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The Terror: Infamy is a ten-part miniseries by AMC. Set during World War II, it centers on a series of bizarre deaths that haunt a Japanese-American community and a young man’s journey to understand and combat the malevolent entity responsible.

It stars Derek Mio, Kiki Suzekane, C. Thomas Howell, and George Takei.


"The Terror: Infamy" contains examples of:

  • Abandoned War Child: Chester's biological father was a soldier who died in WWI.
  • Adult Fear: Yuko had to leave her child in an orphanage when she could no longer feed him living on the streets.
  • Agony of the Feet: Henry comes back with toes so badly frost bitten that taking his boots off is excruciatingly painful.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Luz to an extent with one woman calling her a whore in Japanese, though other main characters make efforts to support her.
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  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: When Chester finally gets the chance to talk with Ota, he threatens to kill Chester's family and leaves him visibly shaken.
  • Arcadia: Luz's Abuela has a farm in New Mexico that is initially depicted as somewhat idylic... And then Yuko arrives.
  • Artistic License – Cars: Chester and Arthur get into a dramatic car crash when a jeep with a busted tire flips over to land them in a ditch after going over a small mound of dirt.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Mr. Grichuk, Henry's boss, is blatantly racist and forces Henry to hand over his hard-earned Packard. He's killed by the spirit when trying to set the Nakayamas' boat on fire, so it is unlikely that he will be missed.
    • Hideo Furuya who threw Yuko out onto the streets when they were married and he discovered that she was already pregnant.
    • The group of soldiers who were beating up Chester for being Japanese won't be missed after they're burned to death by a flamethrower.
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    • Amy kills Major Bowen after he has her boyfriend Ken Uehara killed, then ties her to a chair with plans to abandon her in dark underground room for recording a conversation in which he admits to having her boyfriend killed and sending it to the WRA.
  • Astral Projection: A curandero appears to use some version of this.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Happened to Henry with Chester.
    "When I held my boy in my hands all the cares of the world vanished."
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: To some degree, as Yuko greets Jirou in the afterlife the exact same way that Chiyo greeted her.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Zig-zagged; dialog in Japanese is subtitled, but writing is untranslated.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Leans a bit more on the sweet side. Although Henry dies and many people were killed when they were possessed by Yuko, her spirit is finally at peace and Chester and Luz's child is saved.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Not quite blood, but Toshiro is coughing up phlegm due to an illness going around the camp.
  • Body Horror:
    • Mrs. Furuya stabs herself in the ear with her hair ornament and the blood is displayed.
    • Chester imagines or hallucinates a loose thread on his shirt turning into a part of his slit wrist.
    • Yuko provides a neverending parade of it:
      • She sews her skin back onto her cheek after it peels off like paint.
      • She has black veins spreading across her face and her hair falling out with open sores on her head.
      • She's frequently shown looking normal with blood dripping from her hairline.
      • At the end of episode 4 she has rotting flesh and a dislocated jaw.
      • A decaying body wearing Yuko's kimono pulls herself out of a duffel bag using a horror backbend before approaching Chester to reveal a blackened rotting flesh.
      • Digging out of the spirit world and out of her grave... into her body that's been decaying for 21 years.
      • Yuko sews a new body together out of secondhand skin with visible stitch lines that she paints over, leaving the texture visible under a layer of makeup.
      • Yuko rips the skin off her cheek to get rid of the symbols Henry paints there.
  • Body in a Breadbox: Terajima brings a decaying body with him in his duffel bag.
  • Bride and Switch: Done before the weddings. Asako was originally supposed to marry Furuya and Yuko was supposed to marry Henry, but she had their papers switched when she found out that Furuya was cruel.
  • Broken Bird: Luz and Yuko.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Bowen, because confronting a malicious spirit in the middle of the night is a great idea.
  • Burying a Substitute: Asako cuts off a lock of Chester's hair to keep so "if Chester dies and there's no body, she can cremate the hair. Give him a proper burial."
  • Candlelit Ritual: The curandero involves a fire and a ring of candles around the participants.
