Warning: The below features spoilers for the season one finale of 1883.
The Feb. 27th finale of the Paramount+ series saw the death of daughter Elsa Dutton, played by Isabel May, after being shot by an arrow in Feb. 20th's episode. Isabel died in the arms of her father (McGraw) arms after an emotional goodbye to her mother (Hill).
The country legends opened up about their process for preparing for episodes, and revealed why that all went out the window for the finale. "When we got the final two, we literally couldn't read them to each other because we were crying so much—I mean, ugly, boohoo crying," McGraw told Variety. "I was a blubbering idiot."
The actors, and real-life couple, had a practice of taking turns reading the scripts out loud to each other all season. But the emotional heights of the material eventually made that impossible. "He [McGraw] couldn't read it because he was bawling," Hill revealed. "It took me about an hour to read it to him because most of the time, I couldn't catch my breath I was crying so hard."
"I know fans are gonna hate it and love it at the same time," McGraw said. "That's what good TV, good music, good movies, good art, good books, all those things, do. They bring out those emotions in you. It's going to be a good thing that they hate that ending, because it has to be that way and they know it. It's gonna be devastating."
For Hill, the entire season was especially moving because of her daughters.
"As a mom, I can't even allow myself to go there," she admitted. "I cannot. It's really hard, even now, to talk about, because once the tears start coming, I can't stop them. I would tell the directors, if we start going, it's going to be hard for me to stop. It's painful."
The couple, who presented at Feb. 27th's SAG Awards, aren't sure what the future holds for their characters. "We just don't know," McGraw said. "We're sort of in limbo like everyone else. We're excited about what's to come and excited about what he [creator Taylor Sheridan] writes and can't wait to see however it develops."
Earlier in February, Paramount+ announced additional episodes have been ordered.
1883, a spin-off of Paramount Network's massively popular Yellowstone, premiered in December 2021 and has been a success story all its own. The show debuted with the biggest ratings for a new cable show since 2015, before moving to Paramount+ exclusively for its final eight episodes.
No word on when we can expect to see McGraw and Hill back for season two, but after that finale, we need some time to grieve.