Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle is about a world where the Axis powers won the second World War. In the recently released season three, we’re finally seeing the strength of the resistance, led by the brave Juliana Crain.
Spoilers ahead if you still haven’t watched season three of the show (seriously, get on that!).
Here are the five most impressive aspects of season 3!
#1 Frank Frink’s journey
Mr. Frink ended season two by bombing the Kempeitai HQ. He survived, but the left side of his body was badly burned. We find him at a Jewish Resistance community called Sabra, recovering, painting, and embracing Judaism. His artwork is being used everywhere as a symbol for resistance. Frank reunites with his best friend, Ed McCarthy, and his love, Juliana, for a peaceful few days, before they all get separated again.
Frank’s journey in season three is about him accepting who he is, and what his role is in the Resistance. Kido finally catches up to him, and Frank, faced with his own death, is unafraid. With a sunrise in the background, he kneels, waiting for the killing blow. In that moment, Frank understands that he has to die, but his message of resistance will keep spreading.
Frank is a fan-favorite character. It’s sad to see his death, but his journey through these three seasons saw him go from being a scared man hiding his religion in the Japanese Pacific States, to embracing everything about himself, his creativity, religion, and disability. He puts all of his pain and anger into his art, and becomes the spark that starts a movement.
#2 The LGBT relationships
Besides Frank’s return, another surprise this season is the inclusion of two LGBT storylines. There’s Ed McCarthy, who finds happiness with Jack, a wanderer who lives in the Neutral Zone. Here, between the Japanese and the Reich, people are not judged or policed for who they love, and Ed wants to stay.
On the other side, we have Nicole Dormer and Thelma Harris. Nicole believes that her position in society means she is not affected by the Nazis’ homophobic beliefs. However, Thelma is well aware of what happens if they’re caught. Of course, Himmler finds out and arrests them both. Despite everything Nicole believed about her value to the Reich, no one is above their fascist rules. She is told she will undergo “re-education,” and after seeing how it affected Joe, she’s rightfully scared.
In The Man in the High Castle, the Neutral Zone represents freedom, the area most like our own universe. When Ed and Jack are there, they are free to be as open about their love as they want. While in a New York under Nazi rule, same-sex relationships are a criminal offense. The addition of these storylines further connects the story to present issues we’re facing in our society, and it brings more depth to Nicole Dormer, who’s been somewhat of an enigma until now.
#3 Helen Smith’s character development
In season three, the storyline surrounding the whole Smith family is very interesting, exploring their grief over Thomas’ death, and John’s continuing battle to protect them. The best part though, is Helen Smith.
Helen experiences deep depression after what happened with Thomas. One of the most intense scenes is when Nicole makes a film painting their son as a hero, and the Smiths are forced to watch it. They all must hide their sadness and paint a proud face on, as if they support what happened. Helen’s pressured to move on, but she can’t. Thankfully, she’s able to go to therapy, and the visits helps her discover a lot about herself.
Helen’s the easiest character to relate to, and her plight is most reflective of what women went through in the sixties in our own universe. She’s expected to fulfill her role as the wife and mother, but she’s experiencing grief from losing a child. She can’t hide or pretend anymore. Watching the show, I’m sure we all cheered as she drove away, leaving her husband and that dreaded life in the city behind.
#4 Joe Blake’s demise
I’m going to say this first just to get it out of the way: I was very sad when Joe died. When he met Juliana, she was the first person in his life to really give him hope. Because of her, he started to understand why the Resistance existed. But he was also in a tough spot. Basically an orphan, all Joe had in life was his ties to John Smith. Then he met his father, Heusmann. Without Juliana there to guide him, his father convinced Joe that he cared for him, and tried to enact a horrific plan to attack Tokyo. John Smith, ever the pacifist, stopped him, and they were both arrested.
Joe is tortured for six months, or “re-educated,” which is where he is at the beginning of season three. After, he is given a command to test his new loyalty to the Reich. Himmler orders him to kill Heusmann, and he does. Now he’s lost everything. All he can do is try to survive, so he does as he’s ordered. He becomes an assassin for the Reich, with no morals and no emotions. He’s past saving.
The Nazis destroyed any hope in him. When Juliana sees him again, she tries desperately to find anything left of the Joe she knew. But they’re fighting a war, and Juliana understands what must be done. It’s a sad ending, but his death, killed by Juliana in his hotel room, is one of the best scenes in the entire show. Because of everything he went through, Joe Blake’s death is devastating, and it effectively shows all the damage the Nazis and their fascist control can do to a person.
#5 Juliana Crain
In season three, just like Frank, Juliana finally embraces her role. She becomes unyielding in her drive to stop the fascist rule, and accepts that she has to be a leader. She recognizes that she has to leave everything that ties her to the past behind. Trudy leaves, she thinks Frank’s dead, and in episode five, she has to kill a man she deeply cared for.
When she finds Frank alive, they both understand that although they care for each other, their love is inconsequential when compared to the battle their facing. So they enjoy their moment together, and say goodbye as if it’s the last time they’ll see each other. Of course, as we find out, it is.
Juliana now knows all about the Nazis project to move into other worlds. She has a clear goal, to stop them. Her determination is so strong that she inspires it in the others, like Wyatt and his friends. She’s on the right path and she knows it. In the last moments of the season, Juliana, in a prison cell faced with a threatening John Smith, finally transcends her own world, and disappears into another.
We can’t wait to see what happens in season four!
The Man in High Castle is now streaming on Amazon.
(Featured Image: Amazon)