‘1883’: Is the Show Hinting at a Dutton Death in the Near Future?

by Amy Myers
Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2022 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

We’re still reeling from the tragic death in 1883 Episode 5, “The Fangs of Freedom,” and in two weeks, we might be seeing another.

Warning: Major 1883 Episode 5 spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.

Elsa Dutton and her cowboy beau, Ennis, had quickly developed a deep love for each other, and for a moment, we saw a happy ending for the adorable couple. Following Ennis’ tense yet endearing conversation with Elsa’s father, James, there was a chance they would make it through the harrowing journey side-by-side with talks of marriage and babies all the while. Unfortunately, as we know, their happily-ever-after fell to pieces after Ennis bravely helped James, Shea Brennan and Thomas take on a crew of bandits. He suffered a fatal shot, right in the chest, and died before Elsa could even hold him for his last breath.

But as Elsa warned us in the narration at the beginning of the 1883 episode, this was the land of “no mercy,” and chances are, it won’t get any easier. At the end of Episode 5, the show teased a preview of Episode 6 which gave us an ominous feeling regarding the fate of the Duttons.

In the preview, we find Elsa mourning the loss of Ennis, sobbing as she kneels beside his grave. Overcome by grief, she is inconsolable and no longer has that innocent sparkle in her eye that we’ve come to love. She even brandishes the same pistol she used to kill one of the bandits responsible for Ennis’ death. Then Shea Brennan steps in, hoping to prevent her from using any bullets on herself.

‘1883’ Will Shea Brennan Prevent Elsa From Making a Grave Decision?

Shea, himself, has been the victim of unbearable loss in the past. When we first met Shea in Episode 1 of 1883, he had just lost his family to smallpox and had to burn down their home. Thomas, his partner, found him a ways from the property, holding a gun just like Elsa. With the loss of his loved ones, Shea felt the only option for him was suicide. Thankfully, though, Thomas was able to help pull him from the temptation, and instead, they rode into town where they met the Duttons and the traveling emigrants.

In Episode 6, Shea tries to connect with Elsa regarding their shared misery and tells her he understands how she feels. He knows the crushing despair she faces and the thoughts that tell her she can’t go on without him.

Meanwhile, Elsa’s mother, Margaret, is just as distraught that her daughter had to face such a horrific tragedy so early in life. Even more concerning is that she threatens her husband that she’ll “never forgive” him with tears in her eyes. What we don’t know yet, is whether those are tears are for the loss of their daughter.