Fifth and final season of Hell on Wheels revolves around the last chapter in building of the Transcontinental Railroad, this time from the sides of Central and Union Pacific companies both. Cullen Bohannon keeps looking for his lost family, and accepts an employment from Collis Huntington, the proprietor of the Union Pacific, solely because he promises him aid in that endeavour. He works really hard to get through the mountains, and in doing so he dives deep into the world of Chinese refugees who are employed there as the primary workforce. Secondary workforce is the Mormons managed by Brigham Young’s youngest son, who, in his turn, is managed by the infamous Swede. Thor Gundersen works hard to undermine prophet’s authority in the eyes of his son, aiming to take his place. Durant struggles with lack of cash and many other hindrances that are accompanying the construction. Eva and Mickey run a business together, and they too have their issues. Louise doesn’t have her own newspaper anymore, but continues to follow the construction as a freelance writer. Both Huntington’s and Durant’s enterprises experience various kinds of trouble while racing for the big prize – the coal minds of Ogden.
So, this last season is incredibly deep, rich with ideas, characters and situations, it is inserted into the universe of discourse in the most sublime manner, and it is executed beautifully. In this respect it’s not very different from other 2 seasons ran by John Wirth, meaning it’s just as amazing. Stories of the Bohannon’s family, of Thor Gundersen, of mr. Chang, and then of Ah Fong and mr. Tao; the insanely fascinating race of the railroads; the development of Psalms’, and Louise’s and Eva’s, and Mickey’s stories – everything, basically, is thought-out and written perfectly – there’s really no way around that word, – every one of those items is perfect, and they coexist with each other in harmony so wonderful, there are no words to describe it. You can feel it, though, and I strongly encourage you to watch this show, because it’s really worth it. The authenticity of the world described is astonishing; the acting is admirable; the photography, the sound, the music, – every element of implementation brings enjoyment along with a multitude of emotional response.
I do not know of any other show, present or past, on the TV that was anything like Hell on Wheels. Sure, it started off in a somewhat confined, narrow manner, but it grew better every season, and eventually it became if not genius than pretty damn close to it. One of the best shows I’ve seen, that much I’m certain about.
Created by: Joe Gayton and Tony Gayton
Creative force: John Wirth
Directed by: David Straiton, Billy Gierhart, Clark Johnson, Karen Gaviola, Neil LaBute, Rod Lurie, Michael Nankin, Marvin V. Rush, Adam Davidson, Tim Southam, Jeremy Webb, David Von Ancken
Written by: Jami O’Brien, John Wirth, Thomas Brady, John Romano, Max Hurwitz, Michael Saltzman, Miki Johnson
Performed by: Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Christopher Heyerdahl, Jennifer Ferrin, Robin McLeavy, Phil Burke, Dohn Norwood, Tim Guinee, Byron Mann, Reg Rogers, MacKenzie Porter, Angela Zhou, Chelah Horsdal, Josh Caras, Tzi Ma, Andrew Howard, Jennifer Lim, Amber Chardae Robinson, Victor Slezak, Jake Weber, Gregg Henry, Toby Hemingway, Andy Yu
Time: 10h15m (a. 14 episodes)
Entertaining quality: 5 out of 5
Art quality: 5 out of 5
Links: (website) | (wiki)