Hell on Wheels: Season 4 (Blu-ray) – Series Review
Follow Genre: Western, Drama
Distributor: eOne
Episodes: 13
Duration: 41 min (per episode)

Hell on Wheels: Season 4 (Blu-ray) – Series Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Great acting once again, Cullen the family man, Ruth's emotional phases
Bad: Elam and his amnesia problem
User Score
7.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Hell on Wheels proved to be a fine western series in which railroad builder Cullen Bohannon greatest wishes are to complete the railroad and to find the murderers of his family. Season 4 picks up right where the previous season left us and Cullen finds himself in a rather awkward situation while the railroad knows its deal of problems too.

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Note: The following paragraphs might spoil some events of season 3 and 4, you might want to skip it in case you still plan on watching the series for the first time.

At the end of season 3, we saw how Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) was pretty much forced to wed a Mormon girl in what looked to be a Mormon settlement. Meanwhile, Elam (Common) decided to help his good friend Cullen and get him free once again but things go to hell when a murderous bear shows its face. He’s assumed to be dead back at the railroad camp but in this season, we see that he has survived the deadly ambush, although not without consequences. Apparently, Elam was struck in the head pretty hard as now, his mind is all foggy and he doesn’t seem to remember much. A group of Indians find him next to the dead body of the bear and see him as some kind of God for defeating such a fierce opponent.

Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon and Mackenzie Porter as Naomi - Hell On Wheels _ Season 4, Gallery - Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC

Meanwhile, Cullen, back at the Mormon settlement, has married Naomi Hatch (Robin McLeavy), the pregnant Mormon girl he was forced to wed. Although he’s basically being held captive there, the Mormon people treat him well and he starts to become close with his new wife and sees the child she bears as his own kid. After some time and a lot of events, Cullen gets out of the settlement together with his wife and son and decides to go back to Cheyenne, the town where all the railroad workers and the chief of the whole project, Thomas Durant (Colm Meaney), can be situated. We learn soon enough that Durant had his own load of problems to deal with. It appears that the state wants to have a say in Cheyenne’s business and so a Governor has been appointed, John Campbell (Jake Weber). Campbell is one of those guys where law and order means everything and in a town like Cheyenne were shooting a man down because he’s cheating when playing cards is the most normal thing ever, he knows he’s got a lot of work to do.

Season 4 divides the attention mainly between the troubles in Cheyenne with Durant and Campbell facing each other and trying their very best to bring the other one down while the other part of the show follows Cullen in his role as a family man. While both the storylines are interesting enough, the same cannot be said about Elam’s part in season 4. There’s not much left of the great character we knew from the previous seasons and his whole amnesia/madness problem doesn’t really seem to fit in with the rest of the show. They could’ve just let the Elam character for what it was and focus more on other characters like Ruth (Kasha Kropinski) who seems to go through some major emotional phases this time around. Eventually, the Elam arc just feels like a waste of screen time and it didn’t fit the overall themes at all.

Christopher Heyerdahl as The Swede - Hell On Wheels _ Season 4, Gallery - Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC

The acting in Hell on Wheels: Season 4 is once again top-notch without anyone standing out in a negative way. Leading actor Anson Mount succeeds in portraying Bohannon very well while he goes through different emotional phases throughout the whole season. Some extra praise might be thrown at actress Kasha Kropinski who portrays the character of Ruth in such an intriguing way; it’s hard not to get emotional by the events surrounding the character. Robin McLeavy who plays the tattooed ex-prostitute Eva also knows how to hold the interest of the audience as the character slowly looses grip because of the loss of her lover Elam. As Cullen’s wife plays a major role this time around, Robin McLeavy deserves a mentioning as well as she plays her part as a timid Mormon girl very convincing and sincere. You can truly see the impact the character has on Cullen as a husband and father and the interactions between the two personages are filled with raw emotions.

Extras wise, the Blu-ray box offers a more than decent amount of features like a sneak peek at season 4 (which you might want to watch before looking at the series as some kind of motivation), making of videos, behind the scenes featurettes, an introduction of the new characters in season 4 and so on. If you really want to get into the Hell on Wheels series, those extras are certainly worth a try.

Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon and Colm Meaney as Thomas 'Doc' Durant - Hell On Wheels _ Season 4, Gallery - Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC

Conclusion

Season 4 takes us back to Cheyenne and the characters of Cullen Bohannon and Thomas Durant. Without a doubt, the same level of quality has been reached once again and acting performances couldn’t be better. The only downside is the Elam amnesia branch of the story as it just doesn’t seem to fit the general themes of season 4. Still, Hell on Wheels: Season 4 is a great addition in the Hell on Wheels series and a must watch for anybody who even slightly likes cowboys and Indians.

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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Hell on Wheels: Season 4 (Blu-ray) - Series Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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