Buckle up, Buttercups, it’s VA Day in the Reich and things are about to get crazy. Obergruppenführer John Smith has not just one, but two potential traitors over for dinner with the family, Joe Blake and Rudolph Wegener. He has ulterior motives with both, because when does he not? Juliana begins her job at the Nippon building and learns she’s working in the office of Trade Minister Tagomi.
It’s VA Day and every house in the neighborhood is proudly flying the swastika and stripes. Joe arrives at the Smith house with a bouquet of flowers for Helen and is introduced to the whole family, including the dog, Max. He mentions that he saw John in the parade earlier in the day. Thomas offers to show Joe around. It’s obvious that life couldn’t be better in the American Reich.
Over in the JPS, Juliana finishes dressing for her new job, just as Frank wakes up. She asks how the memorial service was and he says it was fake. She thinks they need to spend some time together, but he doesn’t want to make her late for the dojo, so she suggests they plan on dinner. Frank asks if he heard her on the phone earlier. As she’s walking out the door, Juliana says it was a wrong number.
Lots of fake life and lies happening on both coasts today.
Thomas shows Joe into John’s office, where there are photos of family and of John with Hitler. Joe notices a file in a locked case with the title of the film he transported on his mission, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. Thomas leads him out of the office again before he can sneak a look at it.
They go outside to play catch with a baseball and Thomas asks about Joe’s background. He’s shocked that Joe didn’t go to college, isn’t in the SS, and was kicked out of the Hitler Youth, yet he’s working with Obergruppenführer Smith. By the standards Thomas was raised with, Joe, who went straight from high school to working in a factory, is a failure. Which is what John kept impressing on Joe in episode 5.
Yet Joe did accomplish his mission to find and identify Resistance members in the Neutral Zone. He would have been more successful if other Nazi agents hadn’t interfered and nearly blown his cover. He thinks fast in a crisis and has a way of getting others to trust him. Those are talents that aren’t easy to teach and are essential for both leadership and fieldwork.
John finds them and suggests that Joe ride along with him to the airport to pick up Helen’s mother. He throws the baseball to Thomas before they leave. Thomas nearly catches it, but loses his grip. When he takes off his glove, his hand is shaking.
Tagomi’s assistant, Kotomichi, meets Juliana at the elevator when she arrives at work. He instructs her to speak to Tagomi only when spoken to, then takes her into the Trade Minister’s office. Tagomi and Kotomichi explain that the Trade Ministry has frequent meetings with Aryan visitors who are more comfortable if they’re greeted by a fellow white person. She will be expected to serve beverages and smile politely.
Tagomi asks Juliana if she wants the job working for him. She is relieved that she doesn’t have to do anymore personal services for Mr Eto and accepts.
It’s too bad that Tagomi can’t rescue all of the young women from Mr Eto, but he doesn’t have that kind of power. He’s saved Juliana from that odious fate, but she’ll be replaced by another young woman who will have the same tasks, so this isn’t really a victory. It’s just nice for Juliana.
Kotomichi further instructs Juliana that Tagomi requires loyalty and discretion. Whatever happens at the Trade Ministry stays at the Trade Ministry, unless Dungeonmaster Kotomichi gives her leave to speak of it. He reminds her that the building is heavily guarded and she should be careful not to wander into areas where she doesn’t belong.
Bets on how long it will take Juliana to get into areas she’s not authorized for?
Yoshida looks through the reports on the crown prince’s shooting. A diagram shows that the shot came from a gunman who was positioned above the prince. That means the Kempeitai know that the prince wasn’t shot by anyone in the normal crowd on the ground, where Frank was. Yoshida mentions the report to Kido, who replies that he considers it inconclusive.
In other words, they don’t want to admit that their security missed a sniper, so they’re going to blame someone in the crowd. He shows Yoshida a comic book cover with a drawing of a revolver and says that bystanders saw a man wearing glasses holding this type of gun. Kido tells Yoshida to make a list of antique dealers who sell similar items.
Arnold stops by the apartment to visit Frank and offer his condolences. He’s also worried about Juliana and wants to make sure they are okay. Frank says that Juliana seems to be able to take care of herself.
Arnold: “Frank, we’re the type of guys who worry, whether people need us to or not. We stand quietly in the back, and we make the hard decisions if we have to. You’re a good guy. I’m glad Jules can count on you. I’m glad that you can count on each other, you know?”
Frank stands there silently with an impassive, but hard, look on his face. Having said what he came to say, Arnold decides to leave.
Arnold is a total busybody who does just what he said. He runs around making sure everyone is okay, all of the time, trying to make it so that Anne doesn’t have to worry too much. And he’s right, Frank does worry. But Frank’s right, Juliana has moved beyond them.
