Snowpiercer Season 2 just revealed exactly how Mr. Wilford survived and hatched his revenge plot after Melanie and his big train ditched him.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for “The Time of Two Engines,” the Season 2 premiere of Snowpiercer.

In the first season of Snowpiercer, fans were shocked to learn Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) was masquerading as Wilford (Sean Bean), tricking the Great Engine into thinking there was an established order in their society. That fragile utopia quickly fell apart, and while Layton (Daveed Diggs) led a revolution and took the 997 cars remaining, it ended with the real Wilford attaching his Big Alice train and her 40 cars.

Now, as Season 2 kicks off, and Wilford takes Mel prisoner, we discover just how he survived being abandoned in Chicago seven years ago.

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In the history of the ark, we know Wilford hired Mel for her engineering vision, turning his train into something that could sustain life. However, as much as Wilford wanted the rich alone on it, Mel knew she needed all classes. More so, she couldn’t tolerate chaos and potential dangers, which ironically included the sex and alcohol-loving Wilford. Thus, she left him at the departure point as well as some of his loyalists, sadly sacrificing her daughter, Alexandra, and her own parents.

But as Wilford holds her hostage, he admits it took a lot of patience and resilience not to give up hope. And also, it’s taking quite a bit not to kill her now as she stole his role of being the messiah to the new world. Mel’s confused as to how they laid low all this time, however, and Wilford admits it took some time to retrofit Alice into 40 cars as she was the initial Snowpiercer prototype. They waited but had to quickly get on track with their perpetual engine because, without motion, they would die in the frozen world.

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It appears his mad scientists helped cloak the ark by messing with other signals to make them invisible. Additionally, the Headwoods have been making chemicals, medicine and all sorts of stuff they need to survive, including super-soldiers. That said, as Alice tried to catch up to Snowpiercer, they found it tough but there was one shortcut that took them across the Rockies. It’s part of the track Mel doesn’t ever want to use, but this allowed Alice to trail and then connect with them outside of Chicago.

With his own hospitality staff on board, including Kevin — someone who adores Ruth but hates Mel — all Wilford had to do was wait. It was a cat-and-mouse game and while Mel had most of the supplies, they made do with what resources they had. Wilford went from being driven by ambition to anger, risking Alice on perilous routes but knowing the payoff would be big.

And that judgement day has come as they’ve connected with Snowpiercer and want what’s rightfully theirs. It’s worth noting that Wilford seems willing to sacrifice his own, so Mel will be hoping Alex sees this. He already tried to kill the people on Snowpiercer in this premiere, and while he seems to be a father-figure to Alex, it could be part of his prolonged game to manipulate, evolve and survive.

Snowpiercer stars Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Alison Wright, Mickey Sumner, Susan Park, Iddo Goldberg, Katie McGuinness, Lena Hall, Annalise Basso, Sam Otto, Roberto Urbina, Sheila Vand and Jaylin Fletcher. The series airs on Mondays at 9pm ET/PT on TNT.

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