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Hell on Wheels - Done - Review: "End of the Line"

7 Aug 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" - Review!
5.13. "Railroad Men" - Review!
5.14. "Done" - Review!

Apologies for the delay in getting this review up, I've been away for the past two weeks and this is the first chance that I've had to get to write the review for this episode!

Hell on Wheels 5.14 Done - Review:

And here we are. After five seasons, plenty of character deaths and more than a fair share of railroad drama, Hell on Wheels has come to a conclusion and that was an excellent ending. AMC know how to wrap up a series and this show can be added to the likes of Breaking Bad that also wrapped up well, and Done is quite possibly one of the best episodes of not just the season but the entire series, ending on a high note that closed the book on Cullen, Durant and Eva's adventures, leaving them all alive and avoiding a bloodbath to end the series on an optimistic note for Durant and Eva in particular.

The episode sees Durant and Cullen head to Washington following the completion of their railroads. Despite playing a key role in the railroad's completion, Durant is pushed aside by the Government thanks to his past deals in bribery, corruption and fraud. He knows that they will have eventually turned on him and offers Cullen the same advice, because although he may be the favoured of the two now it will only be a matter of time before that changes and Cullen is out of his depth here, and it's felt. He doesn't look at home in Washington amongst all the politicians, he's used to be working on the railroad, or fighting in a war. He revisits the Church that we saw in the pilot way back at the beginning where Cullen hid in the confessional booth to exact revenge, and wow, talk about a growth for the character. Anson Mount's performance here in this episode was a fantastic one and he's consistently been one of the best things about this show, so hopefully it won't be long before he finds work elsewhere. If I were in charge of casting for HBO's Westworld I'd totally use this opportunity to throw him in there as well.

President Grant decides to give Cullen a job as a role in the army as a Colonel and an undersecretary for the Western territories which still need help securing, knowing his talents, and knowing that soldiers need wars to fight. However despite everything Cullen, who dresses in his Union Army Uniform in Congress, doesn't turn against Durant when called forward, deciding instead to repeat nothing but the fact that the railroad would not have been completed without the hard work of Durant. Durant believes that need someone to go behind the back of law and order to get the job done quicker in a situation like this, even if ultimately, it has cost him everything, and we all saw what lied in store for him in a flashfoward.

Eva meanwhile, also got a good send off, and it's going to be a shame to see her go as like Cullen and Durant, she's been just as good on the show. She is "done whoring", declining a book deal offered by Louise. The last time we see her is her riding her horse off into the sunset, which is pretty much the most western-y ending that the series could have given us. It's an effective one as well for her character, who has gone through incredible hardship over the course of the series. We also get to say farewell to Mickey, who decides to start up a new business in San Francisco, who is also declined when he asks Eva to come with him. Mickey's another character who has changed so much over the course of the series, and San Francisco is ultimately the sort of place where you can imagine him doing well.

Durant manages to give one of the best speeches of the whole series, a passionate one that works really well over the ending montage of the send off for all of the characters. He describes the future that he has played a part in even though his lawyer uses the Fifth Ammendment, and we had another callback to the pilot which ended on a speech by Durant. Here, we end the series with a speech by the character. Colm Meaney really put in a great performance in this episode, and he's another actor that like Mount turns up in something soon. It was great seeing him in SyFy's Childhood's End, but for now, we'll have to wait and see where the cast goes next.

Cullen's decision to head to China was also an interesting one, after finding out that the note that Mei left him was an address to presumably where she lived. Seeing Cullen in China would have no doubt been an interesting and very different story but this was a pretty great ending that the show decided to give us. Cullen was always going to end up going to Mei after their romance started, and like I've mentioned in previous reviews it doesn't feel like she's only been around for one season. It was kind of a shame that we didn't get to see Angela Zhou again one last time, but it looks like Cullen will get his happy ending after all.

On the whole then, Done was an excellent send-off to a brilliant series that is incredibly underrated, and I'm really thankful that we got to see five seasons of the show. It worked really well despite the deaths of major characters and gave us an excellent final season that meant the show ended on a really positive note. Cullen's job is finally done, and it's time to say goodbye to Hell on Wheels. You will be missed.

Thank you all for checking out my recaps of Season 5 of Hell on Wheels and I hope you've enjoyed reading them. I'm also interested to know What you thought of Done? Were you satisfied by the series' conclusion? Let me know in the comments section below!

Overall Episode Verdict: A+
+Durant's speech.
+Eva/Mickey deciding to go their separate ways.
+Cullen heading to China.
+Eva riding off into the sunset.
+Cullen saying that the railroad would not have been built without Durant.

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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