Cullen Bohannon's journey has come a long way from his days as a revenge-fueled gunslinger out for blood.
And Hell on Wheels Season 4, a huge positive shift from Hell on Wheels Season 3, was quick to show that times, and the people involved, were changing.
That meant the law with John Campbell, the Swede's allegiance to Brigham Young, Ruth's fateful decision, and Cullen's dramatic choice at the end.
The series may be headed towards its final season, but its not looking to go out with a whimper.
Let's rundown Hell on Wheels Season 4 in the latest TV Fanatic Report Card...
Best Episode: There were actually a few contenders, but I'm giving it to Hell on Wheels Season 4 Episode 9. This was the showdown between Cullen and Sid. It was a cinematically beautiful episode while also being action-packed right down to the train gun fight. And it was great to see the clash of the law, some sense of where the story was headed mixed with that classic western vibe. This was truly an enjoyable hour.
Worst Episode: Hell on Wheels Season 4 Episode 12 was all about Ruth, a character I've had a hard time even caring about, so going in I wasn't the most enthused. But it was probably the more frustrating of episodes to watch as Ruth repeatedly denied any chance to be saved on top of declaring her love for Cullen and then still refusing to live. I get it was her choice to die, not anyone else's, and she basically lost everything. But so did Cullen and he came back stronger and was able to go on with life. So have others. It just felt dragged out and by the time the bag went over her head, I was basically done with the episode.
Best Character: I probably sound like a broken record on this one, but Cullen Bohannon is hands down the best character on Hell on Wheels. Without him, I just don't think the show would have survived. He's by far the most interesting and developed character with an excellent actor, Anson Mount, that brings him to life. This season did get some positive new characters with John Campbell and Sid, but Cullen wins out. He's more than just a gunslinger, but a character worth caring about whether he's mourning the loss of Ruth and Elam, facing off against the Swede or Sid, or determinedly searching for his family.
Worst Character: While I haven't been the biggest fan of Ruth, she has had some more time to develop as a character (even if I disagreed with her final choice.) But Louise Ellison still feels like a character who is supposed to be far more than the show lets her. And unfortunately she pops in to narrate or hook up with John Campbell, but take her away from the series, and nothing really changes. She's still just there.
Best New Character: John Campbell was a positive and interesting addition for the series in bringing the law to the uncivilized land, but Sidney Snow wins this one out as the wild, charismatic and dangerous gunslinger that brought something fresh to the series. He was an adversary that caused some real consequences for the season, had connections to Cullen's past, was a vastly different character from one we'd seen, and you just couldn't help but get excited to see him battle Cullen.
Hopes for Hell on Wheels Season 5: I'm glad knowing that the series is getting one last ride and will be able to have a series finale, rather than just getting cut off and viewers never knowing what would have happened. I'm definitely hoping we get to see a little more with Mickey, but I'm really looking forward to seeing Cullen's final stretch of his journey. Hopefully, he'll get to live at the end and find his family? And for sure, we definitely need a final showdown against the Swede that really pays off. It's long overdue. Let's just hope that the series ends strong!
YOUR turn, TV Fanatics! What grade would you give Hell on Wheels Season 4?
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.