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S01.E04: Without Their Maker

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A shocking twist in the murder investigation brings Layton and Till's manhunt to a cat-and-mouse climax. But Layton is getting too close to Melanie's big secret, which may prove the most dangerous game of all.


 

Airing Sunday, June 7, 2020.

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Can't say anything surprised me here.. But I still enjoyed it.. And I love the two leads... I like melanie's barely veiled contempt for the folgers lady.. And vice versa

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So, we received confirmation that Melanie is Mr. Wilford, right? They've been showing it but I think tonight was final confirmation.

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I enjoyed this one. Probably because I could understand the dialogue and knew what was going on because we had many scenes filled with light.

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2 hours ago, Christina said:

So, we received confirmation that Melanie is Mr. Wilford, right? They've been showing it but I think tonight was final confirmation.

There doesn't seem to be much doubt that Melanie is at least posing as Mr. Wilford.  There have been several suggestions that there is or was a real Mr. Wilford.  He doesn't seem to be on the train, or if he is, he is dead or incapacitated.

I thought they would take Eric alive instead of chopping him up.  But at least they have L.J., who is supposedly the mastermind.

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3 hours ago, rmontro said:

But at least they have L.J., who is supposedly the mastermind.

I would use that term loosely.

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I don’t think Melanie is posing as Mr. Wilford.  I think this is further conformation she is Mr. Wilford.   It fits with what Layton said about myths.   Melanie created Wilford as a dark myth to keep everyone in line which would be easier to do then just having a smart woman would be.   It fits with theme of the show which is money and class.   Add gender to it and you have a shitshorm brewing.    A rich young female psychopath from first class killing people from third class.    Then you bring in a guy from the tail who has literally no status at all to solve the crime  and he not only does but figures out a few secrets that could screw with the balance of power.   Of course he gets put in the box thing.   He is more of a threat then LJ.     I am guess LJ is exactly who she appears to be.  A bored rich socialite looking for a thrill.  Who is going to miss a few people from third class?    

Edited by Chaos Theory
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I imagine we'll get either a full flashback epi or at least a big scene to really say of Melanie was always Mr.  Wilford or of she took over.. I do believe either way she's the brains behind the train and whatever secret human experiment is really going on... But I as of now come down on the side that there  was a real Mr.  Wilford who was probably very connected and powerful and Melanie was under him and they concocted whatever the plan is to save humanity and then she's been in charge since the train took off prob with his blessing to keep him on ice till its time to wake up for good 

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Ugh, this show. I'm barely hanging on. That scene with L.J. dancing around to Bobby Vinton felt so stagey, so pretentious, so theatrical. She's literally dancing around Layton's questions. Oh, how clever. How atmospheric. That whole thing just seemed way too self-indulgent for a TV show this early in its run. 

I will say I'm surprised they wrapped up the murder mystery this quickly (or, did they?) and apparently boxed Layton up. I'll be interested to learn his fate going forward. I have to imagine Daveed Diggs is a pretty big draw so if he's off the show for the rest of the season it's going to suffer.

I'm not sure exactly what Josie expects from Astrid. To get in touch with Layton? To what end? Just so she can pass messages from him back to the tail? The entire subplot with the tail seems awfully half-baked at this point. There's a lot of yammering and subterfuge without a clear goal laid out for us. That makes it hard to follow. 

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17 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

I will say I'm surprised they wrapped up the murder mystery this quickly (or, did they?) and apparently boxed Layton up. I'll be interested to learn his fate going forward. I have to imagine Daveed Diggs is a pretty big draw so if he's off the show for the rest of the season it's going to suffer.

That would be a big Game of Thrones type move to get rid of what has been the main character so far, so I'm guessing he will be back sooner rather than later.  

Melanie's position also seems to be kind of tenuous, so you wonder how long she's going to stay in charge of things.

I didn't and still don't care much about the murder mystery plot, so if they wrap it up quickly I'll be all the happier.  From the previews they've been running, it looks like things will start focusing more on the revolution, which is fine with me.

