It may be hard to believe, but there is now only one episode left until “Hell on Wheels” ends the first half of season 5. There are still so many stories left to tell, and also conclusions for us to reach.
One of the big questions that we could see many wondering after this past episode “Hungry Ghosts” is what the purpose is of this particular Cullen Bohannon story. We’ve spent so much time this season thinking that one of his main operating goals is getting back to the family taken from him at the end of season 4, and yet we have seen or heard little of this quest since the premiere. There were even moments in this episode where we wondered whether or not things between him and Mei were about to take a turn for the romantic.
In the end, we do not perceive the connection that these two characters have as anything so superficial. It was almost spiritual tonight, one bent out of mutual admiration and respect. Through her, Cullen may have gotten a better sense as to how to honor his own past. Her determination in this episode was meant solely to ensure Tao received the commemoration he deserved; they did not make it to Sacramento, but they found a way to tribute in between. Maybe this was a means for Cullen to reconcile some of his own past before splitting from her and heading towards Salt Lake City, an apparent cite for a great railroad summit.
This summit could have something to do with Thomas Durant and his own intentions regarding the railroad. Louise has help to expose how his plans to have the terminus in Salt Lake City may not altogether his plan at all, and is just a bargaining too at the moment with Brigham Young, a man he is desperately trying to satiate temporarily while he finds a way to sort through his present debt issues.
Brigham’s effectiveness as a character is in part a way to see reflections on other cast members. Through her interactions with him, we saw an interesting take on where someone like Eva is now, just as previously the Swede’s conversations with him broke him down to his core. Eva is a character we continue to root for, and what was so interesting about her scenes tonight with Louise is that she held so many of her own cards close. Louise kissed her, claiming that no one has ever cared for her in such a way as Eva has during her pregnancy. Still, we were left with no understanding about where this could go. Maybe they become something more, or if nothing else develop their own sense of admiration and respect.
We would not say that “Hungry Ghosts” was our favorite so far of season 5, if for no other reason than that we do crave so much in a short number of remaining episodes. What it did deliver was thought-provoking TV, and a solid foundation for what could be coming up. Episode Grade: B+.
We are getting this particular “Hell on Wheels” review up a little late, but we do still plan on previewing Saturday’s midseason finale soon over here. Also, you can sign up right away to get some additional TV updates on everything we cover, courtesy of our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: AMC.)