[Editor’s note: The following interview contains spoilers for "The Terror” Episode 5, "First Shot a Winner, Lads.”]
After weeks of vicious attacks and whispers of the creature lurking on the horizon, audiences got their first big look at an arctic terror: The Tuunbaq has officially arrived.
In a dense, complicated sequence that combines everything “The Terror” does so effectively, the grand and shocking appearance of the Tuunbaq came with some sudden, bloody consequences. Teased through a below-deck window and then played out across the giant rigging of the ship that gives the show its name, it’s an attack that took every last bit of the show’s many ship sets, coordinating the above- and below-deck efforts to fight back the giant beast. It required a special upper mast set built for the showdown between the Tuunbaq and Blanky, the dangerously fearless crew member who lures the danger away from his shipmates.
“Shooting that episode meant it was like a bit of a shell game, logistically, in terms of where everyone was on any given day,” executive producer David Kajganich told IndieWire. “You’ve got Blanky up in the top of the rigging, you’ve got Lieutenant Hobson and some of the able seamen out on the ice. You’ve got Crozier and his group trying to figure out how to get above deck. Eventually they all end up working around the same plan.”
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It’s one of a handful of sequences from Dan Simmons’ book that proved especially challenging to translate to the screen. To capture all of the emotion that a longer written sequence did, this attack brings together the sounds of men being ripped off the deck, gunshots being fired in every direction from stern to bow and back, and a well-aimed cannon shot that fells the beast for long enough to get Blanky back to safety.
“We knew we weren’t going to have the time or the money or the resources to have as nearly as extended a sequence as is the case in the book. So we spent our sort of storytelling attention on trying to figure out how you could have people so far from one another in such horrible weather. They can’t easily communicate with …read more