Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What I’m Watching: Hell on Wheels

Hell on Wheels: Season 2, Episode 3 “Slaughterhouse” (B+)

This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen men almost lynched by an angry mob on this show. Elam has sure come a long way since he was the victim last season, though he’d be in danger again if anyone besides Cullen and Lily knew that he was the prostitute’s avenger. The Swede is in an interesting position now, with no friends aside from Reverend Cole and therefore eager for positive interactions wherever he can get them, in this case by egging on the mob and bringing them right to the brothers’ doorstep. Mickey and Sean came awfully close to being killed, but they didn’t take it lying down, promptly murdering Bauer after they were released and feeding him to his own pigs. Timothy V. Murphy, who played Bauer, had a far lighter yet equally bloodthirsty role in a “Burn Notice” episode several weeks ago, as mobster Vincent Durov. In this part, he was stoic and frightening, creating a fascinating character with as much impact and as little time as Ted Levine’s Daniel Johnson in the pilot. Discovering the ethnic and national origins of the workers adds increased complexity to the situation in Hell on Wheels, and I doubt it’s going to get much easier, even with Cullen working hard to keep the peace. Though she’s committed to her husband, Eva’s brief kiss with Elam indicates that she’s not entirely opposed to the idea of being with him, and he’s not going to stop pursuing her until she changes her mind completely.

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