The Man in the High Castle Season 1 Episode 3: The Illustrated Woman Recap

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In episode 3, The Illustrated Woman, the characters react to the deaths and near deaths of the last two episodes with desperates attempts to protect themselves and to get revenge. The infamous bounty hunter, The Marshal, comes to Canon City, looking for his friend the SD agent. He proves to be even worse than the stories that were told about him. The Japanese crown prince and princess arrive in San Francisco and show themselves to be very aware of the local and international political situations. Tagomi and Wegener continue their scheming in relation to the royals. John Smith searches for the traitor in his midst who leaked his driving route to the resistance, but faces unexpected setbacks.

Recap

Joe brings Juliana back to his hotel room to help her recover from the shock of the SD agent’s attack. He wraps her in a blanket and gives her a shot of liquor. Then he confesses that he murdered someone once. He describes killing someone who tried to hijack the truck. It’s a modified version of the man he shot while escaping from the Nazis in New York, which wasn’t an escape at all.

He calls Juliana by her real name, letting her know he read her letter. He explains that he was worried about her, because she said she might not come back. He goes on to try to convince her that the agent was probably a Nazi, which he already knows is true. He tells her that her contact doesn’t exist, and that Trudy would have walked into the same trap. Juliana still intends to see the mission through until the end, wherever it leads.

Joe suggests that Juliana gets some sleep. He thinks they should both leave town in the morning, before someone comes looking for the agent. He wants to send her home, but she’s not interested in going there yet. She says that she didn’t mean for Joe to get involved. He says that he is involved now. Juliana falls asleep on top of the bed, wrapped in the blanket.

Frank returns to his apartment. Kido gave him back his glasses, but they’re in such bad shape that he can’t use them anymore and has to switch to an old pair. There are dogs barking, sirens and noisy people outside, making Frank nervous that they’re coming for him again. In a parallel move to Juliana’s, he slumps down onto a nest of blankets and pillows on the floor, with a blanket wrapped around him. Everything that happened in the last day is racing through his head.

Juliana startles awake and checks for Frank’s drawing in her pocket. She’s discovers that it’s missing. Joe hurries her downstairs so fast that she doesn’t understand that they’re checking out until they’re at the front desk.

Once she understands what he’s up to, she convinces him that leaving together, right after the agent’s disappearance and murder, will make them look guilty. They make a new plan for him to leave right away and her to leave after she works at the diner all morning. They’ll meet up outside of town.

Ed finds Frank asleep on the floor. He brings in a letter for Frank from the authorities that was on the front stoop. Frank reads it silently, then goes to an official Japanese building to claim the bodies of Laura and both kids. They died as enemies of the state, so they’ve lost their burial rights. The government will cremate them within 7-10 days.

Frank signs the government forms, cries over the bodies and asks for forgiveness that they can’t give. Then he goes to Ed, who’s waiting outside. Ed asks what Frank did inside. Frank says it’s better if he doesn’t ask. They walk away.

HighCastle S1Ep3 Frank Mourns
Frank mourns Laura and her kids.
HighCastle S1Ep3 Laura's Body
Laura’s body. Frank says a prayer over her that’s a vow to avenge her.
HighCastle S1Ep3 Frank Leaves Kempeitai
Frank leaves the Kempeitai building through the backdoor, with its armed guards, barbed wire and surrounding wall.

As they walk through the busy streets, they notice that the arrival of the crown prince and princess is on the news. Ed calls them the overlords and is disgusted. He reminds Frank that they need to get to work. Frank says he’s not going. Ed, assuming Frank needs a normal mental health day to mourn, says he’ll cover for him with the boss again.

John Smith is looking over photos of the dead from the attack on his car when Captain Connolly, Erich’s replacement, tells him that Joe is on the phone. Joe says the the SD agent left town and his Resistance contact hasn’t shown. John feels that if the contact hasn’t shown in 2 days, he isn’t going to. He orders Joe to drive home, with the film. They’ll debrief him in NYC to figure out what went wrong. Joe reacts like a debriefing means failure and torture. Maybe it does.

