing

Source: TNT Andre Layton (Daveed Diggs) knows exactly what he's doing. (Image credit: TNT)

While exposition fatigue is absolutely a thing, it's important to remember in shows like Snowpiercer that everything's going to come together before the series wraps. Sometimes, you've just got to allow for some groundwork to be laid, even if it's not as exciting as the series' first episode.

With that in mind, if you've been waiting for this train to get back up to speed after its stellar pilot episode, "Without Their Maker" has everything you've wanted — and more.

The exposition in this week's episode focuses more with the resistance in the Tail. Up-train, it's all action with a dash of sociopath! Last week feels like approximately 11 years ago, so just as a quick refresher, we closed out with the Folger family's personal body guard, Erik (Matt Murray) getting all murder-y with the helpless Nikki (Madeleine Arthur).

More: Snowpiercer Episode 1 recap

First, a casual reminder: Nikki was wrongfully convicted of a past murder on the Snowpiercer, and Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) was keen on ensuring her safety as she came out of the deep sleep they'd left her in. The train's fearless leader is less than pleased with this development, and she's far from the only one. By the time she makes it on-scene, Bess Till (Mickey Sumner), Roche (Mike O'Malley) and Andre (Daveed Diggs) are all already on site.

Things move quickly after their brief meeting in the medical car. Till and "Oz" Osweiller (Sam Otto) head to second to chase down their perp while Andre and Melanie head to first to question the passengers. While no one's thrilled with a Tailie's presence in their space, Melanie gives Andre free rein to bring this nightmare to a close.

Which he does, promptly. But I'm not going to spilt that for you here.

It feels odd to call "Without Their Maker" a return to form for the series. It's still very young, and it's still finding its footing. With that acknowledged, this week's episode easily shifts back into the neck breaking speed that the pilot had. Things happen in quick succession, and everything feels like a moment we've been waiting for.

Melanie Cavill plots

Source: TNT (Image credit: TNT)

This week also happens to be a stellar week for Connolly's calculating Melanie. We get to see little peeks into her humanity, including who she's willing to let her walls down in front of. Bennett Knox (Iddo Goldberg) is a curious character that we know very little about so far, but their relationship remains one of intrigue as we dive deeper into the narrative.

Melanie is a woman driven by results. This trait is a big reason that her relationship with Andre is so interesting. She doesn't like him, but she also doesn't seem to think herself above him. She respects his intellect, and his ability to get the job done — even if that very intellect leads him to discover a secret she's kept close to the vest for years.

Knowing what we know about the complicated conductor of the Snowpiercer, you can imagine how she might react to someone finding something out about her that she's not ready to share. Suffice to say, things don't end great for our dashing protagonist this week. Of course, there's no way Melanie could prepare for the Tailies knowing about Andre's plight so quickly.

Snowpiercer's layered leading lady isn't the only one who had an interesting week. Andre got to flex both his detective and his revolutionary chops this week, easily tricking the suspect into believing he was on their side. As for who that suspect is? That's more fun if you find out in the episode. What I will say is that their sociopathic performance was aces, and I hope we spend a lot more time with their brand of crazy as the show progresses.

Amelia Emberwing

Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.