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Hell on Wheels plays with big ideas about redemption, sin and forgiveness, so Cullen's detour and the religious component of other subplots fit the show's tone and direction.
The oftentimes slow pace of the show works to allow viewers to feel the sunburn of the men laying the rail, the anticipation of danger just of the view and the subtle and blatant scheming that is Durant.
"Return to Hell" was an awesome episode. How could it not be? Hell on Wheels is at its best when it goes for big moves.
The things that made Deadwood so successful-the living, breathing community, and the duality of characters-is what Hell on Wheels is seriously lacking.
Audience Reviews for Hell on Wheels: Season 4
Sep 08, 2020Hell on Wheels was solid though the first 3 seasons. In season 4 it - pardon the pun- goes off the rails. Or jumps the shark. The storylines become illogical and inconsistent. I literally gave up on the show after episode 8 which had all of the quality of an episode of Night Rider or The A-Team. Children's cartoons are better written than this season of television.
Jun 09, 2020This season was brutal. The most tragic season of television I have ever seen. It sets things in motion for the last season in a perfect way.
Dec 27, 2018Season 4 was a locomotive of building tension, which led to unexpected twists and turns that I'm sure will have consequences in the final season.
Sep 02, 2017As you can see by my ratings I thought seasons 1 & 2 were good... season 3 was starting to lose what made the show good, but the great characters were able to save it, obviously some episodes are better then others, but overall Season 3 was still a good watch. In season 4 the show continues to slip. So many changes plus at times it feels as if the show looks to make the man character suffer. Some episodes are still good, but overall the show feels lost.
Jul 14, 2015bummed when its ended
Nov 17, 2014Always look forward to the next episode. Episode 412 was one of the best. The hanging from the POV of Ruth was a scene that will replay in my mind. I am glad the show did not milk this scene with a lot of cliché, syrupy slow motion grief stricken reactions from onlookers. That might have enabled the episode to exploit the obvious emotional drama, but this was the more raw, challenging edge the show needed. We so want the show to take some time to indulge in revering Ruth as a martyr, her death chock full of meaning. Instead it rather matter-of-factly end her life focused on the act of hanging itself, as merely the extinquishing of a light, just the end of breathing of one real, imperfect life. Because her story is so compelling, that doesn't seem proportional, and that's perhaps makes the end of Ruth so tragic. To further suppress the hanging as a climax, the episode doesn't even end there. No funeral and tributes, just the town of Cheyanne, Cullen and everybody else having turned their attention back to building the railroad, and even achieving an important triumph in that task. But in between Ruth's hanging and that final scene, there is one more scene that in a sneaky, blink and you'll miss it way, actually endows Ruth's life and death with the meaning we crave that the hanging sequence doesn't deliver. That is when we come back from commercial to be shown Cullen hurrying on his way to meet the crew car as it is heading out to that day's job site. A delegation from Ruth's religious denomination sent to retrieve Ruth's body and return her to Council Bluffs attempts to interrupt Cullen to announce their intention. Cullen doesn't even stop waking and only says dismissively as he passes them that Ruth had already been buried in the Cheyanne cemetery - with about the same indulgence as if the spokesman for the group had asked Cullen for the time of day and he had said, "Sorry, i don't have a watch." You get the impression that the fact that Ruth's final resting place was in Cheyanne should have been obvious to these ladies. I found that an oddly fitting exchange. Council Bluffs as Ruth's resting place would have been symbolic of the person Ruth had ben condemned to in life But .that was the very identity she was liberated from the moment she pulled the trigger to cleanse Cheyanne of the evil that was Sidney during the previous episode, and to cleanse Cheyanne of her own sin by her hanging this episode. She had earned her place in Cheyanne, and Cheyanne had claimed her. She no longer belonged to the church - Ruth belonged to the enterprise, the dream, and the vulgar but redemptive reality that was the taming of the American west.
Nov 15, 2014Like Deadwood, Hell on Wheels flirts with history in a graphic and thrilling manner, full of scoundrels, opportunists and women of little virtue. However, America's recent fashion of porcelain-white teeth has no place in the grim grit of the Western frontier.
Oct 11, 2014Hell on Wheels is exciting, interesting and one doesn't know what is coming next. There are so many twists and turns like a mountain road. So many characters contribute to the wholeness of the series. I like the menacing persistence of the Swede character. You feel the realism of the era travelling back in time almost as if you are there.
Oct 04, 2014Love this show. One of my favorite on TV.
Sep 23, 2014Season 4 finally topped Breaking Bad for AMC' s best show.