'Snowpiercer' 2.04 Review: A Single Trade

Ok so it's probably not just one trade...

Lena Hall as Ms. Audrey in 'Snowpiercer.'
(Image: © TNT)

What to Watch Verdict

'Snowpiercer' slows down for an episode, but not in a way that's detrimental to its story.


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    🚄Miles sighting!

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    🚄Sean Bean's performance as Wilford continues to be both terrifying and infuriating.

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    🚄Andre's demeanor is about to lose him powerful allies.


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    🚄Audrey being forced to reconnect with her abuser without any concern for her well being isn't great.

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    🚄Bess' investigation still isn't being given the screen time it needs in order to resonate.

This post contains spoilers for Snowpiercer.
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last review here

We’ve got a slower paced episode of Snowpiercer on our hands this week with “A Single Trade.” This show can’t go full tilt non-stop, so something that moves at a cooler clip was becoming overdue. It’s also a nice reminder that shows with solid writing teams can take their foot off the gas without delivering a boring episode. We finally get a glimpse at what has Ms. Audrey (Lena Hall) so terrified of Wilford (Sean Bean), and Zarah (Sheila Vand) takes up a new alliance because she can’t go a single on-screen episode without being a snake.

As the title implies, we start things off with a trade. Wilford will send his doctors over to treat their frostbitten patients in exchange for a night out on the “town” in Snowpiercer’s night car. Prepared to be betrayed, Andre (Daveed Diggs) meets with Audrey to get to the bottom of her recent spiral. While Bess’ (Mickey Sumner) struggles are all survivor’s guilt related, Audrey is reconciling with the return of her abuser. The details of said abuse come out incrementally throughout the episode, culminating in the confirmation that Wilford wants nothing more than the control of all living beings. But, before Audrey can deal with that, she has to deal with Andre.

There’s an unspoken cruelty to Andre’s request that the leader of the Night Car be his eyes and ears on Wilford. Sure, should she be able to get an in, it would grant Snowpiercer a huge leg up in their current cold war. But, on the other hand, he’s asking her to dance right back into the arms of the man who took everything from her. Josie (Katie McGuinness) once noted that Andre’s emotions are what make him a good leader, but those emotions have been all but gone this season (save for interactions with her). Sending Ms. Audrey in is the right move, but a little remorse from Snowpiercer’s leader might have been nice.

Despite Andre’s lack of sympathy, Audrey agrees. She doesn’t agree for “the cause”, or Layton, or for anyone else other than herself. That distinction might seem inconsequential to some, but it’s a relevant as we watch her head back into the arms of her abuser.

On Big Alice, Wilford prepares in his own way. Alex (Rowan Blanchard) knows that part of his excitement is due to the thrill of seeing his old flame. She teases her caregiver, joking about his old paramour. It’s a joke that he chuckles at when the two are in private, but the first cracks in Wilford’s treatment of Alex start to show when she makes the quip in front of his new head of hospitality. Wilford reprimands her before cheerfully going about his business — but it won’t be the first time we see the pleasant exterior fall. The icy disposition will return right before he and his crew board Snowpiercer when he reminds the three lucky souls that this is his night, and they are to play their parts accordingly.

Wilford isn’t alone in the idea to start moving pawns. Layton is after any connection he can get with Big Alice’s crew, whether it be Pike’s (Steven Ogg) pot trade, or some new connection between crewmates during their party to celebrate Melanie’s (Jennifer Connelly) first communication. Ultimately, Andre wins the night with both a connection between the two last Australians (Snowpiercer’s and Amelia — Big Alice’s seamstress), Audrey getting her “in”, and Melanie successfully sending the communication that they all feared would never come. Wilford gains a small step with LJ Folger (Annalise Basso) connecting with Alex, but he doesn’t know it yet. Besides, Alex is a smart girl. Perhaps she’ll realize she’s starting to form a bond with Snowpiercer’s resident sociopath before it’s too late. 

Outside of the ongoing war between the two trains, Miles (Jaylin Fletcher) finally gets to reconnect with Josie. After some complicated soul-searching, it's decided that they will send Josie to the other train to both get her frostbite cured and to act as boots on the ground in Wilford’s camp. Miles isn't given anything to do other than cry for his mom, but it’s nice to finally get a proof of life!

With all the subplots running on Snowpiercer, it’s easy for one like the Wilford Assaults to fall by the wayside. Mickey Sumner is getting some good material to chew on as Bess, and it’s an engaging narrative — there’s just no time for it to be center stage yet. It’s interesting, but it remains the weakest point of this season so far. All eyes are on Wilford's strange brand of evil, just not in the way that focuses on his deranged followers just yet.

While in the Night Car, we learn that Wilford coerced Audrey to slit her wrists in the same way we lost poor Kevin just episodes ago. His possessiveness knows no bounds, and once you’re in his grasp it’s nearly impossible to escape. Poor Alex will start to see that more and more as the cracks in his façade continue to splinter out. As for Audrey, it looks like her trade isn’t over just yet.

Amelia Emberwing

Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.