Monday, September 2, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Terror: Infamy' - Chester Faces Hostility in a War Zone While Luz Gives Birth in 'The Weak Are Meat'

AMC's The Terror: Infamy - Episode 2.04 "The Weak Are Meat"

Off in search of a better life, Chester is treated with hostility by his fellow Americans. Luz hopes to be accepted by Henry and Asako in their new home as the Japanese American community celebrates Obon, a festival to commemorate the spirits of those who have died.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AMC's The Terror: Infamy.

"The Weak Are Meat" was written by Naomi Iizuka and directed by Michael Lehmann

Is Chester cursed or protected? His family and friends believe that misfortune follows him around. They are all concerned about him in the Pacific fighting alongside the Americans. And yet, he survives everything from that ordeal. He is literally targeted with a flamethrower and survives it unlike the gang of American soldiers who want him dead. Their anger towards him stems purely from his outward appearance. He has served with honor. He has been a tremendous asset to the war because of the information he brings. But people still hate him because they don't view him as someone who can be trusted. It doesn't matter how many times he is willing to throw himself into the most disgusting and dangerous situations to prove his worth. They still look at him as the outsider who doesn't fit in. Of course, Chester may be growing delirious as well. In every letter he writes to Luz, he notes just how many days it has been since he has last slept. He can't get comfortable at night. The woods are restless and calling out to him. He perceives that to be true even if the threat from a yurei isn't actually present. Yuko is doing all of her damage at the internment camp. She is stalking Luz and ensuring that everyone remains very concerned for their safety in this place. However, it's increasingly seeming as if the show just wants to unsettle the audience instead of providing some deep meditation on human morality in the darkest of times. There are so many abuses being done towards the Japanese American community. Meanwhile, the audience has to be continually worried that something bad is about to happen to Luz and her babies. The show really hits the audience over-the-head with that too especially with the reveal that she is actually having twins. The action feels the need to explain how that is seen as a bad omen in Japanese culture. It does that but doesn't have any time to offer a serious discussion on Obon and how this community is trying to keep their traditions alive desperate the repressive regime. Everything about Obon could have been tied into the actual events of the story because it's a festival honoring the spirits who have died. There has been so much death and trauma in this world as of late. This year should be a memorable one for those who are celebrating. But instead, it's just the festival that happens to be taking place when Yuko sneaks in and kills the camp's doctor. That's all that it really is. It's happening in the background without anyone really mentioning it in a significant way. That's unfortunate and makes it increasingly seem as if this is all about a specific plot instead of individual characters and how they are trying to cope with this increasingly tragic world. Both of the twins arriving stillborn is such a visceral moment. It may be the most emotional of the series so far. But the show foreshadowed it a little too much and took away the power of that moment. It sets it all up so that Chester believes he is coming home to a wonderful family. Luz made a connection with Henry and has finally gotten his blessing. She will have two children to look after. Their lives are just getting started. But now, Luz is all curled up in bed unsure what the future might bring. She has been interacting with Yuko but has no idea just how false all of that actually was. Of course, the show also suffers from it being unclear why Yuko haunts Chester in this way. He too is searching for those answers and believing that he carries the burden of this threat. But again, he survives that final attack. One that could inform that the Japanese army is also using these spirits to fight this war. All of this has the potential of being a captivating story. But it continues to feel like the plot is driving things forward instead of engaging character work that makes the audience feel invested in the final outcome. Chester will return home at some point. But it's also unclear just how much worse things will get before the conclusion of this story. Right now, it just seems like a weekly dose of Yuko indiscriminately killing people.