I’m onto you, Taylor Sheridan & Co.
You’re going to keep throwing 1923‘s Spencer and Alex into situations that should kill them. But then they’ll survive — like they do this week in the aftermath of the tugboat-vs.-ghost-ship mess, thank goodness — and the more that happens, the more we’ll get lulled into a sense that their love, their sense of adventure and their egregious level of attractiveness somehow make them bulletproof. And then Alex will get an infected paper cut or something, and it’ll be curtains. Devastatingly sad curtains.
But until that day comes, let’s celebrate the fact that the Dutton family actually GAINS a member in this week’s episode. And also that Jacob is feeling good enough to walk around, sit a horse and get into a prolonged argument with Cara. Read on for the highlights of “One Ocean Closer to Destiny.”
ANOTHER BLOW FOR TEONNA | Hank has Teonna dress in his son’s clothes, and he burns all of her belongings from the school, save the Bible. Hank spent some time in prison, and he’s heard a lot about the vengeance favored by the white man’s God. “I’m afraid if we burn his books he might turn us to salt,” he says. So she buries the book instead, and they make a plan for his son to ride and get her father in the near future. Meanwhile, two white men ride to Teonna’s grandmother’s house and harass her, brandishing a warrant for the girl’s arrest. Grandma is confused and eventually starts slapping at one of the men as she tries to get him to leave. He pushes her, she falls backward and hits her head on the stove; the blow seems to kill her. The men give her very little thought before they take off to continue the search, leaving Grandma bleeding on the floor.
‘JUSTICE WOULD BE A LUXURY’ | Jacob is feeling well enough to walk his property with a cane, though he grouses that his long recovery from Creighton’s ambush sapped a lot of his strength and energy. He tells Zane to start making quiet inquiries about getting a posse together, because it’s time to get revenge. But Cara, who’s in town interviewing men to be livestock agents with Sheriff Will, subverts her husband’s vengeful dreams by letting the lawman in on the plan. She tells him all about the attack — which Jake had wanted to keep quiet, remember? — and Will and his men ride out to the ranch to warn Jacob to stand down.
Jacob flies into a rage, literally ripping his shirt open to spotlight his bullet wounds when the sheriff says there’s no evidence of the melee. The lawmen promise they’ll arrest Banner the following morning, but they forbid Dutton from his proposed eye-for-an-eye routine. After they leave, Jacob and Cara have a barnburner of an argument in which she makes sure he knows that she, Emma and Elizabeth suffered far more than he did after the shootings — thanks to his being pretty much unconscious for a while — and that he needs to cool down. Instead, he limps his way through saddling his horse but does seem to get some joy from the act of (haltingly, painfully) climbing up onto the animal.
COOLING-OFF PERIOD | When he returns that evening, he’s much calmer, and he quietly explains why he wants to take out Creighton and his men: “It’s not vengeance. It’s preservation.” He hates cities, and he fears that their slice of the planet is going to become “another concrete desert.” His desire to off Banner — who is a harbinger of this terrible change, in Jake’s eyes — is not about retribution, he continues, but is borne of a desire to stop the men who want to modernize the land the ranch is on. He cries a little as he envisions a future in which Cara dies, is buried on their property, and then someone comes along “and builds a city over you.” He acknowledges that she has suffered greatly. “It’s their turn now,” he says, kissing her head and then leaving her on the porch.
RIDING THE WAVES | The good news: Alex and Spencer survive the tugboat accident. He hears her banging on the hull and dives back under the overturned ship, where he finds her alive thanks to a pocket of air trapped in the wreckage. They climb up on the boat’s belly and battle sun exposure, dehydration and some aggressive sharks; the combination saps Alex’s ability to be positive, and she starts to sob that their situation is hopeless. “I’ll admit we’re going to need a little bit of luck,” Spencer says, but he’s got hope because he made contact with that other boat before the tug went down.
That night, they’re both dozing when Alex hears a ship’s horn in the distance. She rouses Spencer, who grabs the gun he fished out of the tug and shoots it in the air several times. “See me!” he yells, and when it seems like that isn’t happening, Alex begins to weep. But then, the horn sounds again, and two British sailors row out and rescue the lovers from certain, soggy death.
The new ship’s captain gives them fresh clothes and inquires about their travel plans. He warns them away from Ellis Island, suggesting that they take a ship to somewhere like Galveston instead, and cautions that immigrants (like Alex) can be held up at ports that American citizens can enter easily. Spencer is like, “About that…” and asks the man to marry them right there and then. The bride- and groom-to-be search through a box of dead sailors’ wedding bands for their rings, and when Alex can’t find one that’ll fit her dainty lady fingers, the captain offers her the ring of his wife’s that he wears on a chain around his neck.
So they are wed in the captain’s office, then it’s back to their cabin for some ravishing. (Side note: Alex and Spence, you little dehydrated babies, I applaud your ability to do anything other than lie in a crumpled heap and kvetch about your sunburns.) Afterward, they get dressed and go back up on deck to talk about their future. He shares that the part of Montana they’re heading to doesn’t have electricity or plumbing. “There’s no plumbing?” she asks, bemused. “Fascinating the things men fail to mention when they’re trying to bed you.”
Their conversation takes a more serious turn when she asks him about his dreams and, after some gentle teasing, he finally admits that he’s worried the universe doesn’t want him to take her away from the life she knew. After all, the elephant, the lions, and a boating accident — there appears to be a pattern. “It was all the universe telling me to put you back,” he says, “I’m just too f–king selfish to do it.” But his dream is that the universe is wrong, “and you’re mine to keep.”
She lovingly disavows him of this nothing, saying that she’s going to follow him around forever. “There is no putting me back. We are one now,” she says, drawing him close. “I go where you go. Even if it’s the death of me.” And the fact that that sentiment is the last line of the episode, and is accompanied by some very dramatic music, makes me think that it just MAY be the death of her in the end.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!