Warning: This recap contains spoilers.
In this week’s episode of 1923, “One Ocean Closer to Destiny,” Teonna’s journey after her escape continues, Spencer and Alex’s fate following the shipwreck is revealed, Jacob continues to heal, and the search for new livestock officers begins.
Teonna on the run
Hank gives Teonna his son’s clothes and tells her they need to come up with a male name for her as a disguise. She jokingly suggests Hank Jr. and goes on to remark how that’s what white men do — pass their names down until their names are just numbers that mean nothing (John Dutton, anyone?). They decide on Joe, and he burns her clothes from the school.
Two officers show up at Teonna’s grandmother’s house with a warrant for her arrest. She begins to get upset and physical with one of the men as they search the house, and when he pushes her, she falls backward, hits her head, and dies.
The search for livestock officers
Cara is conducting interviews for livestock officers, and some of the men they’ve spoken with don’t seem to be all that happy that a woman is in charge of the interviews. They do find a viable candidate whom they hire on the spot, Clyde, though ultimately that means they’ve only filled 3 out of 20 positions thus far. Cara is discouraged, because time isn’t on the Dutton family’s side right now.
The line between justice and vengeance
Cara finds Jacob outside staring off in the distance at the mountains, and he points out where they’re cutting a road into the landscape. Idly, she tells him she wants them to get a generator, a clothes washing machine, and a motor car. The modern age is sweeping upon them, whether he likes it or not. But the bigger issue at hand right now is the fact that the properties to the north and south of the Yellowstone have been bought out, and Jacob knows they’re doing it to squeeze what remains in the middle — them. At this rate, achieving justice for what’s been done would be a luxury, right now they just need to survive. Cara then implores Jacob not to be mad when the sheriff suddenly arrives.
Now aware of the attack, the sheriff tells Jacob that situation looks bad, because there’s no proof to be found. Jacob angrily rips open his shirt to show the bullet wounds littered across his chest, and he has a dozen witnesses to prove it. In addition to a graveyard of bodies. Jacob defends his choice to keep the situation quiet with the bank and thieves waiting on the sidelines. The sheriff says he’ll conduct arrests in the morning, but in the meantime, everyone needs to give statements to the deputies.
Jacob stalks off, and Cara chases after him. She knows what’s really bothering him — it’s not justice that he wants, it’s vengeance. An arrest won’t be enough for him. But she reminds Jacob of what she went through while he was bedridden, taking care of him and digging graves. The family abandoned the desire for vengeance for him … can his pride withstand the sacrifice of showing them the same courtesy? While he’s certainly not in the state for it, Jacob saddles up his horse anyway to go for a ride.
Though he leaves their disagreement hanging unfinished for the time being, Jacob approaches Cara outside on the porch later and tells her he knows that she saves his life. And what he’s after isn’t vengeance, it’s preservation. New York, Boston — imagine those places if the cities weren’t there. They’d be beautiful, covered in forests, meadows, and rivers. If they’re not careful, their ranch will just end up being converted into another concrete desert (something the Duttons are still fighting to prevent to this day in Yellowstone).
The shipwreck and new beginnings
Spencer manages to swim to the surface after the boat capsizes, and he climbs on top of it, screaming Alex’s name to try and find her. He hears her banging on the ship from the inside, so he swims underwater and finds her in the small pocket of air that remains inside. After getting Alex to safety, Spencer goes back down below to retrieve what supplies he can while they wait for help to arrive. Unfortunately, sharks begin to surround the boat.
After night falls, they wake to the sound of a ship off in the distance. With no other way to call attention to their location amid the darkness surrounding them, Spencer shoots his rifle into the air several times, and the ship thankfully finds them. Once they board, Spencer asks the captain to marry them — not only to get Alex through United States immigration, but also as a result of what the two of them have just been through. Though they don’t have rings, the captain allows them to pick rings from a box collected from sailors that have passed. None of them fit on Alex’s finger, so the captain offers her the one he wears around his neck, which used to belong to his wife. After the ceremony, Spencer and Alex can’t keep their hands off of one another as they make their way back to their quarters.
Later, Alex asks Spencer what he dreams of. While he doesn’t have an answer initially, he tells her that he knows it was wrong to take her with him. Everything has been a sign, a warning — the elephant, the lions, the shipwreck. But he’s too selfish when it comes to her. His dream is that the universe was wrong, and that she’s his to keep.
Catch the next episode of 1923 exclusively on Paramount+ next Sunday, February 19. In case you missed it, the series was recently renewed for a second season!