Hell On Wheels is the newest AMC drama in the form of a western, starring Anson Mount, Common, Dominique McElligott, Colm Meaney, Christopher Heyerdahl and Tom Noonan, and now I’ve decided to watch it and do a review for the first season in general.
In 1865, a former Confederate soldier, Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) journeys to the Union Pacific Railroad’s westward construction of the first transcontinental railroad to seek work and vengeance on the Union soldiers that have killed his wife and son. Cullen gets hired by the railroad and supervises an all-black “cut crew,” one of which is Elam (Common), to prepare the terrain for track laying. Through conversation, Cullen learns more about his wife’s death from railroad foreman Daniel Johnson (Ted Levine), who knows the name of her murderer. But tragedy strikes before this name is given. Thomas “Doc” Durant (Colm Meaney) begins his “mad, noble quest” to expand his Union Pacific Railroad westward in order complete the transcontinental railroad. Lily Bell (Dominique McElligott), accompanies her ailing husband Robert (Robert Moloney) as he surveys the landscape for the Union Pacific. Robert is killed by the Cheyenne natives and Lily must cope with being a widow on foreign soil. Reverend Nathaniel Cole (Tom Noonan) baptizes Joseph Black Moon (Eddie Spears), a Cheyenne, then takes him under his tutelage in the church.
In a brilliant move, AMC decided to get their own western show on tv with the drama Hell On Wheels, which comes with a big plot promisse and, well, they actually manage to develope it in a very interesting way. With the not too famous Anson Mount as the protagonist Cullen Bohannan, a man with a deep wound in his soul and who is seeking for vengeance and a job, but eventually “finds” peace and start relationships of respect.
The show manages to deliver a solid story, with the former Confederate soldier, Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) seeking for vengeance, and eventually creating bounds with some of the characters in the Union Pacific Railroad’s westward construction. We have a story which starts in different roads, focusing on Mount, Meaney, Common, and McElligott characters, giving great character developments, and eventually bringing all of them together by creating sparks and relationships of respect and trust. But lets not forget that Cullen Bohannan and Elam relationship is one of the main focus on the show, as they start as complete strangers and eventually develop a great bound.
The story moves with the Union Pacific Railroad’s westward construction having problems, from the big “war” against the indians, who don’t want to see the railroad constructed to financial problems, and eventually the UPR having success, and of course, as all of this happens, we have the journey of each of the previously mentioned characters, and more of course, moving forward and being perfectly developed. The characters serve a purpose on the show, and have their plans well represented, mainly Bohannan, which is to find his wife and son killer, who he knows works on that railroad, but eventually he finds out there are more people behind that killing than he could have think of, which leads him in a journey which will change the character life, and make him wonder what his life will become after the mistakes he commits. Also, Lily and Thomas ‘Doc’ Durant have a great plot development in the show, making each dependent of the other and even better, their are completely linked to the railroad construction, what gives a big importance to all this background.
Overall, Hell On Wheels is an awesome western-drama show, with a fantastic storytelling, and great character developments, each episode makes you wonder what’s gonna happen next, as the best parts of each one are the final minutes, but the season finale doesn’t satisfy, you’ll be waiting for a big ending to the season, but in the end will have a solid one, it does not solve things yet, but slowly explores it and leave the path open to the next season.
Lucas Silva M.
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