Blu-ray Review: Hell On Wheels (The Complete Fourth Season)



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Hell On Wheels keeps the spirit of the Western alive on TV without turning into a schlocky oater. The AMC series has kept chugging away with its tale of trains and deception. The series has been gaining speed with the fourth season getting upped to 13 episodes instead of the usual 10 episodes. The show has a reason to stick around a little longer since the action takes place in the growing town of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) is no longer the chief engineer on the railroad cutting westward. There’s plenty of big changes for Hell On Wheels: The Complete Fourth Season.

“The Elusive Eden” has Bohannon still a captive at Fort Smith by the Mormons. They’re trying to convert him by making him a father. He’s married Naomi (MacKenzie Porter). But he won’t convert since he’s ultimately a true believer of the railroad. He needs to get on the tracks. First he must gain his freedom from the Bishop who is really Bohannon’s old enemy the Swede (Christopher Heyerdahl). It doesn’t come easy. Things aren’t going well for the railroad either. Thomas C. Durant (Colm Meaney) hasn’t been able to keep the tracks going. He’s basically stuck in Cheyenne for various reasons. None of them make him happy. He got new trouble with John Allen Campbell (Jake Weber) wanting to control the railroad project. The little town is a vicious little place full of outlaws, cutthroats and more outlaws. It seems natural that Bohannon would show up to reclaim his old job. Making things worse is the arrival of Sydney Snow (Jonathan Scarfe) first as killer and then as bloody sheriff.

Hell On Wheels: The Complete Fourth Season is a badass season that makes it rank up there with Deadwood. There’s plenty of changes yet the intensity doesn’t back off. Colm Meany really gets to play mean and a few other emotions as his character must change with the various impacts. Mount proves to be one of the great Western actors as this season progresses. It needs to be noted that AMC has upped the show for only 14 more episodes to be split over two years like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Thus this is the sort of penultimate season. It’s good to know that the action is working towards a climax and viewers won’t get left wondering when things will wrap up like on Deadwood.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfers bring out the quality of the town set. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 & 2.0. You’ll want the 5.1 mix for when the guns start blazing. The episodes are subtitled.

A Look at Season 4 (3:12) sets up the new life of Cullen and his old desires. Nothing is spoiled.

The New Characters of Season 4 (3:24) brings in the new faces since the show is taking place in a town instead of on the frontier. A wife and a future governor are part of the residents.

On the Set with Colm Meany (1:10) reflects his character’s historical background.

On the Set with Jake Weber (1:16) gets him to talk about getting to play “a nasty piece of work.”

Cheyenne Set Tour (4:27) talks about setting up mud on the set. They also breakdown the set dressing in the brothel.

Anson Mount Retrospective (1:40) tracks his character.

Inside Hell On Wheels (65:09) tracks all the episodes. This is a spoiler heavy bonus feature so hold off until the end.

Hell On Wheels: The Complete Fourth Season is a fine Western that explodes when the action gets confined to a small outlaw town.

e one presents Hell On Wheels: The Complete Fourth Season. Starring: Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Common. Rated: R. Boxset Contents: 13 Episodes on 3 Blu-rays. Released: August 11, 2015.

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