AMC’s The Terror
Season 2, Episode 8: “My Sweet Boy”
Directed by Toa Fraser
Written by Alessandra Dimona & Shannon Goss
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “My Perfect World” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Come and Get Me” – click here
In Mew Mexico, Chester tries to start anew with Luz and her aunt’s family. He says he’s only staying a few more days, but it’s already been more than a week. Luz doesn’t necessarily want him to go. He also can’t escape the whispers of the yurei, like they blow in on the wind. At night, Chester looks over what info he’s gathered on his twin brother, Jirou. He’s written to all the interment camps. “If the courts shut them down, I don‘t think I‘ll ever find him,” he says— a grim, bittersweet predicament for this Japanese American man, who’d love to see the end of this fascist nightmare while likewise being a man longing to reconnect with his past. He and Luz fall into each other’s arms again, incapable of leaving one another behind.
Out there somewhere, Yuko’s puzzle corpse hasn’t forgotten about him.
This is when the interment started shutting down. Henry and Asako are given $25 each and train tickets home. They have a “sponsor.” Mom worries their son won’t know where they’ve gone. Dad doesn’t care about an “ungrateful son.” Amy thought Major Bowen was off in Washington, D.C. yet there the man is, strolling through the camp. Amy and a newly returned Walt worry about the tape. She assumes it never made it to right people. In contrast to the camp’s horrors is the beauty of Chester and Luz getting married.
Don’t let these tender moments fool you. The yurei’s there amongst the happy witnesses during the wedding, taking hold of a woman called Dona Maria. Worse, there are sheriffs coming around to tell them about Luz’s father. There’s a photo of the crime scene. They don’t even know if he’s alive or dead. The yurei didn’t leave the corpse. Luz’s aunt is a “curandera,” connected to the spiritual world. By looking at a picture, they can “use the magic” to figure out if Luz’s father is dead.
Chester wonders if they could do it with his picture of Jirou.
There are drinks and party favours on the way to the camp. Bowen’s throwing a party to welcome Walt and others back, and to say goodbye to those who’ll be leaving soon. Amy increasingly becomes uncomfortable around the Major. Hard not to when he’s making her coffee, taking her on a drive to the middle of nowhere looking for a truck he claims broke down. There’s a truck after all. Doesn’t make poor Amy any more comfortable.
Auntie helps Chester conduct the ritual to discover whether his brother’s dead. “He will not know he is dead,” she says. The brother will appear as he was in the picture, only a boy. The curandera pours Chester tea. She recites some verse (you can find in this book on curanderismo). She invokes the power of nature to take him to the “realm of death.” This puts Chester into a shaky trance.
And he crosses to the other side.
In a dreamy playground at the park, Chester finds his brother, understanding he’s dead. The two of them talk about baseball. Jirou laments the other kids call him “cursed” because he’s always ill. A tragic, soul crushing moment. Chester turns it into more as they bond over a catch.
Except it sends him into a fit. Luz and Auntie have to wake him out of it.
Then Chester starts talking like his mother.
Yuko’s found Jirou. She’s backing him up into a sandbox at the playground. She hugs him tight, descending into the sand towards her “perfect world.” This releases Chester back into the magic circle. But his mother’s taken Jirou to that awful existential place beyond death. The boy’s ripped out of the picture back in the real world, too. Chester blames himself. This was the yurei’s plan all along.
Bowen’s party goes off and everybody’s having a great time. Could there be something wrong with the drinks? Amy finds herself not well. The last thing she sees before passing out is the Major. She wakes gagged and tied in a dark room underground. Bowen pontificates on obedience. He has the tape, as well. An old friend of Bowen’s intercepted it. Now Amy is at the whims of a xenophobic madman. First, he breaks one of her fingers.
The terror of Yuko keeps Chester frightened. He tells Luz about her coming back, in spite of them burning her corpse a whole two years ago. Dona Maria has definitely been possessed by the yureio. That could make for trouble. Chester goes looking at her place, where the food’s gone rotten. It appears nobody’s been around for days. He finds Dona dead, rotting like the food.
Bowen ironically— and in a very meta way— ruminates on the idea of ghosts in the camp. His interest piques when Amy tells him of the yurei. He gets angry, calling it “voodoo bullshit.” He loses concentration long enough for Amy to get out of her ties and smash him with a chair. She doesn’t take any chances and kills him.
It’s clear what Yuko’s seeking there in New Mexico.
Luz is pregnant. Dead grandma wants the baby. She has her other dead child Jirou back in that level of Hell where she wants to keep all her precious children. She wants them all to come live there, forever.
“I swear to God
this place is haunted”
One of Father Gore’s favourite episodes of Infamy, easily! Things took a while to truly get going after the wonderfully mysterious opening episodes. Everything’s really cooking with gas, alongside the historical changes which mirror some of the horror in certain ways. Things are getting SPOOKY.
“Come and Get Me” is next time.