As the journey of the Franklin Expedition comes to an end, it’s time for hard truths. Goodsir is already ready to face them. He still sees a wonder in the land, he’s willing to believe that Silence is still safe, but he no longer believes that he will be.
He tells the now-captive Crozier that if he is forced to eat Goodsir, he should eat only his feet. Crozier, who’s been the biggest cynic, clearly doesn’t think this will come to pass. But Goodsir’s seen enough to know.
Crozier even thinks a rescue will come, but the men he left behind have voted against this plan. They have to look out for themselves now. Crozier told them to, when he told them to keep moving south.
Goodsir is found dead, having cut his wrists with glass. Of course, Hickey’s camp doesn’t know what we know–that Goodsir filled himself with poison before he picked up the glass. He slathered his skin with it, too, for good measure.
So when the men eat him, it’s not going to turn out well for them. Crozier, of course, refuses, but when he’s threatened into it, he does as Goodsir told him to and takes a tiny bite of the foot.
Hickey is so high on himself and his power at this point that he’s not noticing things he once would, like why Crozier eats only the foot or why Goodsir is dead. He actually seems to believe that Goodsir committed suicide there at the camp as a gift to the other men. He may have done it as a gift, but it wasn’t for Hickey.
Hickey has his own plans, of course. He has the men chained together to a boat. This is how high on the power he is–he’s luring Tuunbaq to them in a sad attempt to gain some of the beast’s power. It reminds me of The Alienist–the killer imitating the native behavior he saw with no regard for its context. Or an Instagram “model” who thinks a war bonnet is just a cute accessory. The point is, context matters.
While they’re waiting for Tuunbaq to appear, Hickey tells them his supposed plan–they’re going to slaughter the beast, who has meat and fur, what they need. He also tells them all about how he killed the real Hickey to take his place on the Expedition. After they made it through the Passage, they were going to rest in Hawaii, where he planned to ditch them all. But things didn’t work out that way, as we know.
As he’s yelling the words to “God Save the Queen,” everyone’s favorite little devil finally shows up. And although Hickey still doesn’t understand what Tuunbaq is, he knows one thing: “Our empire is not the only empire.”
Some of the men are trying to set themselves up for defense, but their defense is not exactly strong, as other men are puking out their guts. (Thanks, Mr. Goodsir.) Mr. Diggle runs in fear and is eaten for his troubles. Tozer and Crozier try to free themselves from the chain as Hickey…cuts out his own tongue.
Crozier is being drawn ever closer to Tuunbaq, as he’s still hooked up to men that Tuunbaq has swallowed. As he frantically tries to unshackle his wrist, Hickey presents his own tongue to the beast. Tuunbaq smells his hand, chomps down on his arm, and then rips Hickey into two pieces. Told ya context matters, you goblin. Tuunbaq then dies, choking on the chain and a half of Hickey. Crozier takes a well-deserved rest.
Lady Silence comes upon the scene. After pouring water into Tuunbaq’s mouth, she tries to free an unconscious Crozier. When she can’t, she just cuts off his hand. Hey, she’s a lady of action. She’s also a lady of feelings, so when she drags him past the Hickey camp and sees Goodsir’s body, she takes a moment to be in her feelings. But only a moment.
After she nurses him back to health, she takes him to see what’s happened to his men. They’re all gone, either literally or dead. Then she leaves him at a Netsilik camp, where the man we saw in the first episode ( Johnny Issaluk) explains that Crozier will stay with them during the winter and then he can go where he wants in the spring. Silna, Lady Silence’s real name, is not there. She has to be alone now for a while, after Tuunbaq’s death.
Two years later, Crozier is told that white men are coming. It’s the same men we saw in the first episode and we find out that Crozier, or Aglooka, as he’s now known, really did leave that message for them.
Tell those who come after us not to stay.
The ships are gone.
There is no way through.
Tell them we are gone.
Dead and gone.
And so the men move on. And Crozier, now Aglooka, goes back to hunting seal, a Netsilik child curled up beside him. This is his life now.
10/10 – What an excellent end to an excellent series. (They may do an anthology here, but I believe the Franklin story is over.) From the beginning, the show has beautifully shot and beautifully written. There were some staggeringly gorgeous images in this episode alone, including that fever dream scene where Jopson crawls over a table of food just to get to Crozier. Or the last image, of Crozier on the ice. And as I mention the characters, I must, of course, mention the acting–how fully realized it all was. As Crozier, Jared Harris had so much to do and he did it all. But that’s not to say that this show wasn’t positively packed with talent. It was and we’re all the luckier for it.