Ladies and gentlemen, meet Alexandra Dutton: Countess of Sussex and savior of the Yellowstone dynasty. Beware of major spoilers for the 1923 finale ahead!
In England, a countess is a woman married to an earl (or count in other countries) and then becomes a countess as a result. Or, she is a woman who has the same rank as an earl/count by birth. This is rare, but possible, so keep that in mind. And whichever holds true, 1923 Season 1, Episode 8 tells us none other than Alexandra (Julia Schalepfer) is such a noblewoman. She is the Countess of Sussex.
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Alexandra holding such a title could be key to everything unfolding on 1923. Or, it could be semantics. During the finale, we also learn that her ex-fiance, Arthur Jr. (Rafe Soule) is the Earl of Sussex. Which begs the question: did the captain of their ship tell Alex’s husband, Spencer Dutton (Brandon Sklenar) that she is the Countess because of her ill-fated royal marriage to Arthur? Or did both he and her best friend, Jennifer (Jo Ellen Pellman) refer to her as the Countess because she is, in fact, already a Countess of Sussex by birth?
Has Spencer Dutton Married Nobility?
The latter is not only possible, but plausible. Throughout 1923, Alexandra’s wealth has come into play (or the wealth of her family, rather). In the finale, she tells Spencer he needs not waste money on a suit/tuxedo as she has credit aboard their British liner. This is but the latest example of her access to extravagance. In Episode 7, her explanation of British culture also sounded like English royalty to a tee.
“I’m British. All we do is travel the world and become experts in the places we visit.”Alexandra, 1923 S1 E7
In short, things just got a lot more complicated for Spencer. Not only does the 1923 Season 1 finale separate him from Alexandra, but she is now to be left in London where literal royalty will stop at nothing to prevent her from reaching him in Montana (as she intends). He also, y’know, possibly married a noblewoman into the fray, which has wild implications for the Dutton Family Tree if all this holds true. And if Alexandra manages her American voyage, she may prove the savior of the entire Dutton lineage for the reasons above.
How Alexandra Could Save ‘1923’s Duttons from Ruin
Back in Montana, Donald Whitfield (Timothy Dalton) shows up at the Duttons’ front door with an incredibly unexpected gesture. The Dutton Yellowstone is the only ranch to have survived World War 1 and the 1920s without falling into debt, he informs them. There is just one payment Jacob (Harrison Ford) owes on: 1923’s property taxes. And Whitfield has paid them in full.
But this is no good will, not in the least. “As I’m sure you’re aware,” he eyes of the patriarch, “If the debt is not repaid by the end of the year, your deed reverts to me.”
By law, Whitfield will own their land by 1924 if the Duttons do not pay off this “gesture” in full.
“We have done no harm to you! Why would you do this to us?” Cara (Helen Mirren) cries.
“Because I can! I’m a businessman. The word ‘decent’ doesn’t apply to me,” Whitfield scowls.
As Cara questions the maneuver’s validity, Jacob walks silently to their front door. He is certainly aware, as the villain implies, of what this means. The Duttons are done for.
Jacob couldn’t secure another loan on his cattle earlier in the episode. All hope is lost for “repaying” Whitfield this “pretty penny.” That is, unless a certain Countess of Sussex is able to help.
If Alexandra is able to either A.) Access her family’s noble wealth or B.) Convince them to help her new family, she could solve their property tax woes with the flick of a pen – exactly how Donald Whitfield describes this battle is to be fought in the finale.
Alexandra May Also Be the Key to ‘1923’s Dutton Descendants
As Jack Dutton (Darren Mann) returns home to Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph) in Season 1, Episode 8, he finds her soaking in their tub. She’s experiencing pregnancy pains, and not of the gentle sort.
“My belly hurts,” Liz tells her husband. As he leaves to fetch her soda water, blood overtakes her bathwater. Something is terribly wrong. She screams for Jack, and the family rushes upstairs.
The next morning, a doctor breaks the news that Elizabeth is stable, but she “flushed” the baby… And the next generation of Duttons is lost. For now.
Who’s to say these two won’t try again, and Elizabeth won’t be able to successfully carry a child? John Dutton’s (Kevin Costner) mother, whoever she was, had one successful pregnancy and another fail, after all (as we learned in Yellowstone Season 5). Elizabeth was shot in the stomach, sure, but stranger realities have come to pass, let alone in fiction.
If this isn’t the case, however, and Elizabeth remains childless like Cara, then Alexandra joining the Dutton family becomes paramount – because it will be Alexandra and Spencer who birth the generation of Duttons that carry on 1923‘s story into Yellowstone.
We’ll find out how it all plays out come 1923 Season 2. And chances are, we’ll find out Alexandra wasn’t just seasick on that Atlantic voyage after all…