Hell on Wheels Review: Bohannon's Return

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Leaving the Mormon camp behind and returning to Cheyenne, to Hell on Wheels, to the building of the railroad is a welcome one for the series.

This restart and realigning of the tale has finally brought Cullen Bohannon back to where he belongs, and it has provided many interesting adversaries for him to face. Sorry, Swede, as much as you are fantastic, I'm also ready for Cullen to face new enemies.

And with Hell on Wheels Season 4 Episode 3, we get to see not only John Campbell and his new law men challenge Cullen, but Cullen showing why you don't want to mess with him. How cool was it to see him quickly steal that gun, knock the guy down and point the weapon at the camera?

Cullen Returns - Hell on Wheels

Still, the man with the family isn't looking for trouble anymore and instead simply wants to work. It's nice to see the character, who is clearly a town favorite for the most part, not try and throw his popularity around. He's willing to work with the freed men and under a new boss that has his old position.

It certainly wasn't the easiest task to settle into, and even some of the men weren't interested in what he was doing. Tell some poodle jokes and save the boss' life, and you're already racking up more reasons why you should be in charge.

But I like seeing the reiteration that Cullen can be something of an everyman and be willing to pull his own weight. That brief little smile as he rolls up his sleeves and gets to work? He's back at home.

At the same time, the hour showed how difficult Cullen's life back home is going to be. Things have changed and are continuing to change quickly.

Having John weasel his way into Cullen's home life by "helping" pay for Naomi's items was sneaky and smart. He tried to get Cullen to his side, but Cullen laughed at the carpetbagger. And who comes at night to offer that deal?

It's super shady, but I love that John is making another enemy real quick. He's certainly establishing himself as a worthy villain for the show, and the shocking beatdown of Cullen at the end of the episode had to be his doing.

I wonder if Cullen and Thomas Durant will team up at some point. The enemy of my enemy...

Or maybe Mickey will have to pull out his dark side again. There definitely was a bit of separation when he offered Cullen a job, but I'm also not surprised Cullen turned it down.

Really, I'm just excited to see Cullen and John's confrontations this season, especially in seeing the railroad getting built (not a bad explosion scene either.)

Unfortunately, I could have done without Ruth being upset and sad that Cullen has a wife and kid. I know she had feelings for him, and with him asking to watch over his family, it is going to cause some drama. I just don't know if it'll be interesting enough.

The same could be said for Eva, who is so lost without Elam that she spits in Cullen's face for something he had no control over and didn't even know about, or that she's willing to trade sex to learn some card tricks. Life has certainly been tough on her, but is this what her character has become? I just feel like there could be so much more. What if she learned how to be a badass gunslinger too?

And as much as Louise Ellison seems to be rather resilient and determined to get her scoop in the lawless land, her narration during the hour was not needed. I know it's supposed to add the newspaper flavor to what's going on, but the visual representation of what's happening from the beginning return of Cullen to the ending montage tells exactly what we need to know and feel without it. It's unnecessary, and I'd like to see her character break out beyond recapping and describing events we get to see anyway.

If that voiceover was taken out, would it really alter or hinder the scenes it accompanied?

Ultimately, I'm glad Cullen is back, we get to see more railroad work, and the introduction of the new law characters has been a positive one (although not so much for the people in Hell on Wheels.) I'd love to see the side characters get a chance to shine with an interesting story, but for now, the always badass Cullen leads that charge. And rightfully so.

Cullen continues to bring that western-style of charm and lawless danger that's just plain fun to watch.

Should Cullen Bohannon and Thomas Durant team up?

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Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (12 Votes)

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

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I have a strong feeling that Elam Ferguson was taken care of by the Indian he did not shoot when he was trying to find Bohannon. Nursed back to health and will return!


I groaned (again) when I heard Louise's narration. Are newspaper readers really interested in Cullen's story? Seems like a waste of a page of newsprint to me, unless that was the only thing to read about in Cheyenne, which it isn't. But that also happens in today's "other news". Ruth, suck it up, honey. The old west is about to be new and the pining woman story is old. I could see it if they actually had something in the past. John Campbell, keep doing whatcher doing. Weber's molasses voice makes you wonder about Campbell, but I like the guy, much better than when the verbose Durant first appeared. And enough with the Elam sightings, just bring him back already before Eva goes and whores herself out again. Oh wait...


The church woman is boring and Eva is annoying. Hopefully they continue to reduce their parts. It's obvious Cullen will get a better job back with Durant, I think it will be fun watching them work together to foil the government people.