AMC’s The Terror
Season 2, Episode 7: “My Perfect World”
Directed by Meera Menon
Written by Danielle Roderick & Tony Tost
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Taizo” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “My Sweet Boy” – click here
A doctor— or, butcher— is assembling a corpse out of various pieces. An arm here, skin there. “Paper Doll” by the Mill Brothers plays in the background making it all somehow much worse. The song’s creepy, with lyrics about a man wanting to build a doll nobody else can take from him. This gentleman’s building a body for the yurei. He puts a needle in his neck and Yuko puts herself back together again like a horrific Humpty Dumpty.
Chester sits by the lake when Amy finds him. He hasn’t heard from Luz. He imagines things would’ve been different had his parents told him the truth of his birth before. Luz is out there living a free life. Well, relatively. She remains trapped by traumatic loss and probably guilt, though she shouldn’t feel guilty for escaping that camp. She keeps Chester’s letters, yet doesn’t write back. She gets setup on a date by her father, going out to dinner with a man simply because it’s what dad demands.
At the camp a package arrives for Chester with the letters he wrote to Luz. This has him in a bad way. He walks for the open gate. MPs kick the shit out of him. Major Bowen’s pissed, sending Chester off to a camp “for agitators.” Asako begs for her son to be shown mercy. Bowen’s a hard man and refuses. Chester won’t say anything to his parents except “My parents are dead.”
People are getting sick. Ken worries many will die from an infection if Mjr. Bowen does nothing. He asks Amy dickishly to talk with him. All the while, Yuko is back lurking around. She finds Chester’s things, including a picture with Luz’s address. She runs into Bowen, turning him into a bone-cracking ghoul.
Chester gets the soldiers to let him take a shit on his ride to another camp, then knocks one over and jumps from a bridge into a nearby river before anyone can take a proper shot. He swims to the shore, alive and well.
Bowen’s haunted. His attitude is getting worse towards the Japanese Americans. Amy comes to talk to him about the outbreak. All the Major cares about is “Oriental magic tricks” and worries of an “evil spirit.” He blames everything on the Japanese, like a typical racist. Soldiers then report back about Chester. That night, Bowen finds Ken at his door. He points a gun in his face, rambling about the yurei. The two men find themselves going fist-to-fist. Ken gets the jump on him, grabbing the gun.
Luz discovers Chester waiting near her house in his old car. She tries to explain why she didn’t write back. Chester is pain for her. He connects her to horrible things. Luz knows she could marry someone like the guy she went with on a date. Although it’s clear she doesn’t actually want to, she doesn’t know what else to do. All Chester wants is to make her happy.
“You want a demon,
now you got one.”
Next morning, Amy goes looking for Mjr. Bowen and Ken opens the door. He hopes to force the military man to call in aide for the sick. He urges her to go back to the office. She does, calling ambulances to take the sick. This just gets her involved much further. It also takes MPs back to Bowen, where Ken gets shot to death.
Luz plans to go with Chester. She packs a few things in a suitcase, leaves a letter addressed to her father, and heads out the door. Chester’s busy sneaking into the orphanage where he was once left by his real mother. He goes to the archives and finds a file with his birth certificate, uncovering that he has a twin brother, Jirou. He’s going to try tracking Jirou down, while Luz wants to head for New Mexico. Once there, he’s happy to see her reunited with family.
In the aftermath of Ken being murdered by American fascists, Amy’s looking after Bowen and his wounds. The Major sees it all like putting a dog down, further reinforcing his wretched racism. He calls Amy “one of the good ones“— tripling down on all the Orientalism and xenophobia coursing through him. It’s taken such an ugly event to really open Amy’s eyes to the terrors of America.
Underneath the Major’s cabin looks to be a tape recorder, too. Very, very interesting.
While Luz is off trying to live a new, happy life, and Chester may actually get to be part of it, Yuko’s looking for her own “perfect world” and her lost little boy. She goes to Luz’s father’s place, turning him into another of her ghoulish minions. Under a spell, he takes out a map and marks the way to Aguayo, New Mexico. Then he kills himself.
Nobody can escape the yurei. Not Chester, nor anyone connected to him.
Fantastic episode! One of the best yet perhaps. Tragic, harrowing, creepy. Many intense things going on all at once, which sometimes can be a detriment. But Infamy‘s writing has been consistently interesting, even when juggling a bunch of heavy stuff.
“My Sweet Boy” is next time.