Things take a major turn in episode 4 of The Man on the High Castle, as Frank seeks out illegal bullets for his gun and Ed desperately tries to stop Frank from following the suicidal path he’s on. Juliana and Joe continue to battle the Marshal and also confront Lem. Tagomi and Wegener attempt to complete their plan during the crown prince’s speech. Obergruppenführer Smith and Captain Connolly continue their search for the traitor who leaked Smith’s location, but lose their best potential source of information.
The episode opens moments after the end of episode 3, with The Marshal following Juliana into her hiding place. They play hide and seek until Joe catches up with the Marshal and knocks him out using a blunt object. With the Marshal unconscious on the floor, Joe and Juliana run back outside.
Joe’s truck is gone, so they find another storefront to hide in. The Marshal follows them outside within another minute. The guy who helped him earlier tells him they drove out of town in Joe’s truck. After the Marshal leaves town to follow them, the guy tells Joe and Juliana where he moved Joe’s truck and where they can find Lem.
Frank practices with an unloaded gun and considers his plan to assassinate the crown prince until Ed shows up at the apartment to stop Frank from carrying out his foolhardy plan. Frank won’t listen to him and turns away to work on haunting charcoal sketches that depict the suffering and death of his sister and her kids. Ed is moved by Frank’s art, but he doesn’t want to lose his best friend to a revenge plot, so he keeps arguing. Frank tries to get Ed to leave so that he won’t be complicit in the plan.
Ed tells Frank that the prince didn’t have anything to do with Laura’s death. Frank argues, “You kill a cop, and a thousand cops will takes his place. You kill that prince, their god, you drive a stake right through their hearts.”
Ed: “You do that and your life is over.”
Frank: “It’s already over.”
Ed asks about Juliana, which is more ironic than he’ll ever understand. Frank is confused for a moment about why Ed is asking, then tells Ed that she left him. Ed refuses to believe that she would do that. He tells Frank that Juliana will come back and be there for him the way Frank was there for her.
Ed makes Frank promise that he won’t give up and will get rid of the gun. Frank appears to give in, saying that he doesn’t know where he was going to find bullets for it anyway. They hug it out.
Juliana and Joe drive to Lem’s house on the outskirts on town, where a few kids are playing on the front porch. Lem calls the kids inside, then points his shotgun at Juliana and Joe. Juliana tells him that they’re there to warn him that they found his name on a list of Resistance members, right next to her sister’s name. Lem says that Juliana can come inside to to talk, but Joe has to stay outside with the truck. He sends his wife and kids upstairs.
It’s clear that Lem has survived to be the last living person on that list because he’s smart and cautious. He can spot trouble a mile away and stears clear of it when possible, taking only necessary risks. Juliana and Joe both looked like trouble to him the minute they showed up in town.
Lem puts down the gun, though he keeps it next to him, and has Juliana give him the basic facts of her, Joe and Trudy’s story. When Juliana tells him about the woman in the cave, it turns out that he knew her. He tears up and says that she was called Linda. She hadn’t been seen for a few days. He assumes they’ll be killed next.
Juliana doesn’t think anyone who’s still alive has seen the list of Resistance members but them, so she thinks they might be okay. She moves on to being upset with Lem for not approaching her as Trudy’s contact and to discussing the films. Lem didn’t think she was trustworthy enough to approach and he doesn’t watch the films because that’s not his role.
The fact that Lem is a courier who doesn’t understand the significance of what he’s carrying, beyond knowing that the films help in the fight against Nazis, changes Juliana’s goal. She decides she wants to meet the person he hands the films off to, since she wants to find someone who understands the meaning of the film. Lem tells her to meet him tomorrow morning at Spirit Alley Trailhead and he’ll take her to the Man in the High Castle.
Their discussion doesn’t linger on the biggest actual issue, Joe. Lem instinctively doesn’t trust him, and, as we know, rightfully so. Joe’s a wild card at this point. His attraction to Juliana and his wobbly commitment to his mission might cause him to make a mistake or let her and Lem escape, despite his orders. Or he might have a moment of wanting to make one of his father figures proud and decide some Resistance bodies as trophies are the perfect gift.
