Attention, all passengers!
Snowpiercer is approaching its greatest challenge yet! Prepare to BRACE!
Things are looking dire for the citizens of Snowpiercer as Joseph Wilford; the self-styled Eternal Engineer, retakes control of his train at the end of Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 8.
In solidifying his power, the major leaders of Snowpiercer’s democratic experiment had to be removed. We saw Roche and his family drawered in a medical bay on Big Alice. Audrey’s already been reprogrammed. Josie’s being turned into Icy Bob 2.0.
However, the vital player (now that Melanie’s no longer on the train) is Andre Layton, Tailie turned revolutionary leader, soon to be the father of the first Snowpiercer baby born in years. Where, oh where, has Wilford hidden “King Layton” away?
Villains are gonna villain, and Wilford is not as innovative as he thinks.
In keeping with the likes of Cinderella’s stepmother, he sentences Layton to hard labor in Big Alice’s compost car, known as The Swamp.
It’s a punishment that appeals to Wilford twofold.
Physically, it’s a hard, disgusting life. Or, at least, it might be if Layton hadn’t already lived for seven years in the Tail.
Also, one can assume that no one is trying to take a literal bite of him when he’s the only one around. And, to look at another bright side, he doesn’t have to share his bug bars either. And the power never gets cut. So, honestly, it’s not that bad.
But it can be assumed that Wilford is primarily hoping that The Swamp will break Layton psychologically.
After all, he’s removed him from his train, his people, and the mother of his child.
He’s making Layton shovel the excrement and waste that he knows will eventually be processed into the food he eats.
For Wilford, there probably is no punishment worse. He is a man, after all, who lives for attention, adulation, and worship.
The thought that Layton could sustain his spirits with hope and faith is so completely alien that it mystifies Wilford.
In the exclusive clip below, we learn that, despite declaring a definitive victory publicly, our all-powerful Mr. Wilford is haunted by Layton, a man he cannot kill for fear of creating a martyr but who does not break with the adversity thrown upon him.
As they spar with their words, Wilford exhibits tiny signs of doubt, while Layton proceeds to do his work with confidence and nonchalance.
The scene draws a beautiful irony in the position these men occupy.
Wilford is sparkling clean, impeccably dressed, every bit the golden idol to his followers. He’s riding the wave of success and near-godhood. Layton’s guard is even crocheting a Wilford logo doily to show his loyalty during his downtime.
On the other hand, Layton is coated and infested with the stink (and worse) of the train’s filth. He’s barely nourished and sleeps when he can, surrounded by the train’s noise. And yet, he wears his integrity like a coat of many colors, calmly assured in the rightness of his cause.
Meanwhile, Wilford confesses that he dreams of Layton, a sign that he may not be sleeping well. “Uneasy lies the head,” as they say.
His attempt to transfer his doubts to Layton, trying to undermine that Tailie optimism, seems foolish to those of us who have been on Snowpiercer from the beginning of Snowpiercer Season 1. Layton — 99% of the time — is our rock.
Nevertheless, it is intense to see these two leaders with all pretense of polite civility stripped away. The gloves are off, and the game is on. Enjoy this glimpse into their conflict. Who do you think comes out on top?
The two-hour Snowpiercer Season 2 finale airs on TNT on March 29 at 9/8c.
Be sure to meet us back here afterward for our review with your thoughts, rants, and raves about all the things!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.