As Snowpiercer hosts a party to celebrate an uncertain victory, Audrey is forced to confront a demon from her past. “A Single Trade” may just be our first episode without Jennifer Connelly, but her absence allows for Lena Hall to finally take center stage.
Little has been known about Audrey up until this point, but now the pieces of her life are coming into focus. She effectively sold herself to Mr. Wilford for her life on Snowpiercer. When the world froze over, she was liberated from her abuser. Lena Hall’s performance really shines this week despite some writing problems. The writers keep Audrey and Wilford’s past remarkably vague, showing us more expressionistic visions of their past life together, rather than committing to a more clearly defined abuse. Hall conveys much with her terrific physical performance in scenes with or discussing Wilford, but it’d have been nice to learn some details only implied through the transactional basis of their relationship.
Bess Till’s story is another missed opportunity here. Her investigation into the attack on Lights still feels like it’s making zero progress. Contrasted with Layton’s murder investigation last season, that case had a greater sense of forward momentum episode to episode. So far, we’re simply told we should suspect the breachmen because of their hero-worship of Wilford, but we’ve yet to see any real reason to think they’re anything other than red herrings before Pastor Logan shows up to provide guidance. Should we start suspecting him?
All of Snowpiercer’s frostbite patients are now receiving the treatment developed by the creepy mad scientist couple from Big Alice, but Josie’s severer condition gets her transferred to their infirmary. This not only led to our first — and hopefully not last — Miles appearance this season, but opens the door for some interesting new story potential. It’s a shame though that Miles’ portrayer Jaylin Fletcher never got to play any of the dramatic beats accompanying Josie’s reported death and eventual return. I just hope it was due to scheduling conflicts and not the writers just losing interest in the character.
Some of the strongest moments in “A Single Trade” come in its latter half, when the show finally takes a breath and allows the characters some R&R for once this season. We revisit that moment I misread from 2 weeks ago when Alexandra watched Wilford embrace LJ. Turns out they knew each other 7 years ago and didn’t like each other. But 7 years and a frozen apocalypse have a way of changing things, so we get a lovely scene of these 2 crazy kids hanging out.
But the biggest question I’m left with at the end of the hour concerns Audrey. After luring Wilford into her den of psychic healing, Layton later asks what happened and if he should be worried. Her only response is, “Trust me. He’s exactly where we want him.” What is Audrey prepared to do, and at what cost?
“A Single Trade” finally gives the previously underused Lena Hall her due as Miss Audrey, and it’s made me hungry for more Audrey material going forward. Hall delivers a captivating performance here. Zarah joining hospitality and Josie being treated behind closed doors on Big Alice advances both character’s stories in interesting ways, as does the relationship potential with Alexandra and LJ. But given how little progress was made with Bess this week, I’d have preferred that time went toward Audrey’s story, which still needed a bit more fleshing out.
New episodes of Snowpiercer air Mondays on TNT.
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