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Nightmare Fuel / The Terror

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The Terror might be named for the titular ship, but it certainly lives up to its Double Meaning in every episode.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

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The book:

  • In an inverted case of The Darkness Gazes Back, as Sir John is waiting in the blind to ambush the Tuunbaq, he notices two black objects in the snow. As he watches, they blink — Sir John realizes it's the eyes of the creature that has been watching them the whole time.
  • Crozier returns to Terror to find the vessel deserted several hundred miles south of where it had been initially abandoned, seemingly having been re-manned before being deserted again. Inside he finds the mummified corpse of someone, or something, described as displaying rodent-like teeth, laying in the bunk of Crozier's former cabin, which had been battened from the outside as if to keep it from escaping. Then, as he's collecting matches from his desk, Crozier hears movement coming from the direction of the bunk and doesn't dare turn around to see what it is. He promptly covers Terror in gunpowder and sets the ship ablaze to eradicate whatever now inhabits it. We are never told what happened to the skeleton crew or just what the hell Crozier found in that cabin. We're just left with the implication that something worse than the Tuunbaq invaded the ship and either killed the crew or forced them to take their chances in the frozen wilderness outside.
    • Even creepier, the rat-toothed corpse is based on a Real story!

The series:
    Go for Broke 
  • The underwater sequence, in which Henry Collins is lowered down in an early diving suit to clear the ice from the Erebus's propellor, is built on Nothing Is Scarier. The way the endless ocean is framed to all sides is chilling enough, coupled with Collins' visible fear and the established risk that his suit might malfunction and collapse at any time. But nothing happens, and he successfully clears the propellor... at which point the corpse of a crewman lost at sea floats up behind him.
    • And the scene is even more frightening given the body of the lost crewman is not shown with a Jump Scare, suddenly appearing, but floats almost ghostlike, suspended in the water towards the terrified Collins, who screams to be pulled up as he sees the body suspended.
  • As David Young slowly succumbs to his as-yet unidentified illness, he starts to stare in horror at the corner of the room as he lays helplessly in bed. The camera slowly zooms in on him, holding off on showing what he sees, before suddenly cutting to reveal that there's a ghostly near-naked man (apparently the specter of an indigenous shaman) standing silently in the corner, wearing a strange mask that makes his head look like a distorted swirl.
    • The worst part? Even after the Netsilik people begin to play a role and the supernatural elements come into focus, this scene is never properly explained.
      • The shaman was trying to warn them, trying to get them to stay away because of the horror they would face if they continued onward.
  • After making the decision to sail west instead of east around King William Land, Sir John steps onto the deck and notices that his worst fears have come true; they are now trapped deep in the ice (which was what they were trying to avoid in the first place) and are stuck spending another winter in the Arctic. The look on Sir John's face as he overlooks the great expanse of white ice and snow that stretches as far as the eye can see sells it. Doubly so if you remember that his last Arctic expedition resulted in him losing half his men. He knows the odds of them making it out alive are dwindling.

  • The first appearance of the Tuunbaq lets you know what to expect going forward. After traipsing across the ice for a long time, Lt. Gore's party glimpse the silhouettes of two people in the distance and hear the growl of a huge predator nearby, but when they attempt to shoot the unseen creature, they accidentally hit one of the distant Netsilik tribesmen. In the rush to save his life, Gore fails to notice the shadow of an enormous bear padding up behind him, which proceeds to make good on his surname.

    The Ladder 
  • The hunting party led by Sir John to kill the Tuunbaq, which he believes at this point to be a simple polar bear. The viewer knows they're hopelessly outmatched, but the men casually spend time out in the open for a photo and then hole up in a hunting blind, waiting for the beast to take their bait. It's so tense that the Tuunbaq caving in the blind's roof and slaughtering the party almost comes as a relief, but it leads to...
  • Sir John's utterly horrific death. He stumbles frantically across the ice in hope of survival and just barely catches a glimpse of the ships, only to be caught by the Tuunbaq, which tears his leg off, then throws him headfirst into the fire hole in the ice. He lands on the coal bucket used to keep the hole open, and we can hear flesh and cloth sizzling as it starts to burn him. Then the rope gives way, and he plummets into the freezing water below.
    • To make matters worse, we see all of this from up close in Sir John's point of view. With the Tuunbaq just offscreen and mostly unseen, all we get is a dizzying view of John's expression slowly changing into one of absolute horror and agony, interrupted by scattered flashes of his memories of London.


