‘The Man in the High Castle: Season 2, Episode 9’ - TV Review

This season continues to take risks with parallel dimensional travel, complicating opportunities for the audience to understand how it works, who has the ability, and how it can affect other worlds. As Tagomi (Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa) watches a video of the H-bomb test in alternate America, it is clear that complete devastation is possible in both versions of the world. Is one world actually any safer than the other? It doesn’t seem like global peace is truly achievable anywhere. Tagomi’s dimension hopping is complicated further in this episode, as he is able to bring the film from alternate America back to the show’s main reality. Perhaps, then, the man in the high castle is able to move through different Earths, as well, which could explain how he acquired his stacks of films. Hitler, too, had been collecting films. If Hitler were a dimension hopper, then he would have been able to gain useful information, making it possible to defeat the Allies in this version of reality’s World War II. He also could potentially have seen footage of the future, giving him a huge advantage. With all these possibilities, it seems as though both time and space can be manipulated.

While the show itself is rather slow-paced, part of the fun in watching is overthinking the complexities of reality and other worlds. If certain people and the films are able to move through multi-dimensional space, then the entire existence of the world could be impacted by another world. The show has not yet addressed doppelgangers, though. So far, Juliana (Alexa Davalos) is the only character who has one, and since she is present in both worlds, it would seem that other individuals should have doppelgangers, as well. Since Tagomi does not have one, and his one body exists in both worlds, the show confounds our attempts to understand how these dimensions really work.

As for plot progression in this episode, the Resistance is very active on both sides of the country. Their secrecy and manipulations allow them to successfully initiate their uprising. Meanwhile, the Reich seems very unstable but plans on maintaining its power (and claiming more). The Reich is like a porcelain doll, appearing pristine but vulnerable to attack from the Resistance and Japanese. While the Nazis and the Japanese have maintained apparent strongholds, the Resistance, which seems like such a small group in comparison (We have only actually seen a handful of members.), is successful in disrupting Nazi and Japanese stability; however, throughout the season, all three groups have gained and lost audience sympathy through the sentiments and actions of particular characters. At this point, it is still difficult to decide which group to even root for.

In each episode of this season, the best writing has typically been in the final few moments or scenes. While some episodes have been a bit sluggish, their endings make up for it and encourage viewers to continue watching. Episode 9 finishes with a bang, literally. The moments of anticipation, the hiccups in the plans, and the aftermath all create a gripping scene. While the opposing groups of the series have been (for the most part) quietly making attack plans, the action in Episode 9 starts the fight, and more destruction and tragedy are to be expected in the season’s finale.

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