Mondays are normally a drag. Lucky for us AMC has the perfect remedy for that. The long-awaited second season of Terror, this time called The Terror: Infamy, has arrived, bringing viewers a grim tale that takes place during a dark time in American history. The show’s offical description puts it best, “From 1942 to 1945, more than 145,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians were forced from their homes and into internment camps by their respective governments, simply because of where they or their ancestors were born. Their story is one of perseverance in the face of injustice.”
This isn’t necessarily a recap, more so than a mini review, plus me putting in my two cents in. Hopefully that will hopefully encourage you to actually watch the show. Preferably with all the lights out. This first episode is called “A Sparrow in a Swallow’s Nest”, it’s written by Max Borenstein and Alexander Woo and directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka.
Seeing as this is the season premiere we meet all the major players. Including our main character Chester Nakayama. Chester is a nisei, or US-born Japanese American, from Terminal Island, California. He’s got big dreams and doesn’t keep them quiet, despite his parent’s disapproval. He’s a proud, stubborn young man who hopes to one day leave his “tiny island” and travel the country as a photographer for LIFE Magazine.
However, some extreme, life-altering circumstances threaten to put his dreams on hold. Meanwhile, viewers watch as real world and paranormal horror collide in a perfect storm. Members of Chester’s community are treated poorly simply because of their nationality, they are also forced to deal with a series of bizarre occurrences on the island. Paranoia only grows when someone throws out the idea that a spirit from the old country is responsible for it all. A Bakemono to be exact.
Now, I’ll level with you: At times this is a difficult watch. Disorienting even. Things reach pique intensity when you see the blatant mistreatment of the Japanese Americans. Most notably (in this episode) we watch as Chester’s father, Henry, is blackmailed into giving up his car. A car he worked 20 years to get. And Henry doesn’t put up a fight, seemingly because he’s convinced no one will believe him. It’s a heartbreaking glimpse into the past.
It’s almost as if people are just as bad as the wicked spirit that’s been lurking in the background this whole time. This exact topic was discussed among the cast last month at San Diego Comic Con. The cast teased that while the creepy spirits are a huge issue, they may not be the worst thing the characters have to deal with. “The ghosts, of course they are scary, but what human beings do to each other is a lot more scary,” said actor Shingo Usami.
As far as season premieres go, The Terror: Infamy offers one hell of a promising start. There’s no denying that this is a well-crafted effort that’s guaranteed to grab your attention instantly. With a brutal death scene in the first 2 minutes, how can you not be captivated? It’s an unpredictable madhouse of a series that has that special something that sticks with you long after the episodes have ended. The Terror is a stand out series that is more than worth the watch. It’s gripping and bone-chilling experience. I think this is slowly but surely becoming my new favorite show.
The standout performance in this first episode belongs to Shingo Usami, who gave an utterly heartbreaking presentation as Henry Nakayama. While Henry insists he’s “just a fisherman” it’s apparent he’s been through some serious hardships. It’s also obvious he’d do just about anything to protect his family, keep them together and prove how much he loves America. Despite the government putting his faith in this country to the test.
I would also like to give kudos to Teach Grant. He portrays Stan Grichuk, one of Henry’s buyers and is easily the most dislikable person on Terminal Island so far. Luckily for us we don’t have to deal with him much after this episode.
And that’s that for now! I’m loving this new season so far. I’m glad it’s finally aired for the rest of the world to enjoy. Be sure to check back next week as I analyze the next episode. The Terror: Infamy, which airs Mondays at 9pm on AMC. I encourage you to check it out. It’s truly a must watch!