    Punished, as a Boy 
  • The Tuunbaq may be a monster, but It Can Think, and it's apparently not without a sense of showmanship: late in the episode, it goes so far as to stack the halves of two men it's ripped apart on the ship's deck to simulate a single living person.
    • And just before that, Hickey turns around, with no one there. Two seconds later he turns back, and there is the person in question. And just after that, he sees the Tuunbaq itself, staring back at him before it lumbers off. He'd have never known it was there until it was too late.
  • The titular punishment, especially set against the knowledge that it was a light one. During the time period, serious offenses like Hickey's could easily earn one over 100 lashes.
  • Then there's what happens earlier on. Crozier and Jopson are brought to the main deck by a scream and several gunshots, to find Pvt. Heather seemingly comatose, with the entire top half of his skull ripped off like tissue paper, giving us a close up of his brains. Not only that, but a crewman comes running with the news that it's made off with William Strong. Little points out that it likely wants them to follow it, but Crozier sends out parties in all directions in search of him. When Crozier takes ship's boy Thomas Evans with him, he leaves him for a moment, having located Strong's corpse. Then, Evans screams, bringing Crozier running. He comes back to find Evan's dropped lantern, and a spattering of blood.

    First Shot a Winner, Lads 
  • The effects of the extreme cold really start to take effect in this episode: one poor lad gets his frostbitten toes snipped off, another puts his bare hand on a cannon and pulls it away with most of the skin on his palm gone, and there's even reference to teeth exploding.
  • The protracted scene with the sailor who is too afraid to drag his comrades' corpses into the hold's "dead room", because he claims he can hear the bodies shuffling around inside. Hickey enters the room without issue and nothing ever comes of it again, but it's still nerve-wracking to contemplate.
  • The first clear, good look we get at the Tuunbaq as it pursues Blanky up the mast; it's a grotesque beast with an elongated neck, forelegs ending in strangely shaped paws, and a face that's somewhere between a traditional polar bear and a snarling demon with very human features. And a direct shot from a cannonball just pisses it off and temporarily drives it away.

    A Mercy 
  • At the beginning of the episode, Fitzjames asks Blanky to tell him about how Sir John Ross's expedition survived being trapped in the Arctic. Blanky describes how the crew started to turn on each other after their arduous 300-mile sledge journey to Fury Beach. Their ordeal was only made worse by John Ross's high-handed treatment of his men, which caused some of them to start entertaining some disturbing plans. Blanky is eerily calm about the whole thing.
    Blanky: And once it's past all hope, the mind goes ... unnatural, with thoughts.
    Fitzjames: What kind of thoughts?
    Blanky: Like splitting open Sir John Ross's head with a boat axe.
    • Fitzjames' expression after Blanky says this is some combination of Oh, Crap! and disbelief that Blanky of all people was contemplating cold-blooded murder.
  • The end result of Dr. Stanley's Sanity Slippage. After Goodsir informs him that the entire food supply is contaminated with lead, he sets the carnival tent and himself on fire in what's heavily implied to be a despairing attempt to Mercy Kill the crew, all while wearing a collar and white makeup that makes him look like a ghostly clown. Better yet, there is a close-up shot of his agonized face as he's burning to death.
  • All of Carnival, really. From several shots of men screaming in agony as they burn to death to Heather's comatose corpse slipping from his friend's desperate grip and being crushed to death by the crowd . . . it's a horror show from start to finish. If the beginning of the Carnival stood for a reminder of home and civilization, the end of it was a savage reminder that the men aren't home, and that this world was intent on killing them in one way if not another.
  • Hickey accidentally stabbing Dr. Macdonald - one of the nicest and kindest characters we've seen so far, possibly only second to Goodsir - while trying to free the men. The one genuinely kind, altruistic gesture Hickey displays, and it results in him killing someone. It's clear that Hickey is genuinely horrified by it, as it was an honest-to-god accident.

    Horrible from Supper 
  • During Irving's Hope Spot when a kind Netsilik party offers him seal meat and potential aid, Hickey can be seen leading Farr out of sight in the background. Then, when Irving stumbles back to his comrades with the news, he finds Hickey silently crouched over Farr's body; upon approach, Hickey jumps up, shirtless and demented, and viciously stabs Irving over and over again until he falls, whereupon he clamps Irving's mouth shut and casually waits for him to expire before seemingly doing a strange dance around the body.

