“Horrible from Supper” is the seventh episode of the TV show “The Terror”, an adapatation of a novel by Dan Simmons with the same title, and follows “A Mercy“.
Note. This article contains spoilers about “Horrible from Supper”.
In April 1848 the survivors of Franklin’s expedition abandon the ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to walk to safety. Captain Francis Crozier (Jared Harris) is persuaded by Dr. Henry Goodsir (Paul Ready) that canned food is poisoning men and as soon as possible sends small teams hunting for possible arctic animals.
“Horrible from Supper” shows how “The Terror” could be a pure historical drama, without the need for a supernatural element. It’s not a complaint, just a statement on a show that adapted a novel that’s in part supernatural horror. If spring brought light and the cold is no longer so deadly, hunger starts becoming a crucial factor.
The problem with food is the perfect example of how the story was built in “The Terror”. From the hints in the first episodes to Dr. Henry Goodsir’s investigation with the dramatic developments of the previous episode, “A Mercy”, which become even worse. The effects of lead poisoning start manifesting in some crew members leaving poor Goodsir really shaken up.
Captain Francis Crozier must make very difficult decisions and in this case the strength of the show’s characters emerges. In particular, the protagonists showed complex personalities and their relationships have gone through various phases that were developed in a manner consistent with events and circumstances. His right-hand man, James Fitzjames (Tobias Menzies), is by his side showing that the two men are now working for a common cause, putting behind them the disagreements they had in the first phase of the expedition.
There are also developments about Cornelius Hickey (Adam Nagaitis), with some flashbacks that suggests that he’s not what it seems. Who really is this man? He makes you think that the character we know was fleeing and now to save his life is plotting with some other crew members.
For some time Hickey has been even planning a possible mutiny and that’s not even the most horrible part of his survival plans. In the end, in “Horrible from Supper” the dangers don’t come from the environment nor from the Tuunbaq creature but from the men themselves.
The paradox is that somehow the survivors of the ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror finally have a hope of returning home and at the same time their situation has degenerated even more. In some ways, the real horror is just beginning.