“Taizo” finally provided a long-awaited explanation of its demonic threat in a gorgeous episode.
This recap of The Terror: Infamy Season 2, Episode 6, “Taizo”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
“Taizo” is a story of two halves. The first begins on Terminal Island, in San Pedro, California, in 1919. Yuko (Kiki Sukezane) is married to a man (Eiji Inoue) but already pregnant to another; horrified and insulted by her revelation, her new husband casts her out. A year later, in Los Angeles, she is forced to abandon the child, whom she carries around in a wooden box, to a convent of kindly nuns. Considering herself worthless for being unable to provide for and raise her child, she weighs herself down with stones and prepares to commit suicide.
On the bridge from which she plans to jump, she meets a woman who seems to understand her plight. After she throws herself from the bridge and sinks to the bottom of the river, she awakens in the same woman’s idyllic garden, where a groundskeeper rakes patterns into the sand. Peering over the bridge into the garden’s stream, Yuko sees a floating corpse. When she attempts to run, she begins to sink into the sand, pulled deeper by necrotic arms.
Saved by her mysterious benefactor, she is told she is dead. This garden paradise is reserved for members of her bloodline, and is where she will stay; there is no way out. When Yuko attacks the woman, she simply reappears. Only there is a way out. Confronting the motherly woman about her own daughter, the ghoul beneath the sand, Yuko tricks her into stepping on the hungry sand, and she is pulled into a Hell by the daughter she was ashamed enough of to kill. Yuko forces her way through the earth and emerges a rotten husk.
The second half of “Taizo” picks up 21 years later. Chester (Derek Mio) returns to the Colinas de Oro War Relocation Center to discover that Luz (Cristina Rodlo) has been taken away by her father and that their children are dead. The prisoners in the camp believe he carries a spirit with him, which is true. When he embraces his mother (Naoki Mori) she becomes possessed by Yuko; they argue, and through Asako, Yuko declares her no mother at all, but a thief. Asako chokes Chester almost to death, referring to him as Taizo before she eventually collapses.
Asako and Henry (Shingo Usami) finally reveal why Yuko is so interested in Chester: She’s his mother; Asako’s sister. When he was abandoned, Asako took him in. This is the first scene in the entirety of The Terror: Infamy in which Derek Mio has shown genuine emotion. It was, to some extent, worth the wait for answers to have them finally be delivered so cuttingly.
In the camp, Yuko lays in a grave with a baby but awakens in her garden without it. Only those of her bloodline can be taken there. Finding her body in the grave, Chester takes it to Yamato-san (George Takei), who explains that spirits require a host body. By destroying it, they can prevent Yuko from returning. Asako is initially reluctant but sees the necessity in the act, so Yuko is daubed with kanji, bound in barbed wire, and soaked in petrol. When Chester sets her ablaze, her garden itself begins to burn down. In the final shot of “Taizo” pale footprints can be seen leading out of the ashes.
It took a while, but The Terror: Infamy finally delivered on its supernatural explanations, and it did so in a gorgeous-looking hour. I’m sure people will still have some issues, and I myself have a few niggles that would probably bother me if I thought about them more, but for now, I’m just relieved. I was happy to take in the stylishness of the answers the show provided and not think about them too much. It might not have been scary, but it was, for once, pretty satisfying. I’ll take that.