Third season of Hell on Wheels tells about the next chapter in the construction of North Pacific Railroad. Bohannon and Durant battle each other for the control of the process; and while Durant has money and influence, Bohannon has the support of the people, as well as of those significant powers who value that factor. Mr. Ferguson becomes the chief of police, and grows to be Bohannon’s friend. McGuiness brothers fall apart: Mickey continues handling the brothel, and Sean goes into accounting for the railroad (while spying in favour of Durant). Mr. Tool’s brother shows up to claim Eve’s baby on account of blood ties. Ruth becomes a preacher instead of her father. Mormons become a significant factor the railroad has to deal with, and take the place of the indians in that respect, although the latter do not go away either. A reporter comes to tell the story of the railroad construction, and about people who work there. General Ulysses Grant appears in the picture as one of the deciding powers.
The Gayton brothers stopped writing for the show, and stepped down as its creative force; instead John Wirth became the showrunner. It didn’t cause a drop in quality, quite the contrary, actually, because I don’t feel that constraint I felt during the 1st and (to a lesser extent) 2nd seasons. It’s like walls around the scene have suddenly been lifted, and the space and light filled everything. Having got rid of some characters, including the priest and Fair-haired Maiden of the West, the show revived its spirit.
The arc story is rather complex and even delicate, as there are a lot of tiny parts and conjunctions, that are easy to break if handled without logic and understanding of the nature of things. Fortunately, the writing team is quite amazing – there is nothing in their stories that goes against those things. In fact, some of those stories are extremely powerful: mormon father making a decision; the death of the first new chief of police; Swede acquiring new life for himself, but being unable to change his distorted mind; the game of stickball; water shortage; general Grant interference; the quarrel between the McGuiness brothers; mr. Ferguson trying to help Bohannon, but falling at the paw of the bear; and many others, including the finale. All these different stories entwine together in a truly astonishing canvas.
The authenticity remains as it was – extremely high. Psychological development of characters is logical and plausible. The narration in general is captivating.
All in all, the show only keeps growing better and stronger. I hope this tendency will continue for season 4 and 5 as well.
Created by: Joe Gayton and Tony Gayton
Creative force: John Wirth
Directed by: David Von Ancken, Adam Davidson, Dennie Gordon, Neil LaBute, David Straiton, Deran Sarafian, Rosemary Rodriguez, Billy Gierhart
Written by: Mark Richard, John Wirth, Mark Richard, Reed Steiner, Jami O’Brien, Bruce Marshall Romans, John Wirth, Lolis Eric Elie, Tom Brady
Performed by: Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Common, Christopher Heyerdahl, Jennifer Ferrin, Robin McLeavy, Phil Burke, Ben Esler, Kasha Kropinski, Dohn Norwood, Tayden Marks, Kira Bradley, Chelah Horsdal, Serge Houde, Sean Hoy, Haysam Kadri, Damian O’Hare, James Shanklin, Tim Guinee, Siobhan Williams
Time: 7h8m (a. 10 episodes)
Entertaining quality: 5 out of 5
Art quality: 5 out of 5
Links: (website) | (wiki)