As all seems lost, Henry and Asako must look to the past to provide answers to their current turmoil. Chester and Luz grapple with their identities in hopes of saving those who are dearest to them. Amy and Yamato-san struggle to once again assimilate to American life.
Yamato-san stands alone on a long dirt road. He approaches a man carrying an umbrella. The man waves to him and shouts his name. "Kazu?" asks Nobuhiro. "Is that you?" He smiles at him, saying it's been seventy-five years. Kazu says it's remarkable that they've been reunited in the afterlife. Yamato-san frowns. "The afterlife?" he asks. "Of course," he realizes, but says that he doesn't recall, asking if he just arrived. "You and I both," agrees Kazu. Yamato-san asks what became of him. He tells him that his father decided to move to Hiroshima. He started working for the railway at 16 and stayed there for 50 years. He married in Hiroshima and had two children, three grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Yamato-san looks, and sees that they are now all standing behind Kazu. He is shocked, asking if he's seeing his entire family. "They're all in the afterlife?" At the end of the row of family, a child turns to show her full face, badly disfigured. Yamato-san awakes with a gasp.
Outside where he is sleeping, there is the sound of fireworks, screaming and cheering. A woman asks if it's the Fourth of July and another says that it's August. Yamato-san says that he'll go out to look, but the second woman warns him to not go out alone. He starts heading out anyway and the two women follow. They beg him to slow down. Outside, there are cheering crowds, confetti and, indeed, fireworks. Everyone is waving small American flags. Yamato-san asks one of the crowd what is going on. "We did it," replies the man. "We got 'em! We bombed the Japs! They'll have to surrender." As everyone parades around, Yamato-san and the two women can only stare.
Yuko Tanabe, possessing the body of Luz Ojeda, continues her slow night-time walk along a New Mexico road, humming to Luz's newborn baby boy. A truck approaches her and the driver honks the horn. A woman in the truck asks her if she needs help. Luz/Yuko turns to the woman, asking "Aguayo?" The man driving says that they can take her there. They let her in and introduce their daughter, Esperanza. Esperanza smiles at her.
Chester and the others arrive back at the homestead of Luz's abuela, Rocio. Hector approaches, asking what happened. As they get the badly injured Rocio out of Henry's Packard, Henry explains that Yuko found them and took Luz and the baby. As part of the group splits off to get Rocio inside, Chester asks Hector if they can borrow his truck. He agrees, suggesting that he come with them. Henry tells him to stay with his grandmother. He returns to the car, and finds a number of the paper wards with Japanese symbols that Luz created to ward off Yuko. Hector warns Chester to watch out for military, that it's no place for Japanese folks so close to Los Alamos. Chester asks him if something happened, in the war. He asks if he knows where Hiroshima is.
As Henry and Asako drive around looking for Luz/Yuko, Asako comments that she had schoolmates from Hiroshima. She visited there as a child. She ruminates about so many losing their lives on the same day, then tells Henry to stop. Henry says that both Luz and the baby are alive, so there's still hope. Asako tells him that she can no longer see anything, only darkness. She explains that she confessed to Yuko how she switched who they were to get married to. She tells him that Yuko became crazed with anger when she heard that, wanting to tear her to shreds. Henry asks why she didn't and Asako admits she doesn't know. She says that if they find her, Yuko will kill her. She's sure of it.
Chester, driving on his own and searching, listens to a radio broadcast explaining that at 8:15 A.M., the United States detonated a bomb over Hiroshima. It was reportedly the largest bomb in human history. He switches the channel and puts on some music. He imagines dancing with Luz to the music, when suddenly he sees her walking in the roadway. He stops the car and gets out, calling "Yuko-san?" He points a gun at her, saying he knows it's her and demanding she give him the baby. He snatches the bundle she's holding, only to discover that it's empty. As he does so, she collapses to the ground. He rouses her. "The yurei," she tells him. "She's taken him." He asks where, and she tells him "In the car."
