1923 season 1 episode 5 recap & review: Ghost of Zebrina

The fifth episode of 1923 sees the Duttons making progress and recovering while Spencer embarks on a journey to return to his family. The episode is now streaming on Paramount+.


Cara regularly goes to the post office to see if Spencer has sent a message but faces disappointment every time. She would rather get rid of her hope on her own than wait for a message that does not come.

Jacob’s wounds are healing, but he is in a lot of pain. Emma is still grieving her husband’s death. Jack stops paying attention to Elizabeth and focuses solely on the ranch; he chooses revenge over passion.

Cara wants to call a doctor for Emma, who has not been eating or sleeping properly. Cara reminds Emma that her son needs her, but Emma asks her to become a mother first before lecturing her about the same.

As the narrator, Elsa states that only four Duttons are left on Earth. The Duttons are condemned to journey from place to place, and this will be the last journey for her younger brother, Spencer.

Spencer needs to get home as soon as possible, but the latest passage is to London, and it is three weeks later. He cannot wait for that long and do nothing.

At the Indian school, Sister Mary, who used to physically hurt Teonna, and Sister Alice, who sexually assaulted Teonna, are found dead. The Father gathers all the girls and questions Teonna’s cousin about her whereabouts.

When Teonna’s cousin tells him that she does not know anything, he hits her until she passes out. He questions her again once she wakes up, and she tells him that Teonna went home.

The Father hits her again because he cannot believe that Teonna is going to walk 400 miles all by herself without any assistance. Teonna’s cousin speaks in her native language; she claims that her cousin will get home and that their clan will kill him then.

The Father shows no mercy and continues to punish her. He, along with the other nuns, looks for Teonna’s footsteps. He sends two men on horseback to find her and bring her to him.

Teonna is walking home with a bush tied to her waist to erase her footsteps. At night, she takes refuge on a rock to protect herself from a wolf.

Spencer is told that an old man named Lucca is transporting a tug to the Suez and that he is looking for deckhands. Spencer can get a passage to anywhere in the world from the Suez.

Lucca instantly deduces that Spencer is a hunter. Spencer offers to pay him £30 and work for him in exchange for a passage to the Suez.

A native sheepherder named Hanks finds Teonna in the morning. She tells him her name and that she is running away from school. Hanks knows her father and tells her that her home is the first place the authorities will search.

When she tells him what she has done at school, he offers to take her to his home and promises to send for her father. They will find a safe place for her once they find her father.

Don Whitfield, the powerful man who is aiding Banner, finds out from him that the Strafford Ranch, which borders the Yellowstone, has been abandoned. He wants to use this opportunity to choke the Duttons out.

He intends to get the whole valley and mine there. He also gives Banner a big house with all the amenities, like electricity and fresh water available at all times.

Jacob, who is walking outside now, advises an angry Jack to be patient. Jack is not ready to be a leader yet, as he cannot command people. If they fight, they must do it right, or they will lose everything.

Jacob asks Cara to keep an eye on Jack and not let him go to the town. He wants her to hire the livestock agents because he speculates that Banner must be in cahoots with a rich man, possibly a miner.

Elizabeth tells Jack that she has lost as much as he has lost, but she still does not want to hate anyone because she wants to love him instead. She asks him to send her back home if he cannot do the same for her because he has turned the house into a prison.

Jack declares his love for her and says his marriage vows right outside the house. Elizabeth does the same.

Spencer knows that the trip is dangerous, so he intends to send Alexandra to Europe. However, she makes it clear that if he leaves her here right now, he will lose her forever. Due to this, he decides to take her along.

With Alexandra’s help, he manages to send a message to his aunt, letting her know he is coming home. Their transport, the tugboat, is small and not in the best condition, and the captain, Lucca, is old and sick.

At night, Lucca tells them about his adventures on the sea and about those dangerous ghost ships that have been abandoned in the middle of the ocean. Spencer and Alexandra take the first watch while Lucca sleeps.

Elizabeth tells Cara that she is pregnant, and Cara promises to arrange a small wedding for her and Jack soon. Cara watches her husband struggling to walk on his own.

When it is Lucca’s turn to take the watch, Spencer sees the blood that he has been coughing and asks him to rest and let him take his place, but Lucca rejects the offer.

Spencer wakes up sometime later to find Lucca dead. He sends a distress signal but then notices an abandoned ship in their path. He tries to steer the tugboat to avoid hitting the ship but fails to prevent the accident.

Don Whitfield approaches Cara and tells her that he has acquired the Strafford Ranch. He expresses his wish to meet Jacob and tells Cara to look at opportunities other than cattle.

Cara finally receives Spencer’s message and is relieved to know that he is returning soon. However, Spencer’s ship lies overturned in the middle of the ocean.


  • The show does not shy away from depicting the ever-present brutality faced by the natives in the name of God and development during that time on the American continent. It portrays it as it was without sugarcoating anything.
  • The show has a way of making comparisons to help the viewers get a better understanding of the plight of the characters. In this episode, Teonna, a native child, is compared to sheep to show that the two have the same value in the eyes of the government.
  • Simply calling this show a drama would not do justice to it. There is Teonna’s thrill of survival and Spencer’s adventures on the sea in this episode that make it more than just a drama.
  • The cliffhanger in this episode made it much more interesting. It seemed like this episode was a sort of filler to get the characters back on their feet, but the unpredictable twist at the end changed everything.
1923 season 1 episode 5
1923 season 1 episode 5 recap & review: Ghost of Zebrina 1

Director: Guy Ferland

Date Created: 2023-02-05 19:11

Editor's Rating:

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