“Just watched 1883 Episode 5 and it truly broke my heart” is the consensus amongst fans as the show’s latest episode leaves viewers in tears. Be warned of significant spoilers for 1883 ahead.
If there’s a hallmark of an exceptional show, it’s the ability to move audiences in this way. The Westward Expansion was an absolutely brutal journey for any, and 1883 is doing a brilliant job of making viewers experience such hardships from the comfort of their living room.
Episode 5 was the epitome of this, too. As this entry comes to a close, lovable young cowboy Ennis (Eric Nelsen) meets an untimely end at the hands of particularly vicious bandits. But not before declaring his love for Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) and his intent to marry her after a stirring emotional arc through previous episodes.
To cope with the loss of such a sweet, endearing character, 1883 fans are taking to Reddit to share their grief. “It’s a rough one. I think I can take anything they throw at us now. He was my favorite,” states one viewer in the massive thread titled “Just watched episode 5 and it truly broke my heart.”
“I screamed at the tv screen next to a non-watcher who just didn’t understand. Needed this post,” comments geegasaurus.
“46/M jaded male from Los Angeles… And I bawled like a baby when she curled up next to his body,” replies fan HappyCamper781.
“All I could tell my wife was that the writing and acting is fantastic. When Margaret gave her the speech about seeing things thru her daughter’s eyes, man, this episode really got me,” echoes tukai1976.
‘1883’ Fans Can’t Cope With Ennis’ Loss So Early in the Show
As fan jacmomma summarizes, “His death literally made me sick. I loved Ennis so much. And I never hardly get into shows like this. But this scene is the saddest I have ever seen in my 37 years.”
Indeed, 1883 is doing a phenomenal job at pulling audiences in. Engaging performances from relative newcomers like Eric Nelsen and Isabel May are investing millions in the Western epic, as is beyond apparent in fan reactions.
“I know right. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s truly heartbreaking,” another fan comments.
“I was surprised they killed off the cowboy,” OhmyMary echoes of Ennis. “I legit thought he would make it a few more episodes but this was needed for Elsa’s character development.
This hits the nail on the head. While it feels wildly early to have such a fantastic character exit, 1883‘s first season is aiming to tell a complete story for Elsa Dutton. In this light, Ennis had to die in order to push her into the jaded woman she is to become; one whose naive and optimistic heart is ripped out by the horrors of the Westward Expansion.