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1923 Theory: Whitfield's Cruelty To Lindy & Christy Foreshadows Jake And Banner's Battle

Contains spoilers for "1923" Season 1 finale, "Nothing Left to Lose"

Some fans were underwhelmed with story progress in the "1923" finale, but it's entirely possible that the show's playing the long game with its storylines. After all, we now know that a new season is arriving, and the amazing premiere of the show's Season 1 may indicate that "1923" simply intends to save its biggest guns for season premieres, instead of the traditional explosive finale. 

Since "Nothing Left to Lose" seems largely content to use its season finale spot to establish the status quo as we head for Season 2, it makes sense that it also includes a whole bunch of teases of future events ... both obvious and hidden. While many of the conflicts seem fairly clear, and several of the protagonists end the season with a predetermined enemy to deal with in the future, one fan theory posits that the finale introduces a twist to the tale: The gleefully villainous Donald Whitfield (Timothy Dalton) may have been playing a long con to pit sheepman leader Banner Creighton (Jerome Flynn) and Dutton patriarch Jacob (Harrison Ford) against each other all along. Here's how the finale could foreshadow this, and how things might play out in the future.

Whitfield's power dynamics fixation may indicate that he's deliberately sowing discord

In one of the most troubling scenes of the episode, Whitfield explains why he keeps having sex workers Lindy (Madison Elise Rogers) and Christy (Cailyn Rice) physically attack each other. As it turns out, observing and instigating such violent power dynamics is what he enjoys the most — and this might stealthily reveal that he's not allied with Banner any more than he is with Jake. 

In fact, as redditor u/Certain_Moxie posits, Whitfield may very well be actively instigating a violent confrontation for kicks, without truly caring about the end result. "He derives pleasure from setting others against each other which means for him winding Banner and Dutton up and getting them to attack each other is probably enjoyable to him," they wrote about Whitfield. "He probably doesn't care which side wins." 

At the moment, the impeding confrontation between the rancher's and the sheepherder's forces seems imminent, and since the legal routes to put an end to their differences have now officially been closed — courtesy of Whitfield's machinations, of course — things seem destined to escalate to large-scale violence. However, while redditor u/LoisGrant1856 agreed on the theory that Whitfield is manipulating Banner and Dutton for kicks, they posited an alternative ending to the events: if Jake and Banner ever find out about Whitfield's antics, they may be willing to set aside their differences and join forces to deal with the tycoon. "Makes me wonder if Banner and Dutton, however much they hate each other, will eventually team up to bring down the Timothy Dalton character," they wrote. 

Since Whitfield is clearly being increasingly open about his proclivities, it makes sense that Jake and Banner — two well-connected community leaders — will catch wind of his antics before long. It remains to be seen if they're able to react to the information by forming a temporary alliance, but if that happens, Donald Whitfield might have a very bad time in "1923" Season 2.