Episodes: 40 (hour)
TV show dates: November 20, 2015 — November 15, 2019
Series status: Ended
Performers include: Alexa Davalos, Luke Kleintank, Rupert Evans, Cary-Hiroyuki Tarawa, Joel De La Fuente, Rufus Sewell, and DJ Qualls.
TV show description:
An adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s alternate history novel, this dystopian TV series drama, set in 1962, poses the question: what if the Axis powers had won World War II?
The former US has been partitioned into three sections. West of the Rockies lies the Japanese controlled Pacific States of America. The eastern states, or Greater Nazi Reich, are under German control. The neutral Rocky Mountain States serve as a buffer zone between the two, as Japan and Germany are currently the throes of a cold war.
Just as Dick’s book uses the novel within a novel device, the TV series contains The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, a film said to have come from, “The Man in the High Castle.” The film features news clips of an alternate history in which the Allied Forces defeat Germany and Japan, to win World War II.
San Franciscan Juliana Crain (Alexa Davalos), whose father died during the war, seems happy enough living under Japanese control. She practices Aikido, and unlike her mother, is friendly with neighboring Japanese people. Juliana is given The Grasshopper Lies Heavy film reel by her half-sister Trudy, just before Trudy is killed by the Kempeitai (Japanese military secret police).
Juliana finds out Trudy was bringing The Grasshopper Lies Heavy to neutral Canon City, Colorado. Juliana thinks the film depicts an alternate reality of how the world should be. She decides to travel to in Trudy’s stead to uncover — and perhaps complete — her sister’s mission.
For the sake of his own freedom and very life, Frank Frink (Rupert Evans) hides his Jewish roots. A factory worker, Frink works with Ed McCarthy (DJ Qualls); they manufacture fake pre-war “antiques,” popular among the Japanese. Off the clock, Frank is a gifted jewelry designer. To him, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is but a work of fiction.
After Juliana disappears, Frank is arrested by the shrewd Inspector Kido (Joel de la Fuente), head of the San Francisco Kempeitai. Frank could be extradited to the Greater Nazi Reich, where he would be killed for his ancestry. The Kempeitai use the lives of Frank’s sister and her children as leverage to make him cooperate. Once released, Frank learns they have been gassed to death.
New Yorker Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank) — new to the underground American resistance — is actually a double agent for the SS, serving under the Obergruppenführer John Smith (Rufus Sewell). Joe drives from New York to Colorado for the resistance, under the guise of delivering a truck full of coffee makers. There, he meets Juliana in a diner, where she is waiting to meet Trudy’s contact.
Back in New York, the Nazis apprehend, torture, and kill the freedom fighters who sent Joe to Colorado with his real cargo — a copy of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. While the resistance members do not betray their cause, the Nazis know why the truck is headed to Canon City.
Trade Minister of the Pacific States of America, Nobusuke Tagomi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tarawa), meets covertly with Nazi Rudolph Wegener (Carsten Norgaard). Wegener uses the Swedish alias Victore Baynes as his cover. The two worry that when Hitler resigns or dies from his escalating Parkinson’s disease, it will result in a power vacuum. Wegener theorizes that any successor will nuke Japan, so as to wrest control of the Pacific States of America.
Episode #40 — Fire from the Gods
On the brink of an inevitable Nazi invasion, the BCR brace for impact as Kido races against the clock to find his son. Childan offers everything he has to make his way back to Yukiko. Helen is forced to choose whether or not to betray her husband, as she and Smith travel by high-speed train to the Portal – with Juliana and Wyatt lying in wait.
First aired: November 15, 2019.
What do you think? Do you like The Man in the High Castle TV show? Do you think it should have ended or been renewed for a fifth season?