The longer I watch, the more I’m convinced that once all is said and done, Doc Durant is going to come out the hero of this grand drama we call Hell On Wheels.
I mean, it couldn’t possibly be Bohannon, could it? He doesn’t seem to do much more than look at everyone around him from under that big, Cro-Magnon brow of his with mild contempt, like he can’t believe they’re occupying the same space. At times, when his purpose is to advance the episode’s plot in some way, he possesses an uncanny ability to get from point A to B without having to do any actual work. In tonight’s episode, when Elam and other former slaves decide to walk off the job until they’re paid (which they know isn’t coming for a while becaaause… Bohannon told them) Bohannon knows what’s going on almost before their shovels and pick-axes have hit the ground. “Hey! It ain’t quittin’ time!” he yells, almost falling off his horse he can’t get over there fast enough. Who said anyone was quitting? Maybe Elam needs a drink of water. Maybe he’s got to take a piss. Maybe he’s happened upon a chest of 15th century Spanish gold bullion and he’s just looking for someone to share the moment with. Sure, it turns out Elam was quitting. But Bohannon didn’t know that.
Anyway, Elam says he’s not working a minute longer until he gets paid. He USED to work for free, but not anymore. See, he used to be a slave. I’m not sure if you knew that. So Bohannon tells him that the last thing he needs today is a slave uprising**, which Elam appreciates none too much. So one tells the other to get back to work, the other says make him, and it isn’t long before they’ve both got their dicks out, swinging them around, measuring them, stuff like that. Of course, Durant can’t allow this sort of behavior, and after stopping Bohannon and Elam from groping each other’s private parts (that’s not a joke, go watch the episode) and reassuring the men that their money is on the way, he proposes a boxing match between the two men, which he believes will help air grievances, real or imagined, and be good for the general disposition of his men. But really, it’ll be a way for everyone to forget the fact that they’re not being paid, and that their money might not be coming at all.
(**There’s been a lot of talk about Bohannon’s supposed progressivism; being a man who owned slaves but set them free a year before the Civil War and kept them on at wages. But when he says things like this, you get the idea that maybe Bohannon’s personal philosophy changes to fit whatever the writers need that week.)
And once it’s on, it’s on like Rae Dawn Chong. No one cares about the money anymore. You can practically hear the camp’s chants of, “Monorail! Monorail! MONORAIL!” And with their bloodlust sated, Durant is able to turn his attention to other important matters, like wooing Lily Bell, and trying to divine whether or not she knows anything about Robert’s maps. And the way he does this is kind of interesting. At this point it’s obvious that one of Durant’s obsessions is how history will remember him. He believes, and tells Lily as much, that without Robert’s maps, he’ll only be remembered for failing to complete the railroad. Then, he appeals to Lily’s own vanity and concern for Robert’s memory. “Unfortunately,” he says, “Robert will probably not be remembered at all.” Is this a tactic that’s likely to work with her? At first I would have said no. Lily seems like a woman who’s got a pretty good head on her shoulders and doesn’t busy herself with such petty concerns. But in the end she gives up the maps. Why? If she was just going to give them over, what was her reason for holding out on Durant this long? Are characters on this show supposed to have consistent motivations for the things they do? I’m guessing no.
It may come as not so big a surprise that the least interesting side of tonight’s episode is the boxing match which it’s centered around. Bohannon and Elam go at it. It looks like Bohannon’s going to win. Then it looks like Elam’s going to win. Then one of Elam’s coaches (sure) gets in his head with all this crazy talk about not wanting to go too hard on Bohannon because Elam’s half white himself, but he needs to think about his mom who was raped, and you know, get angry, get his head back in the game. The whole thing would have been much easier to stomach if Elam didn’t look like he wanted to murder everyone he came into contact with up to this point. Anyway, then it’s over. At this point, we’ve seen so many of these kinds of stories in which the favorite and the underdog win that it’s a little hard to either one not to feel a little contrived. But in this case, once we saw money being exchanged between one of the Irish brothers (Scottish? Does anyone remember what these guys’ names are?) and Elam’s friends, we knew how the entire thing was going to go down. And it turns out that, when one brother tells the other — who’s just so incensed that he would deign to hurt their BEST friend Mr. Bohannon — “Money is my friend,” or something like that, that one moment rings truer than almost any other in the entire episode. These people are living on the frontier, and when things get tough they’re going to look out for themselves. Now they can get out of hock to the Swede, who as it turns out is a pretty big douche. And no offense to Mr. Bohannon, but what the hell has he ever done for them? Really, how could Brother #1 really think he’s their best friend? Makes no sense. Maybe it doesn’t need to.