HighCastle S1Ep3 Smith on PhoneHighCastle S1Ep3 Joe on PhoneHigh Castle S1Ep3 Juliana Calls FrankHigh Castle S1Ep3 Frank Answers Phone

Juliana calls Frank again from a payphone. He’s home and answers this time. She tells him how relieved she is to have gotten ahold of him after trying the apartment a few times. Frank stops Juliana from saying anything incriminating by saying, “But there’s no phone at the campsite, is there?” Juliana gets the message and agrees.

Clicking can be heard on the phone line which signals that the line is tapped and someone else is listening to their conversation.

Frank mentions that Juliana left behind the necklace he made her. She says it was a signal so that he’d know she left. She says she’s sorry and asks if he’s okay. He says he’s fine, but he has to go. He hangs up just as she’s telling him she loves him.

Joe pulls up in front of a rundown gas station and calls for the attendant. No one answers. He asks a passerby if he knows where the attendant might be, but the man ignores him. An old black car pulls up in front of Joe’s truck and the owner gets out, calling for “Bucket”. The attendant immediately appears and greets the new customer as “Marshal”. The Marshal wants gas and Bucket jumps to get it for him. Joe is still standing there, completely ignored.

The people of Canon City don’t seem impressed with him.

The Marshal notices Joe and asks who he is and to see his ID papers. Joe starts to argue that he doesn’t have to listen to a glorified bounty hunter, but decides he’ll comply when a sawed off shotgun appears in Marshal’s hands. Marshal keeps the gun ready to fire while he looks at Joe’s papers and asks what’s in the truck.

When Bucket comes out with a container of gas, Marshall shows him a photo of the SD agent. Bucket says he saw the agent talking to Carl, who runs the bookstore. Joe decides he wants a cup of coffee and heads to the diner. He asks Bucket to fill his tank while he’s gone.

Joe sits down at the counter, then he and Juliana whisper to each other in a completely non suspicious way while he tells her about his encounter with the Marshal. Joe says that they need to leave town now, with a stop to get rid of the evidence on their way out. Juliana says she’ll meet him in a few minutes, leaving Lem without a waitress mid shift.

After Joe leaves, Lem comes over and tells her she might want to choose her friends more carefully. Juliana tells Lem he’s not that bad. Lem says that he’s not her friend.

Just a little reality check from her boss. At least he didn’t say that hanging out with Joe was affecting her reputation and none of the nice boys would ask her to prom. But does he know that Joe is a Nazi spy, or does he just know the entitled type?

Bucket charges Joe 12 marks for the gas. Joe complains about the price compared to what he could get in the Reich and Bucket tells him he’s lucky to get any at all.

This attitude is why Bucket didn’t bother to come out to serve him at first. Joe is used to gliding through the world based on his Reich born privilege. John Smith made it clear that his father is someone important. He subconsciously expects the waters to part for him.

Joe asks about the Marshal. Bucket tells him to steer clear, because the Marshal is dangerous.

The Marshal visits Carl at the bookstore. The first thing he does is complain about the smell, saying, “Old books stink of their owners.” Then he asks about the SD agent. Carl answers honestly that the agent bought a Bible a few days ago. The Marshal asks if the agent sent anyone else in to buy a Bible. Carl tells him about Juliana, without giving much detail.

It must have been a regular scam of his to lure in his targets and expose booksellers for selling subversive contraband.

The Marshal harasses him about selling Bibles. Carl promises he’ll burn the rest of his stock. The Marshal acts like he’s going to leave, then pauses and pulls out a deck of playing cards. It’s a bounty hunter’s deck showing Jews who escaped from Nazi custody.

HighCastle S1Ep3 David P Frees

The king of hearts is David P Frees, who looks like a much younger Carl. Frees escaped from a camp outside New Berlin in 1954. The Marshal says he’s going to kill Carl now. But first he’s going to cut off one of Carl’s fingers, presumably so that his fingerprint can be used to prove the identity of Marshal’s victim when he claims the bounty.