  • Cat Scare: Chester sets up bells in doorways to have a warning is Yuko is coming. It leads to a false alarm when a rat chews on the ropes
  • Caught on Tape: Amy tries to expose Bowen but the tape falls into the hands of one of his friends.
  • Cherry Blossoms: Used to represent rebirth when Yuko walks out into a field of cherry trees when she returns to herself in a memory before everything went wrong.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Chester hears one in the middle of the night talking about the bombing of Hiroshima.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Bowen begins to think that people in the camp are after him after an encounter with Yuko. Though it's not clear if he was faking some of it.
  • Cool Old Guy: Yamato-san, Chester's grandfather, shares a story of catching an enormous tuna fish and, when it was still alive, killing it with one punch.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice: Yuko uses it quite a bit when treating Luz during her pregnancy. Chester gets one when Yuko possesses him.
  • Curtain Clothing: Chester gives Luz a maternity dress that a woman in the camp made out of rice sacks.
  • Dark Secret:
    • It quickly becomes apparent that several members of the older generation of the Terminal Islanders somehow know who and what Yuko really is. We finally find out in "Taizo" that she was Furuya's arranged bride, whom he threw out on the street after discovering she was pregnant from a prior affair. After giving up her baby Taizo for adoption she then committed suicide, with her child then being raised by Asako and Henry as Chester.
    • It turns out that Asako has another one on top of this. Namely that originally she was supposed to marry Furuya and Yuko was to marry Henry, but Asako convinced their father to switch things.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Luz and Chester name their son Henry.
  • Dead Guy on Display: In the first episode, the structure supporting a coffin is blown over and the dead woman it contains rolls out.
  • Dead Person Conversation:
    • Abuela tells Luz and Chester about a ritual called a curandero that can use a photo or an object to detect if someone is alive. Chester uses it to meet his brother.
    • Chester has one last conversation with his dad on the fishing boat where he gets to say goodbye.
  • Dedication: The series is dedicated to "the over 145,000 loyal Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians who were imprisoned by their own governments."
    • The credits in episode 10 show a montage of family members of the cast and crew who were inprisoned during WWII, which camps and/or branches of the military service they were in, and what years they were there.
  • Demonic Possession: Yuko often makes her victims move without their consent, sometimes with horrified expressions on their faces.
    • A guard at the camp named Nessler runs into Yuko and proceeds to throw himself off a guard tower.
    • Yuko possesses a nurse during Luz's delivery to oversee the birth of the twins.
    • Yuko makes the camp's doctor slice his own stomach open.
    • Furuya walks into the dining area and tries to strangle his son while talking about seeing swallows everywhere despite being blinded.
    • A soldier named Crittenden appears to be either this (from an unknown source) or severely brainwashed as the result of unspecified "psychological experiments" after being captured by Japanese troops in Guam.
    • A soldier named Terajima who is sent to the front as a translator.
    • A Japanese POW named Ota in episode 5 though he appears to have been faking it
    • Arthur at the end of episode 5
    • Yuko uses Asako to confront Chester in episode 6.
    • A doctor at the begining of episode 7 that Yuko uses to put her body back together before killing him.
    • Bowen when he confronts Yuko without knowing who she is.
    • Luz's father, Bart, so she can find out where Chester went before killing him.
    • Yuko attends Chester and Luz's wedding by possessing a family friend.
    • Yuko possesses Chester while he's undergoing the curandero.
    • The priest Luz and Chester try to have help them keep Yuko away from Luz's baby.
    • Luz and Chester's newborn baby
    • Abuela when Luz hands her the baby
    • Luz at the end of episode 9
    • Esperanza, the daughter of a family that stops to help Luz
    • Henry so he'll shoot Chester in the knee and himself in the stomach.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Chester has a mini existential crisis in episode 5 because he feels useless and unable to do anything for his family or country.
  • Dramatic Irony: For tearjerker purposes with Chester reading Luz's letter telling him about the twins and finally winning over Henry is intercut with the small funeral the family has for the twins with Luz laying despondent in her bed.
