Nothing is ever easy on 1923. The Yellowstone spin-off has been fraught with hair-raising drama since it premiered, and eight episodes in, nothing has really changed. This week alone, Spencer and Alex were torn apart, Teonna was forced to go on the run yet again and Jacob found out that he could lose his ranch -- and that's not even getting into Zane's wife's arrest, how horrible Donald Whitfield is turning out to be, and poor Elizabeth's loss. While we know that there's got to be a light at the end of this tragic tunnel, actually going on the journey has been pretty rough, even as a viewer. Here are seven of the most tragic moments from this week's episode -- and the season one finale -- "Nothing Left To Lose."
Warning: Spoilers ahead for season one of 1923.
Teonna finds love in a hopeless place
After ending last episode in a perpetual scream, Teonna is discovered by her father this week. She's sleeping in an old mine not far from the bodies of the dead priests and her pal Hank, and when her father pulls her from the mine, she sees that he's both wrapped Hank in a hide and labeled both of the priests' bare chests with the phrase "child killer."
As Teonna climbs on her horse alongside her father, she's greeted by Pete, the young man who's been helping her father. When we see them later hanging out by a campfire, Pete and Teonna are making eyes at each other, a fact that Teonna's dad doesn't miss. When he tells the pair that they can "fall in love later," because all they should be thinking about now is staying alive, Teonna shuts him down, saying, "I don't believe in later. I believe in right now." She gives Pete a peck, and as her dad falls asleep, she cuddles up with her new beau and immediately starts to sob. Her dad hears her and is clearly moved as well. I've said it before and I'll say it again: What this family has been through is an absolute nightmare.
Zane's family is torn apart
Speaking of absolute nightmares: When Jacob rides into town to see about a bank loan, Zane takes the opportunity to peel off and see his family. As it turns out, his wife is Chinese-American, meaning -- as we learn later -- that their relationship is illegal. Zane spends some very cute time hanging out with his children, who are beyond adorable, and gets frisky with his wife. The daughter interrupts the happy couple to tell them that she saw a monster outside her window and the mom kind of blows her off. One would think Zane would or should be on high alert, given what's going on at the ranch, but he's in love and happy to see his family for the first time in a long time, so he misses the cues.
In the morning, though, a couple of cars roll up on the house early and lawmen knock on the door. They're arresting Zane's wife, Alice Chao, for violating Montana law; they're arresting her for being Asian and having a white husband, and for having two mixed race children. The arresting officer says absolutely vile things about their kids, then beats the shit out of Zane when gets justifiably mad. As they drive a screaming Alice away from her home, we see neighbors rush to help and an unmoving Zane lying bloodied on his front porch as his kids scream "daddy." It's unclear what will become of him, but the situation turned my stomach in a way that 1923 hasn't, generally, if only because we're talking about the abuse and destruction of the lives of small, adorable children. It was awful, awful, awful.
Speaking of awful: Donald Whitfield
We learned last week that Donald Whitfield was a sadist, but as it turns out, we were only scratching the surface of his major malfunction. This week we find out that he's still keeping the two sex workers in his home, forcing one of them, Lindy, to beat the girl she'd taken the belt to last week. When Lindy tells Donald she takes no pleasure in the girl's pain, he cajoles her, telling her that she should take pleasure in the power she has over the injured girl. When Lindy clearly starts to get into it, Donald jumps in, telling her that now it's the injured girl's turn to take the belt to Lindy. Lindy's shocked -- as she should be -- and the injured girl absolutely lays into Lindy with all of her strength. Whitfield merely sits back and smiles, no doubt taking pleasure in the destruction of these women and their shared humanity. I have no doubt that he'll end up killing both of them in the end.
