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 7: Excess Animus Recap

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In episode 7, Excess Animus, characters’ arcs continue to come full circle, just as Juliana and Joe’s did in episode 5. Kido delivers his brand of justice to the traitor Nakamura with extra zealousness, since he’d given the “hapa dog” a chance, despite his better judgement. But Kido also discovers that Tagomi hasn’t found him worthy of sharing important secrets, because of his ruthlessness and inability to see nuance.

Sabra faces more challenges to its seclusion, from bounty hunters looking for their friend who Layla killed and from Juliana, who hopes to recruit a few members to join her cause. Mark goes to Denver to take care of the bounty hunters, since he feels responsible for bringing that trouble to Sabra’s door.

Juliana has an unexpected reunion with her two oldest and dearest friends, Frank and Ed. It feels like they’ve each had a lifetime’s worth of experiences since the last time they saw each other. But everything has brought them back around to being on the same page again when they meet at Sabra, which is as tragic as it is wonderful. This reunion can’t last, and Juliana and Frank are both wanted fugitives. The odds of the three of them surviving until the end of whatever rebellion is coming are small.

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The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 6: History Ends Recap

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Episode 6, History Ends, is a profound episode, full of movement and transitions, but also quiet mourning and contemplation. The episode takes place during the 2 days after Joe’s death, and before John Smith’s swearing-in as Reichsmarschall. We see Juliana silently, but intensely, mourning him and trying to process what she’s done, and what this act says about her. She always has a bottle of liquor and a cigarette in her hands, and looks at as few people as possible. Her time is spent tying up loose ends in San Francisco, including sending a message to her mentor Tagomi. Then she enlists Wyatt’s help to get back to her other family, Hawthorne and Caroline.

The Smith family, on the other hand, should be able to breathe a little more freely, with the Rockwell/Hoover/Adler threat taken care of and John’s newest promotion. Helen is back to her old self, even feeling a bit frisky. But John is feeling renewed pressure from Himmler, and hasn’t properly grieved Thomas. Helen’s therapy has helped her move on and find renewed purpose, while John has another Thomas’, from other realities, dangling before him. With all of his loved ones and confidantes dead or threatened, and nowhere on this world for him to go, traveling to a better reality has got to be appealing to Smith.

But for now, he has to help Himmler destroy American history, and possibly the rest of his family. In this episode Smith gets word that Joe, his surrogate son, is dead, which causes him to revisit the betrayal he still feels over the murder of his surrogate brother, Erich Raeder, who was also under his protection. He’s lost his actual son and brother and his replacement son and brother, and he might not have the strength to lose more. He’s begun closing himself off to Helen and the girls, so that when he loses them, it won’t hurt so much. He focussing all of his energy on his work and on the Thomas in the films.

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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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Amazon Renews The Man in the High Castle for Season 3 (VIDEO)

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Amazon announced this week that it has renewed The Man in the High Castle for a third season and hired a new showrunner as well.  Eric Overmyer will take over for season 3, after the show spent the second half of season 2 without a showrunner, instead “operating like a republic,” according to executive producer David Zucker.

“As timely as ever, the exploration of characters at a dark point for humanity has provided incredible stories for two seasons,” said Joe Lewis, Head of Comedy and Drama, Amazon Studios. “Eric and his team are doing an incredible job crafting stories about the inner lives of those who struggle to do good in a world that is not.”

Below the cut, watch the season 3 announcement video.

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The Man in the High Castle: Speculation for Season 3 (That Will Obviously Turn Out to Be Wrong)

Here are our predictions for season 3 and beyond of The Man in the High Castle. (Or, probably more accurately, our hopes and dreams.) This is what we would do if we were writing the show:

Childan and Ed will be running their antiques business in the Neutral Zone, which will obviously also be a front for some less legitimate side business, and for the new and improved Resistance as well, once Juliana finds them.

