For 30 episodes now, Amazon Prime Original The Man in the High Castle has taken viewers on an increasingly twisty journey through its alternate reality – one in which the allies were defeated and the former USA is divided between the Nazi Reich and Imperial Japan. There’s a lot of historical multi-reality goodness to sink into before the 4th season is released on November 15th. As with ever-popular series’ like Game of Thrones and Peaky Blinders, it seems viewers can’t get enough of shows who get them to root for objectively terrible people. The Man in the High Castle fits perfectly into this trend – you can’t get much more spot-on than a show which displays the sympathetic sides of a former American soldier who betrayed his country to become a Nazi Obergruppenführer in New York, or a Japanese leader of the military police in San Francisco who kills children to get to his information.
Beginning in 1962 we meet Juliana Crain (Alexa Davalos) and her boyfriend Frank Frink (Rupert Evans) in Japanese occupied San Francisco. Frank has to keep his Jewish heritage hidden or risk having to flee to the Neutral Zone like the rest of America’s Jewish population, but overall the couple have adapted to this new totalitarian society. That is until Juliana’s sister sacrifices her life to deliver her a tape, a tape which depicts the allies winning the war. This tape somehow connects Juliana and Frank with the resistance fighters in the neutral zone, Juliana’s suspiciously good looking helper Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank), Japanese officials Kido (Joel de la Fuente) and Tagomi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) in San Francisco and Obergruppenführer John Smith (Rufus Sewell) across in Nazi-occupied New York.
The show is paced so successfully, with subplot after subplot and cliffhanger after cliffhanger weaved together, that even the slow reveal of the shows biggest mysteries do not disappoint. Most viewers would probably be satisfied if this was a straight-forward ‘what-if’ period drama, which only makes the whole thing more intriguing when the show begins to turn more sci-fi and philosophical – although this probably isn’t surprising to those familiar with Phillip K. Dick, the author of the show’s source material. The Man in the High Castle has explored some big questions about the state of humanity. What exactly is freedom, or loyalty, or goodness? How far will normal people go for a cause they believe in? How much does it take to convince people they live in a multi-verse? With the set up of Season 3’s world-shattering twist, Season 4 looks to be a fascinating end to arguably Amazon Prime’s best original show to date…
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