  • Dramatic Wind: Of the more sinister type.
    • Chester is caught by them repeatedly
    • Luz says she slipped on a flight of stairs because of one
    • Luz and Chester are disturbed by one as they kiss goodbye.
    • One of them, most likely caused Yuko Tanabe, blows over Masayo Furuya's casket, knocking her out of it.
    • Stan Grichuk is blown into the water and drowned by one, again most likely caused by Tanabe.
  • Dressing to Die: Yuko dresses in her kimono and fixes her hair when she prepares to bury herself.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Mr. Furuya is rendered blind in a sequence where his eyelids become bloody before his irises are clouded over.
    • Yuko makes Bart Ojeda impale himself through the eye on a fountain pen.
  • False Reassurance: Amy asks Bowen to be lenient to Ken because he was only trying to get help for people in the camp who were sick. He says he's taken that into consideration before he orders a group of soldiers to shoot Ken before he can try to leave the room he'd been holding Bowen hostage in.
  • Family Extermination: Yamato dreams of meeting a friend in the afterlife whose entire family died because they lived in Hiroshima.
  • Family of Choice: Asako and Henry become this for Luz with Henry embracing her and telling her to be safe when she leaves the camp.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Major Bowen
  • Flesh Golem: Yuko possesses a doctor to put her body back together using skin from other bodies after the family tries to burn her body in episode 6.
  • Food Chains: Averted, Yuko eats food in the afterlife but manages to escape anyway.
  • The '40s: The series starts in December 1941.
  • Friendly Enemy: Chester ends up having a conversation with Ota about how the latter played baseball in Japan, supposedly striking out Lou Gherig during the 1934 Japan Tour.
  • Friend or Foe: The way Japanese internment was rationalized, and directly invoked by American GIs when Chester is stationed in Guam as a translator.
  • Ghost Reunion Ending: Averted, though it is what Yuko intended.
  • Go Back to the Source: Chester uses a curandero to allow Yuko to return to herself before she left Japan.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Played with and ultimately played straight; Chester gives Luz an abortifacient and later, when he proposes to her, she admits that she is scared about it. Ultimately she does not take it and is shown several months pregnant in episode 2.
  • Granny Classic: Chester and Luz go to hide at her Abuela's house in New Mexico.
  • Happy Flashback: We see a flashback to Asako dressing Yuko for the photo used to arrange her marriage.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Unsettling bone cracking sounds accompany some of the movements when a spirit is in play.
  • Heroic BSoD: Luz experiences one after the death of her sons.
  • Historical In-Joke: The family hides in "government property, in the middle of New Mexico" and Chester meets a drunken Brit. talking about "little boy."
  • Hong Kong Dub: At the start of episode 3, most of the main characters are watching a western movie with Japanese audio and sound effects performed live.
  • I Am Not Your Father: Asako is actually Chester's aunt who came over to America with Henry to adopt him.
  • I Have No Son!: For a while, Henry refuses to refer to Chester as his son.
  • Ill Girl: A gender flipped version. Jirou says that he's always sick so the other kids say he's cursed.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Implied when Crittenden says "The weak are meat. The strong eat."
  • Immigrant Parents: Chester's parents immigrated from Japan.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: Luz
  • Impossible Task: Henry is asked to ice fish to prove he isn't a spy, despite having no knowledge of how to do it. He manages it, but possibly not without help.
  • I Never Got Any Letters: Played with. Luz refuses to read or reply to Chester's letters, and her dad sends them back to him unopened
  • I Regret Nothing: Asako says that she would switch papers with Yuko so she could avoid marrying Furuya again.
  • I Should Have Been Better: Chester about Luz and the twins, saying that if he'd known he was Yuko's son he could have protected them.
  • It's All My Fault: Akaso asks Yuko is she knows that "this was all my fault". Specifically, she's referring to how she swapped arranged marriages with her sister.
  • Justified Title: The title refers both to FDR's "Infamy Speech" in which he declared December 7, 1941 "as a date which will live in infamy," as well as the legacy of the internment camps.
