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Hell on Wheels - Gambit - Review: "Durant"

9 Jul 2016

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Hell on Wheels Season 5 Episode Guide!
5.01. "Chinatown" - Review!
5.02. "Mei Mei" - Review!
5.03. "White Justice" - Review!
5.04. "Struck" - Review!
5.05. "Elixir of Life" - Review!
5.06. "Hungry Ghosts" - Review!
5.07. "False Prophets" - Review!
5.08. "Two Soldiers" - Review!
5.09. "Return to the Garden" - Review!
5.10. "61 Degrees" - Review!
5.11. "Gambit" - Review!
5.12. "Any Sum Within Reason" - (Airs July 9)
5.13. "Railroad Men" - (Airs July 16)

Hell on Wheels 5.11 "Gambit" - Review:
Directed by Adam Davidson & Written by John Romano & Miki Johnson

The show pushed Cullen to the side in Gambit for an episode pretty much entirely focused on Durant, opening with a flash-forward that actually showed his end in 1885. He doesn't die a wealthy man, but instead, he's poor, lonely and forgotten, instead of being part of history like he aspired to be. This lets us know that whilst Durant may make it to the end of Hell on Wheels alive, he won't exactly be held in high esteem and this episode further proves that his scheming is never going to pay off and he's never going to get what he wants.

The kidnapping plot that Mickey and Durant launched in the previous episode that went horribly wrong has now gone even more sideways when Governor Campbell arrives with the cavalry to find the perpetrators and the man responsible for kidnapping him. Mickey is still haunted by the death of Sean and the added weight of the death of Martin on his consciousness, things are never going to end well.

He tells Eva that he thinks that Shea is unstable and Eva suggests that despite Shea being part of his family he should be killed. Mickey and Shea continue to keep up with their ruse though and get Campbell to send them the money or Durant dies at the hands of a booby trap. However, Campbell begins to suspect something that Durant is in on the game and doesn't buy that Durant's life is on the line. Unfortunately for Durant and Mickey though Shea isn't willing to give up without getting any money meaning that Maggie has to go and hand over the money herself.

And this is what proves to be her downfall and another character that falls victim to Durant's schemes. We've seen so many characters die over the course of the series that Hell on Wheels is no stranger to increasing the body count, and Maggie falls victim to Shea who joins her shortly afterwards when Mickey kills him. It's a devastating blow for both Mickey and Durant, who have both lost someone that they care about in a scheme that was never going to work. And both Mickey and Shea have now joined the ever growing list of the dead, with Sean, Elam, The Swede, Lily Bell and more all having added to the body count over the course of the series, you've got to wonder, who will be left standing at the end of the series apart from Durant?

But for now, Mickey is alive and Durant has been absolved of any potential involvement in the kidnapping as Campbell doesn't have any proof of his involvement. However, that's a small victory for Durant, he doesn't end up with the money that he wanted and has now lost Maggie on top of that. He's lost, and at this point, so has Mickey. It'll be interesting to see how the show deals with these two characters in the remaining episodes, but the decision to focus an entire episode on their plight proved to be an effective one as for the most part, this was a consistent hour of television that showed just how good Hell on Wheels can be.

Overall Episode Verdict: A
+The fallout of Mickey and Durant's scheme.
+Durant's flash-foward.
+Shea/Maggie/Durant/Mickey standoff.

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, Hell on Wheels, Murder in the First, Narcos, Preacher, Roadies, The Shannara Chronicles and Veep 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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