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1-1: "Pilot" 2011.11.06


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#31

JudyObscure

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Posted Nov 9, 2011 @ 4:27 PM

Most white men of that time, Northerner or Southerner, would not have assumed that a black man was his equal. By making Bohanon an anachronistic character, they've lost the point of setting this show in 1865. If the writers can't deal with the way people were in 1865 (unless they're villains of course), then why are they making a historical drama at all?

That's just how I feel about it. Most historians agree that only about one quarter of the Civil War era southern men owned slaves, so he could have been one of the majority confederates with no slaves but no real understanding of African Americans, either. That would have been the sort of realism I like.

I wish the showrunners had incorporated the Central Pacific story into the show. The competition between the two groups and the Chinese immigrant experience would have introduced something fresher to the story.

ITA That would have been so much more interesting.

The revenge dish is getting ice cold now after all the Mel Gibson movies and dozens of pay-back westerns. It's such an obvious excuse to let the hero be brutally violent but still a "good guy."

Too bad no one in that old west church carried a gun -- we could have saved an hour.

#32

captnamerca

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Posted Nov 9, 2011 @ 4:55 PM

Too bad no one in that old west church carried a gun -- we could have saved an hour.


Yeah, no one was able to give a good enough description to have him arrested before he left town, but they knew the exact brand of his gun.

#33

Furrylogic

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Posted Nov 9, 2011 @ 5:32 PM

If the lead were a Northerner, it would have been hard for his wife to have been killed by Confederate soldiers.



He could have been a Northerner whose wife was killed by Confederate raiders in bloody Kansas. Or he could have been an emancipated slave hunting down his former owners. Anything but yet another Southerner who fought for "honor" or "states rights" or anything but slavery and is really a good guy that loves the blacks and besides the Union troops were all rapists and murderers anyways so they had it coming.

The premise is reminiscent of "Outlaw Josey Wales".


Which was written by a KKK member and speechwriter for George Wallace. This myth of the victimized Confederate getting revenge for Union atrocities runs pretty deep in western fiction, even if it's based on some pretty dubious origins.

All that would've been okay, tired and unoriginal, but mostly okay, except for one thing... I just can't see this without comparing it to Deadwood. Those comparing Bohannon to Seth Bullock and Durant to Al Swearingen are spot on, and Hell on Wheels suffers greatly by comparison. I'll give it one more go to see if they corrected their course after the pilot, but my hopes aren't high.

#34

nicepebbles

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Posted Nov 9, 2011 @ 5:39 PM

I liked the pilot well enough to give the show a couple more episodes. I don't know why I'm even giving it that much since these kinds of shows (set way back when) always make me angry. As black woman, I just want to jump through the screen and tell some people about themselves.

Cons:
- This guy happened to be in the church, in the confessional no less, to kill one of the guys that did something to his wife. I buy that.
- I also buy that this guy is able to track down all the guys that did something to his wife.
- He fought for the Confederacy because of honor. He doesn't really believe all that stuff about white people being superior to black people. At least he doesn't now due to the love of good women. Now it's possible he did really see the evils of slavery and came to be like he is in regards to black folks. I'm sure some people like this existed. It's not working for me here because it just reeks of TPTB in Hollywood whitewashing history, sanitizing history, wanting their cake and being able to eat it to, etc...
- Common's protrayal of this character. It struck me as the way a comedian would play 'an angry black man' from that time period. Too much. I'm probably not making any sense.

Pros:
- I'm going to give the show credit for making a union soldier a bad guy when it comes to black folks. I say that because, in my experience, you walk out of any american history class from elementary to HS and you have the impression that the North was this great place for black folks. Northerns weren't racists. Blah, blah, blah.
- The lead is easy on the eyes (well, my eyes anyway), as in Common even with that beard.

Questions:
1. The guy who went to confession made it sound like after what they did, they unleashed the devil. First, I thought he meant devil as code for evil. Then I thought he is talking about Bohannon?

2. Who the hell was Doc talking to at the end? It seemed like he was just talking to the room and he's the only one in the room. Are we to take that as he's crazy? Was he practicing a speech?

ETA:

Furrylogic: Or he could have been an emancipated slave hunting down his former owners.

OH, HELL YES!! Never gonna happen. Ever. At least I don't think it has happened. I could be wrong. I feel like there has been some movie in the past like this.

Edited by nicepebbles, Nov 9, 2011 @ 5:47 PM.


#35

pele2102

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Posted Nov 9, 2011 @ 6:02 PM

I feel like a lot the I'm a confederate who like blacks is
1. The memory of his dead probably sanctified wife pushing him that way
2. Could be a Robert E. Lee type who at least on paper didn't like slavery but was about the honor
3. Yankees killed his wife in what from the little we heard was atrocious and who gives a shit about race at this point
4. Common saved his life and at a great personal risk to himself.

#36

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Posted Nov 10, 2011 @ 10:49 AM

I like the two Irish guys. I'll watch again next week.

