If you are not watching The Man in High Castle, you are missing out big time.
Taking master mind-fucker Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel of the same name as a jumping-off point, Amazon’s bleak sci-fi series takes place in a world where the Axis won World War II. It’s now 1962, and the former United States is divided between Japan in the West and German occupation in the East, with a lawless Neutral Zone straddling the Rocky Mountains. We follow various resistance fighters, rebel scholars, ordinary people and, yes, the odd Nazi official and Japanese secret police commander, as they begin to uncover a series of underground films that seem to depict events from a different timeline – one where the Allies were victorious…
It’s complicated stuff, which is why there’s an official What Has Come Before recap video:
…narrated by the great Stephen Root (Office Space, Tru Blood, Barry, etc etc), who is just one of an excellent ensemble cast that includes Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank, Rufus Sewell, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, DJ Qualls, Callum Keith Rennie, Bella Heathcote, and more.
As the official synopsis tells us, “Season three finds Juliana Crain (Alexa Davalos) grappling with her destiny after seeking safety in the Neutral Zone. Realising that their fates are intertwined, she works with Trade Minister Tagomi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) to interpret the mystery of the last remaining films.
“Meanwhile, as tensions between the Reich and the Empire continue to rise, Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank) returns from Berlin and is sent on a diplomatic mission to San Francisco, where he and Juliana reunite and come to a turning point in their relationship. Also in the new season, Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith (Rufus Sewell) finds himself celebrated by Nazi high society, but political forces are closing in as North American Reischsmarschall Lincoln Rockwell and J. Edgar Hoover plot against him. Helen (Chelah Horsdal) takes drastic action to protect her family while they struggle with the aftermath of Thomas’ death, and Smith learns of a shocking and ambitious new Nazi program that has personal and global ramifications.”
Reading between the lines, however, it’s clear that the Nazis are working on inter-dimensional travel, trying to build a Reich that will last one thousand years across one thousand timelines, which is hella cool from a narrative perspective, and horrifying from a moral one. The question is, High Castle having been a fairly low key alternate history thriller so far, will it go all out this season, with Nazi stormtroopers hopping between dimensions and Panzers trundling down the streets of other New Yorks? We shall see…
Season 1 and 2 of The Man in the High Castle are currently screening on Prime Video, with Season 3 kicking off on October 5, and a fourth season already commissioned.