|In which the Norwegians take the pole and both Evanses take off.|
Episode Six: "Foregone Conclusion"
This is the episode that shows what the pole means to both leaders-- and how neither of them will admit to its importance. Amundsen makes all the men but Bjaaland (which makes sense, he's a skier, not a mathmatician) calculate their latitude by hand so they can make their claim "stick."
Meanwhile, the English slog on, with Scott taking his frustrations out on Teddy Evans ("I expect failure from the animals, not from the men. I must blame lieutenant Evans much."). As they get closer to the pole, Scott chooses who turns back and who goes on. The title of this episode might very well refer to the group Scott finally reveals is to go to the pole: "Our team goes on. Ours is the better team." As if that was a surprise to anyone who had seen how Scott behaved towards Lt. Evans or favoured Wilson.
Something that would have been nice to see is a little bit on Evans, Lashly and Crean's trip back. There were scenes in the original screenplay, but they were taken out.
The scenes of the manhauling in this episode are excruciating. Word has it that the sledges in reality were just over 200lbs each-- not nearly the amount the real explorers pulled-- but over the hillocks and in that weather, that must have been some shoot.
And the Norwegians take the pole. It is a good display of the comaraderie of the Norwegians-- both the explorers and the actors-- the relief of finally getting there, of being first. It is a nice touch that they share the cigars won from Lindstrom earlier on.
The English continue to struggle and finally reach the pole. All the actors do a great job conveying how they feel, from Oates's resigned acceptance to P.O. Evans's heartbreaking collapse. Pat Roach does a great job with Evans's deterioration.
And once again the British get the better music. Perhaps because theirs is the more emotional story, they get the more dignified music. But we are *all* sick of that "happy Norwegian" ditty, aren't we?
This episode's delightful details:
Gotta just love the hats the British get to wear. They look like Balaclavas. One wonders if the British got to keep them?
There is great attention paid to much of the dialogue, but it is particularly nice to hear PO Crean's line about "understand[ing] a song half sung." He really said that, and it's great to see it included.
This episode's goofs:
The Norwegian flag flown at the pole was cut in the Royal style, not square, as they show in this episode. But that's OK-- We didn't know that either 'til we saw the real thing.
On to Episode 7