1923 (Season 1) Episode 2: While the recent season of Yellowstone is receiving numerous nominations, its prequel series is bound to have an impact. 1923, created by Taylor Sheridan, is a scenic offering in the western genre that is available on Paramount+. Starring Helen Mirren, Harrison Ford, Brandon Skelner, Darren Mann, and Aminah Nieves in pivotal roles, the series is bringing a period melodrama to the screen in accordance with cultural and political moments from the time it is set in.
The first episode set the expositions to make us aware of the primary background of its characters. Now the second episode is slowly delving into the drama that occurs between them.
1923 (Season 1) Episode 2 Recap
What happens to Spencer after the leopard’s attack?
Nature’s Empty Throne
The previous ends on a cliffhanger note when Spencer (Brandon Sklenar) kills a leopard and, the very next moment, gets attacked by another. While one might assume that he will get killed, it starts wounding him, but he fights back and manages to save himself and kill it. He then sees another one, and by the time he loads his rifle and fires the bullet, it runs away. The locals rush to help him, and one of them gets attacked by that leopard, who snatches him dead. Back at the camp, he instructs the doctor to start medicating him and tells the general to send all his men to return to their quarters.
Spencer then questions this general for keeping the hunters in the dark about the presence of another leopard and letting one of them die due to this negligence. He makes him bend on his knees and apologize. While he makes the Brit’s ego evaporate, back in America, the Dutton family tries to save their land from the sheepherders. Jack (Darren Mann) notices sheep grazing on the land where they are taking the cattle and, upon reaching there, gets attacked by the herders. Jacob (Harrison Ford) notices that and takes all the ranchers toward him.
They start shooting the herders and, upon getting hold of Banner (Jerome Flynn), question him for not following the orders. As a punishment for this offense of taking their sheep on another person’s land., they take the herders and hang them to a tree branch while they sit on their respective horses. They decide to return to their work, while the herders are left with knots in their throats. Banner advises everyone else to stay still so that the horses would not run, leaving them dead. But due to their impatience, all of them get killed except him.
Meanwhile, at the Catholic boarding school, the native American students are being given a lesson in sweeping the dust by the nuns. Sister Mary (Jennifer Ehle) guides them to sweep in a womanly manner, and Baapuxti (Leenah Robinson) mistakenly sweeps to the front step. It angers the nun who hits her for doing so. As a sign of protest, Teonna (Aminah Nieves) purposefully throws her dust to the steps and looks the sister right in her eyes without any fear. She decides not to say anything to her and orders the other students to follow her guidelines.
Later, during their meal, Teonna sees worms in the food and gets enraged to consider it as a sign of gratitude when it is clearly, inedible. She screams in anger and utters something in her native language. So, the nun approaches to discipline her, and she attacks the nun and punches her face. As a punishment for this action, she is sent to a wooden compartment outside the school, where she is made to stay for the entire night. Before leaving, Father Renaud (Sebastian Roché) threatens her never to use her native language or otherwise she will also get killed.
Meanwhile, Jacob discusses their next plan with John Sr. (James Badge Dale) and Jack. Jacob mentions that since everything has been grazed on the preplanned land, they need to go south for their cattle. Jack wonders if any of the herders were able to save themselves. While Jacob assumes that a few will be able to make it, he gives this grandson of his a piece of advice involving the theory of survival and the necessity of instilling fear for keeping what they have safe. Instead of building anything for himself, he believes that a man will always try to snatch it from others.
Back at the ranch, Cara (Helen Mirren) and Emma (Marley Shelton) have a conversation about Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph), who is singing songs in her room as a 19-year-old romantic. Cara does not mind it since she understands her upbringing in Boston; beyond the ranches, she grew used to music and freedom. Emma wishes it to stop and for her to be as motherly as them. However, Cara smartly points out that it is not the nature of Liz, who is fierce, and that Jack has decided to spend his life with her knowing that.
After a continuous struggle, Banner manages to rescue himself and runs away from the dead bodies and the horses. Meanwhile, a native American woman walks up to the police station to meet the superintendent. The white female clerk seems to purposefully delay responding to her and then asks if she has an appointment. Upon seeing the appointment note, she is told to sit on a bench, where she finds a man waiting for two days. She dozes off on the bench, and the woman rudely wakes her up and escorts her to the superintendent.
She goes in to request the officer to send her granddaughter to a school near her house and explains the situation of her parents. While the child’s mother is dead, her father leads the reservation herd, which the superintendent considers a sign of him abandoning the child. As a solution, he advises the woman to legally adopt her granddaughter to let her attend the day school, as said in the law. While she considers him to help through this process, he directs her to the magistrate in the crow agency and requests the judge there for adoption.
Meanwhile, Zane Davis (Brian Geraghty), a loyal foreman of the Dutton ranch, goes to meet a Native American group. He offers them the sheep and does whatever they please with them. While the man is initially hesitant to do so, he soon accepts the proposal. After getting out of the hot room, Teonna is taken back to a bath, where Sister Alice (Kerry O’Malley) goes to molest her sexually. She does not fight back, probably because of the stress of being inside a closed compartment for a while. Then, Sister Mary comes in and stops the nun and then questions Teonna accepted it while she could not accept her modest lessons. The nun threatens her to abide by her denial, which will get her hurt further.
Meanwhile, a young British woman named Alexandra (Julia Schlaepfer) approaches Spencer while he was sitting by himself and drinking. She asks him queries to know his identity and gets instantly smitten by his charm and rude personality. Upon hearing that he is the reputed hunter of maneaters, other ladies flock over him. Alexandra is still infatuated with him and does not look away from his face. A friend of hers stops her and reminds her and Spencer that she is about to get married. Their interaction is abruptly interrupted. Later, a British officer enquires about his injuries and wonders if he can get still go hunting a Hyena in Tanganyika. Spencer, being Spencer, accepts the request.
1923 (Season 1) Episode 2 Ending Explained
What happens between Alexandra and Spencer?
During the gathering of close individuals, Alexandra starts feeling out of place. The thought of a handsome man like Spencer being left out of her life does not let her feel at peace. Marriage will bind her to a single man, who is kind, but not someone who would sweep her off her feet. She rushes out of the room and mentions the same to her friend. She tries to make her see the benefit of marrying a nobleman as her fiancé.
On her way back, she sees Spencer drinking directly from a bottle of alcohol. There is neither present in his behavior nor an attempt for sophistication. She finds it strangely alluring and gets attracted to him. During their encounter, when they are about to share a kiss, her fiancé sees them and calls her. She then goes back with him in discontent. The next day, while Spencer is on his way, he nods her goodbye from a distance. She tries to put on an act of genuine happiness but fails at it.
When she finally sees him going away on his ride, she impulsively decides to take her bags and run after him. She coyly asks him if she can accompany him, he is hesitant at first but then, the next moment offers her a seat. While their future together is yet unknown, her passionate interest in him certainly puts a smile on his face. At least for now, we know that the British woman has run away with the American hunter.