Monday, April 30, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Terror' - The Crew Begins Their Trek Across the Ice as a New Killer Debuts in 'Horrible from Supper'

AMC's The Terror - Episode 1.07 "Horrible from Supper"

As the men make new attempts to find rescue, a series of shocking events underscores how vulnerable and exposed their situation has become.

For the audience, the events on The Terror have been happening very quickly. It appears that there is danger and tragedy lurking around every single corner. Sir John was the apparent lead of the show and he was killed off in the third episode. A carnival was put up to offer a sense of relief and laughter until it became a pressure cooker for the various fears and paranoias that have infected the crew. For the characters themselves, time has been moving much more slowly. This expedition has comprised years of their lives. They have been trapped in the same position for a long time. They don't have any understanding of anyone coming to rescue them. The nearest port where they could call out for a rescue is 800 miles away. That would be such a daunting journey. And yet, the crew has now reached that point of its mission. They need to abandon ship. It's such a destructive sense of defeat. It's the crew abandoning their mission because the world continues to come crushing down on them. The passage of time is so crucial to the story though. It's important that the ideas that have spread amongst the crew have been allowed to fester and grow. They are stationary on the ice. But the characters themselves have always been moving forward and developing. Of course, it has pushed them to the brink of insanity. So many of the crew are now facing dark thoughts in their heads. It's all a symptom of the lead poisoning they have been consuming since the ships left England. That makes the journey even more tragic and ironic. They have just realized this horrifying thing that is altering their brain chemistry. And yet, they must continue to forge ahead and consume the tainted food because it's there only hope of survival right now. But in doing so, it ensures that hysteria and tragedy befalls upon the crew once more. This has always been a brutal show. But now, it's clear that the crew are absolutely ready to turn on each other because of the decisions made along every step of the way on this journey.

Right now, the officers want to continue to deliver a message of hope to the crew. They want the men to have their spirits lifted despite the brutality that has plagued this journey. The show continues to prove that there isn't much to actually hope for anymore. But the audience always knew that. We went into this series with the opening message that everyone on this expedition would die because of the horrors of this world. The story has just forced the audience to reflect on the issues that have plagued the personalities within the men. It's clear that the poisoning has altered many of their thoughts. Crozier wants to keep Goodsir's discovery a secret for right now. He doesn't want to risk a mutiny or starvation because the men don't want to eat from the contaminated tins. He wants them to continue operating according to procedure until they come across land that hasn't been frozen over. He only wants to send out hunting parties once it seems likely that they'll actually return with something. He doesn't want to put any more lives in harm's way. But that's a decision that ultimately makes him come across as the aloof and dispassionate captain to the rest of the crew. Most of them are still operating as if nothing is wrong even though it's clear this journey is taking its toil on their bodies. It's also not the only secret that Crozier has decided to keep in order to keep up morale. He soon learns that the rescue party they sent out last year only made it 18 miles before being killed by the creature. It's such a brutal discovery that makes it clear that the crew will be responsible for saving themselves. But it also just further compounds the tragedy of the whole piece. Crozier believes he's doing the right and responsible thing as captain. He has a clear head for the job now. And yet, his crew is still ready to turn against him because of the secrets he's choosing to keep.

Of course, there is still a moment to celebrate as well. The crew eventually does find land after being trapped on the ice for so long. The crew are so thankful for that with some even mentioning that they never want to walk on ice ever again in their lives. Moreover, Crozier decides to name a new lieutenant to the ranks. He gives a promotion to Jopson for being such a loyal and productive member of this expedition. Crozier needed his help during his time of withdrawal. And now, he wants to reward that service. It's a decision that the other officers agree with as well. He has made an impression on them. It continues to show the pomp and circumstance of this organization. They still want to hold onto these values. They don't want to delve into chaos. And yet, chaos is literally knocking on their minds right now. The marines don't have enough men to control watching the perimeter of the new encampment. Crozier doesn't believe he needs to reassign the men to these new postings quite yet - mostly because he still has some troubling suspicions about Hickey. He doesn't trust the man. He makes this decision almost completely because he doesn't want to give Hickey more power. However, Hickey is already in a position of power right now because he is so perceptive of the world. He sees things as they brutally are. He can sense what's wrong and has his way of getting information from the rest of the crew. He has always had that skill. But now, it's apparent that he's the one leading the mutiny because of his own selfish interests. He doesn't like being lied to and he is willing to do absolutely anything and become whatever he has to be in order to survive in this challenging world - including eating the dog that has served alongside the men.

