Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hell on Wheels 3.1-2: Bohannan in Command

Hell on Wheels is rolling again in its third season on AMC, and I liked the first two hours better than most of what was on in Season 2.

Mostly, it's good to see Bohannan wheeling and dealing, playing the Union Pacific corporate suits like a pro - in a suit himself - and in just about total command as Chief Engineer back on the train.  The command is not complete, because Doc Durant is out of prison and scheming to get back into power himself, not to mention that no one can be in total control in the chaotic environment of the Wild West.

But Bohannan indeed seems more in charge that any time in the previous two seasons, which makes one think that somehow the death of Lily in the last episode last year - a death I hated - was good for him and the show.  Maybe it somehow shook Bohannan out of the lethargy he had been periodically suffering since the loss of his wife and daugther, which understandably affected everything that happened in every Bohannan interaction.  In the season 3 premiere, Bohannan even seems willing to sleep with a teenaged girl who comes to him when he's staying overnight in a Mormon homestead.  Not that this is necessarily laudable behavior, but it's consistent with the culture of the time and shows the zest for life that Bohannan now has.

There's a good new possible love interest for Bohannan - Louise Ellison, a Nellie Bly-type reporter for a New York newspaper covering the story of the railroad.  She's not as pretty as Lily, but is attractive enough, and has a good head on her shoulders.   The first story she covers is the Union Pacific's seizure of the above-mentioned Mormon homestead under eminent domain.  The story demonstrates the fundamental decency of Elam Ferguson - who's back in fine form, with his common-law wife Eva and their beautiful baby girl - and Bohannan, who try to find alternatives for the land seizure, to no avail.   I won't spoil for you how this ended, but it was a powerful story, and I would have liked to have seen Bohannan try a little harder not to let it happen (such as questioning some of the other kids).

This looks to have the makings of an excellent season, and we haven't even yet seen the Swede, who escaped last year, and is sure to reappear at some inopportune time in the weeks ahead.

See also  Hell on Wheels: Blood, Sweat, and Tears on the Track, and the Telegraph ... Hell on Wheels 1.6: Horse vs. Rail ... Hell on Wheels 1.8: Multiple Tracks ... Hell on Wheels 1.9: Historical Inevitable and Unknown ... Hell on Wheels Season One Finale: Greek Tragedy, Western Style


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