With the return of “Hell on Wheels” season 5 coming to AMC on Saturday night, the network has released an additional clip that seems to be all about one thing: The joining of the Central and Union Pacific railroads in Utah, and the significance of the last “golden spike” that joined the two together. It’s an enormous moment in the history of the United States, and also a key one for this show.
Even in watching this video it’s hard to feel anything but emotion, just because of being here for so much of this journey and seeing some of these characters work so hard in order to get the railroad connected from east to west. Star Anson Mount describes it as the 19th century version of the Moon landing, and Jami O’Brien adds some further context. This is an event that altered the way that Americans thought, traveled, and experienced their world. It was suddenly feasible that they could travel out west without some of the dangers that were once so obviously present there.
As to what will happen to some of these characters after the great joining, that is one of the mysteries of the final episodes. It’s a subject that we discussed further with showrunner John Wirth in our recent interview, and we imagine that it had to be difficult for some of these people, who had long been dedicated to the railroad and almost nothing else, to figure out.
In addition to the completion of the railroad, there are of course many other loose threads that need to be tied up. For example, the show still needs to figure out how to resolve Cullen vs. The Swede, and we want to see how characters like Eva, Mickey, and Durant end their journeys … or at least the part of them we will see.
We’ll have some more “Hell on Wheels” coverage this weekend; for now, head over here to get some additional TV news sent right over to you, courtesy of our official CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: AMC.)