That morning, Henry and Asako arrive back at the homestead. They find the car there - with the man and woman lying inside, possibly dead, and the girl Esperanza missing. Esperanza/Yuko enters a shack painted inside with Japanese characters, humming to the baby. She raises a cloth to reveal a body - the new body that was created for her after her old one was burned. She lays the baby within one of the body's arms, placing the other across it.
Yamato-san and Amy Yoshida sit together, Amy saying that the world is falling apart and everyone is celebrating. She tells him that she once wanted revenge, that it consumed her. She thought getting it would ease things, but she didn't feel any better. He tells her that Major Bowen wanted to kill her, that it was either him or her. She did the only thing she could. She stutters, asking how he knew, but he hushes her. He says that only their people know, that it's alright. If the WRA hadn't found out by now, they're not going to. He tells her it's easy to want vengeance. It's as natural as death. She asks about him. He tells her that her cried more coming back from camp than he did at the camp. All they had (at Terminal Island) was gone.
Luz begs for her baby to be given back. Chester tells her that he's going, that he'll get him back. She tells him she's coming with him. Asako and the others tell her to lie back, that Chester will take care of it. Chester asks Hector if he's called the police about the couple in the car. Hector tells him he has not. "Good." says Chester. He tells Henry that he needs him to take him back. They return to the car with the couple. Chester asks Henry if there was anyone else in the car. "Just them," he says. Esperanza emerges from the woods, sobbing, saying that she didn't do it. "It was the woman with the baby," she tells the group. Chester tells her they'll take her to a doctor. He asks her to tell him what happened first.
At the shack, Yuko dresses up in a kimono, telling the baby that his mother must look perfect for her burial. She says that today is a new moon, just like the day that they parted. She says that everything is perfect, their perfect world. Back at the homestead, Luz sits restlessly. She gets up and looks at her wedding photos, recalling her wedding with Chester. Asako says that it was a good day for Luz. Luz agrees. Asako tells her that it's nice to keep her mind on other things. Luz recalls the cuanderismo ritual, telling Asako that she'd like some more broth. Asako says she'll get it right away. Luz grabs a photo album from the bed and looks through some photos. SHe looks out the window, and then looks at a photo of Yuko. Asako returns with the broth, asking what she's doing.
There is a flashback to 1919 in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, where Yuko is being fitted with a kimono by a younger Asako. Asako tells her that this is the fashion, that she is a bridge and not a fishwife. She finishes, telling Yuko that she looks like the Bamboo Princess. Yuko tells her that Furuya-san will think she comes from the moon. Asako tells her that by the time she crosses the ocean, she can be whoever she likes. "Isn't that the way in America?" she asks. Yuko says that there's so many stories, it's hard to know what's true. Asako says she'll find out in two months time. Yuko shows Asako a photo-reel that Hideo sent her, calling him generous. Asako says that she has heard that Hideo is a generous man, and kind-hearted. Yuko says that it will be a perfect day for their mother - she'll be a picture bride and their mother will have Asako all to herself. Asako says that perhaps one day she'll join her. She's always the fortunate one, who has the spirit of a butterfly. As a photographer clears his throat for Yuko to come have her picture taken, Asako says that she'll go see their mother. She leaves the room and the photographer says that the man who will receive this picture is lucky. Asako looks disturbed as the man snaps the photo.
Back in the present, the Packard stops in the dead of night. Chester gets out, shining a flashlight and pointing a gun. Henry races after him. Chester tells him to stay back, that he'll go in himself. Henry asks what his plan is after that, as if Yuko would really just give him the baby. Chester says that his baby isn't Taizo, that the one she wants is from 25 years ago. He asks if Henry still has the picture. He tells Chester he hasn't forgotten it. Chester says he just needs him to do it and enters the shed, pointing the gun.
