AMC’s The Terror
Episode 8: “Terror Camp Clear”
Directed by Tim Mileants
Written by David Kajganich
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Horrible from Supper” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The C the C the Open C” – click here
April of 1848.
Out on King William Island, Captain Francis Crozier (Jared Harris) and Commander James Fitzjames (Tobias Menzies) head to one of the markers, chatting about their tactics as the upper management on the mission. They make new notes on the old paper Sir John left when they were last in that same place.
They head back, talking more about personal things. Fitzjames tells Crozier the only reason he’s in his position now and on the expedition is because he saved Sir John Barrow’s son “from a scandal” in Singapore. It’s not out of merit he got where he is, but a “surplus of political luck.” Crozier tries to tell him of his worth. James won’t have it, though. He sees himself as entirely unworthy, from birth to the present day. Even James Fitzjames is a fake name, thrown upon him at baptism. Yet, through it all, James is sort of a self-made man because of his upbringing. He made it quite far. And now he’s bonding quite a bit with the Captain.
Back at Terror Camp there’s much trouble. Lieutenant George Hodgson (Christos Lawton) and others report of the supposed massacre of the expedition’s men by the Inuits. Hodgson claims it the work of “savage men.” Of course it’s all based on the word of Cornelius Hickey (Adam Nagaitis), which Crozier and Fitzjames don’t immediately trust.
The Captain calls for Lady Silence (Nive Nielsen). They go see Irving’s corpse mutilated from head to toe; genitals not excluded. Out with the men, Hickey tells his lies to rally them against the Inuit. The command crew wants to speak with Hickey, and they also want to take him back to where the attack occurred.
But with a party setting out, this leaves the camp vulnerable, as Hickey and Sgt. Solomon Tozer (David Walmsley) have their mutinous thoughts still on the mind. There’s also the general deterioration of the crew, many of whom are experiencing a variety of illnesses from exposure, dehydration, malnutrition, and so on. Fitzjames himself notices his diseased flesh begin piling up.
Crozier and his party get to where they find several of the Inuit killed, which devastates poor Silence. The Captain surveys the scene, as does Thomas Blanky (Ian Hart). Then he has Hickey take him to where Irving and their other man were murdered. Back at Terror Camp, Hodgson’s trying to stir up fears of the Indigenous people in order to get things moving on his end, as is Tozer passing out guns to the other men under guise there’s an attack on its way for the camp.
Henry Collins (Trystan Gravelle), in his state of mental decay, has taken some of the Peruvian from the medical tent, and he is TRIPPING. That can’t be good for anybody, or anything.
When Crozier gets back there’s a mess. Fitzjames tells him about everyone arming themselves, warning that Lady Silence is “a matchstick” headed for “the tinderbox” should she go back into the camp. The Captain sends her off to her people, advising she stay safe elsewhere. Henry Goodsir (Paul Ready) tries to tell her that the English are, at their heart, good. Yet he’s speaking about the British fucking Empire! Obviously the doc can’t see it from the inside. But he’s part of the imperialist, colonial system that will continue to destroy the lives and homes of Indigenous people just like Silence and her community. Nice try, Goodsir. He might be a good apple, only he’s a part of the worst bunch.
The Captain has Goodsir do an autopsy, during which they find seal meat in Irving’s stomach. This confirms the Inuit fed him, as well as reaffirms Crozier’s thoughts that it was Hickey who killed their men and the group of Inuit. They’ve rooted out the mutiny. However, they must step lightly now, or else they’ll have full-blown mutiny on their hands. They also anticipate building “a gallows” for the court martial of Tozer and Hickey.
Once the arrests are made, Hickey and Tozer are setup with their respective nooses in front of the camp. Crozier tells everyone how the Inuit intended on helping them re: food, and this shocks everyone, who believed the Indigenous people were responsible for mutilating their men. Several of the crew offer to help in the hanging. Hickey – as his last words – tells the crew about the day Sir John died, and the secret plan Crozier made to get himself free all alone.
Suddenly from the fog comes laughter. Collins has gone mad, and behind him is the Tuunbaq. The beast sends everyone running; some in fear, some to the armoury. No matter where they go, the creature barrels through Terror Camp tearing the place down and killing any man in its path. The lack of an execution means the mutiny is still underway, too, and the lads planning escape want to take Goodsir with them.
Fitzjames manages to bust out some rockets, sending them flying, and chases away the Tuunbaq with a direct hit. Although it makes lunch of Collins before disappearing. And it’s almost like it takes some of his spirit as it munches.
WOW. The Terror just builds steam, every step of the way. It’s honestly exceeding every last expectation I had going in. Genuinely fun to watch the way it’s being adapted. Can’t wait for these final two episodes. “The C the C the Open C” – interestingly titled – is next, and the penultimate finisher for this outrageously good miniseries.