The Man in the High Castle recap: Three Monkeys
I’ve mentioned in just about every recap since the premiere that The Man in the High Castle seems to be stalling. Despite all the secrets and conspiracies, there’s been very little action, very little plot movement. I feel like we’ve been waiting for another shoe to drop ever since Juliana went to Canon City, a move that feels like it was ages ago. Well, that other shoe may have dropped at the end of tonight’s episode, “Three Monkeys.”
It’s appropriate that the entire episode takes place during V-A Day, as the day seems to embody all of the tensions within the characters and their relationships. The fact that the Japanese don’t celebrate the day shows just how fraught their relationship with the Nazis is, and the ideas of loyalty and honor perfectly encapsulate the secret-keeping going on with Joe and Juliana.
Let’s start with Juliana. She’s back at the Japanese Authority Building, having been called in by Trade Minister Tagomi. While Juliana seems worried about why she’s been summoned, it turns out that he’s ready to offer her a job. Why her? I’m not sure of his true intentions, but he believes having a white face around the office will help keep his Nazi visitors at ease.
Juliana’s job is to mind her own business, forget everything she hears, and serve coffee and water during meetings. Of course, Juliana is keeping an ear out for any information about Grasshopper, or really anything that could tell her more about the films and why her sister was killed.
Back at home, Juliana is trying to mend her relationship with Frank, but things are certainly rocky. She doesn’t tell him about going to meet Tagomi for the job, and when she schedules a dinner for later that night she fails to show up after getting held up at work. The two have a huge argument, but more on that and its implications later.
Frank, meanwhile, is trying to get back to normal, but the Kempeitai are on his tail. Even if Frank didn’t shoot the Crown Prince, he’s been implicated. The boy and father who saw him with the gun have given a tip to the Kempeitai, pointing out the potential model of the gun. Thus, Kido is searching all local antique dealers looking for who may have sold the weapon.
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That leads Kido to the shop where Frank purchased his bullets. Kido questions the owner, and while he plays dumb and says that a Japanese man living in Tibet purchased the bullets, Kido knows better. He suspects something is amiss but can’t quite place what.
He then sends his men to Frank’s workplace to gather some information. It seems that they’re looking to get Frank’s information specifically, likely because of his past interactions with them. You know, that whole dead sister thing.
NEXT: See no evil
Meanwhile, Joe is enjoying his day at the Obergruppenführer’s house. He even heads to the airport with him to pick up Helena’s mother, only to find her flight canceled. But who just so happens to be at the airport? Rudolph Wegener, also known as “Barnes,” the Nazi agent who’s been working with Tagomi. He was friends with the Obergruppenführer back during the war, so he accepts an invitation to his house for the V-A Day celebrations.
Back at the house, while everyone watches the parade, Joe attempts to sneak into the Obergruppenführer’s office and steal the Grasshopper file he noticed when he first arrived. He’s unsuccessful though, as he can’t find the key to open the cabinet and retrieve the file.
After the parade, tension seems to grow between Wegener and the Obergruppenführer. The former questions some of their actions during the war and what they really achieved, and the Obergruppenführer reminds him that they live in a better world now, so everything they did was worth it.
This tension is no accident. As the Obergruppenführer later reveals to Joe, Helena’s mother passed away two years ago. The reason they went to the airport was because Wegener had checked in under a false name, therefore raising suspicion. And now he’s been lying throughout the day, but the Obergruppenführer doesn’t know why. He contemplates trusting his old friend, but Joe convinces him otherwise. Thus, the Obergruppenführer calls his men in and they detain Wegener. “You were always too smart for me, Joe,” he says as he’s taken away.
Juliana, meanwhile, is back at home having missed her dinner with Frank. The two argue over what’s been going on lately, and in the heat of the moment Juliana tells Frank that she killed a man in Canon City. When she tells him the story, Frank gets upset that a man saved her, which seems like the wrong reaction to have to your girlfriend telling you about a Nazi agent trying to murder her.
Anyway, Frank blows up and leaves the apartment. He wanders to the house of the man he met at the memorial, the one who whispered “to life” in his ear. While it’s unclear what purpose this man will serve going forward, he has a connection with Frank and they pray for his lost loved ones.
After their fight, Juliana figures out what “Sakura” could possibly mean. Based on the translation given to her by a coworker, it’s a word for a type of flower. She realizes that all the offices in the Japanese Authority Building are named after flowers, and thus she needs to find Sakura. She heads back to work and secretly finds her way to the room.
Once inside, she witnesses all sorts of surveillance. Men and women seem to be listening to phone calls and writing down notes on potential threats. She sees where the notes are filed and, relevant to her interests, finds the one labeled “Grasshopper.” While covertly grabbing a file from the bin, she peeks into the next room and sees someone completely unexpected: her step-father! She hurries out of there before he can see her though, adding one more secret to her huge collection.
While Juliana is almost caught, Joe isn’t so lucky. He’s asked to stay the night by Helena and graciously accepts. He sees it as an opportunity to get into the Obergruppenführer’s office and steal the file. When, in the middle of the night, he manages to open the cabinet and snag the file, he sees that every page is blank. Then, the light turns on and Joe turns around to see the Obergruppenführer with that menacing look on his face. Yeah, not good.
Here’s hoping the two big reveals at the end of “Three Monkeys” signal a shift in the show, as things build toward the end of the season.
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