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34 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

Ugh, this show. I'm barely hanging on. That scene with L.J. dancing around to Bobby Vinton felt so stagey, so pretentious, so theatrical. She's literally dancing around Layton's questions. Oh, how clever. How atmospheric. That whole thing just seemed way too self-indulgent for a TV show this early in its run. 

Omg I could barely take that scene. I'm not sure the casting for LJ or either of her parents is very on-point. I guess they spent all their star money on Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly. I'll always love Alison Williams though I wish her character was a little quirkier. And Mickey Sumner I think has been pretty compelling. But the rest of the casting, meh. The LJ/Layton scene was kind of amateurishly lurid.

That said, I'm into this show, a good combo of a summer and a quarantine show. Maybe Daveed Diggs is in that drawer doing the voce work for Helen on Central Park and when he's done they'll let him out. 

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I've seen the original Korean Snowpiercer and the remake with Chris Evans.  What I remember from those is that it was kinda weird and v. violent.  I FF thru the violent/bloody scenes on this iteration too.

Covid times means being less strict about watching "peak TV" (this isn't it).

I'll keep watching it as a time-filler.

1. Daveed Diggs - I'm not a Hamilton fan and I feel like he's an OVERactor here?

2. Jennifer Connelly - She's a "Serious Actress" and I like her acting here.

3. The Train itself -so there are 2100 people total and something like over 100 cars?  Is that right?

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I too was surprised that the murder mystery was wrapped up so quickly.  I can't say I was very surprised, we saw from their very first appearances that there was something "off" about Spoiled Rich Girl and her bodyguard.  I don't think we got any explanation on the motive however... was it just "because we can"?  She's a First Classer so she's better than everyone else but especially Third Class men?  So she has her dog take their penises to show her power?  Terrible.  They shouldn't even waste a Drawer space on her... just eject her out the side.

Hated the whole Folger family but especially the mom.  I also have grown to really dislike Ruth.  She really is living in a bubble... her "charges" are to be revered and can do no wrong.

Loved seeing the Ocean car again.

I don't fully understand what Josie's plan is.  She wanted to open up communication with Astrid, and now Astrid can pass back a message in a chunk of processed food that Layton is missing?  So what?  What can she really do with that?

I thought it was ludicrous in the first place that the guards were so willing to accept a replacement sanitation worker.  One guy is sick so they just substitute another?  I would have thought that people that are allowed to travel between cars would have gotten vetted.  Also, the guards scan temperatures of the workers for fever, strip search them and shower them to rinse off any filth/germs but they don't think to scan them electronically or search their clothing for any contraband?

I think it's obvious that Melanie is playing Mr. Wilford, but I do still think that at one point there was an actual Mr. Wilford.  The passengers are obviously familiar with his voice.  If he never existed, why would she go to the trouble of splicing together old recordings of him?  She could have just gotten her British boyfriend engineer to do his voice from the start, since the engineer is never seen in public and no one would know his voice.

41 minutes ago, BingeyKohan said:

Omg I could barely take that scene. I'm not sure the casting for LJ or either of her parents is very on-point. I guess they spent all their star money on Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly. I'll always love Alison Williams though I wish her character was a little quirkier. And Mickey Sumner I think has been pretty compelling. But the rest of the casting, meh. The LJ/Layton scene was kind of amateurishly lurid.

If you mean Alison Williams of "Girls" fame and daughter of disgraced TV newsman Brian Williams, that's not her.  That's Alison Wright.  And I hate the performance in this show.  I actually think she's going above and beyond to be quirky... I think she's trying way too hard to channel her inner Effie Trinket and I'm sure she watched the Hunger Games movies many times and always thought "that should have been me, I could have done that".

7 minutes ago, Baxterita said:

1. Daveed Diggs - I'm not a Hamilton fan and I feel like he's an OVERactor here?

2. Jennifer Connelly - She's a "Serious Actress" and I like her acting here.

3. The Train itself -so there are 2100 people total and something like over 100 cars?  Is that right?

I like Daveed Diggs here, the way he was eating the First Class food and the way they got all indignant about it was hilarious.  I'm not a huge fan of Jennifer Connelly... I still feel like she stole the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "A Beautiful Mind" from the incomparable Maggie Smith ("Gosford Park").  She should have been nominated as Lead Actress.  But she is good in this role.

