The Man in the High Castle recap: The Illustrated Woman
In San Francisco, Frank begins planning an assassination, and Joe and Juliana are on the run from The Marshal in Canon City.
With Juliana having thrown the Origami man (as we are now calling him) over the bridge at the end of the second episode, it’s smart of The Man in the High Castle to pick up right where we left off, with the consequences and implications of that action. That leads to “The Illustrated Woman” being a much more contemplative episode of television, not boasting the same action and tension as the two previous episodes.
Back at the hotel where Joe and Juliana are staying, Joe is attempting to comfort a distraught Juliana. She’s reeling, completely stunned that she killed someone. Joe gets her to take a swig of alcohol to calm her nerves and then tells her about a man he killed in self-defense once. “How do you carry that around?” she says, to which he doesn’t have much of an answer. You just do, basically.
While the comforting only goes so far, Joe reaches out and admits that he read Juliana’s letter, that he knows who she is and what she was doing in Canon City. He tells her that they have to leave, that it’s not safe here anymore. When Juliana resists because she needs to meet Trudy’s contact, Joe posits that maybe such a contact never existed, and that Trudy would have walked into the same trap that Jules did.
The next morning, Juliana agrees to leave. She tells Joe to go ahead first, so as not to raise suspicion about the dead Origami man or their leaving together, and after she works a shift at the diner like normal, she’ll catch up with him. It’s a plan that’s quickly thwarted by a menacing man who calls himself The Marshal.
We’re first introduced to The Marshal when he confronts Joe at a gas station. He pulls a shotgun on him and asks for his papers. When he figures Joe is okay in his books, he turns his attention back to asking folks about the whereabouts of his “friend,” the Origami man. Joe overhears him asking around and heads straight to the diner to warn Jules that they have to leave right away. They meet out back of the diner and take off in Joe’s truck.
Despite leaving the diner immediately, The Marshal is getting closer to them and their connection to the Origami man. He inquires about Juliana at the bookstore and finds out that the owner was selling Bibles. He’s not completely offended by that, but then he shuffles a deck of cards with faces on them and pulls out one with the face of the bookstore owner.
It says his name is David and that he fled a concentration camp during the war. He’s Jewish, and The Marshal doesn’t stand for that, so he kills him and strings him up in the middle of town. Like any good bounty hunter, The Marshal takes one of David’s fingers for good measure and stores it away as a trophy.
NEXT: Shades of Taxi Driver
Back in San Francisco, Frank isn’t exactly coping with the death of his sister and her children in a healthy way. He’s lost and confused, alone back at his apartment and failing to get up to go to work. His only trip out of the house involves informing Bill, his sister’s husband, of what happened. Bill lashes out and blames Frank for the deaths, but it’s obviously more complicated than that.
In fact, Frank seems to be just starting to see his world for what it really is, and how impassive his role has been. He’s just accepted that things are the way they are, and while he’s not pleased that Juliana left with the film — as evidenced by his exasperated tone on their monitored phone call — he does see that something needs to be done for things to change. Having your sister murdered by the State will certainly give a man motivation.
Frank may just have the perfect opportunity to cause a disruption. In fact, there’s so much tension between the Nazis and Japanese right now that their focus and stronghold on the population seems to be faltering. While the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan visit the SS headquarters in New York, the Nazis manage to not only insult the Japanese, but also suggest that it won’t be long before they make a move against them.
Back in Canon City, Joe has strict instructions from the Obergruppenführer to return home, that his contact clearly isn’t showing up. Easier said than done for Joe though as Juliana still has a lot of questions that she wants answered. After finding the Origami man’s body, Juliana takes a map from him and notices that he’s marked off a single location: the Copper Gulch mine.
Against Joe’s wishes, Juliana heads there looking for some sort of clue. They do find something, but it’s not totally clear what it all means. They find the corpse of a woman tied up in the mine and a list in her pocket. The list is a number of names, all of which are crossed out except for two: Trudy, Juliana’s sister, and Lemmel Washingston.
It turns out that Lemmel is Juliana’s boss back at the Sunrise Diner, so the two hurry back to Canon City to see if he has any answers. Before they get there though, the Marshal questions him and he admits to seeing Juliana, that she worked as a waitress for him for a few days. Not too long after, when Juliana and Joe roll back into town, the Marshal is waiting for them. He shoots at their truck, forcing Juliana to flee and Joe to hide, the episode leaving that storyline dangling as the Marshal chases Juliana through back alleys.
While Juliana is likely cowering somewhere, Frank is seemingly going on the offensive. When he hears that the Crown Prince will be making a public speech at the Nazi Embassy, he heads straight to work. Rather than build a typical replica gun, he builds a real one, much to Ed’s dismay. Sorry Ed; you mean well, but don’t know what Frank is really into.
“The Illustrated Woman” is a much more contemplative episode than previous ones, but with the Marshal closing in on Juliana and Frank potentially looking to assassinate the Crown Prince, things are sure to pick up in the next episode.