In what was possibly the tamest episode of 1883 yet, one can’t help but think that Elsa is still a bit too young and lacks the complete understanding she needs of the world, but at the same time is figuring things out in a way that makes sense for her, which is about all any of us can do. Her romance with Sam isn’t bound to strike everyone as ideal since her mother made it clear what she thought, though after letting herself sit for a while, Margaret appears to come to terms with the idea. As for James, he appears quite tired at one point since no matter how resolute he is in his path, and it’s certain that he still is, the trail has taken just as much from him as it has from anyone in terms of an emotional toll. But watching his daughter fall in love first with a cowboy and now with a Comanche warrior would likely leave many fathers wondering if Elsa was latching onto one individual after the next to feel a connection without actually feeling the entire connection, or if her young heart is forcing her to fall in love so deeply that it’s bound to break at one point or another.
In the meantime, Shea is ready to cut the trip short and head to Denver, much to the disappointment of the settlers, and even Thomas, who’s bound and determined to carry on. Oregon is the goal that they’re all seeking, but trying to guess how many of them will be around at the end is tough to say. James is set on heading north, as he’s already said, and made it clear that he would lead the people if no one else was going to stand up. This undermines Shea just a bit, but it also makes the point that James isn’t ready to give up on the settlers just yet.
The development of the main characters has been interesting to watch thus far since James Dutton is a man that is ready to defend his family to the death if needs be, and he’s the type of man who, once set on his path, isn’t willing to back down that easily. Margaret has had to toughen up, as has Elsa, as both women have had to endure quite a bit of hardship in this series thus far. With this current episode, however, it’s been seen that Margaret has had to toughen up even further as Elsa is set and determined to follow her own course as she confronts her mother after announcing her intentions with Sam. James doesn’t appear to harbor any ill will toward the warrior, but at the same time, he’s well aware of how Elsa might end up changing her mind again, as this relationship started not too long after Elsa was intending to be with Ennis. Sam appears to understand and even tells James that he would bring her back if things ever changed, but that he’s bound to the land just as his people are, and can’t leave it for fear that it wouldn’t be there when he returned.
So far the show has made it clear that life in the old days wasn’t easy, and that being on the trail was, at times, akin to a death sentence for anyone that didn’t have their eyes and ears open at all times. But it’s also made it clear how the Comanches were tied to their homeland, and that leaving was not an option But the level of feeling between Sam and Elsa appears to be genuine, and in the closing moments of the episode when Sam makes it clear that she is the wife of a warrior, and that she is a warrior, and that his land is her home, that would indicate that Elsa, who’s bound to see her family on toward Oregon, might at least try to make her way back. Whether that promise will be kept or not is hard to say, since the season did begin on a rather interesting note that saw Elsa in a dire situation that didn’t appear to give her any way out. But until that moment comes, it’s going to be the best guess as to what’s going to happen.
So far, 1883 has been the type of show that a lot of people might have expected, as the hardships that have been felt by the entire group have only escalated over time, and the road ahead is still long and arduous enough to make one think that more are going to be lost before the first season is over and done with. The long road between where the party is now and where they’re headed is bound to become even more treacherous, and before everything is over and done with, it’s fair to say that we’ll see a few more tragic ends.