Henry enters behind him and Chester comments that Yuko must have hidden there for months. "Preparing," agrees Henry. Chester says that she was carving stones, waiting for the baby to come. He says that there's sutras on the walls, but Henry says that they aren't. They're names. Chester reads - "Kazutoyo Tanabe," "Haru Tanabe." Henry says that they're her ancestors, Chester's ancestors. Dozens of them. Chester realizes - "she's preparing for a burial." Chester tells Henry that he has to go - to the limestone quarry. The stones are from the other side of the woods and he knows the path. Henry tells him that there's a better way, that they just need some time. Chester shouts that there is no time, that she's taken his child. He begs him to promise that he'll give the picture to Luz's abuela. Henry says nothing. Chester damns him and exits.
Luz and Asako are in the woods. Luz tells Asako that the trees in the photo of her in the woods are the same as there. Luz says that she knows she's there. Asako asks her how much further. They hear the baby cooing and Yuko singing a lullaby. She sits before an empty grave, telling "Taizo" that a true funeral is a marvelous thing. They, however, have nobody to conduct one. She says she can at least give him his precept name. As Chester approaches, she tells him that in the afterlife, he will not be Taizo. His precept name will be Shaku Tai Chou, so that he will never be called back to this world. Chester spots Yuko through the trees. He calls her name and she glares at him. He says he's come for his son. She replies that he is not his to have, that she's made a home for him in the afterlife. "For Taizo and Jirou." Chester tells her that the baby is not Taizo, he is. She replies that he is not any longer. He tells her that Taizo is the baby she held in her arms so long ago. He can reunite her with him, as he did with Jirou. "The same magic as before?" she asks. He explains that his father has a picture of him as a baby. She tells him his father died before he was born, that he doesn't even know his father.
Henry approaches, saying that he does. Chester is his son. He puts down his gun and shows her the photo. "My Taizo," she says. He tells her that he will not allow his son to pay for their sins. He shreds the photo. He tells Yuko that they can find another picture, imploring Henry to find Asako so they can get another. Henry instead picks up the gun and shoots Yuko, telling her he will not let her have his son. He shoots her again and the baby cries. He gives Chester a sutra, telling him to hold it and not let go. Chester asks why. Henry approaches Yuko and Chester tells him not to, that she'll possess him. She mutters that she'll make him end himself. He raises his arm to show that he is wearing one. "The old teachings," he says. They fight her and weaken her, the sacred words. He sets down his gun and takes the baby. He starts painting her face and Chester says that they tried it at camp and it didn't work. Henry says that it did, that it trapped her, but then they burnt it off. He tells Chester to go and get out. Yuko, however, fights back. She rips the sutra off of Henry's arm. She peels the flesh off her face and Henry shouts for Chester to run.
Chester does, but now Henry has taken on the familiar stilted, creaking movements of someone possessed by Yuko. He picks up the shotgun and aims it. He fires into the woods and shoots Chester in the leg. Chester collapses to the ground with the baby. Henry cocks the shotgun, then shoots himself in the gut. Yuko returns to her own body and gets back up. As Henry bleeds out, she grunts, stumbles and heads for the child. Henry grabs the bag with the sutras as Yuko enters the forested area. She takes the baby and Chester screams, unable to move. She returns to the empty grave, telling the baby that it's time to go. She falls backward with the baby into the grave and Chester shouts "No!"
Jirou sits in the "perfect world," holding the rattle that Yuko originally got for Chester when he was a baby. He looks at a basket sitting nearby. Luz and Asako arrive and Chester tells them that Yuko went in the grave. Asako finds Henry. She begs him to wake up, but he has a massive wound and has passed. She sobs over his body. Yuko rises the grave. "Sutras everywhere," she says. "How dare you defile my resting place." Chester tells Luz to get the baby. She goes to help Asako first and sees the sutras. Chester explains that they trap the spirit. Asako shouts at Yuko that she killed her husband and nearly killed her son. As Chester tells Luz to stay back, Asako shouts at Yuko to kill her instead. Yuko tells her that they were never hers to begin with, that she stole them from her. "Suffer forever," she curses her. "Like I have." She tells her to live with what she's done. She repeats this, struggling, and Luz seizes the moment to go and grab the baby. Yuko stumbles towards the grave, but Asako shouts at her to stop and starts stabbing her with a knife. As she stabs Yuko repeatedly, Chester pleads with her to stop. "She can't be killed!" he explains. He pulls Asako off the decaying figure, but Asako shouts that it will not stop until she's destroyed. Chester tells her that they can't. Her spirit will never rest. She'll always find a way. Luz holds up a picture of Yuko, telling Chester that maybe there is a way. Chester considers.
