What will happen in the 1923 season 1 finale? Our theories on the big questions for 1923 episode 8

Helen Mirren in 1923
Helen Mirren in 1923 (Image credit: Emerson Miller/Paramount+)

NOTE: this post contains spoilers for 1923.

After seven harrowing episodes, the 1923 season 1 finale premieres Sunday, February 26, on Paramount Plus (Monday, February 27, for UK and subscribers outside North America). The Yellowstone prequel series has been another hit for the Sheridan-verse, with the story of the Duttons in the first quarter of the 20th century gripping fans. Unsurprisingly, many are likely wondering what lies in store for many of these characters.

We've seen the Duttons go through the ringer on two continents, as Jacob (Harrison Ford) and Cara (Helen Mirren) fight to protect the Yellowstone from the likes of Banner Creighton (Jerome Flynn) and Donald Whitfield (Timothy Dalton). In Africa, Spencer (Brandon Sklenar) and his new bride Alex (Julia Schlaepfer) have dealt with lions, elephants, sharks and more, but somehow the worst may still be yet to come.

Here are some of our predictions for the biggest questions heading into the 1923 season 1 finale.

NOTE: now that the 1923 season 1 finale has aired, we've also added what we got right and what we got wrong with these predictions.

Will Spencer and Alex head to Montana?

Julia Schlaepfer and Brandon Sklenar in 1923

Julia Schlaepfer and Brandon Sklenar in 1923 (Image credit: Emerson Miller/Paramount+)

Ever since 1923 episode 4, Spencer and Alex have been trying to make their way back to Montana but they've hit one problem after another. Episode 7 saw them arrive in Sicily and Spencer book them passage on a ship leaving in a few days, but they happen to run into the traveling group that Alex was with in Africa, including her former fiancé.

In episode 6, Spencer said the universe seems to be sending them signals that they shouldn’t be together and this may be yet another red flag from the cosmos. How will Alex deal with her new and old lives clashing, and who will she ultimately choose? And even if she chooses to stay with Spencer, are we sure they're getting on a boat before the season ends?

Our prediction: Alex and Spencer aren't breaking up. Alex has been very clear she's ready to follow Spencer anywhere, while Schlaepfer herself described their relationship as "the greatest love story." While there are always speed bumps along the way in love stories, they always end up together.  

As for whether they finally get on a boat heading toward Montana, we're going to say no. You don't bring up the mafia, like they did in episode 7, if you're not going to feature them somehow. 1923 loves to end its episodes with some kind of cliffhanger involving Spencer and Alex, so it would be no surprise that the season ends with Spencer coming face to face with the cosa nostra and their travel plans being altered.

What happened: The mafia mention in episode 7 proved to be a complete misdirection, as Spencer and Alex got on a boat heading for London at the start of the episode. However, it was not a smooth ride. Alex's ex-fiance was also on the boat and would not get over being dumped for Spencer. He ultimately challenges Spencer to a duel, with the young Dutton killing him in self defense.

Unfortunately, he was a member of the royal family and they still want to punish Spencer. So they kick him off the ship at the nearest port and don't let Alex join him. In a heartbreaking moment as he is being rowed away, Alex promises to find him in Montana.

So we'll say we were half right on this one. They did technically get on the boat, which we didn't think would happen, but they're still not heading directly to Montana. Plus, they're separated now, so this poor couple has another obstacle to overcome.

Who are John Dutton's grandparents? 

Michelle Randolph and Darren Mann embrace in 1923

Michelle Randolph and Darren Mann embrace in 1923 (Image credit: Christopher Saunders/Paramount+)

Though 1923 has plenty of interesting characters we've enjoying getting to know in its own timeline, fans can't help but ask who on the show are the grandparents to Yellowstone's main character, John Dutton?

