Hell on Wheels

Season 1 Episode 6

Pride, Pomp and Circumstance

7
Aired Saturday 9:00 PM Dec 11, 2011 on AMC
8.5
out of 10
User Rating
62 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT

When Durant abruptly stops negotiating with the Cheyenne natives, Cullen and Elam will have to work together in order to save the lives of many in town.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Swedish Dances

    9.0
    I was honestly more excited about watching yesterday's episode of Hell On Wheels than the current piss poor season of Dexter. Every disappointing episode of Dexter has been followed by an uplifting one from this promising show. 'Pride, Pomp And Circumstance' wasn't one of the best episodes, but it had a lot going for it to make it relevant.



    So with the settlement getting ready for the arrival of the Cheyenne, Reverend Cole had a small favor to ask Cullen (guess what he was doing at the time? That's right! Glug glug). A group of Indians paying a visit to an American settlement does not exactly constitute a cordial environment. Cole asked Cullen to keep his workers in check, lest the railroad be decorated with scalps of different shapes and sizes.



    Remember Senator Jordan Crane?The dude Durant blackmailed in episode 1? The same dude paid a visit to Hell On Wheels this week to oversee negotiations with the Cheyenne and to make sure Doc D was keeping his nose clean (which he wasn't. Not by a long shot). And wouldn't you know it? The Swede has been feeding info to Crane all this time.Crane discovers Durant has siphoned off 147,000 smackeroonies of railroad money for his own personal use. So Crane has Durant's nut sack in a vice grip for a change, and he let him know it.



    Meanwhile the negotiation with Chief Many Horses didn't go well. Not that we were expecting it to go well. The Chief's argument made me stop and think for a moment. The Industrial Revolution was a landmark in human history, but it came at great cost. Some had to pay for it more than others. It never hurts to reflect and acknowledge the price people have paid for the advancement of civilization.



    Back at the construction site, Toole (fuzzy Irish dude who has a bee in his bonnet for Elam) got in Cullen's face for losing to Elam and for stopping him and his boys from doing what Reverend Cole was afraid of. Cullen (and the rest of us) finally got tired of his accent and his fuzziness, and thus decided to fire his ass. But fuzzy dude had big plans for this episode. Round two involved a second attempt to go with his armed comrades to confront the Cheyenne, but Cullen (doing his Clint Eastwood impression) would have none of it. And next came the coolest scene in the episode!



    How awesome was it to see Cullen and The Swede on the same side of things? I was rubbing my hands together going "Hell yeah, it's on!". This show already has loads of cool moments and this was one of the best.



    But wait, fuzzy dude wasn't done yet! Now visibly frustrated and pissed, he decided to direct his ire at the person it was originally intended for. It was an added bonus that Elam was in the act of getting cosy with Eva at the time. So will Elam get his ass whooped? Or will Cullen step in? Again?



    After the discovery that Joseph's tribe was indeed the same one that was responsible for her husband's death, Lily had a rough time in this episode. She even hinted that her stay at Hell On Wheels will be ending soon. After finally giving Durant the maps, she gave me the impression that she's done trying to be someone she's not.



    Tidbits



    - I personally thought the race between Pawnee killer (the Chief's son) and the train was redundant (am I using that right?). Maybe it had symbolic relevance, but I didn't feel it.

    - I'm still waiting for Common to miraculously reveal a different facial expression. So the probable ass whooping he's going to get next week is kind of a welcome development. Either that, or he needs to get his bowels evacuated.

    - Anson Mount is starting to grow on me as an actor. Maybe it's The Swede's influence.



    Overall, the series has given us another solid episode. But to keep the viewers interested, the story needs to move faster than it is right now. A gunfight between Toole and Elam sounds good. Or maybe an entire episode where we just follow The Swede around? Doesn't that sound cool?moreless
  • Danger lurks right around the corner as the "crunch time for the 40-miles approaches. Now the issue of the Indian problem is upon the men of the Union Pacific. If that was the only problem it would be enough, but many other potential threats hover.moreless

    8.0
    Durant, always plagued by financial issues, can now add the Indian problem as the railroad infringes on their sacred land. Thinking he has the full support of the United States military behind him he believes he is in a position of power as he enters into negotiations with The Cheyenne's chief. Not only does The Cheyenne see nothing of benefit offered by a government that has no apparent power over them, but Durant shames them with his suggestion of a race between the chief's son and Durant's great "iron horse". This race, an "off-the-cuff" proposal by Durant after the chief tells of his son's celestial vision of victory over the railroad, only creates irrepairable harm as the locomotive wins over a small distance. The lines are drawn and The Cheyenne are galvanized to stop the white man who they declare as evil. While no blood is shed presently the foreboding of great loss of life looms large.

    The episode "Pride, Pomp, and Circustance" largely lives up to the title as this is a transitional one with little action. What is does deliver is a myriad set of circumstances all wrought with great perils. If the men of theUnion Pacific don't fight among themselves to the point of loss of life, a possibility at any time in the unstructured and rogue life of the diverse workforce, it seems a given that with every new mile laid that possibility is ever more present courtesy of an Indian nation that opposes them. Even if the government is committed to whatever it takes to extend the railroad westward it won't be easy for Durant as the senator, once in his pocket, is now ready to go back to Chicago and expose Durant for using railroad money for his own personal stock speculation. Durant is in dire straights and just as it seems drowns himself in drink he gets a "gift horse" of the maps he desparately need in order to proceed through The Rockies from Mrs. Bell.

    With tensions over how to handle the Indiansbuilding between Bohannan and the other walking boss (who would love to kill Bohannon for no good reason), Bohannan finds a rare instance where he and "The Swede" are on the same side of the fence. They stop the walking boss fromgoing on an Indian hunt momentarily, but it's far from a truce in thatit only creates more dissent.The walking boss leaves with nothing but hate on his mind as he looks for his regular prostitute only to find she isn't there for him to abuse. His rage, barely contained anyway, is channeled into finding Eva and Elam (the black leadman) and inflicting his brand of justice.

    Pride, Pomp, and Circumstance isn't a particularly entertaining episode, but it's neccessary to create a building sense of how fragile the task facing all involved really is. The whole task of building a railroad with an outlaw workforce in hostile territory under corruption is a prescription for bloodshed. It is a certainty soon all of these problems will collide in a sort of critical mass to make even an inch of progress a major undertaking. A good, if not great episode, that compells the viewer to stay tuned to see how it all unfolds.moreless
Anson Mount

Anson Mount

Cullen Bohannon

Common

Common

Elam Ferguson

Philip Burke

Philip Burke

Mickey McGinnes

Eddie Spears

Eddie Spears

Joseph Black Moon

Ben Esler

Ben Esler

Sean McGinnes

Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney

Thomas "Doc" Durant

Gerald Auger

Gerald Auger

Cheyenne Brave

Guest Star

James D. Hopkin

James D. Hopkin

Senator Jordan Crane

Guest Star

Justin Michael Carriere

Justin Michael Carriere

Sentry

Guest Star

Christopher Heyerdahl

Christopher Heyerdahl

Thor Gunderson

Recurring Role

Duncan Ollerenshaw

Duncan Ollerenshaw

Mr. Toole

Recurring Role

Dohn Norwood

Dohn Norwood

Psalms

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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