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Does Frank's Story Really Take That Turn In The Penultimate Episode Of The Man In The High Castle's Second Season?
And other explosive questions about the episode!
Did they really just kill off Frank?
Holy shit, I believe they did.
I know you don't need to be a doctor to make an educated guess that a bomb going off in a building with Frank inside of it equals a Frank that has ceased to be, but this is television, and Kido miraculously seemed to have survived. Nah, what makes it seem like a goodbye are Ed's flashbacks, earlier in "Detonation," to the first time Frank introduced him to Juliana. While Frank was away, the two talked about how he helped them recover from their respective wounds. (He has a thing for fixing people. Chris Martin wrote "Fix You" in memory of Frank Frink.) The final moments of the episode take place in this more innocent time (if you can call any time when Hitler was in decent health "innocent") are when the three of them are making a toast. "To the Big Three!" No wait, wrong show. They toast to their new friendship. It was then that I wondered if these three actors had been in the same room this season before this episode, which undercut the message of "two people truly lost a significant other" a little bit.
Frank's sacrifice is still a big deal -- a sign that the producers, without a showrunner, are maybe thinking this second season is their last, and/or Rupert Evans wanted to move on, blowing stuff up and taking off his glasses in anguish on some other program. His shooting of Kido was a long time coming, but not cathartic since, well, somehow I grew to really like Kido. Yes, the dude who killed Frank's sister and her two kids on the grounds of their being Jewish. Fuck this show a little bit?
Can a Trade Minister just disappear for a week like that?
Tenure is a wonderful thing.
I didn't really mind this huge plot hole. I'm assuming the writers tried to fill it but then figured all the cool stuff Tagomi was doing would make up for any viewer complaints about it and gave up. It's also kind of funny when Kotomichi's like, "Oh uh, Hitler died while you were gone. You really should take another vacation soon."
Does the fact that Kotomichi was able to travel to another universe make Tagomi less special?
Yes, but it answers some questions I've had!
If Kotomichi was able to travel to the High Castle universe from ours too, then it would stand to reason that a fair number of others can as well, which would explain how the titular character was able to amass his collection. This is excellent: good job, show! This reveal is earned too, because we saw Kotomichi's scarring in an earlier episode, and it was just assumed he was in D.C. when the Nazis nuked it in 1945.
But...I'm still confused about how to feel, then, about Tagomi's trip. I figured that because he meditated so very hard on Juliana's necklace, he went to a timeline where Juliana was his daughter-in-law. The films, which probably came from the other travelers, show differing versions of how some of the characters end up getting screwed over, so these universe-hoppers are going to varying versions of our universe. Which means Tagomi has many other universes in which to fix his issue of being a raging asshole. This kind of deflates the fun and the emotional heft of what we've seen in the last few episodes. Regardless, it's still been the best storyline of the series.
Is John Smith losing his edge?
He did not murder the dumb officer who found out there's something physically wrong with John's son Thomas, and he went ahead and told John about it. Was Smith too distracted over a pending third world war? Is he too tuckered out from killing the family physician?
I do like that the Obergruppenführer is obviously not a fan of the new boss, since he is not, in fact, the same as his old boss, at least as regards the Japanese. His awkward "Heil Hitler" before hanging up on Heusmann is an excellently subtle "fuck you, you're not my President" dig, even if he didn't realize it consciously. Once again, fuck this show a little bit
Did Henry Collins have the worst television début in History?
Henry Collins runs propaganda, but he isn't an on-camera personality. It really shows when he announces that Hitler has died. I get that it's a big announcement -- truly, I do. It's just so bad.
He's Albert Brooks in Broadcast News-level nervous!
Henry more than welcomes the sweet, sweet relief of death.
Is Joe going to do anything? At all?
It is kind of amazing how little Joe Blake has mattered in Season 2. It wasn't so long ago that the young spy was one of the protagonists of the show, and his true allegiances constantly in question. You would think that bonding with his father, the new Führer, would lead somewhere, right? Instead, it turns out Joe Blake doesn't know who or what Joe Blake believes in, which turns his character from enigmatic to passive, basically the worst trait a fictional character can have. In the real world, talking out your inner dialogue to a friend or a German girl you should shtoop already is perfectly fine and healthy. To do so repeatedly on television is The Worst.
Was General Onada trying to get everybody killed?
I think he wanted to! Onada's unnecessary information dump to Kido -- the Germans have been trying to bait the Japanese into starting a war with the Germans that the Germans would most certainly win -- is the one time all season he has not come across as a foolish blowhard. This is strange in itself. He then whips up his men into a frenzy for a battle in an upcoming war that he must know will end with the death of tons of Japanese people. It would have been perfectly consistent with his character, except for when he gives the viewer that little update. Onada cannot do anything right. Thanks to Frank and Sarah (you're not forgotten, Sarah!), before he can do real damage, he gets blown up.