Prior to 1923 premiering, we put together the Dutton family tree, believing that Jack Dutton (Darren Mann) and Elizabeth Strafford (Michelle Randolph) were the direct relatives of John Dutton. It made sense, Jack is often a nickname for John, so the name could easily be passed down. However, many fans have begun to speculate that Spencer and Alex could be contenders as well.

Apparently it's one of the best kept secrets on the 1923 set, as Brandon Sklenar and Michelle Randolph have said in interviews they don’t know if their characters are the direct relatives of the modern day Duttons.

Our prediction: We're going to take a small cop out and say we almost certainly won't know who John Dutton's grandparents are by the end of 1923 season 1. But forced to make a guess, we're sticking with Jack and Elizabeth seeing as Elizabeth is currently pregnant.

What happened: Poor Elizabeth loses the baby in the finale and worries that she may never be able to have children. However, despite this, it does not take her and Jack out of the running to be John Dutton's grandparents. However, a line some may have missed could lead more credence to the Spencer and Alex theory.

Talking with Jennifer on the boat, Alex says she is only interested in her new family. That could just mean her relationship with Spencer, but it could also hint that she is pregnant. We got no confirmation in this episode, so that would be a season 2 discovery if it were to happen.

Is anyone going to die?

Jerome Flynn in 1923

Jerome Flynn in 1923 (Image credit: Christopher T. Saunders/Paramount+)

It's always a fair question for the season finales of shows like 1923. We've already seen multiple Duttons die (RIP John and Emma), so is the finale going to add another gut punch, or perhaps a bit of satisfaction seeing one of the Dutton's enemies meet their demise?

Our prediction: We actually predict no one is going to die, but if anyone is heading to their grave we think it's either Banner Creighton or Donald Whitfield, and we'd lean toward Whitfield.

Dalton's Whitfield is the man with wealth and influence to challenge the Duttons, but Creighton has now tasted the finer life and seen Whitfield's ambition and what his influence can do. Perhaps he doesn't want to be in service to this man and instead decides to take his place. Of course, Creighton could just as easily be the one who bites it, with Jacob or Jack getting a more satisfying bit of revenge.

Yellowstone has often used the formula of introducing a season-long villain and then disposing of them in the finale. 1923 could very well follow suit. But again, our official prediction is that everyone makes it out alive, for now.

What happened: Someone did die (Alex's fiance), but none of the main players, so we're going to mark this one as a correct. Though we were certainly wrong about Whitfield, he's not going anywhere yet as he completely proved himself to be the true big bad of the show with his actions in the finale.

Will there be a 1923 season 2?

Harrison Ford stands next to Helen Mirren in 1923

Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren in 1923 (Image credit: Christopher Saunders/Paramount+)

Considering Paramount Plus previously announced a second season of 1923, the answer would seem pretty obvious, but many 1883 fans may be weary of all that. 

Just a couple of weeks before the 1883 finale, Paramount Plus announced it was renewing 1883 for season 2. There was just one problem, they apparently didn't realize Taylor Sheridan had only planned for the series to be a contained 10 episodes, as he wrapped up everyone's story, including the death of Elsa Dutton (Isabel May). That is how we got 1923, which is a continuation of the story that began in 1883, but following new characters and actors 40 years into the future.

So, are we certain that this isn't going to be a similar situation?

Our prediction: Paramount Plus and Sheridan probably have a better understanding this time, so we're willing to bet we'll actually be getting 1923 season 2 and not resetting the board with entirely new characters in a different era.

In terms of the actual story, Spencer and Alex are still abroad and it would take some late season Game of Thrones travel for them to make it back to Montana; plus, the Dutton's rivalry with Whitfield/Creighton is still just simmering. There's just too much to try and wrap up for the show not to continue; at least if they want it to be a satisfying ending.

What happened: As we predicted, everyone was on the same page this time and the 1923 season 1 finale set up a number of storylines that we're going to see play out in season 2, whenever that arrives.

1923 is available to stream exclusively on Paramount Plus.

Michael Balderston

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.