Warning: This recap contains spoilers.
In this week’s episode of 1923, “Nothing Left to Lose,” the fate of the Yellowstone is at stake as Whitfield plays his dirtiest card yet in his fight to take the Dutton’s land. Elsewhere, Teonna, her father, and Pete continue to evade capture, and life continues to try and tear Alex and Spencer apart.
Love on the run
Teonna is finally reunited with her father, though it’s a somber occasion, because the bodies of Hank and the priests that attacked them lie dead outside. She leaves on horseback with him and Pete. As they sit around a fire later, Teonna’s father sees the looks that Teonna and Hank share, and he warns the two of them that all of their focus should be on survival, not falling in love. But Teonna defiantly takes his hand. As her father turns in to sleep, Hank holds Teonna as she cries, the weight of all that she’s been through hitting her hard.
Father Renaud and the police continue to search for Teonna, finding the dead priests. Teonna, her father, and Pete, meanwhile, make it to Wyoming — but they still have a long way to go yet.
Jacob, John, and the Yellowstone cowboys head into town for Banner’s trial, where he immediately pleads not guilty, stating that his actions were merely self-defense for the hangings. After the lawyers go back and forth, the judge rules that the arrest warrant for Banner was prematurely issued. For now, until they present physical evidence, he’s to be released without bail. The cowboys leap to their feet as Banner goes to leave, and he taunts Jack, punching him in the face.
Later, Banner angrily tells Whitfield that he wants all of the Duttons dead, but the other man warns him against the way in which he wants to seek vengeance. The real way to hurt Jacob and the family is to take their land. Afterward, Whitfield’s disturbingly sadistic treatment of the sex workers continues as he teaches them to take pleasure in exhibiting power.
Jack finds Elizabeth in the bath complaining about stomach pains, and when he leaves to get her a drink, she glances down into the water to find that she’s had a miscarriage. The next morning, the doctor comes to the house to check in Elizabeth. Jack goes upstairs to comfort her, because she feels like a failure at the prospect of not being able to bear children. Despite the uncertainty of if they’ll be parents, Jack tells Elizabeth that she’s his destiny. (Is this hinting that Yellowstone‘s John Dutton is perhaps a descendent of Spencer after all, and not Jack?)
Setting sail (again)
Following Spencer and Alex’s awkward run-in with her ex-fiancé in the last episode, as they’re boarding their ship to London, they unfortunately notice that he’s getting on it as well. When they eventually make their way up onto the deck, one of the women that’s travelling with Arthur pulls aside Alex to chat. Alex insists that she loves Spencer, but her friend believes that it’s lust. She’s shocked when Alex shows her that they’re married. As she walks away, Alex firmly tells Spencer that she wants to dine in the grand hall — she’s done hiding from them.
They bump into Arthur while they’re dancing, and though he tries to act tough, Spencer very quickly shuts him down with a muttered threat. Arthur bides his time, staring at them from across the room, and he eventually stalks over and slaps Spencer in the face with a napkin (yes, a napkin), challenging him to a duel. Spencer kicks him, and he turns to Arthur’s dad, telling him that he kills for a living, so that’s not a wise idea. Spencer and Alex walk away, taking the high road, until Arthur starts screaming and calling Alex a whore. Spencer punches Arthur in the face, and they head up onto the deck to duel.
Alex nervously warns Spencer that Arthur is an expert swordsman, but he’s not the least bit concerned. Spencer effortlessly disarms him, leaving Arthur lying prone on the deck. When Spencer returns to Alex, Arthur charges at them with a pistol, but he ends up falling overboard instead. Despite the fact that Arthur prompted the duel and was the one that pulled out a gun, duelling on the ship illegal, and nobody will speak on Spencer’s behalf, so they take him to the brig. Alex desperately begs her friend to tell the truth, but because of Arthur’s father’s title, it doesn’t matter.
Eventually, Spencer is brought to the ship’s captain, and he tells him that while it seems that his claims of innocence in Arthur’s death do have merit, he’s still going to be removed from the ship. However, they won’t allow him to bring Alex, because the Earl of Sussex has questioned the legality of their marriage and ordered them to detain her. She’s technically supposed to be the Countess of Sussex. Alex’s friend runs to her room to warn her, tricking a crew member into unlocking the door. However, it’s too late, because the boat has already arrived to take Spencer away. An emotional goodbye follows as they desperately cry to one another from across the water, proclaiming their love.
As a form of retaliation, Whitfield sends one of his men to lurk outside of Zane’s house. The police then show up to arrest his wife on the basis of miscegenation, because she’s not white and he is. Zane tries to stop them from taking her, and they beat him to the ground before taking his wife.
Whitfield drives up to the Yellowstone, prompting the cowboys to come riding up to the house with their guns raised. A commotion breaks out, and Jack runs out of the house with a rifle as well, but Cara screams for all of them to stop. As they drop their weapons, Whitfield drones on about the future of tourism in Montana. He makes note that despite the fact that Jacob is one of the few ranchers that owns his land with no loan, he’s behind on his property taxes. Whitfield took the liberty of paying the hefty sum for him. Jacob has until the end of the year to pay it back or else the deed to the land will revert to him.
The episode comes to a close with a voiceover of Cara’s last unsent letter to Spencer, in which she tells him that he’s their only hope at saving the Yellowstone. If he doesn’t hurry and get home, there will be nothing left to fight for …
1923 is now streaming on Paramount+. The series will return with a second season.