1923 is back, and pulling no punches when it comes to pushing this story forward or ending the stories of characters altogether. But before we dive in, please beware of major spoilers for Season 1, Episode 5 ahead.
In total, not one but four prominent characters die in Episode 5. Some we’ve known since Episode 1. Others we’d spend Episode 5 with only to lose them by the end. To make sense of it all, let’s break down each death below after a stuffed (but phenomenal) hour long episode.
1.) ‘1923’s Duttons Say Goodbye to Another Beloved Family Member
As Season 1, Episode 5 begins, the Yellowstone manor has become a gloomy, desolate place. Emma (Marley Shelton) has entered a deep depression in the wake of John Sr.’s death in Episode 3. Jack and Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph) have become estranged as he chooses to seek revenge over their life together.
All the while, matriarch Cara struggles to keep them all afloat as she tends to her own husband, Jacob (Harrison Ford) in their bed. She has become as worried for Emma as she is for Jacob, however, as Emma is not eating, sleeping, or confiding in anyone.
To help, Cara has sent for the doctor. But this gesture turns into a spiteful response from Emma, in which we finally learn (for certain) that Cara and Jacob have never had children of their own. And it would be the last conversation these two closely-knit women ever had. That night, a gunshot rings out in Emma’s bedroom as she takes her own life. Unable to cope with the sadness of John Sr.’s murder, Emma’s own suicide plunges their son further into rage.
2.) Teonna Loses Her Best Friend
After her escape is discovered, Teonna’s friend, Baapuxti (Leenah Robinson) is subject to brutal beatings by Father Renaud (Sebastian Roché) as he attempts to discover where Teonna has gone.
“Home…” Baapuxti weeps in response after being tied to a chair and beaten repeatedly. But this is not a satisfactory answer for the sadistic head priest. Renaud continues to savagely beat the young girl, resulting in a threat to “send her to God” himself. To this, Baapuxti replies in Crow:
“I am Otter from the K**ls Many Clan. My cousin will reach our home. And then the K**ls Many Clan will come to k**l you.”
Renaud, outraged, sends her to the ground once more with a heavy fist, then stomps her to death.
3.) Teonna K**led Not One, But Two Nuns in ‘1923’
As unforgivable as his own sins are, Father Renaud’s rage is fueled by the murder of two of his nuns.
“I am in big trouble. I k**led the nun who beat me, and then k**led the nun who raped me. I choked one and stabbed the other,” Teonna (Aminah Nieves) cries out mid-episode as she confesses her crimes.
At the beginning of our return to her North Dakota Christian “boarding school” in 1923‘s Episode 5, the death of Sister Mary (Jennifer Ehle) is discovered. Afterwards, we learn that Teonna took another life on her way out – that of the nun who raped her in Episode 4. And she did so by stabbing a wooden cross into the sister’s chest.
4.) Spencer and Alexandra Lose Their Captain
As Spencer and Alexandra depart Africa, they behold (in horror) the vessel that will begin their adventure towards America… A Tugboat. A rusty, tiny, ailing tugboat.
The small ship’s captain, Lucca (Peter Stormare) gives multiple chaotic lessons on the sea, including how to pilot a tugboat while 20 miles offshore. And from the time Spencer meets him, Lucca is coughing up blood in awful bouts as he smokes. The old man is clearly dying of lung cancer.
After several nights getting to know him, the captain’s bloody cough finally claims his life while piloting the ship. And so Spencer awakens to the sight of an abandoned ghost ship directly in front of them. This gives the episode its name, “Ghost of Zebrina,” and it also places Spencer and Alexandra in grave peril.
1923 returns February 12 for Episode 6 exclusively on Paramount Plus.