"All the Demons Are Still in Hell" in a Rushed Episode of 'The Terror: Infamy'
If I could offer one piece of advice to The Terror: Infamy it would be this: slow down. The second episode of the latest season of AMC’s spooky – and now disturbingly timely – anthology series moves at a mad dash. I’m not talking pacing, either. Rather, episode 2 – “All the Demons Are Still in Hell” – constantly feels as if it’s in a rush, bustling its characters from one location and plot point to the next. Perhaps this is meant to reflect the mental state of the characters, who are being kicked out of their homes and shuffled from one location to another. But as a result, the show is not letting its viewers have enough time to digest what they’re being fed.
I Am Not a Spy
While Chester’s father Henry is locked-up god knows where, Chester, his mother Asako, and all the other Japanese residents of Terminal Island are being forcibly removed from their homes. Chester is understandably furious about this, calling the order “bullshit” while wondering just where the hell his father is. As for Henry, the episode opens with him in a dark cell, muttering “I am not a spy…I love this country,” over and over again. It’s a haunting kick-off, with Henry’s words scored to the sounds of someone screaming somewhere. These little moments are what continue to make The Terror: Infamy worth watching, and “All the Demons Are Still in Hell” could use more of them. Shingo Usami‘s delivery of his “I am not a spy” mantra is heartbreaking, as is Naoko Mori, as Asako, line when she takes one last look at her former home on Terminal Island: “I did not think that I would like it here at first.” It’s simple, but the heartbreak in Mori’s voice is palpable.
From here, though, “All the Demons Are Still in Hell” starts rushing around, forcing characters to deliver awkward exposition to catch each other up on the plot. In their secret prison (it’s later revealed to be in North Dakota), Henry and Yamato-san (Geroge Takei, who is doing great work on this show) both begin to suspect that an Obake – a shape-shifting creature from Japanese folklore – is plaguing them. They even have a suspect: super cheerful fellow prisoner Nick Okada. Of course, it’s easy to guess that Nick isn’t a shape-shifting ghost. He – unlike Henry – is a spy trying to dig up dirt on the other inmates for the DOJ. Understandably, Henry, Yamato-san, and others don’t take kindly to this and proceed to leave poor hapless Nick out on very thin ice. Sorry, Nick – character we just met and will likely never see again. We hardly knew ye.
Something Has Followed Us
Luz, Chester’s former girlfriend, is still pregnant with their child, having decided not to abort it. Chester discovers this and is caught off guard, and wants to try yet again to have a life with Luz. But Luz remains stand-offish and takes a job at an orphanage. However, her very brief stint in the orphanage gives her a front-row seat to what’s going on with Chester, his family, and other Japanese-Americans. Soldiers come stomping into the orphanage and demand to take any children with “Jap blood” in them – including babies. It’s impossible to watch this scene and separate it from current events at the border, and that’s another element that continues to make Infamy worth paying attention to. The entire disturbing scene is highlighted by Luz’s attempt to comfort one of the children being hauled away: “These people are on our side,” she tells the child – a line that rings immediately hollow as the child is roughly hauled away.
The relocation orders are aimed at anyone with any Japanese blood in them – and that would include Luz and Chester’s baby. Chester and Luz decide it’s time to get the hell out of here, even as Chester’s mother and others are being kicked out of a motel and forced to live in smelly horse stables. Chester and Luz try to take shelter at Chester’s photography professor’s home. But before they – and we – have a chance to get settled, they’re ratted out by a nosy neighbor and hauled off by the FBI. They end up right back at the stables, where Luz is awkwardly welcomed by Asako, who has only just learned about her son’s pregnant girlfriend. It should be noted that Luz could have avoided this – “We’re only concerned about the Japanese!” the FBI tells her. But as she points out, she’s carrying a Japanese baby and insists on going along with Chester.
As if all of this forcible relocation weren’t bad enough, the mysterious, ghostly Yuko is stalking around the stables, giving everyone hard stares and throwing off extremely bad vibes. Case in point: Mr. Yoshida, the father of Chester’s friend Amy, spots Yuko lurking and recognizes her. “Yuko!” he cries. “How did you…?” He immediately cuts his own thought off by screaming at Chester: “You have to go!” Mr. Yoshida then promptly snatches a gun from a guard and marches towards other guards, who proceed to gun him down in front of everyone. It’s undeniably chilling – and leaves everyone (including us) confused. “There’s evil all around you,” Mrs. Yoshida tells Chester.
There’s not much time for Chester to reflect on this because he and the others are soon being rounded up yet again, this time to the Colinos de Oro internment camp. As Chester and his family are marched into their new “home”, the camera pans up and settles on an American flag billowing in a harsh wind. It’s perhaps the most chilling shot in the entire episode, a stark, unsubtle reminder of this country’s past sins.
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