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Hell On Wheels - White Justice - Review: "The Law, But Not Justice"



Whilst not quite as good as last week's impressive Mei Mei, White Justice was another solid episode of Hell On Wheels' final season, as things started to get closer and closer towards the end of the first lot of episodes. As the title suggests, this episode looks at racism and the divide between the workers from China and the white Americans. We've seen racial issues tackled before in the show earlier when Cullen was back in Hell on Wheels and as a result it's no real surprise to see that the show's not done with them yet.

The opening flashbacks focused mainly on Mei/Ah Fong as we learnt more about her life before joining the railroad. Keeping her identity a secret when her village is attacked, and along with that, we also get her struggles on the sea voyage to America. It's a character defining journey that she has to take in order to avoid being the victim of a marriage to a rebel leader. There's lots of interesting material to have with Mei, and like I've mentioned before, the secret may likely be revealed at some point, after all, you don't hide a secret that big forever. The consequences are no doubt going to be interesting and how Hell on Wheels handles them could allow for some interesting material for the rest of the season depending on when the revelation hits. Something that was also running through this episode was that Mei was being denied work by Cullen now that he knew her gender, so it was good to see that this was a plot that was resolved sooner rather than later and she was back on the workforce by the episode's end, Cullen recognising the need for her abilities.

After a slightly quiet week for Chang last time out the antagonist was back in full force in White Justice and this time he was under threat, a target of angry workers who strung him up after gaining an upper hand with a gun and were going to kill him before Cullen and Tao, his former rivals, stepped in. We also saw that Cullen even attempted to get Chang a trial despite what Chang had done to Tao earlier in the season, even if it was rejected because of the law which forbade the Chinese people from testifying against white workers and as there were no white witnesses able to testify, Chang was out of luck. "It may be the law Mr. Bohannan, but it is not justice", said, Chang to Cullen towards the end of the episode,and he's right,which is something that Cullen shares a view with. Given what we've seen from Chang so far it's clear that we won't have heard the last of him and he's not going to let the law stop him from exacting vengeance. So we can probably expect what's coming next in terms of Chang's story.

The Swede was also up to something in White Justice this week (nothing new there), and continues to annoy Cullen hoping that one day he'll get what he wants, whilst at the same time manipulating Chang who doesn't know that The Swede is more sinister than expected. Yes, Chang is an antagonist, but The Swede is 'the' antagonist of the series, he's been around for a long time, and continues to serve as the most prominent threat to Cullen. We saw him at work again and there's going to no doubt be plenty of more schemes for him to hatch before the end of the season as he continues in his quest to stop Cullen.

On the whole then, White Justice was another solid episode of Hell on Wheels. The good character interaction and the path of Mei and Chang's character is being handled well and overall, this has turned out to be a very solid episode of the series even if there's nothing there that will make it known as one of the best of the season. The show continues to keep us invested in the new characters and we feel like they've already been around for longer than the three episodes that we've had them for. The interesting approach continues to keep us hooked on this new storyline, and this episode allowed for further plot progression that kept things interesting.

What did you think of this week's episode of Hell on Wheels? Are you enjoying the fifth season so far? Let me know in the comments below.

Overall Episode Verdict: B+
Positives:
+Good character interaction.
+Cullen and Tao stepping in on behalf of Chang.
+The Mei flashback scenes were impressive this week.

Hell on Wheels continues next Saturday, August 8, at 9/8c on AMC.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The 100, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, Childhoods End, Da Vinci's Demons, Hell on Wheels, The Knick, Manhattan and Murder in the First for Spoiler TV as well as books, films and games for his own blog The Fictional Hangout and contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic.
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