Anyway, everything turns up aces in the end. Durant gets his maps. Elam gets to hold his head just a little bit higher. Bohannon looks appropriately humbled, which is a good thing. Although I guess it’s entirely possible he’s just sore or a little hungover and will be back to his smug self by lunchtime. But for a few hours at least he’s forced to live down here with us mere mortals. And when Elam comes in to get his pay — which Durant has blackmailed the bank into sending — he doesn’t gloat or act like a douche about it. So maybe it’ll help the two work together in the future. Who am I kidding. I’ll bet they’ll still be pissed about all sorts of stuff.
But we’re not done yet! Other stuff happened, too! Apparently the Indians aren’t taking the threat of war with the white man seriously enough, so Reverend Cole and Joseph Black Moon take it upon themselves to head out, meet with them and let them know that shit goin’ down. But not before Cole’s daughter turns up, who he obviously doesn’t have a very good relationship with. Before heading out with Joseph, he tells her to stay in his tent, unless it’s on fire, then she can leave. Which I suppose is the bare minimum you could tell the child you’re on slightly awkward footing with. Anyway, as the episode closes, we see that maybe the Indians are taking war with the Union Army a little more seriously than they let on, when they come and cut down one of their own from some weird vision quest human slingshot thing (I guess American exceptionalism took care of all that weird bullshit). The Indian cut down says that he had a vision of a great beast made of steel, whose breathed smoke and shook the ground. He said that he killed it. Spoiler alert. The beast is a train. Second spoiler alert. He doesn’t kill it.
“Never shall I forget,” before you ask.
One of the first jobs I ever had was working at Party City, selling Halloween masks and scraping shoe polish that said, “BOO! Happy Halloween!” off the windows ALL YEAR LONG. My first day there, I was trained by this guy who was always walking a few steps ahead of me for some reason, jumping from one topic to the next as fast as he could. When we finally made our way to the balloon counter (working at the balloon counter was some sort of Bar Mitzvah-esque rite of passage there) this guy took it upon himself to remind me to always take the customer’s money before handing them their order. Apparently that was the done thing in places of business back then. ”Money talks, bullshit walks,” he said, as if the fortunes of kings and empires pivoted on the work we were doing. I’ve come to the conclusion that Cullen Bohannon is this guy. He charges into a situation, and before he really even knows what’s going on, he gets in everyone’s face and invariably says something stupid, because he needs to look like he’s in charge.
Tonight, we find Bohannon hot on the trail of Harper (looking for this guy is the “someplace” he had to be in last week’s episode), sneaking into a logging camp, gun drawn (per always), and sticking it in the face of the first guy he sees. Now, while we, the viewers, may have many questions, one thing is perfectly clear: there is no reason to believe that any of the information Cullen gets from this guy is going to be reliable. “You’re looking for Harper? And you want to stick that in his face? Uhh… Harper’s gone! Yeah, he went North! To, like, Canada! And he left yesterday, so you better hurry!” And because most people are good, upstanding Christians, Bohannon takes all this at face value and rides off FOR GREAT JUSTICE. Bohannon catches a glimpse of Harper, cresting a hill in the distance, but he doesn’t catch him because let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Back at camp, we find Durant lamenting the loss of his maps, even as he celebrates the return of Lily Bell. “Celebrates” may be the wrong word here. For most of their time together, Durant looks like he’s wondering whether or not to hit on her, and she looks like she’s wondering whether or not to clap sarcastically at everything he says. Durant may be confused at how a woman like Lily could have fallen in love with someone like Robert, who they both mention is at least partially responsible for the work they’re doing on the railroad. Their conversation is about as interesting as Robert himself was, and we realize that we’re forgetting what they’re saying almost as soon as it’s come out of their mouths. When Durant tells Lily that Robert was a starry-eyed dreamer who never would have made anything out of himself without someone like him, Lily almost storms out. That is, until, Durant gets up, pleads with her to stay and finish her dinner of ham hocks and boiled potatoes. He promises that that’s it, no more pontificating. He’ll just sit there and look unsure of what to do with his hands.
