The Terror – Gore

Captain Francis Crozier (Jared Harris) in Gore (Image courtesy AMC Studios / Amazon. All rights reserved)
Captain Francis Crozier (Jared Harris) in Gore (Image courtesy AMC Studios / Amazon. All rights reserved)

“Gore” is the second episode of the TV show “The Terror”, an adapatation of a novel by Dan Simmons with the same title, and follows “Go for Broke“.

Note. This article contains spoilers about “Gore”.

The crews of the British ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror spent a winter stuck in the Arctic ice. When the good weather arrives, Captain John Franklin (Ciarán Hinds) sends scouting teams in hopes of finding ice-free waters. One of the teams meets something else.

To launch the TV show “The Terror”, AMC broadcast the first two episodes in two consecutive nights. This allowed the audience to immediately see the beginning of the important part of the plot at the end of the winter spent by members of Franklin’s expedition in the Arctic ice.

Even more than than in the first episode, in “Gore” there’s the perception of the expedition’s precarious situation. On board the ships, the steam engines are used as heating systems but all around there’s only ice and the spectators can almost physically feel the Arctic cold.

The perception of other possible dangers has also increased. There’s a first reference to the rotten food by the officer who commanded one of the teams and this is linked to one of the theories concerning the causes of the tragedy that struck the expedition. At the time, the technology to produce canned food was far from perfect with the result that a tin can could be not perfectly sealed causing the food within it to rot.

A further danger is introduced when one of the teams is attacked by what looks like a giant polar bear. In this initial part the historical reconstruction was almost exclusive, leaving almost nothing to the horror element of Dan Simmons’ novel but the creature was not seen in detail.

From this point of view the sense of threat is more than anything reported by the Inuit woman met by the team in an incident in which her father is killed by mistake. In essence, in these first two episodes the dangers are those that an expedition with resources available in the mid-19th century could meet in the Arctic ice.

The tension derives only minimally from violent moments but above all from the constant sense of danger. At least for now this is not an action story and the pace tends to be slow. This also allows the development of the characters: the conversations between Captain John Franklin and Captain Francis Crozier (Jared Harris) show various traits of their personalities through their differences. Slowly other important characters also start being developed.

My impression is positive again, with a high level production and actors who are revealing their characters through nuances of their face and voice expressions. For the moment probably fans of historical dramas are the most satisfied compared to fantasy and horror fans but for now it’s worth watching “The Terror” regardless of genre labels.

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