Callous mastermind Joanna

Joanna (Vera Farmiga) is the main villainess from the 2018 film, The Commuter.

Events of The Commuter Edit

She was first partially shown following Michael MacCauley (the film's protagonist) on a northbound Hudson Line train, with her presence noted by Michael's friend and fellow rider, Walt.

After Michael takes his seat, Joanna joins him and started what initially appeared to be a friendly conversation, which later turned into Joanna giving a “hypothetical” scenario. She stated that someone on the train doesn't belong and is headed to Cold Spring, and also revealed that $25,000 was waiting for Michael in one of the washrooms, with a $75,000 bonus if he finds the person. The person, as Joanna described, went by the name Prynne and was carrying a bag, but wouldn't say what was in it. Joanna later leaves the train at 86th Street, but not before stating that he had until the next station to decide what kind of person he was.

Michael found the $25K in one of the train’s washrooms, proof that Joanna's “scenario” was literal, and things quickly began to take a sinister turn when a young woman appeared and handed Michael an envelope, which was revealed to contain a wedding ring belonging to his wife, Karen. After failed attempts to call Karen as well as his friend and former NYPD partner, Alex Murphy, Michael realized the danger he was in, and gave Walt a written message on a newspaper instructing him to talk to the NYPD.

Shortly after Walt got off the train at Harlem–125th Street, the nefarious Joanna called Michael again and revealed that someone on the train watched his every move on her behalf. The villainess also mentioned that he "broke the rules" by attempting to inform police about the ongoing situation. During their call, she ordered a pedestrian working for her to push Walt in front of a transit bus, which killed him instantly, and then ordered Michael to place a tracker on Prynne, thus revealing that she is aware of his past as a former cop. Michael placed it on a man he believed to be Prynne, only to find the man, named Dylan and an undercover FBI agent, murdered with a bullet to his head—as he wasn't Prynne.

Joanna later informed Michael that the police were called to Tarrytown’s Metro-North Railroad station due to a reported disturbance on the train. After Michael was narrowly able to get back on board the train, he killed guitar player Oliver during a fight, as he was Dylan’s murderer and also Prynne’s would-be killer. Shortly after Oliver’s demise, the villainous mastermind called the protagonist yet again, and ordered for Michael to murder Prynne using Oliver’s gun.

By the film's climax, Michael finally deduced Prynne’s identity: a 16-year-old woman named Sofia. Joanna then called Michael again and demanded once more that he kill Prynne, only for Michael to refuse to comply. The callous villainess blasted Michael for (in her mind) ignoring his family's safety to protect Prynne, and proceeded to reveal that Prynne is the sole witness to a conspiracy, and then hinted that she worked for “powerful people” who would do anything to protect themselves and also silence Sofia. After finding herself unable to get Michael to comply, Joanna chillingly stated that everyone on the train had to be killed.

After Michael ordered Sam (a conductor) to pull the train’s emergency brakes, he did so, but this only served to also detonate a bomb hidden in the train’s cab that killed the engineer and also disabled the brakes, leaving the train’s speed stuck at 70 miles per hour. The two then worked together to unhinge the last carriage from the rest of the train, saving Michael and the others, but killing Sam (as he was on another carriage that derailed when the driverless train hit a curve).

After the last car of the train came skidding to a stop within feet of Beacon station, Sofia stated that she witnessed a pair of men throwing city planner Enrique Mendez (her cousin) to his death from the 35th floor of a building. She couldn't call the police because it was policemen who killed Enrique, who also had a flash drive containing evidence of corruption among police and other city employees that Sofia now has. The remaining passengers were then fully saved after Michael fought off and also engineered the death of Murphy, who was revealed as Enrique’s killer and also the movie’s hidden secondary antagonist; he also attempted to murder Prynne after his true colors were exposed to the survivors.

Michael was informed that Joanna's whereabouts were unknown, but in the final minutes of the film, he found out that Joanna had boarded a train that was heading from New York City to Chicago. Joanna claimed not to know him, but Michael uncovered that Joanna was the true mastermind and that she was using Murphy as a pawn as part of her scheme, which was meant to frame Michael for her crimes. The film ends with the implication that Michael arrested Joanna when the train arrived in Chicago since the former revealed that he was back on the NYPD.

Quotes Edit

  • “What kind of person are you?” (Joanna to Michael before leaving the train at 86th Street)
  • “We both know that’s not true.” (Joanna to Michael just before she ordered Walt’s murder)
  • “Find Prynne. Find the bag... or there will be further consequences.” (Joanna subtly threatens to harm Michael’s family)
  • “There are two more stops before Cold Spring. Garrison station is your last chance if you ever want to talk to them again.” (Joanna reminding Michael about her villainous demand)
  • “Prynne has evidence of a conspiracy. (Michael: That doesn’t matter.) The people I work for; they will do anything to protect themselves. (Michael: What?) These are very powerful people. They will do whatever it takes. (Michael: They? Who?) Even kill you. Your family. Everyone on that train. Do you understand? (Michael: Who’s they?) You have made your choice. (Michael: Joanna, who are you working for?) Now everyone dies.” (Joanna reveals her allegiance to “powerful people” before she declares that everyone aboard the train is to be killed)
  • “I’m sorry. Have we met?” (Joanna to Michael after the latter found the former on a train to Chicago)
  • “And what’s that?” (Joanna’s last words in the film)
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.