Also, I finally realized who Bohannon reminds me of: Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn.

#37

Westy8283

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Posted Nov 10, 2011 @ 2:22 PM

Wow, tough room.

So my policy is always to give a new show 3, maybe 4, episodes before giving up. Hard to tell much after one episode, much of which has to establish some themes and plots.

I felt like we were dropped into a show that had already aired an episode I had missed. So Mr. Confederate is already hunting down some Union guys for killing his wife ... someplace, sometime? And he doesn't even know exactly who did it, since he hadn't heard of "the sgt"? But he can track down some of them to a church and a railroad camp?

Hee heads west, is immediately named a walking boss by a former enemy who may or may not have realized who the new guy was in relationship to his wife being killed, and then bides his time to ... kill the big boss and move on? Yet says to the former slave if the slave does it, "nothing good will come of it"?

OK, well, confused there.

The whole Colm Meany bit just told me that the greedy Wall Street/DC behavior we see today has always been around. I did not get the zebras thing at all... history is written for zebras? Are the lions illterate?

I did dig the atmosphere, though I imagine it was much dirtier in reality. And the Irish hobbits were interesting in that they didn't seem like the others on the railroad. I'll watch a few more. These characters can't be any dumber than those on TWD, can they?

#38

taiko

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Posted Nov 11, 2011 @ 11:39 AM

If the lead were a Northerner, it would have been hard for his wife to have been killed by Confederate soldiers. The Civil War was mostly fought in the seceeded states. Lee's Pennsylvania Campaign was to "show the Union what war is like" but didn't work out too well.

They could have thrown a curve and made him a Southerner who fought for the Union who came to find out that in Sherman's March his wife became a victim. How he would have found the specific soldier in any case is a WTF moment unless he was at home and not serving on the front when the crime occurred.

Too bad no one in that old west church carried a gun -- we could have saved an hour

Do you mean the Catholic Church in the opening? The Capital Dome was shown in the background, so it was Washington DC, perhaps around the time of The Grand Review of the Armies

Edited by taiko, Nov 11, 2011 @ 2:17 PM.


#39

Tippi Blevins

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Posted Nov 11, 2011 @ 2:02 PM

Recap is up.

Hopefully it's more enjoyable than the episode.

#40

JudyObscure

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Posted Nov 11, 2011 @ 4:03 PM

Do you mean the Catholic Church in the opening? The Capital Dome was shown in the background, so it was Washington DC


Yep, sorry, the most excellent recap confirms this. I didn't notice the dome at all and thought the church was much closer to the railroad action.

#41

ChoreoGeek

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Posted Nov 12, 2011 @ 10:30 AM

He fought for the Confederacy because of honor. He doesn't really believe all that stuff about white people being superior to black people. At least he doesn't now due to the love of good women. Now it's possible he did really see the evils of slavery and came to be like he is in regards to black folks. I'm sure some people like this existed. It's not working for me here because it just reeks of TPTB in Hollywood whitewashing history, sanitizing history, wanting their cake and being able to eat it to, etc...



I can think only think of one explanation: maybe Bohannon's wife was black. When they discussed her murder, a hanging was mentioned. It's horrible and sick, but opponents of slavery (especially persons of color) could have been lynched during the Civil War.

Also, when Bohannon was asked if he fooled around with slaves, he said, "It wasn't like that." So maybe his wife was a freed slave?

I'm interested enough in the show to tune in again, just to see if my theory is true.

#42

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Posted Nov 13, 2011 @ 1:46 AM

I kind of like the ambiance of the show, but I hope it finds a footing real soon. #1, I thought that the show could have done a better job on dispatching Johnson at the end. Nothing telegraphs a killing like leading your intended victim out to the edge of camp after the shotcaller is shown sharpening his knife. Personally, I would like to see a soliloquoy of sorts at the end of each episode. Doesn't even have to deal with the enterprise at hand. Maybe Doc fancies himself a philosopher of sorts. After the liberal application of alcohol, of course.

#43

ieh21

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Posted Nov 13, 2011 @ 10:57 AM

Don't know much about the Civil War, or at least its archetypes. But the show was annoying because it begged for comparison with Deadwood. Doc's speech at the end made me expect a dead Indian's head in a box.

#44

bcharmer

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Posted Nov 13, 2011 @ 1:28 PM

I can think only think of one explanation: maybe Bohannon's wife was black. When they discussed her murder, a hanging was mentioned. It's horrible and sick, but opponents of slavery (especially persons of color) could have been lynched during the Civil War.

Also, when Bohannon was asked if he fooled around with slaves, he said, "It wasn't like that." So maybe his wife was a freed slave?

I'm interested enough in the show to tune in again, just to see if my theory is true.


I finally got a chance to watch the pilot last night, and this is exactly what I just came here to post. I have the very same theory.

Why do telegraph operators always wear a visor, even while indoors? I never understood that.

Edited by bcharmer, Nov 13, 2011 @ 1:41 PM.


