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  1. S01.E03: The Ladder

    Oh, he is doomed...so doomed, yet, the man crush exists.
  2. S01.E04: Punished, as a Boy

    Thank you very much! I completely agree - the flogging scene is profound, but I think the enormity of what it means may be clearer after a few more episodes. I think a line has certainly been drawn between Crozier and Hickey. Another irony is in episode 2, when Crozier serves Hickey a drink, he congratulates Hickey for living his life through blending in as opposed to living in opposition. It seems their styles of facing adversity will be dramatically put to the test!
  3. S01.E04: Punished, as a Boy

    It was a pouch with tobacco. Presumably from his lover, perhaps out of sympathy towards his condition. I think the meaning is that a man’s brain physically looks like pudding (the stern doctor who seems to be increasingly delirious and losing his own humanity), whereas Goodsir compares a man’s mind to a cathedral, “depending on the man,” because it is both dependent on morality but capable of majesty or brilliance. Goodsir is an optimist, perhaps choosing not to see the degradation of human spirit in such awful conditions. The comparison is ironic because it illustrates the loss of humanity (brain is just pudding) to retaining humanity (cathedral), but ultimately the men turn to cannibalism and surely anything looking like pudding would be tasty!! I think this episode shows the line between preservation of humanity vs. the emerging "beast," both in the form of the men's mindsets and the "creature" that attacks them. We catch a glimpse of the beast first, from Hickey's perspective, who sees him from afar. Almost beckoning him. I think this indicates that Hickey will be a source of great adversity, as he turns away from humanity in desperate times. The doctor who compares the wounded man's brain to "pudding" vs. Goodsir's comparison of the brain to a cathedral is really a distinction about what humanity means to the crew. The doctor is tired, perhaps ill from lead poisoning or botulism, and mixes up his Latin and Greek. He blandly refers to the brain as a pudding, vaguely implying without acting on it that the brain is...edible. Goodsir prefers to think of the brain as synonymous with the mind, "a cathedral," that houses a man's spirit, or humanity. A possibly symbolic interpretation of the catatonic man, wounded from the creature, is that there is a space between humanity and savagery. The marine with his exposed brain not only reveals the simple mechanics of a brain and how much it looks like pudding, but also the wonder of life and the ability to persevere in almost impossible conditions. His example is a battleground of the coming spiritual battle that will only become stranger and more surreal.
  4. S01.E03: The Ladder

    I have only two things I wish to say about episode three - Franklin’s death scene was well done. And I have a bit of a man crush on Crozier. Or maybe just Jared Harris. I really don’t know right now. That is all.
  5. The True Story of Franklin's Expedition

    It was found submerged below water. The freezing conditions preserved the ships extremely well, however.
  6. The True Story of Franklin's Expedition

    If youre interested in the civil war context of female service, the civil war trust has an article about this subject. They say a conservative estimate of 400 to 750 women calendestinely served in combat during the war. With regards to the franklin expedition, I was checking about the DNA tests and they say they have possibly 4 female profiles. They also know these are not inuit remains and are northern european.
  7. The True Story of Franklin's Expedition

    I’d be curious to read more about this, too. I think you’re right, though - why else resort to cannibalism before the stockpile of provisions had been utilized? There are only two things that occur to me: the tins did not preserve the food as expected and were useless, and/or they were simply too much dead weight when it came time for the crew to seek rescue by marching overland to Back River. The can theory was studied by Owen Beattie in the early 80’s, when the lead poisoning theory first emerged. Beattie found trash pits with the cans, and signs that these provisions were not properly sealed. More recently scholars have blamed the lead lined drinking water system, which may have more severely contaminated the crew’s diet. I think its quite likely that lead poisoning and botulism probably did adversely impact the expedition, but its become a little overblown as the only explanation. Some recent scholarship has pushed back against it, but it will remain a debate for years to come. Maybe the ships galleys will provide further evidence.
  8. The True Story of Franklin's Expedition

    To me, it is not all that surprising. There were hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of women that enlisted in the army during the American Civil War (by some scholars’ estimates). Just like today, they wanted to serve and be a part of something. Perhaps out of some measure of desperation, which is probably true of many of the male seamen, too. Of course they were not allowed to, so they had to conceal their true identities.
  9. The True Story of Franklin's Expedition

