In the final moments of the season one finale of “1923,” Donald Whitfield (Timothy Dalton) proved that the pen really is mightier than the sword (or any other kind of weapon for that matter) when he rocked up at the Dutton ranch with a signed document from the bank.
As he explained, he had purchased the lien on the Yellowstone ranch which meant that Jacob’s debts for not paying the ranch’s first property-tax payments for the year are now owed to him rather than the bank.
As a result, if Jacob doesn’t manage to repay him by the end of the year, the ranch’s deed reverts to Whitfield.
But as viewers saw, Jacob has no way to pay the ranch’s debts, having been denied a loan to purchase more cattle or hay, and is obstinately against the idea of taking out a mortgage.
So how exactly do the Duttons plan to possibly pay off the money owed to Whitfield when there’s no money coming in?
Many have pointed to the fact that Spencer’s union with Alex and her affluent family could easily solve this issue, but it feels far too straightforward and it seems more likely that we’re going to see the Duttons fight fire with fire and try and come up with a way to stop Whitfield in his tracks.
Could Alex be pregnant?
As viewers saw in the finale, Alexandra (Julia Schlaepfer) was suddenly struck down with what she told Spencer (Brandon Sklenar) was motion sickness while onboard the Majestic, a luxurious ocean liner bound for England.
However, as Insider previously noted, it’s rather unusual that Alex would be seasick on this voyage, given that she had no problems at all during their earlier travels, one of which was via a rickety tugboat that ended up capsizing.
More evidence that pointed towards Alex being with child was shown later on in the episode when Alex rested her hand on her midriff in a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it moment.
And if all this wasn’t enough, when she was chided by her friend Jennifer (Jo Ellen Pellman) for abandoning her family and running off with Spencer she proudly declared: “The only family I’m thinking of is the one I’m starting.”
Speaking of Alex, will the revelation that she comes from a prominent British family change things between her and Spencer?
Elsewhere in the finale, Spencer learned that his wife — who he only knows by her first name — actually descends from a blue-blooded aristocratic family and runs in the same circles as the king of England.
When he hears Alex being referred to by her proper title, a Countess, he doesn’t realize that they’re actually talking about his wife at first.
But before he and Alex could break down exactly what that means, the two are tragically torn apart at the request of one of the cruise’s royal guests.
Spencer has previously grappled with his conflicted feelings over his relationship with Alex, namely that his lifestyle means that she is constantly placed in harm’s way.
We saw him try and spare her the perilous journey back to Montana and leave her in a hotel room in Africa, and more recently admitted that he has an ominous feeling that the universe wants to tear them apart.
So could learning that he and Alex come from very different worlds and that the Dutton homestead in Montana (which doesn’t even have electricity and indoor toilets, may we remind you) strengthen Spencer’s resolve that they shouldn’t be together?
What’s next for Jack and Elizabeth?
Audiences saw another tragedy unfold in the finale when Spencer’s nephew Jack (Darren Mann) and his wife Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph) discovered that she had miscarried their baby and might possibly have some fertility issues following the gunshot wound she sustained earlier in the series.
Speaking to Insider about the devastating development, Mann suggested that “maybe Jack and Elizabeth are going to become like the new Jacob and Cara” but couldn’t speak to whether this really was the end of the road for the couple’s attempts at trying for a baby.
Will Zane’s family be reunited?
Another mystery the finale blindsided us with was the fate of Yellowstone ranch foreman Zane Davis (Brian Geraghty) and his mixed-race family.
They were cruelly torn apart for breaking anti-miscegenation laws after Whitfield’s informants followed Zane home to his cabin and ratted on them to law-enforcement officials.
It was Zane’s wife Alice (Joy Osmanski) who was taken to jail when they came knocking and reminded the couple that marriages between white and non-white people, including Asian Americans, were against the law in Montana (a real law that shockingly remained in place up until 1953).
Zane was left bloodied and bruised from the encounter and faced with questions from the couple’s two young children who didn’t understand why their mommy had been taken away.
We’re really hoping we not only get to see the family reunited in season two but more scenes involving Alice’s character generally.
What’s next for Teonna and will she finally cross paths with the Duttons in season two?
Alongside Spencer’s odyssey across the world to return home to the Dutton homestead in Montana, the first season of “1923” has also focused on the journey of another equally compelling character: Teonna Rainwater (Aminah Nieves).
But the first season has come and gone and as far as we’re aware, there’s been no indication just yet on how the Native American teen’s storyline is connected with that of the Duttons, besides the fact that she shares a surname with the family’s 21st-century adversary, Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham), the chief of the Broken Rock Indian Reservation in “Yellowstone.”
Her storyline for season one has focused on her imprisonment and subsequent escape from a residential boarding school for Indigenous youth run by the sadistic Catholic priest, Father Renaud (Sebastian Roché).
By the end of the season, we saw Teonna on the lam with her father, Runs His Horse (Michael Spears), and new love interest Pete Plenty Clouds (Cole Brings Plenty) after the trio exacted revenge on a set of priests who had attacked them.
Looking for refuge among a reservation, they crossed the border from South Dakota into Wyoming where they know they’ll find a Comanche reservation.
This latest move brought Teonna one step closer to Montana and a potential scenario in which their storylines could intersect.
As Roché — whose character is also now, as a result, heading there too — told Insider, “all roads are leading to the Yellowstone, at the moment.”
Lastly, who are the grandparents of the “Yellowstone” character and the ranch’s modern-day custodian, John Dutton III?
As far as we know, the story of “1923” is being contained to just two seasons so there’s no possible way that we’ll get to the end of season two without this question answered.
However, we really hope we find out sooner than then.
How the Duttons in “1923” are related to the modern-day family in Taylor Sheridan’s flagship series “Yellowstone” has been a mystery ever since the “1883” character and second-generation family member Elsa Dutton’s (Isabel May) prophetic narration in the season premiere.
She intoned in a from-beyond-the-grave voiceover that only one male descendant “would carry the fate of this family through the depression and every other hell the 20th century hurled at them.”
Even the cast themselves don’t yet know, with Sklenar telling Insider that he himself has gone back and forth on which branch of the family tree he thinks will be the one to beget John Dutton II and, as a result, be a direct ancestor of John Dutton III (Kevin Costner).
He added that viewers shouldn’t be so sure that it will be Spencer following the discovery of Jack and Elizabeth’s fertility troubles as Sheridan “can turn it on its head” and take viewers down an entirely different and unexpected path.
“1923” is now streaming on Paramount+.