Hell on Wheels
Pride, Pomp and Circumstance

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

Lily listens to all of this with interest, then jumps in with, "What about the route to the Rockies?" Doc, in the middle of taking a drink, glares at her over the rim of his glass. Lily bats her lashes and pretends to be but a simple-minded female. "Thomas has been trying to explain it to me -- I think I finally managed to grasp it -- that the route my husband mapped through the Rockies holds the key to Thomas choosing the right path..." This is apparently the first that Crane has heard of this. He turns to Doc for clarification. Thomas hems and haws and has to admit he doesn't have the maps. "No forty miles by May 16th," says Crane, "no government subsidies." He adds insult to injury by reminding Doc that Central Pacific has already made their quota. Doc boils. "Seems these Chinamen are quite the busy worker bees!" Crane says. Yes, it's how I make my recapping deadlines. Lily enjoys all this with barely concealed glee. That fourth dining guest is probably wondering if he can slink away from the table without anybody noticing.

In town, Cullen wants to have a word with Elam -- or Mr. Ferguson, as he finally calls him -- but Psalms stands bodily between them. Elam puts a hand on his shoulder, letting him know it's fine. We rejoin Cullen and Elam a moment later already in mid-conversation. "You ain't got to worry about us messin' with no Injuns," Elam says. "Ain't no red man ever bloodied my back." They shake on it. "We don't need no more fightin', do we?" Cullen asks. Elam teases him about their own fight. Cullen accuses Elam of cheating, saying he tasted the pepper juice. (I'm realizing now that's what he tasted when he wiped his face after the fight; I thought he was tasting a bucket of whiz. Glad I was mistaken.) Elam disavows all knowledge of cheating and Cullen instantly takes his word for it. If he thought the guy would cheat, why wouldn't he think the guy would lie about it? Anyway, they part on pretty good terms, it seems.

In the church, Ruth and Joseph lay some of those new Bibles on the pews. Judging by the number of books, they must be feeling pretty optimistic about attendance. Joseph smiles when Ruth glances up at him. They work in silence for a while. "How did your mother die?" Joseph asks without preamble. Does this guy have conversation skills, or what? "Consumption," Ruth answers. Joseph says that she's with God now and his earnestness is damned near heartbreaking. Ruth doesn't seem particularly eager to continue the talk, but Joseph keeps going. He tells her his own mother died when he was a boy. He remembers her taking him to the creek every morning, playing by pretending to drop him and then catching him at the last second. "She's with God now, too," he says. Ruth is perplexed. "Was she a Christian?" she asks. Joseph admits she was not. Ruth is even more confused. "Then... how can she be with God?" Joseph looks sad and they go back to work without speaking for a while. Then Joseph, displaying those smooth conversation skills again, says to Ruth that he's sorry her father left her. Ruth gets riled up, defending her father and his great mission to help the "inferiors." Joseph lets her stand in that pile for a bit. She awkwardly tries to explain that she meant the Negroes, but Joseph knows she also meant Indians like him.

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Hell on Wheels




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