The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by xxmagex, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. Inter2010 Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2018
    Makes sense. Still, Juliana knows that Nazis are going to attack other worlds. She knows about intelligence gathering, about sabotages (JFK, failed space missions), about many other things. Juliana is only person with that knowledge in OTL world.
  2. trash80 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2014
    I thought they mentioned in an earlier episode the forces at site had been greatly reinforced?
  3. trash80 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2014
    Britain was part of the Nazi empire, in an earlier season there was a brief scene with 2 British people, their Nazi armbands having the union flag on them
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  4. Keperry Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2013
    I think that may have been the best season of the show, though I certainly still had my quibbles with it:

    -Why'd they kill off Tagomi right at the beginning of the season when he was one of the more interesting and important characters? It feels like it must have been a contract thing with the actor rather than an idea that came out of the writers' room
    -That being said I think it was a boon to this season to be rid of some of the most boring and annoying characters like Joe and Frank (and damn, how did the show take the concept of "secret Jew in Nazi world" and make the character so bland? I think it was a mistake to change Frank's character from a full-on crypto-Jew as in the book to just happening to have a small amount of Jewish ancestry)
    -It's not terribly narratively satisfying that the BCR ended up being kind of the ultimate saviors despite kind of coming out of nowhere this season (I guess they had that flashback scene to make it clear that they would have been operating for several years, but still) but I do think it's a welcome change from previous seasons where the Resistance was really bland and didn't seem to have any particularly identifiable ideals or goals or characteristics other than just "freedom, America"
    -I think this season also did a better job than some past ones focusing on the Nazis' racism and other specific beliefs and ideology rather than just having them as generic Bad Guys (and the ways in which they had some continuity with what existed in America before rather than just being a totally foreign imposition - I thought that the show was always at its most interesting when showing ways that Nazism adapted to American culture and vice versa)
    -It really makes no sense that the Japanese are in such a strong position in the former US on the one hand, but on the other hand still fighting over Manchuria, which should really be one of their core territories, and with China in a strong enough position to be arming fighters across the ocean. Maybe there was a later rebellion in China like the one we're seeing start in the US? Either way, I guess it could go to explaining the abrupt withdrawal from the Pacific States - it's actually more because they need to focus all their manpower and resources on the much closer Chinese front than because of what's happening on the ground in the JPS (they did add in some remarks about the need to shift resources to China but of course it's a lot more narratively compelling to have it be the result of our protagonists' actions and not of things happening across the world from them)
    -I guess the point of the scene showing the Nazi-Japanese meeting was to show that in their minds, the Japanese are really only pretending to hand over the JPS to the BCR but as far as they're concerned they're effectively ceding it to the Nazis, who will keep supplying them with oil etc
    -And I guess one of the points of the last few episodes was that the BCR were much more successful much more suddenly than they could have anticipated - they only wanted to carve out a homeland for themselves, they never thought they'd end up in control of the entire JPS (again I think this works better if the withdrawal is more because of the Chinese front than the American one)
    -I thought it was kind of silly that the Nazi invasion came as a complete surprise to them instead of something they were anticipating and preparing for, especially when they were established as being in large part refugees from the Nazis
    -I did like having the BCR explicitly reject the idea of resurrecting the US as it was and thought it was a more interesting choice than the alternative of bringing back the US, which would have felt more boring/cliche and self-congratulatory
    -"Black Communist Rebellion" is indeed a dumb name and not something that a group would ever call itself
    -I think that Whitcroft(?) called off the invasion of the West and called back the jets not because he's had a sudden total change of heart against Nazism but because he knows that now that the Fuhrer is dead there's going to be a struggle for power and he wants those forces to back him up - or at least that's what would make sense, the writers probably did just intend for it to be a change of heart on his part
    -Argh, I hated that ending! It would have been a lot better if they had ended it just a couple minutes earlier showing faint human shapes appearing in the portal, that level of ambiguity I could live with, but as it was, once you show who the people actually are, and not have them be anyone we've ever seen before, that just raises too many questions. Who are they? Why was there a huge crowd of civilians just waiting outside the portal for the right moment to pour through (and how would they know when that is)? Why didn't they, like, stop and talk to anyone to ask where they are and what's going on? Are they from the alt-world that Juliana and Smith went to, which seemed to have no awareness of the multiverse, or some other world, or multiple different worlds? I was with the final episode right up until then and then at the very end they lost me

    My idea of what would happen after the finale:

    (newly opened interdimensional portals notwithstanding, that is)