We got to see a little more of the relationship we all knew was coming between Elam and Eva, the “tattooed harlot” so eloquently talked about by Irish O’Shaughnessy at the beginning of the episode. Even though — in the combined two minutes we’ve seen her on screen before now — I think she’s an infinitely more interesting character than so many others on this show, I’m kind of glad she ended up with someone like Elam. Because he’s a man who desperately needs something good in his life, and although he’s tried, that something good isn’t going to be a deep and lasting friendship with Bohannon. After that roll in hay denied him in last week’s episode, Elam and Eva gaze deep into each other’s eyes, and even though they don’t say it, you know they’re both thinking, “Finally. Someone who gets me.” When Eva tells Elam that she was worth “three blankets and a horse” to the Indians who held her captive, Elam tells her that her eyes are worth 100 horses alone, which reminded me of the time I watched Johnny Lingo and my Sunday School teacher told us all we were worth 10,000 cows. So I’m having kind of a hard time taking it seriously. But we’ll see where it goes. I’m sure it won’t always seem like two teenagers pawing at each other in the back seat of a car. Will it?
Two things I thought were very interesting about tonight’s episode. One was the Swede, who’s still making snide remarks to Durant about what a shitheel Bohannon is, like if he keeps at it Durant will have no choice but to fire him and proclaim the Swede his favorite. Durant tells him that there’s a wagonload of black powder coming in, and the Swede says he’ll take a small group of men to watch over it. Later, the Swede tells Bohannon that he’ll introduce him to President Jackson if Bohannon looks the other way while the Swede’s men take a few barrels for themselves. THIS IS MY PREDICTION SO LISTEN WELL: As he’s leaving Durant’s boxcar, the Swede hears his boss dictating a telegraph to his stockbroker in… oh, let’s say, Cleveland. Durant says to invest $147,000 in R&R Railroad stock. A few minutes earlier we heard Durant saying that if they couldn’t get money for new surveyors, his railroad was pretty much sunk. I think the powder the Swede and his men are taking is meant to sabotage the R&R Railroad. After the explosion we saw tonight — along with Bohannon saving the guy whose ear he shot off last week because he’s so, ugh, complex — who knows how it’ll all play out. But the Swede’s up to something, you can be sure of that. Interesting moment #2 came when Father Cole found Bohannon stumbling back to his tent, all liquored up. His revelation that he was with John Brown during the whole Bleeding Kansas thing really came out of left field. Mainly because he’s seemed like such an uninteresting character up until this point; someone who didn’t seem like he was playing a part in a period drama at all. So even though you can be a silly little ragdoll, Hell On Wheels, I still have to doff my cap to you. Four episodes in and it does seem like a few things are beginning to come together. And for all the awkward dialogue and Irish brothers the show is lousy with (their big thing tonight was looking at naked women), you are managing to surprise me every now and then.
Other thoughts (nope, just one)…
- The Swede’s naked! My eyes! The goggles! They do nothing!
I guess it was only a matter of time before we got an episode reminding us that these characters are doing much more than building a railroad. They’re chasing the American dream! And so long as they’re white and have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior, I have a feeling things are going to work out juuust fine for them.
For the McGinnis brothers, the railroad represents a new beginning and a chance at prosperity. Being a part of the camp gives them a chance to live and work alongside giants of industry, like Durant, who they’ve heard so much about. All that’s easy enough to understand, but my question is, does anyone really care? And not necessarily about these guys’ story — because there are a million other characters spread across TV shows and movies and books with the same one — but these two in particular? I understand putting uninteresting characters next to even more uninteresting characters to make them interesting by comparison, but Hell On Wheels is putting the McGinnes brothers not only next to interesting characters, but what are arguably the series best characters: Durant, the Swede, and now this woman, Eva, who we see working at the whorehouse and learn has made some bad decisions involving several Indians in the territory. Anyway, I’m not sure it’s doing much to endear these guys to viewers.
