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Sim

The Man in the High Castle, season 2

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Sim   

I binged the 2nd season last weekend and loved it. It's perhaps even a tad better than season 1, IMO. If the show manages to keep this level in the future, it might become one of my all-time favorites.

A few ideas from the top of my head:

Besides the amazing design and visuals, which impressively and believably show a 1960s America occupied by Nazis and Japanese, plus an authentic Berlin according to Albert Speer's plans for after the "Endsieg" (the "People's Hall" and Führer's chancellery), the character drama maybe is even better:

There are twists on typical characters tropes that are only possible in this particular dystopia: A character's daddy issues after he learns he was a born as a breeding project in a "Lebensborn" home, a convinced Nazi who is conflicted because he learns that his son, his whole pride, is ill and it's his duty to euthanize him -- the authors put a lot of imagination into character conflicts unique to their dystopia. A nice nod to the youth movement in the 60s: Even young Nazis in Berlin take LSD and are critical of the government's plans, and their environmentalism is eerily compatible with the Nazi world they're living in.

And the movies showing parallel universes, the truly "fantastic" element about the show? Though we don't know yet where they're going with this element in the end, it allowed for a character shifting from the Nazi universe into ours, and back -- which opened a door for a reflection on history, the role the character of a human plays under different external circumstances, and the "what ifs" of big politics, that have major influence on every individual at a very base level. The "Man in the High Castle" said: Some people never change, they're vile in every universe, some are warm and decent in every universe, but most change with the world around them. Now I'm looking forward to them fleshing out this idea even further!

I guess it was a good decision to put some of the main characters, namely Juliana Crain and Joe Blake, into the center of the big political action (the latter in the heart of the Nazi government). This allows to tie in the character drama with the political thriller elements. IMO, the show did that successfully, it never felt forced.

And while watching all this, of course I kept comparing the dystopia with our real world. In times of a rising far-right, that's a pretty interesting thought experiment.

 

So, if you're not a total alternative history fiction hater, I strongly recommend this show! IMO, it's even worth subscribing to Amazon Prime. :thumbup:

Edited by Sim

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Recently watched TMITHC season 2. It is not disappointing. As you may recall, finding any genre show that my wife will watch is a big deal in our household, and she loved this. It seems especially pertinent, given the times we find ourselves in.  I looked for the moment when Frank Spotnitz left the show, and couldn't really find it. Season 1 was good, season 2 builds upon everything established there and expands upon it greatly. it's a much more confident show, the characters seem more finely motivated and crafted. I actually can't think of anything bad to say about it... we binged it and literally couldn't stop watching.

It is chilling stuff. Indeed, it's a parable for our times, I fear. Perhaps that's what makes it so resonant.

Edited by Robin Bland

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***** Potential Minor Spoilers.  Trying to not spoil but just in case. *****

 

 

Glad to see others liked season 2.  I saw some mixed reviews online but I binged the whole season in one weekend and I was stoked.  On one hand it felt like maybe it was done given the way they seemed to wrap up some threads.  But I just saw that season 3 has been ordered.  I thought the prolonged use of the Trade Ministers visit to "our" reality was done well.  In the book it was just a brief, one shot visit that just introduced him to the possibility of other realities.  But the way they wrote his whole "other" family and that plot was great and I really felt for him giving it all up to go back to the show's universe and set in motion the sequence of events that he did.  Also, the visit to "our" universe resonated with the message from the Man in the High Castle himself that Juliana was central to a lot things.  Seeing her in "our" universe was nicely done.  I can't help but think that in season 3 he may feel some what paternal towards her.  But while these season played a number of thread out extremely well, it certainly has plenty of material for season 3:

What will happen to Joe and his father
John Smith seems poised for bigger things having come so close to losing it all
What will really happen to Smith's son
Juliana's sister
Frank and the resistance
Ed and Childan in the "reproduction" business

In addition to the stories, I'm impressed with the attention to detail that's gone into depicting the alternate timeline.  It all comes together to make the show a top notch production IMHO.

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Yeah, the Trade Minister is a great character, very sympathetically portrayed... his visit to the parallel reality is poetic and yet comes with this sense of impending dread as he faces up to his destiny and goes "home." If it was me, I'd have stayed in the alternative timestream. But it shows what an honorable human being he is, that he decides to go back. 

There are many beautifully played moments like that, with a poignancy that makes the Naziverse all the more terrifying. 

 

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Sim   

***** Potential Minor Spoilers.  Trying to not spoil but just in case. *****

 

 

Glad to see others liked season 2.  I saw some mixed reviews online but I binged the whole season in one weekend and I was stoked.  On one hand it felt like maybe it was done given the way they seemed to wrap up some threads.  But I just saw that season 3 has been ordered.  I thought the prolonged use of the Trade Ministers visit to "our" reality was done well.  In the book it was just a brief, one shot visit that just introduced him to the possibility of other realities.  But the way they wrote his whole "other" family and that plot was great and I really felt for him giving it all up to go back to the show's universe and set in motion the sequence of events that he did.  Also, the visit to "our" universe resonated with the message from the Man in the High Castle himself that Juliana was central to a lot things.  Seeing her in "our" universe was nicely done.  I can't help but think that in season 3 he may feel some what paternal towards her.  But while these season played a number of thread out extremely well, it certainly has plenty of material for season 3:

What will happen to Joe and his father
John Smith seems poised for bigger things having come so close to losing it all
What will really happen to Smith's son
Juliana's sister
Frank and the resistance
Ed and Childan in the "reproduction" business

In addition to the stories, I'm impressed with the attention to detail that's gone into depicting the alternate timeline.  It all comes together to make the show a top notch production IMHO.

Yes, there are quite a few loose ends which could make for a great 3rd season! :)

I agree with Robin, the character portrayal was really well done in the 2nd season, and improvement even over the first. Now I hope they keep up this great level of skilled drama, and the show won't go downhill on this field, as IMO "House of Cards" did after the 2nd season, for example.

I also like the great mix between character drama on one side, and political thriller on the other. They connected both levels skillfully, IMO.

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