Last week, “Hell on Wheels” had one of its most-epic moments in its history, so we figured that the show was going to have a difficult time topping that. Well, it may have within the first half of this week’s “Return to Hell” … but in a sad way more so than something we were celebrating over.
For the second time in many weeks, the show was rocked by an extremely emotional death. This time around, it was the young Ezra who lost his life in a fire inside the church, which was set by the revenge-hungry Sydney Snow. Many of Bohannon’s railroad men were locked inside at the time of the blaze, and there were only so many who could be rescued.
Both before and after this, we saw a slightly different side to the character of John Campbell. Jake Weber’s character first of all negotiated with Bohannon and Durant to establish a new sort of order, which made Cullen a de factor Marshal only without the badge. Minutes after the fire, though, he had the Governor at gunpoint, suspecting that he ordered Syd to do such a heinous act. This turned out to not be a case, and while Campbell is a creep, he is apparently not this kind of evil. (We still, however, wonder if Louise is with him just because of her fear of the alternative.)
As Cullen and Ruth buried Ezra, we were left to wonder what would come next. Everyone wants Sydney dead, but would he ever return? Cullen still has a job to do, and that starts with working on the railroad and ends with him having to figure out how to keep the peace in a chaotic town.
He’s going to have to start with Ruth, who upon Syd’s return, she tried her best to kill. We saw in the previews that he is not necessarily dead, but he’s pretty darn close to it. We understand her motivation, but let’s hope she understands the consequences.
This episode was emotional, but at the same time sensational in its own way. The moments were earned, the performances strong, and we’re extremely anxious for the rest of the season to air, though we may be waiting a while. Grade: A-.
What did you think about this “Hell on Wheels” episode? Share some of your thoughts right now with a comment below, and head over here to get some more news, including a preview of what is coming up next and when the show will return to AMC. Also, sign up to obtain some other TV scoop on everything we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter.