Hell on Wheels Season 5 Episode 4: Struck
Official Synopsis: Cullen must find a way to end a Chinese labor strike. Durant pulls Mickey deeper into Union Pacific business.
Aww yeah! I’ve been wondering when we’d be graced with the return of the mysterious stagecoach driver. And what a return she made! Mary Fields is clearly not a woman to trifle with, judging by the way she dropped Dandy Johnny Shea in one punch. Later on, Psalms tries to spark a conversation with Mary leading us to wonder if that’s a budding romance in the works.
But while Stagecoach Mary is taking names in Laramie, Cullen is up to his neck in Mr. Chang’s mischief. When his would-be murderers go free, Chang orchestrates a labor strike and presents Bohannon with a list of (mostly self-serving) demands. When Tao refuses to side with the Central Pacific and work on the railroad halts, Cullen resorts to starving the workers out.
Meanwhile, we get our first real taste of life in the Union Pacific post-Bohannon. Louise has been black-balled by Durant and can’t get a story to save her life. Eva and Mickey can’t get along, mostly because Dandny Johnny is dragging them both to bankruptcy with his shenanigans. All the while, Durant’s scrambling to keep his work crews from killing one another after Delaney gets cold-cocked on the job.
Hoping to turn things around, Durant brings in Mickey to recruit some law and order with his workers. Mickey, seeing a chance to get Johnny out of his hair and Eva’s beds, sends him working on the railroad. But as always with Dandy Johnny, Durant may have bought more than he bargained for.
After Chang arms a group of Chinese workers and gets into a standoff with Strobridge, Cullen finally relents. On the advice of Tao, he convinces Huntington to ship the bodies of the deceased Chinese home and ends the hunger strike. In the end, none of Chang’s demands are met, but the Chinese are happy with the respect shown to their deceased. The Chinese back to work, Mr. Chang’s revolt is cut out from beneath him, but he’s sure to be far from finished.
It’s sickening the way the Swede continues to manipulate Phineas in his grasp. Of all his schemes, this may well be the most dastardly and threatens to unravel the delicate peace balanced between the two railroads. With both sides moving into Utah, the Swede could cause some real problems by leading a splinter group of the Mormons in revolt.
In the waning minutes of Episode 4, the viewers and Stagecoach Mary are left with a bit of a mystery. Who are the dead men and what does the Chinese domino the carry signify?