The Terror—Season 1

the terror season 1 poster review episode guide list
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Solid cast and good story that builds horror

Know where the story makes for difficult writing

the terror title card review episode guide list

Take a vacation to the North

The Northwest Passage is a thing of legend and a means to open the world to trade by cutting travel routes.  The HMS Terror and the HMS Erebus have been tasked to find the passage under the eyes of Captain John Franklin (Ciarán Hinds) and Captain Francis Crozier (Jared Harris).  When the crew finds themselves stranded in the ice, something begins to happen and escaping the horror might not be possible.

The Terror—Season 1 is a horror-drama anthology series and aired on AMC from March 25, 2018 to May 21, 2018.  The film is an adaptation of the 2007 historical fiction novel by Dan Simmons based on the real-life Franklin expedition which debarked on May 19, 1845 with a crew of 134 and was lost.

the terror season 1 episode 2 gore lady silence nive nielsen jared harris

Screw all of you!

I came upon the story of the Terror rather early and remember occasionally finding new information about it…including the widespread belief on what did in the crew.  When Simmons wrote his novel, I wanted to read it but never got around to it (it wasn’t a short book), but I was happy to hear when it was being adapted.  While you make “know” the story of the Terror and Erebus, the series does a good job creating a story that is both believable and horrific.

The problem with stories based on historical events is that you want to be able to tell a good story, but you also want to build the drama (and hopefully without taking away from the real-life tragedy).  Much of what is known about what happened to the crew was in hindsight since it was pieced together from evidence found over the decades, and the wreckage wasn’t found until 2014.  The series seems to tie in what it can (aka the lead poisoning, location, etc.) and then spins a story of horror, desperation, and supernatural events…don’t go into The Terror expecting a history lesson.

the terror season 1 episode 9 the c the c the open c jared harris

Men, the only thing I can see is that we’re f*!#ed

Knowing the end results, the series is heavy.  You know no matter what the people do, they aren’t going to get out of it.  Be the lack of food, the lead in the food, infighting, or the beast pursuing them, death is coming.  This can be a hard sell for an audience, the series does a good job keeping hope alive despite the situation…in many ways it goes for “personal victories” for the characters rather than actual victories…a moral win is about all you get in The Terror.

The casting is great.  While Ciarán Hinds was kind of the showcase for the series (on advertisements etc.), he bows out rather early…and spectacularly.  Go to dramatic series actor Jared Harris plays a great captain and fills the hole left by Hinds easily.  The rest of the cast is good (especially the evil Hickey played by Adam Nagaitis), but it does suffer from “generic white guy” syndrome in that it is hard to get a handle on the characters for the first few episodes.

the terror season 1 episode 10 we are gone cornelius hickey adam nagaitis

Hickey’s impromptu version of Jesus Christ Superstar goes awry…

The series also shows you the starkness of the land.  While you might assume the series simply is ice and icebergs, the characters cross plains of rocks and uneven terrain while trying to haul boats and provisions.  Largely shot on the island of Pag in Croatia, the bleakness ties into the characters ever waning will to live…and even if there is any way to make it.

The Terror is a solid TV series which has you hoping for a miracle and largely not getting one.  The situation in the series is so grim that even if the characters had found help or an escape route, they were mentally and physically destroyed to a point of no recovery.  It is a long dark path to doom.  The Terror returned for The Terror—Season 2:  Infamy which was set in a Japanese World War II internment camp.

The Terror—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

the terror season 1 episode 1 go for broke john franklin ciaran hinds

“Go for Broke”

1.1       Go for Broke Airdate:  03/25/18

The HMS Terror and HMS Erebus have been tasked to find the Northwest Passage in September of 1846.  Under the watch of Captain Francis Crozier (Jared Harris) and Captain John Franklin (Ciarán Hinds), the ships begin to face trouble in the ice…and something unearthly almost begins to happen as the cold sets in.