    • Episode 5 "Shatter like a Pearl": a Japanese diary translated by Chester states that "We have no goals save that our bodies might shatter like glorious shards of pearl."
    • Episode 6 "Taizo": the title is revealed to be Chester's birth name.
  • Kill It with Fire: The approach the Nakayamas and Yamato-san take when trying to get rid of Yuko.
  • Kill the Host Body: Yamato-san says that destroying Yuko's body will cause her spirit to disappear as well.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • The color white is associated with death and mourning in Japanese culture.
    • Yuko turns the lights on in an unused building at the edge of the camp to lure people into investigating.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Chester is revealed to have a twin named Jirou, though this twin was nowhere to be seen in Yuko's flashbacks.
  • Lost in Translation: Not so much lost as confused; Arthur translates Tama as Jade, Chester translates it as Pearl.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Yuko appears to be partially motivated by getting her sons back.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Chester's biological mother is Yuko.
  • Mail-Order Bride: Asako says that Yuko was Furuya's "picture bride."
  • Man Bites Man: A Japanese POW named Ota bites the ear off an interrogator.
  • The Matchmaker: Luz's dad tries to do this to her, and she is understandably uninterested.
  • Monochrome Past: Chester meets his twin brother Jirou in a photograph of the later when he was 7 years old.
  • Must Make Amends: Accurately deconstructed. When leaving the camp, Asako and Henry are each given $25 (around $350 USD in 2019) as "reparations."
  • My Secret Pregnancy: Yuko reveals that she's pregnant after marrying Furuya in 1919. Justified in that she thought hiding it and going to America was her best chance.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Henry explains that the symbols they painted on Yuko's face would have kept her trapped in her physical body, but the fire burnt them off.
  • Nosy Neighbor: One turns in Chester and Luz when they try to hide and leave the state.
  • Now It's My Turn: Toshiro says that he wants to join the army because he's seen everyone around him die and now "all I want to do is kill."
  • Off Bridge, onto Vehicle: Chester jumps into a river to escape a truck taking him to another camp.
  • The Omniscient: Yamato somehow knows everything that happened with Amy and Major Bowen.
  • One Drop Rule: A soldier flat out says that anyone who has even "one drop of Japanese blood", they'll either be put in the internment camps or worse. He does this while he and his compatriots are forcing hospital workers to surrender children in their care to them. This is, sadly, quite true to history.
  • Parental Substitute: Played with, Yuko meets Chiyo, one of her ancestors, in the afterlife who says she's been longing for a child.
  • The Perfect Crime: Possibly, no one appears to have discovered that Amy killed Major Bowen. The finale shows that five years later Yamato-san and quite likely most of the others at the camp figured it out, but nobody with the War Relocation Authority ever did.
  • The Plague: An illness goes around the camp and both of the doctors get too sick to care for patients.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Invoked by Luz when she travels to the racetrack with Chester, justifying it by saying they have to lock her up too because she's pregnant with his baby.
  • Please Wake Up: Said by Asako when she finds Henry shot.
  • P.O.W. Camp: All Japanese-Americans were sent to various ones of the internment camp variety.
  • Protective Charm: Yamato-san has rice paper sutras with him in prison that he eats as protection against spirits.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Chiyo's daughter is trapped in the sand in the rock gardens and reached out to grab anyone who sets foot on it to drag them down with her.
  • Reading Tea Leaves: Chester has his read by Yuko.
  • Red String of Fate: In a similar symbolic way, Luz and Chester are draped in a large rosary during their wedding.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Yuko intended for Luz's twins, Enrique and Hikaru, to replace her own, Jirou and Taizo (Chester).
  • Revenge: Amy Yoshida was consumed with revenge against Major Bowen and got it, but admits to Yamato-san that it only left her empty. He tells her that it was him or her, and that she did the only thing she could.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator: To some extent. Jirou disappears from the photo after Yuko gets her hands on him.
  • Scenery Porn: The Japanese villa and garden in episode 6.
  • Screaming Birth: Played straight when Luz gives birth to her twins, and to her and Chester's son later on.
