Episodes 2 and 3 of ‘1923’ see Spencer meeting Alexandra and the events that lead to a range war involving the Duttons. The episodes are now streaming on Paramount+.
Episode 2 recap: Nature’s Empty Throne
Spencer manages to kill the second leopard, but not without sustaining injuries and losing one of his men. He asks a doctor at the camp to treat him.
He holds the camp manager responsible for the death of the man because he withheld the information about the presence of two leopards.
Meanwhile, the sheepherders fail to kill Jack but end up killing his horse instead. Jacob’s group finds the sheepherders on Jacob’s land. Jacob decides to punish them as promised.
Native American girls are being taught the skills needed to be good mothers and wives at the government school. Teonna, the girl who had beaten up Sister Mary, defies her again when she slaps her friend.
When they are served food filled with worms, Teonna openly rebels in her native tongue. She beats up Sister Mary again and is punished to spend the night in the hot box by the Father.
Jacob hangs the sheepherders while they are still on their horses for attacking his family. If their horses move, they will die. Jacob tells his group at night that they will have to move south once everything has been grazed off on this land.
He tells Jack that a rancher’s greatest enemy is other men, as they would choose to take what one had built instead of building something of their own.
He hopes for some of the sheepherders to survive because he wants the survivors to tell the world what happened to them when they crossed Jacob, which would invoke fear in his enemies. Banner is the only one who survives.
Cara and Emma discuss Elizabeth’s upbringing in Boston. Emma hoped that her son would marry someone who would rein in his recklessness, but he is marrying a girl who is just as reckless as him.
A Native American woman goes to meet the superintendent. After being made to wait for hours, he denies her request to have her granddaughter moved from a boarding school to a day school.
As the mother of the girl is dead and the father does not stay with her, the woman must legally adopt the girl to get her moved to a day school in her vicinity.
Jacob gives the sheepherders’ sheep to a Native American group as a gift. They send him their thanks.
A half-conscious Teonna is dragged to take a shower the next morning. Sister Alice sexually assaults her, but Sister Mary intervenes. She fills her tub with ice and hits her, promising to kill her if she lays a hand on her again.
A British woman, Alexandra, approaches Spencer on behalf of other women. Spencer works for the protectorate. He is a famous hunter who is also considered a war hero.
He tells Alexandra that he hunts because dying makes him feel alive. She is dragged away by a friend, who tells Spencer that Alexandra is engaged.
Spencer, despite being injured, accepts another assignment. Alexandra, who is being forced into a marriage, asks him to take her with him. The next morning, when Spencer is leaving, she joins him, even though he warns her that he is going to a dangerous place.
Episode 3 recap: The War Has Come Home
Jacob’s group returns home. He plans to go to the town to meet the sheriff regarding the sheepherders’ hanging. The family decides to join him to spend a day in town.
The sheriff is unhappy with Jacob taking the law into his hands. However, Jacob thinks the range war has already begun. He comes across an acquaintance who offers to lend him help if he needs it.
The Duttons decide to stay in town for the night. Elizabeth and Jack go to a bar and then spend the night together.
Spencer’s new assignment is to hunt a hyena that has been killing men for fun. He offers to take Alexandra to the place where a child’s footprints were baked into a lava rock.
He tells her he would like to address her as Alex, and she makes a joke about a marriage proposal. However, Spencer seriously proposes to her then and there, and she agrees to marry him.
On their way back, an elephant attacks them. Spencer manages to kill it, but their truck gets wrecked. They have no choice but to spend the night on a tree, as a dead elephant would attract other hungry predators.
A pride of lions and a pack of hyenas come to feast on the dead animal at night. Alexandra’s terrified shrieks draw their attention. When the lions come for them, Spencer starts shooting the lions.
The two are saved when men come looking for them. Alexandra tells Spencer that she does not want to be so close to death again and feel the fear that comes with it.
Spencer admits that for a long time he could not feel anything unless he looked death in the eye, but that was before he met her. She tells him to leave his job as a hunter, and he replies that it was never his real job.
On their journey back home, the Duttons travel together. Jacob sends his cowboys ahead of them. A group of sheepherders led by Banner attack the Duttons.
Before the cowboys could come to their rescue, John gets killed while Elizabeth, Jack, and Jacob get shot. Cara chases a sheepherder to kill him.
Jacob is in critical condition, but he tells them not to call the sheriff because if others find out what has happened to him, they will come for his ranch.
Cara writes a letter to Spencer, telling him about the war that has begun. She writes to him to come home and fight to protect his family and legacy.
- These episodes stay true to history; the depiction of the white man’s burden that handed a slow death to the Native American children in schools and destroyed their cultures is on point.
- While the show is based on the lives of the Duttons, it refuses to label their enemies as purely evil. The episodes show that the war is a result of a lack of resources and the need for men to do what they can to ensure their survival.
- Additionally, the episodes offer philosophical deliberations on matters like greed and the fragility of life. The quiet deliberations do not appear to be out of place; they seem appropriate when the plot is taken into account
- The CGI in these episodes is a delight to watch. Spencer’s encounter with the animals seems too real and invokes fear even in the audience.
1923 episodes 2 and 3
Also Read: 1923 episode 1 recap & review: 1923