Hell on Wheels Review: War and Peace

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A war is coming to Hell on Wheels.

Soon enough, the Cheyenne will be raiding the town and attempting to fight off everyone. Did anyone really think that "peace" negotiations would work?

I'm glad that Bohannon laughed at the concept because that's exactly how I was feeling. I know the ideal situation would be to have a calm conversation, work everything out and spare any bloodshed, except life doesn't work like that. Not every party gets what they want and when you have people in power, they are often going to use that power to remove anything from their way.

So, Reverend Cole did get his sit down, but no real settlement came from it. It's actually funny to think that either side would accomplish its goals. Sure, Durant and the government will probably forcefully take what they want, but did he really think that the Chief was going to back down and say, "why, yes, I'd love to live on a reservation and get kicked off my land?"

Cole and Cullen

On the one hand, the Chief seemed to have a right state of mind in recognizing that they wouldn't come to an agreement, but simultaneously believed that his son could race a train and win.

Unfortunately, this lone piece of action for the episode wasn't as exciting as everyone on the show made it out to be. Come on, really? There's no way a horse would beat the locomotive on any day. The only possibility - and I did fear it might happen - would be if the train itself malfunctioned or some accident took place to keep the train from winning. Other than that, it seemed a bit silly.

I was surprised, however, that Lily Bell was almost the cause of a fight with the Cheyenne. She's remained relatively calm and collected, but seeing her hat threw her into a state of anger and dismay. It was good seeing her rattled for a moment.

Of course, after regaining her composure she hands over the maps, but it did feel rather convenient.

After all, Durant now has his own enemy in Senator Cole and the possible derailing of the project, which is great because he seems to have zero real opponents. His own threat was a great addition but I'm hoping that receiving the maps doesn't eliminate his problems. That would be too easy.

Bohannon played a backseat here, which was fine because it continued to set up further storylines and problems for the characters to face. That said, it was great that he came out and told Ferguson that he cheated.

Not only was I surprised that that revelation wasn't held out to be drudged up further down the road, but their conversation about it was well done. Bohannon was straight forward in explaining himself and Ferguson didn't blow up. Sure, he was surprised because he didn't know, but he didn't get over angry and simply told Bohannon that if he wanted a rematch he'd give it to him. A fantastic way to deal with that dramatic information without making it over-dramatic.

"Pride, Pomp and Circumstance" continued to move the show forward in its efforts to draw the characters closer towards a larger conflict. While not as fist flying as the previous episode, it still was a decent hour to watch. Here's to hoping that the second half of the season begins to take all of those interesting story lines and make something of them.


Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (34 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Wether you agree with the writing or not, can anyone really object that Anson Mount is fantastic? Really, he is such a breath air on television with such a fantastic portrayal of the classic kick-ass protagonist. It's a shame that awards season has snubbed him because I definitely would have liked to see him nominated for Best Actor. Hopefully they start recognizing his amazing performance next year.


This is a good show and the second season will probably be better. Have you ever gone back and looked at the first episodes of that show you really love and notice it doesn't flow the way it does now but there were still elements of a great show and that's how I view Hell on Wheels. I think Cullen's emotional distance is appropriate for a man who is somewhat undercover and on a mission. Keep chugging along.


I enjoyed this recap, but I think the whole point of Lily getting so upset at the Cheyenne woman was because she was wearing her dead husband's hat (as opposed to wearing Lily's hat). The hat reminded her of her husband's brutal murder, not just that the Cheyenne had taken one of her possessions. I liked how Cullen was the one to tell her that they Cheyenne women had lost their husbands and fathers, too, and it wasn't fair to them either. He really calmed her down and made her look at the big picture. Over all, I like this series, and I hope it gets a second season. I agree that the series started out too slow, but we finally saw some character development in these two most recent episodes. Cullen was actually likable and USEFUL, doing his job as the foreman (instead of leaving camp to seek revenge as he has in the past). A lot of people complained that Cullen was too one-note, but at last, we see him here, actively trying to prevent bloodshed at the Reverend's request.

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Hell on Wheels Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

Get off my cut.

Cullen Bohannon

Extortion doesn't become a lady.

Thomas Durant