1923 Season 1 Episode 5 Recap – who died in Episode 5?

By Marc Miller
Published: February 5, 2023 (Last updated: February 14, 2024)
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Solemn yet epic in scope, 1923 Episode 5 starts and ends with two big developments that will keep the viewer engaged.

We recap the Paramount+ series 1923 Season 1 Episode 5, “Ghost of Zebrina,” which contains spoilers.

The sweeping and intoxicating 1923 returns this week with some shocking turns, one that kicks off the episode and another that ends it. “Ghosts of Zebrina” is that episode you think will be the calm before the storm until suddenly, it isn’t. 1923 continues to be one of the most engrossing series on streaming television.

1923 Season 1 Episode 5 Recap

Who died in Episode 5?

The show suffers another loss on the Dutton homestead. Emma Dutton (Marley Shelton) commits suicide because she cannot get over the death of her husband, John. This leaves the young man, Jake, parentless, including his fiance, Elizabeth. Not only are the Duttons losing cowboys left and right, but they also have to sell off most of their cattle to survive the harsh winter. Unfortunately, raising cattle is not recession-proof.

That’s when we see Banner getting a tour of his new house. Who is showing him around? That would be the mining kingpin, Donald Whitfield (Timothy Dalton), who schools the shepherd on the ins and outs of living in modern civilized societies. That includes gas and water-connected homes, which Whitfield has now given him. Banner lets it slip that most of the precious minerals in the rich land of Montana are in Yellowstone. That’s when Whitfield announces that he wants it all. He even runs into Cara later to set up a meeting with Jacob, but she declines.


Teonna (Aminah Nieves) has escaped the Indian School. Before she left, we saw her kill the nun beating her, Sister Mary (Jennifer Ehle), and the “filthy” nun who sexually assaulted her. Father Renaud does not take this well, obviously. He then chooses to reign terror on Teonna’s cousin, Baapuxti, who refuses to tell him where Teonna is headed. Eventually, a large group of nuns and priests find a small set of tracks. Renaoud sends three young priests by horseback to find her.

Teonna is on the run, walking through the badlands with a branch tied to her waist and dragging behind her to wipe away any evidence of escape. When Teonna sets up camp for the night, she comes across a wolf who confronts her. The young girl is scared and scurries up one of the area’s famous tall geological rock formations to hide from the beast. She wakes up the next day with sheep all around. The animal’s shepherd’s name is Hank, and he offers her shelter. Why? Because the first place the Indian School will look for her is at her parent’s home, and Canada is worse, he says. She leaves with him.


How will Spencer get back to Yellowstone? The last ship headed to London will not arrive on the African coast for at least two weeks. This is too long for Spencer, who must return to Yellowstone immediately. He finds a tugboat captain, Lucca (Fargo’s Peter Stormare), who will take his money if he helps run the ship as his first mate. The plan is to sail Spencer and Alexandra to the Suez Canal. They will then hop ships across several bodies of water to England and then to the United States. Before they leave, they send a cable message on a luxury cruise liner stationed at the docks. Spencer sends a message to Cara.

They come across a ghost ship in the water. A larger metal vessel floats around and is in disrepair. Apparently, there are hundreds of these beasts across the water. They haunt Lucca as perhaps it’s a foreshadowing of his own time that is running out. Lucca has a persistent cough that comes up bloody. Even the bed he sleeps in is stained red. They take three-hour shifts, but Spencer volunteers to take him because the old man has to rest. Lucca refuses and promptly tells him off.

Spencer wakes up later in bed, cuddling with Alexandra. He notices the engine is not running. He walks up to the deck and finds Lucca dead and his hand resting on the throttle in the slowest position, which means the engine is barely running. Spencer puts out an SOS and is about to give them their location when he notices his tugboat is floating in the direction of another ghastly ghost ship. Spencer does what he was taught. He needs to make an acute, sharp turn, so he speeds up the boat, which has been idle for hours. The bow of the massive freighter strikes the tug boat. This sends Spencer flying and his fiance below deck, out of her bed, and into a wall.

1923 Season 1 Episode 5 Ending Explained

The episode ends with Elizabeth telling Cara they need to move up the wedding sooner because she is pregnant. Cara finally receives the cable from Spencer that he is coming home.

And finally, we have to ask the question – are Spencer and Alexandra dead? The last scene of the episode is of the tug boat floating upside down, in the middle of a vast body of water, with Spencer and Alexandra nowhere in sight.

What did you think of 1923 Season 1 Episode 5? Comment below.

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