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S04.E05: Life's A Mystery

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Elam! Cannot wait for next week. As much as I dislike the actress playing Naomi, I was holding my breath that she or the baby might get killed. I think that the character (cannot remember his named) that knew of Cullen's past, truly illustrated how far Cullen has come in his own personal development, 

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Beware of old friends whom you haven't seen or heard from in years, coming into town to look you up.  I hope that's the last we've seen of Sidney Snow but I wouldn't be surprised if he busted out of jail.  Then I'd love for Psalms to find him and take him out, legally, so he wouldn't get into trouble.   

 

I didn't think he would get a chance to kill Naomi or the baby because that would have been such an easy and convenient way to get rid of them.  I want her to just take the baby and go back to her family.  

 

I'm sorry that kid got shot, but when I saw him lying on the floor, for a second I thought he was Ezra until I realized he was the kid on the train.

 

That fight in the mud with Mickey and the carpetbagger reminded me a little of the epic fight between Dan and that henchman in Deadwood.  Although nothing can touch that fight.

 

I think this season has been great so far, but the one thing I worry about is the ongoing saga with the Swede, and how it might negatively affect ratings.  From what I've read on a couple of sites, people are really getting sick and tired of this storyline.  This is similar to what happened with the "who killed Martha" storyline in Longmire, and that show just got cancelled.   

 

I guess Durant survived the beatdown?  Nice to see that Eva took his advice to heart.  She looks cleaner.

 

Can't wait to see Eva's, Cullen's and Psalms' faces when Elam comes back.

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I think this season has been great so far, but the one thing I worry about is the ongoing saga with the Swede, and how it might negatively affect ratings.  From what I've read on a couple of sites, people are really getting sick and tired of this storyline.  This is similar to what happened with the "who killed Martha" storyline in Longmire, and that show just got cancelled. 

 

Agreed. The story arc about Gundersen is tedious and tiring. It should have ended with his hanging on the bridge. As of now, he is getting to be more and more like a dark comedic relief. Besides, if the Mormons want to know whether he is real or not, why does they not ask him in details about the teaching of the Latter Day Saint movement? So far what Gundersen provides is just vague ideas about God and Jesus and speak-in-tongue gibberish.

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Aside from Naomi and Ethan the Mormon storyline needs to go pronto. It added nothing to the overall story arc of the show during tonight's episode and I want to see more from the other women on the show other than Naomi. The Mormon story is taking precious time away from them.

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I know this show doesn't care about being true to its era 95% of the time, but there is just no way you would have a man openly confessing his love for another man in that time period, even to someone he fully intended to beat to death a few minutes later. No way. That's hardly commonplace even today.

 

The guest star (dont' know who he was but he reminded me of Greg Allmann) did a good job of playing a rogue. You get the feeling he'll always land on his feet.

 

Once again Cullen's wife is annoying me. So shocked to hear of his murderous past., then passively aggressively scolds him for not killing when SHE thought it was appropriate. Ugh.

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I know this show doesn't care about being true to its era 95% of the time, but there is just no way you would have a man openly confessing his love for another man in that time period, even to someone he fully intended to beat to death a few minutes later. No way. That's hardly commonplace even today.

 

The guest star (dont' know who he was but he reminded me of Greg Allmann) did a good job of playing a rogue. You get the feeling he'll always land on his feet.

 

Once again Cullen's wife is annoying me. So shocked to hear of his murderous past., then passively aggressively scolds him for not killing when SHE thought it was appropriate. Ugh.

I don't like the actress (just a visceral thing;she's done nothing wrong), but I can see the point differentiating between killing to protect onesself or one's family as opposed to other reasons. The law accepts those diferences as well. I was also annoyed at Cullen at that moment because he assumed that 'justice' would be done, and we'd just seen the Swede escape justice for the umpteenth time.

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but I can see the point differentiating between killing to protect onesself or one's family as opposed to other reasons.

