We knew that when it came to an emotional response, the odds were extremely low that Saturday’s “Hell on Wheels” was going to rise to the same level of what we had during “Elam Ferguson.”
There was no other major-character deaths on the show this week, but we did see many of the characters still struggling with how to process what happened to their friend. For example, Elam was doing his part to try to put his life of violence behind him … which, as Durant noted later, was pretty terrible timing given what was going on in town. John Campbell had appointed Syd of all people to lead his police force, which basically turned all of Cheyenne into a horrible place. Also, it led to Durant and many of the railroad men getting arrested. The railroad is now completely stalled, at least until Campbell decides to let the prisoners go and he can go back to work.
Is there a hope for the town of Cheyenne? We have to look towards Louise in part for that, given the power of the press and her understanding that this man is bad news; also, maybe Cullen pulls through with a plan of his own now that his rage for Campbell seems to be making him that much more interested in picking up a gun again. The problem with that is that he is rather preoccupied. His relationship with Naomi is crumbling thanks to him realizing how much happier she is at Fort Smith, and that The Swede is also still out there, lying up a storm with Brigham Young at his side.
We almost wanted to be critical of the Eva story this week, largely because of the fact that she seemed to be handling Elam’s death very well … at first. That changed somewhat over the course of the hour, and by the end, we understood just how powerful one swig of a drink could be.
We cannot say that this episode was our favorite of the entire season, given that it was rather disjointed; however, the show had to pick up momentum somewhere, and we see this installment more as a stepping stone to something greater than anything else. Grade: B.
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