Hell on Wheels
Pride, Pomp and Circumstance

Episode Report Card
Tippi Blevins: C+ | 2 USERS: D+
YOU GRADE IT
Plains, Trains and Credit Mobilier

Previously: A Cheyenne soldier shot Lily with an arrow. She returned the favor by yanking the arrow out of her shoulder and turning him into a kabob with it. Doc bribed Senator Crane into working on his behalf by threatening to route his railroad around the Senator's land in Nebraska. Elam won a boxing match against Cullen, thanks in part to Sean slathering Elam's wrappings with pepper. Lily confessed to Doc that she has her husband's survey maps, but she didn't hand them over. Reverend Cole asked Joseph's father, Many Horses, to come to Hell on Wheels and talk peace. The Swede overheard Doc sending a suspicious telegram to his stockbroker. Elam made secret friends with the tattooed lady.

Currently: Doc has slapped a festive veneer on the open sewer that is Hell on Wheels. The train platform is bedecked with patriotic bunting and a big banner welcoming an as-yet-known visitor. Three musicians practice some distance away until Doc calls them closer to the platform. One man plays a fiddle, another a trombone. A shabbily-dressed woman -- likely a repurposed prostitute -- plays a tuba. I hope she becomes a regular. A tuba-toting hooker in the Old West is just automatically one of the most interesting characters on the show. Doc is exasperated to learn that the band leader plans to play "Dixie," and requests "Battle Hymn of the Republic" instead. As a train draws near, Doc hurries a photographer up onto the platform. Much to Doc's surprise, Lily wordlessly comes to his side and slips her hand into the crook of his elbow. "She takes my arm even as she stabs me in the back," he passive-aggressives. Lily remains cool. "Have you given my proposal any further consideration?" He calls it extortion. Lily calls it fair. Doc puffs up his chest and refuses to deal, but Lily just smiles like she has all the time in the world to wait for him to come around.

Doc excuses himself as the train pulls up. He commands the band to start playing. They're not terribly good, but one can't be too choosy. The last car in the train also bears patriotic bunting, which just seems like an open invitation to robbers. Senator Crane steps onto the platform, all smiles for the assembled masses. He looks like an alien from another planet in this setting, dressed as he is in a natty black suit, ascot and top hat. Doc refrains from dropping to his knees and puckering at Crane's posterior, but just barely. He turns to the crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor for me to introduce a true friend of the railroad, who has come here with the full backing of the United States Senate to meet with the Indians, to thwart their opposition to our cause! From the great state of Illinois, Senator Jordan Crane!" Crane stands there with a big smile, eating it all up. Polite applause goes up from the gathering. Cullen, seated on his horse, watches from the back of the crowd and looks unimpressed.

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Hell on Wheels

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