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Moment of Goodness

Hell on Wheels Moment of Goodness: Eva and Durant’s Heart to Heart in “Reckoning” 

Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC
Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC

If you’ve watched Hell on Wheels a while, you have a handle on the complicated personal lives of the many characters, and in the middle of that there are a few surprising friendships that have taken hold, and endured. One that is completely charming is the bond between Durant and Eva, which was cemented when he nursed him back to health in season two. He’s been an ally for her, he’s looked out for her, and it’s never, ever been about sex.

In tonight’s episode, he comes to her aid when Campbell’s men slap her around as they shut down Mickey’s bar. Durant intervenes and gets her out of harm’s way. Later, she asks him what the stock her gave her is worth and he tells her nothing. She says she should just go back to whoring and he immediately pulls bills out of his pocket and offers her a loan, but she won’t have his charity. He insists it’s not, but she’s firm.

That evening, she comes to his train car and says she’ll take his money, if he has sex with her, and he laughs out loud, because that’s so not what she is to him. She tells him she likes him, and it doesn’t mean anything to her anyway, and he says that’s a tragedy. She hikes her skirt and stretches one of her legs to him, maintaining the offer, and he comes over to her and after a beat where I’m guessing it probably really does cross his mind (the camera’s not close on his face the whole time), he tells her no.

He sits down next to her and tells her he will pay her to eat his food and take a bath in his tub, because she’s getting a little ripe. “You are one of the people I like. I’ll pay you for that.”

Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC
Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC

Later, as she enjoys her bath, Durant checks on her and she tells him he can come in. She asks why he’s being so nice to her, and he says because they are friends, and she admits there haven’t been many in her life–only customers. He says that’s their loss. He stops at the bed and sits down on the other side of a screen. We can see each of them, but they can’t see each other. She asks him if she can ask a question, and he says of course. She wants to know if he thinks all women are whores. She explains that the point was made to her recently when Mickey groped her the last time she was in a tub (but she doesn’t name him to Durant).

Durant tells her women are God’s most glorious creatures and he was fortunate enough to love one. She asks him about his wife, and he says yes he did love her once, but their marriage became a business partnership after their son died, and then she left him when he was in prison. He doesn’t name his great love, and I’m guessing we’re to assume it was Lily, but perhaps there was someone else when he and his wife were estranged.

She says it was his wife’s loss to leave him. And that the leaving doesn’t make the love stop. She asks if it gets any easier. He says it does not. And then they just sit quietly together, a little sad, but not alone.

I love their relationship and that they can talk to each other. They are at such far ends of the social spectrum for the time, and they started a friendship when he was in the needier position, but he hasn’t abandoned her now that she’s in pretty dire straits. Durant is rarely ever the good guy, but he’s a good guy with Eva. Robin McLeavy and Colm Meaney always looks like they’re just enjoying the hell out of their scenes, so I was glad to see them repeatedly together in this episode.

I have no clue where this season is going, but allies are never a bad thing, no matter how unlikely.

Hell on Wheels airs Saturdays at 9/8c on AMC.

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