This The Terror review contains spoilers.
The Terror Season 2 Episode 5
Last week’s episode of The Terror: Infamy was a turning point, and it feels like the season as a whole has finally come into its own with “Shatter Like a Pearl,” an exciting and scary episode that focuses in on the series’ most captivating storylines. If the first three episodes felt like a bit of a slog, especially for horror fans hoping for a tone and atmosphere similar to the first season, then Infamy‘s fifth hour is a rollercoaster ride full of severed ears, walking corpses, and yurei.
“Shatter Like a Pearl” steps into these more traditional horror sequences elegantly, weaving a story about loss and racial tensions throughout. Always excellent is Cristina Rodlo as the grief-stricken Luz Ojeda, or “the ghost woman,” as the children call her while she stands looking at the faces of her children in the pond. The sequence of her digging into the muddy water in her ghostly nightgown is beautifully shot and heart-wrenching.
Her story comes full circle in the worst way. If there was any part of her that wanted to end her pregnancy in the first episode, she gets her wish now, and Luz is left with only remorse over what could have been. Henry running after Luz to say a proper goodbye as she leaves Colinas de Oro is also a tearjerker.
I do hope Rodlo isn’t completely done this season, as she’s been a major highlight of the Infamy since its uneven pilot. Even when the show has felt like a chore, Rodlo has stolen every scene she’s in. It’ll be nice to see Luz and Chester reunite, even if it’s for some terribly sad business. And what did Luz leave for Chester in that letter? We’ll likely find out soon enough, as Chester’s situation goes from bad to worse.
Derek Mio carries much of the episode’s yurei-filled storyline, as he comes face to face with first a fake yurei and then the very real thing. Chester’s scenes with Taiga Seiya’s Lt. Ota are scary and powerful, even if their relationship ends in a predictable way. Seiya’s impression of a yurei, manipulative and otherwordly, is spectacularly creepy, as he first tries to get Chester to unravel before finding common ground with the American through baseball.
The question of allegiance to one’s country is one that’s brought up often on this show, even in the first season, and “Shatter Like a Pearl” expertly weaves that question throughout the episode, both back at the camp and in the Pacific. Chester’s decision to allow Ota an honorable death makes sense — there’s a kinship between these two men, a heritage deeper than any flag — even if the aftermath doesn’t make much sense. Is it believable that Colonel Stallings (Reed Diamond) wouldn’t suspect Chester of foul play? Seemed to me like the show conveniently brushed that storyline under the rug.
But if the Colonel didn’t suspect Chester of something before, he does now. The yurei possesses Ogawa (Marcus Toji) and sends Chester on a one-way trip into a ditch. Ogawa seemingly dead and Chester in bad shape, we finally reunite with Yuko, who assumes her most grotesque form yet as she crawls out of a duffel bag, a bendy decomposing corpse reaching for Chester in the final seconds of the episode. Does she mean to possess him?
If I have one nitpick about the episode, it’s that the show still hasn’t really established the rules of how Yuko/the yurei works. She can possess people but also has this undead corporeal form that she needs to drag across the world for reasons unknown. And why did she begin to decompose like that after the babies’ deaths? What does this have to do with the men she’s already killed? How does this all tie together? This plotline is still more questions than answers. As The Terror: Infamy kicks off its second half next week, hopefully we’ll start to get some real answers.