NOTE: this post contains spoilers for 1923 episode 6, "One Ocean Closer to Destiny."
Whatever the future of Yellowstone may be, it has been a real treat exploring the Dutton's past, first in 1883 and now in 1923. Even in an episode like "One Ocean Closer to Destiny" that is mostly setup for what's to come or some additional character moments, the scale and epicness of the TV western is so much fun to watch.
Things pick up with Teonna (Aminah Nieves) and Hank (Michale Greyeyes). Hank plans to hide Teonna by dressing her as a boy and calling her Joe. This means that they have to burn everything Teonna had with her from the school, which she of course has little objection to. However, when she hands Hank a bible, he hesitates. He says the bible was read to him when he was imprisoned. He believes the Christian God is a vengeful one and worries what burning it could cause, so instead Teonna buries it.
Elsewhere, people are on Teonna's trail. A pair of lawmen go to her grandmother Issaxche's (Amelia Rico) house looking for Teonna. They ransack her house and when Issaxche hits one of them on the arm, he shoves her off, causing her to hit her head on the stove and die. The two officers agree to cover up the incident.
It's not until after the opening credits that we head back to Spencer (Brandon Sklenar) and Alex's (Julia Schlaepfer) shipwreck that closed out episode 5. They have survived, if just barely, and all of their hope relies on if the boat that Spencer was able to contact before the wreck can find them. In the meantime, they must contend with a lack of water, the beating sun and, eventually, a group of sharks that circle them.
Back in Montana, Jacob (Harrison Ford) is starting to get his form back, even if it's with the help of a cane. He talks with Zane (Brian Geraghty), telling him to start looking for men to join a posse that will go against Banner (Jerome Flynn).
Cara (Helen Mirren) is also recruiting men, though for the more lawful Livestock Commission. They find a good candidate in an ex-Chicago police officer named Clyde (Brian Konowal). He marks the third man that they have hired, which frustrates Cara, worried they won't have enough people in time. It's this fear that forces Cara to reveal the attack to Sheriff McDowell (Robert Patrick) for the first time.
Jacob isn't exactly thrilled Cara did that, even after the sheriff tells him he'll arrest Banner for the attack (though like Jacob, we doubt it's going to stick). Jacob goes off in a huff, but Cara is having none of it. She chastises him for his stubborn pursuit of vengeance when it was her, Emma (Marley Shelton) and Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph) who suffered the most; even Jack (Darren Mann), who was frustratingly told to stand down.
Later that night, Jacob sits with Cara. He thanks her for everything she did to protect the family and care for him, but he disagrees that it's vengeance he is after. He asks her to picture New York or Boston, what they could look like if the "cement deserts" that they became were never built. He says he is fighting to protect that from happening. Protecting their ranch and protecting the natural paradise of the land; so that no one will build over Cara when she passes. It's a good speech, arguably as good, if not better, as any that Kevin Costner's John Dutton has ever given for why he continues that fight in Yellowstone.
The last portion of the episode is spent with Spencer and Alex, who after surviving all day are rescued by a boat. They meet with the captain, who tells them they are going to Marseille, where they can then get a ship to America.
Spencer asks the captain if he would marry them, to which the captain agrees. Though they opt to forgo most ceremonies, the captain does have them pick out rings left behind by dead sailors, which Spencer finds surprisingly fitting — they survived the ocean, but now the ocean is giving them a symbol of their union. Alex isn't able to find one that fits though, so the captain, moved by the pair of them, gives her his late wife's ring.
Once they are wed and have the fun part of their makeshift wedding night, Alex asks Spencer what is something that he dreams of. All he can think of is that, after all the struggles they have faced that could have been the universe telling them they shouldn't be together, he gets to be with Alex forever. She tells him that dream has already come true. Where he goes, she follows, even into death.
While definitely not the most intense hour of TV, 1923 episode 6 continues to fire on all cylinders with great performances from Ford and Mirren, and the riveting Spencer and Alex love story.
New episodes of 1923 stream on Paramount Plus every Sunday (US) and Monday (UK).
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.