Hell on Wheels: White Justice review

Racial tension runs high in the latest Hell on Wheels episode. Here's Kendall's review...

 This Hell on Wheels review contains some spoilers.

The latest Hell on Wheels episode is entitled “White Justice”, and it’s through this lens viewers see a familiar story of American racism at play. The white justice temporarily made sworn enemies become allies.

It’s not only white justice on display. The opening scenes toggle back-and-forth between a frantic Ah Fong working feverishly to disguise her identity as their village is attacked and set afire, and their sea voyage to America.

She must camouflage herself, or be taken as a bride of an evil gangster. Chaos underscores her frantic female-to-male gender transformation. It’s a sacrifice she must make in order to travel to America. Ah Fong and her father hope that who and what may lie ahead will be better than who they’re trying to escape from in their smoldering village.

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Cullen wants to protect Ah Fong in the aftermath of her startling revelation. He doesn’t fully understand the gravity of her situation if she’s discovered and shipped back as property to China.

Gunderson, aka The Swede, continues to poke and prod Bohannon because he has nothing better do, or he thinks he’ll eventually break his spirit. He’s waiting for day that won’t likely happen: Cullen kneeling before him as he lays an anointed hand on his head. Gunderson believes he’s God’s messenger and punisher.

When not trying to beguile Cullen, Gunderson’s off manipulating Mr. Chang, who doesn’t know he’s in bed with the devil. Chang’s brand of evil doesn’t compare to The Swede’s innate darkness.

When the Irish rail workers begin thinking they’re better than the Chinese, a stick of dynamite is lit. It’s always the case when one group thinks it’s better than another oftentimes disenfranchised group in America. The US has long attempted to be a melting pot, a land of opportunity for all, and has failed miserably.

A few historically try to extinguish the fires of racism, however those who feel they should skip ahead to the front of the line find ways to steal, maim, and murder the innocent. I think it odd that early European immigrants laid claim as Americans, and then tried to police those who arrived later. They weren’t Native Americans, but outcasts and escapees seeking refuge themselves. Racists tend to feel empowered at the other end of a gun or a hangman’s noose.

Gunderson worked Phineas into a fine lather, leading him to mistrust his father. Brigham Young’s son is an ideal pawn to pit against him as Gunderson stews in his juices. He’s plotting and biding his time to strike both Cullen and the father of Mormonism.

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Mr. Chang gets a rude awakening that America isn’t fair and equal for all, regardless of his perceived self-importance, and masterminding the importation of Chinese laborers. I expect Chang will exact his own form of justice in the near future.


3.5 out of 5