As Asako places a blanket over Henry's body, Luz recites the phrases of the cuaranderismo magic in Spanish. Chester tells Yuko that if she takes his son into the afterlife, there will be no future generations to honor her. What she truly longs for is a time before all of this happened, when Taizo was there and Jirou too, still inside her, a perfect moment. He says that when she asked him to picture a perfect world, this was the one she imagined. He asks if what she longs for is really his son, or is it this moment? She considers the photo and Chester holds out the cup of tea, saying that they will go together. Yuko takes the cup and drinks, as Chester does too. Luz places her necklace in Chester's hand. He tells Yuko to now picture her perfect world. She takes his hand as Luz recites "Of the twelve truths of the world, tell me twelve. The Twelve Apostles who accompanied our Lord Jesus on the holy cross." The smoke rises and the magic begins.
Luz and Yuko are together in the past, looking at the Yuko from the photo session. Chester tells her that Jirou is there and Taizo as well. Yuko says that it was a hopeful day. Chester tells her that she sacrificed herself for them. "Now let us live," he asks. So that they may remember her and her sacrifice will not be in vain. Yuko asks if it's possible to stay. He asks if she means to return to her former self. He says that perhaps only she can. She steps forward, and there is now only one Yuko. She places her hands over her belly and gives Chester a long look. She smiles at him, turns, and steps away, into the blooming cherry trees. Back in the physical world, Chester says "I will leave you, then." He awakes. Yuko's body lies on the ground, holding the photo of herself, which is now empty. He and Luz nod at Asako. They have done it. The baby coos. He, Luz and the baby cuddle.
Chester and Henry stand aboard the Taro. Henry tells Chester to stop dreaming, asking if he's taking the photo or not. Henry poses and Chester snaps a photo of him. Henry pulls a couple of drink cans from a cooler and gives one to Chester. He says that he never told anyone this before, asking if Chester knows why he became a fisherman. Chester replies that he thought that's all there was. Henry tells him that he became a fisherman because in the water there's none of the cares of the world. He was a bachelor for so long, that he named his boat "Taro," meaning "first-born son." When Chester's mother came and they adopted him, a miraculous thing happened. He felt the same calmness when he held his baby boy in his hands. "All the cares of the world vanished, my taro." He says that he's going to sail out into the ocean, far away from the world and all its troubles. He tells Chester to come with him, that they can go together. Chester tells him that he can't, that he has too much to do. Henry tells him that he understands, asking him to take one more picture. Chester agrees and snaps another photo. Henry asks if he's got it and he agrees that he does.
Luz, Chester, Asako, Yamato-san and other family and friends stand together at a funeral. They pay their respects to Henry. Luz and Chester cuddle and calm the baby. Chester tells him that it's time to say goodbye to his ojichan, that he wishes he could have been with them a little longer and see the war end, maybe even see him and his mom settle down. He tells him that his name was Henry, and he is Henry too. He bows before a memorial to Henry and a wind blows.