We were told there are 3000 people on the train and it is 1001 cars long.  70% of the population is Third Class and Tail.  I'd be curious as to how many cars are living quarters and how many are for food production and maintenance.  I believe we were told there were about 16 greenhouse cars growing fruits and vegetables.  I'm obsessed with the Ocean car and want to know how many cars of Ocean there are.  And this week we learned there used to be an Apiary car.

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I think it's obvious that Melanie is playing Mr. Wilford, but I do still think that at one point there was an actual Mr. Wilford.  The passengers are obviously familiar with his voice.  If he never existed, why would she go to the trouble of splicing together old recordings of him?

Brakeman Roche said he shook hands with him once. That said, I maintain it's quite possible there was never a Mr. Wilford, and that at one point Melanie simply hired some actor to portray him. He may no longer be alive which is why she now has to resort to recordings and subterfuge. 

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2 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I maintain it's quite possible there was never a Mr. Wilford, and that at one point Melanie simply hired some actor to portray him. He may no longer be alive which is why she now has to resort to recordings and subterfuge. 

It's very possible.  If that is true though, I wonder what the reason is for the deception.  I wouldn't buy that it's because of sexism - that she had to invent a man to be in charge because no one would respect a woman.

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Somewhere along the line, pre-freeze, someone would have looked into Wilford Industries and its plan to build a global railroad.  The company would not have been able to keep its structure completely secret.  I think he existed, and, given Melanie's treachery with Layton, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that there had been a palace revolt along the way.

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1 hour ago, sisterspoon said:

How about Wilford is still there but decided to retire.  Living in the Florida car and playing golf all day...?

You think they would waste a car recreating Florida?😊

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I am still not sure if Melanie really has always been Mr. Wilford, or he died or has been incapacitated and she is just pretending, but this is all certainly going to end up coming out now. Poor Layton, its always something. 

I kind of suspected that the teen daughter might be involved in the killings, but more along the lines of her covering for her boyfriend, not that she was a serial killer who got her bodyguard boyfriend to kill for her! That chick has some serious crazy eyes, I figured it was her the second she started her buffalo bill style dancing to the old record. 

First class looks fancy, but it also seems like the most boring parts of the train. Give me the fish room any day of the week!

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1 hour ago, tennisgurl said:

First class looks fancy, but it also seems like the most boring parts of the train. Give me the fish room any day of the week!

Might be just me, but there is something to being alone and having some peace and quiet. The Tailies and the Thirds and crammed in like sardines. What little we saw of the Seconds (Brakemen Bess Till's doctor girlfriend's bedroom) seemed nice enough. Remember you will have to live like this for years.

Edited by AnimeMania · Reason: Addition
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Given it's obvious racist nature, can this show expect to remain in production long?

On 6/8/2020 at 8:12 AM, Chaos Theory said:

I don’t think Melanie is posing as Mr. Wilford.  I think this is further conformation she is Mr. Wilford.

In a previous episode we see Melanie assembling a message from an earlier recording. I have to assume that recording was of Mr. Wilford's recognizable voice. I take this as evidence that Mr. W. does - or at least did - exist.

The fact that Melanie must fake tapes and pull head-games with the phone tells me that Mr. W. is not available to deal with these issues himself. Is he dead? Did he miss the train? Is he in a Drawer? I don't know. But it's obvious that he is not available. I do not believe Melanie is Mr. W.  but she is faking it that he is still in control, presumably to preserve order and retain control of the train.

On 6/8/2020 at 12:20 PM, iMonrey said:

I have to imagine Daveed Diggs is a pretty big draw so if he's off the show for the rest of the season it's going to suffer.

Draw your own conclusions, but

Spoiler

he is credited ib IMDb as appearing on all 20 episodes of the show, 10 this season and 10 next.

 

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On 6/9/2020 at 1:02 AM, sisterspoon said:

How about Wilford is still there but decided to retire.  Living in the Florida car and playing golf all day...?