The thing I’m worried about is that he just gave Frank permission to make the hard decisions. Frank was already making hard decisions, but now a father figure has told him that it’s the right thing to do, so one more layer of hesitation will be stripped away.
Back on the East Coast, Helen’s mother’s flight is cancelled. John runs into his old friend Rudolph Wegener at the airport, so the trip isn’t wasted. Wegener’s flight to Europe has been delayed for hours, so John invites him back to the house with them. Wegener hesitates, but John insists, since they haven’t seen each other in 15 years.
Juliana serves drinks during a large meeting between the Trade Ministry staff and the German ambassador and his staff. The Germans ask about the prince and are told he’s doing much better and will survive. The Japanese wish the Germans a happy VA Day. The Germans chastise the Japanese for failing to celebrate VA Day with them, but are told that the Japanese celebrate their shared victory over America on Army Navy Day.
It’s clear that the Germans wish to see the Japanese act as a vassal state which is German in all but name.
On the drive back to the Smith house, Wegener tells John that Berlin is rife with power struggles between rival factions. He mentions that Heydrich speaks highly of John and his effortless efficiency, but John replies that there’s always work to be done to maintain order. John mentions Joe’s mission in the Neutral Zone and Wegener tells Joe that he’d be lucky to have John as a mentor.
When Wegener is introduced to Helen, he mentions that they met a few times in Cincinnati, when he and John used to work together. A look of concern flashes across Helen’s face, but it’s quickly replaced by her hostess smile.
Childan cold calls the wealthy Japanese couple who were in the store when Frank bought his bullets. The Kousuras were interested in certain collectables that Childan hopes to sell them. The call is interrupted by Kido and Yoshida, who require a look at his sales records. They find the bullet sale and question Childan further. Kido takes issue with the irregularities in the sale, such as the buyer being from Tibet.
Over dinner, John and Wegener reminisce about their days spent drinking and sailing in Cincinnati. They tell a story about accidentally stealing a boat when they were too drunk to recognize which one was their own boat. Thomas makes a case for being allowed a glass of wine and John agrees.
They toast to Helen and to wives and mothers, “the most important job in the Reich.” John tells Joe to find a good woman, and Wegener tells him to find bad women until then. Helen asks about Wegener’s wife. He says he’s married, but they are apart a lot. He sees his children as often as possible.
Wegener asks if John still sails, but John says he doesn’t. Wegener is shocked, since John used to spend so much time on his boat and now he lives on an island. Helen shows concern once again.
At the gun factory, Frank asks Ed if the phrase “To life” means anything to him. Ed doesn’t know it. Before they can discuss it further, the Kempeitai arrive and the factory boss, Mr Wyndam-Matson, brings over a form with employee details for Frank to confirm.
After dinner, Helen asks if Joe has a special girl. He says there is, but it’s complicated. She says it was complicated when she and John met, too, because they had nothing. But John believes that a man determines his own worth. She believes that Joe could do well, too, like John has. Then she invites him to spend the night, rather than driving all the way back to the city.
The family gathers round the TV to watch a VA Day ceremony with Hitler. John asks Wegener for details about his trip to the JPS, which Wegener refuses to give, saying that it was a boring, routine trip. He asks John if he’s being interrogated and they both laugh.
Kotomichi tells Juliana that her security pass is ready. She has 15 minutes to go to the room where she was interviewed and pick it up. She stops in the hall to pull out the visitor’s pass with the code name she’s looking for on it- Sakura Iwazaru. Eto’s office appears empty at first, so she snoops around a bit, but can’t find any evidence of the name she’s looking for.
The woman who was next to her waiting to be interviewed, Christine Tanaka, finds Juliana and asks what she needs. Juliana asks for her security pass, then asks for help finding Sakura Iwazaru. Christine laughs, because Iwazaru is part of the Three Monkeys proverb and means “Speak no evil.” Sakura means cherry blossom. Both women decide that though Sakura is a common name, the whole phrase probably isn’t a person’s name like Juliana was told. Juliana makes it back to the Trade Ministry offices just in time.
Joe offers to get snacks from the kitchen for everyone and takes a detour to John’s office to attempt another look at the file. The cabinet is locked, so he spends a minute looking for the key. John gets impatient, so Joe has to give up the search and bring out the snacks.
Kido brings Tagomi proof that the Swedish businessman he’s been negotiating with was actually the high ranking Nazi officer Rudolph Wegener. Kido is, of course, suspicious of Wegener, since the crown prince was shot during his visit. Tagomi remains impassive, pointing out that Wegener was on the platform with the prince during the assassination attempt, so he can’t be the shooter.
Kido simply has suspicions and questions at this point, not accusations. He asks about the diplomatic visa Tagomi issued the day before. Tagomi refuses to give Kido details, but says it wasn’t connected to Wegener. Kido asks Tagomi to send his files on Wegener’s alias to the Kempeitai. He reluctantly concedes this round to Tagomi and leaves.
