Some people play poker, others play Candyland - but Cullen Bohannon and Elam Ferguson decided to play a death-match game of stickball on Hell on Wheels this week. All for some trees to help build the railroad.
Talk about dedication to the job.
"The Game" focused on all the core characters and their current predicaments, some a little less interesting than others, but on some level contributing to the forwarding of the Hell on Wheels story.
At the forefront and probably most entertaining of the hour was the Bohannon and Ferguson adventure. Starting off with the initial meet and greet of the short, crazy, fur-covered guide who reminded me of Radagast the Brown in The Hobbit, I had a feeling things weren't going to end well for the two leads.
Really, you're going to trust that guy?
Not surprisingly, Bohannon and Ferguson (but not their new "friend") were forced into playing a game of stickball, which turned into beat the crap out of the other opponents. I was definitely taken aback when the one Native American started pounding that one guy's head until he died.
And I'm glad that Bohannon didn't follow suit against the leader's son. Sure, he may be a killer, but not one who would committ a needless act like during a game, all so they can get some timber.
The whole trip really felt like fight or get tied up to die. Except the whole confrontation/competition was ended after the wacky guide agreed to marry the chief's bearded daughter, Buffalo Face.
Wait? That was all that needed to happen?
Kind of a ridiculous outcome meant for laughs and a result that probably won't have any meaning later in the season. Humorous, I guess, and in a way good neither Bohannon and Ferguson were betrothed. But can you imagine if either of them went back to Hell on Wheels with her as their bride?
I guess if anything, we are really getting to see Bohannon and Ferguson become closer as friends. Not buddy, buddy, mind you, but the two have a camaraderie that seems to be growing. Plus, their differing personalities and opinions make for brief moments of levity in those serious situations. It really is good to see a bit more joking around between the two, and I'm glad it's nothing over the top or slapstick.
The town of Hell on Wheels shared its own problems with Durant returning as the pesky fly in the soup just waiting for Bohannon to fail so he can strike. Nothing really new on his end, but he's looking to use Louise Ellison to help expose the previously revenge fueled confederate soldier.
It's good to see that even if Bohannon isn't focused on his past, the show hasn't eliminated it as an obstacle for the new railroad leader to hurdle over. I'm sure Louise is going to follow him around pestering him for answers.
As for the Eva and Declan Toole problem, nothing really changed from the previous episode, "Range War." He's still bothering her about the baby being his brother's, leaving Ferguson and going away with him as her new husband. It would be nice to see more to him than that, but with the baby missing (Oh, no, is it Toole who took her? Bet Ferguson will go storming off to find him), I'm not sure how long the new Toole will last in this town.
And let's not forget the creepy Swede, still prancing around with the Mormon family, questioning the boy's about his father's role as a bishop. There's no way he's a changed man, and I'm just waiting for him to kill the father and take over the new position of power. That guy just sends shivers down your spine.
With railroad complications, domestic issues and overly violent games, looks like it was just another long, hard day for the characters on Hell on Wheels. Makes you really wish you could have lived back then, doesn't it?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.