June 12, 2016


Hell On Wheels RECAP: “Two Soldiers” On A Road Trip

(Season 5, Episode 8)


The Past

“Hell on Wheels” opened up with a flashback to the Civil War where we follow the ever interesting Swede. Though, he’s not from Sweden… he’s from Norway. But it won’t stop us from calling him “The Swede”.

He has this awkward innocence as he plays the harmonica for his fellow soldiers when they are attacked by confederate soldiers.

And through a small window, we are privy the horrors of the Civil War with The Swede living as a POW where he is whipped and starved.

How hungry are these soldiers? So hungry that The Swede wakes up to the pain of his friend chomping on his arm. Sadly, he’s forced to kill his buddy, which breaks his heart.

Present - Cullen’s Land

Here we see a much different Swede as he makes good on his hate for Cullen with Naomi in the middle of it all. Around her, people are being killed. She runs back to the house and locks herself in the bedroom with the baby as the perpetrator tries to get in.

She loads a shot gun and puts holes through the door, but manages to miss The Swede, who conveniently was not standing in front of the door. He breaks in and she escapes through the window, fleeing on foot with the baby.

Cullen arrives, sees the aftermath of the killing spree and The Swede chasing Naomi and the baby.

Stress levels mount with the crying baby clutched in his mother’s arms. She struggles to stay ahead of her attacker while trying to quiet the baby.

The fate of the three parties comes to head at the river: Naomi and the baby stay safe, nestled under a pile of wood… The Swede shoots Cullen in the leg… Both men fight with Cullen besting him, holding him under the water. And I couldn’t help but yell, “kill him!”.

But Cullen releases The Swede, let’s him live. Why? Because Cullen wants The Swede to hang. Justice, not vengeance, I suppose. 

Road Trip

Cullen bandages his thigh, hops on a horse and with his rifle drawn, forces The Swede up ahead.

Destination: Camp Douglas where The Swede is to be hanged

Cullen could barely move his leg. The pain is evident. It’s not looking good and The Swede, out of the unkindness of his heart, reminds our hero that he could lose his leg, maybe even die on this trip.

It would be so much easier to just kill The Swede. This feels like the battle for Cullen’s soul.

As one would expect, The Swede won’t go down easy. With Camp Douglas just up ahead, The Swede has nabbed a sharp rock and attacks Cullen. Both men tussle and Cullen bests him once again, but with the horses gone, it sure is difficult to drag an unconscious body when you have a bum leg.

The load is heavy to drag and it finally takes its toll—Cullen passes out but The Swede awakens, about to do to Cullen what Cullen couldn’t do to him when the cavalry arrives—as in the actual cavalry from Camp Douglas.

Good-bye Old Friend Foe

The two enemies, tied together for all this time, have their last conversation before the end, before the noose is tightened.

The Swede's final words...

“I am Thor Gundersen… from Norway.” - The Swede

It’s a solemn moment. The Swede needs to die if Cullen and his family have a chance to be free of him and ultimately safe. But the moment isn’t easy. The two have a special connection, fueled with hate and irreparable violence, that burns too deep for Cullen to take solace.


About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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