Snowpiercer: Miss Audrey Betraying Layton Means Wilford Already Won
Miss Audrey joined Mr. Wilford and turned her back on Snowpiercer. Here's why Audrey's betrayal of Andre Layton gives Wilford the ultimate victory.
Warning: SPOILERS for Snowpiercer season 2, episode 5, "Keep Hope Alive".
Miss Audrey (Lena Hall) betrayed Snowpiercer and sided with Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean), which essentially gives the billionaire Messiah victory over Andre Layton (Daveed Diggs). Miss Audrey's choice to turn on Layton is a fatal blow to the former Train Detective's already fraying grip on Snowpiercer, especially with Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly) off the train and believed to be dead.
Mr. Wilford was invited aboard Snowpiercer's Nightcar in last week's episode, "A Single Trade", so he could witness Melanie getting the Breslauer Research Station in the Rocky Mountains online - a crucial step in Cavill's attempt to prove that the world is warming and there could be a warm spot on the planet the people of Snowpiercer could recolonize. But the real scheme afoot in the Nightcar was reuniting Wilford with Miss Audrey, his paramour, so she could seduce him and bring him to heel. Instead, Miss Audrey was deeply affected by being back together with Joseph, and she was left questioning herself and her still-overwhelming bond with him versus her loyalty to the train.
Sensing (correctly) that he has the upper hand with Miss Audrey, Wilford invited his lady to Big Alice for a romantic encounter, and she agreed. But Layton sent Audrey to Mr. Wilford as a saboteur; her mission was to alter Big Alice's communications so that Layton and his Engineers could listen in on Wilford without the billionaire knowing. But although she tried, Miss Audrey couldn't perform the sabotage, and Wilford suspected what she was up to. Meanwhile, another stage of Mr. Wilford's plan went into effect, and not even Layton's spy aboard Big Alice, Josie Wellstead (Katie McGuiness) could warn Andre in time. Loyalists to Wilford aboard Snowpiercer struck and murdered most of the train's Breachmen, which appears to open a path for the upcoming mission of Wilford's monstrous henchman, Icy Bob (Andre Tricoteux).
Layton was already handily losing his intricate chess game with Mr. Wilford but Miss Audrey literally jumping trains is a proverbial checkmate. Given the chance to return to Snowpiercer, the alluring chanteuse opted to stay with Mr. Wilford aboard Big Alice. Miss Audrey's betrayal was predictable considering the obvious inner conflict and torment proximity to Wilford causes in her, but her turning on Wilford is the worst thing that can happen to Snowpiercer and it dooms Layton's ability to govern the 1,034-cars-long train.
Miss Audrey's importance to Snowpiercer can't be overstated. She is essentially the soul of the train and, through the changes she made in the Nightcar, Audrey has provided a therapeutic release for the mourning passengers. In turn, Miss Audrey gained a wealth of secrets about Snowpiercer's inhabitants, and her connections span every section of the train from First Class to the Tail - and now, Big Alice as well. Miss Audrey is also a celebrity on the train, which makes her a symbol, so her deciding to side with Mr. Wilford is a flashpoint that will inspire most people on Snowpiercer to also support Wilford, which is a sentiment that was already gaining strength throughout the train since the billionaire emerged from the cold.
The history between Miss Audrey and Joseph Wilford is "complicated", to say the least; she was a high-class escort who was exclusively Wilford's since she was 18 years old, and theirs was a passionate and disturbing romance marked by emotional and physical abuse. Wilford once coaxed Audrey to slice her own wrist in the bathtub simply to give him sexual pleasure. And yet, they are intimately bonded together in ways not easily explained, and their connection is a powerful two-way street, with each taking turns dominating the other according to their private rules that only they understand.
Miss Audrey is a devastating loss for Layton because she was part of his trusted inner circle, along with Zarah (Shiela Vand), Roche (Mike O'Malley), Bess Till (Mickey Sumner), and Ruth Wardell (Alison Wright). While Layton practiced a need-to-know strategy for many of his secrets, Miss Audrey was privy to a lot of Layton's plots and machinations - and this intel could now belong to Wilford. For Miss Audrey, it's a win-win scenario as she essentially gives up nothing; by siding with Joseph, she will get the Nightcar back anyway if and when Wilford regains control of Snowpiercer. Then, Miss Audrey will take her rightful place as royalty by Mr. Wilford's side, which was the original trade she made with Joseph to guarantee her future aboard Snowpiercer seven years prior.
Miss Audrey is no fool and her decision likely is because she knows that Layton's power is fading fast and Snowpiercer is collapsing from within. Andre was forced to suspend his burgeoning experiment of democracy when Wilford permanently docked Big Alice to Snowpiercer's tail, and the Marshal Law Layton imposed only made him more unpopular. From First Class to the Tail, everyone has grievances with Layton's leadership and whether the former Train Detective is truly up to the task. Meanwhile, the glittering hope of a restoration of a familiar order promised by the glamorous Mr. Wilford is just across the border.
Violent attacks and killings aboard Snowpiercer are escalating. The Breachmen were blamed for Lights' (Miranda Edwards) hand getting horribly maimed, and now the gruesome murders of the Breachmen in Snowpiercer episode 5, are apparently the work of the Tail. Meanwhile, Layton issued a secret, state-sponsored assassination order and he sent Pike (Steven Ogg) to murder Terence (Shaun Toub), the head of Janitorial who was threatening to expose Josie as Layton's spy aboard Big Alice as extortion for 100% of Snowpiercer's underground marijuana smuggling. Snowpiercer is a powderkeg under Layton's watch, despite Andre's best efforts to do what he thinks is best for the train.
In Snowpiercer episode 5, Layton and the Engineers are also facing the possibility that Melanie is dead. She hasn't signaled from the Breslauer Research Station and they suspect the worst. However, the hope for the future lies with the success of Head Engineer Cavill's mission and Layton made the (very Melanie-like) decision for Hospitality to lie to the train - and it's even more crucial that Mr. Wilford doesn't know that his arch-enemy could have perished in the cold since that would only inspire him to act aggressively to retake Snowpiercer.
The possible loss of Melanie Cavill would be catastrophic for Snowpiercer on multiple levels, and not just for the hope her mission is trying to give humanity. Melanie is a mastermind who is the equal of Wilford, and he grudgingly respects Cavill's smarts and tenacity. Melanie also understood the train itself better than anyone, including Wilford, since Cavill was Snowpiercer's original designer. Further, Melanie and Layton may have been enemies but, working together, they would have had the advantage to foil Wilford. Cavill may be hated in many circles of the train for posing as Wilford and lying to them for seven years, but she still commands respect. Layton is feeling even more pressure with Melanie gone - potentially for good - and now, losing Miss Audrey to Wilford, makes Layton's dreams of Snowpiercer as a democracy all but hopeless.
Next: Snowpiercer: The 4 Key Women Wilford Needs To Take The Train