Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hell on Wheels: Cullen Takes No Reward

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Talk about a boring opening! Maybe it was just me, but I thought that the speechless first four minutes were annoying. I do, however, enjoy the fiddle music we hear... but why aren't we seeing someone play it live? That happened back then and all. I wasn't sure if Cullen was trying to be selfless with not collecting money for bringing in Lily or if he really wanted to stay under the radar regarding being out and about off-site. I'm also getting more interested in the Irish brothers and what's going to happen with them in the end. But what was with the scene near the beginning where the one went to talk to the new girl? Odd. I also feel like we're more than three episodes in... maybe five or so. Anyone else feel that way?

Hell on Wheels "A New Birth of Freedom" (S01E03):  Cullen gives the daily orders, but is interrupted by Gunderson. The Swede is looking for Lily, and tells the men that there's a reward for bringing her back... which is a conflict, since Cullen says he'll fire anyone who goes to find the girl in lieu of working. Elam says that his boys can do the work of the missing men as well, so a bunch do head out. Cullen announces that he's looking for Frank Harper. One worker stands up to Elam, claiming that Elam acts white and too good to be working there. The black workers are making $3 less a day [a day? or a week?] than the others. After work, Elam goes to the entertainment tent, but one man makes fun of him and the new girl won't serve him.

Because the railroad is moving so slowly, it doesn't look like it's a good idea to keep the track so curvy, though Durant refuses to straighten it at all. Durant sends a message to a senator about how the Indians are hostile and impeding railroad growth. The Swede tells Durant that something doesn't "add up" about Cullen. [I'd be upset if nobody thought something was strange about the guy!] Later, Durant receives a message that the senator is upset about the lack of progress made on the railroad.

Photo Credit: Chris Large/AMC
The converted Native American, Joseph, still has Lily, but they're soon found by Cullen, who frisks Joseph and has him help remove the stitches and an arrowhead. [graphic!] Cullen tells Joseph that an Injun bringing the girl back won't bode well, so Joseph leaves and Cullen takes over "custody" of Lily. He acts like he couldn't care less about her, while she questions Joseph's whereabouts. A few horsemen arrive while Cullen is elsewhere, wanting to take Lily with them. Lily pulls a knife and Cullen returns, taking a few shots. Lily runs for cover and Cullen shoots the men. Cullen leads Lily to the camp and then lets her bring herself in.. he's not interested in the bounty. He then rides off to Cheyenne Territory.

Durant goes to see a show and the Irish boys charge him $5, since it's after closing and a private viewing. [well that sounds ridiculously price-gouging!] Durant questions why the boys went west instead of working in New York or another eastern city after immigrating. They respond that the railroad in Ireland gave them freedom. [that's interesting.]

Joseph goes crying to the reverend, saying that he recognized the arrows - his brother was the one who ravaged the area. [that sucks.] The reverend tells him to keep that fact to himself, always. He cuts his hair (which wasn't all that long to start). Hell on Wheels has a group funeral, and Durant wants the Natives to convert, like Joseph. [though I'm not sure why he's pointing this out at the moment... are the workers going to help with the conversions or something?]
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