 

Fair point. It probably annoys me most because it's one more thing for her to nag about and express disapproval of Cullen  (obliquely of course).  She's just always so disappointed in him. It's already getting old to me, so I know it has to be old to Cullen too. :)

Edited by bentley

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Well, add me to the list of tired of the Swede story. I think Chris Hyerdahl does a great job with what he is given and I so much enjoyed him in the earlier episodes. But this story arc is getting problematic. Brigham Young being portrayed as a master manipulator (i.e. well maybe the Swede can be of some service after all) may be somewhat true to form but I'm not sure it is going to set right with some. I know i am not the only one who is waiting for the Dutson child to point at Swede when he rolls back into Cheyenne at Brigham Young's request. That should have happened three episodes ago.

 

But, hey! Elam!! That is the best thing tonight. I thought that he might have been caught up with the indians when they foreshadowed that in the episode with the indian on horseback as Bohannan rode by.

 

I also like that Psalms has been given a meatier role with the absence of Elam. And I really like the fact that this post-war reconstruction era is showing the freedom that African Americans enjoyed before Jim Crow laws set in.

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The guest star (dont' know who he was but he reminded me of Greg Allmann) did a good job of playing a rogue. You get the feeling he'll always land on his feet.

 

He did such a good job that I'll be sorry to see him go. He livened things up considerably, in light of how dreadfully boring I find this storyline with Cullen & Mormon wife. I was actually hoping she got shot in that store (I know, I'm horrible), because I hate this storyline so damned much. Also, every time they cut to the Swede it pisses me off. I agree with everyone who stated his role should have ended on that bridge. He was one of the best villains ever up to that point.

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The guest star (dont' know who he was but he reminded me of Greg Allmann) did a good job of playing a rogue. You get the feeling he'll always land on his feet.

He played Carter's crack head cousin Chase on ER if that helps!!

Edited by tomsmom

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Christopher Hyerdahl is a great actor and the Swede has been a great villain and foil, but good God this story just will not end.  They've added new characters and expanded the canvas this season, which I like a lot,  but it's hard to get a handle on it all and get any sense of momentum when everything screeches to a halt periodically so we can get yet another installment of "meanwhile, back at the Mormon fort..."   I have no idea where any of it's going and frankly, just don't care.

 

I kept feeling like I had missed something this week to see Cullen back on the freedmen's work gang.  I somehow got the impression last week that he and Durant were reluctant allies again between the whole scouting trip and carpetbagger discussion and he was back where he belonged.  They've really got enough going on without dragging out that story point and Durant really does need someone dependable to have his back, no matter what he might think of him personally.

 

The Mickey mudfight to the death was indeed reminiscent of Deadwood and a nice reminder that Mickey's a killer too who really shouldn't have been pushed so far.  I'm curious to see if they'll have any way of pinning it on him or if they just decided to go after Durant instead because they couldn't.

 

I really really enjoyed Sid for all his complete crudeness and inability to show any tact or discretion whatsoever and found myself hoping they'd find some way to be able to keep him around.  Killing kids and storekeepers in front of witnesses and just behaving like a general psycho would seem to make that pretty tough though.  He was a great reflection of where Cullen had come from and that for all of his current sober, Mormon marrying, enlightened friend of freedmen and church ladies ways, Cullen has a pretty dark past too that may or may not be all that deeply buried.

Edited by nodorothyparker
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The guest star (dont' know who he was but he reminded me of Greg Allmann) did a good job of playing a rogue. You get the feeling he'll always land on his feet.

I was trying to think of who he reminded me of and, yes, it's Greg Allman.  At first, I wanted to like him because he had that roguish look and smile, and he would have been a nice counterpoint to Cullen's personality.  He looked like the type who would hang because of a woman.  I was hoping even when he called the freedmen the N-word and didn't want to work for a black boss, that he would realize that things had changed and he had to adapt, just like Cullen.  Too bad he turned out to be a crazed killer.  He felt sorry for killing that poor kid and you could see him thinking about whether or not to kill Naomi, but in the end I have no doubt that he would have if not for Cullen.

 

I just don't like the actress who plays Naomi, or the character.  Don't like her at all.  Since she seems so disappointed in Cullen because he's not man enough like her father, I just want her to take the baby and go back to her people.

