Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What I’m Watching: Hell on Wheels (Season Finale)

Hell on Wheels: Season 2, Episodes 9 and 10 “Blood Moon” / “Blood Moon Rising” (A-)

I always feel like I’m the only person in the world that watches this show, but I’m sure glad I do. It takes guts to kill off three major characters in a finale, and to radically redefine the show going forward, if in fact it gets renewed for a third season. Lily’s demise is inarguably the most tragic, since she did so well defending herself against Durant’s efforts to be rid of her, Elam’s hit attempt, and the Indian attack. Seeing the entirety of her strangulation was especially gruesome. The Swede proved himself to be entirely despicable to the end, breaking free of his bonds and reveling in the chaos before killing Lily and then plunging to his death before Cullen could rightly execute him. The third notable death was that of Toole, who missed the bulk of the Indian aggression by taking his own life when it was clear to him that Eva still loved Elam. That’s one couple that seems to have made it out okay, and the assumption is that Elam will be second to Cullen should he decide to stick around and continue his work on the railroad. As we see more of him, Sean begins less likeable, agreeing to get baptized after Ruth told him she couldn’t marry him because he was Catholic and then being too rough with her after a rather moving and well-lensed baptism. She’s married to her work, that much is clear, and the town can use religion more than ever before after its decimation. Durant’s acceptance of the books being problematic wasn’t too surprising, and I do wonder what will become of him. This was a spectacular, top-notch finale, filled with great scenes, such as the crossing of the bridge. I do hope this show returns – it’s much better than I ever expect it to be.

Season grade: B+ Season MVP: Dominique McElligott as Lily

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