In San Francisco, the crown prince and princess arrive at the Shinto Temple at Pan Pacific Park to make an offering to Amaterasu, the Goddess of the Sun. The ceremony is also attended by Kido, Tagomi, and the German ambassador.

The crown princess smiles fondly at Tagomi, so I will now proceed to quietly ship their forbidden romance.

After the ceremony, the prince broods in the car. The princess tries to draw him out to find out what’s wrong. He is having an existential crisis because he knows the truth about the difference in strength between the Japanese empire and the Nazis. He realizes that what he will inherit is an empire that is rapidly and inevitably becoming a vassal state to the Germans, thanks to their superior technology. He feels that he’s living a lie during this visit by pretending they are equal and friendly.

Later at a reception for the prince and princess, Tagomi asks Wegener if he still intends to go through with his plan. When Wegener says he does, Tagomi points out Wegener’s contact, Shimura, the Science Minister. Shimura is not yet aware of the plan. They don’t intend to expose themselves until they absolutely have to. The crowd at the prince’s public speech at the Nazi embassy will provide cover.

HighCastle S1Ep3 Wegener & TagomiHigh Castle S1Ep3 Royal Couple

Frank visits Laura’s house in order to meet her husband, Bill, when he returns from a business trip to Tokyo. Frank informs him that his wife and children are dead, killed by the Kempetai because they were Jewish. Bill gets angry at Frank, since Frank is obviously still alive and Jewish, and sends him away.

After the Marshal murders Carl the bookseller, he strings him up from a telephone pole and puts his finger in a jar, in a case full of other fingers in jars. He orders the townspeople to leave the body there until it’s nothing but a skeleton.

How often do you suppose the fingerprints don’t match? He was going from the equivalent of a 10 year old, 2″x2″ black and white mug shot, and he has an incentive to err on the side of killing anyone who resembles his prey. He loses nothing by being wrong.

John is brought in to question Doc, the leader of the resistance attack on his car. The Nazi doctor has given Doc an experimental drug, LSD (200 micrograms of D-lysergic acid), which was supposed to encourage him to feel connected to everyone and more likely to talk, but instead he’s just hallucinating and disoriented. John tells them to let him know when the drug wears off and Doc can actually be interrogated.

Joe and Juliana find the agent’s body washed up on the riverbank, with his car keys conveniently still in his pocket. They fill a satchel with rocks and tie it to him, then take the body out to the deep water in the center of the river, where it sinks to the bottom.

Frank watches another ceremony between the prince and the ambassador on TV in the local dive bar. Karen, a Resistance member, joins him, but he tries to brush her off. She wants to know what Randall confessed before he was shot. Frank tells her that Randall didn’t say anything, that’s why they shot him.

She tries to convince Frank that the Resistance is on his side, but he scoffs at her, even when she confides that she’s lost a husband and two brothers to the cause. Frank says, “They come at us with guns and gas chambers and you, hmm? You just aim a movie at them. How about you put some of their blood on the streets for a change?”

Karen responds with typical Resistance reasoning: “It’s not that simple, Frank. We weaken the Japs too much, and we’re just begging Berlin to drop another bomb.”

Frank: “So you just watch old movies.”

Karen: “The films are more important than you know.”

Frank walks out on her.

The Resistance plan must be an extremely long term plan, because it’s already been more than 15 years since the war and they’re not willing to make any move beyond moving films around, while the Nazis continue to solidify their grip on world domination. I think that the Resistance plan is actually to survive by maintaining the status quo, while feeling like they’re doing something important because they call themselves the “Resistance” and start an occasional small fire. They’re afraid of real change.

During the tea ceremony at the Nazi embassy, the German ambassador brings up a new request that the prince cancel his big speech outside the embassy. Tagomi tries to stop the conversation, because according to protocol the Germans should have brought up their concerns separately and with someone other than the prince first. The prince says that he wants to continue the discussion and to talk to the person who is actually making the request. He nods toward SS Officer Diels, who is seated next to the ambassador.

Diels tells the prince that they’ve heard from New York that the Resistance are stepping up their attacks. The prince is certain that his royal guard and the Kempeitai will be able to protect him. Diels continues, saying that they’ve been told there are Resistance members traveling under false travel papers, though they have no knowledge of a direct threat against the prince. They encourage the Japanese to remain vigilant, as will they.

