Stars: Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Common, Dominique McElligott, Tom Noonan, Christopher Heyerdahl
Writer:  Mark Richard 
Director: Michael Nankin     
Network: AMC, airs Sunday nights
Original Telecast: September 9, 2012

Wow is “The Railroad Job” one of the biggest shoot ‘em up, bang ‘em up episodes of HELL ON WHEELS yet? All of Bohannan’s (Anson Mount) sins from the first episodes of this season definitely have come home to roost, and now it’s a question of who gets out alive when a town robbery gets botched.

This is one of those ‘crisis’ episodes of a series, where writers get to define who different characters and who they might become by putting them in a huge crisis with slim odds of survival. Elam (Common) who has been so/so this season in terms of being a character I like again, and being an absolute bastard seems to get himself together enough to figure out the town is fixing to be robbed. He’s one that tries to organize the people in the town to defend it, and recruits pretty much anyone that can shoot a gun into the fray. At the end of the day, however, he is remember as hiding behind a rail car while Bohannan takes all the confederates to task and cleans up the streets. This isn’t a fair way to end things with Elam, and he’s now shunned by the whites in camp AGAIN. Boo. Well he rose up the ranks once, he can do so again…somehow.

Sean (Ben Esler) and Mickey (Phil Burke) McGinnes are a surprise for me in this episode. They claim to not be killers, or comfortable being part of the defense for the town, even though they butchered the German a couple episodes back and fed him to his own pigs! Clearly seeing their shooting skills in this episode, they’re more ‘hands on’ killers because they really are a pretty lousy shot when it comes down to it. Plus the Madame of the shanty town whorehouse had to die to spur them into action. The aftermath of the whole thing also leads me to think that Mickey might be the new pimp on the block since he’s the one that tells the girls to get back to work.

I was pleased that Lily (Dominique McElligott) does eventually get off a shot during the whole robbery, instead of just laying on the floor with Durant (Colm Meaney), crying and covered in his blood. This is a woman who took an arrow out of her own shoulder in her first episode and then drop that same arrow through an Indian’s neck to survive. She can handle her own, and the writers would do well to remember that she is not ever going to be a shrinking violet.

Speaking of Durant, I love how once he’s been shot he spends the rest of the episode being referred to as “Old Man Durant” or the “Old Man.” When did everyone suddenly decided that he is such an aged person? Is it because he’s dying? I have no idea but I found it funny and odd.

Up next the Swede (Christopher Heyerdahl) and a newly sober Rev Cole (Tom Noonan) set out to arm the Indians. Just what everyone living in Hell needs….right? War is coming and it’s going to be messy and ugly before it ever gets better.

Related: Exclusive Interview with HELL ON WHEELS star Christopher Heyerdahl
Related: TV Review: HELL ON WHEELS – Season 2 – “Purged Away With Blood”

Related: TV Review: HELL ON WHEELS – Season 2 – “Scabs”

Related: TV Review: HELL ON WHEELS – Season 2 – “Slaughterhouse”

Related: TV Review: HELL ON WHEELS – Season 2  – “Durant, Nebraska”

Related: TV Review: HELL ON WHEELS – Season 2 Premiere – “Viva La Mexico”

RelatedExclusive Interview with HELL ON WHEELS  actress Dominique McElligott
RelatedExclusive Interview with HELL ON WHEELS co-creator Joe Gayton
Related: Exclusive Interview with HELL ON WHEELS star Colm Meaney

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Article: TV Review: HELL ON WHEELS – Season 2 – “The Railroad Job”

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