Hell on Wheels Review: Hunting for Harper
Cullen Bohannon remained fiercely driven by his desires for revenge on Hell on Wheels this week, and the entertaining shoot out during the cold open was the perfect start to "Jamais Je Ne T'oublierai."
I'm so used to the stereotyped gunfight showdowns of Westerns - set against a dusty dry town - that the long range one here was rather refreshing. Plus, no single shot easily felled Harper, despite Bohannon's skilled use with a gun. To top it off, the poor horse received a mercy kill set against a drearily quiet open range.
But it's obvious that Bohannon's one track mind, while cool to watch, is bound to be a problem for him. When he's not hunting down his enemies, he's getting drunk in the bar and coming close to finding himself new problems.
Which begs the question: if Bohannon does manage to find and kill all parties connected to his wife's murder, what's next? Not merely show wise, but for Bohannon?
The preacher, who aside from being overly preachy and a tad bit annoying, did offer up a hint of his own dark side regarding the grizzly killings of slave owners. The way he told his story was in a drastically different and more personal tone that piqued my interest. Not only do I want to know more about that past, but there's recognition that there can be hope for Bohannon.
But that's what makes Bohannon an interesting character: he teeters back and forth along the hero line and his own sense of morality. On the one hand, he has no problem killing nor taking a bribe from the Swede (and wasn't it great that he demanded even more than offered?), but he gives that money away to prostitutes and even helped out the man who previously tried to kill him.
And it seems that Lily Bell could be the one thing that might be able to push him towards something more than his focused revenge. The quick look between the two (future romance maybe?) seemed to be enough to spur him toward actually filling his role as the foreman, something he's been declining for a while.
Either way, I'm loving the character.
As for Lily Bell, I'm growing to like her, especially her endeavors to potentially screw over Durant. She's clearly trying to find her place in the "man's world," but she's using her smarts and cleverness to make her name. Durant is so wrapped up in his money-making scheme that the mere thought of a woman upstaging him or causing him trouble doesn't even seem to cross his mind. I hope she and Bohannon team up and do some damage againstt Durant and the Swede.
Simply watching Lily walk around the grime and filth of the camp in her proper and clean dress was an odd sight. She seemed so out of place, but I have a feeling she'll be fitting in perfectly in no time. The clashing of different worlds, views and opinions is perfect for the setting and this show.
And Elam finally got lucky, even if it was in the dead of night and secret. His connection with Eva is set against the fact that both of them lie far down on the social status totem pole. Is it enough to spark a relationship or is just going to be sex between the two?
While the story may have slowed a little towards the end, (and the song playing over the montage of character clips seemed out of place), the characters are continuing to round themselves out. And, of course, there's plenty of action and gun drawing to excite every Western fan.
If you haven't been watching yet, it's time to stamp your ticket because Hell On Wheels is settling itself in as another of AMC's great dramas.
Hell on Wheels: "Jamais Je Ne T'oublierai"
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.