AMC’s The Terror
Season 2, Episode 4: “The Weak Are Meat”
Directed by Michael Lehmann
Written by Naomi Iizuka
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Gaman” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Shatter Like a Pearl” – click here
Chester (Derek Mio) is writing back to Luz (Cristina Rodlo) from Guadalcanal. It’s August of 1942, when the Guadalcanal campaign started, lasting until February of the following year. He’s bunked with Arthur Ogawa (Marcus Toji). They spend their days translating, kept apart from their fellow American troops. At night, Chester can’t seem to sleep. One night, he thinks he sees a yurei in the trees and snaps photographs with his new camera.
During the day, Arthur works while Chester searches his photos for anything ghostly, asking his translator pal what he knows of yurei. Arthur only knows what he read from “those old kaidan stories.” He says yurei have a “crazed hunger” for something, depending on the individual. Chester sees messages from Japanese soldiers talking about spirits. On top of that, there’s a tear in their tent, and Chester’s sure it’s a spirit, too.
Luz slowly fits in with the community, urged by Yamato (George Takei) to sit at the supper table with them, even if Henry (Shingo Usami) continues his stubborn ways. She laments being the one to go with Chester, only for him to turn around and leave again. She feels like she’s “watching a Japanese family of 9,000,” an outsider looking in at another culture. Meanwhile, she’s being treated by supposed midwife, Yuko (Kiki Sukezane), and no one, even her, is the wiser.
Life in the jungle among the military isn’t easy for the Japanese Americans. Chester and Arthur go to see Colonel Stallings (Reed Diamond). They’re shown a pit of dead bodies festering in the heat and covered with flies. A man called Sergeant Silas Crittenden (Josh Hudniuk) is unaccounted for, after Lieutenant Oury (Shaughnessy Redden) recently ran into one of Admiral Takahashi’s units and encountered a serious fight. Things have gotten particularly ugly, which is when Sgt. Crittenden went missing. Chester has to step into the pit to find anything they might use in their search. He wades through the death until he locates a belt with something carved into it: Wabun code. Stallings is proud of his “Japanese boys.” Easy to see Lt. Oury resents both him and the translators.
Luz and Asako (Naoko Mori) garden together. Henry mostly resists becoming close to the woman bearing his grandchild. Doesn’t keep Luz from “good thoughts,” urged by her someday mother-in-law to stay positive. That night, a soldier’s inspecting a bunkhouse off limits to prisoners. He finds Yuko in the dark, her face looks rotten. Her bones begin to crack again, and the soldier’s off walking across the yard strangely, his own bones cracking. Major Bowen (C. Thomas Howell) sees him head up a watch tower, calling after him but getting no obedient response. The man walks straight off the top of the tower, falling to his death in front of Mjr. Bowen and crowds of prisoners. Bowen finds a bottle of saké, automatically assuming one of the “Japs” got his soldier drunk.
The next morning, Bowen has soldiers and MPs tearing apart the bunkhouses, even looking through spiritual items. Underneath floorboards, Bowen uncovers saké bottles. Walt (Lee Shorten) takes the blame, claiming he made the liquor.
Luz finds out she’s carrying twins from Yuko. She tells Asako, who’s immediately spooked. Mom advises not to tell Chester until the children are born. Toshiro (Alex Shimizu) lets the superstitious cat out of the bag claiming “twins bring death and misfortune,” as his father said. Luz doesn’t believe in the superstitions, and won’t have her unborn children being treated like a curse.
In the meantime, Luz has learned to speak enough Japanese to speak to Henry in his native tongue, explaining his grandchildren will honour him. She tells him he can be part of helping name the babies, if he doesn’t like the ones she’s picked out already. He does like Enrique for a boy, signalling the old man’s beginning to change.
Poor Chester’s not doing so hot, either. He’s having visions of Yuko while trying to translate documents. He manages to concentrate, finding a note about “the devil‘s camp.” A soldier writes of seeing devils in a tent. Suddenly, Chester has a vision of a blade being jammed through his back.
And he believes he’s found the location of Sgt. Crittenden.
They find the man at the location Chester read about, though Crittenden can only ramble in Japanese, talking of killing “the white devils.” He lunges at Chester when the translator gets close. Chester tries talking to the him, getting only horrible threats of violence and death out of him. He believes a yurei’s inside Crittenden.
At the camp, Luz’s water breaks. She’s taken by the Nakayamas to see Dr. Kitamura (Hiro Kanagawa). A nurse goes to get supplies, where she’s confronted by Yuko in the shadows, and now the nurse begins to move, cracking her bones. Luz births a boy, but the child doesn’t cry, not breathing. The second twin is born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck. The doc does nothing, and the babies are dead.
“The weak are meat.
The strong eat.”
Luz already wrote Chester, telling him about their impending children. Chester remains happy, oblivious to the truth. He’s currently having to deal with more racism in the military’s ranks. Crittenden’s been let out, walking around. He watches catatonic as his soldier pals beat Chester, then nearly scorches Chester when he burns the others alive with a flamethrower. The translator survives, more sure than ever there’s a yurei within Crittenden. The lieutenant only says: “I serve Admiral Takahashi.”
In bed, Luz mentions Yuko to the others. They say nobody lives in the part of camp where she claims to have gone. Asako goes looking, heading to the deserted block. She sees a light burning in one of the bunkhouses. Inside, only creepiness.
Someone in a kimono and what looks like a Noh mask enters the clinic where Luz rests. They watch the sleeping woman, then they notice the doctor. Behind the mask is Yuko with a rotting face. She calls the doc “murderer” and possesses him, forcing his hand to use a scalpel to open his stomach, spilling blood everywhere. Luz wakes to his screams.
“It’s too late”
Season 2 is kicking it up a notch now. The start was slow, because it had to be, not only to flesh out the characters, but to fit all the history in here without making the entire thing feel bloated. Father Gore feels Infamy is really picking up steam here, and it’ll only keep getting better, plus scarier, for the rest of these episodes.
“Shatter Like a Pearl” is next time.