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Another thing about her that annoyed me was when she told Cullen she was at the store to buy bread.  I just thought it was strange of her to say that because, obviously, she was there to buy something.  It's as if she said "bread" to make like he wasn't feeding his family well enough.  And again, there was that look of disappointment.  She just bugs.

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Why is it strange that she was there to buy bread?  She obviously doesn't have the means to make bread in their little tent, and they have to eat.  She was likely there to buy something, so I don't get why she would "make up" something.  She has no garden, so no way to grow food, no livestock so no eggs or milk, no ability to mill flour or grain, no way to churn butter.  She has to buy everything they eat, and he must know that, so what is so strange about that?

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I really like Naomi and her story is one I hope is explored further.  She doesn't have the survival instinct of Eva or the independence of Ruth and Louise.  She's dependent on her faith and her husband, and doing the best she can with both in the care and raising of her son.  A lot of marriages back then (and, in many places, even now) formed for reasons other than love and I'm interested in watching two people navigate their way to a relationship that works for both of them.  I see Naomi doing the best she can to provide for her family under very challenging and unfamiliar circumstances.  I think giving up on the marriage is too easy an answer, and neither Cullen nor Naomi seemed inclined to the easy path.

 

I was really surprised by the reveal of Bohannon's attack on the Yankee train.  I knew he'd done things during the War and was no saint, but the massacre of sick and injured soldiers as well as the medical staff was really shocking to me.  I can see why he doesn't like to talk about what happening during those days. 

 

I skipped past the parts in the Mormon compound this week.  I just can't with the Swede any more.  I need that storyline to be done because I think the show is struggling to integrate the carpet-baggers into the Cheyenne storyline.  The new characters have no nuance.  I want them to make sense too.  Before he started to eat the show, the Swede was a fully-realized character with motivation and backstory and a purpose.  The carpet-baggers just are at the moment.  I want more from them.

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Didn't like the idea of them marrying(if you can call that being married) Cullen in the first place or the way they went about it.

That whole storyline  I thought was so "cut and dried","contrived". Not really watching a lot of it. Something about Naomi. She sounds and looks to good to be true.

Unfortunately Common isn't around this season yet probably due to all the new characters they have added recently.

I like the character Ruth. Do you think she will be staying on in Cheyenne after the rest leave like she said she was or will something happen to change her mind?

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I do wonder what the heck Cullen and Naomi talked about on the way to Cheyenne.  I don't know how long it took them to get there but it certainly should have been enough time for them to talk about what life was going to be like there.  I can't imagine Cullen not telling her about at least some of the people--like Elam, Durant, Eva, Ruth, Mickey, newspaper lady, the freedmen working on the railroad.  It just seems strange that she seems so clueless.

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Just spouting off random thoughts and putting my two cents in (which I hope is okay).  First, I just want the Swede dead so they can put that whole story line to bed.  Permanently.  As in "dirt nap".  Speaking of dirt naps, I gasped when the little boy was shot by Greg Allman in the general store because I thought it was Ezra?  is that his name?  Glad to find out it wasn't him.

 

Was sort of hoping Naomi would get shot (I cannot stand the casting choice for this character, sorry.  I just hate her as Naomi.   I'm sure she's a fine actress but ...  Just no.)  I wanted Naomi to die, the baby to survive, and maybe Ruth (or some other new female cast member) to come in, pick up where Naomi left off and get with Cullen in some capacity.

 

Anson Mount is so smokin' hot but I wish his hair wasn't so freaking greasy all the time.  A little dirty okay, but lately his hair looks uber-disgusting. It takes hotness points away.  I don't care how dirty Anton's clothes are,  but a little artistic license  from the neck up, please, if you get my drift. I know people were much grimier back in the day and HOW is trying to be historically accurate to a certain extent, but I want my heart-throb to look amazing.  Lately Bohannon's greasy locks bug.  And I want Elam back, like yesterday.  That is all.

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I have googled pictures of Anson Mount because I'm just that sort of girl, and honestly, I think he is much hotter as his character.  I haven't minded the hair, but I do think he has been looking a little too skinny lately.  But of course, there are those eyes....those eyes.....

