The Terror: Infamy Episode 8 My Sweet Boy-Review and Recap-What Is A Curandera?
The weak and the strong reversed fortunes as those desperate to hold onto what they have collided with those intent on holding tight to the hope of a promise.
Like any good ghost story, The Terror-Infamy has built tension slowly. The kind of deep dread that chills the bones and makes the pulse race has been a trademark of this season. There has not been any blood-soaked kills or cheap jump scares just the kind of breath-catching fear that sticks with you. More than anything else Showrunner Alexander Woo has banked on this season’s ability to creep up on you and show sympathetic monsters, ignorant beasts, and horrible grief all through the lens of horror. Two contrasting stories were told this week. Those previously meek found their voices and those in power got a taste of their own medicine all while Yuko continued to hunt her sweet baby boys.
As weeks become months and eventually years Chester and Luz find their way back to one another. Even after all the pain and loss in their past, love has found a way. In contrast, Yuko’s obsessive love is a warped version of what it should be. Content only to have her charges back, she has none of the commitment a true parent would. Selfish instead of selfless, distorted by pain, mental illness, and anger she doesn’t care who or what she hurts as long as her children accompany her in paradise. Luz’ family has welcomed Chester into their home and their heart. Her Abuella has accepted him as a part of the family. A beautiful but simple wedding is held in the old barn marking the return of Yuko the possessor into Chester’s life. Yuko has possessed Nona Maria in an effort to be close to Chester and Luz. The wedding scene is important both in heavy religious iconography, but also imagery. The clear call back to the manger story in the Christian Bible is vivid. The melding of beliefs is profound given the sentiment in America at the time.
A clever mixing of religion, folklore, and cultural magic sets up a sepia dream-state between Chester/Taizo and his twin as a child. Luz’ Abuella is a Curandera. Cunderaismo is an old Mexican magic that can be used for healing especially with those cursed or hexed. Typically, more of a shaman healer than a supernatural witch, Curanderas have the ability to diagnosis illness, ward off the “evil eye”, and encourage fertility. It will be interesting to see if we may eventually have a showdown between Luz’ Abuella and Yuko. Also interesting to note is the news that Luz may have this ability lying dormant. Her mother was a practitioner and she may be as well especially if her baby is in danger.
The ceremony to prepare Chester to find his twin is lit by fire and candlelight. The scene is grounded in the best way with the elements of the natural world front and center. That focus on fire, earth, and water is offset by the monochromatic world Chester meets his brother in. The coloring is effective in conveying the otherness of the world, while not being distracting. It also rings true with Yuko who essentially lost all hope and happiness when she surrendered her children. Now that she has used Chester to find Jirou she has one half of her perfect family in her self-made paradise. His falling through the sandbox into Yuko’s world is instantly reminiscent of the “Sunken Place” in Jordan Peele’s Get Out. A space that robs you of your identity and control just as Jirou no longer has any control over his afterlife. With Luz’ reveal at the end of the episode, and the bassinet waiting empty in Yuko’s world it’s obvious who Yuko intends on filling it with.
The second big storyline answered our questions about Amy’s taping of Major Bowen last episode and the aftermath. She did indeed set that trap and sent the tape to Washington in hopes of exposing him for the monster he is. Unfortunately, he is very connected and the “good ole boy” network watches out for each other. With her brother back to recruit soldiers from the ranks of young men in camp she begins to let her guard down as Major Bowen slowly works on her defenses. C. Thomas Howell does his best work showing the cunning depravity that Bowen’s casual racism hides. He may play the amiable buffoon, but he is calculated and capable of anything when threatened. Last week showed just how far he was willing to go to maintain control. This week we saw just how patient he could be as well.
Amy who has never been anything but compliant prior to last week showed her grit escaping from Bowen’s bonds. Surprising both the viewer and Bowen she not only escaped but killed him. Whether she can hide the murder remains to be seen, but at least one less snake is in the pen.
With the promise of new work and sponsors some of those held in camps are being let out eventually. As early as early Spring 1942 the effort to get “loyal” Japanese out of camps began. First, through private efforts aimed at educating the young, and secondly, by seasonal employers who needed someone to tend crops.
By the end of 1942 relocation had begun in earnest but the process was extremely difficult as employment sponsors from outside the camps were necessary, along with arduous FBI background checks, and proof of education or jobs were needed as well. Many chose to stay in camp instead of risk the anti-Japanese sentiment in the outside world. Chester’s parents were lucky and brave enough to file their paperwork. They will be leaving camp soon, but as a broken family. Henry harbors resentment against Chester for his abandonment, but Asako is a mother who only wants what’s best for her child. Her unwavering love stands in opposition to Yuko who knows only the emptiness of loss.
All season long a tale of two evils has been developing. Which is worse the vengeful ghost who has become so twisted by loss she is is forced to walk the Earth forever searching for her lost family, or the human reality of bigotry, unchecked power, and ignorance? As once weak characters find their voice and true evil circles, who will step up? With only two episodes remaining time is running out for our mistreated protagonists.