Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What I’m Watching: Hell on Wheels

Hell on Wheels: Season 5, Episode 2 “Mei Mei” (B)

There’s something about a blanket of snow that makes an episode of television or a film almost infinitely more impactful and meaningful, and that was certainly the case here, especially as it started with Cullen pursuing an at that point unknown worker down a treacherous patch of white-covered land. Building in the winter is definitely intense, and I also liked the imagery of the Sacramento train car being deconstructed, with nothing but the sign with the city’s name to decorate Collis’ future museum. The big surprise, though it didn’t shock me too much, was that Fong was actually Mei, a secret that Cullen was more than willing to protect. I instantly recognized Tzi Ma, who played Tao, from his illustrious TV career, most notably portraying the despicable Cheng on “24.” I like the Swede’s new role as go-between for the railroad and for the Mormon people, just another of the populaces exploited for their work along with the Chinese, even though their situation is much better. The sight of the Swede casually yanking off a few of one poor brother’s toes was pretty agonizing, and it’s a good thing that he swiftly rectified the situation for the future by procuring winter boots that his workers were more than a little happy to see when they arrived. After many failed attempts to return to his onetime post, the Swede has learned a thing or two about how to work the system and use it to his advantage, which he’s doing now quite successfully.

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