If you would like to read my review of last week’s episode, click here.
Synopsis: Hope comes in strange forms, and the question of what the men are willing to do to survive begins to be settled in both noble and horrifying ways. (IMDB)
“The C, the C, the Open C” starts off with Lady Franklin being introduced by Sir Charles Dickens to address a crowd about the disappearance of the expedition. She pleads with them to donate to a rescue mission that hopes to find the vanished crew. Back at the camp, Crozier and his loyal men deal with the aftermath of the mutiny and the Tuunbaq attack. He honours the fallen men and instructs the party to travel south in hope of survival. Crozier hopes by leaving some supplies at camp as a peace offering that some of the deserters may change sides.
Hodgson travels the barren arctic alone, starving and succumbing to the elements, when he spots Hickey and his band of mutineers. He offers the Lieutenant water and a place among them stating they have food, despite finding nothing to hunt. Hickey questions what type of meat is really in the tins as the men slowly contemplate a different source of food. A fully bearded Dr. Goodsir lets Billy know that he will slowly start to die, feeling as if knives are being pierced into all of his joints. Hickey comes in and stabs Billy in the back. Dr. Goodsir tries to pull him off, but it’s too late.
As Crozier and the crew move forward, Fitzjames falls ill thanks to an infected gunshot wound. They continue their trek, scared that the creature will attack them at from behind. At this point Fitzjames starts to scream out in agony. They set up camp and discuss the lack of provisions. Little proposes they leave the ill at the permanent camp while the strong continue on to try to find help. Fitzjames suggests they use his body for food to save the men and asks Crozier to kill him and his captain obliges. They hold a funeral for Fitzjames and bury him rather than fulfill his request.
The crew tell Crozier of the Tuunbaq and how it’s gotten close. He wants the high ground, but Mr. Blanky suggests he lead it away while the men escape. While Crozier protests at first, Mr. Blanky shows his stump has gotten infected and he knows his days are numbered. He’s able to get Crozier to laugh before the two good friends say goodbye for a final time. The men continue to press forward, but they start to fall one-by-one. Jopson notices a bird in the sky. As Mr. Blanky tries to bring the Tuunbaq away from his crew, he inadvertently stumbles upon the Northwest Passage.
Hickey’s men scout out where the captain and his party are setting up camp and decides to set up camp themselves. Hickey asks Dr. Goodsir about his track record of autopsy work and coerces him into cutting up Billy for the group to eat. He threatens Lt. Hodgson’s life if Dr. Goodsir will not do as told. He enters the tent and begins cutting up their newest form of food. The men sit around and eat while Dr. Goodsir sits in his tent alone. Lt. Hodgson visits him and reveals his selfishness and lack of courage. He wants to kill Mr. Hickey, but can’t bring himself to do it.
Tozer opens up to Mr. Hickey about seeing Mr. Collins die and contemplates the concept of a soul. He’s terrified of the Tuunbaq and wants to put distance between the two groups so the creature can hunt the captain. Some of the men question betraying Hickey and moving quicker in a smaller group, but Tozer is adamant they will make it. Crozier visits a sick Jopson and takes care of him just like he did during his alcohol withdrawal.
The next morning as the men look over the camp they are snuck up on by some of Mr. Hickey’s men. They will spare the men if the captain comes with them, but one of them gets trigger-happy and shoots Hartnell. They take their weapons as Crozier leaves Lt. Little in command. The episode ends as Mr. Bridgens, having watched his friend die by his side, walks out onto the rocks and lays down with the sun behind him.
- What does Hickey plan to do with Captain Crozier?
- Will Mr. Blanky find help on the passage?
- Where is the Tuunbaq?
- Will Dr. Goodsir cause a mutiny at Hickey’s camp?
- Can Lady Silence control the Tuunbaq?
- Will anyone survive?
Overall, this was a good episode. With the shift in dynamic that occurred at the end of last episode, the story has entered its final stretch as it is no longer man versus nature or man versus monster, but now the greatest foe of them all: man versus man. Both parties are obviously on their last legs causing tension to rise in these separate factions as survival brings selfishness out of everyone. The psychological themes of morality, life and death are explored through multiple perspectives showing the toll of these harsh conditions on what it means to be human. Hopefully these themes come to a head in a finale that looks to wrap up the mysterious disappearance of this expedition.