The Man in the High Castle recap: Season 2, Episode 7
Many of the people in The Man in the High Castle are living in a waking nightmare, but the seventh episode of the season kicks off with an old-fashioned sleeping nightmare. Frank, still riddled with guilt about his sister’s death, and unsure of his alliance with the increasingly violent Resistance, dreams of having a nice dinner with his sister and her kids, only to realize they’re dining in a gas chamber meant to kill them all. It’s a horrific way to begin the episode, but it drives home Frank’s current mental state.
And no wonder Frank is having nightmares: He just finished stealing a bomb, and now the Resistance has a plan for it. They’re going to break it down into a number of smaller bombs and then use those to assassinate high-ranking members of the tyrannical Japanese government. At a warehouse that the Resistance operates out of, Frank and Sarah are told to go scout the location for the next bomb, which is a grain warehouse that’s visited daily by Japanese officials.
It’s a scouting job that seems easy enough, but there’s real tension between Frank and Sarah. That tension comes to a head once they’re at the grain warehouse under the guise of being food vendors. Sarah lambasts Frank for sleeping with her and now feeling weird about it because of her Japanese heritage, while Frank accuses her of not understanding what it’s like to be consistently treated like you’re subhuman. It’s an intriguing exchange, one that certainly comments on the current state of racial tensions in the United States, where ideas of privilege and racial profiling are at the forefront of many minds.
Ultimately, Frank ends up blowing the whole operation after drawing way too much attention to himself. To be fair, he has a good reason for screwing up: Back at the warehouse, he tells the Resistance leaders that he noticed the Japanese were wearing certain badges that suggested they’re working with hazardous materials. Plus, the gloves they were wearing to load product onto a bus hidden inside a building suggests the same. Putting that together with the Man in the High Castle’s film he saw, where San Francisco is destroyed, Frank is certain that the Japanese are building an atomic bomb.
While Frank spends this episode literally worrying about, and not loving, a bomb, his so-called business partners Childan and Ed are putting the finishing touches on their first sale in order to pay back the Yakuza. After Childan has a rather awkward rendezvous with a prostitute — let’s be honest, everything Childan does is awkward — him and Ed work to sell an “authentic” pair of cufflinks worn by Lincoln on the night of his assassination.
What’s interesting about this is that Childan himself can’t get the job done. He fails to really sell the piece. So, Ed steps in and weaves a tall tale about how the cufflinks came to be reunited after that fateful night at Ford’s Theatre. The tale works and the mark ponies up the cash, but more importantly, Childan and Ed form a bond. As Frank distances himself from them through his work with the Resistance, they manage to connect with each other.
NEXT: Don’t bogart that joint, my friend
The connection and mutual respect between Childan and Ed are only bolstered when they actually bring the cash to the Yakuza. They head to the club to pay Okamura, but are quickly ushered into a closet. Unbeknownst to them, Inspector Kido has shown up after discovering that Okamura was working with the Nazis. Kido has no patience left, so he shoots Okamura and his men. Ed and Childan, thankfully, are allowed to leave. So they do what any two guys would do after a brief encounter with death: smoke a couple joints and celebrate their freedom from the Yakuza. If only Frank and his pesky atomic bomb news weren’t there to kill the mood.
With the Yakuza taken care of for now, and Joe really nowhere to be found in this episode, it’s back to Juliana and her attempts to work herself into the social circle of the Nazis. Here, she preps for and attends the funeral of Dr. Adler. The other women are giddy about Juliana maybe meeting a handsome suitor at the funeral; as we know, Nazis aren’t the most empathetic people.
Later, back at the Smith home, Helen and Juliana are in the kitchen. Helen is frantic and worried, not just for her son’s health, but for his safety. She doesn’t know Juliana and is not sure how she’ll respond to this revelation. Of course, Juliana is trying to earn Helen’s trust, so she assures her that what she saw was a “sweet young man suffering from exhaustion,” which is enough for Helen, who even lies to her husband later when he asks if anyone else saw Thomas’ episode.
As the episode comes to a close, there’s suddenly instability within the Reich, and not just because Helen is lying to her husband. No, John gets a call late at night and is told that Hitler has collapsed and that the doctors are not hopeful that he can recover. Their leader is about to lose his life, and that could lead to the Reich losing control.
Episode Grade: B+
Amazon adapts Philip K. Dick's 1962 novel about an alternate universe where the Axis powers won World War II.