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The Ending Of Snowpiercer Season 3 Explained

The TNT series "Snowpiercer" drew some understandable skepticism when it was first announced in 2016 (via The Hollywood Reporter). Not only had the same story been previously told in a graphic novel series named "Le Transperceneige," it had already been adapted into a 2013 movie of the same name. Indeed, a whole six years before filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho took home multiple Academy Awards for "Parasite," he was the man responsible for this story's first on-screen adaptation.

Luckily, it didn't take long for the new television series to establish itself as distinct from its predecessors. In the years since its debut on the cable television network, the "Snowpiercer" series has maintained a dedicated following (via TV Series Finale), due in part to its talented cast, including actors like Daveed Diggs, Jennifer Connelly, Rowan Blanchard, Steven Ogg, Alison Wright, and Sean Bean.

As the series has progressed, it has continued to depart from prior iterations in a multitude of ways. The third season of the series focuses on a rebel crew, led by Andre Layton (Diggs), as they fight to regain control of the train from Joseph Wilford (Bean). The group's goal is to set a course for New Eden, a location on the Horn of Africa. Although none of the train's passengers have seen this location in reality, Layton insists he has seen it in a vision.

The 10-episode season came to a close with several major events and a number of surprising turns. Here's how "Snowpiercer" Season 3 ended and what it all means.

Melanie and Layton gives passengers the choice to stay or leave

Early in the season, Wilford hypothesizes that Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly) might still be alive, a theory that is ultimately proven correct. However, the joy of finding Melanie alive is short-lived as Melanie is quickly horrified to learn what Layton has been saying about New Eden. Despite Layton's confidence in the matter, Melanie dismisses his claims as lies, leading to another battle between the two.

However, after learning that Melanie has allied herself with Wilford, Layton calls her and the two admit they are falling into their old leadership patterns once more. As a result, the two decide to form an alliance themselves. Ultimately, this alliance allows the two to finally boot Wilford from the train and take control of their own destinies once more. Melanie and Layton then make an announcement that the train will be separating, with one part going to New Eden to discover if it is real, and the other part, remaining on the main track. All passengers are given the choice of whether they want to stay or go.

This marks a major change in how the Snowpiercer train is managed. For the first time in the train's history, there is full transparency in the train's operations, a marked departure from the beginning of the season, when Ruth Wardell (Alison Wright) observed that there is always a lie to keep the train going. It also shows that Melanie is capable of a different kind of leadership than the tyrannical dictatorship she ran for the first seven years of Snowpiercer's run.

New Eden turns out to be real

A number of the show's characters decide to leave on Big Alice to see if Layton is right about New Eden. Along with Layton himself, this group includes Sam Roche (Mike O'Malley) and his daughter Carly (Esther Ming Li), Alexandra Cavill (Rowan Blanchard), John Osweiller (Sam Otto), and Ruth Wardell, among others.

Big Alice endures a bumpy journey to the Horn of Africa, as Melanie's warnings about the track's deterioration prove to be correct. However, the train manages to make it in one piece, and Alex reads the temperature outside, shocked to see it is habitable, despite being extremely cold. The passengers step out to discover a small oasis where the snow has melted and the water is liquid.

The reveal of New Eden establishes a number of things. Firstly, Melanie's initial hypothesis and the engineers' calculations were correct; the Earth is beginning to warm significantly. But more than that, New Eden proves that the Earth becoming habitable is not some far-off hypothetical future. In fact, this miracle is already happening before our very eyes.

New Eden also provides a concrete path for the end of Snowpiercer's run that won't doom humanity to extinction. As Melanie and Alex both point out in the finale, the train is deteriorating itself, which means its perpetual journey will be sustainable for only so much longer. With New Eden, however, there is now at least one viable place where humans can travel in order to survive.

Wilford is booted off the train

Melanie's desire to keep the passengers safe leads to her battling Layton for control of the train. However, when she speaks to Layton, both of them realize that with Wilford's constant influence, neither one of them will ever truly succeed. As a result, the two join forces and forcibly remove Wilford from the train, putting him in the same sidecar that Melanie survived in when Wilford abandoned her in the second season. Having previously refreshed the supply of chemicals Wilford will need to go into suspension, the team put the sidecar outside the train and move it onto another track.

Wilford has been the primary antagonist of the series ever since Big Alice docked with Snowpiercer at the beginning of Season 2. Upon seizing control of the train, he imposes tough decisions regardless of the consequences and has often ruled with an iron fist. Even when Layton and his group manage to seize control of the train in the third season, Wilford remains a presence the group is simply unable to shake. That is... until now.

Removing Wilford from the train removes the significant influence that he holds, even over those who remain openly loyal to him. Although he could certainly return to the train in future seasons, this development means that Melanie and Layton will be able to move forward for the time being without Wilford's shadow constantly looming over them.

LJ's villainous reign of terror comes to a lonely end

One of the first villains introduced in "Snowpiercer" is Lilah Junior "LJ" Folger (Annalise Basso). Early on, it is revealed that she and her boyfriend are responsible for a variety of gruesome murders. In the years since her introduction, LJ has remained a villainous figure who has repeatedly chased power at all costs. In the third season, this quality is best exemplified by her needless murder of Kevin (Tom Lipinski) at the moment it becomes clear that Wilford is about to be dethroned.

The Season 3 finale takes LJ on a surprising journey that eventually ends with her untimely demise. Now separated from Osweiller, LJ chokes to death after accidentally swallowing her late father's glass eye (we'll bet she didn't "see" that coming). Her death ultimately marks a major turning point in the series. The loss of LJ, combined with Wilford's momentous removal from the train, will surely have an enormous impact as the series moves forward.

Luckily, fans of "Snowpiercer" shouldn't worry too much about the immediate future. While it remains a distinct possibility that a second ice age will someday envelop the Earth in the centuries to come, generations of the future should rest easy knowing they should have plenty of media to entertain them on the real-life Snowpiercer. "Snowpiercer" Season 4 is expected to begin airing on TNT sometime in 2023.