The Camp In The Woods
As the series settles down, keeping the action glued to a solitary setting, the horror begins to creep in as Chester and the others find themselves consumed by the Japanese folklore. Although the ending hints at things being shaken up again, for now though The Terror delivers a decent episode, one with enough tension and horror to live up to the lofty heights of the original series.
We begin in May 1942 with the Japanese continuing to live their lives inside the camp. Chester snaps photos of the ensuing bleakness before speaking to Luz about the hard time the other women are giving her. She brushes it off though, continuing to walk around while Yuko spies them from a distance. After seeing first-hand the rotten crops, murmurs begin to spread around camp about curses before Henry returns, stumbling across the grass silently. Helped into his room, they soon learn the man is suffering from severe frostbite on his toes. As Chester scrambles for answers, Henry remains tight-lipped about where he’s been.
Later that day, a possessed Furuya murmurs “The Swallows” as he purposefully contorts his way into the room and chokes one of the men out. Chester scrambles to help as the rest of the Japanese watch on in stunned horror. Determined to find answers, Chester visits him in the middle of the night, where he pleads with the photographer to leave this place. As he questions just what this means, he learns Luz is in the infirmary where the doctor has refused to do an examination on her and the baby. After some convincing, he obliges, learning that all of this culminated from her falling thanks to a gust of wind; this immediately makes Chester question whether there’s something more sinister at work here.
Escorted out to the woods by a possessed soldier, Yuko appears before Furuya and he begs for his life. Sitting on top of him, she bites his tongue out while telling him the same thing he said to her outside the camp – that he looks exquisite. As whispers spread around the camp, a young child finds Furuya’s body in the woods and tells them a woman in a kimono was standing by him, ringing alarm bells for Chester. Realizing he needs to keep himself pre-occupied, he heads to the barracks and does some translation work for the army.
After proving himself to the guards, Chester is offered a job as an Intelligence Officer, where he finds himself on the cusp of being shipped out to Minnesota. Breaking the news to Luz, she hesitantly expresses her concerns. Chester leaves the barracks soon after, allowing his Mum to cut a handful of his hair incase he doesn’t return. A gust of wind accompanies his leaving though, followed by Luz feeling blood from the baby. As she heads to the barracks, the nurse attends to her unborn child and as the camera pans up, it’s revealed that the woman is actually Yuko.
With the setting and world building of the previous episodes taking a back seat, The Terror doubles down with its tension and creepy atmosphere, delivering the best episode of the series so far. With the watchful eyes of Yuko ever seeing and plenty of well implemented set pieces keeping the tension high, The Terror looks set to continue its deliciously dark tone going forward.
With Chester leaving the camp and heading for Minnesota, it’ll be interesting to see if the series will continue to cut between areas, much like the early episodes, and more importantly whether it can keep up the horror by doing this. Partly the reason this episode works as well as it does, is thanks to the isolated setting and it’s the same reason the first season of The Terror worked as well as it did. Whether The Terror can capitalize on this good work or not though, remains to be seen.