The recent past catches up with three characters in big ways in this week’s 1923: One reckoning is unrelentingly bloody, one sends someone to jail and one is awkward in the extreme.
But who meets what fate? Read on for the highlights of “The Rule of Five Hundred.”
BANNER BEHIND BARS | On a chilly morning, Cara looks worried by the fireplace. Jake tells her he and the men will be back by supper. “Just come back,” she says with a frown. He and Jack arm themselves, go out into the cold morning, where the rest of the posse is saddling their horses. They ride into town, and the sheriff’s patrol gets in cars and follows them.
Banner Creighton is in his fancy new house with two very naked ladies in his bed. He’s just about to get the party re-started with the women when there’s a knock at the door: Sheriff McDowell and his men are there to arrest Banner on two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder. He’s flip about the whole thing… until Jake steps out from behind the men. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Jacob says as Creighton is handcuffed and marched, in his dressing gown, to the sheriff’s car.
When Whitfield gets word of Creighton’s arrest — courtesy of the red-bearded livestock agent Cara hired in the previous episode, who seems to be in the rich man’s employ — he’s quite angry. He quickly hooks the sheep man up with a lawyer who advises him to speak with no one and who agrees to clear the sex workers from Banner’s house before they “rob me blind.” But when Whitfield finds out about the ladies, he decides he’ll remove them himself.
And by that, he means blindfold one of the women with his tie while he makes the other woman whip her with his belt. “I take no pleasure in screams,” he warns the blindfolded woman, who struggles not to cry as her companion carries out Whitfield’s wishes, right there in the kitchen. And, I dunno, Don, you seem to be taking quite a lot of pleasure in what’s unfolding before you.
While Cara and Elizabeth wait at home, they commiserate about how waiting for the men to come home is suffocating. Cara shares that her letters to Spencer are a form of journal, a way to get her thoughts and feelings out. Elizabeth doesn’t want to do that, but she is interested in baking a cake. So that’s what Cara is teaching her to do when Jacob walks into the kitchen. Both of the women’s relief is palpable.
At dinner, Jack reads the newspaper and is not happy when he comes to a story about a newly appointed mining commission and one of its bigwigs: Whitfield. “They put the bosses of the mining companies in charge of regulating the mines?” They have an involved discussion about how the livestock authority is not all that different from the mining authority — both were created to protect a way of making a living — but that Whitfield is the kind of person who won’t feel bad about diminishing others’ quality of life in order to enrich his own. After a while, Cara gets up and grabs the paper from her nephew, angrily reminding the men of the house’s “no politics at the table” rule. After she leaves, Jake tells Jack that Banner’s arrest doesn’t solve anything: “This fight ain’t over. It’s just begun. She’s not mad; she’s scared.”
TEONNA’S TRAVAILS CONTINUE | A tall Native American man finds Teonna’s grandmother dead where the man left her in the previous episode. He’s outside, examining the hoofprints in the ground, when a younger Native American man rides up. The new arrival is Hank’s son, the other man is Teonna’s father, and they agree that it was likely government men who killed her (because thieves don’t shoe their horses). Teonna’s father sends Hank’s son back, though he cautions him to use a different route than the way he came, and says he’ll be along in a while.
Hank’s son is resting by a fire when three priests ride up and ask why he’s not in school. When he won’t answer their questions, and they don’t believe that he’s finished with his education, they beat him and tie him up. Then one marches him to a school while the other two continue their search for Teonna. Teonna’s dad later finds Hank’s son’s horse and knows something bad has happened. And he’s right: When he finds Hank’s son, the sadistic priest that has him prisoner is about to kill him. So Teonna’s dad scalps him and cuts this throat.
The other two priests come across Teonna the next day, but her clothes and haircut make them think she’s a boy… until the scrutiny of one is too much, and a nervous Teonna runs. When the priest tackles her and rips open her shirt, she gets a thumb into his eye socket and pushes until she’s at least one knuckle deep. In rage, he punches her and is on a mission to kill her until Hank shoots him, and then his colleague a minute later. But as Hank is helping Teonna get away, the one-eyed priest (whom we thought was dead) rises up and shoots him. The priest is reloading when Teonna manages to grab a heavy rock and brain him with it several times, killing him for real.
CHECKING IN ON THE NEWLYWEDS | Before Spencer and Alex leave the SS Lambridge, the captain reveals that he knows exactly who Spencer is, and Spencer starts to realize how easily he might be recognized as he returns to the modern world. They put ashore in Italy, where Alex promptly demands a visit to a café for pasta and wine.
They’ve only been there a short while when she notices that he’s not eating much; from his mumbling about not having been in a restaurant with anyone since Montana, it’s clear he’s getting in his head about coming home. So she sits on his lap and teases him into eating arancini, and it does the trick: He feels so much better that they begin a lusty makeout session right there at the table.
So of course, that’s when a man’s horrified voice says, “Alexandra?” And when she turns, Alex sees her former fiancé, flanked by a group of companions who are equally flabbergasted.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!