This hour of USA’s western period drama has estranged brothers Seth Davenport and Creeley Turner both leaving Holden behind to learn more about the thick web of money and corruption they’ve caught themselves up in. Seth goes to the fertilizer plant in Cherokee County. Documents stolen from the bank’s vault indicate that Martin Eggers Hyde’s client Tuck Tandy from the Riley’s penny auction also bought this plant, and Seth’s set on finding out what’s behind it all. And Creeley, who Martin forcibly removed from the brothel in Episode 106, finally comes face-to-face with the man running the show: Tennyson DuVall. Catch up on all that and more in the “A Different Species” recap below.
Creeley goes to great lengths to retain his employment in Holden
Creeley wants to continue doing all he can to break the farmers’ strikes in Holden, and that means staying in Martin’s good graces -- even while Seth is making his job more difficult by the day. In other words, Martin is leading a game of dance-monkey-dance; if Creeley is told to jump, he jumps. This episode begins with Creeley sitting in the back of Martin’s car and watching a chain gang of prisoners at work, just so he can be reminded of the life he left behind and the life he’s at risk of returning to. It doesn’t help that Martin knows that one of the brothel’s girls (Bessie) is getting a little too close to Creeley’s affairs, and that all the men he’s hired to take care of the preacher have gone missing under Creeley’s watch. The cowboy insists that he doesn’t know anything more about Seth’s background -- but we find out later that Martin knows good and well that the two are brothers; he’s taking Creeley to the DuVall mansion himself in hopes that he’ll pay the ultimate price.
Upon entering the residence, Creeley is greeted as a guest of honor, immediately surrounded by well-heeled men chatting business and societal affairs and being treated to flowing wine and an extravagant meal. They even take him on a hunting trip. But something is off; it seems as if these men are scoping out Creeley and another newcomer, his “colleague” Remy. They’re sizing them up, making odd comments about their strength and brawn. And sure enough, the episode’s climax comes when it’s revealed that these rich men have been betting all night on who will win in a fight, Remy or Creeley. And after dinner, they’re forced to fight bare-knuckled and weapon-free for their employer’s entertainment.
Martin has another plan in mind, though: Just prior to the fight, he slips a knife in Remy’s pocket, telling him to finish off Creeley for lying to him about Seth. While Remy at first proves a worthy opponent, Creeley eventually unarms Remy and kills him with the knife, slicing him up the arm and down into his ribcage. It’s a brutal scene. Despite Martin’s personal resentments, Tennyson immediately takes a liking to Creeley in the wake of Remy’s unplanned death, and he gifts him a sniper rifle.
Hitching his way on a train for his way home, Creeley later uses that rifle to shoot down two prison guards on horseback and inadvertently sets a chain gang free. It’s a small victory, though, compared to the task Martin’s left for him upon his return to Holden: Instead of stopping the farmers’ strike, his job now is to kill Seth. It’s only then that he’ll be released from his duties to Tennyson and Martin and his record will be wiped clean.
Seth learns of more horrors the DuVall family is up to in this new era of innovation
Seth does not yet know that it’s Tennyson DuVall overseeing the farm buyouts in Holden, but he does know Tuck Tandy, his buyer’s alias, from the Riley’s penny auction. His name also appears on the stolen documents from the bank as the buyer behind Ravenson Fertilizers in Cherokee County. Thinking the two must be connected, Seth makes his way to Cherokee. There, he sneaks his way into the plant to find a number of vagrants volunteering as test subjects in exchange for a hot meal -- but none of them get the meal they’re promised, as the tests involve them inhaling and burning under a poisonous gas, apparently to quality control their uniforms and equipment. Seth sees a screaming, bloodied man pulled out on gurneys, and that’s reason enough for him to interrupt the proceedings.
