Hell on Wheels

Season 1 Episode 2

Immoral Mathematics

Aired Saturday 9:00 PM Nov 13, 2011 on AMC

Episode Recap

The dead are carted up and taken away from the hillside where the natives attacked. Durant approaches on horseback with two other men. Durant walks over and asks the photographer, who's there from the Chicago Tribune. Durant asks the photographer from the newspaper to take pictures of the many bodies not just one. Durant even grabs more arrows and stabs them into the corpses to make it look like the natives were even more ruthless. Then he asks about the maps and soon sees Robert across the way. He tells the two men to pack up everything and bring it back to Hell on Wheels, the town that travels with the railroad. Durant stops to pick up a pocket watch, inside is a picture of Lily.

Meanwhile, the men continue digging and Cullen supervises. Elam is close by when two men come on horseback to talk about finding Daniel Johnson's body. Apparently the boss wants to talk to Cullen about taking Johnson's job. Sean and Mickey grab some booze while Cullen heads toward the center of the town. Someone has been hanged there, meaning there are laws and some type of court. Cullen heads into a cabin and talks to Thor Gunderson, more commonly known as the Swede, head of security for Durant. The Swede says that Cullen was seen leaving the saloon with Johnson. Cullen asks what authority the Swede has on him – he has no badge, no rule of the land. But Durant has appointed the Swede to establish a sort of order. Cullen says everyone hated him and the Swede starts pointing fingers at the negros. Cullen tries to leave, but the Swede aims an extremely deadly shotgun at him. They lock him in handcuffs and put him in a makeshift cell.

Lily continues travelling along a river. Suddenly, she sees some figures on horses in the distance and ducks below behind some trees. Natives take a look around but don't immediately see her. Cullen looks on the floor and finds a crude nail sticking out. He digs it out of the earth. He has flashbacks about his wife while trying to get the nail. Joseph Black Moon confronts the Natives near Lily, wondering where she is, as she was not found dead. The older Natives question Black Moon's behavior, saying he better hope he finds Lily before they do. Cullen meanwhile gets some help from Elam. Cullen says that he'll be out of there tomorrow, but Elam says that he doesn't think so. They just told Cullen that. Meanwhile, the Swede checks out the McGinnes' twins picture show. The Swede is primarily there for business, saying this prime location will cost them $2 a week, but he guarantees protection. That's a lot for the boys to shell up, so they start asking what happens if they don't pay. Well, the Swede doesn't look too happy.

The next day, the Swede (Thor) opens the cell to find Cullen and says he used to be a bookkeeper. Cullen asks why he stopped and says the Swede is clearly suffering from post-war struggles. Thor says he was a prisoner of war in the state of Georgia. He stammers but does manage to say that he did some very bad things. He was good with numbers but could hardly handle the "immoral mathematics". Cullen says he isn't going to confess because he's going to be hanged anyway. Thor confirms this. They soon cut down the man that was hanged while Cullen tries to get the nails out of the floorboard he's cuffed too. He grabs the loose board and manages to escape through the floor. Thor comes just as he heads down. Cullen hides the cuffs with his hat and walks onwards.

Durant explains the story to the reporter from the Chicago Tribune. Among the murdered was Robert Bell and Lily Bell his wife, Durant says. He then continues talking about the railroad and it's importance. Durant wants the federal soldiers to clear the "savages" from his path. Lily wakes up after falling unconscious. She still hasn't gotten medical treatment from the two stabs she received to her hand and collarbone. The Natives have left some smoldering ash and Lily tries to sewn her wounds closed, but she faints from the pain. Thor continues looking for Cullen and Cullen runs into a town priest. The reverend covers for Cullen who hides in the "church" tent. Then he tries to get Cullen to ask for forgiveness, but Cullen refuses. Cullen says he does not deserve forgiveness. The McGinnes brothers consider their options. Elam tries to get Cullen out of those cuffs with a mallet and pick. Elam makes the final hit and the cuffs fall off. Cullen runs to avoid the approaching associates of Thor.

Lily awakens and soon has to flee from some Natives who are close by. Black Moon manages to get her and quietly hide her while the other men pass on their horses. The Swede meets up with Durant and hears about the deaths. Durant says all but Lily Bell were found and offers to put up a $100 reward for finding Lily Bell alive. Back in his cabin, Cullen approaches Durant. Cullen asks for his job. Durant lets him talk, but first Durant pulls out a small revolver and sets his watch for two minutes. Cullen tells him that he is the best gunslinger in the south. Cullen says he wants to help Durant build this railroad. Cullen knows about the money Durant receives but he has to keep up the pace. Cullen heads out with his life saved. Thor can't believe it when he sees Cullen in the distance and races over. Elam is also in the distance and gives Cullen a nod. They're both safe for now. Cullen is the new foreman and is happy to get a hold of Johnson's belongings. Cullen wants to find out more about the sergeant that killed his wife. Inside a bag, he finds a piece of needlework that was made by his wife.