This Hell on Wheels review contains spoilers.
Tonight’s episode is entitled “False Prophets,” and it’s through this lens that viewers experience liars, backstabbers, and men and women with honorable intentions attempt to and actually double-cross each other.
Cullen and Durant find themselves in the same room and in a familiar role as adversaries. Durant’s not a false prophet, but an honestly dishonest man who’d bet against a family member when the chips are stacked against him. A man who prefers shortcuts and huge profits. Bohannon is Durant’s moral opposite.
Phineas, scolded as an imbecile by his overbearing and impatient father, thinks he’s ready to overthrow ‘the lion of the Lord,’ and his summarily dismissed. He leaves without being heard, with a bruised ego and his tail between his legs.
There’s a fox or two in Eva’s brothel who have been undermining her power and position as the madam. Neither fully knows what she’s capable and willing to do to protect herself, and those she feels responsible. Josie is less a false prophet, but more of a spoiled child who wants a third serving of dessert and will lie to get it. Johnny’s an old-fashioned brute not given much to thinking.
Fat rich cats square off over railroad routes, each one with selfish agendas, and fingers crossed behind their backs while playing a shell game. Cullen’s surrounded by unscrupulous men in the boardroom. The aforementioned fat cats think they can persuade him to come over to their side. Brigham Young isn’t above trying to blackmail Cullen with information on his family’s whereabouts to gain favor with President Grant.
Eva takes discipline to a different level with Josie. Eva was raised among savage Indians, and Josie’s popular schoolgirl tactics are laughable at best. Josie learns too late not to cross Eva. Mickey approves of Eva’s handling the situation.
Phineas looks hypnotized thinking about murdering his father and assuming his place as the new head of the Mormons in Salt Lake City. He’s unfit for most tasks requiring strength, decisiveness and courage.
Cullen tries his hand at subterfuge and is convincing wearing his temporary mask. Cullen outsmarts all the men in the boardroom who thought he was the least savvy and intelligent at the table.
An unwanted prince tries to strip the emperor of his ornamental robes and crown, only to fail again. The ‘lion of the Lord’ doesn’t meet his heavenly father as Gunderson would’ve liked. He’s left clinging to life and out of commission. This might be enough revenge from his public shaming and defrocking in season four. Who are we kidding? Gunderson won’t stop until he’s made Cullen miserable. Thor escapes from the Mormons amidst chaos.
In the last few scenes we see a happy and smiling Naomi and baby William, a stone-faced Gunderson stomping through the grass in their direction, and off in the distance Cullen on horseback, galloping full speed in rescue mode. We’ll have to wait until next year to see what transpires in episode eight.