Juliana leaves and shares the news with Joe, who shares it with Obergruppenführer Smith later that night. Smith tells Joe that he’s young, enthusiastic and doesn’t realize how dangerous the people he’s involved with are. It’s a reverse pep talk to make Joe man up and want to prove himself. Then Smith orders Joe to kill the Man in the High Castle if he gets the chance, even if he has to die trying. Smith asks if Joe is prepared to follow his orders. Joe says he is.
Smith: “Then I’ll await your call. If I don’t hear from you, Joe, no matter what happens, you’ll receive a hero’s funeral, with full honors.”
What more could a boy dream of?
They say, “Heil Hitler” and hang up.
The Reich is such a death cult, for everyone involved.
Back in the JPS, Tagomi pays the promised visit to the crown princess. She tells him that the crown prince fears that the Japanese empire is becoming weak and a target for the Germans. She wonders if he thinks it’s a valid fear? He tells her that the Germans want the resources of the empire, particularly the JPS, and will attack if they believe the empire is weak. The princess explains that the generals want the prince to call for war, assuming the Germans will back down with a show of strength. But the prince believes continuing on a peaceful path is a better course. She asks for his honest opinion.
Tagomi counsels her that though some may see seeking peace as weakness, the prince is not weak and peace isn’t weak. Plus, some outside force may come into play which will allow the prince “to move toward peace with strength.” The princess asks what these forces are, but he can’t answer. She hopes that he’s correct and that the forces he’s foreseeing will arrive in time to help.
The Marshal catches up with Lem again in town the next day. Lem says that he’s closing up the diner early to tend to a sick child. The Marshal waves his gun in Lem’s face, then implicitly threatens Lem’s kids before he heads off to find Juliana and Joe.
Juliana, Joe and Lem meet at a trailhead in the forest. Lem leads them deeper into the woods. Joe insists on going along this time.
Wegener prepares his secret message for the Japanese science minister. Tagomi visits his room unexpectedly and finds he’s with a prostitute. Tagomi fears she’s a spy, but Wegener is sure that she was too good at her job to be a spy.
This is why women make the best spies. We can multitask, especially while we aren’t busy enjoying the sex we’re having. Screw you and your slut shaming, Wegener and the writers of this show. Bet he took a shower or a nap afterwards, too, giving her time to search his things.
This early part of this scene has some symmetry with a pivotal scene in season 3, episode 5, so it’s worth making note of it. Tagomi may have been a bit precog here.
Tagomi explains that he’s arranged for Wegener to sit next to the Japanese Science Minister during the crown prince’s speech in front of the German embassy. Wegener should slip the envelope into the minister’s coat pocket during the speech. This will be his only opportunity.
Lem walks Juliana and Joe deep into the forest, to a spot along a rocky river bed. It’s a good place for disposing of bodies. Juliana asks more about the films and the Man in the High Castle. She’s under the impression that he makes the films. Lem tells her that she’s an idiot. They wouldn’t bother to put so much effort into collecting films made by the Man in the High Castle, just to bring them back to him.
Juliana asks the million dollar questions, “Why does he want them? Where do they come from?”
Lem doesn’t respond. He tells her they’re at their destination, points his gun at them, and orders her to give him the film. Several other men with guns appear. Lem orders Juliana and Joe to get on their knees. The Man in the High Castle isn’t coming.
Lem accuses Joe of being a Nazi agent and tells Juliana about the Nazis killing all of the other Resistance members who helped Joe leave NYC. Joe gives them his version of the film to prove he’s not a Nazi. Lem and his men take the two films and leave Juliana and Joe alive, but stranded in the woods. Lem says they can walk several miles over the mountain to the next town, Cripple Creek.
Juliana’s stepfather, Arnold, comes home from work early to tell her mother, Anne, that he’s learned some bad news. He heard about Laura and the kids’ deaths from Frank’s sister’s mailman.
Frank visits a memorabilia store, which specializes in handcrafted Americana, in order to buy some bullets. The store owner, Robert Childan, informs him that the sale of bullets is severely restricted and Frank isn’t allowed to purchase any. Frank waves a wad of cash in Childan’s face, saying he was hoping the store owner might make an exception.
