Post Mortems

1923 Season 1 Finale: A Gutted Spencer Will Be 'A Different Man When We Find Him Again,' Brandon Sklenar Says


Warning: This post contains spoilers for 1923‘s Season 1 finale. Proceed accordingly. 

For the record: 1923‘s Spencer Dutton wanted to leave dinner early.

“He smelled trouble, and he’s not trying to have any of that,” Brandon Sklenar says of his character’s good intentions — and undesired outcome — at a fateful meal in Sunday’s Season 1 finale. If you watched the episode, you know what he’s talking about: Spencer’s motivation to leave dinner aboard a ship bound for London came from his wish to avoid Arthur, the very angry ex-fiancé of Spencer’s wife Alexandra, who just happened to be a passenger on the same cruise.

But when Arthur started impugning Alex’s honor loudly, right there in the ship’s dining room, Spencer couldn’t let it stand. So he agreed to duel Arthur up on deck — and quickly bested him. The Brit then came at him with a pistol and, as Spencer tried to defend himself, he flipped Arthur over the guard rail and into the sea to his death.

Spencer soon was put off the ship; without concrete proof of their marriage, Alex was made to stay on board. The hour ended with him being rowed ashore while she tearfully yelled that she’d meet him in Bozeman as soon as possible. (Read a full recap.)


TVLine talked to Sklenar about the hour, which threw yet another obstacle in the couple’s attempts to reunite Spencer with his family back in the states. Read on to hear the actor’s thoughts on how much Jacob and Cara’s nephew will have changed by the time we catch up with him in 1923‘s Season 2.

TVLINE | In an earlier episode, Spencer talked about how he worried that the universe was giving him signs that he shouldn’t have pulled Alex off the path she was on before she met him. Do you think, now that they’re married, that he’s got his head on straight about that? Or might the events of the finale shake him?
No. I think he’s unshakeable. Yeah. He’s the kind of guy, when he makes his mind up, that’s it. There’s no getting him away from that. He’s so decisive and so strong in his decisiveness. He’d go to the end of the Earth and fight anybody and do anything to keep that alive.

TVLINE | He may actually have to before they get to  Montana. I mean, they’re so far away, still. Where are they when he gets ejected from that ship?
They are outside of Marseilles. So, yeah, so he could prospectively be headed to Italy.

TVLINE | Have you shot any of Season 2 yet?
Not yet. It’s still being written.

1923-finale-spencer-alexandra-separated-TVLINE | Obviously, Alex is super capable, very smart and brave. But for a lot of what we’ve seen, she’s been kept alive by Spencer’s wherewithal and his abilities. And then there was that conversation about Ellis Island, which makes me concerned for her, given that she could arrive in America without the American she’s married to. Is he worried about her ability to navigate the world and get to Bozeman on her own?
Yeah. At the end there, when they’re separated, he is pretty much in a place where he’s not sure that he’ll ever see her again at all, or if he’s ever going to see his family. He’s at such a loss at that point, it’s as if he’s lost everything, and he feels like it’s his fault. He’s hoping that she’ll find her way.

He knows that she has his letters. But the fact is that she’ll be taken to England and put under lock and key, and he doesn’t know where she’s going. And now he’s going to get to where he’s going back in the States, and if, by the time he does that, will his entire family will be gone? He has no idea. So, it’s just tragic. It’s terrible, you know?

1923-finale-spencer-alexandra-separated-TVLINE | Spencer doesn’t even know if his uncle will be alive by the time he gets home. But even though we know Jake is alive, he’s also aged a lot since Spencer left. Do you think — aside from the immediate threat mentioned in Cara’s letter — Spencer has considered how his uncle might not be the same person he was when Spencer left?
One hundred percent. Yeah. I think he’s definitely considering everything. He’s considering the fact that they’re much older, and things happen. I mean, life expectancy at the time was vastly less than it is now, but the letter scene, where [Alex is] reading the letters from home, that entire scene, he has this feeling like in one of these letters, there’s going to be some bad news. He knows it’s coming, and he feels the same way now.

Every minute he’s not there is one minute closer to them not being there, and those stakes are there. It’s on his shoulders. It’s in his head especially now, and especially when we see him in Part 2 when it picks up. The shift in his character, knowing that he needs to get back there, and when he does, there’s a strong possibility he’s going to be going home to nothing. He may never see her again. And on top of that, he blames himself for it. So, the shift that he goes through at the end of this finale is so massive. He’s a different man when we find him again in Part 2. Definitely.