Jacob and Cara may lose the ranch
Jacob and Cara Dutton have seemingly always operated the Yellowstone ranch on a thin margin, but with Jacob's injury and an early winter, they're looking at a big financial shortcoming this year. When the bank turns Jacob down for a loan, saying he can have a mortgage instead, he storms out, only to find out the next day that Whitfield has paid off his biannual tax bill. If Jacob can't pay Whitfield's balance off by the end of the year, he'll lose the ranch to Whitfield -- a technicality Cara can't believe. It's pretty absurd and I wonder what Yellowstone scholar figured out that intricacy of Montana property law, but it's also the biggest threat yet to the Dutton family land. Since we know that the Duttons still own the land in Yellowstone, it feels clear that they'll get out of this scrape somehow, but it's still pretty terrible.
Banner's out on no bail
Whitfield isn't the only threat to Jacob's livelihood, either. Banner Creighton is out of jail after his lawyer (sort of rightly) pointed out that there's no physical evidence in his case and that if Banner is in jail, Jacob should be as well, since he also killed a number of Banner's men. While there's an argument to be made that Jacob didn't actually kill the men, their wandering horses did, it's all still pretty specious, especially considering that we know that the judge is in Whitfield's pocket in some respect.
Afterwards, while the lawyer tries to walk Banner from the courtroom, he goes after Jacob, telling him that "this doesn't end in a court. It ends in a field in front of your f*cking house." Jacob snaps back, "If that's what you want, I'm more than happy to help you out." Given that we learn later that Jacob can't actually feel his fingers post-shooting, that's maybe not the best idea, but perhaps Spencer will be back in time to act as his proxy.
Spencer and Alex are separated at sea
As it turns out, Spencer might actually be back pretty soon, since when the episode ends, he's being forcefully removed from the ocean liner he and Alex boarded at the episode's beginning. Seems like Alex's ex-fiance Arthur didn't take too kindly to the pair being on board and after Alex and Spencer took a turn around the dining room dance floor, Arthur literally threw down a gauntlet and challenged Spencer to a duel. Alex tried to get Spencer to walk away and he did for a moment, but then Arthur called Alex a whore and you know Spencer won't stand for that. Spencer agreed to do the duel, and the ship's captain was called in to intervene.
Unfortunately, the ship's captain didn't arrive for the beginning of the duel, which found Arthur and Spencer duking it out with swords, Arthur's choice of weapon. Spencer was easily besting him right from the jump, and when Arthur was down on the ground, Spencer having taken his sword, Spencer implored Arthur's father, the Earl of Sussex, to control his son. The Earl seemed down, but then Arthur jumped up, said he'd never yielded, and pulled a gun. Spencer grabbed him and flipped him over the ship's rail, leading to Arthur's death at sea. The Earl in turn asked for Spencer's arrest and for Alex to be confined to her room, claiming their marriage must have been coerced.
Later, we find out that one of Alex's old bridesmaids has vouched for Spencer's claims that he had no choice, meaning he won't have to stand trial. Still, since the Earl has asked for Spencer to be removed from the ship, the ship's captain is forced to dinghy him off the boat, all while Alex remains trapped in her room. The friend helps Alex escape, but she can't get to the dinghy where Spencer is. She tells him that she'll find him in Bozeman, Montana -- that is, assuming she can get away from whatever horrible fate awaits her back at her family's home in England.
Elizabeth loses the baby
Meanwhile, back in Montana, another of our favorite Dutton couples is going through their own bad time. After experiencing stomach pains, Elizabeth goes to take a bath, only to look down and see blood in the water. We learn she's miscarried the child she was carrying -- something that, it's worth noting, happens in 10 to 20 percent of all pregnancies. When Jack goes to check on Elizabeth after the doctor has left, she's pretty broken up about the whole thing, telling him (prematurely, I think) that if her entire purpose in life is to carry children, then she's failed. She calls being a mother her "one job on Earth," and her "destiny," a supposition that Jack smartly rebuts by saying that Cara has never had children, but she's still full of purpose and value. The pair end their scene by coming to to the conclusion that "we take what life gives us and that's all we can do," but I do have at least a little faith that the best is still yet to come for these two -- especially if we believe the assertions that Jack and Elizabeth might be John Dutton III's grandparents.
READ MORE: A Second Season of 'Yellowstone' Prequel '1923' is On the Way
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