    Terror Camp Clear 
  • The Tuunbaq returns from its debilitating injury by attacking the camp outright, in a way it hasn't before. Usually it sneaks around and takes its time, but this time, it charges headlong into camp and just starts gruesomely tearing people apart in plain view. And when it takes down Collins, a disturbing new fact is revealed: the Tuunbaq seemingly eats its victims' souls.
  • The way its attack on the camp is introduced. Collins, high as a kite and Laughing Mad, stumbles out of the fog, then, an all-too-familiar roar is heard, and the whole crew, save Hickey, panics as the Tuunbaq charges out of the fog and begins tearing apart every sailor it can find in a gruesome rampage, the whole scene turning into a confused panic of shouts and screams. In previous episodes, it had been almost toying with the crew in the past. Now, thanks to Hickey's murder of the Netsilik family, it's PISSED and clearly out for revenge.
  • There's also how quickly it rips its way through the crew. It started out with over a hundred men alive and running about, and in a matter of minutes, the perimeter of Terror Camp is littered with the dead and dying, with only a handful of men still clearly alive, cowering behind boats. Many of the dead were barely inches apart from each other, which speaks volumes of how rapidly the Tuunbaq must have shredded them. If it hadn't been for Fitzjames and the rockets, it would likely have killed them all.

    The C, the C, the Open C 
  • After teasing it several times, Hickey finally forces his mutineers to indulge in cannibalism, coldly killing Gibson and forcing a captive Goodsir to prepare the body for consumption. Hickey even seems to be enjoying it.
  • Captain Fitzjames' death. In marked contrast to Franklin's immediate and brutal demise, he simply succumbs to scurvy and sepsis over the course of days, bleeding from his facial orifices and his old bullet wound, his handsome features turning sallow and brittle until he's unable to even move. Crozier ends up having to administer poison to help him along.
  • In the opening of the episode, we see the aftermath of the Tuunbaq's attack, and it's not pretty. Blood spattered tents, wreckage of equipment strewn about, and we get a lovely close up of the carpenter's head, with everything above the jaw squashed flat.

    We Are Gone 
  • Jopson hears fading voices outside the tent. He looks out, to see the expedition leaving, a few cans of food stacked outside the sick men's tents. It is horrifically evident: they are leaving them there to die. And Jopson (and the other dying men) can do nothing about it.
  • Goodsir commits suicide by poisoning himself, but slashes his wrists to hide the poison. He does this as revenge against Hickey, who he knows will eat his body after he dies. Later, his naked, partially consumed body is laid out on a table by Hickey's people like a banquet. And then Crozier is forced to join in eating him.
    • Even the earlier foreshadowing of this is gruesome. Goodsir tells Crozier that when, not if, Goodsir's body is eaten, Crozier must only eat the sole of the foot, "the toughest skin." He knows Hickey will force Crozier to partake, and is warning him to eat the part least contaminated by the poison he's planning to ingest. Crozier is visibly disturbed, but when Hickey does use threats to make him eat, he follows Goodsir's instructions.
  • The last of Hickey's crew is graphically slaughtered by the Tuunbaq in a truly stomach-churning sequence. Hickey himself saws his own tongue off and offers it to the Tuunbaq, thinking that doing so will make him its master. Instead, the beast effortlessly rips him in half, and the upper half of his body can be seen twitching and grunting afterwards.
  • Sole Survivor Crozier comes across Little's crew later on. All of them are dead, and it's clear that they engaged in cannibalism before their deaths. Little himself is barely alive when Crozier finds him. He has gold chains sewn into his skin, and mutters "close" to Crozier before he also dies. His appearance is not explained.
    • It's also worth noting that this wasn't just some creepy imagery made up for the show: one of the crew's bodies was allegedly found in that state.
    • "close" is a call back to Episode 1 Go For Broke where Crozier explains to Jopson that close is the worst thing in the world for an explorer to be. Worse, the real life inspiration for Little's final camp is a place called Starvation Cove, which is only 100 km from the mouth of the Back River. Like Little's group, the last of Franklin's men expired close to their destination. But, as Crozier noted, in the context of exploration close might as well be All for Nothing.
    • Doubles as a Tear Jerker, for Crozier the last of his men have died. All their suffering and efforts were All for Nothing. For Crozier, he feels as though he has utterly failed as a captain, and failed to keep his word to get them home. Formerly well groomed, disciplined and motivated men were reduced to cannibalism and unlike Hickey and his mutineers it was a I Did What I Had to Do moment and if Little's appearance is anything to go by, engaging in the act of cannibalism, they were utterly ashamed.