Hell On Wheels “Timshel” Review

It’s hard to make a battle scene look so dull. But having it set to the tune of Mumford and Sons Timshel is one way of slowing down the action. The other way is having it in actual slow motion, which works well in a Zack Snyder or Tarsem film because they’re not there for some sort of aesthetically pleasing tableau of immortals taking on a fair few dozen titians. It does not, however, work particularly well in Hell On Wheels. The slow motion looks cheap, as if it gives the director a way to fill up five minutes of screetime and less action to choreograph. Plus, it just makes the violence look fake, even faker than gods fighting titans.

I suppose you could say that I’ve not enjoyed Hell On Wheels this year. It has been renewed for a second season, and I hope it will work out its various kinks by then. But every time I see two Native Americans concersing in English, I die a little inside. The scene near the end, off all of the men laying the rail tracks, was so much more exciting and interesting than anything the show has ever done. Hopefully the show will bring us more of that, and less of whatever else has gone on this season.

The show could be really good. The writers have to get away from simple storytelling, self-indulgent monologues and just really poor creative decisions and instead give the actors the oppurtunity to show off the talent they have, instead of making Lily Bell ask for champagne or sherry at a bar counter.

Next week is the first season finale of Hell On Wheels. The show has not exactly been a success on any level and it is so lazily offensive that you’d be forgiven for giving up on it, but next year I’ll certainly return at least for the first few episodes in the hopes that it’s improved.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.