Hell on Wheels
A New Birth of Freedom

Episode Report Card
Tippi Blevins: B- | Grade It Now!
Worst Employee Ever

The important thing to Doc is whether or not Cullen is building his railroad and the Swede, looking a hair dyspeptic, has to admit that he is. Although what gave him that impression is a mystery, since Cullen only just got the job. And he's already left his post to go riding off after Sergeant Harper. Doc turns to the telegraph operator and dictates a telegram to Senator Crane, the silver-haired fellow who sucked at negotiating bribes in the pilot episode. "Work continues at a fever pace -(STOP)- However, hostile native action threatens progress -(STOP)- The march of civilization in jeopardy -(STOP)-" As he goes on about the necessity of "displacing the savage," we check in on Joseph Black Moon and Lily Bell riding on horseback across a misty landscape. Lily, sitting in the saddle in front of Joseph, does her best to remain upright, but she's too weak. When she slumps forward, Joseph catches her and eases her off the horse. He carries her over to a patch of trees and lays her down with a gentleness that would surely shock Doc Durant.

As Joseph leans over her to check her wounds, he hears a gun cock behind him. He looks over his shoulder. It's Cullen. "You speak English?" Cullen asks. "Yes sir," Joseph answers. Cullen waves him away from Lily with his gun. Joseph, being a sensible sort, complies. He introduces himself and says that he's Christian when Cullen asks him if he's Cheyenne. Cullen assumes that Joseph has done something to Lily. Joseph explains about saving Lily from the Indians and how he's trying to take her to the railroad to see the doctor, but Cullen remains suspicious. After checking Joseph over for weapons, he moves over to Lily and checks her shoulder where Joseph tells him she took an arrow. He finally puts down his gun and peels back the neck of Lily's blouse for a look at her wound. It looks pretty nasty. Cullen gets Joseph to retrieve the field kit from his saddle bag. He seems to know instinctively what to do. He's efficient and capable and for the first time, I'm a teeny bit interested in his past. What did a tobacco farmer do in the war to make him so handy with field medicine?

"Hold her down," he says to Joseph. Cullen takes out a small pocket knife and starts to undo Lily's stitchery. It's no easy task, as the flesh has swollen and scabbed over the thread. Lily opens her eyes to the sight of the two men looming over her. She screams and struggles. She hears them as if from far away telling her to hush, which she understandably doesn't quite manage to do. Cullen digs around in the wound with a pair of pliers. Blood pours out. He digs some more and pulls out a fragment of arrowhead. Lily screams and then pants with relief that the ordeal is over. In a bit of shitty editing, the camera pans up and shows the wound all sewed up while Lily is still in mid-pant. Either Cullen managed to stitch it up faster than the eye could see, or it's a shot from before he started digging around. Joseph sweetly pats her hand.

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Hell on Wheels




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