Aug 27, 201209:44 AMThe Telegraph
The Premier Blog of the West
TV Recap: Top 5 Things To Know About 'Hell On Wheels,' Season 2, Episode 3
Dominique McElligott plays Lily Bell and Colm Meaney plays Thomas “Doc” Durant in "Hell on Wheels."
As William Shakespeare sagely noted: “Blood will have blood.” And sure enough, mayhem begat even more mayhem in Season 2’s Episode 3 of Hell on Wheels. If you missed Sunday evening’s segment – aptly titled “Slaughterhouse” -- here are the Top 5 things you need to know before tuning in next week.
A NOTE OF DISCORD: Thor Gunderson – the malevolent Norwegian known widely, albeit inaccurately, as The Swede – sees a golden opportunity to stir up trouble, as is his wont, after a German railroad foreman is slain by an unknown avenger as punishment for the foreman’s wanton killing of a prostitute. Actually, faithful viewers know who fatally stabbed the guy last week – Elam Ferguson, at the urging of Lily Bell (who feared, not without just cause, that the prostitute’s murder might otherwise go unpunished). But The Swede convinces many folks in the Hell on Wheels community – including, most notably, a grim-faced German butcher named Mr. Bauer (guest star Timothy V. Murphy) – that the culprits are Irish siblings Sean and Mickey McGinnes. Truth to tell, it’s not that hard for The Swede to sway the mob. After all, the brothers accepted payment from the owner of the camp brothel to provide “protection” after the aforementioned prostitute was found murdered in her own bed. And Mickey doesn’t help matters by bragging (falsely) to his favorite, ahem, brothel employee that he did indeed kill the foreman. But none of that really matters to the Swede: As he freely admits when pressed on the subject by Cullen Bohannon, he’s naturally inclined to hate the McGinnes brothers because – well, simply because they’re Irish.
A PANG OF CONSCIENCE: Cullen and Elam save the McGinnes brothers from a mob led by Mr. Bauer, just before the butcher applies the tools of his trade to the hapless fellows. But that doesn’t mean the brothers are out of trouble. In fact, Cullen imprisons the siblings in a boxcar – evidently, the same boxcar where Cullen himself spent time last season when he, too, was a murder suspect – and casually concedes that, yep, they’ll probably be hanged. This greatly distresses Lily, who tries to convince railroad railroad boss Thomas “Doc” Durant – without directly implicating Elam – that she actually arranged for another party to execute the foreman. Not surprisingly, Durant is enraged: “Under whose authority did you take this action, Mrs. Bell?” More important, he is not inclined to free the McGinnes brothers because, in order to maintain peace in Hell on Wheels and thereby sustain the pace of railroad construction, “Somebody has to hang!”
A CHANGE OF HEART: Ex-prostitute Eva, Elam’s former sweetie, guesses who’s really guilty of the foreman’s murder, and directly confronts Elam in the privacy of his tent. She: “You the fool who gutted that whore-killer?” He: “Who you callin’ a fool?” Eva is extremely grateful – she was a friend of the slain prostitute, and actually sought justice from Lily in the first place – and, yes, still attracted to Elam. But she insists, even after sharing a passionate lip-lock with Elam, that she must remain faithful to her husband – Mr. Toole, who’s just been named replacement for the recently deceased foreman – even though the guy has slapped her around a couple times. Elam is not happy about any of this.
A SENSE OF LOYALTY: Reverend Cole remains greatly distressed that his daughter Ruth is fornicating with the young Cheyenne Joseph Black Moon, his favorite convert and kinda-sorta adopted son. So distressed, in fact, that – while, as usual, raging drunk – he interrupts the funeral service for the foreman by accosting Ruth and shouting “Fornicator! Fornicator!” But when some unenlightened fellows show up later to give Joseph a beatdown for daring to cavort with a white woman, Reverend Cole springs to Joseph’s defense, brandishing a sword and dispersing the rowdies. (Any viewer who remembered what Reverend Cole did with that sword late last season likely expected something far worse to occur.) The reverend – appearing atypically sober – suggests it might be a very good idea for Joseph to vamoose. But Joseph disagrees.
A SETTLING OF ACCOUNTS: Ordered by Durant to restore order by any means necessary, Cullen decides to release the McGinnes brothers – and orders Mr. Bauer to pack up and leave Hell on Wheels. Mr. Bauer protests: “This is a free country.” Cullen retorts: “That’s about the funniest damn thing I ever heard.” But, of course, it doesn’t end there. As he is preparing to depart, Mr. Bauer is brutally attacked in his shop by the McGinnes brothers. Remember a couple weeks ago when there was a passing reference to Mickey’s long-ago killing of a man back in Boston? Well, this week, with a little help from Sean, he spills some more blood. A lot more, as a matter of fact. And the episode ends with Mickey feeding what’s left of the butcher to his own hogs. No, really.