"Hell on Wheels" suddenly got good!

I’ve been hanging in there because I like westerns, especially westerns with Indians. This show has been “not terribly bad” since it started, but that’s not saying much.

However, tonight’s episode suddenly got GOOD. Good, as in I really liked it. There was a real break through in terms of where the Indians are coming from (and I knew I saw Wes Studi in the previews), and the Black vs White fight was very well orchestrated, especially with the dearth of funds to meet the payroll. I didn’t see exactly how the peppers were introduced to make Bohannan lose, but it was a nice setup.

Let’s hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Looks like I’ll have to use On Demand and catch up. I’d kind of lost interest.

I can’t relate to Wes Studi as anything other than the baddest, meanest, cruelest motherfucker ever, thanks to “Last of the Mohicans”.

How many episodes have there been so far?

x2 if you count his bad-ass Pawnee character in Dances with Wolves!

And I thought I was the only one watching! Glad to hear it gets better, almost gave up.

Last night’s was No. 5. I’ve been watching so far because I like Westerns too, and I agree that it’s getting better in small increments. I really want to like the tattooed whore, and I hope they give her something interesting to do other than moon after Common.

The introduction of Ruth was good too. I know the frontier was male-heavy, but as a woman I do like to see female characters. I think Lily is being well-played by the actress, smart and independent within the confines of the time.

I watched ep 4 on demand and was convinced that my earlier notion that this thing blew chunks was justified. Now I’m going to have to watch ep 5. I still really dislike the way that the attitudes of blacks of the time are portrayed as 'hood gangstas of our time, and with no repercussions from the whites. History tells us that there would have been lynchings and executions in short order if a black man had spoken in that fashion to a white man. It seems to be either wishful thinking on the part of the writers or a contractual obligation to the major black actor in the series. I guess it makes for more drama, if not historical accuracy.

Whenever I see him, I remember his words of wisdom: when you can balance a tack hammer on your head, you will head off your foes with a balanced attack.

I’m not a historian, but I think things were much better for blacks immediately after the civil war, and got worse starting around the 1890s or so. Blacks in the south had some measure of political power until the Jim Crow laws were codified. And the area where this takes place is pretty neutral territory.

True enough. It just doesn’t come across as 19th century attitudes to me. I got about half way through ep 5 this morning and am not as enthused as the OP. Seems like just more of the same old.

I still want to know why Durant keeps talking about going to the Pacific.

…and I’m not sold on how top secret his route really would have been by then.

It’s tantalizingly close to good, so I’ll probably keep watching, but I wish I knew more motives. Maybe the writers have some kind of grand arc planned to account for the slow pace, but right now there’s precious few players on the show that actually feel like characters.

I also missed how the boys threw the fight? It seemed pretty subtle, but then again I was pretty buzzed. I knew Common would win, which kinda made it a drag to see Bohannon throw so many devastating blows early on. A few rounds and a pep talk later, it was like they never happened.

I’ll keep watching, but I’m still skeptical about it all for now. I wouldn’t recommend the show to others at this point.

This has some basis in fact:
“I’ll be damned if I would not prevent the CP from coming more than 200 miles east of California.” - Thomas C. Durant

He probably would have preferred having the Union Pacific build the entire route.

I’m no expert by any means, but it seemed to me that Bohannon was far outmatched; Common himself is pretty heavily muscled for an average joe, and you gotta figure his character has been very literally slaving in the fields his entire life - Anson Mount’s wiry ass just wasn’t up to it, no throwing necessary.

One of “the boys” specifically said something about using the peppers to load the dice in favor of Common. Exactly how they did that, I didn’t see. But I think we are supposed to assume that, especially considering he bet the bank on the outcome.

Ground peppers in the hand wrappings/liniment. A good shot to the face/eyes and it’s a mild pepper “spray”.

Yeah, it was real quick but you could see one of the Irish brothers talking to Common’s corner man and hand him something. Earlier in the episode, the Irish guy had gotten a whole bucket of peppers from someone.

Bohannon figured it out the next morning when he touched his eye and it burned. There were still a bit of pepper oil on his face.

The longer the route, the more he is paid, so he would rather that he go further than the Central Pacific. That’s also the reason that his route involves so many curves.

I thought he tasted it in his bucket of water.