Hell on Wheels Review: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

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Once again, the past has caught up with Cullen Bohannon.

Clearly, his path as the new railroad boss has been plagued with problem after problem, and with General Grant's deadline looming on the scenic horizon, I'm not surprised one more issue was added to the list.

And having the Mormon attackers hunt for Bohannon, while great in bringing back up the season premiere, in "Big Bad Wolf; Eminent Domain," it felt like just another hurdle on Bohannon's list.

Cullen Heads Out

Does anyone actually think they are going to kill off the main character on the show? Sure, Lily Bell was killed in the Hell on Wheels Season 2 finale (and don't get me started on how this season has pretty much ignored her death and simply moved on), but to hang Bohannon would hang the series. You just couldn't continue no matter how inspired the men were by Elam Ferguson's speech to complete this leg of the railroad.

Which has me wondering what Hell on Wheels Season 3 has all been leading up to because if it is simply to reach Cheyenne and beat the obstacles along the way, that would be disappointing. I guess you could argue that Bohannon overcame his outlaw ways to lead the railroad charge, which is great for his character, but when the season arc story leaves certain tension and suspense in the dust, it's tough to look forward to a satisfying conclusion.

I know the Swede is going to eventually face off with Bohannon, especially now that the gunslinger is in the clutches of the Mormons, but to leave their confrontation for the final episode?

It's tough because I think both Bohannon and the Swede are fantastically entertaining and well acted characters. I couldn't see anyone else portraying them, and they are fun to watch. But with everything going on around them simply a hodgepodge of events strung together by the building of a railroad, the story itself seems like it's not quite sure what it's final destination is.

It's clear the show is trying to push Bohannon and Ruth together. Yes, she has been a form of solace for him, but their conversation about him asking her to stay or Psalms telling Bohannon to marry her felt forced. I just haven't seen enough between them to have me root for them or believe that they should end up together.

The same could be said for most of Louise Ellison's actions on the show. It's great she's helping Eva, but really, having Eva trying to put the moves on her? What does that add to the story as a whole or even further Louise's character on the show?

At least Bohannon and Ferguson's relationship has been enjoyable in their banter and camaraderie, even with Ferguson super drunk. They've been through a lot, but still wind up having each other's backs at the end of the day. That's good to see for those two characters.

Truthfully though, the stars of "Father and Sins" was the direction and cinematography. It was outstanding to watch.

This hour involved the ultimate shoot out utilizing sweeping shots of the riders chasing after Bohannon, a gun battle that felt cinematically epic, close ups and moving shots of the characters gliding around the town. Even watching a scene like Bohannon slide a gun across the floor or kick one up into his hands felt full of the Western cool that I had wanted to see since starting this show.

Bohannon never looked so bad ass walking through town shooting bad guys left and right with the swagger viewers have come to know and love. Not to mention taking a sacrificing position for the boy was a big step for him. He really has pulled on his "good guy" hat this season.

The hour was a real treat for the eyes from start to finish, and it made me wish more episodes were filmed the same way. There was a grandness to it all from the simple conversation pieces, building the railroad scenes, or firing off a plethera of guns.

This episode will definitely be remembered for the gun battle and the fantastic filming involved, but like much of this season, the story has left me hungry for something with a little more substance, more tension, and something to really build towards. It just makes me worried that even with the new driver for Hell on Wheels Season 3, the series might be making it's last stop for good with next week's season finale.


Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (75 Votes)

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


Epic episode, loved every damn minute of it, which was a relief after the previous one which was the weakest of the show's entire run. Hell, I even loved Elam in this one, he really stepped up and his "The show must go on" speech to the men was fantastic. He's so much better as a lone wolf and away from Eva and all her irritating hang ups. The town shootout was superb, and tho we all know Bohannon isn't ready for the grave yet I did worry for the other characters like Durant, Elam and the boy. As for Bohannon and Ruth, I for one would really like them to get together and I can sense a spark there. And as the reviewer stated, the whole episode was gorgeous aesthetically, it's the best looking show on tv imo.


What happened to the moustached governor when bohannon left to find his family


The Season Finale was a little disappointing but think it means the next Season Opener is going to kick a** (just like Bohannon:)


I am in LOVE with Hell on Wheels! I can not believe how much I enjoy watching this, it is captivating. Have to say I even catch myself day dreaming about it.


The final was frustrating to watch. The only reason I can think to end a season like that is there must be another season coming.


My DVR managed to miss recording 'Fathers and Sins', for some reason...and since I was unable to watch it when it aired, I have a huge gap in my understanding of the story. It seems disjointed, and crazy. When did he even have relations with Naomi? It's just confusing.


This final episode was a disappointment, a "WTF" ending to the season. I hope there is a season 4 to clear up the loose ends.


I'm not so sure that Ruth and Bohannon will get together. Although she has more or less confessed she has feelings for him, when she asked Bohannon outright if he wanted her stay when she was waiting for the trian, he seemed to look deep and take in her feelings but said, "All I know is that the workers expect not to hear preachin' on the Sabbath and expect you to be the one doing the sermon." Which leads me to believe this may play out to be a onesited love affair. The confrontation between The Swede and Bohannon surely looms near as evidenced by the trailers, but the mean back at Hell on Wheels are building the tracks to Cheyenne and vowing to go after Bohannon when it's done -- there is a new faith in their boss - a man who has worked alongside them and been there for all of them in more ways than one. I expect the final showdown to be between The Swede and the folks at Hell on Wheels. Each character's development on this show is stellar. I, for one, am loving watching each one evolve and can hardly wait for the next episode.

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