The Terror Season 1 Recap: ‘Gore’


[Editor’s Note: Before we say anything, this recap will obviously go into detail about last night’s episode of The Terror, so there are going to be a ton of SPOILERS. Beginning now.]

Episode two of AMC’s The Terror premiered back-to-back as part of a 2-hour premiere. Yes, episode 2, titled Gore, picks up right where we left off–sort of. It’s 8 months later. Thank you for sparing us 8 months of two boatloads of men stuck in wooden boats with low moral and limited supplies. 

But, they are still in the arctic. They are still stranded. And boy, oh boy, do we get more tension immediately. The Terror does not lack for feelings of what the hell is happening now. I prefer to watch with the lights on.

As we expected, the crews of both the Terror and Erebus are still stranded in the ice pack of the arctic, still mid-mission to find a northern passage that would, presumably bring some benefit to the British empire other than sailors with rock-hard and frost-bitten nipples.

By skipping 8 months of tedium, we’re able to bypass the ‘winter’ season when, presumably, the men wouldn’t be able to do anything. With the arrival of the relative concept of summer, Captain Franklin sends scouting parties off in multiple directions.

While it’s novel, and no doubt accurate to portray teams of men pulling launches (boats) behind them, filled to the brim with supplies, it was also amazingly comical to see them become human sleigh dogs. Surprisingly, no one yelled mush.

Gore‘s action is dominated by the team heading out the west, towards where the presume to find mainland America. The team finds it, but in the meantime is beset upon by cannonball sized hail, Eskimos trying to sell them girl scout cookies, and bears! Polar bears! With hail, Eskimos, and bears in the mix, shit goes predictably wrong.

In point of fact, our intrepid Westside explorers shoot one of the two Eskimos, thinking him a bear. A common mistake. While recovering from this shock, the bear, or one of the bears (they’re not sure how many have teamed up to make them into man-sausage) attacks and seems to kill one of their fellows.

When they return to the ship, to loud cheers, it’s evident that something is wrong as they appear on the horizon at a dead run, still dragging their massive boat sled behind them. They never found their eaten comrade’s body, and they believe they’re being hunted by bears still, oh and then there’s that man they shot who needs medical attention.

The surgeon (not a doctor) tries to save the man, but to no avail. There’s some weird, oddly constructed dialogue between the native man and his daughter (the other Eskimo) regarding not being able to control something, and, the doom of all white men in the vessels if they don’t go immediately.

My paraphrasing aside, the episode hints at a great many dangers and lurking unknowns to pile onto the woe-begotten sailors already full plates. Cannonball size hail!

At the same time, the episode alludes to merry moments when the men find breaks from the arctic tedium whether it be playing soccer on the ice, or finding a romantic moment for two in hidden away in the bowels of the ship. Yes, there’s duel meaning there.

Meanwhile, aside from being proven right regarding the danger of pursuing their course into the winter months, Captain Crozier also proves to understand native dialogues. He is distancing himself as the authority on the situation and increasing his own value to the survival of all present. We’ll see how this plays out, and how the strained relationship between the two captains evolves as well. Surely, with so many men trapped in a dire situation like this, men, regardless of other dangers, will come to blows with men. It’s bound to happen, and probably in the most inconvenient of times.

Mostly, Gore continues to build suspense and hint at more terror to come. It’s, again, very well done, and pacing plays no role as a viewer can easily become adrift and then frozen in the narrative, waking from the dream only when the credits role and break the spell.

Still stoked. Episode 9/10.