#45

kakiphony

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Posted Nov 13, 2011 @ 9:09 PM

I'm calling it now: The Sergeant is the preacher.

#46

Dowel Jones

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Posted Nov 13, 2011 @ 11:43 PM

According to Wikipedia, the green eyeshade was to furnish some protection from the harsh light of early lightbulbs. It was a favorite of accountants, telegraphers, etc., but I don't remember if he was wearing a green shade or not, though.

#47

bcharmer

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Posted Nov 14, 2011 @ 3:50 PM

Thank you. I don't remember if he was wearing one of those translucent green ones or not, but if so, this makes sense.

So much for the theory of Cullen's wife being a black woman. Good guess on the preacher being the sergeant. I bet you're right.

#48

Xbones

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Posted Nov 16, 2011 @ 3:24 PM

I'm late to the forum, but will quickly catch up. Just watched the pilot and definitely want to continue watching.

Forgot to add, I noticed the editor on this episcode was Skip MacDonald - he also worked on "Breaking Bad".

Edited by Xbones, Nov 16, 2011 @ 3:26 PM.


#49

nicepebbles

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Posted Nov 16, 2011 @ 9:02 PM

history is written for zebras? Are the lions illterate?

LMAO!! I was just confused by who he was talking to that I wasn't paying much attention to what he said.

Edited by nicepebbles, Nov 17, 2011 @ 1:44 AM.


#50

Kel Varnsen

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Posted Nov 21, 2011 @ 1:18 PM

Watched the first episode it was interesting but not great. I know almost nothing about the time period so it seems like it could be interesting. Agree with other posters that making the main character more of a bastard would have made for a better story. I do wonder how his slave owning neighboors felt about freeing his slaves and actually paying them a wage. I imagine he must have not been very popular with them.

I also agree that the confession scene made no sense. Did he just wait in the booth all day hoping a Union soldier might come in? Did he follow that guy around and quickly run in the booth, or had he been stalking him for weeks, and realize that he goes to confessional say once a week on Tuesday at say 3pm. The last one would make the most sense, but from the way the guy was looking at the church from the outside it made it look like confession was a spur of the moment thing.

The other thing that didn't make sense was the Cheyenne raid. Earlier this year I got a Kindle for my birthday. The first book I read was Buffalo Bill Cody's autobiography (since it was free). In it he talked about how he was a scout and a guide for people who like the surveyors were out in sort of unsafe territory. Yet the thing is people going out in those places were always going with experienced guides, and the guides were always armed like crazy. So when the Indians invaded the camp why were people fighting them hand to hand? If the Cheyenne had bows, why weren’t they fought off by a bunch of dudes with guns?

#51

taiko

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Posted Nov 21, 2011 @ 1:26 PM

So when the Indians invaded the camp why were people fighting them hand to hand? If the Cheyenne had bows, why weren’t they fought off by a bunch of dudes with guns?

Given the time period most people except those like the gunslinger protagonist would have had muzzle loading muskets and rifles. Even if a few men had gotten a round or two off it would have been hand to hand soon enough. They just saved a few dollars and showed how vulnerable they were

#52

Kel Varnsen

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Posted Nov 21, 2011 @ 2:41 PM

But if they knew they were in hostile territory, and they stated how important their work was, why didn't they have guides with them, either with revolvers or rifles. Especially when guides taking people out for these kind of thing was actually done at the time. The fact that we didn't see anyone draw a gun was kind of hard to swallow for me. I mean even if you didn't have a gun for protection from Indians, they would still have guns for hunting and protection from animals.

#53

taiko

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Posted Nov 21, 2011 @ 3:16 PM

Black powder guns dont stay loaded, the powder gets wet. Its the reason for banoyets and rifles that are more spears and clubs then guns

#54

Kel Varnsen

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Posted Nov 21, 2011 @ 3:55 PM

I don't know a whole lot about firearms, but from what I have read (both in the Buffalo Bill Book) and from some quick google searching in the 1860's they had breech loading repeating rifles that took cartridges. That plus 6 shooters meant if there was an attack, either of an Indian or a moose or bear you wouldn't need to wait to go through the whole procedure to load the musket with powder and everything before they could shoot it. Even if that was all they had they would still have had some sort of guide or guides to help them navigate their way through the terrain. And I have a hard time believing those guides wouldn’t be wearing 6 shooters on their hips. Especially since I imagine most of them would know the dangers of being out there, and a lot of them probably saw combat experience in the war.

Edited by Kel Varnsen, Nov 21, 2011 @ 4:00 PM.


#55

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Posted Dec 18, 2011 @ 7:11 PM

All I can figure is that Durand was breaking the fourth wall. If that's so, shame they haven't done it since because it was the funnest part of the episode.
Whoever suggested that they should have made Bohannon a Southerner who fought for the North only to come home and find his wife raped and murdered I heartily agree. That would have been a wonderful twist.

Edited by Tricksterson, Dec 18, 2011 @ 7:11 PM.