Everyone gets a little more backstory this week. Young Elam is shown as a slave. He was made to read for his master’s friends, not as a sign of his intelligence but as proof that slaves could be “trained like parrots.” In actuality, young Elam understood far more than he let on. In the present day (aka 1865), Toole and his cronies drag Elam to the saloon for a hanging. Eva pleads with Cullen to save him. He’s reluctant, but he rides in on his horse at the last minute like a knight in grimy armor and flees Hell on Wheels with Elam. At first, Elam is still kind of an ass to Cullen, but then he hears Cullen talking about his son. Cullen found the boy, burned to death by Union soldiers, cradled in the arms of the former slave who’d also raised Cullen. He says he realized then that his wife had been right to want their slaves freed. The next day, Toole and an assortment of *******s come looking for them. Cullen quickly dispatches most of them, while Elam does away with Toole. It’s like Christmas came early.
Meanwhile, Lily and Doc head to Chicago. En route, Doc mopes about his impending ruin and his crappy childhood in Hell’s Kitchen. This diverges from the real Doc Durant’s life story, but it does give Lily the opportunity to order him to stop feeling sorry for himself and figure a way out of his problems. Thus kicked in the pants, Doc realizes he can make a bundle by connecting the rail to New York. When he goes to see Jordan Crane the next day, he gives the man an erroneous stock tip about his new project. This leaves Crane destitute and Doc five million bucks richer. While that’s going on, Lily visits her late husband’s family. They’re all in black while Lily is in blazing red. Her in-laws make no secret of their disdain for Lily, who finally snaps and slaps the crap out of one of them when they blame her for Robert’s death. In the end, she decides to return to Hell on Wheels with Doc instead of going on to England. Doc, of course, is now crushing on her pretty hard, as am I. Stay tuned for the full recap.