the terror season 1 episode 2 gore jared harris ice captain francis crozier


1.2       Gore Airdate:  03/26/18

The Erebus and Terror have spent months trapped in the ice, and winter does not appear to be letting up.  Franklin tries to mend his differences with Crozier.  Expedition teams head out on the ice to search for a way out but a dangerous predator could be pursuing them.  A mistake by a party leads to death, and the potential of more horror.

the terror season 1 episode 3 the ladder captain franklin killed ciaran hinds

“The Ladder”

1.3       The Ladder Airdate:  04/02/18

Lady Silence (Nive Nielsen) is released by the crew but fears that her and her people might return for vengeance begin circulating among the crews.  Franklin and Crozier butt heads about the future of the mission and Crozier’s desire to send a crew to search for help to the south.  An attempt to kill the creature leads to more death and a change of power.

the terror season 1 episode 4 punished as a boy lady silence nive nielsen

“Punished, as a Boy”

1.4       Punished, as a Boy Airdate:  04/09/18

The deaths around the Erebus and Terror continue leading Cornelius Hickey (Adam Nagaitis) to make an unauthorized attempt to locate the Lady Silence.  With danger in the ice growing, the Terror might have to be sacrificed, but Dr. Harry Goodsir (Paul Ready) begins to worry that something else is happening with the men.

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“First Shot a Winner, Lads”

1.5       First Shot a Winner, Lads Airdate:  04/16/18

With continued attacks by the unknown creature and mounting illnesses, Crozier dives deeper into the bottle forcing a confrontation with the crew of the Erebus over their supplies.  Attempts to communicate with Lady Silence reveals the name of Tuunbaq as the beast and attack could prove deadly for Thomas Blanky (Ian Hart).

the terror season 1 episode 6 a mercy fire suicide alistair petrie

“A Mercy”

1.6       A Mercy Airdate:  04/10/18

As freedom from the ice grows dim, a plan to traverse the ice by foot is floated by Commander James Fitzjames (Tobias Menzies), and attempts to cheer the men lead to a carnival to celebrate the last day without sun.  Crozier fights his alcoholism and tries to break free from the desire.  Goodsir’s suspicion about the tins used for food storage proves dangerous for the whole crew as Dr. Stephen Stanley (Alistair Petrie) sets to right the wrongs.

the terror season 1 episode 7 horrible from supper hickey murderer adam nagaitis

“Horrible from Supper”

1.7       Horrible from Supper Airdate:  04/30/18

After the death at the carnival, an emergency envoy is selected to try to go for help at Fort Resolution…but the discovery of the previous party of survivors proves the danger of Tuunbaq might not be over.  Word of the lead poisoning from the tins begins to reach the soldiers as finding fresh meat becomes a priority.  The hope of rescue with an encounter between Lieutenant John Irving (Ronan Raftery) and a hunting party of Netsilik is quickly dashed.

the terror season 1 episode 8 terror camp clear hickey hanging jared harris

“Terror Camp Clear”

1.8       Terror Camp Clear Airdate:  05/07/18

Hickey has returned to camp after his betrayal and continues to sow seeds of dissent among the men.  Crozier suspects Hickey isn’t telling the truth about the deaths and must determine what to do about the situation.  The Tuunbaq returns, but the men don’t plan to give up without a fight.

the terror season 1 episode 9 the c the c the open c blanky ian hart

“The C, the C, the Open C”

1.9       The C, the C, the Open C Airdate:  04/14/18

In England, a new push develops to find the crew of the Terror and the Erebus.  Hickey has his own camp now and forces Goodsir to join his plans to feed the camp.  The lead poisoning among Crozier’s men begins to take its toll, and it could mean a turning point for Fitzjames.  As the Tuunbaq continues to hunt, Blanky plans a sacrifice but might find what they’ve been searching for all along.

the terror season 1 episode 10 we are gone vs tuunbaq monster

“We Are Gone”

1.10     We Are Gone Airdate:  05/21/18

Trapped at Hickey’s camp, Captain Crozier finds how Hickey and his men are surviving and an ally in Goodsir.  Hickey reveals his own secret as he prepares to hunt the beast that is hunting them…but the Tuunbaq is hungry, and Goodsir has a plan that could end the plight of men of the Terror forever.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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