Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What I’m Watching: Hell on Wheels

Hell on Wheels: Season 5, Episode 6 “Hungry Ghosts” (B)

Episodes like this one serve as a strong reminder that this show is, at its core, a Western. A simple trip to San Francisco to find a new translator turned into a treacherous multi-day journey by multiple methods of transportation after the train wasn’t able to cross the bridge. Mei was an unintended companion for Cullen, as was her father’s casket, but I think it was a cathartic journey, one that ultimately ended with Cullen having to hit the road immediately for Salt Lake City. My favorite part was when they ran into Stagecoach Mary and Mei started negotiating the price of the bacon, pointing out that it was a day old and there’s no way it should cost three whole dollars. There wasn’t much excitement on the road with Cullen and Mei, but fortunately, plenty was happening back at the other railroad as Brigham Young showed up to make very clear that he intended not to be swindled, and that Salt Lake City was indeed to be the terminus of both railroads. Losing the Mormon workers is definitely problematic, and I imagine that this impending meeting of the minds is going to be far less productive than all parties hope it will be. Louise charging forward immediately after her abortion to interview Brigham and return to life was ill-fated, but fortunately the kindhearted and caring Eva was there to take care of her. It’s rare to find fully good people on this show, and I think both Eva and Louise are prime examples of that rare breed.

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