DISCLAIMER: This is a spoiler filled recap for episode 5 of The Terror: Infamy, ‘Shatter Like a Pearl’. Viewer discretion is advised.
Welcome back! If you’re still with us that means you’re past the point of no return with The Terror: Infamy. And I’m right there with you. Last week got real depressing. We see a sleep deprived Chester (Derek Mio) grow increasingly paranoid over a potential Yurei attack while trying to rescue a missing soldier. After finally earning Henry’s (Shingo Usami) acceptance, Luz (Cristina Rodlo) gets some pretty exciting news regarding her pregnancy: she’s having twins! Two boys to be exact. This pleases our local baby crazy ghost, Yuko (Kiki Sukezane).
The joy doesn’t last long unfortunately because neither of the babies survived the birth. I must admit it was a pretty rough watch. Meanwhile, Yuko goes on a bit of a rampage and kills two more people, Walt Yoshida (Lee Shorten) gets thrown in the stockade for making illegal sake and Chester’s bunk mate and fellow translator, Arthur Ogawa (Marcus Toji), is not amused by Chester’s nonsense talk of ghosts.
Tensions rise in this weeks episode as the Japanese Americans are forced to undertake a humiliating exercise that divides the community. Chester learns the fate of his children and comes face to face with a man who forces him to question his very nature. Luz, stricken by grief after tragedy, is forced to make an important choice.
So, let’s get to it! Here’s our look at The Terror: Infamy’s new episode, ‘Shatter Like a Pearl’!’
This episode kicks off with Chester in the aftermath of the news regarding his children. It’s no surprise to see he’s a wreck. He’s devastated and short tempered with his fellow soldiers. This behavior is so concerning that one soldier confesses, “Truth be told? I’m hoping that new batch of translators gets here soon.” Could this be a hint that Chester and Arthur are going home soon?
Next we are taken to a Military embarkation center in Long Beach, California. This is where we meet this new batch of translators, including Sgt. Terajima (Taiga Seiya) who seems a little…off. Could it just be nerves? Or- oh, no, I know that bone cracking anywhere. It would appear that Yuko has found a new body to possess and that she’s heading straight for Chester’s location in Guadalcanal. And, according to the blood soaked bag she’s dragging, it looks like she’s bringing him a gift of some sort. I can only imagine at this point.
After the opening credits we see a sheet getting passed around to everyone at the camp. It’s what was called a Loyalty Questionnaire. People including Yamato-san (George Takei) is confused by this. Especially when he is told it’s to prove he is a loyal American. “This we must prove?”
Meanwhile others are insulted by the questionnaire. Ken Uehara (Christopher Naoki Lee) is one of those people. “We put this stuff in writing they’ll throw it back in our faces… We’ll be sent to Japan, sent to jail or be sent to die. This whole thing is a trap.” Then there are those select few like Walt Yoshida (Lee Shorten) who genuinely try to find the bright side to this situation. Regardless of how humiliating it may be.
The absurdity of this questionnaire is even Major Bowen (C. Thomas Howell), who explains (whines) to Amy Yoshida (Miki Ishikawa) while she’s working. “And now this God damn questionnaire?! The DRA is all over my ass to get a 100% response rate…And here I thought y’all were supposed to be obedient…Consequences for noncompliance is what there needs to be. Stern ones.” I’m getting some serious Stan Grichuk (Teach Grant) vibes from this one. And you know how I felt about him.
Back in Guadalcanal Chester just finished reading a diary that confirmed the new infamous Admiral Takahashi performed psychological tests on Crittenden (Josh Hudniuk). Though it doesn’t explain what kind of tests or if there are any other guinea pigs out there. Well, at least we know for a fact it wasn’t another spy situation. “Or a Yurei.” Arthur adds. Chester isn’t so comforted by the news. “I was so sure that it was here. But it was back at camp the whole time. It wanted me to come here so it could get to Luz.” Chester, we’ve known. Catch up please.
