At a critical moment in “Blood Moon”/“Blood Moon Rising,” Mr. Toole reflects on why the lord saw fit to spare his life when Elam shot him in the face. He explains that he assumed he was saved so that he could marry Eva and build a loving relationship, despite all the challenges. And yet, when confronted with what appears to be Eva running back to Elam once again, he decides God is just a cruel, manipulative bastard who has gained some sick pleasure from making him miserable. Faced with this revelation, Mr. Toole turns his gun on himself.
Durant is tearing up a box car where a sick man is lying. Eva comes in and hands him some opium to kill the pain. When he feels better he says he feels bad that he was stealing from a sick man to get the medicine. Hannah wants him to go back to Chicago because his pain is so bad but Thomas refuses because the railroad will collapse without him.
That certainly looked to be case as ‘Blood Moon’ opens on a Hell on Wheels that had been utterly ravaged and more or less burned to the ground. Meanwhile, a seemingly broken Bohannon attempts to provide some kind of explanation as to just what had transpired. In his low growl of a voice, Bohannon gives an account of the town’s final days. Thomas Durant (Colm Meaney) and his wife Hannah (Virginia Madsen) were busying themselves over concern that their duplicity with the railroad mileage would result in a jail sentence, while Lily Bell (Dominique McElligott) was doing her best to secure a future for herself that didn’t end with being a governess. Lily’s plan was for her and Bohannon to continue building the railroad and their relationship, and that plan appeared to be one Bohannon was willing to buy into – even as Durant was looking to buy Bohannon’s loyalty through a permanent partnership.
The weird thing is that the season doesn’t build to this moment—to be sure, it ends with the apocalyptic Sioux raid, but most of the characters spend the first two-thirds of the episode pointedly ignoring the possibility that everything is about to come crashing down around them. The Sioux function as a narrative tidal wave, washing over all the little stories of the camp and reducing them to nothing. By the end of the two hours, Durant is in custody, but we don’t see it, and we’re left to guess what’s next for Elam and Eva, for the McGinnes brothers, for the camp in general.
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