Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What I’m Watching: Hell on Wheels

Hell on Wheels: Season 3, Episode 8 “It Happened in Boston” (B-)

It’s always strange when a show reframes one of its long-running characters in a whole new light after they’re no longer around. Sean was always one of the show’s most dependable players, and his sincerity was what made him endearing. To have him killed by his own brother and then remembered as a vicious murderer who committed multiple crimes on his own is truly a shame. For Ruth to be the one to ultimately corroborate Mickey’s story and confirm Sean’s guilty beyond a doubt is even more unfortunate, considering the fact that Sean had nothing but affection for her. Sean may be dead, but Mickey’s fate might be worse, since he’s the one who helped Durant avoid being associated in any way with the murdered senator, and Durant has now taken his act of helpfulness and turned it against him. It’s no surprise that Durant is the show’s most despicable character, but it’s still jarring to see multiple lives ruined by one quick and fleeting action. Another spur-of-the-moment decision is affecting lives, forcing Eva to consider her place in Hell on Wheels and sending Elam straight for the bottle, unable to effectively complete his duties as sheriff of the railroad as a result. Once again, Cullen found himself wandering around with a partner in crime nearly getting himself killed in the process. While expected, it’s become a bit repetitive, and this episode just didn’t feel like it got things anywhere in the middle of an otherwise quite engaging and strong season.

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