What happened in The Terror episode 7 can be described in part as desolate, as cold, and very much steeped in desperation and paranoia.
The moment to us that is the most striking is the one who came about near the end with John Irving. He was the one bold enough to venture outward to the Inuit people he saw along his dangerous trek. Like so many other one-time crew members of The Terror and the Erebus, he found himself in a position where he was sent to wander a long journey to safety and survival. Suffice it to say, this was not an easy one.
For starters, the food was making some of the remaining survivors ill — it wasn’t so much because of the food itself, but rather the tin. This was going on long before the journey outside of the ships first began.
In the end, though, the ending for John Irving tonight was not a great one, mostly because of Cornelius Hickey, a man very much driven towards his own bizarre sense of power and madness. The flashbacks this season offer a good sense of who he was upon his arrival onto the ship. Meanwhile, the rest of this episode demonstrated precisely who he is now. He’s an expert at survival, but in the process that makes him dangerous to almost everyone else. After all, he is someone who realizes that in some ways, going it alone is one of the best ways in which he can make it through this situation alive. It was fascinating (and appropriate) watching how The Terror chose to contrast the manner of doing things for Irving and the Inuit to what Hickey was willing to do, stripping himself down and seemingly claiming victims among his own.
The Terror is only getting more desolate and mad as we approach the end of this journey — these characters are suffering, and more than that the leadership continues to let them down when it comes to a unified plan or a sense as to what the future could actually hold.
The mystery moving out of this episode is clear: How long before Captain Crozier starts to figure out precisely what is going on with Hickey, and how long before all of these remaining men start to turn on one another for the sake of survival?
Once again, The Terror excels in telling a story all about survival and what happens to extreme men and women who were suffering with the most extreme circumstances. This episode was striking mostly in the sense of aloneness that it managed to cultivate. This was powerful and interesting, and beyond that it of course left us wanting more.
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