  • Seppuku: Chester gives Ota his knife back so he can commit suicide and preserve his honor rather than be taken to a POW camp in Guam.
  • Spooky Photographs: Chester takes them throughout the series.
  • Spy Speak: Chester figures out a letter from a Japansese soldier using the metaphor variety that has a location hidden in a poem.
  • Start of Darkness: The first half of Episode 6 shows Yuko's past in 1919.
  • Survival Mantra: Henry Nakayama repeating "I am not a spy. I'm a simple fisherman. I love this country." while held in a POW facility. The last part gradually becomes less and less emphatic and ultimately disappears as despair sets in.
  • Switch to English: Bowen tells Asako and Henry to speak in English when they're talking to Chester.
  • Take Me Instead: Chester plans to give himself up to Yuko so she'll leave his and Luz's son alone. More specifically, his big plan is to kill himself then have Rocillo use the cuaranderismo magic to have Yuko take a child version of his spirit.
  • That's an Order!: Averted. When guards threaten to shoot Chester if he walks out of the camp, he answers "If you want to shoot a sergeant in the back, that's ok with me, private." It doesn't work, he isn't shot but still gets beaten up and dragged back in.
  • That Man Is Dead: Invoked by Luz about herself before her pregnancy.
  • The Television Talks Back: Chester sees a character in a western movie telling him "you have to go" in the voice of Yoshida-san.
  • This Isn't Heaven: When she wakes up after jumping off a bridge, Yuko wonders if she's back in Japan but is actually in the afterlife constructed for her bloodline after she commits suicide
  • Time Skip: The series has quite a few. Some are indicated on screen with text at the bottom, others are done through visual clues (i.e. Luz's pregnancy), or rely on viewer knowlege of the war.
  • Tragic Monster: Yuko. She is Chester's biological mother, and she only wants to live in a perfect world with her son(s).
  • Tragic Stillbirth: The doctor says something about a problem with the umbilical cord causing Luz to lose both of her children at birth.
  • Trust Password: The Nakayamas and the Ojedas set up one in "Come and Get Me" with the Spanish nursery rhyme "Los Pollitos" to try to keep Yuko out so that she can't get Chester and Luz's baby. When they sing "Los pollitos dicen pio, pio, pio, cuando tienen hambre..." the person at the other end of the door is supposed to finish with "Cuando tienen frio." Unfortunately, Yuko somehow overhears the password, possesses the priest Father Ysidro, and uses it to get in.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Amy tells Yamato that she though she would feel better after killing Bowen, but it didn't change anything.
  • Vengeful Ghost: Yuko
  • Wartime Wedding: Chester and Luz.
  • Wedding-Enhanced Fertility: Luz reveals that she is once again pregnant at the end of episode 8 soon after she and Chester marry.
  • We Have Reserves: Walt Yoshida reveals that the all Japanese 442 infantry unit is being sent into situations deemed "too dangerous" for white soldiers.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Esperanza (a minor character introduced in episode 10) is made an orphan when Yuko possesses her and kills her parents. After showing the family where Yuko went, she disappears from the narrative.
    • Last we see of Jirou Tanabe, he is left sitting in Yuko's "perfect world," while Yuko now exists forever in a moment in time in which she was pregnant with both Chester/Taizo and Jirou.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Chester takes photos of everyone for the Obon festival some number of years after the final confrontation with Yuko, and it appears that he and Luz now have two younger twins.
  • Windmill Scenery: There's one on Luz's abuela's farm.
  • With Us or Against Us: Men in the camp are told to fill out a questionnaire about their loyalty to the US, and warned that not doing so will be seen as treason.
  • Woman in White:
    • Yuko is frequently seen wearing a white kimono (also see Light Is Not Good above).
    • Kids playing hide and seek spot "the ghost woman" Luz mourning for her babies standing in a river by the camp.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Invoked by Major Bowen when he's talking to Amy.
    "You're reasonable, but the rest of 'em... Holy Moses."
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The Terminal Island residents return to find that their homes have all been demolished and fenced off as "government property."

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