    I have followed the archaeology closely since the discovery of Erebus and Terror. I won’t restate what is easily googled, but summarize a few key points I have taken from the non fiction I have come across. Lead poisoning is famously attributed as the lead (no pun intended) cause of the expedition’s failure. This conclusion is based on outdated forensics which could not distinguish gradual lead exposure from rapid lead exposure. The small sample of human remains tested showed high levels of lead, but this could be expected of anyone living in Victorian England. Also, not all of the remains showed the same extent of exposure. I think lead is a possible source of illness, and a contributing factor in such a harsh environment as the arctic, but not the sole cause of failure. Likely starvation, as evidenced by signs of survival cannibalism in some remains, was just as significant if not more so. The ships which have been discovered now indicate that Terror was found much farther south of the ice pack than the last recorded position indicated. This suggests that some survivors may have managed to break free of the ice and attempted to navigate the ship further south. This is only the early stages of the investigation, and other explanations may arise. A DNA database with profiles of 19 crewman has been created. Some females evidently masqueraded as crewmen based on DNA recovered from exposed remains over the years. Many of the remains were found in 1945, on King William Island. Three mummified bodies were found on Beechey Island and are the most famous forensic subjects related to this topic. They died before the expedition was trapped in ice. The expedition encamped at Beechey in 1845, and became trapped in ice in 1846. A detailed dispatch preserved in a rock cairn and located by a subsequent rescue expedition indicates that Sir John Franklin died in June of 1847. 105 survivors abandoned the vessels in 1848, seeking access to the Back River to make their way to mainland Canada and trade outposts along the frontier. The Inuit knew of these ships and probably visited these locations to salvage materials. So well known were their locations by the Inuit, that the modern search vessels credit them for aiding in their discovery of the sunken vessels.
  10. S05.E08: Stalag 14th Virginia

    For those of you who may be Civil War buffs, it is interesting to note that the 14th Virginia was originally a unit from the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War. Among its engagements, it fought at the battle of Gettysburg. The 2nd Massachussetts (Civil War Regiment, Army of the Potomac) also fought at Gettysburg - although was not in direct combat with the 14th Virginia (the 2nd Mass was on Culp's Hill, whereas the 14th VA was located on another part of the battlefield). Aside from the title of this episode, I think the historical references to the Civil War allude to how we, as humans, are our own worst weapon, regardless of why the aliens came to the planet.
  11. S05.E10: Reborn

    I for one was disappointed in Pope's demise. Over the previous seasons, I felt an odd kinship had developed between Tom and Pope, and that the former's intellectual and humanistic qualities would merge with Pope's symbol of rebellion, all very human qualities, to expel the alien invaders. I viewed their characters as symbols of human emotions that have influenced history in their own ways; a revolution in America required the intellectual thinkers like Thomas Payne and the founding fathers, while the violence of rebellion ensured the defeat of a superior enemy. That was an analogy made abundantly clear in the first season, especially, but got a little lost in translation in the ensuing seasons. When Pope was head of the "Berzerkers," it was an obvious reference to the Norse warriors who were noted for being unusually unruly. In the American context, I almost thought of the Berzerkers as the disparate militias that ultimately fell into Washington's Continental Army; regulars and militia, some organized, some not - even some of Washington's militias rebelled and mutinied over issues related to pay, lack of food, etc. I likewise thought of the Volm as the French coming to the aid of the Americans. That was not a perfect comparison, though, based on how the fifth season played out. I suppose the show opted to make Pope the symbol of how humans, themselves, can be their own worst enemy, slowing down progress even in the midst of crisis. I was disappointed in the series finale but overall I enjoyed the series as a whole, even though it borrowed much from other science fiction works, and left some threads untied.
  12. S05.E10: Reborn

    What I suspect, but what was not made clear in the show's narrative, is that the "1,500 years" reference refers to the range of dates in which the Nazca lines were supposedly created, between 500 BC and 500 AD (according to Wikipedia). Now, I'll grant you, there's a big difference between 500 BC and 500 AD, but if we assume the date "500 AD" is when they were created, then that may be why the Espheni Queen specifically says "1,500 of your years ago." The visual narrative of "cavemen" taking out the Queen's daughter appears even further misleading, since that would seem to be much, much earlier. I think it was a combination of poorly articulated historical references and an inept visual narrative.