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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hell on Wheels 1.8: Multiple Tracks

A good Hell on Wheels 1.8 on New Year's Day tonight - on our New Year's Day that is - and as for its being good, that's been true of every episode in this fine new, too-short series, due to end its first season just two weeks from tonight.

The main, specific, somewhat surprising character development tonight has Lily not wanting to be Durant's wife, after all.  Not even his kept woman.  Whether this rejection is what she had planned all along - as Durant thinks - or whether it was brought out by Lily seeing Cullen, and realizing she loves and/or wants him on some level, is not clear and a little hard to say.   Maybe it's a little bit of both.  What's more clear, now in retrospect, is she hadn't yet slept with Durant.   She was probably too much the lady and even he too much the gentleman, for that day and age.

What struck me about Hell on Wheels as a whole, again, and what makes it so appealing, is how the story ties together so many different themes.  When Cullen, Elam, and Joseph go out with an arrogant Union cavalry or whatever guy accustomed to being in charge - out to hunt down Joseph's brother, who waylaid one of the Union Pacific trains - the following tensions are all on the boil at the same time:  Union vs Dixie,  white vs black,  American vs. Native American.  Fortunately for what's good and right, Elam and Cullen seem to have an alliance.

Techolnogy-wise, there was nothing special in this episode, but there was a good lesson about how unpleasant life was out there and then, as Lily struggles to put planks down on the mud that serves as the floor of her new tent dwelling.  The food she's given to eat is pretty unappealing, too - she gives it to Eva, what's Lily going to do, though, starve? - but this servers as a reminder of the sacrifice she made not going with Durant.

Hey, I also like the theme song at the beginning and played between segments.  Glad AMC's renewing it for a second season.

With Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, The Killing, and now Hell on Wheels, AMC has by far the best percentage of excellent series now on television.   Putting on powerful series is like shooting fish in a barrel for AMC.

See also  Hell on Wheels: Blood, Sweat, and Tears on the Track, and the Telegraph ... Hell on Wheels 1.6: Horse vs. Rail

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The Plot to Save Socrates

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"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

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