As they’re speaking, a wealthy Japanese couple come in to admire Childan’s stock. Frank interrupts them, asking Childan to finish their transaction. Childan brings him to a back room and sells him 3 bullets for 100 yen each. They’re antiques and aren’t guaranteed to fire. He puts the fake name of a tourist in the official purchase registry, but writes Frank’s name in his private books.
When Frank returns to his apartment, Anne is waiting for him. He tells her that Juliana is at the dojo. She gives him her condolences for Laura and the kids. She lost her husband in the war, so she’s probably the only person he’s talked to about it who can even begin to understand his feelings. But he brushes her off as well, even though she knows his loved ones were killed by the Kempeitai and asks if the secret police have come after him, too.
As they hike, Juliana asks Joe why he didn’t tell her that he’s in the Resistance. She notes that he’s a good liar. He tells her that he had his orders and he wasn’t supposed to say anything. It was his first misssion and he’s nearly failed anyway. She’s surprised that, like Lem, he didn’t watch the film.
Those who want to be true believers in a cause avoid temptation that might change their minds, it seems, no matter which side they’re on. It’s amazing how few outright lies Joe’s had to tell her.
Smith waits by the phone, anxious to find out if Joe made it out alive and if he encountered the Man in the High Castle. Smith’s career would be affected if Joe managed such a high profile assassination as well.
Connolly reports that they’ve reviewed the phone records of the six officers who had access to the travel routes for Smith and the other officer who was attacked. There’s no sign that any of them were involved in the Resistance plot. Smith orders Connolly to continue investigating until he solves the case, since they know for certain there was a leak. Smith tells Connolly that he’s not allowed to fail in his search. They visit Doc, the Resistance leader, in his cell, hoping to use their knowledge of his two brothers against him. Instead, they find that he’s dead, having sliced his wrists using a shiv made from a metal spoon smuggled into his cell.
Juliana and Joe spend the night in the cave. Juliana wonders why someone who should have it easy in the Reich would risk everything for the Resistance, just to deliver a film he didn’t even watch. She asks if it’s because of his father. When Joe doesn’t answer, she doesn’t pursue it.
Joe has told Juliana an interesting mix of truth and half truths. I suspect he’s been more emotionally honest with her than anyone else in his life. She has all of the information she needs to realize he’s a Nazi spy who’s using her, most especially including the fact that Lem told her that he is.
Joe changes the subject to making escape plans. The Marshal is still lurking in the area, but they also have access to the origami man’s car. Joe wants to get Juliana on a bus back to San Francisco, while using the car as a distraction to lure the Marshal out of town.
And then he and the Marshal would go after Lem and the Man in the High Castle, no doubt.
Frank loads the gun while listening to the preparations for the crown prince’s speech. Ed returns because he knows Frank was lying earlier. He easily disarms Frank and points the gun at him, saying he’ll shoot Frank if he has to, so that Frank can’t kill anyone else. He’s determined to keep Frank from killing himself.
Ed begins another monologue about Frank killing himself by assassinating the prince. Frank lunges for the gun, causing Ed to accidentally fire and hit Frank in the shoulder. They’re both shocked that Ed actually shot Frank to stop him, but Frank hardly misses a beat. He sends Ed into the closet for first aid supplies. Sweet, sincere Ed falls for it. Frank locks him in, covers his bleeding shoulder with a coat, takes the gun with its two remaining bullets and leaves.
Juliana makes sure she’s seen by the Marshal in town, then drives out of town in the origami man’s car. Joe stops the Marshal before he follows and says he needs Juliana alive, because he’s a Nazi agent and he’s working her. He tells the Marshal to check his story with Smith, which the bounty hunter promises to do, after he’s done with Juliana.
Juliana drove out of town toward the dam. Several miles outside of town, the Marshal finds the car on fire, having smashed into a tree, with a burned body inside. Juliana safely hides behind a nearby tree. She staged the accident. The body is the one from the cave, which belonged to Linda the Resistance member. Once the Marshal leaves, Joe picks up Juliana and takes her back to Canon City. He wants her to get on the next bus. She doesn’t want to leave without answers, but gets out of the truck to make a phone call while he checks to make sure they didn’t leave any evidence behind.
