Hell on Wheels is terrific this week as the incomparable Virginia Madsen joins the cast as Thomas Durant’s wife, Hannah.
The episode starts with Cullen and Mr. Toole working on the bridge. They talk a little about Eva and how she’s in love with Elam. Lily comes by and informs Cullen that Durant will be returning.
The McGinnes brothers learn that Durant is coming back and Sean tells Mickey he needs his share of the money from the saloon to pay back Thomas. Trouble is definitely brewing here.
Durant steps off the train and who is that woman with him? Well, none other than his lovely wife, Hannah. Lily sees her and says, “Damn!” Nothing good is going to come of this.
Lily goes into the railroad’s office and sees the Swede sitting at Durant’s desk looking at all the papers. She asks him what he’s doing and who gave him the authority to do it. Hannah appears and says that she gave him the authority. Tension is brewing between the women.
Finally Cullen and Durant see each other and Durant says that it was a miracle that he got back to town and asks if the bridge is completed. Cullen is invited to dine with Thomas and Hannah and Durant tells him to escort Lily to dinner.
Elam and Psalms are talking and Psalms is trying to tell Elam how nice it is to have a baby. He said that Elam will be the father and Psalms will be “Uncle Psalms.”
Eva and Mr. Toole are talking about Chicago and she tells him that she’d like to see New York one day. Toole says that he will accept the baby as his as long as the child looks white. Well, that probably won’t happen. Eva wonders if they should leave town.
Dinner time comes around and Durant and Hannah welcome Cullen and Lily into their home. Thomas address Lily as Lily and Hannah immediately corrects him and calls her Mrs. Bell. Take cover, things look like they’re about to explode.
Hannah ask Cullen about himself and then she tells him about some friends they have in New York, the Tate’s. This is some coincidence because Cullen’s wife just happened to have been Tate’s daughter. Hannah asks how his wife is doing and Cullen explains that she’s dead.
Lily leaves and Hannah walks her out of the house. Lily mentions that her future is bound to the railroad and Hannah tells Lily that she can stay until she’s found somewhere else to go. Uh oh.
Hannah then walks Cullen out and says that she doesn’t like Lily. Not a real surprise there. Cullen asks if Durant is going to fire Lily and Hannah says that changes are going to be made.
The next day Cullen goes to the office to talk to Lily but Durant grabs him and tells him he has to finish building the bridge.
Sean is with Ruth and gives her a ring. She says she doesn’t want to get married but he puts it on her right hand and asks her to consider marriage. Ruth needs time to think about it.
Everyone is working hard on the bridge while the Swede is on his horse watching. Suddenly Mr. Toole yells to Cullen that the machine that pulls up the framework is stuck. With that, the machine breaks, wood is falling all over, the bridge starts to collapse, men are hurt, and the Swede calmly rides away.
Eva runs to the accident site and hugs Mr. Toole asking if he was hurt. She was actually worried about him. Toole has somehow become a sympathetic character and viewers might not want to see anything bad come to him. Fans are pulling for Toole and Eva to stay together.
Joseph has returned to town and finds Ruth. He tells her that he’s a Cheyenne and she says that he’s a baptised Christian. Joseph feels bad because he broke his father’s heart just like Ruth broke Joseph’s heart. He also tells her that when he was gone he saw the “White Spirit” and tells her to leave town because it’s a bad place and she’ll die if she stays. Ruth says that she just started a new church and won’t be going anywhere.
Back on the demolished bridge, Cullen and Toole have figured out that the pressure valve of the machine was stuck. They found a coin inserted by the valve and it’s a coin that the Swede had. They wonder why the Swede wants them to know that it was him who sabotaged the bridge.
Lily tells Durant hat he can’t push her out of the railroad and that she’s put a lot of work into it. He tells her that he knows that she’s been with Bohannon.
Sean and Mickey get into a brawl when Mickey tells his brother that Ruth has been with Joseph in an intimate fashion. The two fight.
Elam informs Durant that he isn’t working for the railroad anymore and all he wants is the land to build a home. Durant says the only way Elam will be leaving the railroad is if he dies and if Elam wants to take off he’ll have to walk through Indian territory. Elam says, “I won’t be your damn nigger any more.”
Hannah finds Lily and explains that she can’t sleep with her husband because of his injuries. Hannah needs Lily’s room and Lily has to leave. Lily says she has nowhere to go but Hannah is sure Lily will find something.
The episode ends with Elam and Cullen talking and Elam saying that Durant has offered him a new job that Cullen won’t be happy about.
Next week is the two-hour finale of “Hell on Wheels.” Just when it’s getting great the show is coming to an end.