 

As for Naomi, I don't think the character should die per se, I don't think Cullen could handle that, and I hope he doesn't have to.  The death of his wife and child tore him to pieces, and I think the man that he was right after that happened may have not been so great.  But I think it would be tidy to just package off Naomi back to the Mormon compound at some point.  Maybe they fear an imminent attack by the American Indians and he decides that she and William are safer at the compound than in the Cheyenne, but he wants to stay and fight and then she just decides that she doesn't want to leave because she misses home or something along those lines.

 

I'm all about artistic license from the neck up, I want everyone to have reasonable teeth.

I also thought it was Ezra and was shocked at how well Cullen handled Ezra's death.  I thought for sure if that guy killed Ezra Cullen would have killed him immediately.  Glad it wasn't Ezra because how would anyone have told Ruth?

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I do wonder what the heck Cullen and Naomi talked about on the way to Cheyenne.  I don't know how long it took them to get there but it certainly should have been enough time for them to talk about what life was going to be like there.  I can't imagine Cullen not telling her about at least some of the people--like Elam, Durant, Eva, Ruth, Mickey, newspaper lady, the freedmen working on the railroad.  It just seems strange that she seems so clueless.

I just really can't imagine he told her anything.  Yes, it would make sense for him to do so, but he's not a talker.  Additionally, how do you tell your innocent young bride about the prostitute with the tribal tatoos, the scheming railroad tycoon who tried to steal the woman you actually loved, the guy who runs the brothel and casino and who is maybe a serial killer or maybe just killed his brother the serial killer, the lesbian running from her father's control and writing a newspaper, the close relationship with "colored" men and how you get along with them better than you do most other people...  It's just not something he would want to bring up.  And when they met Psalms and she clearly had no idea who he was, or when Elam was mentioned, no idea who Elam is...  To me it's very clear that Bohannon has been behaving very Bohannon-ly and kept his mouth closed and his information to himself, as usual.

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I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that he didn't tell her much beyond what we saw:  That he had a job as chief engineer building the railroad and that they'd live in a railroad car with a good bed and relative security.  Because that's what he left and it was obviously what he thought he was walking back into.  Combine that with her excitement about going to live in "the big city" and it becomes easy to see that she probably thought it was going to be a lot easier and more fun than what she's gotten.  She certainly wasn't expecting a dirty tent with rats where her child sleeps.

 

As much as I still have mixed and sometimes less than enthusiastic feelings about the character, I think she's interesting for the perspective she represents.  And I still want the Swede and ensuing Mormon story off my TV.

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The Mormon story will last most if not all this season I suspect. Cant say what the future holds for Naomi and the baby. Guess that will depend if shes happy enough living in a tent or a railroad car. Shes going to have to accept the fact that the railroad comes first with Cullen. Didn't care for the idea of them marrying Cullen to begin with. As far as the Swede is concerned hes to good a character to kill off to soon. Some how I don't think hes finished with torturing Cullen just yet.

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I have googled pictures of Anson Mount because I'm just that sort of girl, and honestly, I think he is much hotter as his character.  I haven't minded the hair, but I do think he has been looking a little too skinny lately.  But of course, there are those eyes....those eyes.....

 

As for Naomi, I don't think the character should die per se, I don't think Cullen could handle that, and I hope he doesn't have to.  The death of his wife and child tore him to pieces, and I think the man that he was right after that happened may have not been so great.  But I think it would be tidy to just package off Naomi back to the Mormon compound at some point.  Maybe they fear an imminent attack by the American Indians and he decides that she and William are safer at the compound than in the Cheyenne, but he wants to stay and fight and then she just decides that she doesn't want to leave because she misses home or something along those lines.

 

I'm all about artistic license from the neck up, I want everyone to have reasonable teeth.

I also thought it was Ezra and was shocked at how well Cullen handled Ezra's death.  I thought for sure if that guy killed Ezra Cullen would have killed him immediately.  Glad it wasn't Ezra because how would anyone have told Ruth?