As the crowd takes their seats for the crown prince’s speech, SS Officer Diels notices that the Japanese Science Minister is seated toward the back. He insists that the minister move closer to the front, ignoring the seating chart. Wegener follows and finds a seat behind the science minister.
Joe checks inside the warehouse where they fought with the Marshal and finds Frank’s drawing of Juliana. The Marshal must have dropped it.
Ed breaks out of the closet just as Juliana calls the apartment. He begs her to come home and stop Frank from doing something stupid. A bus headed west pulls up next to her phone booth while she’s on the phone. She hops on, waving goodbye to Joe as he approaches on the street.
The crown prince makes his speech. It’s both light and philosophical. He’s a good speaker and would probably be a good leader. Frank makes it through security and takes his place in the crowd. He slowly eases the gun out of his pocket. Wegener waits for his chance to put the envelope in the minister’s pocket, but isn’t fast enough.
Once Frank gets the gun out and holds it at his own hip level, it’s at the eye level of a little Japanese boy standing next to him. Before Frank or the boy can do anything, two shots are fired from somewhere else which hit the crown prince in the chest. The crowd scatters. Frank puts his gun away and runs, but not before the little boy’s father has also seen it.
Maybe I should start posting an update at the end of every episode: Where’s Frank’s drawing of Juliana? At the end of episode 4, Joe has it, after the Marshal dropped it in the warehouse. By my count, he’s the 5th person to take possession of it.
How funny is it that when Anne stoops to watching Japanese TV, it’s wrestling? Large, semi-naked men are her guilty pleasure. And her husband knows, but just shakes his head at her silliness.
Arnold is an unsung hero in this show, always in the background looking out for his family, without much recognition.
The same is true of the crown princess, who is the female Tagomi, so wise and supportive. I feel terrible about her potentially losing her husband.
Is this The Man in the High Castle’s version of the John F Kennedy assassination? He’s a charismatic young leader with a beautiful young wife at about the right time in history. They’ve set up the story so there will be confusion about where the shots were fired from, just like there is with JFK.
When Ed tells Frank that Juliana will come back and be there for him the way he was there for her, I assume Ed means Frank took care of Juliana while she was recovering from her accident. I think Juliana has already shown that loyalty isn’t her number 1 priority. She’s a true heroic figure, on a hero’s journey. She’s a morally good, idealistic person, but she puts principle above everything else in life, including her loved ones.
Ed is currently showing that he has no understanding of deep emotions. Frank feels that after he traded his family’s lives for Juliana and the Resistance, he doesn’t deserve to live. He’s only staying alive to take an equal toll on the Japanese. The deaths of his family members hang over him for the entire series, making him a dead man walking.
But at the same time, at the end of this episode, Frank looks into the eyes of the little Japanese boy and begins to realize that more killing of other people’s children won’t solve any problems. Compassion wins, for a moment. He’s putting his gun away when the prince is shot, but the fact that the father saw the gun will change his life.
Like Juliana, Frank is a hero, but his cause is more personal. Frank rebels because he has a score to settle and that opens him up to see larger issues. Juliana gets involved because she wants to complete her sister’s mission, and the mission never ends. It just keeps expanding, as she becomes involved in saving the world and leaves normal life behind.
Ed is very good and pure, and sometimes wise, but his thinking is also always simplistic. Sometimes that helps him see through the complexities others are adding to situations and sometimes it means he can’t begin to understand them.
The reason why Lem keeps his knowledge of the films and Resistance operations to a minimum should be obvious: The less he knows, the less information that can be tortured out of him when he’s captured. It’s clear when he takes Juliana and Joe into the woods that he knows quite a lot, when the puzzle pieces are assembled, but he doesn’t want to know more names or other incriminating information than he has to. He doesn’t want to be like Linda, the woman who had a list of names tortured out of her, which then led to a list of deaths. Lem runs a tight ship in every aspect of his life, and it’s kept him and his family alive.
The Americana store owner who sells Frank the bullets, Robert Childan, is particularly moved by the beautiful Japanese woman who visits the store while Frank is there. He gazes at her like he’s moved nearly to tears. This will become an ongoing theme for him.
Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.