What was I talking about? Right. For others, like Elam, the railroad represents a chance for a former slave to be taken as equal among his former masters. But for now, it looks like Elam’s going to be going to bed one sad son of a bitch. The show’s obviously trying to establish some sort of connection between him and Bohannon, if for no other reason than to have their run-ins every week seem somewhat plausible. And you’d think building that bridge wouldn’t be too hard. Of all the ex-slaves we see running together, Elam seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders; he’s a reasonably smart guy and seems like the one best-equipped to approach Bohannon as an equal. But this week, we saw Elam walking around like racism was a thing of the past and he was just one of the boys. And this is after telling Bohannon that morning not to worry about the Swede taking half his crew to go look for Lily Bell. He and his guys could do their own work and then some. The implication being that he knows he’s got something to prove and is up to the challenge. So it’s a little ironic, watching him and the other ex-slaves head into the whorehouse to spend some hard-earned money, same as everyone else, and thinking no one was going to have a problem with it. Especially with the ‘tude he’s been walking around with these past couple of weeks.
For Bohannon — who I guess is supposed to be the hero of our story — the railroad represents a different kind of opportunity. This is the opportunity to find those who killed his wife and kill them, and also deliver to audience bits of exposition in silent, overdramatic flashbacks. Bohannon did not have a very good week. There’s a moment there, out in the woods when he’s talking to Joseph Black Moon about his plans to throw Lily Bell over his horse and take her back to camp. Bohannon says, “You haven’t thought this through, have you?” It doesn’t look like Bohannon’s done much thinking himself. For some reason he takes off from the job that morning after getting pissed that the Swede is taking half his crew to look for Mrs. Bell (who’s now been dubbed The Fair Maiden of the West). And once he finds her — which isn’t a very apt description of the process, more like he rode in a straight line from camp to where she and Black Moon were laid up — he hangs around just long enough to pull a piece of shrapnel out of her shoulder, tip his hat to Black Moon and ride off. Except before riding off he realizes that if Black Moon comes into camp with a white woman slung over his saddle he’s going to get himself killed. Yes, Bohannon happens to be right, but when he makes the realization he’s got this look on his face that says, “Well, looks like ole’ Cullen’s gonna have to save the day, AGAIN.” It’s all kind of annoying as hell. And it gets worse still. After saving her (AGAIN) from a group of scallywags intending her harm, Bohannon takes her to edge of camp, drops her off and takes rides away without even turning back to wave… because that’s just the kind of guy he is. You know, I bet you he didn’t even leave camp looking for her. He was going after that sergeant and found Bell COMPLETELY BY MISTAKE. And saving her and all the rest of it was an inconvenience for him. Really effed up his day’s chi. Oooh I hate him so much.
For Durant, who may not be the best part of this show but is consistently great (and maybe that makes him the best part (I don’t know, further study is needed)), the railroad, his railroad, represents a chance to cement his place in history. And not to just go down as someone who made a lot of money building the Transcontinental Railroad first, but someone who could lead and inspire men. In the aftermath of the Indian attack on the surveyors, the people in camp want blood. And while, at the funeral for those killed, Reverend Cole — who could probably kill a few men himself… with BOREDOM! — tries to frame the entire thing as a lesson in turning the other cheek, making peace and not war. Durant interrupts him. He stands up, quoting scripture framing what they’re doing there as a call from God; strengthening the country and bringing civilization to the heathen Indians. He holds up Black Moon as an example. The Indian speaking our language and wearing our clothes. For so many of our characters, the railroad represents a chance at something better than what they’ve got. But for others it represents the death of their way of life. We know how all of that turned out. But at least here we’ve got Colm Meany’s scene-chewing to make it all fun to watch.
I feel like there are times when Hell On Wheels is looking at its audience, nodding its head and asking, “This is what great, compelling dramas do, right?” It’s still on shaky ground. The actors are still feeling out their characters. There are times when the period feel is a little forced and unauthentic, and the show needs to be reminded that, while some may already consider it such, no one is asking it to be great just yet. After all, Mad Men and Breaking Bad – the two shows that everything on AMC from now until Jesus comes back will be compared to — didn’t start off great. And even though I consider myself a big fan, I don’t know if I’d call The Walking Dead great as opposed to just really good. Maybe Hell On Wheels will just be really good, too. But good, bad, whatever, I’ll say that I’m having a lot of fun with the show so far.
