Last Spin for Hell on Wheels

Hell on Wheels saddles up for its last ride into the sunset when the second half of the fifth and final season premieres 9.30 tonight on SoHo.

It culminates in a gruelling showdown that star Anson Mount reckons is “one of the best episodes the series has ever done” and opens with a flashback that lends perspective to the character of his hero’s nemesis, the murderous Thor Gundersen.

“What that first scene does is it shows you that he was just a regular guy at one point,” Mount says in a spoilers-rife interview with Yahoo TV. “He was a regular dude, and he was created by war.”

After delaying last year’s premiere of the season’s first half, it’s pleasing to see SoHo is screening the final seven episodes only two days after AMC in the US.

The series about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad has been frustratingly inconsistent but rebounded in its third and fourth seasons to be one of SoHo’s most exciting and absorbing dramas.

Among the classic westerns showrunner John Wirth, who took over the reins in season three, asked his cast to watch because they thematically overlapped with Hell on Wheels were The Searchers, Jeremiah Johnson, The Professionals and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

But for the farewell episodes he recommended the melancholic Monte Walsh, which chronicled the last round-up for a couple of ageing cowpokes.

“It’s a show about the end of the cowboy era,” Wirth told the Calgary Herald. “Thematically, it really struck a chord with everybody.”

While the LA Daily News reckons Hell on Wheelsreturns strong“, New York magazine was in two minds about the premiere.

“It is, in some senses, a very silly 50 minutes of Hell on Wheels, a distillation of the strange space the series occupies between richly detailed prestige Western and the kind of satisfying prime-time escapism that [Freaks and Geeks’Bill Haverchuck might have sworn by if he were growing up today.

“Yet this mid-season premiere worked, in no small part because of director Michael Nankin’s efforts to authenticate and escalate the delirium.”

While AMC remains committed to another western series in Hell on Wheels’ wake, it’s yet to commission one.

But the good news for fans of the genre is Netflix has just cast Jeff Daniels (Newsroom) and Merritt Weaver (The Walking DeadNurse Jackie) in its limited western series, Godless.

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One Response to “Last Spin for Hell on Wheels”

  1. Hell on Wheels has been a very enjoyable show to watch and can’t wait to see how it finishes.

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