Hell on Wheels
Pride, Pomp and Circumstance

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

Doc's train car. Crane takes his sweet time lowering the boom on Doc. It's like savoring a fine cognac. You don't just slam it down; you enjoy the sweet, sweet burn. He goes on a bit about whether or not Doc really has things under control, until Doc finally wonders if there's a point he's trying to make. "I'm well aware of your schemes," he says. "To put it plain, they don't concern me... except when they concern me." Doc gives Crane a long, hard look. "Jordan, why are you really here?" So Crane tells him that he knows Doc's been using Union Pacific funds to speculate on the railroad. Doc puffs and blusters with indignation about unfounded rumors and such. Then Crane mentions that $147,000 -- a sum far too specific to be rumor. Doc squirms but refuses to talk. Meanwhile, Lily's been listening to every word from the back of the car.

Many Horses and his people ride into town. They do not get the banners and bunting and tootling horns of welcome that Crane got. Instead, they are treated to all the sights and ungodly smells that Hell on Wheels has to offer. A woman vomits behind a building. A calf lies dead in the mud. Unkempt prostitutes glare at the Cheyenne as they pass. Some guy drives by and throws a bag of garbage out his car window. It's enough to make a grown man cry. "Come for more scalps, have ya?" Toole calls as they ride by the saloon. He takes off his hat and the Cheyenne dudes are probably like, "Ew, no, you can keep that." Many Horses and the others come to a stop in front of the church where Reverend Cole, Ruth and Joseph are waiting. The Reverend opens his arms wide. "Welcome to our town," he says. "Don't be afraid, you're among friends." (They don't look at all afraid.) The Reverend introduces Ruth and Joseph as his children and thanks the others for coming in the spirit of "peace and fellowship." Many Horses takes it all in, then turns to Ruth. "Are you the daughter he abandoned?" She looks up, mouth falling open in shock. "Maybe peace and fellowship are more important to him than his own family." Ruth looks away. The Reverend manages a smile even though he looks like he just swallowed a piece of glass. Or maybe he's upset by the electric guitars playing in the soundtrack right now.

Next thing you know, everyone's having a sit-down at a nice little table with some cheese and fruit. They're really getting a lot of use out of that fabric gazebo. The Reverend introduces Many Horses to Crane and Doc while the Swede stands off to the side in his long black coat like the Grim Reaper waiting to see who bites it first. Doc leans toward Many Horses. "Do... you... understand?" "I speak your language," Many Horses says. Doc seems surprised to hear this. Alas, although they're speaking the same language, there remains quite a gulf in understanding. Doc tells Many Horses that Crane has come to offer his people a "better way of life," and honestly cannot comprehend why Many Horses does not leap at the opportunity. Many Horses politely tells him that he's happy with the life he has now. Crane is baffled, too, that anyone would choose to live in -- as he calls it -- the Stone Age when they could join the great industrial revolution. Many Horses has no response to that. The Reverend tries to explain that Many Horses doesn't understand, but it seems like less a lack of comprehension than of agreement. "The United States government is prepared to offer you a piece of land of your own," Doc says. "We have our own land," Many Horses says. Crane bristles at that. To him, the government owns the land. To Many Horses, this is impossible since the government didn't buy or trade for it. The Reverend says Many Horses has a point.

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Hell on Wheels

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