This week’s episode is basically the pilot’s part 2, and continues the business of getting everyone into Hell On Wheels so they can get down to what everyone living in a lawless camp in the heyday of the American west did: murderin’ and sleeping with their attractive cousins. Well, we have yet to see any of that last one (although I’m not ruling it out as a possibility), but two episodes in and we’re getting plenty of killing. “Immoral Mathematics” introduces us to what is hands down the best part of this show so far. Christopher Heyerdahl plays the ironically named Swede, Doc Durant’s head of security, who’s in camp investigating the murder of Daniel Johnson, who met his untimely end at the hands of Elam in the pilot. “Investigating” may be a bit of an overstatement. His first order of business is to drag Bohannon into his office and declare him the culprit. Is he allowing for the chance that he’s condemning an innocent man? Why yes, he is. “Perhaps, one of the negros. I hear he had some trouble with them,” he says to Bohannon. In the end it doesn’t matter. Bohannon may not be his man, but hanging him will placate Durant — “Daniel Johnson was a valuable asset to Mr. Durant” — and send a message to the camp: They can fight their petty fights and knife each other after playing poker and whatever the hell else they do after work. But when they f**k with power, they should expect power to f**k them right back.
So Bohannon’s chained up inside a boxcar to await his fate. The Swede visits him the next morning, to eat breakfast and fill us all in on a little bit of his backstory. He was a bookkeeper, and then a quartermaster in the Union army — “I was always more comfortable around numbers than people. I could control numbers.” — before being taken prisoner by the Confederates and sent to Andersonville. After a fellow prisoner tried eating him, he did some… not so good things, began practicing the episode’s titular “immoral mathematics” and turned into the badass we see before us.
It’s right about here that the episode begins running into its biggest problems. As the Swede turns to leave, Bohannon makes some remark about his prisoner friend not eating him because Union soldiers all taste like shit, then pulls some sort of Chuck Norris, Street Fighter bullsh*t to kick his plate — and fork — out of his hands. The Swede’s had about as much of Bohannon as he can stand and tells him that as soon as they cut down this other guy — which should only take several hours — he’s gonna hang. He leaves and it’s only then that Bohannon’s plan becomes clear! He needed that fork to help pry out nails from the boxcar’s floorboards, so he could slip out and escape. And that’s what he does, only moments before the Swede comes to march him off to the gallows.
The rest of the episode follows Bohannon on some sort of Benny Hill wetdream while the Swede, his two goons and a guy in a gorilla costume run all over camp — yet somehow always ten or so feet behind him — trying to find him. While Bohannon eludes capture he runs across Elam, who seems hellbent on convincing Bohannon that being a black man in the 1860s is really hard. “Somebody put you in chains, natural thing to do is try to escape. Ain’t I right?” A long, awkward pause. “Ain’t I right?” This is an instance of Bohannon’s strong and silent type getting the best of him. If he’d just tell him about the slaves he used to own but set free a year before the war, they could put all this tough guy bullsh*t behind them and be friends already.
The last stop on Bohannon’s journey is Durant’s boxcar, where he convinces his boss to make him the railroad’s foreman, theryby ensuring that he’ll be sticking around for at least five or six seasons. I like Anson Mount, but I have too easy a time imagining him looking in the mirror, smearing dirt on his face and repeating, “I’m a cowboy. I’m a cowboy. I’m a cowboy,” while trying out different vocal inflections. Colm Meany, on the other hand, seems like he’s jumped into his role with both feet. Whether it’s with Mount, or narrating the savage indian attack on his advance team of surveyors, Meany kind of gives a little boost to everyone around him. When Bohannon asks him for just two minutes of his time before asking for Johnson’s job, Durant pulls out a gun, sets it down on the desk in front of him and says he’s got two minutes. I’m sure we’d all miss you, Mr. Bohannon, but knowing Durant was sticking around would go a way toward easing our grief.
First things first. From now until we’re all put in the cold, cold ground, it’s important to remember that Deadwood never asked to be the greatest show in the history of television. It just is. A show like that coming along, gracing our living rooms and showing us that life really is worth fighting for only happens once… well, once in a lifetime. Networks will keep trying, but that lightning’s not striking twice.
The reason I bring this up is because, since 2006, when Deadwood was prematurely and violently ripped from the arms of a comparatively small ratings share — although HBO doesn’t live and die with ratings, but that’s not the point — very few westerns have popped up on our television screens. These days, it’s all about international sales. And along with American comedies, westerns have just about the lowest resale value out there. So because it’s a western, which we so rarely see, we can’t help but compare it to that other show, which was so groundbreaking, perfect, and really redefined the genre. But difficult though it may be, we should try and keep the comparisons between Hell On Wheels and Deadwood to a minimum, because there’s no way this one is going to live up to that one.
