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TV Series Review

Here, there be monsters. But monsters come in many forms.

The Terror is a multitasking title, referring sometimes to the monsters that stalk its characters and at others to the emotion said characters feel—and sometimes trigger. But it also aims to inspire terror among its viewers.

Much like its network counterpart The Walking Dead, The Terror doesn’t just explore the fear of monsters, but rather the monsters that humans become when faced with that fear. Like FX’s American Horror Story, the stories it uses to explore this fear change with each passing season. And unfortunately, much like the history it’s based on, there are few heroes or happy endings.


Season 2 of The Terror, subtitled Infamy, follows the story of Chester Nakayama, the American-born son of Japanese immigrants living in California in 1941.

After Masayo Furuya, the wife of the town drunk, commits suicide, members of the Japanese community speculate whether she did it to escape domestic abuse or whether an angry spirit from their homeland is involved. But Chester knows it’s more than that: He asked the now-dead woman to make an herbal concoction for his pregnant girlfriend, Luz, so they could terminate the pregnancy. The guilt Masayo felt, Chester believes, was too much for her to bear.

While Chester wrestles with the guilt of what happened to Masayo, he also begins to wonder if there really could be spirits involved. First, he’s been having hallucinations since Masayo’s funeral. Then there’s Mr. Furuya, her abusive husband, who’s somehow blinded by the sun. And finally, there’s Yuko, the creepily mysterious Japanese prostitute who reads Chester’s fortune.

“You are a sparrow in a swallow’s nest,” says Yuko. She tells him that he is living in two worlds but is at home in neither, referring to his desire to be a normal American citizen without disrespecting his traditional Japanese family.

But before Chester can really contemplate what this prediction means, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and his entire community is forced into an internment camp. If he wants to help his community survive, he’ll have to solvethe mystery of the spirit haunting them and prove himself an American patriot.

Terrifying or Just Terrible?

This semi-historical horror drama brings history to light with a supernatural twist. It plays on the fear of the unknown while also giving us a glimpse into what terrible acts humans commit against each other when danger looms.

But while The Terror wants to put a bit of prestige sheen on the tried-and-tired monster yarn, the content we can see is the real beast, here. The camera rarely looks away from the horrors of this semi-historical drama. In Season 1, red blood rained down on the Arctic’s white snow with frequency, sometimes accompanied with bits of muscle and organs and brain. And Season 2 doesn’t seem to be much better, featuring everything from suicide and abortion to domestic abuse and internment camps—and that’s just in the first episode.

Although The Terror isn’t a gratuitous gore-fest, staggering aimlessly on for season after season (I’m looking at you, Walking Dead), it can often feel more real and terrifying given the historical aspects. Indeed, George Takei was brought on to the Season 2 production as a consultant for the Japanese internment camps since he spent three years in one as a boy. Dealing with real-life horrors of the past and present while adding in a supernatural twist certainly makes The Terror a fitting name.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

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Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Aug. 12, 2019: “A Sparrow in a Swallow’s Nest”
The Terror: May 14, 2018 "The C, The C, The Open C"
The Terror: April 23, 2018 "A Mercy"



Readability Age Range



Derek Mio as Chester Nakayama; Shingo Usami as Henry Nakayama; Naoko Mori as Asako Nakayama; George Takei as Nobuhiro Yamato; Cristina Rodio as Luz Ojeda; Miki Ishikawa as Amy Yoshida; Jared Harris as Francis Crozier; Tobias Menzies as James Fitzjames; Paul Ready as Henry Goodsir; Adam Nagaitis as Cornelius Hickey; Ian Hart as Thomas Blanky; Nive Nielsen as Lady Silence; Ciarán Hinds as John Franklin






Record Label




On Video

Year Published


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