Back in Nazi territory, Helen swallows a couple of tranquilizers. John pulls out the premium Polish vodka and makes sure that Joe sees the hidden keys to his office cabinet while he’s at it. They discuss the way the Nazi’s value their workers vs the Japanese work ethic. Wegener tells John that he agrees with the Führer that another war is to be avoided by whatever means necessary. For that reason, he seeks peace with the Japanese.
John counters that some wars are necessary, like the one they fought in. Rudolph questions how John can believe that some of the things they’ve done were necessary, such as what they did in the camps. Rudolph tells Joe that on VA Day, no one ever wants to talk about the exterminations done in the camps. John tries to shut Wegener down by saying that those actions were difficult but necessary, and now it’s time to move on.
Wegener says that John used to sail every night, alone with a bottle, but now he’s stopped sailing. John says that back then he was looking for perspective. He doesn’t give a reason for why he stopped. Rudolph ironically says that now they have better alcohol and a better world. They all toast “Sieg heil.”
Childan visits Frank to panic over Kido and Yoshida’s visit to his store. Frank tells Childan that he hasn’t used the bullets, so Childan should get out and leave him alone. Childan continues to threaten Frank instead. He wants Frank’s assurance that nothing will blow back on him. He refuses to die because of gaijin stupidity.
Franks snaps and throws Childan against a wall, saying that he isn’t stupid enough to talk, because then they’d both die. Since Childan is the one with more to lose, he should get out and leave Frank alone. Childan decides they’ll have to trust each other.
Kotomichi sends Juliana to talk to Tagomi. He thanks her for her hard work. While they were born into different cultures, he senses that they also have values in common. He’s taking a chance by hiring a white person in this job and he hopes he can depend on her. He puts a high value on trust.
Juliana notices her necklace on his desk. She decides to help Tagomi and tells him that one of the high ranking Nazis touched his neck frequently when he spoke. She uses the same mannerism when she’s hiding something.
She means SS Officer Diels, who touched his neck when he asked about the assassination attempt on the crown prince. Tagomi understands the significance of what she’s told him.
Juliana rushes home, already late for dinner. She apologizes to Frank, but he’s angry. He’d called the places she was supposed to be, looking for her, so he knows she’s lying to him. Juliana explains that she’s pursuing more information on the films. She can’t stop now without feeling like she’s giving up and letting down everyone they’ve lost.
Frank tells her that he’s the one who picked her up off the street after her bus accident, when she was broken and he knows this is about her, not them. He was happy before Trudy and the film. He can’t believe that Juliana can’t see what she’s done.
Juliana: “We were only ever as happy as they allowed us to be. Frank, what if there’s- what if it’s true? What if there’s a way out, Frank? What if there is? For me, for everyone.”
Frank: “What makes you think you wouldn’t lie to everyone there, too?”
Frank says that he’s not the same guy who picked her up off the street, then asks again what she’s been doing. She finally tells him that she has a job working for the Japanese and that she’s doing it for Trudy. She doesn’t say that the Resistance asked her to, so he’s very confused, and lists everyone they loved who’s been killed by the Japanese. He includes Juliana in the list, since he thinks she’s being so reckless.
He doesn’t understand her survival instincts or how far she’ll take them.
Juliana gets angry again and yells at him, “Godd**nit, Frank. Whatever happened and whoever’s to blame, I can’t unsee that film any more than I can unkill that man in Canon City.”
Frank is a little bit shocked. Juliana explains what happened. She tries to hide it, but Frank immediately figures out that she was with another man, who helped her. He breaks some stuff and storms out, despite the citywide curfew.
John joins Joe in the backyard and confirms that he’s staying the night at the house. Then he asks what Joe thinks of Wegener. Joe gives a vaguely positive reply. John tells Joe the truth about Wegener, which John has known all day. They were never expecting Helen’s mother. This was all a set up, because they know Wegener was up to something in the JPS. John hoped his old friend would relax and confess to him in this informal environment, but he was wrong.
Joe is surprised that Helen has known about Rudolph all day.
John: “You must trust the woman in your life with your life, Joe. The less you knew, the less he’d suspect.”
Joe: “You going to question him?”
John: “Me and Rudolph, we- we performed duties together that bond men. They bond men forever. I have no objectivity here. My heart tells me he’s a good man. He’s a- he’s a brave man who- who must have good reason for betraying his people. But my head? My head says we should take him out in the woods, interrogate him, shoot him in the f**king face. How do you justify this, Joe? He’s lied all day, in my home. Enjoyed my family’s hospitality. You tell me. I’m asking for your counsel. What would you do?”
He’d look like a deer in the headlights.