As the Japanese leave the embassy, the princess asks Tagomi to visit them this evening.

Tagomi stops to ask what Kido thinks about the threat the Nazis brought to their attention. Kido thinks that sometimes the Nazis are the threat and make their attackers look like subversives. He trusts that the Imperial Guard will do their jobs. Tagomi asks about the false travel papers, but Kido refuses to comment on “matters of internal security”.

In Canon City, a young mixed race man sees the Marshal talking to Lem in the diner. When the Marshal comes out, the man tells the Marshal that he saw the agent drive out of town in a certain direction and describes his car.

Juliana and Joe drive the agent’s car to a hidden spot to abandon it. Juliana finds a map in the car with a spot marked on it. Juliana decides to check out the place that’s marked. Joe argues with her for a second, then gives in.

In NYC, John is called back to the interrogation room/dungeon once Doc is coherent again. A while later, Captain Connolly is called to the interrogation room. Doc disclosed that Connolly is the informant who passed John’s travel route to the Resistance. Connolly is questioned and insists that he’s not the informant. He insists that Doc tell them that he was lying.

Connolly doesn’t change his story, even with a gun to his head, or even when Smith orders the other officer to shoot him in the head. The officer pulls the trigger, but there’s no bullet in the chamber, so Connolly lives. The whole thing was a test to see if he would confess. After that, John assumes he’s telling the truth and isn’t the informant.

That wasn’t much of an interrogation for Connolly, before they went to threatening to shoot him. John interrogated Thomas more at breakfast. Surely if the test was real they would have strung him up the way they did with the Resistance leader in episode 1, to get every bit of information they possibly could out of him. But John Smith always has plans within plans within plans. This isn’t over yet.

Connolly asks if John knew that Doc was lying. He says that he suspected, but he didn’t know. Connolly is relieved that John believes him. John points out that the culprit is still at large.

HighCastle S1Ep3 ConnollyHighCastle S1Ep3 Bill & Frank

Laura’s husband, Bill, visits Frank at the apartment. He spoke to the Kempeitai, who told him that Laura and the kids died because of Juliana and Trudy. He blames Frank for getting his family involved in his girlfriend’s mess. Frank says that they beat and tortured him. He tells his brother in law that he didn’t kill his sister and the kids. The Kempetai did.

Bill says that Frank should have given the Japanese authorities whatever they wanted. Then he curses Frank, saying he hopes Frank has kids some day, and they’re taken away from him, so he can feel the pain Bill is feeling.

After Bill leaves, Frank listens to the news and hears about the crown prince’s speech at the Nazi embassy.

In the Neutral Zone, the Marshal follows the young man’s instructions to drive out to the dam. Frank’s picture of Juliana is conveniently resting by the curb, even though it wasn’t there when she and Joe picked up the agent’s car. The Marshal somehow knows that it’s a drawing of the woman he’s looking for.

Juliana and Joe argue about the film. She believes that the film, or changing just one thing in your life, can have a big impact. Joe is a pessimist who doesn’t think things ever really change. Juliana isn’t so much an optimist as she is determined and persistent. She believes hard work will pay off.

I suppose you could say that she’s the hardworking, persistent ant and Joe is the grasshopper who believes everything will be taken care of for him.

The film has already made huge changes in Juliana’s life, because she believed in it enough to potentially give up everything for it. Consequently, it changed Frank, Laura, Bill and the kids lives, but not for the better or by their choice. It remains to be seen if the films will ultimately have an impact on history that will make personal losses mean something in the long run.

Juliana tells Joe that her dad died during the war. She wonders who she’d be if that one thing were different. That confession prompts Joe to divulge that he’s never met his father, since the man wasn’t married to his mother, didn’t live near them and never took any interest in Joe’s life. He says, “Maybe I’m following in my father’s footsteps, maybe I’m not.”

Joe wonders if he’d met her sooner if his life would be different. Juliana says that now that he’s met her, it can be. She sets off through the woods toward the cave that’s marked on the agent’s map.