And that’s okay. At it’s heart, Hell On Wheels is a very different show. Set not long after the Civil War, it stars Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon, a former Confederate soldier who finds work on the Pacific Railroad while searching for those men who murdered his wife. I guess Mr. Mount had gained a little notoriety some years back for kissing Brittney Spears, but before this I had never seen him. As Bohannon, I like him, although at this point I wouldn’t want to pass too strong a judgement either way. Especially because in this first episode he’s about as Clint Eastwood as you can get.
Actually, Clint Eastwood characterizes a lot of what we see in the pilot. Bohannon comes into town — the titular Hell On Wheels — looks at those around him from underneath a furrowed brow and speaks gruffly and cryptically about himself and his past. We find out that he owned slaves (because he’s hardcore…), but freed them all a year before the war (… but still, like, a pretty cool dude). His wife met a nasty end at the hands of Union soldiers, and Bohannon’s made up his mind to kill all of them. It’s all very straightforward and a story we’ve seen again and again in different incarnations. And all of that’s okay, but you’d hope and expect that it would evolve into something more.
But as meat and potatoes as Bohannon’s story is, there are other spots where you see the show trying to rise above “it’s pretty okay!” to be something more. Common pops up as Elam Ferguson, a former slave who’s looking around and seeing his situation as the same old crap in slightly nicer clothes. This is one of those places the show’s going to have to watch itself. When Mad Men first started, it kind of threw all that 60s racism and sexism at the audience with a little wink because it was all so OUTRAGEOUS, and I feel like Hell On Wheels is still in that mode. It’s not too bad, and not everything the show is letting us in on has to do with institutionalized racism, but the show should realize that there are more subtle ways of getting its point across. And that doing so might make us care a little more about the characters it’s introducing us to. When we meet Lily Bell, we hear her husband — who’s a surveyor and part of an advance team mapping out track — say that this cough he’s come down with is going to be the death of him. Well, that seals it. From that moment on we’re waiting for him to die. And when he does (SPOILERS!), we’re not all that sad to see him go.
Another character the show can’t help but be a little too on the nose with is Thomas “Doc” Durant, played by Colm Meany, an investor who sees the railroad as the way to make his millions and immortalize himself to the future. It just so happens that Meany is so interesting in the role that I find myself not caring. From the moment he appears we see that he’s very obviously playing a villain. So when he delivers an impassioned speech about how building the railroad will ultimately heal the nation’s wounds, we’re not surprised at all to hear him say, “It’s all horse crap,” in the very next scene. Yes, that’s not something anyone needed to be told, but his delivery saved it. The people on this show need a lot of work, but Durant is the closest thing we’ve got to being fully realized. And I just love Colm Meany. I loved him in Star Trek. I loved him in Layer Cake. I loved him in that other thing he did that one time. And I love him here.
So how the show is handling its characters kind of runs from one end of the spectrum to the other. But it’s not just how the characters themselves are handled, but the situations each one of them is presented in. Whether it’s Bohannon setting himself up in camp, Elam planning to kill the camp foreman, Durant’s scheming, or the Indian attack which takes Lily’s husband, it feels as if the show is telling us THIS IS HAPPENING, AND NOW THIS IS HAPPENING. It’s deliberate to the point that it stumbles over itself. But all of that’s okay. What we’re being given here isn’t perfect, but so few shows are at this point. Hell On Wheels wants to be more. To be honest, I don’t know if it can be, but I like what I’ve seen so far, so I’ll stick around. I’ll probably have to break out my Deadwood DVDs, though, give that show another round and get pissed off about the fourth season we never got all over again.
For those of you still sending death threats to HBO over the cancellation of Deadwood, good news! AMC has just released the first trailer for its new western, Hell On Wheels. The show — centered around the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad — stars Anson Mount as an ex-Confederate out to avenge his murdered wife. Also starring are rapper Common and Colm Meaney, who was great as Chief O’Brien in Star Trek, but better beating the hell out of Daniel Craig in Layer Cake.
Rubicon showed us that not everything AMC puts out is going to be a ratings smash, but so far they’re 5 for 5 on quality. Of course, the show will never be as good as Deadwood, but if we’re lucky, a few well-placed f**ks and c**ksuckers will go a long way toward fixing that.