The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 7: Excess Animus Recap

mv5byza5otbjmdctzwfmys00mmq1lwjizdetmdg2ztbhm2vhmdiwxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjkwnzewmzu-_v1_sy1000_cr0013331000_al_

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.

Continue reading “The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 7: Excess Animus Recap”

Advertisements

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

mv5botayy2uymzgtnti5ny00nwm2ltg2otctnmzlzdvhmtg0ntq2xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjkwnzewmzu-_v1_sy1000_cr0013331000_al_

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.

Continue reading “The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 6: History Ends Recap”

The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 5: The New Colossus Recap

05-mitht-305-w700-h467

The New Colossus is such an eventful episode that it’s hard to know how to even summarize it. The title refers to the centerpiece of Nicole’s Jahr Null plan, replacing the Statue of Liberty with a new statue based in part on the image of Thomas, but also to John Smith and the power he accrues, which is supposed to keep him and his family safe, but instead hangs like an albatross around his neck.

The themes of identity, spirituality, community and responsibility continue to be explored this episode. Frank engages in soul searching before his bar mitzvah, trying to discern how to best atone for his sins while keeping his current community safe. Helen works through her grief and wonders how to reconcile her feelings about Thomas’ death with being a strong wife and mother. Juliana struggles with the meaning of the films and how they relate to her relationship with Joe in this world. John has to come up with yet another scheme to retain power and protect his family, this time breaking up my dream team of Rockwell and Hoover.

The episode begins with Himmler overseeing the graduation exercises executions of more Lebensborn assassins. His favorite is a tall, broad, blonde named Hans, who is the best the Reich has to offer. Hans is able to shoot fleeing Jews in the back faster than anyone ever, making Papa Himmler ever so proud.

Keep repeating to yourself that even in this reality, the Reich will fall eventually, and take some deep breaths.

Continue reading “The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 5: The New Colossus Recap”

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

mv5bnmy3owy3mmqtmdyymy00otmylweznmmtmze2ownjywuxntq3xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjkwnzewmzu-_v1_sy1000_cr0013331000_al_

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.

Continue reading “The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 4: Sabra Recap”

The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 3: Senso Koi Recap

eswghsisu1ujex8aj3hr

While episode 2 brought a series of endings to the world of The Man in the High Castle, and the feeling of fully completing storylines from previous seasons, episode 3, Sensô Kôi, contains reunions, beginnings and revelations. John Smith has the biggest revelation of all. Dr Mengele convinces him that the films he’d dismissed as fake after he learned about them as part of Hitler’s collection are, in fact, documentation of other realities in which other versions of ourselves live similar but different lives. The awakening to possibilities that cascades through Smith’s head is practically visible.

Juliana and Joe are reunited, but spend most of their time circling each other cautiously. The two amateur spies have grown up to become lethal weapons and the young pair who were uncertain of their causes have firmly chosen where they stand. Unfortunately it’s not on the same side. The films prove that they have a deep connection in every reality, but death is usually involved when they are together, going all the way back to the season 1 films. The current crop of films raises the stakes even higher.

Nicole’s film documentary about Thomas Smith has its premiere with everyone who’s anyone in the American Reich in attendance. It’s clear that the film is thinly veiled propaganda meant to position John Smith as the next Reichsmarschall. The film leaves Smith’s enemies seething, especially Hoover and Rockwell, my very favorite villain duo on this show ever. Rockwell has a certain charismatic panache that we don’t see often on MITHC, and Hoover just loves being his sycophantic evil flunkie so darn much.

Continue reading “The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 3: Senso Koi Recap”

The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 2: Imagine Manchuria Recap

the-man-in-the-high-castle-302-w700-h467

The title of episode 2 of The Man in the High Castle season 3, Imagine Manchuria, refers to a line Kido says to his would-be new assistant. If Nakamura thinks San Francisco weather is unpleasant in the winter (it tends toward cool and frequently rainy), imagine what it will be like when Kido turns on him and has him sent to Manchuria, which can be as cold as the Arctic in winter. In other words, things can always get worse.

This is the theme of the episode, as the solution to one problem inevitably causes a bigger problem down the line. If we don’t see the bigger problem in this episode, we’re likely seeing the set up for it. Helen solves the Smiths’ gossip problem one way, but now has a crime scene to deal with. John solves it another way, but now has an ongoing blackmail scheme to finesse at a time when he’s being watched very closely. Kido arrests Juliana, but also catches Trudy, who he executed in the opening scenes of season 1. The triumph of catching a Resistance operative is overshadowed by the mental discord of seeing a woman he knows to be dead, now inexplicably returned to life. And of being put in conflict with Tagomi once again.

Schemes within schemes are revealed within the Reich, until anyone who has any power there might wish they’d been sent to Manchuria. In addition to his other supersecret American operations, Himmler is playing Hoover and Rockwell against Smith, and it’s anyone’s guess which side he’ll favor in the end. Joe is a Lebensborn special operative who works directly for Himmler, apparently as an assassin, but his true purpose is unknown to almost everyone. Even Smith and the head of the Reich Embassy in San Francisco, who is ostensibly his boss, don’t know. And Himmler is a demanding, impatient taskmaster who accepts no excuses.

Continue reading “The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 2: Imagine Manchuria Recap”

The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 1: Now More Than Ever, We Care About You Recap

mv5bndq4n2jjngmtmwqxnc00n2viltk3ndutndkymmrjmguxztbixkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjkwnzewmzu-_v1_sy1000_cr0013331000_al_

It’s been almost 2 years since we last visited with the residents of the Greater Nazi Reich, the Japanese Pacific States and the Neutral Zone, and things have changed both in the real and fictional worlds. The Man in the High Castle has undergone huge behind the scenes changes, including a new showrunner. So has Amazon’s television division. There has been turnover in the cast as well, and last season brought the end of the first “book” in the series.

This season starts a new long-term story arc. Let’s see if it’s worth the wait.

At the end of season 2, Juliana is in the Neutral Zone and reunited with her sister from another reality, Trudy, as the Man in the High Castle, Hawthorne Abendon, looks on. Frank and Sarah appear to be lost in the explosion they set in the San Francisco Kempeitai building to assassinate General Onoda. Kido and Tagomi survive the explosion. Kido gives Smith one of the movies that Tagomi brought back from an alternate Earth, as proof that Japan also has the bomb, in order to avoid nuclear war. Ed and Childan have left San Francisco on a bus bound for the Neutral Zone.

Continue reading “The Man in the High Castle Season 3 Episode 1: Now More Than Ever, We Care About You Recap”