Monday, September 9, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Terror: Infamy' - Chester Finds a Kindred Spirit Right Before Tragedy Strikes Once More in 'Shatter Like a Pearl'

AMC's The Terror: Infamy - Episode 2.05 "Shatter Like a Pearl"

The Japanese Americans are forced to undertake a humiliating exercise that divides the community. Chester comes face to face with a man who forces him to question his very nature. Stricken by grief after tragedy, Luz is forced to make an important choice.

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.

"Shatter Like a Pearl" was written by Steven Hanna and directed by Lily Mariye

Chester is constantly worried about the yurei. He views anything suspicious as this old spirit tormenting him for some reason. The show still hasn't made it clear why Yuko is so obsessed with Chester. She has been terrorizing this world. And yet, her motivation has been very murky. She has certainly been an unnerving presence. The cracking of the bones quickly became a calling card to easily identify who has been taken over by the yurei. But this episode takes that to a new level by showing the contortion of a body just in order to serve this demonic host. That is brutal and gruesome. That's the moment where she truly presents as this dangerous threat not of this world. She has only just arrived in the war zone though. Chester thought anything he endured could easily be explained by the presence of this spirit. That's not the case though. The world is depraved and horrendous in so many ways. Chester wants to believe that he enlisted for a purpose. And yet, his family is suffering back in the internment camp. His babies died during birth. That is a tragedy that he is dealing with by himself far away. He is not there to comfort Luz as she experiences all of these complicated emotions. Sure, it allows her to walk out of the camp. There is no longer any reason for her to be contained there. That's a luxury afforded to her. She doesn't have to continually prove to the government that she is a loyal citizen who will fight and protect the American ideals no matter what. That's the pressure constantly faced by the Japanese-American community. The government views a form of questions as incredibly easy to fill out. Major Bowen doesn't understand why it takes anyone longer than five minutes to do so. It blows up into this huge scandal though in which refusal to comply will be seen as treason and those individuals will be sent away to a much more brutal camp. But filling out the form has its own perils. If they answer any of these questions incorrectly according to the military officials, then they will be sentenced to the same exact fate. The government doesn't have the right to ask these questions and demand that these citizens prove their loyalty over and over again. They are being abused by the country they have loved for so many years. They shouldn't have to enlist just to avoid seeming like a traitor. They shouldn't have to face that pressure. That's what allows Amy to make a brutal choice to keep her boyfriend Ken around. She does it out of love and the need to protect the people around her. And yet, any answer can eventually be twisted around to explain how someone sentenced to these camps isn't what they present as. That's absolutely devastating. None of that has to do with the yurei. The camp has dealt with threats from her. She has killed many people. The government continues to act as if there hasn't been a rising body count. Soldiers, government officials and prisoners have died. That doesn't matter to them because they see the importance of the mission. But it forces Chester to question who he truly is in this world. It's a philosophical question the show wants the audience to be asking. Yuko refers to him by a different name at the conclusion of this hour. That's when the threat rears its ugly head again in his life. She is after him for some reason. His paranoia allows a prisoner of war to manipulate him. Tetsuya Ota isn't possessed by a yurei or some other spirit in this world. Instead, he's a man who wants to die instead of being tortured. It's actually quite beautiful how Chester and Ota form a bond that proves just how similar they are. They should be seen as baseball players instead of the American and Japanese identities that want to divide them. They share this similarity. They have stories to be told. And yet, Ota's ends with a tragic stab to the gut. It's his choice because of his grim fate. Meanwhile, Chester flips a vehicle and ends with a broken leg because the yurei is after him. That's a paralyzing moment. Death may follow Chester around. That may also be a state in his own mind. But there is a very physical presence as well that makes it clear that something much more mischievous is going on in this world. Something that wraps up the entire Nakayama family.