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Scabs

"Scabs"

Season Number: 2
Episode Number: 4
Airdate: September 2, 2012
Director: Chris Mundy
Writer: Catherine Hardwicke
Producer: Tony Gayton
Joe Gayton
Jeremy Gold
John Shiban
David Von Ancken
Episode order
← previous
"Slaughterhouse"
next →
"The Railroad Job"

"Scabs" is the fourth episode of the second season of the AMC series Hell on Wheels.

SynopsisEdit

Cullen Bohannon struggles to keep order on the railroad as the Sioux become increasingly aggressive, culminating in the public torture of Michael Fleming. Thomas Durant and Lily Bell disagree about the route of the railroad, Durant wanting to push ahead and Lily wanting to reroute around sacred Sioux land. Elam Ferguson and Eva begin an affair behind Gregory Toole's back, with serious consequences.

PlotEdit

The railroad construction gets further into dangerous territory as screams are heard near a cutting site. The Sioux are torturing Michael Fleming, the railroad's sentry. Staying just outside their gun range, Cullen aims a rifle and shoots Fleming dead. The Sioux disperse. Back at camp, Reverend Nathaniel Cole begs bartender Carl for a drink. Cullen buys Cole a round and asks him to read a eulogy for Fleming, but Cole explains Ruth is now over the church and he sleeps in the cemetery. Cullen offers to let Cole stay in his caboose.

Outside, the railroad crew returns early. Cullen orders them back to work but Gregory Toole refuses out of concern for their safety. Cullen threatens to make it unsafe for them at the camp if they do not get back to work, but Toole stands his ground. In the railway office, Lily Bell recommends to Thomas Durant that they reroute the railroad to bypass Sioux sacred land. Cullen takes the opposite opinion, claiming the Sioux will always be a threat and that it's better to fight them now rather than later.

Eva tells Elam Ferguson that she is pregnant with his baby, and although he is initially upset, he later professes his love to her. Elam tries to give Eva money so that she can get an abortion, fearing that Toole would kill her and the baby if he found out, but she does not accept the money. At the saloon, the crewmen hold a wake for Fleming, where they honor him with song and drink. Cullen enters to pay his respects and to urge the men back to work. Psalms and the Freedmen arrive and offer to protect the railroad from the Sioux if they are armed with rifles. The room erupts in objections and Cullen says Durant would never arm ex-slaves. Psalms and Toole declare a strike until their demands are met.

The next day, the town burns an effigy of Durant in the street. Durant orders Cullen to resolve the situation, giving him complete authority. Watching the bonfire, Elam warns Psalms that the Freedmen will get themselves killed "playing" with guns. Psalms counters that they will never be seen as equals unless they are holding weapons. Toole comes home and drunkenly gropes Eva. She gently pushes him away, announcing that she is pregnant and that it is not his. He grabs his bag and leaves. Cullen telegraphs a message to Council Bluffs, Iowa requesting 200 replacement workers. Elam predicts bloodshed, and tells Cullen that he will not clean up after Cullen's mess. Cullen says Elam will do whatever Durant tells him to.

Outside his tent with Reverend Cole, Thor Gundersen prophesies a war. He yanks Cole's liquor bottle away from him, telling him that he needs to see things clearly and they must decide which side they are on. In the street that night, Elam threatens to kill Toole if he hurts Eva. Toole, having by now figured out that Elam is the father of Eva's baby, counters that Elam is a neither a "real man" nor a "real father", and that he is just a coward. The train with the replacement workers arrives. Toole and his men exit the bar as the train stops. Cullen and Elam watch as the railroad crews attack their replacements. Toole and Psalms unite in the fight and together drive the new crewmen back onto the train as it departs. Toole finds Cullen at the saloon and agrees to send his men back to work if the Freedmen protect them — with guns. Cullen joins Elam at his table and tells him to get the Freedmen back to work. When Elam protests, Cullen compares the men to horses, saying there is no sense in having a horse unless it is "broke enough to ride." Elam objects to the comparison, but Cullen simply reminds him that he works for Durant now.

The next day, Elam tells the Freedmen to either get back to work or go back to prison. Psalms challenges him and they fight. Elam repeatedly punches Psalms in the kidneys, hurting him badly, but Psalms eventually knocks Elam out. At the railway office, Cullen tells Durant that the strike is over if he can arm the Freedmen. Durant concedes, although Lily still objects to passing through Sioux sacred land. Toole returns home, crawls into bed next to Eva and tenderly touches her belly, softly telling her that her husband has returned home. Cullen arrives at his caboose to find Cole packing up. Cole says that he cannot stay with him because Cullen believes the Sioux are their enemy. Cullen says that he respects his statement. He later distributes guns to the Freedmen and then instructs them on how to load and shoot rifles. As Durant and Lily watch the Freedmen guard the cut, Cullen tells Psalms to shoot anything that moves.

ProductionEdit

CastEdit

Starring

  1. Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon
  2. Colm Meaney as Thomas Durant
  3. Common as Elam Ferguson
  4. Dominique McElligott as Lily Bell
  5. Christopher Heyerdahl as Thor Gundersen
  6. Tom Noonan as Reverend Nathaniel Cole
  7. Eddie Spears as Joseph Black Moon
  8. Ben Esler as Sean McGinnes
  9. Phil Burke as Mickey McGinnes
  10. Robin McLeavy as Eva

Guest starring

  1. Duncan Ollerenshaw as Gregory Toole
  2. Dohn Norwood as Psalms

Co-starring

  1. Peter Strand Rumpel as Train Engineer
  2. James Dugan as Carl, the Bartender
  3. Evan Hall as Michael Fleming
  4. David Lereaney as Telegraph Operator
  5. Marty Antonini as Wake Singer #1
  6. Terry Rishaug as Wake Singer #2
  7. James Hart as Wake Singer #3
  8. TJ Anderson as Laughing Whore

CrewEdit

Opening credits

  1. Joe &
  2. Tony Gayton - Creators
  3. Cathy Sandrich Gelfond,
  4. Amanda Mackey &
  5. Kate Caldwell - Casting
  6. Jackie Lind, CSA - Canadian Casting
  7. Gustavo Santaolalla - Theme
  8. Kevin Kiner - Score
  9. Kevin Krasny - Editor
  10. John Blackie - Production Designer
  11. Marvin V. Rush, ASC - Director of Photography
  12. David Von Ancken - Consulting Producer
  13. Chris Mundy - Co-Executive Producer
  14. Mark Richard - Co-Executive Producer
  15. Paul Kurta - Co-Executive Producer
  16. Jeremy Gold - Executive Producer
  17. John Shiban - Executive Producer
  18. Joe Gayton - Executive Producer
  19. Tony Gayton - Executive Producer
  20. Chad Oakes - Episodic Producer
  21. Michael Frislev - Episodic Producer
  22. Jami O'Brien &
  23. Chris Mundy - Writers
  24. Catherine Hardwicke - Director

Closing credits

  1. Peter Chomsky - Co-Producer
  2. Jami O'Brien - Co-Producer
  3. Bruce Marshall Romans - Story Editor
  4. Linda Rogers Ambury - Unit Production Manager
  5. Pete Whyte - First Assistant Director (AD)
  6. Michele Williams - Second AD

External linksEdit

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