‘The North Water’ Episode 2 ‘We Men Are Wretched Things’ Recap & Ending Explained


The North Water Episode 1 left Patrick stranded in the middle of the icy Arctic with no help around. However, at the beginning of Episode 2, ‘We Men Are Wretched Things’ Patrick is saved by his fellow crew and is brought back to the ship for a much-needed warmth and recovery. Patrick’s close to death experiences horrifies Captain Brownlee, who admonishes anyone else other than the mariners to go out hunting in the frosty wild. Patrick recovers while the whaling ship travels north towards Baffin Bay. On their journey, the crew poaches a whale, and Savage Harpooner Drax flamboyantly kills the mammal.

Episode 2 investigates the mysterious case of adolescent Cabin Boy, Joseph Hannah. He visits Patrick complaining about a foul stomach and demands a painkiller. However, Patrick examines that the boy has been sodomized. Patrick informs Brownlee about criminal indecency on his ship, who calls the boy for further scrutiny. Joseph refuses to take any names out of fear of his assaulter, but Patrick ponders in the dark to unravel the truth.

Death of Joseph Hannah

Soon after the acquisition, the crew discovers Joseph’s dead body boxed in a barrel. Patrick examines the body and concludes that the boy has been strangled. Brownlee gets furious after a murder of a whaler and orders Cavendish to bring him the culprit. 

Patrick suspects Cavendish of sodomizing and killing the boy and gets amused after Brownlee orders the wolf to investigate the murder of the sheep. Cavendish puts the blame on the ship’s carpenter, Samuel Mckendrick, but he pleads not guilty. Patrick interferes and requests Captain to let him examine Mckendrick’s private parts. In Joseph’s autopsy, Patrick found out that the boy was sodomized before the murder. His perpetrator had a slew of sores (in his private parts). Upon Mckendrick’s examination, Patrick doesn’t find any visible sign of infection or lesions and thus deduces that he is innocent.

The whole accusation and investigation fuels enmity between Partick and Cavendish, proving fatal in the upcoming episodes. Partick is an Irish man, and Cavendish takes pride in being a proud Englishman. He even threatens Partick to reveal his secret, which is his association with the Indian Rebellion and stolen jewelry in his room. Earlier, Episode 1 hinted that Partick killed the Indian boy who haunted him. Still, Episode 2 suggests that another infantry killed the boy whom Partick promised to protect. He failed his promise, and it was the only guilt that weighs him down.

By the end of Episode 2, Patrick gets rid of documents that defame his legacy as a surgeon, but he doesn’t throw away the prized ring.

‘The North Water’ Episode 2: Ending Explained

Cavendish brings in his trustworthy mate Drax to become a false witness against Mckendrick. Drax confirms that he saw Mckendrick mingling with Joseph one night. Mckendrick accuses Drax of spitting white lies, but Cavendish supports his friend, and Brownlee eagerly wants to close the scrutiny. They all put the blame on Mckendrick whilst Patrick feels helpless.

Mckendrick reveals threatening information about Drax. He informs the audience about Drax’s mysterious but violent crimes in The Marquesas Islands. Drax defends himself by proclaiming that he just spent some time with Marquesas Tribe, but Mckendrick suggests otherwise. His riveting revelations hint that Drax killed innocent black people and preyed upon their flesh. He is a brutal, savage cannibal.

At the end of ‘We Men Are Wretched Things,’ Patrick wakes up from a horrible nightmare. In his dreams, he witnesses Drax ruthlessly killing Joseph Hannah. However, no matter whosoever is the real murderer, Captain Brownlee will not take any drastic action against Cavendish or Drax. Both are Captain’s most trusted men, who also share his secret mission to sink the ship. In all the conspiracy, Patrick is surrounded by Wretched men. His boiling enmity with Drax and Cavendish may prove fatal to Patrick’s life. Episode 2 establishes Patrick as a protagonist conflicted by dangerous abode, condition, and treacherous mortals.

The North Water is a 2021 Period Drama TV Mini-Series created by Andrew Haigh for BBC.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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