Hell on Wheels: Hungry Ghosts Review

Warning shots have been fired. Here's our review of the latest episode of Hell on Wheels...

“I’m weary of Gentile serpents and their honey-lipped harlots.” – Brigham Young

The latest episode of Hell on Wheels is titled “Hungry Ghosts,” and it’s through this lens that viewers experience the people in Laramie, Wyoming and Truckee, California, as ghosts of the past and present hover just above the heads and in the hearts of the living. Which side will reign supreme? San Francisco seems to be as far away and exotic from Truckee as is China.

Ah-Tao, no longer for this world, expires in the arms of his daughter as the duplicitous Chang looks on and wipes blood from his face and tailored clothing. Ah-Tao is struck down before fulfilling his dream of returning China, a place he and his daughter escaped for a better life. There’s little Cullen can do to console Mei who wants Chang’s head on a platter. She realizes it would better honor her father to ship his body back to China rather than start a feud. 

Chang is determined to become more villainous than he was in China. If he only knew who and what he’s up against in early America, he’d change his mind or at least modify his methods. The characters are necessarily stubborn, or very little would get accomplished. 

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Brigham Young, “the lion of the Lord”, arrives in Laramie to check in on Thomas Durant and his outstanding payment. Durant, similar to Chang previously, is skimming profits. How will he weasel his way out of this predicament, or will he face the lion’s wrath and claw?

Some good deeds are thwarted in this episode. Bridge integrity stops the train transporting Ah-Tao’s body, and Bohannon’s stubbornness further complicates matters at the riverbank when all seems lost as Ah-Tao’s wooden coffin is sent bobbing and weaving down a turbulent river. 

Ah-Tao’s admonishment comes to mind as Cullen and Mei have a campfire dinner, and later as he watches her silhouette as she transforms from male to female in the tent. Inasmuch as he misses his wife and son, Bohannon’s a man and Mei’s a beautiful woman. It’s a lot for any man to deal with out in the woods without witnesses. An excellent chaste moment unfolds between Cullen and Mei in the tent. Both will have to let go of the past and embrace a possible future as an interracial couple. It would be a huge step for Bohannon to do so. 

Eva meets and chats with Brigham Young, and to my surprise it wasn’t demeaning or contentious. Eva was contemplative and nostalgic. Brigham was benevolent and patient, if only to have yet another woman in his congregation and bed.

Eva nurses Louise back to health after her stubbornness to land a front-page story could’ve lead to her demise or serious complications after her procedure. Louise’s emotional outburst was her way of releasing all people and things that haven’t made sense to her as a woman and a journalist.

Gunderson’s still hatching plans for Phineas to ascend to the top of the Mormon Church. I doubt they’ll be successful because they’ve underestimated Brigham’s power and reach. He reminded Maggie and Durant that he defeated the US Army, and would make quicker work of anyone else standing in his way. He’s not fond of Gunderson and thinks his son is a failure, and with this in mind, he’d trample them underfoot. Warning shots have been fired heading into the seventh episode.

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3.5 out of 5