“Horrible From Supper” on “The Terror”

Smelling human flesh burning in the fire which had taken down the carnival in the previous episode, a starving and troubled crewman confesses to ship’s surgeon Goodsir that it smelled good.  “My nose and my stomach, they don’t know horrible from supper.  But I do!,” he agonizes.  This exchange explains the episode’s title, one in which the men of the doomed Franklin Expedition begin to have more to fear from themselves than from the supernatural.  As a Walt Kelly character from the comic strip Pogo once remarked, “We have met the enemy, and he is us!” While the Tuunbaq  monster does not make an appearance, his handiwork is seen in the form of the decapitated heads of the advance expedition sent out in episode 2 for civilization from the becalmed ships…poor devils didn’t make it further than 18 miles away before having their heads handed to them, quite literally.

Abandoning the ice-locked Erebus and Terror ships, the crew drags supplies and rowboats on sledges over the frozen terrain, with their badly canned food proving over half rancid and 100% lead-tainted.  The effects of the lead poisoning are becoming increasingly visible, with acts of violent madness emerging to layer onto the on-going grinding hardships that are inexorably wearing down the British seamen, geared now for physical survival rather than adventurous discovery.  This is “misery porn,” and the worst lies yet ahead.  

We are given glimpses of that grim future in the deteriorating mental health of a number of the crew who are beginning to turn from their fellow mates to acts of rebellion and even murder against them.  With the captain’s dog being surreptitiously harvested as food and an officer initiating first contact with an Inuit group brutally slain by the mutinous (and now mad) Cornelius Hickey, it’s time to start your countdown to cannibalism clocks ticking…

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3 Comments on ““Horrible From Supper” on “The Terror””

  1. carycomic Says:

    The first time I heard about cannibalism was in that old Bugs Bunny cartoon where the tall, skinny guy and the short, chubby guy get marooned on a South Seas island with him. After fruitlessly trying to get him in a mysteriously convenient cooking pot for the first six minutes (of the 7-minute running time), Bugs gets away…by sailing away on a luxury ocean liner that swings by for about two seconds!

    After which, the two remaining castaways symbolically start seeing each other as a hot dog and hamburger, respectively.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. vulpesffb Says:

    I remember that cartoon! And why do cannibals in such cartoons always cook someone in a huge cooking pot? Where do they get/produce them in a primitive society? Wouldn’t roasting of the victim be far easier and tastier? And why are cannibals always depicted with bones through their noses? Such stereotyping! Don’t we need to acknowledge modern cannibals, like Hannibal Lecter?


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