1883 season 1, episode 6 recap – “Boring the Devil”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: January 30, 2022
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1883 season 1, episode 6 recap - "Boring the Devil"


“Boring the Devil” is a melancholy episode short on action but rich in depth and character.

This recap of 1883 season 1, episode 6, “Boring the Devil”, contains spoilers.

Doan’s Crossing isn’t much, but it’s the last scrap of civilization before the real wilderness between Texas and Oregon. “Boring the Devil” spends most of its runtime here, and for good reason. Since all that waits beyond it is more strife, loss, and death, who wouldn’t linger where they can at least have a whiskey punch and buy a chocolate bar?

1883 season 1, episode 6 recap

It has been a little while since the last episode of 1883, but this one follows on directly from it, with one particular crucial matter at hand: Can Elsa get over Ennis’s death? The last outing found her broken, and as of the beginning of this one, she doesn’t seem to be in brighter spirits. Shea is at least able to convince her that he knows how she feels, and his monologue about love and loss is beautiful. But it’s hard to say the message takes. When Elsa rides into town with Margaret, she pulls a gun on the first man she sees.

The group is in Doan’s Crossing for resources and personnel. There’s harsh country to navigate, and they’ll need help to do it, especially since another river crossing is going to lose them two days, and winter is fast approaching. Despite Shea’s arguments, he sees the wisdom in James’s longer, safer approach, especially after how many lives were lost in the previous crossing. Will that result in more deaths in the long run? Possibly. But as the show has made clear throughout its first five episodes, more deaths are inevitable.

Ennis gets a replacement here in the form of Colton, a womanizing cowboy who immediately sets his sights on Elsa, and while she’s abrasive at first, she eventually begins flirting back, as a symbol of the lessons learned from Shea and later her father that the harshest thing she can do to herself is to hate the world for what happened to Ennis. She has to keep living, and whatever piece of him lives on inside her can see the world through her eyes.

Margaret also makes a friend in Doan’s Crossing, a shopkeeper named Carolyn who she gets drunk and spends the day with. But the alcohol turns her temporarily against James, who has promised her paradise but thus far has only led her along a path that has claimed her sister and almost her daughter. With more losses inevitable, she berates James in her drunken state but eventually sees the value in what he’s doing, and the love he obviously has for his family. Between Elsa’s arc and this one, “Boring the Devil” is about working through difficult issues and feelings with those closest to you, and it creates a tighter sense of camaraderie within the group.

You can see this reflected a little in Thomas and Noemi. These two sleep together after a couple of episodes of flirting, and in confessing their feelings for one another they’re allowing some closeness to creep in that is typically stamped out by the harsh landscape. Of course, the more these people come to care for one another, the harder it’ll be to lose each other. And with the one remaining stopover now done with, the group head out into the part of the journey that might well claim them all.

You can stream 1883 season 1, episode 6, “Boring the Devil”, exclusively on Paramount+.

Paramount+, TV, Weekly TV
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