Hickey proves his worth in the moment when the crew is awoken to one of the soldiers losing his mind. It's clear that Goodsir's remedies for this mental instability haven't done any good. The lead poisoning has just gotten too severe for this man. But it's dangerous to be in this position in the middle of nowhere. This man is just willing to die right now. He wants his fellow soldiers to give him that opportunity. He's ready to take action to ensure that it happens. He points his gun at the captain. But Crozier and Goodsir don't want to give him the easy way out of this confusing and destructive mental break. Goodsir still has other medicines he would like to try in order to alleviate this pain. He knows what is causing these new medical problems amongst the crew. He has taken a different approach to treating everyone as an individual. Crozier doesn't want any of the men to fire on one of their own who is simply confused and distraught right now. He is able to perfectly mitigate the situation as well. He gets this soldier to lower his weapon. Unfortunately, his gun goes off and Hickey decides to fire back to put down this threat to the rest of the crew. He sees it as a case of killing him before he has the opportunity to kill them all. He's already in everyman for himself territory with this expedition. He just wants to form bonds and alliances with those willing to help him survive. He can craft a compelling argument for that as well. His fellow soldiers see him as willing to make the difficult decisions that the captain refuses to make while also being completely forthright with them about the newest set of problems they'll have to deal with in the future.

It all culminates in the moment where Hickey is the latest soldier to experience a mental breakdown. His is just much more lethal to the soldiers around him. This hour points out the changes that have occurred for the members of the crew who journeyed to the ice for the first time on the Terror and the Erebus. That's a list that also apparently includes Hickey. But he stands in stark opposition to everyone else because he has always been a weasel who refused to listen to his orders. He was already severely punished once for going against the well-being of the crew. And now, he continues to stoke fear in those around him. He's completely fine with killing the dog and eating it - somehow believing it to be better for him than the infected cans even though that's what the dog has been eating too. Then, things become even more chaotic and traumatic in the final beats. Hickey is part of one of the hunting parties that goes out in search of fresh food. The group then splits into halves. It's just three people wandering this vast landscape. And then, they see a group of Inuits in the distance. Irving decides to approach them by himself. It's a very smart decision because he sees them as allies in this world. Yes, there is a language barrier. But he is still able to express his intentions as well. The threat doesn't come from the Inuits or the sudden reappearance of the creature. It instead comes from Hickey as he has become murderous of his fellow soldiers. While Irving is down in the field, Hickey kills the other man in their group. Then, he kills Irving too. It's such a powerful and horrifying final sequence to watch. The murderer has been let loose and is bound to spiral even further into his mania moving forward. That spells doom immediately for the Inuits just down below as Hickey doesn't seem them as friends. He just sees them as potential threats. But it's also dangerous for the rest of the crew as they are just a few more disasters away from complete destruction.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Horrible from Supper" was written by Andres Fischer-Centeno and directed by Tim Mielants.
  • Collins is the man who approached the doctor last week about his depression right before the doctor killed himself at the carnival. Now, he has a physician willing to listen to his fears in Goodsir. And yet, that may only do so much in helping him cope with these thoughts. He has become afraid of the very job he has signed up to do. He finds himself being so absolutely terrified that tragedy will continue to hit this crew until it claims every last soul. That's a very genuine and understandable fear to have as well.
  • Crozier is fine with the crew packing completely useless items for their journey across the ice because he figures that they will be lost along the way at some point. Fitzjames points out that the first miles will be the most arduous to navigate because of the ice. But Crozier doesn't want to tell the men what they can and can't bring on this journey. It just means the ships look pretty bare in the aftermath.
  • It's so significant when Crozier writes the final entry into the captain's log as he leaves the Terror for the last time. So much of this story has taken place on these ships. The confined quarters have been just as terrifying as the outside world. There was the fear that the Terror was about to be destroyed by the ice. And yet, both ships have weathered the storm. They are still standing even though the crew must flee in order to be rescued.
  • It's very curious why Lady Silence is embarking on this journey with the rest of the crew. The only one she has a genuine connection with is Goodsir. She is willing to comfort him after he is clearly having a panic attack over his patient being killed instead of getting the proper help he needed. But it's mostly important for her to be on this journey for some reason that is coming later on in the story.
  • It's fascinating to see how far the seeds of potential mutiny are already growing. Hickey is having these talks with officers. Those men know the secrets that Crozier is keeping. They still don't reveal everything that has been kept from the crew. But it's also important to note that the close relationships between the crew allow information to flow really easily. And yet, it's also inspired to see Crozier and Fitzjames continue to lead together after starting the season at odds.