Well, that was sneaky! The end of Ep. 4 of 1923 revealed a twist that has more to do with the timeline of the show than the plot.
Viewers who thought the action in Montana and Africa was taking place at the same time learned that was not true. The gap is essential to what’s coming next, however. Remember, Ep. 5 isn’t set to air on Paramount+ until Feb. 5. Also, this is your spoiler alert.
What Happened in Episode 4 of 1923?
Spencer Dutton (played by Brandon Sklenar) is son to James Dutton (Tim McGraw in 1883) and nephew to Jacob Dutton (Harrison Ford). Through four episodes he’s been in Africa, hunting big game and trying to find himself after fighting in World War I.
His love interest is Alexandria (Julia Schlaepfer), and much of their time together during the last two episodes has been spent wrapped up in each other’s bodies. Midway through Ep. 4 (titled “War and Turquoise Tide”), she notices his stack of unread letters from his Aunt Cara (Helen Mirren) and together they set off on reading them.
The last letter is the one Cara wrote after sheepherder Banner’s attack on the Duttons, which took place in Ep. 3. By the time Alex and Spencer read it, the note is three months old. So, in addition to shifting back and forth between Montana and Africa, 1923 is shifting between past and present (or present and future, if you’d rather).
Why This Matters
This matters because the Duttons believed it would be up to one year before Spencer received Cara’s letter and returned to defend the ranch. They were willing to wait, but viewers don’t have that kind of patience. It turns out, none will be needed.
When Ep. 5 drops in a month, expect Spencer to be almost home and the action on the Dutton Ranch to be significantly advanced. Jack and Elizabeth could be married (and perhaps expecting a baby). Banner’s war on the family will be well underway. Jacob’s recovery from gunshot wounds will make clear his longterm future on the show.
He’s either going to be dead or nearly back to full health if nearly six months have passed (assuming eight to 12 weeks for Spencer and Alex’s voyage).
During this episode of Dutton Rules, Adison Haager and Billy Dukes discuss this trick, as well as parallels between Yellowstone and 1923, war at the Indian boarding school and the two significant deaths you might have missed at first.
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