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A Mercy is the sixth episode in AMC's The Terror.


With the end of their provisions in sight, officers contemplate a tough, risky strategy while struggling to raise the men's worsening spirits.


In January 1848, the expedition's supplies are starting to run out. Now in charge of both Terror and Erebus, Fitzjames plans to abandon the ships and lead the men back to civilization on foot come spring. Blanky advises him to soften the blow of this news so Fitzjames organizes a carnival on the ice in order to boost their morale and reasoning that they have more food and drink than they will be able to carry.

Goodsir begins feeding Sir John's pet Capuchin monkey in order to test a theory he has about the canned food and discerns that the poorly soldered cans are giving the men lead poisoning. He attempts to warn his superior Dr. Stephen Stanley who appears to brush the news off at first but reassures Goodsir that he will inform command and take care of it.

After weeks of withdrawal Crozier recovers in time to visit Fitzjames' carnival and is disturbed by the breakdown in naval discipline. Fitzjames explains the purpose of the carnival to Crozier and the latter announces the plan to travel south overland to Fort Resolution 800 miles away. The announcement is is interrupted by a bloodied Lady Silence who severed her tongue earlier in a ritual to become the Tuunbaq's new master and by a mentally unhinged Stanley, who takes steps to trap the men in the carnival before setting fire to himself and the tents, killing himself and many other men. When the first sunrise of the year arrives the next morning, the men are greeted with burnt bodies, debris, and the news that Goodsir is the only surgeon left alive for the entire expedition.


  • This is the only episode where the title is not mentioned by any of the characters throughout the episode. It most likely refers to Dr. Stanley's intention of killing everyone in the fire to spare them of a slow and painful death from the upcoming journey. As a matter of fact, the only time the title is referenced in the series is the first episode when Sir John Franklin orders the burial of David Young