The two men chat, until they are summoned by Colonel Stallings (Reed Diamond), who’s in a bit of a sticky situation. The POW from Takahashi’s crew is being difficult. So difficult that Stallings has had to call a new interrogator. While they wait for said interrogator to arrive, Stallings is putting Chester and Arthur in charge of babysitting him. But they are strictly told to not engage. No vigilante interrogation.
Right off the bat it’s apparent that this unnamed prisoner (Kazuya Tanabe) is in a bad mood. For good measure he even spits a bloody ear at Chester. The ear of the previous interrogator. Seems like a swell guy.
Back at camp we see Ken and Amy fixing their clothes after a little premarital canoodling in an empty barrack. This is where Amy confesses she’s worried about the questionnaire. Specifically she’s worried about how Ken will answer. “What if they use that questionnaire to draft you?” But he’s quick to reassure her. “I’m not gonna let some stupid answers on a stupid paper keep us apart.” Is that foreshadowing I smell?
All in all this scene seems cute and straightforward. That is until you notice the camera angle. It gives off the impression that someone is watching the couple from afar. Creepy. Could Yuko be doubling back to check in on everyone at camp? Or it is just a classic case of a Peeping Tom?
Elsewhere, we see a group of children playing in the woods nearby. Their game is cut short when they see a ‘ghost woman’ standing in the middle of a filthy swamp. The mere sight of her causes them to run away. This woman turns out to be a dazed looking Luz. It’s no shock to see she’s still depressed over the loss of her children. She appears generally discontent, sluggish in her movements and hopeless. On top of it all she’s having visions of her dead children.
When she eventually stumbles back to camp Henry and Asako (Naoko Mori) are quick to the girl’s rescue.
In Guadalcanal we see the POW getting antsy as Chester and Arthur go through his belongings. Not long after, Chester informs Stallings that he has a plan to interrogate the prisoner. Stallings appears hesitant but eventually gives Chester permission to engage. What’s he got to lose, right?
Back at camp we see Ken trying to start a revolution. It looks like the guards are withholding food unless everyone answers the questionnaire. Ken urges everyone to stick to their guns, to not fill out the paper, to no avail. People are hungry. And things only grow more intense when it’s announced that failure to complete and submit the form will be considered treason. Which can result in indefinite imprisonment.
Ken’s main gripe is with questions 27 and 28. “Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States. Wherever ordered.” “Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and forswear any former allegiance to the Japanese emperor?” It’s an insulting exercise and Ken insists Amy doesn’t want a man who would answer yes to those questions just to save their own skin.
Amy tries to defuse the situation with Bowen. But her words fall on deaf ears. Bowen is hellbent on getting everyone to comply. He adds insult to injury by adding “Just because a barrack is empty doesn’t mean I don’t know whats going on in it.” Which implies either he or one of the guards was the Peeping Tom watching Ken and Amy. Which is…ew. Dude. Don’t you have a prison camp to run, creep?
Next we finally learn the name of the POW back in Guadalcanal. First Lieutenant Tetsuya Ota is not impressed with Chester’s line of questioning. Things quickly take a dark turn when Ota insinuates he is a spirit and that he already knows all about Chester. Could this be Yuko’s work? Chester isn’t sure. So, to know for sure, Chester takes a quick picture of Ota to see if his face would be effected in anyway.
In previous episodes Chester had trouble e developing some of his pictures. Every now and then he’ll come across a photo where a person’s face is so distorted that they are unrecognizable. Meanwhile everyone and everything else in the photo looks fine. We now know this is because he was taking pictures of a Yueri.
Meanwhile, Ken and several other men turn in their sheets with “no” filled in for those pesky questions 27 and 28. Amy instantly fears the worst.
Later on we see Luz has a visitor. It’s her father, Bart Ojeda (Ruben Garfias), who has come to inform her that her brother was killed in Argentina. Because things weren’t awful enough, right? It’s also made apparent that Bart wants her to come home and that he has no idea about the fate of Luz’s babies. Because things weren’t awful enough, right?
This eventually transitions into Bart helping Luz fill out a form that will hopefully get her out of the camp. This process will take 3 to 5 days to process the request.
