Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What I’m Watching: Hell on Wheels

Hell on Wheels: Season 5, Episode 5 “Elixir of Life” (B+)

There’s something about the sight of Cullen all dressed up that just doesn’t feel right, but he does do a good job of cleaning up. He’s done well to achieve a good stature within the railroad, and the only problem is that he still doesn’t have that many friends. Trying to turn Phineas against the Swede failed miserably, and he nearly got his head blown off by the trigger-happy Phineas when he confronted the Swede before he put down his gun and then knocked Phineas in the face with it. Unfortunately that time spent with them allowed a white assassin to track down his best ally, Tao, and shoot him point-blank with, as Chang pointed out, only Chinese witnesses. Now Cullen has angered his Mormon colleagues and lost his top Chinese supporter, and it’s going to be hard to keep the railroad running after that. We can see now that the Swede’s endgame was to manipulate Phineas into seizing the reins of the cause from his father, using religion as his number one argument. I liked his response to the man selling eternal life, trumpeting the Mormon cause as a free way to achieve such a thing. Back on the other railroad, Mickey has a good business proposition to keep things running, but it doesn’t include the same compassion or humanity offered by Eva. Louise’s abortion wasn’t a wonderful process to watch, and given what we’ve seen of Durant, it’s for the best that she isn’t letting something like this give him power to control her. Durant’s bait and switch scheme with Laramie may just work, but that’s a long way down the road. It was great to see Psalms again, and to see him push Durant to sell him the land he and his fellow free men are entitled to thanks to their hard-earned money.

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