Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What I’m Watching: Hell on Wheels

Hell on Wheels: Season 5, Episode 9 “Return to the Garden” (B)

After a very one-track episode last week that took forever to get going, this hour was infinitely more focused in a way that helps us get back to what this show has always been about as it prepares to sign off the air for good. In Cullen’s absence, there are a number of players vying for power in our ever-moving central town. In the wake of the latest train hub announcement, the investors are understandably unhappy, and it’s going to be quite the mess for Durant and Maggie to clean up. Her solution – to kiss him to calm him down – wasn’t what I expected, but I’m sure there were romantic undertones during the first half of this season which feels like it aired years ago. Giving Mickey some legitimacy is probably a good idea, even though he’s a far more dangerous element than most truly know. Psalms wanting to sell back his stake in the railroad didn’t pan out well, but he did manage to inspire his people not to protest against a renewed form of slavery and instead to work alongside him. Mei found a new confidante as she made her own power play, and she was there to comfort Cullen when he got back from his harrowing errand. Attaining absolution for Naomi and her new family from Brigham Young was a gracious move, and his tearful goodbye to his baby son, telling him to respect women and take his hat off at the table, was about the most emotional I think we’ll ever see him.

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