This review contains spoilers.
The Terror: Infamy delivers another stunning episode with Taizo, an hour that brings Yuko’s grim past to light. Finally, we get the answers we’ve been searching for all season and they don’t disappoint. In fact, Taizo solves so many of the season’s mysteries that I’m left wondering what’s next?
The not-so-unpredictable payoff of the episode is that Chester is Yuko’s son, whom she had to give up to an orphanage after Furuya-san, ever the douche, left her out on the streets. Chester has gone through a lot in the past few weeks, and he’s understandably upset when his adoptive parents reveal the truth. Still, I felt it was pretty unfair of Chester to hurt Henry the way he did, but the two have had a contentious relationship throughout the season and this was all of their tension coming to a head.
We don’t get to see Chester reunite with Luz, which is a shame. I assume that reunion will come later, as I doubt the show is completely done with Cristina Rodlo, who’s been fantastic on this show.
Equally fantastic is Kiki Sukezane, who shows us so many different sides of her character, from the helpless newlywed to craftly homeless mother to undead horror. For a ghost story, Infamy has been remarkably grounded so far, forgoing more traditional scares for heartwrenching drama… until now. Taizo takes us to the afterlife, or at least Yuko’s version of it.
After jumping from a bridge to her death, Yuko wakes up in the idyllic Japanese estate. The mysterious woman who watched Yuko commit suicide is now caring for her, but there’s more to Yuko’s seemingly happy ending than meets the eye. Yuko’s odd caretaker is actually one of her ancestors, a woman named Chiyo (played brilliantly by Natsuki Kunimoto), who has created a sort of limbo between life and death for herself. We learn that she’s been stuck on this estate ever since her death as punishment for (it is implied) killing her child in life. Now that Yuko has died and joined her in this place, Chiyo’s plan is to keep her there.
These afterlife scenes provide the show’s very best horror imagery to date, as the decomposing dead reach through the carved sand and Yuko claws herself out of her grave. I absolutely loved the juxtaposition between the beautiful setting and the horrors waiting beneath.
After punishing Chiyo for her crime, one Yuko can’t possibly forgive as a mother who was forced to give up her own child, she chooses to return to the realm of the living – in an excellent sequence where her rotten body contorts to its feet in the light of a passing truck – to get her Taizo back. All of these sequences were absolutely inspired.
So, what is Yuko’s plan? To take her child back to the grave with her so that she can finally have peace. She tries this with another woman’s baby, diving into a grave with an infant in her arms the same way she jumped to her death. When this doesn’t work, and she’s once again alone in the afterlife, she knows that she needs Chester. But the Nakayamas have their own plans.
Finally, we get to see George Takei get his hands dirty, as the superstitious Yamato-san is the only one who knows how to perform the exorcism necessary to destroy the yurei once and for all. Takei has been severely under-utilized on this show, which initially made a big deal about his involvement, so it’s great to see him perform such an important role in tonight’s episode, even if his efforts are in vain.
Taizo closes with Yuko’s footsteps leading away from the ashes. With four episodes left to go, this yurei is not quite done yet, and for the first time all season, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
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