The Man in the High Castle recap: Season 2, Episode 8
Frank discovers the truth about Juliana as she learns of Hitler's health
At the end of the previous episode, John Smith received news that Hitler had collapsed and his recovery was unlikely. In “Loose Lips,” more information begins to leak out to relevant members of the Nazis. So, while Joe continues to enjoy his life as a Nazi, getting to eat all his favorite meals while his father fawns over him, commanders show up at the lunch and whisk them both away to the capital. Once there, it’s revealed Hitler is in a coma and is not expected to live. The biggest surprise is still to come, though: Joe’s father, Reichsminister Heusmann, has been chosen as the interim chancellor.
Where Joe is excited about his father’s newfound role, Heusmann suggests everything isn’t so rosy. In fact, he says he’s been put in the role to fail while other, more high-powered officials fight amongst themselves for control of the Reich. More than that, the turmoil that’s to come brings everyone into danger, so Heusmann tells his son to go back to New York, where he’ll be safe. We know Joe, though; he’s not exactly good at doing what he’s told.
While Joe is being shuttled around the Reich and eating anything he wants, Juliana is vacuuming her apartment when the power goes out. Cameras and microphones, used by the Nazis to monitor the apartments, all shut down. Then, John Smith knocks on the door. It turns out that with Hitler’s health failing, he’s scrambling to gather more information about what’s to come next.
So, he asks Juliana about her meeting with the Man in the High Castle, whom he refers to by name: Hawthorne. Juliana explains the film she and Joe watched, in Joe was a member of the Resistance. She doesn’t know anything else and Smith seems to believe her. The question is: What will he do next?
Smith may not have much time to do anything, be it securing the safety of his family or making a play to become the next leader of the Nazis — everything is devolving into chaos. At Inspector Kido’s office, he greets Obberführer Diels, who’s come to the Japanese to defect. Kido calls Smith and lets him know about the deceit and how Diels has come with evidence the Nazis assassinated the Crown Prince, meaning his plea for asylum will likely be granted. Again, chaos is coming… It’s now just a matter of who can get ahead of it and save their own life.
Of course, the public is unaware of this, as a lunch with Lucy, Helen, and Juliana reveals. While Helen takes a call from John, Lucy spills the beans about the news coverage orchestrated by her husband. Rather than noting Hitler is probably dying, the news is suggesting Hitler is taking some time to himself at his mountain retreat. But all the footage is old and since Lucy can’t help but gossip, she tells Juliana about it. Helen reprimands them both for such treasonous talk, but the damage may be done. Juliana has information she can use.
NEXT: The games we play
With this new information in her hands, Juliana heads straight for a phone to call George. She wants to have a meeting with someone in power in the Resistance, someone who will use this information about Hitler wisely. If there’s a criticism to be made of The Man in the High Castle, it’s that the back half of this episode gets a little convoluted. There’s so much happening at once that it can be difficult to keep up with all the threads. Part of that is by design and a great way to keep the audience on its toes, but there’s also the sense the show is rushing through a lot of plot before it gets to the final two episodes. Pacing has never been the show’s strong suit.
So, Juliana meets with a woman at a speakeasy and delivers the information. The woman immediately disappears, leaving George to fill in Juliana with the details: The Resistance has been planning for Hitler’s death for some time, hoping to use it as a trigger for an uprising. That’s all well and good in theory, but Juliana can’t help but wonder if she’s just triggered the horrific events she witnessed in the “Grasshopper” film.
If there’s a moment of quiet in all this noise, it’s in the form of Tagomi. He’s still in the alternate-timeline version of San Francisco — or whatever it is — and “Loose Lips” gives him a nice redemption arc. While we don’t know the extent of his previous actions in this timeline, he clearly hurt his family. Here, he’s allowed to forge a bond with his son once again, repairing a mug he broke in a previous rage and assuring Nori that Juliana is a special woman whom he’s proud to call his daughter. It’s a nice emotional triumph in an episode filled with dread.
So, back to the dread! After Frank is told by Arnold that Juliana is working with the Resistance and he needs to leave town immediately before a bomb is dropped, the episode cuts to Berlin, where it’s revealed Joe is staying in the capital and working alongside his father. Heusmann is about to be sworn in, meaning control is finally within reach.
John Smith has other plans, but they’re all for naught. He goes a long way to trick an imprisoned Reinhard into thinking his side has won now that Hitler is dead, fooling him into revealing Heusmann is the new chosen leader. But what can John really do with that information? He seems to think it’s too late to do anything, and if there’s any indication he’s right, it’s in that final scene. As Hitler takes his last breath, a final shot sees Heusmann, Joe’s father, standing at the large window in the Führer’s office and overlooking what is now under his control. Heusmann said earlier he was being given the position to fail — but something tells me he has his own plans and is not about to go down without a fight.