'1883' Season Finale: Fans React to Shocking Death
By Paige Gawley
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*** Caution, spoilers for the season 1 finale of 1883 are ahead ***
1883ended its first season in brutal fashion. The Yellowstoneprequel starring Faith Hill and Tim McGraw wrapped its 10-episode season by killing off both their onscreen daughter, Elsa Dutton (Isabel May), and Pinkerton agent Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott).
It was the former death that really struck a chord with fans, and they weren't shy about their shock and sadness when they took to Twitter to mourn the loss of the show's narrator.
"I’m traumatized," one person wrote of Elsa's death, which came after she was hit with an arrow in a previous episode.
"I'm unwell. I'm shattered," another person tweeted, with a third adding that "tears were shed tonight."
"#1883 is a near-perfect stand-alone series," one fan wrote. "I sobbed watching the brutality, but also the journey of 18-yr-old Elsa Dutton's untamed spirit."
#1883 was a beautiful standalone. Looking forward to seeing what they have in store for 1932. Loved Elsa as a narrator. Tears were shed tonight. pic.twitter.com/qRwSADrEv1
As for why Elsa had to die, 1883 creator Taylor Sheridan explained to Deadline, "To me, she represents the innocence and hope that is unique to Americans and it has to do with the fact we’re such a young country."
"I wanted her to be that one vibrant thing, and never lose that as she became wiser through the journey," he said. "Even at the very end, she clings to it, she sees the world in color, through these dreamer eyes and they never quit dreaming."
"I wanted that beacon, whereas everyone else in the entire thing has experienced extreme hardship," he continued. "At that period of time, you’re coming out of one of the darkest periods of our nation’s history. And that’s still so ingrained in everyone."
When it comes to how May felt about her character's ending, the actress took to Instagram on Monday to share a black-and-white photo of Elsa, which she captioned with a yellow heart emoji.
ET spoke to May after her onscreen love, Ennis, died in an earlier 1883 episode. At the time, May explained why, as an actress, she liked exploring heavy topics like grief and death.
"I may sound like a masochist but I like stuff like that. I have a very nice, wonderful, happy life -- I'm so fortunate to live that life -- and therefore it's really interesting to me to have to put yourself in that kind of situation where you're experiencing such raw emotions," she said. "I certainly hope I never find myself in that position personally, selfishly, but it is very fun to dip your toes into that."
May's on-set experience certainly differed from her character's time on screen. In a joint interview with Hill, May gushed about sharing the screen with the country star.
"She's one-of-a-kind. She's the loveliest person I've ever met," May told ET, before telling Hill directly, "I'm very lucky to work with you."
While May was killed off of 1883, Sheridan told Deadline that he's eager to work with her, and Elliott, again in the future.
"She’s a remarkable actor, a generational talent, and I would love to find other things to do," Sheridan said of May, before adding of Elliott, "There’s an icon, someone I’ve admired my whole life, and to get a chance to work with him is a treat, just really special."