It is 1950, at H. Nakayama & Son Photo Studio. They are doing portraits for the Obon Festival. Chester, of course, takes the photos. He and Luz now have a young son and two baby girls. Outside, Yamato-san meets with a man named Genzo. Yamato-san asks him where he was and he tells him that his whole family was in Manzanar. "You?" he asks, and Yamato-san tells him that he was in Colinas de Oro, but now he's in Hawaii with his great nephew. Everybody there is Japanese, he says. Genzo says that his family went to Indiana, where no one is Japanese, but there was a farm there where they took them in. Luz comes out, presenting Yamato-san with some treats, telling him to save some for the others, that she can barely keep up. She walks over to Amy, asking if she has no appetite. Amy replies that she has bad memories, that she hates that every time she comes back to see her people, it gives her nightmares. She tells Luz that her babies are beautiful, and she says that she wants to adopt more, that she would take them all from the hospital if she could. Amy agrees that Chester would probably like that, and little Henry too.
The group gathers together, placing lanterns on the water. Little Henry places his last. They stand together peacefully, family and friends, including Luz's family. Chester tells Henry that this is why they have Obon, to remember, not just the people they know, but the places they've been. They have to keep remembering, or else they forget who they are.
- Hira Ambrosino as Fumi Yoshida
- Alma Martinez as Rocio Trujillo
- Sab Shimono as Kazu
- Lee Shorten as Walt Yoshida
- Alex Shimizu as Toshiro Furuya
- Pierce Kang as Jirou Tanabe
- Yuta Takenaka as Genzo
- Juana Lerma Juárez as Paula
- Hugo Ateo as Hector
- Melina Alessandra Cermeno as Esperanza
- Mauricio Romero as Esperanza's Father
- Micaela Aguilera as Esperanza's Mother
- Jiro Yamaguchi as Photographer
- Connor Kendall as Young Henry
- Chase Sander as Los Angeles Celebrant
- Momona Tamada as Kazu's Great-Granddaughter
- Ken McNicol as Fumi's Husband
"Into the Afterlife" ends with a tribute to members of the cast and crew who were either interned at the Japanese internment camps, or their families who were interned, or who served as part of the U.S. military in World War II. It also includes a special thanks to a number of individuals.
- Derek Mio - George Mio (Manzanar, 1942-1945) and Tech Sgt. Stanley Kaizawa (Military Intelligence Service, 1946)
- Alex Shimizu - Kenneth M. Shimizu (Gila River, 1942-1944)
- Marcus Toji - Mamoru Frank Toji (Tule Lake, 1942-1946) and Jack Totsubo (Gila River, 1942-1945, Military Intelligence Service - 1945-1949)
- Sab Shimono - Himself and Jiro Shimono (Tule Lake - 1942-1943, Granada - 1943-1946)
- Lily Mariye, Director - Matusoka / Takahashi Family (Tule Lake, 1942-1945)
- Jason Furukawa, 1st Assistant Director - Furukawa Family (Slocan, 1942-1946)
- Ken Kokka, Visual Effects Producer - Suzuki Family (Minidoka, 1942-1945)
- George Takei - Himself (Rohwer, 1942-1943)
In honor of:
- Eugene Banzhaf, Barry Ebata, Eizo Ebata, Frank Ebata, Irma Ebata, Kimiye Ebata, Kinu Ebata, Dave Edamura
- Fred Edamura, Jollean Ohtsji, Setsuko Edamura, Tomegoro Edamura, Shigekazu Fukuhara, Tokutaro Fukuhara
- Aki Furukawa, Akio Furkawa, Hank Furukawa, Harumi Furukawa, Ine Furukawa, Kenny Furukawa, Kimi Furukawa
- Leo Furukawa, Marge Furukawa, Mitz Furukawa, Naomi Furukawa, Richard Furukawa, Robert Furukawa
