WARNING: Major spoilers for Seasons 1, 2, and 3 in this post.
I just finished watching the third season of Amazon’s amazing alternative history/sci-fi drama The Man in the High Castle, which is loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name. In this world, the Nazis and the Japanese Empire defeated the United States in World War II. Now the forces of evil are attempting to dominate parallel universes as well, while the good guys fight against the nightmare their world has become.
I have a lot of thoughts about this season, but here are a few:
1. Always be yourself, unless you can be Wyatt Price. Then be Wyatt Price. He is for sure my favorite new character of Season 3. What a man.
2. The show-writers attempt to make me like John Smith and Inspector Kido are working. I’ll always root for the redemption of evil men to good.
3. There are few enough popular pro-freedom shows out there today, but Man in the High Castle throughout makes a beautiful case for liberty.
4. The Neutral Zone seems like a really cool place to live. There’s rock and roll, free markets, people mixing freely despite race and sexual orientation, American culture, and safe harbors (sort of) from the Nazis and Japanese. Remarkable that such a place exists.
5. The show makes you think about memory, history, and the passage of time. It’s old-timers like Liam and Sampson who remember the US before it was conquered. They’re helping to keep the hope for freedom alive, but their generation is aging, now being outnumbered by the brainwashed youth of Jahr Null. With the death of each person who lived before the Nazis (and with the destruction of each piece of American history), the hope for a return to freedom seems to grow fainter.
6. Frank’s death scene is one of the best in the show so far. Frank and Kido’s conversation shows how the two characters have changed, and there is a gripping kind of fatalism in them both. Frank’s recitation of the Shema Yisrael is chilling and poetic.
7. The show uses parallelism brilliantly. I remember especially noting Inspector Kido’s mention of the liberation of the US-controlled Japanese internment camps in 1945. In a moment like this, the show also does well to turn the mirror back on anyone who would not criticize the US’s own role in the evils of fascism.
8. The show understands human nature. Even in a world conquered by the Nazis and Japanese, with all their totalitarian insanity, people still fall in love, people still want freedom, people still want safety for their loved ones, and people still act with cowardice as well as courage. This is to some extent a source of hope. Human nature is older than any evil ideology and is more resilient than even the ascendant ones.
9. I’d love to see stories or flashbacks to the WWII fighting or the fighting put up by the Rebel American Army. That part of the timeline would be quite interesting to see.
10. See guys? This is why you don’t want governments to own all the guns, control healthcare, control immigration, school children, torture people, or maintain standing armies/police forces. It’s a bad idea in the Nazi parallel world and a bad idea in ours. All of those policies enable the Nazi and Japanese states to exercise thorough control of citizens. It’s only because our heroes are able to easily acquire weapons, for instance, that they can even have a chance of fighting back.
11. I want to go out and fight some fascists now.