Hell On Wheels “God Of Chaos” Review

So, that ended. And instead of focusing on the negative – the terrible storytelling, the uninteresting characters, the awful relationships built between these characters, the racism-particularly against the American Indians (they spoke English even amongst each other-it’s just the height of creative laziness, The guy who played Hiro on Heroes at least translated his lines into Japanese, I mean, could they not get one translator out there to translate a half dozen lines once every four episodes?) – I think I should focus on the positive. Finally, finally, Hell On Wheels managed to produce an episode with a few pretty shots. Sure, it’s set out in some of the most beautiful terrain in the world, but up until now, with the opening landscape scene and the scene of Cullen standing under the clothes line during the storm, the show’s cinematrography had been distinctly lacking.

Okay, so I did a fairly poor job of focusing on the positive. I don’t want to be the negative snotfaced ignoramous with a clipboard in hand, ticking off each time a show does something racist or sexist, each time a show features a canned laugh track or a poor moment of exposition or terrible bit of dialogue. That’s just crap. But Hell On Wheels is, for me, possibly the most disappointing show I’ve seen in a long time. I know a lot of people said that The Killing featured the worst season finale ever. I don’t disagree, but I never held such expectations for The Killing. I was always aware that that show was, at its heart, a procedural with a high concept and it would likely disappoint. But Hell On Wheels featured no such high concept. I figured, going into it, it’d be more along the lines of Deadwood, with perhaps less philosophy and psychology and more action and adventure.

Hell On Wheels featured instead an array of uninteresting characters, no humour, no insights into anything of interest. It featured a lot of monologues and people suddenly doing crazy things like hacking off other peoples’ heads, all amidst a revenge plot which wasn’t even resolved in tonight’s episode, with Cullen predictably killing the wrong man, thus resetting the entire show back to square one, or thereabouts. Worst of all, it was boring. There’s nothing worse than boring.

Maybe it was the first season syndrome. Here’s hoping that next year the creators will get the stuff that did not work under grips. You can’t change the casting at this point (though killing off several characters wouldn’t hurt at all) but you can at least provide the characters with interesting stories. Here’s hoping it doesn’t go further off the rails.