- Rose Furukawa, Ruth Furukawa, Shig Furukawa, Stanley Furukawa, Suey Furukawa, Tak Furukawa
- Yachiyo Furukawa, Yaichi Furukawa, Kimie Hamade, Fusaye Hashimoto, Mitoshi Hirahara, Teyo Hirahawa
- Ayako Ikeda, Bill Ikeda, Henry Ikeda, Roy Ikeda, Isokichi Kanashiro, Kame Kanashiro, Ai Kato, Akiko Kato
- Kimiko Kato, Kivoii Kato, Kiyoji Kato, Sally Shikuzo Kato, Shigenobu Kato, Tamio Kato, Denkochi Kodama
- Masue Kodama, Sadao Kodama, Joy Kogawa, Mary Fumiko Matsuoka Tanaka, Mervin Minoru Matsuoka
- Norman Noboru Matsuoka, Ringo Matsuoka, Samuel Matsuoka, Walter Wataru Matsuoka, Jenmatsu Mio
- Arthur Ichiro Miyamoto, Nobuko Morimoto, Shigekazy Morimoto, Koichi Nakahara, Asakichi Nakamura
- Shizue Alice Nakamura, Sohei Nakamura, Teruyo Nakamura, Eda Nishi, Hideo Nishi, Saburo Nishi, Taichiro Nishi
- Yeda Shikaze, Fred Shimizu, Kiyoshi Shimizu, Kuroko Shimizu, Mise Shimizu, Sadako Goto, Teruo Shimizu
- Tsutomo Shimizu, Kyuzo Shimizu, Chiyko Shimono, Isamie Shimono, Kimiyo Shimono, Masauchi Shimono
- Setusko Shimono, Tsuyako Shimuzu, Margaret Suzuki, Bob Suzuki, Magoshiro Suzuki, Noriko Suzuki, Stimson Suzuki
- Yasuko Kanemori Takahashi Matsuoka, Mitzi Mizuho Takahashi, Reiko Takahashi, Shigeo Takahashi, Fumiko Emily Takei
- Henry Takei, Nancy Reiko Takei, Takekuma Norman Takei, Mary Taketaya Matsuoka, Masaji Tanaka, Teruyo Tanaka
- Yukie Tatekama, Hiro Tateyama, Mutsuko Tateyama, Ryko Tateyama, Yumiko Tateyama, Yukio Tatsumi, Evelyn Toji
- Elaine Tsumura, Tuckumi Tsumura, Kimiye Uyemura Matsuoka, Agnes Sachiko Wasaki Matusoka
- Matsue Yamamoto, Kunio Yamamoto, Asataro Yoshida, Masu Yoshida, Midori Yoshida
And the over 145,000 loyal Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians who were imprisoned by their own governments.
- This finale episode of The Terror: Infamy began at 8 P.M. eastern and ended at 9:10 P.M. on AMC on October 14, 2019. It was rebroadcast from 10:17 P.M. to 11:24 P.M. and from 2:31 A.M. to 3:38 A.M. the following day.
- The finale aired alongside the season finale of another AMC original series, Lodge 49.
Reception for this finale episode of The Terror: Infamy was greatly positive on the whole. Sean T. Collins of A.V. Club, who had been critical of the series throughout its run, gave the installment an A-, describing it as "moving, lyrical season final," stating that he never expected to write the sentence "The season finale of The Terror: Infamy moved me to tears" and that "it nearly makes up for all the dross that's come before." Chris Evangelista of Slashfilm also stated that while The Terror: Infamy failed to live up to the show's incredible first season, the finale led the series out on a high note. He felt that while the way the series concluded the Yuko storyline was in a way too easy, it nevertheless worked. Nancy Matsumoto of The Atlantic was a bit less forgiving, stating that the finale, while moving, couldn't overcome the show's many misfires and that the series was in some ways doomed by its premise. She stated that while she felt tremendous relief that the yūrei was banished, the trauma of internment is a far more difficult demon to exorcise.
Notes and references
- The Futon Critic - The Terror
- TV Web - The Terror: Infamy Trailer #2
- Age of the Nerd - Tune Into AMC This Weekend...
- A.V. Club - With its moving, lyrical season finale, The Terror: Infamy saves the best for last
- Slashfilm - ‘The Terror: Infamy’ Concludes With a Trip “Into the Afterlife”
- The Atlantic - Two Ways of Looking at The Terror: Infamy’s Finale