He breaks into the test room just as the gas is released and tells the vagrant volunteers that they’re being poisoned and they need to leave. After setting them free, he miraculously makes it back to Holden in one piece with stolen documents in-hand. Sitting with Amelia, he sees that the papers cite DuVall Industries as a benefactor and that these uniform shipments that are undergoing tests are coming in from Woodberry County. Amelia catches her breath to learn that Tintern Textiles is the production company for the uniforms -- Tintern is her father’s company.
Connie and Brittany arrive in Holden and befriend Amelia
Last we saw Connie, she learned that Seth was staying in Holden and fanning the flame for the farmers’ strike. “A Different Species” sees her grand entrance into the town. She promptly beelines it to Seth’s church, where she meets Amelia and poses as a widow to a man who was killed by a strikebreaker. She lies and says that Amelia and Seth’s pamphlets got her through the hard times.
While she waits for Seth to return from Cherokee County, Connie and Brittany join Amelia in visiting some of the other women in town, including Martha Riley. During this visit, it’s surprisingly Brittany who comes up with the strikers’ next plan that could save their farms: They decide to set up a farmers market and sell their product right on the land, cutting the middleman out entirely. Everyone in town agrees to it except for the dairy farmers. It’s not Brittany’s only standout moment in the episode, either: When Seth returns home and she, Connie, Martha, and Amelia are all sitting around the table, she asks Connie pointblank if Seth is the bad man they’ve been looking for. “Don’t be silly, dear child,” Connie responds after a moment’s pause. “This is the preacher! Preachers aren’t bad men.”
There is a strange moment when she’s first being introduced to Seth, too, where she seems almost disappointed or taken aback when sizing Seth up. After learning more about Amelia and the strikers’ cause, could it mean she’s doubling back and rethinking her stance against Seth? That would be an extreme, especially considering who she’ killed already and how far she’s come to finish the job. Time will tell. It’s at that point, though, that she finally parts ways with Amelia and Seth for the evening, but it seems clear that it won’t be the last time their paths cross during her time in Holden. She got along with them so well, in fact, that Martha invites her to stay with her during her stay. We’ll almost certainly see her in Episode 108.
- It’s worth noting that the bank robbery went off without a hitch and Amelia and Seth are now $30,000 richer. That’s $30,000 that they eagerly put towards buying out the rest of Holden’s farms for the winter. Even though the congregation by and large understands that the money came from the bank robbery, they write it off as a generous donation from an anonymous source.
- Amelia reveals to Connie that she is a widow, too, and that before Seth, there was Sal, but he was killed. She, Sal, and Seth were in Marion County, Arkansas helping dam workers organize a strike when an undercover strikebreaker chained them all into a dancehall and lit it on fire. The strikebreaker was never found. Based on her reaction, there’s a chance that Connie may have had a hand in those tragic events.
- The new banker, John Dyson, replaced Rumple and is getting in bed with the Black Legion. He also proves a hard one to crack; when he’s at the brothel, he pushes Bessie’s advances away, saying that the “last thing I need is someone dialing up my superiors and putting my neck on the chopping block.” Later, he’s shown meeting with the Black Legion and offers the town’s financial support should the organization take down the strikers. He also unveils a machine gun for their taking. It’s then revealed at this nighttime meeting that Melvin Stubbs, who’s still running for sheriff and gaining quite a crowd of supporters, is the Black Legion’s grand master. He agrees to help Dyson. Just as the deal is made, members of the Black Legion spot Bessie just outside the barn spying on their proceedings. She bolts into the cornfields nearby and is running with them at her tail for the rest of the night.
- And lastly, we learn how Seth and Cynthia Rainy first connected in 1924 in a series of flashbacks. She and her reverend father knock on a homesteader’s door that Seth and Creeley are currently intimidating to invite them to mass in the next town over. She is a beautiful, enthusiastic, and earnest redhead. “Here's to new directions and exciting possibilities,” she says in hopes of seeing Seth at their next Sunday mass. He does make his way over to the church as Cynthia’s father is preaching about how everyone can better themselves, no matter their sins. That’s when he tells Cynthia that he’s “ready to be reborn.”