Aug 302015
 
Hell on Wheels, "False Prophets" -- Brigham Young is stabbed

AMC.com

Hell on Wheels  Episode 5.07: False Prophets, sets itself a number of challenges. For those who know the history, things like the eventual terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad, which railroad reached Ogden first, and the life and death of Brigham Young are already known, yet the show must still make the playing out of this history interesting. (Hell on Wheels doesn’t adhere strictly to the true story–Thomas Durant, for one, never came back from his arrest during the Credit Mobilier scandal. Yet the broader strokes of history are represented fairly, and I fully expect the golden spike to be driven more or less as really happened.) On the other hand, people who don’t know the history have to be kept entertained by a bunch of negotiations around a conference table with a bunch of angry bearded men going over the fine points of a part of Americana they may have barely heard of.  Continue reading »

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Aug 252015
 
AMC.com

AMC.com

The pieces are moving around the chessboard at an alarming rate in the latest Hell on Wheels, Hungry Ghosts, but at the same time, the focus seems rather heavily on character. Brigham Young, Thor Gunderson, the railroad termini as planned by the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, all of this has far-reaching consequences. Meanwhile, the most important things that happen, the really important things, are Mei burying her father and bonding with Cullen, and Louise suffering a post-abortion infection. Continue reading »

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Hell on Wheels Episode 5.05: Elixir of Life

Hell on Wheels Episode 5.05: Elixir of Life

Aug 16, 2015

The snake oil salesman promises an elixir of life, and then commits murder. Thor Gunderson, whom Bohannon still calls “The Swede”, promises eternal life while stockpiling rifles. Elixir of pennyroyal is an abortifacient, which Louise ultimately eschews in favor of a more invasive technique. The symbolism all seems rather heavy-handed in Hell on Wheels episode […]

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Hell on Wheels: White Justice and Struck

Hell on Wheels: White Justice and Struck

Aug 9, 2015

It took until the fourth episode of Hell on Wheels Season 5, Struck, for me to feel that the season has really gotten going. Not that the season hasn’t been good so far–it has. But it hasn’t made me sit up and take notice. Hell on Wheels is intriguing, it’s got great characters, and it’s […]

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Hell on Wheels Episode 5.02: Mei Mei

Hell on Wheels Episode 5.02: Mei Mei

Jul 30, 2015

Hell on Wheels has started its final season in rollicking style, giving us an adventurous opening. So far, we’ve had big fight scenes and now, in Mei Mei, a falling-down-a-mountain scene so thrilling they showed it to us twice! I’m going to be a big ol’ meanie and say that the special effects looked a […]

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Hell on Wheels Season 5 Premiere: Chinatown

Hell on Wheels Season 5 Premiere: Chinatown

Jul 19, 2015

I am the one true prophet. Hell on Wheels is an inconsistent show, giving us amazing, stunning episodes, stupid ones, and a majority that fall in the middle—good, solidly entertaining television that doesn’t quite soar to greatness. The Season 5 premiere, Chinatown, falls into that last category. It was effective, smart, introduced the season deftly, but […]

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Hell on Wheels Season Finale: Further West

Hell on Wheels Season Finale: Further West

Nov 23, 2014

The Hell on Wheels season 4 finale, Further West, did what it needed to do to establish Season 5. In many ways, it was a lovely and emotionally satisfying episode, while in others, it was a little flat. Oddly, it played like the finale of a show whose fate was unknown. In such a case […]

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Hell on Wheels 4.12: Thirteen Steps

Hell on Wheels 4.12: Thirteen Steps

Nov 16, 2014

Hell on Wheels episode 4.12, Thirteen Steps, gave us a stunning, staggering hour of television. As an experience, as a single, standalone hour, it was close to perfect. And yet, it leaves me with roiling questions about this series and its directions, especially after the announcement that next season will be its last. There’s two […]

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Hell on Wheels: Anson Mount

Hell on Wheels: Anson Mount

Nov 12, 2014

So, on re-watching the Hell on Wheels episode Bleeding Kansas, I was struck by how damn good Anson Mount is. I rarely mention it, perhaps because my recaps are more involved in what’s going on with the show and characters, and I don’t talk about acting much at all. But Mount is worth mentioning because […]

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Hell on Wheels 4.11: Bleeding Kansas

Hell on Wheels 4.11: Bleeding Kansas

Nov 9, 2014

The most violent, the bloodiest, the most vulgar episode of Hell on Wheels yet, Bleeding Kansas was also one of its best. Episode 4.11 moved at breakneck speed, so that when “Next On…” appeared on my screen, I was surprised.

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Hell on Wheels: Black Dog

Hell on Wheels: Black Dog

Nov 4, 2014

Everyone ready for the return of Hell on Wheels this weekend? Here’s some interesting trivia. In a recent episode, Durant referred to depression as “the black dog.” I thought immediately it was an anachronism, since most people associate the phrase with Winston Churchill. However, a little research turned up some fascinating stuff. It turns out […]

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Hell on Wheels 4.10: Return to Hell

Hell on Wheels 4.10: Return to Hell

Oct 5, 2014

On the list of things I imagined I’d see on this week’s Hell on Wheels: Return to Hell, a dark meditation on grief did not appear. Yet, grief is a subject of Westerns nearly as often as heroism. The West is a harsh place where life is short, and the bereaved make up much of […]

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Hell on Wheels Schedule for the Remainder of Season 4

Sep 29, 2014

Hello Basketcases! After much discussion in comments, I have gotten verified and official information from AMC: This is, indeed, Hell on Wheels’ first 13 episode season. The schedule is… Episode 4.10: October 4 Episode 4.11: November 8 Episode 4.12: November 15 Episode 4.13 (Season Finale): November 22

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