Joe is a master at telling the truth to Juliana while also leaving out some very important facts. What he just told her is the truth. So is what I said earlier about John Smith and his father.

The cave is an old abandoned mine that someone had been camping out in. They find the nearly unrecognizable body of a woman, hung up by chains, who’s been burned and tortured to death. There’s a jacket lying nearby with a list of names in the pocket. They’re all crossed out but the last two- Trudy Walker and Lemuel Washington.

HighCastle S1Ep3 Resistance ListHighCastle S1Ep3 Lem

Lem is Juliana’s boss at the diner. He’s been the contact she was looking for all along, but he must have been suspicious of either her or the SD agent, so he didn’t come forward.

The Marshall goes back to the diner when it’s empty other than Lem and asks for meat. Lem says he has pork chops. Marshall is surprised that Lem serves pork, since he’s Muslim. Lem tells him that the Koran says not to eat meat, but it’s okay to serve it to others.

Then he asks why Lem lied to him about what happened to the agent. He shows Lem the drawing of Juliana and says that he knows she works for Lem. Lem tells the Marshall that she used to work at the diner and she served the agent a few times. But she took off during her shift today, so Lem doesn’t know where she is.

The Marshall decides he believes Lem’s story.

Later that day, Frank goes to work in the factory after all. Ed rushes over, surprised to see him. Frank says he has to work to eat and tells Ed he checked in with the boss when Ed asks. Frank keeps working and Ed keeps watching. Eventually, Ed figures out that Frank is making a functional gun, rather than the non-working replicas they usually make for tourists. He confronts Frank, who tells him to go do his own work and pretend he never saw what Frank is doing.

When Juliana and Joe drive back into Canon City, the Marshal is waiting for them and cuts them off at an intersection. He jumps out of his car and starts firing his shotgun at them. Joe backs up the truck to the next alley and tells Juliana to escape that way. She runs. The Marshall walks toward the truck, still firing.

Juliana runs to the back of a building and in through the back door. The Marshal follows her down the alley, but she’s locked the door behind her. He shoots the lock and is ready to follow her in when the episode ends.

HighCastle S1Ep3 Juliana Escapes MarshalHigh Castle S1Ep3 Marshal Shoots Out LockHighCastle S1Ep3 Frank


Commentary

Ed is totally in the “Look on the bright side, pretend nothing is wrong, no matter what, until we have no other choice” camp for dealing with danger and uncertainty. That kind of thinking means that he doesn’t have to change his own life and can perceives himself as safe for as long as possible. It’s crazy that he expects Frank to go back to his life like nothing happened after his sister and her children were murdered without reason.

As we were just shown, Ed’s strategy of pretending everything is fine, no matter what, works for a while in a place like the JPS, as long as you’re meticulous about only keeping company with people who won’t cross any lines and you have no original thoughts in your head that could accidentally be labelled subversive. However, eventually a corrupt government will ask even “innocent” citizens to look away from so much that they become complicit in the murder, torture and corruption perpetrated by their government.

They might even force citizens to take part in the corruption in the form of turning each other in or taking part in practices which harm others or further government corruption. Citizens in the American Reich, the JPS and the US face this dilemma now. If we act like Ed, and try to continue to do nothing so we can live our own comfortable lives, we become as complicit in the wrongdoing as the German people were in World War 2.

My first time through watching this show, I was totally rooting for Juliana and Joe to find a way to make their impossible relationship work. I have to say, this time through, I’m noticing all the little ways that Frank is shown to be the right one for her, while Joe is a seductive, lying interloper. Frank just needed a minute to catch up to her social awareness. (This isn’t a spoiler. As of the end of season 3, Juliana’s romantic fate is far from decided. So is her fate in general. We can all cry together over her romantic fate when season 4 starts. I have 5 potentials in mind and 1 favorite.)

