REVIEW: ‘The Terror: Infamy,’ Episode 3 – Gaman

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Episode 3 - Gaman

If you haven’t been watching AMC’s The Terror: Infamy, the second season of the horror anthology series, then you are missing some of the best horror on television. Utilizing history and Kaidan, the Japanese horror subgenre of ghost stories, The Terror: Infamy tells the story of Chester Nakayama (Derek Mio) during the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Last episode, Chester set out to help save Luz (Cristina Rodlo) and their unborn child from the camps, but unfortunately, they’re caught and sent to the camp to join his mother and the other Terminal Islanders. Running parallel to Chester’s story is that of his father Henry (Shingo Usami). Accused of being a Japanese spy, Henry is sent to a camp in North Dakota. While there, the old men in the camp begin to fear the bakemono, a shapeshifting evil spirit. That very spirit leads to the death of the patriarch of the Yoshida family at the camp.

Now, in episode three, “Gaman,” the Terminal Islanders struggle with adjusting to their new surroundings and Chester searches for a way to provide for his family. As the evil that is following him intensifies, Chester begins to believe in the bakemono and attempts to escape it by providing for his family. With the memory of Yoshida-san’s death weighing on him from the opening of the episode to the end, Chester has to confront the mistreatment in the camps, Luz’s pregnancy, and his father’s return.

“Gaman” centers on duality. For Chester, he must make a decision: to join the military or remain in the camp with no source of income. There is nothing simple in this choice. Joining the military means joining the force that sees him, his family, and other Japanese Americans as less than human, and one that his enacted violence on his community. But staying in the camp means letting his family’s future disintegrate.

One of the other dualities that has marked the series thus far is the monsters. Last episode, we saw a glimpse into Henry’s mistreatment while imprisoned. Now we see the results. Suffering both physical and psychological trauma, Henry is no longer afraid of the bakemono or any other spirits that have followed the Terminal Islanders to America.

Episode 3 - Gaman

While Asako (Naoko Mori), his wife, explains that they are protected from evil now, attempting to calm his traumatic stress, he responds “it may protect us from spirits but not the human evil.” The monsters as The Terror: Infamy has shown, are in the camp, but not as a shapeshifter. They are the guards on orders from the US government.

Gone is the Henry from episode one who urged Chester to be the most American he can be by joining the military. Now, eyes opened to the cruelty, Henry is disappointed by his son. A shell of who he was before he was taken, he lashes out at those around him. He is unable to take the searchlights blaring through the window or trust anyone around him who isn’t a Nakayama.

Watching the deterioration of Henry is its own horror, one that is real and lasting, as intergenerational trauma for many Japanese Americans is still felt today. And while this is happening, Chester has to watch, unable to help and scared of the evil that follows him and hurts those around him.

On the other side of the “Gaman,” outside the historical horror, lies the ghost story. This episode turns up the traditional horror to 11 as the bakemono emerges to claim another life, this time herself and not through a proxy like last episode. Possession, anger, violence, and blood all make an appearance this episode.  In “Gaman” we begin to see the traditional Japanese horror formula of Kaidan stories with a connection between the group of old men, Furuya (Eiji Inoue), Yoshida-san, Henry, and Yamato-san (George Takei) and the bakemono is revealed.

Overall, “Gaman” is another strong episode in the series. It brings an exploration of trauma as time in the camps weighs on and changes the characters. It’s only episode three, but I feel like I have spent an entire season with our main characters Henry and Chester. While I want to see more from Asako and Luz, I know it’s coming. After the events of this episode, both human and bakemono created, I’m scared for everyone.

New episodes of The Terror: Infamy premiere every Monday night 9/8 CST on AMC.

Photo Credit: Ed Araquel/AMC

The Terror: Infamy,' Episode 3 - Gaman
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Overall, “Gaman” is another strong episode in the series. It brings an exploration of trauma as time in the camps weighs on and changes the characters. It’s only episode three, but I feel like I have spent an entire season with our main characters Henry and Chester. While I want to see more from Asako and Luz, I know it’s coming. After the events of this episode, both human and bakemono created, I’m scared for everyone.