Infuriating, because, as I said last week, and was patently obvious to every character in the show, Ruth didn't have to die. She shot a psycho who burned down the church and killed her son. Moreover, her shooting of Sydney saved Cullen's life. And, if that's not enough, Sydney actually died by his own hand after Cullen had heroically saved him.
So why the Governor proceeded with the trial, and refused to pardon Ruth because she didn't want it, makes no sense. Neither did Cullen not tying Ruth up, against her will, and shipping her off to New York or wherever as he intended. He didn't do that out of, what, respect for Ruth? Respect for her right to give up her own life? That's not moral, given that clearly Ruth was not completely in her right mind.
But the episode was still worthwhile, because it unpacked Ruth and Cullen's relationship. The scene with them in the prison was priceless, especially when Ruth says her mistake in life was not going to Cullen and taking him home to be with her and Ezra, and be a family. That conversation was one of the best we've seen in the entire series.
It led, in the aftermath of Ruth's death - a suicide more than anything else, filmed brilliantly from the inside out, from her perspective - to Cullen quitting the railroad (again) after clearing the rocks in the trail at the end, to go back to his wife and son - if they'll have him, as he told Ruth. But there will be hole in the series from now on, one about as big as the death of Elam. One thing you can say about Hell on Wheels is that it always marches to its own drum, with the result that you never know what will happen.
Next week's the finale of this next-to-last season. I'll be sure to watch it.
See also Hell on Wheels 4.1-2: Rolling Again ... Hell on Wheels 4.5: New Blood ... Hell on Wheels 4.6: Bear and Sanity ... Hell on Wheels 4.7: Why? ... Hell on Wheels 4.8: Aftermath and Rebound ... Hell on Wheels 4.9: High Noon ... Hell on Wheels 4.10: A Tale of Two Sicko Killers ... Hell on Wheels 4.11: The Redemption of Ruth
And see also Hell on Wheels 3.1-2: Bohannan in Command ... Hell on Wheels 3.3: Talking and Walking ... Hell on Wheels 3.4: Extreme Lacrosse ... Hell on Wheels 3.5: The Glove ... Hell on Wheels 3.6: The Man in Charge ...Hell on Wheels 3.7: Water, Water ... Hell on Wheels 3.8: Canterbury Tales ...Hell on Wheels 3.9: Shoot-Out and Truths ... Hell on Wheels Season 3 finale: Train Calling in the Distance
And 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