Coming off the excitement of Episode 3, the fourth installment of Season 2 of The Man in the High Castle slows down as it puts the key players in place in what feels like a setup episode for upcoming action and plot resolutions.
In another scene where Trade Minister Tagomi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) moves between realities, a loud heartbeat resounds in the background. He has meditative access to the reality that we recognize from our actual history. It seems as though there must be something for him to find in the alternate reality that will ultimately affect events in the reality of the show, but as of now, we are left wondering how this power will impact the other characters and events.
With the Japanese and the Resistance after Juliana (Alexa Davalos) for letting Joe (Luke Kleintank) go free with the tape at the end of Season 1, she has trouble finding people she can trust. While looking for George Dixon, the man from the video, she winds up being chased by Resistance through a train station. This scene adds some excitement to a rather slow episode and reaffirms that Juliana’s haircut is not enough to keep her hidden from those out to get her.
Back in San Francisco, the Resistance believes that fear will help gain supporters to the cause against the Japanese. Frank (Rupert Evans) has bought in, saying, “I know what it feels like to fight now,” after shooting Japanese officers in the previous episode. He gets involved with a dangerous mission with a very large explosive, which is somewhat dramatic because he could trigger it, but Obergruppenführer Smith’s (Rufus Sewell) interrogation of Juliana in Episode 3 was actually more intense than this scene. Plus, each episode seems to be building toward the likelihood of the A-bomb obliterating the city to assure a Nazi takeover. This possible event is much more daunting than Frank’s mission, but it is nice to see Frank committed to the Resistance and trying to save lives.
Meanwhile, Joe’s trip to Berlin seems a bit prolonged at this point, and the significance of this visit is not really clear. For now, it just seems to be keeping him out of the way of the other characters. The set, though, with Nazi insignia and flags rampant, continues to be impressive and intimidating.
Short scenes with Thomas Smith (Quinn Lord) further establish him as the most pleasant character on the show. Yet, he is ignorant of his degenerative disease that will likely result in his life being prematurely terminated. In the meantime, there is hope that his condition will soften his father.
This episode does not answer many questions, and we are still left wondering how all the storylines will ultimately converge. While last season seemed more focused on plot, this season works harder to develop the characters and the ways that personal and moral agendas influence or direct their behavior. It is hard to emotionally connect with many of the characters since their allegiances are often questionable. Aside from Frank, who consistently fights to protect and save others, the other characters seem to have mixed loyalties and sentiments. At this point, we just need to wait and see, but it would be helpful for The Man in the High Castle (Stephen Root) to return and explain his videos. Until then…