It occurred to me that maybe the real Mr. Wilford is posing as a passenger, maybe first class, could even be in the tail.  Maybe he likes to slum.  But if he was on the train and not unconscious in a drawer, why would Melanie have to resort to recordings to make up a speech that is supposedly from him?  She could just go get him and have him make one.  Unless he absolutely refuses to have anything to do with the day to day operations.  

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On 6/8/2020 at 6:42 PM, rmontro said:

It's very possible.  If that is true though, I wonder what the reason is for the deception.  I wouldn't buy that it's because of sexism - that she had to invent a man to be in charge because no one would respect a woman.

OOooooh, I think that's very possible. A young, beautiful woman proposing this would be called crazy. An older, established business man taking credit for and exploiting her genius would be called Remington Steele. As of now, 37 Fortune 500 Companies have female CEOs. I imagine you'd need that kind of clout to organize this adventure, so Melanie might very well have had to be the woman behind the man, whether or not he was a figurehead, financier, or actually a genius.

I know they hope to be able to leave the train someday, but interesting that until that happens, they're sealed in a tube where I would expect barter to be a better economic system. 

On 6/8/2020 at 11:11 AM, blackwing said:

IWe were told there are 3000 people on the train and it is 1001 cars long.  70% of the population is Third Class and Tail.  I'd be curious as to how many cars are living quarters and how many are for food production and maintenance.  I believe we were told there were about 16 greenhouse cars growing fruits and vegetables.  I'm obsessed with the Ocean car and want to know how many cars of Ocean there are.  And this week we learned there used to be an Apiary car.

I haven't looked at it, but on the show's website there is supposedly a train map (probably goes beyond what we've seen, but I'm sure they held back a few great surprises) and you can even create your own car if you want (I think they said one design would be implemented on the online map).

(Her mention of the colony collapse of bees was intriguing. Bees pollinate 80% of the world's plants currently. 1 in 3 bites of food is a result of bee pollination. No bees doesn't just mean no cherries, avocados, broccoli, etc., it also means fewer cows (bees pollinate food cows rely on, etc. It doesn't sound like they started off intending to produce food without bees, so I wonder what their workaround is.)

I also noted a throwaway line when someone said that the distance from Point A to Point B (third to front of the train? Second?) was "5 miles" and that really put it in perspective for me. One of the things that sucks about their frozen suckscape of a planet is that there is nothing familiar to give a sense of scale. For example, I did not think there was a full-size "subtrain."

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4 hours ago, xtwheeler said:

I also noted a throwaway line when someone said that the distance from Point A to Point B (third to front of the train? Second?) was "5 miles" and that really put it in perspective for me.

I did a quick check on current day Amtrak cars, which are 85' long.  Assuming just a bit longer (for ease of mathematics), 1001 cars 100' long each would be a train of about 18 miles long.  It would be an interesting check in at Chicago.

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11 hours ago, xtwheeler said:

No bees doesn't just mean no cherries, avocados, broccoli, etc., it also means fewer cows (bees pollinate food cows rely on, etc.

Not quite. Horticulturalists have been hand-pollinating their plants for centuries, especially when developing new breeds and strains of plant. They collect pollen from one plant and manually transfer it to te next. Lack of bees would be a PITA but it would not prevent the growth of broccoli, etc. It would just make it tediously labour intensive.

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54 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

Not quite. Horticulturalists have been hand-pollinating their plants for centuries, especially when developing new breeds and strains of plant. They collect pollen from one plant and manually transfer it to te next. Lack of bees would be a PITA but it would not prevent the growth of broccoli, etc. It would just make it tediously labour intensive.

And just where would they find idle hands for such  work?,🥶 assuming they didn't freeze them and use a sledge hammer to break them off.

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1 hour ago, Raja said:

And just where would they find idle hands for such  work?

They are carrying an entire tail full of excess baggage. Finding labour would not be a problem. I assume since they still have gardens and farms that the pollination problem has been solved, whether or not they conscripted tailies to help, or made do with their existing labour force.

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