The first season of Hell on Wheels introduced us to three couples who could each star in their own historical romances, but who's going to get the happy ending? Now that the season two finale has aired, let's discuss:
***Beware of SPOILERS for Seasons 1 & 2 of Hell on Wheels***
Ruth Cole & Joseph Black Moon:
Though Ruth and Joseph come from two different worlds, in the world of the railroad, these two are perfect for each other. Ruth, a preacher's daughter turned preacher herself, struggles to find the balance between duty to her estranged, alcoholic father and her newfound passion for preaching and leading her church. Joseph proves her ideal mate, as he also must reconcile his Cheyenne heritage and fervent Christian faith. Though the two fall deeply in love, Joseph's desire to marry Ruth and lead the church together faces two big roadblocks. They both acknowledge that a white woman married to a Cheyenne man would have a difficult time moving in society, and the there's the little fact that Joseph stabbed Ruth's father. Okay, he did it to save a whole train full of innocent people, but it still counts. Now that tarnished idealist and Irish immigrant Sean McGinnes has set his sights on Ruth, abandoning both his family and his faith to gain her favor, is Joseph out of the running or will true love win out?
HEA potential: Cautiously optimistic. Joseph may have blood on his hands, but he's honorable to the core, and Ruth is too smart to buy Sean's act for long.
Lily Bell & Cullen Bohannon:
When we first met Lily Bell, she was a genteel Englishwoman who'd crossed the pond to be with her husband as he surveyed the American frontier. When a surprise Cheyenne attack ended her husband's life and left her with an arrow sticking out of her shoulder, Lily did what any self-respecting romance heroine would do. She yanked the arrow out of her own flesh and used it to kill her husband's murderer. Former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon knows what it's like to avenge a mate, as he's on the hunt for the men who killed his wife and child. He killed the wrong man at the end of season one but discovered he'd found the right woman in Lily. Over the course of season two, Bohannon and Lily find themselves in close quarters both personally and professionally, and Lily discovers that Bohannon has an intriguing bit of polish beneath his rough edges. Their simmering attraction explodes in a passionate encounter that shakes them both to their core, but what will the future hold?
HEA Potential: Unless Lily's only mostly dead at the hands of The Swede, pretty dismal, but there's a consolation prize. Losing his second love can only mean a darker and grittier Bohannon next season.
Eva Toole & Elam Ferguson:
Once a good Mormon girl, Eva escaped Indian captivity only to find that the tribal tattoo she now bore on her face left only one option for survival: prostitution. Elam Ferguson, an emancipated slave, is determined not to let anybody dictate his future, and falling in love with a woman he can't have is bad, bad news. With a huskily whispered, “I want you to be mine,” Elam declares his love for Eva, who interprets this as a proposal. It's not. The railroad is moving on and Elam plans to move with it, while Eva will settle for nothing less than a house, husband and children. If Elam won't put a ring on her finger, Mr. Toole, the stationmaster, will, and does. Eva vows to be a faithful wife to Mr. Toole, who cares for her in his own way, but the love and passion between Elam and Eva only grows stronger. When Eva discovers she's carrying Elam's baby, which Mr. Toole will raise as his own, Elam builds Eva the house she's always wanted. It's there where Mr. Toole discovers them both, but he refuses to listen when Eva says she'd come to tell Elam goodbye. This triangle ends with a bang as Mr. Toole commits suicide in front of the lovers.
HEA Potential: Very good. It's going to be rough going, but Eva is now single, Elam built her dream home, and they have a baby on the way. Things are looking up for these two, as much as things can in Hell on Wheels.
So—what are your shipping prognostications?
Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.