‘Hell on Wheels’ – ‘Bread and Circuses’: Fight night

Senior Television Writer
12.04.11 27 Comments


Tonight’s “Hell on Wheels” was the last of the episodes AMC sent out to critics before the season began, and while I assume I’ll be getting a new batch soon, we’ll have to play it by ear in terms of how/if I cover it in the coming weeks. (The show is going to be helped by the fact that so many other cable dramas have wrapped or are about to wrap their seasons; within a couple of weeks, it’ll be the only one still going for a little bit.)

In terms of “Bread and Circuses,” it wisely focused on the uneasy alliance between Cullen and Elam, letting them work out some of their differences in the boxing ring (and letting Anson Mount and Common show off some very sculpted torsos for the 1860s), and it gave me just enough of the Swede to compensate for time spent on the show’s less interesting areas (the cliched/fetishized Native American characters, Doc Durant trying to get the maps from Lilly).

What’s everybody thinking at this point? By the fifth episode, I imagine the show has shed all the viewers who have decided by now that they just don’t like it, so for those of you who are sticking with it, what’s the appeal for you?

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