 

ITA with everything you say about Anson Mount.  Smokin' hot eyes!  too skinny though...  i think he looks best/very handsome made up as his HOW character Cullen.  I didn't know who he was in the beginning so I googled some photos of him but I was a little "meh" on the pics of him in real time.  My mom has been an avid fan since S1 and I got on board this season. I was unaware that Bohannon's 1st wife and child/children had died so my mentioning that I wished Naomi's character being killed off seems really stupid now that I know the back story.  I agree that Naomi  moving back to the Mormon fort would be a more plausible scenario. 

 

Also, could someone tell me who Cullen was pining after/in love with last season?  Was it Lily or Ruth?

Edited by beesknees
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Hi all! I'm new here and just wanted to post my thoughts. I loved this episode. Mickey wasn't so creepy and frankly I don't get what that was all about with Eva in the tub. Maybe the writers wanted to take the character of Mickey on a different path and the producers said no. I don't dislike Naomi or the new actress playing the part. I see a young woman who needs a lot of growing up to do. Cullen is not the best husband for anyone especially a Mormon woman. He is trying to do the right thing. The Swede story line was really boring but with the introduction of Brigham Young I found it to be far more interesting. Brigham Young, from what I could find, did have something to do with the railroad coming through Utah. Here's some of what I found...http://railroad.lindahall.org/essays/cultural-impacts.html. So in a fictional story like Hell On Wheels maybe a good story line, albeit short, could prove interesting.  It's very difficult to find anything on him that is not from the Mormon's or is about their university. He's there Pope and has done nothing wrong. It would be really cool if the Swede does come to the railroad and that somehow it's Naomi that ends him for good. I hope she doesn't go back to her family, that would be boring but also probably historically accurate. The fact that she left seems to me an unusual move for a young Mormon girl in those times. But then what do I really know about Mormons. ;)

Elam's coming back!!!!

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Another thought I had was the fellow that let Durant know he was gay. Really!? In those times!? If you were you'd absolutely keep it under wraps. The building of the railroad, for sure you'd not let anyone to know. My first thought on the Mickey incident with Eva was to set him up as a gay man given the way he said, all women are whores. I don't remember but has he ever been seen with a woman? I don't really mind a storyline about same sex couple's but I'd much rather it be historically accurate.

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ITA with everything you say about Anson Mount.  Smokin' hot eyes!  too skinny though...  i think he looks best/very handsome made up as his HOW character Cullen.  I didn't know who he was in the beginning so I googled some photos of him but I was a little "meh" on the pics of him in real time.  My mom has been an avid fan since S1 and I got on board this season. I was unaware that Bohannon's 1st wife and child/children had died so my mentioning that I wished Naomi's character being killed off seems really stupid now that I know the back story.  I agree that Naomi  moving back to the Mormon fort would be a more plausible scenario. 

 

Also, could someone tell me who Cullen was pining after/in love with last season?  Was it Lily or Ruth?

 

I don't think killing her off would be an awful idea, because Cullen is one of those people who pushes through pain and it makes him stronger.  I don't know that he was ever meant to be fully happy.

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Lily was killed by the Swede at the end of season 2. Cullen really didn't have a love interest last season but did become friendly with Ruth. Not a big fan of the Cullen-Naomi storyline but I guess were stuck with it. Ruth has already told Cullen shes staying in Cheyenne after the railroad leaves. Maybe that's a sign of things to come.

Edited by Black Kettle

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That's an interesting thought about Mickey being gay.  I had considered that, but there was a scene a couple episodes ago in the saloon where he was staring at one of the prostitutes and I just don't think a gay man would do that.  I wondered if some time ago he might have been in love with a woman and was rejected; hence, the "all women are whores" statement.   Also, if he was the one who killed the prostitutes then the rejection story would make sense to me.

 

It did seem strange for those times for that guy to come out to Durant though.  The only way it would have made sense is if he had killed Durant to make sure he never told anyone, and I'm assuming that Durant lives.  Or maybe he thought he killed him.

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If the guy has half a brain, he will hightail it out of Cheyenne as soon as he finds out Durant is alive.  Surely he must know that Durant would use that juicy bit of information to blackmail the hell out of him.

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