As he says goodnight, Wegener thanks the Smiths for their hospitality. A squad of SS men are waiting outside the front door to arrest him. He goes calmly. John says that Joe was right, they shouldn’t let emotions interfere with doing what’s right. Joe says, “Sacrifices have to be made.”
As Juliana is cleaning up the apartment after the fight, she notices flower names on a notepad and connects them to the names of the rooms in the Nippon building. Never one to let emotions interfere with her work, she goes straight back to the personnel floor of the Nippon building, where Christine is sitting in the hall looking violated after having delivered personal services to Mr Eto.
Christine tries to get Juliana to leave, but Juliana points out that by helping her, at least Christine will know that she got some revenge against Eto. Juliana explains the connection she’s made with the flower names and asks for a floor plan of the building so that she can find the room named Sakura/Cherry Blossom.
Frank goes to visit Mark Sampson at his home and mets his two children, Charlie and Clara. He asks Mark what “To life” means. Frank remembers his grandfather saying it, but still doesn’t think of himself as Jewish. Mark tells Frank that it’s one thing to lose people, but something different when you aren’t allowed to grieve for them.
With Frank’s permission, Mark, Charlie and Clara recite the traditional prayer of Kaddish in Hebrew for Laura, John and Emily. During the prayer, Frank is finally able to cry for them.
Juliana takes her beverage cart to the room called Sakura/Cherry Blossom. It’s a large listening room, with at least a dozen people eavesdropping on phone conversations and taking notes on index cards. The cards are placed in bins with code names. One of the bins is labelled Grasshopper, like the title of the film Juliana transported.
Juliana contrives to steal one of the cards. As she does, she notices her stepfather, Arnold, is working in the next room. He appears to be a supervisor. Juliana takes the card and rushes out before Arnold sees her.
Joe sneaks downstairs in the middle of the night to look at the file labelled with the name of the film The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. The pages inside the folder are all blank. He gets caught, of course.
John Smith as much as told him the whole day was a set up and the whole family was in on it. Thomas brought him into the office to make sure he saw the file name.
Three Monkeys Proverb: Mizaru= See no evil. Kikazaru= Hear no evil. Iwazaru= Speak no evil.
Randall’s message to the Resistance was to be careful with their communications, because the Japanese are listening to their phone calls and could have their houses bugged. Any “evil” they speak in the wrong place will be heard in the Cherry Blossom room. That’s how the Japanese knew where the films would be. They don’t have a traitor amongst them.
Despite Childan’s fears about Frank, it’s clear that he’s the one with the gaijin stupidity. He’s so self-absorbed and obsessed with money and the wealthy, cultured Japanese that he has very little left over for proper secret keeping. The Kempeitai probably followed him right over to Frank’s house.
Other than when she’s with Frank, Juliana is the best spy on the show. She’s the only one who’s able to hold her tongue most of the time, but she also understands how to negotiate trades when necessary. Tagomi is a close second, but he’s too used to being in charge to be able to blend in as well as Juliana does. Juliana keeps her eyes open at all times, looking for clues and opportunities she can turn to her advantage.
I mean that in a nice way, because she’s working for the greater good, but I also don’t blame Frank for walking out on her. From his perspective, he nursed her back to health after she almost died in her accident, and as soon as she’s well, she starts lying and disappearing.
That fight was a break up level fight and Frank was so devastated that he finally cried his eyes out afterwards. Juliana went straight back to work as if nothing had happened. She’s already put their relationship behind her and is just going through the motions now, lying to herself and everyone else when she acts like she wants to stay with Frank. They’re being torn in different directions and Frank isn’t one to lie to himself. He might need to be pushed into action, but he’s emotionally honest and loyal.
Juliana’s confession that she’s killed a Nazi agent opens up something in Frank. So does finding his identity and faith as a Jew. Frank is a caretaker and an artist, and not normally a violent person. He gets angry, but finds ways other than violence to work out his anger. Mark gives him a new, nonviolent and fulfilling, but dangerous, method for working through issues. Juliana gives him permission to let go of being a caretaker and to act on his anger when he’s he’s pushed beyond his limits. The relentlessness of Kido, the Nazis and the Resistance serve to show how even when someone in this world tries every avenue available to them to avoid becoming violent, they can still become swept up in events and in their own emotions.
Three Monkeys, not 12 Monkeys. Very important distinction. But if you haven’t already, go watch the 12 Monkeys TV series on Hulu, when you’re done with The Man in the High Castle. One of the best and least talked about sci fi time travel shows ever, thanks to the way the Syfy network aired it. With an ending so perfect I still want to cry everytime I think about it. Not to be confused with Twelve Monkeys, the film, which is okay too, but very different from the TV series. You have to be in the right mood for Terry Gilliam, you know?
Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.