Everyone's in a sour mood this week. Doc is in a funk because not only does it look like he's not getting the military backup he wants, but the government is impatient to see more progress on the railroad. Elam is pissed because the prostitutes won't do business with him and his white coworkers make more money than he does. Elam's fellow freedmen are pissed at him when he temporarily takes over as walking boss. Joseph is feeling frustrated because his baptism means nothing to his fellow Christians, who still see him as a savage. Cullen is glum because... well, because he's Cullen. You could give him a basket of puppies and he'd just mope about how he doesn't deserve to smell their sweet puppy breath.
After he finds Daniel Johnson's stash of badly Photoshopped photos and learns the name of the murderous Sergeant Harper, Cullen sets off to find him some twenty miles from Hell on Wheels. Along the way, he comes across Joseph and Lily. The "fair-haired maiden" isn't doing well, but Cullen manages to fix up her shoulder and she's soon on the mend. Cullen wants to be on his way, but he realizes Joseph will most likely be killed by vengeful white men if he shows up with Lily. And Cullen knows from vengeful white men. Meanwhile, the Swede has sent several of his men to look for Lily, amongst them the Weasel, who lives up to my nickname. Cullen dispatches them and returns Lily safely to camp, but turns right back around and continues his search for the sergeant. He's already taken off more time from work than he's actually been at work.
By the end of things, Doc is feeling slightly better, thanks to a visit to the Tent of Magic Lamps and Irish Nostalgia. He listens to the lads talk about the freedom the rail represented to them back in Dublin and comes up with a new way to rally the public behind him. Stay tuned for the full recap.
Previously: Daniel Johnson was just about to give up the sergeant who strangled Cullen's wife, but then Elam killed him before he could say the name. A Norwegian called the Swede imprisoned Cullen for Johnson's death. Robert Bell and his railroad survey team were killed by Cheyennes; only his wife Lily survived and escaped with the team's maps. Doc offered a hundred-dollar reward to anyone who finds Lily. Joseph Black Moon found her before his brother (aka the Worst Cheyenne Tracker Ever) could kill her. Cullen escaped from prison and convinced Doc to give him Johnson's foreman job.
Currently: Night has come again to Hell on Wheels. It's the only time the place looks remotely civilized, since the shadows hide most of the grunge. In Johnson's old tent, Cullen roots around the man's belongings. He pauses for a moment, rubs his eyes to let us know how he's been at this for a while now. From a small trunk, he pulls out a wooden box. Inside, there's a newspaper clipping about the Union veteran's shooting death in D.C. Cullen glances at it. Hopefully he thinks to himself, "Maybe I should try to be more subtle about things, so as to not get myself found out before I finish all my avenging." But probably not. Cullen gives a big sigh, then notices something about the lid of the box.
He lifts up a flap and uncovers a secret compartment filled with some of the worst examples of Photoshopping seen outside a preteen girl's Twilight shrine. In one photo, Johnson's giant head sits atop a trim soldier's body, the outline of his beard trimmed as if by gardening shears. Another photo shows the entire cast of Cullen's shit list. As his gaze goes from man to man, we follow along in flashbacks. He comes across Corporal Prescott first; he was the man Cullen killed in the confessional. Then there's Private Wristner; Cullen shoots the man while he's availing himself of an outhouse. A Lieutenant Tanner is shot in bed. Cullen finally stops reminiscing about his past kills and comes to the last man in the photograph -- the murderous Sergeant Harper. Alas, someone went a little overboard with the blur tool and his face looks like an unidentifiable alien mess. Cullen thinks for a long time, and then slowly folds the picture in half. Cue the opening credits.
Bright and early the next morning, a locomotive pulls into Hell on Wheels, belching copious black smoke. Everyone's like, "Pollute the air all you want! It's only 1865!" Workers slog through the filth and the mud, ignoring the Reverend as he tries to drum up some business. "Good morning, sinners!" he greets them. "I can say that, because I'm a sinner, too. I know the dark path of drink and debauchery... but now I'm on the path to God's light!" He invites everyone to come with him, but nobody takes him up on the offer. Mickey steps outside the Tent of Magic Lamps and Irish Nostalgia to dump a bucketful of urine on the ground. The thought occurs to me that perhaps it wasn't rainfall that made all that mud. "All are welcome," says the Reverend. "Black, white, sinner or saint. Even you Papists!" He gestures to the Irish lads. "Thank you, Father," Mickey says, then corrects himself: "I mean, Reverend." Sean is just a bit aghast, but it's not just religious tolerance that has him out of sorts. Their show the previous night wasn't the blockbuster it usually is and he doesn't anticipate the next show being any different. He's upset that Mickey doesn't seem to be as worried as he is. "The Swede will come calling again, sooner rather than later," he reminds his brother.