When AMC began the series “Hell on Wheels,” I had no idea I would become hooked to quickly. I shouldn’t be surprised as AMC has exploded with its amazing programming. Now, on Bluray from EntertainmentOne is “Hell on Wheels: The Complete Fourth Season!”
The series began in 2011 as we are introduced to Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), a former Confederate soldier during the Civil War looking for the murderers of his wife and son.
In season four things are beginning to expand westward as Bohannon follows the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. This is a fractured time between homesteaders, ranchers and all looking to control the hub in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Cullen is with Naomi (MacKenzie Porter) who is waiting to give birth at Fort Smith but once William is born they try to leave. Of course the Swede (Christopher Heyerdahl) is having none of that! Cullen has no choice but to threaten to reveal secrets and confess his own part in it all. In the truth there is freedom and Cullen breaks the chains!
When they arrive in Cheyenne Cullen is immediately on the defensive and Durant (Colm Meaney) refuses him a job. Psalms (Dohn Norwood) offers him a job which would end up saving lives because Delany has no idea, clearly, what he is doing.
In Wyoming, Durant is waiting for Governor Campell. After the accident Campell offers Cullen a better job which he turns down and the consequences are clear. Eva (Robin McLeavy) is working for a brothel and after a bad hand of poker wants to learn more about the game — sort of. The saloon is under siege and McGinnes (Phil Burke) ends up in jail since Durant refuse to help in the situation.
Things aren’t over at Fort Smith either as Hatch (James Shanklin) is onto the Swede who wants Brigham Young (Gregg Henry) to decide who he really is. When Young arrives, the charade is played out but there is more to this tale and Cullen’s name is dropped.
The Comanche find Elam (Common) and although up and around, it has cost him physically and mentally. Given the new name of Bear Killer, he thinks a woman named Charlotte (Sara Canning) is Eva. Out of control Elam begins a streak of misery that leads him back to the railroad tracks. Finding Cheyenne, Cullen tries to reason with his friend who just doesn’t remember anything with disastrous results.
Cullen puts together a plan to get to the mountain top and Delaney wants to try it. What he doesn’t know is that Naomi has gone to Fort Smith telling him that she will not return until he has changed. He can not stay to work things out because there are men that need his help.
The Swede and Young continue working together, and I’m head shaking as to why, but I get side stepped as a fire breaks out in the church set by Sydney! More devastation and some would say revenge for Eva but even that is interrupted as a ‘oh my gawd’ moments happens. No, I’m not going to tell you!
A trial begins, secrets of the heart are revealed and Cullen leaves Cheyenne to find his family. He arrives to discover Naomi and the baby are gone and smallpox has taken its toll. Taking up an offer with Central Pacific, it is the only chance for Cullen to find his family.
Once again the west is proving that hell ain’t civilized!
Mount as Bohannon has totally made this role his very own. From the very beginning he holds a bit of mystery in his eyes and his steely looks make it very difficult to know what he’s going to do from one moment to the next. O.K., so I love that! Mount has been working hard toward the success of “Hell on Wheels” having delved in television with the recent “Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden” and in motions pictures with “Non-Stop.” As Cullen Bohannon he has solidified his place in the Old West in a history that has so much more to be told.
Heyerdahl as The Swede has always been a character actor that can either move or creep me out. In this case it’s a weird twisted combination of both. I can not even picture anyone else taking on this role with the look and feel this actor brings to the character. He definitely knows how to use his face to get a reaction and sometimes I wonder if it was intended. There are times when there is such a blank feeling in his eyes as if he is making sure we don’t know what the Swede is up to.
The women on “Hell on Wheels” are keeping up the pace for sure! Porter as Naomi continues to believe that Bohannon might be something more than what he is and she wouldn’t be the first woman to think that. McLeavy as Eva is trying to make her way but the rules keep changing so she attempts to cheat the rules until reality stares her in the face. Kropinski as Ruth is getting ready to make her own statement that is not only shocking but so sad.
Meaney as Durant is such an actor that I can hardly describe. I have watched him continue to play roles and diverse characters making it look like a walk in the park. As Durant I totally believe he is manipulative and out for number one just by his demeanor so his words and actions just make it so much more fun to watch. As Durant, Meany pushes forward not only for the Union Pacific but for Durant as well.
Common as Ferguson has the opportunity to go full on challenge with where this character goes. I don’t want to talk about it much because it has to be seen to be believed. Norwood as Psalms befriends Cullen but ends up in a mess but that sometimes happens when you befriend someone that is totally unpredictable. To be honest however, it’s not always Cullen’s fault!
EOne also continues to bring amazing home entertainment to fans with their own library of over 40,000 films and television titles and 45,000 music tracks. I mention those numbers because that is so impressive bringing something for everyone. For more of what they have to offer please visit http://entertainmentone.com/home.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Hell on Wheels: The Complete Fourth Season” four tubs of popcorn out of five. Once again and I will repeat this to anyone who will listen, AMC has brought another amazing series to heights viewers and fans could not have imagined. “Hell on Wheels” takes the best and worst of the Old West and puts it directly in front of our faces.
The show is strongly character driven with an ensemble cast that does it absolutely justice. From the vast prairie shots to the stellar set designs and costuming, there isn’t one thing about this series that doesn’t scream success.
The Bluray includes the episodes: The Elusive Eden, Escape from the Garden, Chicken Hill, Reckoning, Life’s a Mystery, Bear Man, Elam Ferguson, Under Color of Law, Two Trains, Return to Hell, Bleeding Kansas, Thirteen Steps, and Further West. Also included are bonus features with A Look at Season 4, The New Characters of Season 4, Cheyenne Set Tour, Anson Mount Retrospective, On the Set with Colm Meany, On the Set with Jake Weber and Episode Featurettes. “Hell on Wheels” can be seen on AMC in its fifth season Saturday’s at 9 p.m.
In the end — he will show them how uncivilized the business of civilization can be!