Through much of this final season of “Hell on Wheels,” we’ve seen Cullen Bohannon operate with a relatively-specific goal in mind: Trying to find a way to make it back to Naomi and his family. Yet, that phase is over, and what we’re seeing now is a wilder, more uninhibited version of his man. He’s bolder, and yet at the same time more broken. He cares about the railroad, but how much does he care about himself?
After having sex with Mei right in front of dynamite, we’re certainly wondering that question. You have a recklessness coupled here with the passion of a new relationship, and you have two people on a knife’s edge. Add to that Mei’s secret, which she has been able to keep from Chang and the Chinese to date. She and Cullen are collectively damaged people who feel just a little more complete with one another. Their scenes were powerful, and the railroad, thanks in part to Cullen’s big risks, is yet another step closer to completion.
Durant’s troubles come home to roost – Of course in so many ways it is easy to feel for anyone who finds themselves at gunpoint, and yet for the character of Thomas Durant, there is obviously evidence that he brought much of this on himself with his trickery and his scheming. This is a man who has held great power, and with that came a feeling of invincibility. He was the Wild West Icarus of this story, and he may have now flown too close to the sun. To make matters worse, Louise (once she recovers from the train-car attack that led to Durant being captured near the episode’s end) may be in a position where she goes on to tell the tale of his misgivings.
So what side is Mickey ultimately going to fall on? It’s a question that you may ask after some of his exploits, and it further reinforces the reality that while we may like many of the show’s character, there is no guarantee that they will end this on the same side or with the same motives.
In the end, this was another strong episode of the show that only had one weaknesses to us: We could’ve used a little bit more than 60 minutes including commercials. Grade: A.
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