AMC’s The Terror
Episode 2: “Gore”
Directed by Edward Berger
Written by Soo Hugh
* For a recap & review of the premiere, “Go for Broke” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Ladder” – click here
Spring of 1847.
Things on the ice are certainly rough, though the crews are surviving. Cpt. Sir John Franklin (Ciarán Hinds) and Cpt. James Fitzjames (Tobias Menzies) check out the belly of the ship, and outside there’s a bit of morale boost when the men are told they’ll “force” the passage. Francis Crozier (Jared Harris) seems more aloof as the time goes by, which Sir John clearly worries about, too. And why wouldn’t he? Out there on the ice for so long, it wouldn’t be good to have men suffering from mental issues.
A crew of lads are headed off on a scouting mission. Henry Goodsir (Paul Ready) is along with a bunch of the men, and he’s trying his best to lend a hand instead of just walking, watching the rest of them work. He’s not particularly a hard man, but bless him he tries.
Inside, Sir John has a chat with Francis, and he confronts him about why he’s been “avoiding Erebus” all winter. Crozier blames it on being a captain and looking out for his ship. There’s obviously issues from before this journey. Yet Francis goes on as if it’s only the journey itself, the weather, and the situations on “two very different ships.” Pride, though; it’s a bastard.
Out farther on the ice, Goodsir and their crew reach a peak. Past there is an inlet of land towards the interior. The men begin heading on into the distance, through the cold Arctic air. There’s a marker in a couple miles; left by “the Eskies,” one man believes. They take apart the marker of stones where they leave coordinates and other information behind in a capsule. After that, it’s on the move again.
In the belly of the ship, William Gibson (Edward Ashley) and Cornelius Hickey (Ada Nagaitis) are caught by Lt. John Irving (Ronan Irving). He doesn’t SEE them, but they were down there sodomising one another and passing a bit of time on a long berth across Arctic waters. Gibson worries they’ll be found out, but Hickey doesn’t think Irving will inform on them to the captain. And Hickey, he’s a sly one. Watch out for that lad.
On the ice, the crew find a ship wrecked. However, it’s strange, and the men wonder what could’ve done it. Goodsir suggests a bear. That doesn’t seem right, at all, even when considering it’d be a polar bear. Too much damage. Simultaneously, another of the crews returns to the Erebus, where Sir John discovers there are issues with rotten provisions now. That’s only going to have the dwindling resources dwindle even more.
We get a flashback to Sir John back home. He and Lady Jane (Greta Scacchi) try to do their best in helping their niece, Sophia Cracroft (Sian Brooke), who’s got the typically difficulties women had with all the nonsense, patriarchal societal hoops through which they had to jump when it came to getting married, instead of being allowed to live life how they wanted to. There’s also quite the awkward moment when Sir John doesn’t realise Francis is not far while talking about him to his wife and niece.
Crozier’s now wondering how long they’ll be stuck in the ice. He’s advised if they have to spend another winter, the pressure could cause serious structural issues without a proper thaw. And that’d worry any sailor.
A nasty hailstorm, lightning, and thunder strike. The lads on the ice have part of their tent setup, so they rush inside. Out in the distance there’s a loud, eerie sound. Is it just a polar bear wandering hungry? The men worry, waiting with their weapons in case they have to face one down.
Things only get worse. In the dark, one of them shoot an Inuit man in the chest as he comes from up off a peak in the ice. With him is a young Inuit woman. But there’s something else out there. It grabs hold of another man, chomping down. Blood squirts and bones break and that’s no polar bear!
Crozier and Hickey get to know each other a bit better over a drink of liquor. This puts a stop to Irving mentioning anything when he sees them together. Ah, there’s a bit of the class war going on; add in some early 19th-century closeted homosexuality, and it’s a situation ripe for madness.
Back at the ship, Goodsir is helping the injured Inuit man, whereas Dr. Stephen Stanley (Alistair Petrie) is a reluctant racist, not wanting to touch an indigenous man. The young woman with the man is in luck – Crozier speaks a bit of their language. None of this is a good omen, just like the previous bad omens. With the superstitious nature of sailors, Sir John, as well as others, are plenty concerned for the rest of the journey.
Later, Goodsir determines he can’t help the Inuit man, which the daughter laments. She talks to her father, crying, and says she can’t go on by herself. She mentions the name of a creature. She also urges that he can’t die inside the ship, he has to die under the stars. Her worry is that his soul will stay trapped instead of reaching the sky. When it’s over, Sir John wants to kick the woman out. Instead, Crozier says he’ll take her aboard the Terror.
Goodsir relates what they saw on the ice earlier, what happened to Gore, and so on. There was too much blood for him to have not died. The other men believe it’s possible “the bear” tracked them back to the Erebus and the Terror. On top of that, there are no signs of thawing anywhere else by King William Land where they travelled. To boot, Goodsir mentions the Inuit man had his tongue removed. Quite interesting.
Down in the ship, Crozier talks to the young woman, Lady Silence (Nive Nielsen). He tells her he was called Aglooka (an important piece of the Franklin expedition tale) in Inuit. He tries to explain he’s there to help, and she only warns them to leave the Arctic. More ominous warnings.
Yes, The Terror is moving at a perfect pace for me. It’s revealing things slowly, and at the very same time there’s always a tension, some suspense, or some kind of exciting little moment building. Hopefully this keeps up. Plus, I love both Hinds and Harris, so I’m looking forward to more. In addition, I’m anticipating Lady Silence’s part blooming because of how much I loved her in the book.
“The Ladder” is next time.