5
Dec
2011
Hell on Wheels: Season 1, Episode 4/5
Jamais Je Ne T’oublierai/ Bread and Circuses
Alex
I apologize for being late but a deadly combination of turkey and beer put me out of commission for a little bit. Fear not though! I have here for you today, two reviews for the price of one! So let's kick things off with the fourth episode of the first season of Hell on Wheels, "Jamais Je Ne T'oublierai."

I suppose at this point I'll stop telling you the actors are earning their keep and acting well. The cinematography in Hell on Wheels may be one of my favorite things about the show. They block out their characters and show the great open plains well enough that I would be happy to watch the show without sound.

While for the past few weeks I thought the world was expanding, this episode seems like where the show begins to reach its plateau. This is where we start diving deeper into the characters and seeing more interactions between them. It didn't have me as engaged as past episodes did, but getting to know the characters better was a refreshing change of pace.

Grade: B

Notes:
-I'm starting to get annoyed by Irish accents.
-I can not wait until Common just goes off and beats down some fools.

Second up is the fifth episode of the season, "Bread and Circuses."

Well, ask and ye shall receive. They began the set up for Common's character Elam to get in a tussle in the previous episode. And I must say I was looking forward to it. There are plenty of people in Hell on Wheels that talk crap to Elam and his, so I was definitely excited to see him put the hurt on some of them. So, when the fight he ended up in was with Bohannon, you can imagine I was thoroughly disappointed.

The whole of the episode centered a round the fight. Unfortunately, the fight just wasn't very exciting. I don't know if I would go so far as to say it was ridiculously paced, but it was certainly strange and slow. Do I want to see Bohannon beat up someone? Of course! I love that guy. Do I want to see Elam beat up someone? That would be grand as long as it's someone I don't like more than him.

This left me kind of deflated when it was all said and done. I didn't feel the sense of satisfaction I wanted when I was looking forward to seeing Elam fight. And the icing on the cake was that the Irishman made Common cheat in the fight, unbeknownst to him. While it did give me hope that at least one Irishman would be sad and have life disappoint him, it also drove a wedge in between Bohannon and Elam which was the last thing I wanted to see happen.

At the beginning of Hell on Wheels I was excited for the possibility of these two characters that I liked, Bohannon and Elam, to be pals. Slitting peoples throats for one another and what not. But now it feels like they're just going to have a standard antagonistic relationship with each other. To me that doesn't sound too exciting, but I will wait to see how it plays out in the long run before jumping ship.

Grade: C+

Notes:
- Round 1: Bohannon lands all the punches; Elam zero.
Round 2: Elam lands all the punches; Bohannon zero.
Round 3-Finish: They both land a punch here and there and are slow.
-I'm trying to take solace that in some alternate universe there's a buddy cop/western where Elam and Bohannon run away together killing people who have done wrong and wronged them.
Tags: Hell on Wheels
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