The results are in on Ota’s Yueri test. Not only is he not a Yueri but that the whole release he was trying to goad Chester into killing him because he was too scared to kill himself before he was captured. The method of suicide that’s referred is seppuku (translated to ritual suicide) that samurai committed if enemies captured them or if they defiled the samurai code. It calls for one to take a short blade and slice open their stomach moving the dagger from right to left.
Chester calls Ota a coward for not going through with it. Things get heated when Ota throws threat after threat at Chester, resulting in Chester punching him several times. The men simultaneously collapse on the ground as Ota informs Chester that his dead sons “…are lucky to have been spared from this world.”
Later the men are having a heart to heart. Chester tells Ota about Luz, how she sacrificed everything for him and how he wasn’t there for the birth and death of their children. In turn Ota admits he is a firm believer in the old spirits, so much so that he believes he came feel them from time to time.
Let’s take a quick break to check in with Amy, who’s taking advantage of an empty office to change Ken’s answers on the questionnaire. I totally get why she’s doing this. Anyone that answered “no” to those two question will be taken to prison. But I have a bad feeling that this is gonna blow up in her face. Okay, back to Chester and Ota.
Among Ota’s things Chester finds a journal with nine names written in it and a thread from a baseball. Baseball: the most American thing of all. Ota confesses that he played baseball in college, the nine names written in his journal are his former teammates and that it’s a tragedy they will never be able to play again. Three of his teammates are already dead and he wishes to be the next. He wants Chester to untie him so he can give himself an honorable death.
Chester doesn’t appear interested in helping. He’s far more interested in talking about baseball and Ota’s former teammates, which eventually has Ota telling the story of how he once struck out Lou Gehrig. Which is pretty damn cool.
The men continue to chit chat as the new batch of Japanese translators arrive. Including our new best friend, Sgt. Terajima. Terajima drifts away from the group to check on the contents of his bloody bag. Luckily it’s nothing too gruesome. Just Yuko’s body which is looking pretty…rough.
Things at camp are looking grim. The guards are taking away all the men that answered no to questions 27 and 28 just they promised they would. Ken attempts to join the group but is turned away. According to the guards, he answered yes to 27 and 28. Almost instantly Ken figures out what happened and he is furious. And Amy doesn’t bother denying it.
When Chester gets the news about the translators, he informs Ota that he will be moved to a POW camp. Ota is mortified by this development. “I am a shame upon my family. No peace will find me. Not in this world or the next.” Chester is silent for a moment but eventually stands, presents Ota with a blade and unties him.
Another interesting fact about seppuku is that it typically called for an audience. Chester watches, calm as one can be in such a situation, as Ota proceeded to stab himself and slice open his belly. It’s a sad watch considering the slight bond Chester and Ota built throughout the episode over their love of baseball. Ota even jokes at one point, had the two ever played against each other, “I would’ve struck you out too. Just like Lou Gehrig.”
We head back to camp to see Luz’s application was approved. With her father waiting by his car she bids Henry and Asako a quiet and sad goodbye. The situation turns into a real tear jerker when Henry rushes to give Luz a hug at the last minute. I’m not crying you’re crying!
This episode finishes off with another good old fashioned case of possession. After speaking with Colonel Stallings in his tent, Chester comes face to face with Arthur who strikes him with a gun before forcing him to drive one of the military vehicles. Yuko wastes no time, eh? I like it. The two drive for only a few minutes before the tires to the car are blown out. The crash results in Arthur’s immediate death and Chester being badly hurt. So hurt that he couldn’t run as the bag containing Yuko’s body opened itself up.
The currently zombified Yuko stumbles towards Chester, cups his cheek and whispers, “It’s time to go now, Tazio.”
Uh, hey, writers? That cliff hanger was RUDE!
What we know so far/ Thoughts:
- With Luz being one of my favorite characters I am so sad to see her go! Hopefully it’s not for good. At the bare minimum I’m expecting her and Chester to continue communicating through letters.
- Will Ken and Amy somehow rekindle their relationship?
- I STILL have no backstory on Yuko and Furuya’s past. I ask for so little.
- Who the hell is Tazio?
Be sure to check back next week! The Terror: Infamy airs Mondays at 9pm on your AMC affiliate.