Childan and Ed will be having an affair, both finally having admitted they’re either bi or gay. It’s clear Ed’s been in love with Frank since childhood, but he thinks Frank’s dead, so it’s time to move on. They may have him try to act on his crush on Juliana, but I think he knows she’s out of his league, and she’s emotionally unavailable anyway. Statistically, this show needs some queer characters. I’m going with the idea that same sex relations are forbidden in the Empire and the Reich, so no one is out, but things are looser in the Neutral Zone.

Abendsen will help Juliana and Trudy find Ed and Childan. Juliana will be in mourning for everything she’s lost. Tagomi may make his way to her at some point in this reality to make sure she is okay. She and Trudy might set off to find their parents and get them to the Neutral Zone. Eventually Trudy, Sarah, and Arnold will run the Western Resistance.

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The Man in the High Castle Episodes 9 & 10 Recap: Detonation and Fallout

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We start episode 10, Fallout, with the only cold open of the season, maybe of the entire series so far. It’s December 11th, 1945. Smith and Helen arrive at a small cottage outside of Washington, DC. Helen is very pregnant with Thomas, who she says is kicking up a storm. As they’re settling in, an atomic bomb goes off in the distance, seen behind them through the cottage’s picture window. They realize the Nazis have bombed Washington. As we know from watching the series so far, this is the event that caused the Americans to surrender to the Nazis.

This little scene is one of my favorite things they’ve done so far. It’s so brief, but it tells us so much, and reminds us of so much. And it’s shot gorgeously. We start out watching the couple from inside the cottage with the camera at a slight distance, framing the room as if it were a family portrait or a painting. There’s even a Christmas song playing in the background. Everything is perfect for them, despite the war. The room is dark, and the sky is graying outside the window as the sun sets. They are in the dark about what is about to happen. Change is coming. John turns on the lights, and they discuss his work at the Pentagon and the baby, with Helen telling Smith that she thinks it’s a boy. They are working to keep their situation happy and normal, despite the war. As they’re talking, a loud rumbling starts, along with a flash of light. For a split second, you think it could be thunder and lightning, but the flashes and crashes continue. Helen and Smith turn toward the window, holding hands. They, and we, realize something is very wrong, but they are in this together. The camera pulls closer and closer to them, then finally between them, up to the window, where we finally see the red sky and mushroom cloud from the atomic bomb in the distance. This is the event that will eventually come between them. This is the episode where that comes to fruition. They walk toward the window, and the camera pulls around in front of them. Now the camera is outside the window, looking in. We’re in the Looking Glass world now, no longer the world that made sense just 5 minutes ago. We see the mushroom cloud reflected in the window while we see Smith and Helen at an angle and shadowed, through the window. Everything in their world and their futures is now off balance, askew, dark.

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The Man in the High Castle Season 2 Episodes 1&2 Recap: Three Castles

The Tiger’s Cave & The Road Less Traveled

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Time to catch up with Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle! We finally meet the man himself, Hawthorne Abendsen, and, not surprisingly, he’s a little nuts. The “castle” appears to be a giant warehouse full of alternate reality films. Metamaiden doesn’t like him. She’s confused about where these films are coming from, and how the supernatural aspect plays into the full picture of the show. I (metacrone) think he’s high strung from having seen so many potential future disasters, and he’s weighed down with the possible impact of his choices.

All three factions in the show’s world now have access to information about the alternate realities (and, consequently, have their own man in a high castle). The Resistance and the Nazis access it through films brought to Abendsen and Hitler, and the Japanese through Trade Minster Tagomi’s mystical abilities. Both Abendsen and Tagomi seem to have figured out that Juliana is an important, lynchpin character in some way. Tagomi appeared to feel that her locket was too important as a talisman to offer back to her, even as they were both staring at it in his house. I’m not clear about whether Hitler’s specifically trying to have her killed, but Smith has certainly been keeping up with her status and whereabouts.

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