The Terror: Infamy – Shatter Like a Pearl Review
On this week’s episode of The Terror: Infamy, Shatter Like a Pearl, Chester (Derek Mio) is reeling from the loss of his children as he deals with a prisoner that takes him to the edge and things at camp take a rough turn as Luz (Cristina Rodlo) is also dealing with loss and the Japanese Americans are forced to either swear their allegiance or face the consequences.
As we catch up with Chester, we see the fallout from the previous episode as Chester is broken by the news of his sons dying during birth. However, at camp, Chester has more important things to worry about as a Japanese prisoner, Ota (Kazuya Tanabe), taunts and haunts Chester about his past. The performance from Tanabe is excellently terrifying and presents a more physical threat to Chester that hasn’t been seen much this season. He perfectly has viewers on the edge of their seat as Chester questions whether or not he is the yurei coming to kill him and then expertly switches gears to a more human side as Chester learns that he’s no spirit, but a man in search of honor and understanding. Personally, the whole “debate” if Ota was a spirit was a little pointless for me as a viewer as they showed in the beginning of the episode that the yurei was coming in a different form, but the conversation between Ota and Chester was far from pointless.
Once the air is clear of any thoughts of spirits, the two begin to learn about one another and it makes Chester start to question who and what “the enemy” actually is. As the two open up about their past with Chester talking about losing his sons and Ota talking about how he used to be a baseball pitcher, they begin to realize that, in some ways, they’ve been pitted against one another. The revelation they have about one another as Chester realizes the book he thought contained codes actually contains the names of Ota’s teammates, in which some of them are dead, and Ota realizes how hard it must be for Chester to be in the position that he’s in has some emotional power behind it. It ends on a heavy note with Ota committing seppuku/harakiri in order to have an honorable death and telling Chester his birthday in order to give him some information to give the soldiers. This interaction is definitely one of the strongest of the show with Mio and Tanabe giving great performances.
Things aren’t much better back at camp with Luz internally decimated from the loss of her sons and the Japanese Americans are forced to swear their allegiance to the U.S. by Major Bowen (C. Thomas Howell), but at the cost of their honor. Although the group has been pretty respectful of the soldiers thus far, Bowen makes every Japanese American in the camp swear an oath of allegiance that makes each person swear off any loyalty or honor to Japanese Emperor. On paper, this doesn’t seem like a big deal and, just as Amy (Miki Ishikawa) says to Ken (Christopher Naoki Lee), it’s just two questions, however there are deeper implications to this seemingly simple task. Imagine the roles are reversed and you are forced to basically swear off your country and pronounce that you are no longer loyal to them – the amount of scrutiny you would face would be insurmountable. You would basically be labeled as a traitor and have it thrown in your face regardless if you were making that choice for survival.
This is the debate that the Japanese Americans must face and a choice that could drive Amy and Ken apart. Although Ken and most of the other Japanese American inhabitants hold very traditional values, Amy doesn’t see things the same way and makes a choice that could greatly affect her relationship with Ken. Because of her decision to change his answers so that he can stay, Ken partly resents her as he now looks bad for protesting the questioning and then not following through on his word. It’s actually an interesting conflict that reflects their different mindsets that I’m excited to see play out over the rest of the season. I do think that it could’ve been interesting to see what Yamato (George Takei), Henry (Shingo Usami), or older inhabitants thought with their more traditional beliefs and while this could be something that comes up in future episodes, it would’ve been nice to see play out while the conflict was hot.
We also catch up with Luz as she silently suffers and is given a chance to leave the camp. The moments with Luz just standing around with a broken spirit are easily the most heartbreaking moments of the episode. With her father (Ruben Garfias) taking her out of the camp, we get another warming moment as Henry consoles her just before she leaves and she gives a thing, not fully sure what it is, to Asako (Naoko Mori) to give back to Yuko (Kiki Sukezane). Thankfully, though, Luz’s story won’t end here as previews for the next episode show that her connection to the supernatural are about to become a big part of the second half of the season. Speaking of Yuko and the supernatural elements of the show, the paranormal horrors of The Terror: Infamy take a break with Shatter Like a Pearl. I think it’s a nice break to let the fallout of the previous episode happen and focus on the more emotional aspects of the characters. However, it’s not too long of a break with a great end episode cliffhanger of what seems to be Yuko, or something like her, contacting Chester and leaving viewers on edge until next week.
Shatter Like a Pearl gives viewers a break from the paranormal aspects of the show and strongly focuses on characters attempting to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. The episode is a strong character study that contains some deep emotional and cultural thought that showcases why The Terror: Infamy is so strong.