This weekend, A.V. Club contributor Shelby Fero is watching all of the first season of The Man In The High Castle on Amazon Prime. After she’s finished with an episode, she’ll post a quick response. Though she’s working straight through the season, she’ll be taking some breaks, too, posting two reviews on Friday, four reviews on Saturday, and four reviews on Sunday. Weigh in on this episode in the comments below or discuss the whole season on our binge-watching hub page.
The Man In The High Castle continues in its attempt to show a very, very, “see what they ate for breakfast on assassination day” realistic portrayal of a country on the brink of a multi-scale war. Now, this is great news for me: I spent most of my time in history class asking, “Okay, but how did [insert name of war here] happen? Like, literally what happens minute by minute leading up to it?” It’s less great news for those craving action, or story set at a faster pace. Hopefully there’s enough beatings and accidental-arm shootings to keep everybody invested, but I’d be interested to hear if anyone’s dropped off so far.
We get a big Joe/Juliana episode here, as well as a big step forward on the Japanese vs. Nazis side. It’s interesting to see a show in the vein of dystopian/sci-fi/rebellion fiction, that dilligently interconnects the “idealogical youth embroiled in the grassroots rebellion” (e.g. The Supernaturalist) and “dry political intrigue between governments“ (e.g. The Foundation) tropes. Usually it feels like we get one or the other, or they’re clumsily connected (lookin’ at you, last two Maze Runner books).
Unfortunately, while the J/J story starts strong, it sort of fizzles out, unable to serve as as dramatic a moment as the assassination (which, ironically, began pretty lamely). All in all, this episode continues to set up dominoes—and while waiting longer might mean a greater payoff, I’m ready to see something topple.
Questions: Didn’t we want Juliana to get on a bus? Is this bus going a different way? How good is Lemnel going to feel when he gets to say “Told you so!” about that “goosestepping motherfucker.” How has nobody else pointed out that the Man in the High Castle probably doesn’t make the films until now (“You don’t think we’d waste all this time collecting his films to give them back to him, do you?”) How period accurate is the amount and voracity with which these people use “fuck?” And what are the odds the Marshal would actually believe Juliana died in that car?
Fears: Please don’t let the shoe-shine die. He has endeared himself to me for life; I ran into my roommate’s bedroom, cackling, to reenact his response to Joe and Juliana’s dramatic questioning of why he’s helping them (“…’Cause that guy’s a fucking maniac? Get out of here!”)
Last thing: Ed, man, if you’re gonna point a gun at someone you gotta be a little more confident if you accidentally shoot him!