Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hell on Wheels: Cullen is a Survivor

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

After this second week, I'm in-between on this show. I'm not in love with it, but there's nothing I hate about it, either. So, I'm sticking with it. What about you - have you tuned in yet? Have you already tuned out?

Hell on Wheels "Immoral Mathematics" (S01E02): The death scene where the Indians had the massacre of sorts in the first episode is being photographed... and they do it as graphically as possible... laying out extra bodies, sticking in more arrows, etc. [whoa, creepy!] Everyone is looking for the maps, but they're not found. They come across Bell's body in the woods, and find a pocketwatch with a photo of his wife inside, so there's an idea of whom to look for now. There's a $100 reward for Lily, but no word is given about the maps being missing. [these things must be very valuable...]

Back at Hell on Wheels, the workers are slaving away. Cullen is brought to Gunderson, a Norwegian whom people call a Swede, to be questioned about the recent murder. Cullen says he knows nothing about anyone having trouble with the deceased Johnson. Since there's no official laws or enforcement officers, Cullen goes to leave... and has a gun pulled on him in the process. He's locked up in a train car where he's told that he'll have a chance to confess to the crime. [grrrr. not a big fan of unjust situations.] Cullen tries to remove screws from the floorboards when Elam (the murderer) comes to talk to him, and asks if he will be testifying against him.
Photo Credit: Chris Large/AMC
The next morning, Gunderson comes to Cullen, eating breakfast in front of him. He shares a little about his past, and Cullen kicks the plate from his hands. [... that was ballsy!] There's no retaliation, though Cullen is told to make things right with his maker. [eeek!] Cullen is able to get the spoon, and uses it to remove a screw. That allows the floor board to come loose, so Cullen's shackles are no longer attached to anything. He then pops out a few more boards and escapes through the floor. He blends in with the crowd, though his hands are still cuffed.

Cullen walks into the ministerial tent and the guy covers for him. Cullen has Elam bust his shackles, then he heads to Durant's to ask for Johnson's job. He says that he did well in the army, though he was always outnumbered. He gives examples of things he's destroyed. He then brings up the fact that Durant smuggled cotton out of Mississippi, and that Durant needs help if he's going to finish the railroad. Gunderson comes by, and Durant announces that Cullen is the new foreman after all. [I actually don't know how this changes my opinions of Durant or Gunderson, but we know that Cullen is quite sly.]

[Other things that happened in this episode?] Lily is walking along a creek with the maps and sees some Native Americans on horseback in the woods. She's still quite tender as she crawls for cover behind a log. The Native Americans are gone when Lily wakes up, and she makes her way to their smouldered fire. She removed the arrow tip from her chest and stitches herself up. [ahhhh!] Lily envisions her late husband, then sees three birds circling overhead. The Native Americans see them too, and head for the area. Lily takes off for the woods again, where she's found, but not by those specific Native Americans! [hmmmm....]
Gunderson talks to the Irish brothers, and wants money for the tent where they've set up their movies. He asks for $2 a week, on Fridays, which is about half of their income. The Irish brothers take money from their mother's stack. [is this part of the show going anywhere?]
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