‘Hell on Wheels’ season 4 finale review: Cullen searches for Naomi; Durant, Campbell play dirty

“Further West” was the title of Saturday’s season finale for “Hell on Wheels,” and from the opening minutes, the question for Cullen Bohannon was really quite clear: Is he going to find a way to get his family back?

This mission took him down a series of many surprises, from the revelation that many in Fort Smith developed smallpox and died (including many close to Naomi), to that his wife and child had been sent somewhere so far away, he seemingly was never going to be able to find them.

Ironically, it took Cullen doing something that he just swore off to get into a position where he could find them again: Joining the railroad. The difference now is that he is not working for Durant anymore, and is doing it from out in California. Seeing the demographics of the railroad workers was a perfect juxtaposition for the alienation of Bohannon in this world, feeling like he has crossed oceans rather than just coming from Wyoming.

His story ended this season with a beautiful vista, but nothing in the way of resolution yet. It was a subtle way to close out his story for now, but at least we know that he is working on a railroad again, and his mission remains clear. He does still have to worry about the Swede, but we are clearly still playing the long game with him and Brigham Young.

Back in Cheyenne, we witnessed what has to be one of the greatest moments in mud wrestling history, as the battle over the Chicken Hill deed led to John Campbell and Durant getting messy in the middle of their brawl. Durant actually did get what he wanted from this “negotiation,” and we had one of the most comical moments of the season. It was also interesting to see how Durant reacted to Campbell’s intimidation versus Louise from early in the episode. Great stuff, and great work with the set and playing with the characters on it.

Campbell succeeded as well in getting the likes of Mickey and his employees out of the city, in his quest to take ownership of every building he wanted due to his government title. Eva sensed an opportunity to become a partner with Mickey, and wanted to take a role caring for some of the women.

The overall theme we continue to take away from “Hell on Wheels” is that of change. Whether you are talking about time, location, or the people who are in your life, change is inevitable. How you respond and react is what defines you. We would say that pound for pound this was the show’s strongest season to date, and this finale was a lovely send-off that gave us quite a bit still to look forward to. Grade: A.

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