Stopping the intelligent, attractive young Royal couple from speaking to the people in person is just common sense for the Germans. They are trying to lay the groundwork for the people of the JPS accepting them as their overlords. The less they see and hear from their Japanese leaders, while also having the Reich’s rules imposed on them, the easier it will be for the Nazis to slide in and take control with little or no fighting when they’re ready. And the more the common people hate the Japanese, the more they’ll be interested in trying out a different system. So they’d rather incite the Kempeitai into more violence, as they did when they pressured Kido into searching for the film, and keep peaceful displays of authority and leadership at a minimum.

Once you’ve watched all the way through season 3, come back and reread through or rewatch some of these early episodes, paying attention to just how masterful Joe is in his lies and deceit with Juliana. He seems so sincere with her sometimes that it’s hard to imagine he’s playing her the way he is, even though we’ve known he’s a spy from the beginning. He’s plays everyone in his life, like a younger version of John Smith, but he doesn’t have Smith’s discipline and dedication.

Kido has now killed both Juliana and Frank’s sisters, along with 2 innocent children, though Juliana doesn’t know it and I don’t think Frank much cares at the moment about Juliana’s motivations. Kido killed them all without bringing charges or going through due process. He decided he wanted them dead, ordered his men to kill them, and within minutes they were dead.

He thinks that Trudy didn’t have have a film from the Man in the High Castle, meaning he had her gunned down in the street for no reason, yet he shows no remorse and no official apology will be given, no compensation provided for either family. The government didn’t even inform her family that she’d died. They only know because Juliana accidentally witnessed her death. The JPS is a totalitarian regime and Kido is a racist, bloodthirsty chief enforcer.

This is easy to forget as the show continues because the Nazis atrocities are so much more obvious, Tagomi is such a humanizing character for the empire and even Kido is humanized more than almost any of the Nazis. But it’s important to remember these acts and others like them. Kido is John Smith’s counterpart in many ways. The main difference between them is that Smith had to become a traitor to his nation when the US lost the war in order to ensure the survival of his family. The vast majority of Americans took the same route, though not all. Smith appears to be the perfect Nazi, but he’s really the perfect opportunist.

Kido, on the other hand, is a native born son of the empire who left his wife and children behind in Japan when he was posted in the JPS. He sees his job as maintaining the purity of Japan’s ideals in a barbaric foreign country, but he is slowly being corrupted by the lingering independent spirit of the Americas. Underneath it all, his loyalty is also ultimately to himself, though he would never admit that to anyone, even himself. It’s expressed in the way he gets the job done through breaking the rules, though that goes against the Japanese way he holds in high esteem.

Frank has a strong sense of justice, but also had a strong reason to avoid taking on the JPS. Kido and Juliana have now removed all of his reasons for holding back and given him specific reasons for declaring war. Juliana thoughtlessly put Frank and his family in danger, but if she had thought about it, she may well have made the same decisions.

She’s already given up her sister and father to fighting the empires. She may have decided that they are in a war and sacrificing more lives is the price that has to be paid. Juliana has the ruthless streak and the determination to bring about real change that the Resistance lacks.

The Marshal is such a stupid, one note character that he drags this episode down by the end of it. The Marshal is like a slow witted version of the Terminator. His whole thing is that he’s relentless, but he tells you he’s going to kill you before he even pulls out his slow to fire gun. You could throw a knife at him faster than he can draw and fire that thing. At the end of the episode, Joe could have driven the truck forward and run him over, instead of backwards. Telling Juliana to get out only put her in more danger.

Which is why the Marshal’s arc feel’s like filler rather than an important part of the story. I suppose overcoming both him and the agent, plus finding the woman’s body, will bond Juliana and Joe. If they wanted the couple to go through life and death experiences together, they could have at least written a better character and cast a better actor. (I’ll never understand why Burn Gorman continues to get cast. He’s awful in everything.)

I also don’t get why everyone in the Neutral Zone doesn’t have a gun, since they were common in the Western US before the war. It just doesn’t make sense to me that people like Carl, who know bounty hunters are after them, and Lem, who know they could be discovered at any time, don’t have weapons at the ready. And it makes no sense at all that people would let an idiot like him wander around terrorizing them for years when it would be so easy to kill him in a lawless state.

Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

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