The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 9: Baku Recap

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As the penultimate episode of season 3, Baku marks the end of this season for several characters, while it serves as the set up to the finale for the rest. We say goodbye to Frank, Mark and Tagomi in this episode. We’ve already seen the last of Sabra and Lila for this season.

The focus of these last two episodes shifts away from the details of the characters’ personal lives, and toward the implications their lives have for the larger universe. This emphasis shows how much the characters have grown, as tensions rise within each political state and the characters are called to respond to it. Most rise to the occasion. But not all. Not surprisingly, the Nazis typically fail the test, except for Helen.

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The episode title, Baku, refers to the alias Kido uses in the Neutral Zone. Baku is a mythical Japanese creature who eats nightmares when called. If called too often, it will also devour the sleeper’s hopes and dreams, leaving their lives empty. The Baku’s body is made up of spare parts that were leftover when all of the other animals had been made, leaving the Baku looking strange but fierce.

Kido’s choice of this name suggests that he sees himself as a protector, but has realized that he can go too far. It also suggests that he is reevaluating who he is. He’s been in America a long time, and is now made up of spare parts taken from experiences gained during the War, pre and post War on two continents. He is no longer simply a Japanese soldier. Does he see himself as living an empty life, having chased so many nightmares away that he lost track and chased away the hopes and dreams of his own life as well?

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The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 8: Kasumi (Through the Mists) Recap

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As the Reich draws closer to the full implementation of Jahr Null, episode 8 explores reinventing oneself and changing directions. Some, like Himmler, stay on the course we’ve seen them follow all season. Others, like Ed, Frank, Nicole and Helen, attempt to explore new paths.

After they’ve seen Juliana’s film, the Jewish characters of Sabra refuse to see that there could be another way, and stick to their traditional fight. Ed and Frank are inspired to use art to inspire others. Juliana has the science behind the knowledge in her acquired memories confirmed, and moves forward with her fight.

In the American Reich, Helen experiments with a little independent thinking about Reich orthodoxy, which causes Dr Ryan to call John again. John puts an end to Helen’s analysis and tries to end her independent thinking, but I suspect that’s impossible.

John tries to make Himmler see reason when Himmler courts another war with Japan, this time on American soil. But Himmler sees the Western Hemisphere as his plaything, to be toyed with or broken as he sees fit. He has no sympathy for the people who’d be affected by an American war.

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The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 4: Sabra Recap

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Episode 4, Sabra, focuses on the strained partnerships and heightening tensions of the alternate reality of The Man in the High Castle. Ed and Robert begin their journey back to the west coast, complaining at each other the whole time. John and Helen continue to struggle with their grief over Thomas’ death and the increasing scrutiny and pressure on them because of John’s promotion. Joe and Juliana grow physically closer, but choose every word they say carefully.

Meanwhile, the JPS begins experiencing protests over the fuel shortage because of its effect on everyday life. Wyatt shows up at Juliana’s door, wanting to get to know her better. Thelma and Nicole also get to know each other better, in an illegal way that could get them both reeducated at best and executed at worst. Tagomi and his painter get to know each other better over dinner, but Joe has plans for dessert.

The title, Sabra, refers to the Catholic community outside of Denver that secretly shelters a community of Jews, called Sabra. The term sabra means a native-born Israeli Jew. It’s taken from the name of a cactus fruit that’s tough on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside.

The Neutral Zone and the Japanese Pacific States turn people into this version of themselves, people who are tough and wary but can still have normal relationships with those they trust. In the Reich, trust is virtually impossible, as even one’s closest friends and loved ones might be convinced to turn one in for the good of the state. Joe was once a  young cactus fruit, but now he’s been squeezed dry, and the shell that’s left works for Himmler.

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