The Terror: The Ladder
April 2, 2018 7:12 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

With something stalking the ships, the expedition's commanders debate their dwindling options.
posted by Countess Elena (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Really enjoyed this one. The monkey is somehow even more doomed than everyone else. Why did seamen like to keep monkeys and parrots, when those are some of the hardest pets to keep?

Adam Nagaitis is great as Hickey. He's delicately handsome and a horrible little man all at once.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:17 PM on April 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

Oh, so it turns out I really don't remember the book, because Franklin's death came as a complete surprise.

They're gonna end up eating the monkey, aren't they? There's already the foreshadowing of the canned food going bad.

Was Hickey shitting on Gibson's bed during the funeral scene? It certainly looked like that was what the show wanted us to think.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:27 PM on April 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Sean T. Collins, AV Club: The Terror digs deep into death in its stunning third episode
Many, and perhaps most, prestige television shows traffic in death. Name your top five dramas right now and chances are good the majority are about people who kill other people for a living, or at the very least on a pro-am basis. Yet for all their fixation on mortality, violent or otherwise, few shows bother attempting to answer the unanswerable question of what death feels like. [...]

Which makes “The Ladder,” The Terror’s horrific third episode, one of the year’s most impressive hours of television. Climaxing with the surprise death of a major character—a shock tactic you’ve almost come to expect from high-profile dramas—it takes the opportunity to root the viewer in the experience of dying, and dying horribly. Using dizzying camerawork, surreal editing, brutal gore, and a simple but staggering performance by Ciarán Hinds, the episode makes the killing of Sir John Franklin a real voyage into the unknown: the mind of a man who suddenly finds himself in the grips of panic and pain from which there will be no return.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:44 PM on April 4, 2018 [8 favorites]

I think this is easily the best show that has been on telly for a good few years. Which is high praise, because the last few years have had some excellent television.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:43 PM on April 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

Kyle, yep, that scene was a staggering ten seconds of TV.

Also, I do believe Hickey was shitting on Gibson's bed. I really don't like that character, and was pleased by what happens to him in episode 4.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:46 PM on April 5, 2018

Points for the ribbon-bow around the knob of Mance Caesar's femur, presumably by Goodsir. Really tied the whole leg together.

Nothing in TV history has been doomeder than that monkey. I'm considering it the protagonist.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:11 PM on April 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Why did seamen like to keep monkeys and parrots, when those are some of the hardest pets to keep?

Well, they're also the most entertaining, I reckon, and there's no Netflix out on the ice.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:09 AM on April 10, 2018

This is astonishingly good stuff! It looks magnificent and somehow manages to convey the sensation of sheer killing cold. For some reason I am fascinated by stories of Englishmen perishing horribly in icy wastes - the perfect epitome of Brian Aldiss's "hubris clobbered by nemesis". And of Irishmen (Shackleton) surviving in similar icy wastes by sheer badassery.

Incidentally, Why did seamen like to keep monkeys and parrots, when those are some of the hardest pets to keep?
My late father ran away with his brother to join the Royal Navy in 1936, when he was 14, and in those days, the navy was pretty similar to that depicted here. They had done away with the lash by then, but according to him, sodomy and rum (1/8 of a pint over-proof rum a day) were still popular. And he had a monkey, called Gertie, who he had bought in a market somewhere in west Africa while drunk (my father, not the monkey). I think drink may explain why many sailors had these exotic pets. Officers often brought their dogs with them, and at least one ship's cat was required to keep the rats down, but some of the ratings picked up any exotic organism that took their fancy. Poor Gertie used to sleep with my dad in his hammock (they still had those too), and survived being rolled up in the bedding when the hammock was stowed away twice, but suffocated on the third time. All this was done away with in the 70s, when the RN stopped being fun.
posted by Fuchsoid at 8:10 PM on April 19, 2018 [7 favorites]

Ok, I totally didn't expect the "ambush."

That whole "(I'm) not going to be your friend, (you're) not going to be a relation to me, the Admiralty put me senior to you" - holy hells! I could not imagine doing that to someone without expecting them to stab me - in the front, back, sideways, whatever.

Also found it curious that the ship was supposed to be supplied for "3 years" - the subplot about how the preserves/canned goods going bad is kind of interesting. I guess the very cold temperatures help, but vitamins degrade during the canning process. How many limes/ elderberries do these ships stock?

The Tropicana orange juice I buy from the grocery store is "best by*" at most 3 months.

*yes, "best by" has more to do with liability and palatibility and less to do with actual spoilage (but they do correespond sometimes to coincidence).
posted by porpoise at 9:25 PM on April 20, 2018

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