"“We moved towards Doan’s Crossing and the Red River. And tragedy’s next opportunity to ravage what’s left of us. My mother says the pain will fade. And the good memories will return. I suppose that’s true. Every person on this planet will endure this pain until they are the cause of it for another. Someday, I’ll die and shatter hearts, too. But that is not today. Today I am living and I’m shattered.”"- Elsa Dutton
Episode 6 of 1883, “Boring The Devil”, starts off with Elsa enduring the excruciating agony of losing Ennis with what just felt like moments ago. Having a first love and losing it is one thing, but losing it in such a tragic way is quite another. But the tide rolls on and they must keep carrying on down the Great Plains.
Shea and company will now have to hire a cook and another cowboy in Doan to make up for what they lost. He asks James how Elsa is doing. You can sense that Shea sympathizes with her knowing what that type of loss feels like. Though hers was short lived and he had a whole family it doesn’t make the pain of the one you love being ripped away from you any less.
"“Death is everywhere. It follows us like a stray dog. Waiting to devour us like scraps. The pain it causes is so acute, so complete…it’s hard to understand how it benefits us, as a species. What purpose does pain serve? I understand desire and fear. And love. And how they protect us and better our lives and bring new life. But grief. If I weren’t so consumed by it, it would baffle me.”"- Elsa Dutton
Elsa has just gotten her period, confirming she is not pregnant. Knowing she will never have a piece of Ennis now that he’s gone. She needs some time away to grieve and gather her thoughts. Margaret seems worried about what she will do but Shea comes upon Elsa to try to give her some words of wisdom. He knows how this feels.
1883 Episode 6: With age comes wisdom
Though Shea and Elsa do share this pain and comparison there’s a major difference between the two. Shea explains to her he doesn’t have anyone left alive that loves him, but she does. And she has support there whether she likes it or not. What comes next was the unthinkable. He confides in Elsa about his secret plan.
"“An Apache scout told me once that when you love somebody, you trade souls with them. They get a piece of yours, and you get a piece of theirs. But when your love dies..A little piece of you dies with them. That’s why you hurt so bad. But that little piece of him is still inside you. And he can use your eyes to see the world. So I’m taking my wife to the ocean. And I’m gonna sit on the beach, and let her see it. That was her dream. Then I’m gonna see her. That’s my dream.”"- Shea Brennan
Not only does Shea share some words of wisdom but he reminds Elsa of the love her family has for her and the need the world still has for her. The herd needs their cowgirl which is something that will give her purpose. She is still very young, and unlike him, there is a tomorrow. With a unique woman such as Elsa, the sky is the limit, and there’s a whole world out there. When Elsa returns back to Margaret she tells her quizzical mother she’s going back to work. I would say Shea’s pep talk went rather well.
The group finally reaches Doan. Noemi wants to sell her husband's things including the shotgun. But Thomas assures her she does not want to do that, and promises he will teach her how to use it. There are more thieves around than traders in these parts.
Margaret spends some riding time with Elsa and takes her off to the Trading Post. The men stare at the two cowgirls as if they’ve never seen a thing like it in all their lives. But Elsa doesn’t take too kindly to one of the men gawking at her and questioning him. Elsa being Elsa it takes her no time to find some trouble and she’s quickly pointing her gun at him. James rushes to her aid before the situation escalates. Elsa had no qualms at all about using it on the man. He wasn’t a good man but even James knew he didn’t deserve to die over it. Elsa’s grief has taken a toll on her mind now.
1883 Episode 6: There’s nothing rum can’t cure
Margaret sees something she hasn’t in a very long time. This makes you think about the simple pleasures of life these pioneers are missing out on. Ice. And a nice long drink. Sharing a nice talk with a woman named Carol about the hardships children can cause.
"“Stars for a blanket. Ground for a bed. Good horse, open country. That’s all a cowboy needs. Guess it’s all a cowgirl needs to.”"- Wade
Thomas finds himself a cook for the journey finally and he’s definitely no bargain. In the meantime, Margaret is enjoying a nice buzz with store owner Carol. Thomas is a man of his word and sells Noemi’s things for her, along the way he finds a beautiful mirror from France. The man is falling harder for Noemi than he even realizes.
Shea’s task to hire a new cowboy was eventually successful. A man named Colton was at first reluctant until he saw Elsa and then quickly changed his mind. Cowboys all seem to know each other out there, and Wade seemed to know him well. He also knew Elsa would be in the mood for him. And he was right.
James studies the river for the crossing as Margaret becomes a drunken mess. But stress will do that to a person, and sometimes we need it. She doesn’t like the woman her daughter is becoming, a killer. And she doesn’t forgive James for it. Furthermore, he doesn’t forgive himself. James tells Elsa the story of how he killed a child in the war. What that kind of killing does to your soul. He doesn’t want that type of burden to be thrust on his daughter. He wants her to grieve and grieve as much as she needs to but to leave the hating to him. Which in essence means leaving the killing to him. That’s his burden to bear for his family.
Luckily while Thomas was away on business, Noemi didn’t need his help after all and figured out how to use the shotgun. Killing some rabbit and rattlesnake for one of her stews. Thomas hands her the elegant mirror and she questions why he did it.
"“Well if I looked like you I figure I’d stare at myself…every chance I got.”"- Thomas
Thomas wants to protect her and keep her happy, and do things that make her smile. He is in love with her and doesn’t even see it. He is more convinced that he doesn’t deserve to be loved back. Thomas is the one who looks more scared to love while Noemi is very sure about what she wants.
Margaret will be taking James’ horse across the river while he takes the wagon. It’s not that she isn’t capable or doesn’t trust her to do it but James is stronger and a million things could go wrong. He knows he’s mad at her but he won’t lose her just to stay on her good side.
Elsa has newfound admiration and respect for Shea for being the only one who talked to her about Ennis. Shea is one of the biggest reasons she came out okay on the other side of her pain. And now it’s time to cross the river and be the cowgirl she was born to be. Without Shea, she would not have healed so quickly, and Ennis would want her to be the wild and free-spirited soul god made her to be. The cattle soon follow behind and the reach for glory everyone seeks marches on to their next phase.