The Man in the High Castle Recap Season 2 Episodes 6 & 7: Land O’ Smiles and Kintsugi

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After the slow-building tension of the past two episodes, the pace starts to pick up again with episodes 6 and 7. The characters are starting to put their plans into motion.

Joe talks with his father’s housekeeper, Frau Silva, and discovers that his father had a wife and two sons that he lost in the war. She refuses to answer any further questions after that, but otherwise continues to be ridiculously worshipful and kind of a stalker. Joe escapes her the first chance he gets and goes with Nicole to a Lebensborn overnight drug orgy in the country. While he’s stoned, he sees himself dead, and says goodbye to Juliana and his old life. When he wakes up in the morning, he tells Nicole he’s ready to go back to his father. That seems to mean he’s also ready to embrace being a Nazi, since he puts on the suit Frau Silva had left out for him the morning before, complete with Swastika armband. The Lebensborn appear to have organized themselves into some kind of Aryan superbaby cult. All it took was an orgy and a few hallucinations to convert Joe. Seems like the guy who went through that whole season 1 cross country ordeal and stood up to the great Obergruppenführer Smith multiple times might be able to hold out longer than one debauched night, but I guess he discovered it’s good to be wanted.

After I was complaining in the last recap that Juliana was isolated from other women, she’s incorporated into the wives club in these two episodes. What’s surprising (and maybe not quite believable) is how quickly the wives start sharing their secrets with her. She and Lucy Collins become friends, and we learn that Lucy has been trying to get pregnant for three years without success. Lucy’s very worried about what the lack of children will mean for herself and for her husband’s career. Wonder if barrenness is one of the conditions that makes you an “unnecessary eater”?

Smith sets up his escape plan to get Thomas safely out of the American Reich. He’s not going to the Pacific States, like I guessed, but to South America, instead, with a group of Hitler Youth. Thomas will be “kidnapped” and never recovered. The family will publicly keep looking for him, but he’ll be safe. He’ll be able to live out his life anonymously somewhere that doesn’t kill the sick. This is the only course of action that makes sense for the Smiths, so it was easy to see coming. It’s also likely that they won’t pull it off, at least not on the first try.

Later, Thomas has a seizure in Juliana’s arms at Dr Adler’s funeral. It might not be safe for him to go on a long, tiring flight with a group of Nazis any more. Will they rush this escape plan, or find a new one?

Helen confirms that Juliana will keep silent about the seizure and lies to Smith so he won’t kill Juliana. Helen also takes charge of her womens group and is generally badass. This is much more like the ruthless Helen I was expecting to get to know this season. She’ll do whatever it takes to protect the people she cares about, including protecting them from each other.

Dr Adler’s wife is suspicious about his death because he had a strong heart and got death threats from unhappy patients and their familes. She didn’t have his body cremated so that an autopsy could be done. Smith is NOT HAPPY. He makes a strange speech at the funeral about being willing to do anything for family. That wasn’t suspicious at all.

Frank is having guilty nightmares about having gotten his sister and her family killed, that transitions into the Nazis trying to gas them. He wins in the trauma department this week. He and Sarah are sent to check out a factory where General Onada visits everyday so that Frank can tell the Resistance the best place to put the bomb they want to kill him with. (Remember when I said during the last recap that the Resistance are so reckless that they could well bring on the bombing of San Francisco themselves? Well, they prove me right in this scene.) Frank realizes that the general is visiting the factory everyday because the Japanese are building an atomic bomb there. The radiactive material is stored right next to where the Resistance wanted to set off their bomb. They would have effectively set off their own atomic bomb in San Francisco. Frank intends to send a plague to pharoah as his revenge.

Kido is brought pictures of Okamura and other Yakuza members at the scene of the Man in the High Castle’s burned barn full of films. Though he’s furious about losing Abendsen and the films, Kido realizes he finally has evidence to prove the Yakuza are acting as Nazi spies and he can safely take them out. He puts his family in protective custody, then he supervises a massacre of the Yakuza himself. We witness a phone call between Kido and his wife. It’s clear the separation is causing a strain on the whole family, but he doesn’t want them in America. He tells Onada that the Japanese have nothing to learn from the Americans. Onada is unhappy that Kido didn’t ask for approval before attacking the Yakuza, but ultimately gives his acceptance anyway.

Kido uncharacteristically gets his hands dirty by shooting Okamura himself. This one was personal for him. He’s also very nervous around General Onada. Is it just because he’s worried Onada will find out about the rule-bending he’s been doing? Onada’s a cardboard cutout of a character who has a giant ego but no subtlety. Kido should be able to fool him easily. We’ve seen Kido do that at least once already, when he got Onada drunk and had him sign the extradition order. We get no hint about what Kido and Smith’s agreement might be this episode, but it might account for some of Kido’s nerves, and quickness to kill the Yakuza.

Ed and Childan work together to sell the faux Lincoln cuff links to Childan’s wealthy buyer. Ed makes up a scandal story when the buyer starts to walk away that reels him back in. They go together to make their payment to the Yakuza. The Yakuza lock them both up instead of accepting payment, without explanation. But Kido’s man Yoshida lets them go after the massacre so that Ed’s cover as their spy isn’t blown. Frank returns home later to find them smoking Land O’ Smiles Marijuana Cigarettes together. (Totally legal, Childan tells us. Maybe life in San Francisco isn’t so different under the Japanese.) They are celebrating being out of debt with the Yakuza. The partnership between Ed and Childan is amusing. Ed is underestimated by everyone, even Frank. Not sure about Childan yet, but he does have strong survival instincts. Maybe I’ve underestimated him, as well. But, why did the show set up their Yakuza plotline only to wipe it out again so quickly? That was a little too convenient, as was locking Ed and Childan in a cell while the massacre happened.

Tagomi wants to move into the alternate reality permanently. It seems like there might be dangerous consequences for that, like upsetting the balance of the universe. Isn’t that what we learned on Fringe? His alternate self has really screwed up his relationships with his family. He’s got work to do before they accept him wholeheartedly. What happens when his alternate comes back from his latest “bender”? Tagomi is usually much more clear-headed than this. He’s also much too responsible to abandon his home reality this way.

There’s a lot of out of character behavior going on right now. Maybe the Lebensborn snuck the LSD into the water.

Smith gets a late night phone call from Himmler telling him that Hitler has collapsed, and it’s time to put the plan in motion. Shouldn’t Hitler be executed for his illness at this point, according to his own philosophy? Either way, we get the sense that big changes are coming, and all of our characters’ plans are in jeopardy.

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