‘The Man in the High Castle: Season 2, Episode 10’ - TV Review

The finale of Season 2 brings emotion, action, and (some) resolution, effectively culminating the season. Episode 10 begins by creating a somber mood as the camera pans the causalities of the bombing, including a child, with sound muffled to replicate first-hand experience and shock. While the audience has likely flip-flopped loyalties and sympathies toward characters throughout this season, moments like these also create awkward sympathy for the Japanese, who have repeatedly practiced senseless acts of violence. The Nazis, the Japanese, and the Resistance are all prone toward destructive behavior, marking the inhumanity of all three groups as collective wholes. It is typically easier to relate to individual characters, but with many of them wavering in their allegiances and sentiments, there does not seem to be a constant hero figure on the show. Tagomi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) may be the most neutral character, as his actions ultimately are attempts to maintain peace rather than ignite more violence. Otherwise, the bulk of the show’s characters are plotters and killers one minute, and saviors and sympathizers the next. While this plays with audience sentiments, it also creates an edginess to the show and allows for the characters to remain unpredictable.

Helen Smith’s (Chelah Horsdal) character, for one, has really developed this season from a quintessential Nazi trophy wife to a grieving mother. The unraveling of her emotions reaches a tipping point in this episode. Horsdal has been a pleasure to watch this season, as she has concealed emotional angst and desperation, maintaining face in front of others while offering the audience slight glimpses of her internal struggles. In this episode, her emotional breakdown is truly heartbreaking and effectively incites sympathy.

In continuation with Berlin being the most striking set of the season, Himmler’s (Kenneth Tigar) address to the people in the dome is visually stunning and emotionally charged. While eerily appearing similar to the way that Hitler spoke to the Germans, Himmler’s message is one of peace, gratitude, and reassurance. Even though the Nazis and Japanese are still in power, thousands of lives have been saved in preventing the nuclear attacks. The world will now, hopefully, be at peace.

While the several storylines of Season 2 have been rather disjointed, this episode, finally, makes connections between characters. The use of the footage from alternate America serves to bridge multiple storylines, while Juliana’s (Alexa Davalos) actions allow further intersections. The different plots of the key players seemed so disconnected until this final episode, but the writers successfully brought them all together in a meaningful way that really works well. While the man in the high castle (Stephen Root) tells Juliana that she was the key in doing so, it seems like Tagomi was truly instrumental in resolving the plots that developed this season.

The final episode also makes up for the slow pace of the season, where the growing anticipation of war is eventually impacted by all of the major characters. Even so, the series does not answer all of the questions about the films and the multiple dimensions, leaving open potential plots for the third season, which Amazon recently announced. Overall, this season has successfully pushed sci-fi boundaries of multiple realities. While many of the characters are not that likeable, their inconsistent loyalties make them engaging to watch and keep the audience in anticipation. We never know whom to root for, and since the sci-fi element remains confusing, we cannot predict how the events will unwind. The show’s writers have successfully kept the audience wondering and on edge, which encourages a promising Season 3.

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