Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
The Terror was one of my favourite shows last year. The claustrophobic atmosphere, the choking paranoia and well-paced narrative complemented the mystery surrounding the real-life missing vessel perfectly and made it one of the more unique horror offerings on TV. Following that up with a second season of equal excellence was always going to be a tough ask for AMC. Despite some promise, The Terror: Infamy pales in comparison to its predecessor, running out of steam before the end of its 10 episode run and squandering what early potential it had with its suitably creepy premise.
Much like the first season, The Terror: Infamy draws on real-life supernatural cases, this time in the form of Japanese folk-lore surrounding the Yurei. This mysterious entity contorts its way from body to body, all the while relentlessly pursuing its victim. In the case of Infamy, that victim happens to be Chester. Against the backdrop of pre-World War II America, the narrative combines the undercurrents of racism and a country on the verge of war with supernatural horror and the results are mixed to say the least.
As America plunges into war and the Japanese are rounded up into camps, the human horror combines with the supernatural, at times complementing one another perfectly while other times struggling to seamlessly merge together. When the story slows down and allows the characters to really revel in the paranoia and tension in the camps early on, The Terror excels with its horror. Unfortunately, as the season wears on, the story reaches a dramatic spike around the 6th or 7th episode and never really recovers. Despite a nicely worked finale, it all feels a little too late in a season of mixed quality and results.
Despite its uneven pacing, the dialogue effectively blends Japanese and American well and the mixed cast offers something unique and different against the usual array of faces you’d expect from a show like this. The source material is clearly well-researched too and the time frame, along with the ideas explored, are thematically relevant and certainly avoid any anachronistic hiccups occurring through the 10 episodes.
Just like the first season, The Terror’s cinematography is impressively crafted and the score perfectly complements this. There are a few genuinely unnerving moments early on too, especially during the menace of the Yurei as Yuko flexes her psychic abilities. Beyond this though the show suffers from a lack of substantial horror or tension, instead feeling much more like a historical drama with elements of fear thrown in.
By any other name, The Terror would be a perfectly fine, average drama with a few pacing issues. As a follow-up tale to the first season of this critically acclaimed show, Infamy pales in comparison. With a third season renewal still hanging in the balance, whether this one will return and try to rekindle the early season successes remains to be seen but for now, Infamy limps over the finish line in disappointing fashion.