    -The American Reich falls into civil war between Whitcroft and the military leaders who as mentioned a number of times served in the US military and still harbor sympathy for Americanism - call them the "American State", still authoritarian and racist but not as fanatically as the Nazis and rejecting all that German stuff in favor of a renewed focus on American nationalism - versus the remaining Nazi loyalists (Nazi institutions like the SS and Gestapo plus all those newly radicalized Year Zero youths) and the Resistance, which the military faction probably wins but with a continuing insurgency of Nazi zealots
    -The JPS and Neutral Zone become a communist-ish federation (Pacific Communist Republic? Socialist Pacific States?) led by the BCR and also consisting of Aztlan, Sabra, the general Resistance, and unofficially the yakuza (maybe behind some front group representing the Japanese remnants), ending up rather libertarian-socialist or anarcho-communist in practice with each faction having a large amount of autonomy and struggling to coordinate and unify
    -Japan increasingly struggles on the mainland Asian front in the face of a communist Chinese insurance, while the whole older generation of Nazi leadership being wiped out in Goetzmann's coup and being replaced with a relative nobody causes unrest in Germany, maybe even to the point of civil war, and possibly lets resistance flare up in the Urals/Siberia and Africa... thus giving the new American countries a chance to consolidate before they're gobbled up by the superpowers
  5. Tolkiene Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2007
    All the Jahr Null stuff that was such a big deal in the preceding season sort of faded into the background, aside from that scene in the classroom and Juliana seeing the New Colossus. I think this was a missed opportunity because continuing to empathise it would have been a good way to showcase the divide between the 'Americanist' Nazis and those who are fanatically loyal to Berlin. The Americanists want a fascist America, but it's supposed to be governed by American ultra-nationalism, instead of wiping out American culture and Germanising it. Indeed, if the antics of the 'Brown Guards' (or whatever we're calling the fanatical youths who were going on a rampage at the end of season 3) are being a highly destabilising influence on the American Reich (like the Red Guards in China) that would actually give Whitcroft a reason to call off the attack because, with Smith dead, he has to clean up his own house. Smith had the respect of the military, but was also respected by the zealots because Himmler put him in power and the propaganda machine built him up as the patriarch of the new America, but Whitcroft doesn't have the same credentials. Of course, this would not keep the American Reich from invading the Pacific states for real later on.

    Moreover, it would also be a reason for more Americans, who until now collaborated with the regime or just went along with it and tried to keep their head down, to turn away from it and get involved with resistance groups. Furthermore, if we assume that Jahr Null is not limited to America, but has been imposed in other areas of the Reich as well, that would help explain why Goertzmann and Smith are able to coup Himmler so smoothly. Bonus points if the Nebenwelt project, far from being super efficient, has plenty of accidents and, from the perspective of some Nazi leaders who don't fully understand it because they've been kept in the dark, is another sign that the old man is losing his grip.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
  6. haider najib Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2016
    Has no idea
    Can someone give me a break down o. Thr current lore of whats happened in the tv show? I know the general book lore so what's happened in the tv show lore wise?
  7. Jesus Well-Known Member

    Jul 19, 2010
    Whitcroft was previously portrayed as a fanatical Nazi, so I think him taking off his Iron Cross is symbolic of 'his' America eschewing elements of German Nazism, and adopting strictly American Nazism. A local American Nazi Party remains in charge, but they bring back potentially the US brand, and some form of the original Stars and Stripes, as Whitcroft said he wanted to do. I can see this newly independent Nazi American America (say that three times fast) conquering, or at least trying to conquer, the rest of North America, essentially taking over remaining Japanese and German occupational infrastructure, and it would do so to compete with the Reich in Europe and Japan in Asia. I see it glorifying Smith as China glorifies Mao.

    As for the BCR, I think they're more like the TNO German "communist" option, as in they're not really communists, they just adopted the name to stick it to the Nazis. Which makes me think, does newly independent China that Japan is also facing off against have the KMT or CPC in charge? Or some sort of power-sharing agreement? Either way, I could see the Chinese and Nazi Americans signing an alliance of convenience, establishing TTL's Unaligned Bloc equivalent while Japan and Germany continue their Cold War.
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  8. Tolkiene Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2007
    We don't really learn anything about their beliefs, so that's a possible interpretation. One notable difference between them and the TNO DSR is that the BCR seem to be far less murderous and destructive.
    They opposed lynching and apparently wanted to give Kido an actual trial. How that would have worked out in practice is another question, but Bell seemed to want to make it a fair one. As for China, no clue. However, I believe that at some point a BCR member says they need to await instructions from China. I believe that's after their leader is murdered. Perhaps this is supposed to imply that the CPC took over.
  9. Seandineen Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    I'd like to have seen Indian allies of Japan, like Subas Bose.
  10. Pelranius Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2018
    Maybe China is OTL China which discovered its own, but much larger portal in the Himalayas or something?
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  11. Tuskin38 Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
    Hm I don't remember that, do you have a picture?
    Born in the USSA likes this.
  12. trash80 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2014
    Unfortunately not, can't remember if it was S2 or 3.
  13. JFoxx Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2008
    This is a good question. The show set up well the idea that the Nazis offered white Christian America a bargain: don’t revolt, do give up your religion, adopt national socialism, and let us kill the other portions of the population (Jews, blacks, etc). In return we will largely leave you and family alone to pursue happiness. While in the JPS the Japanese took a different road that failed to co-opt the demographic majority of the country and instead pushed them down to second class citizens. I suspect that the Nazis are stronger because they co-opted the folks in the strongest nations on earth while trying to trample on everyone else. The Japanese meanwhile focused on being the brutal occupier of all their empire, meaning that the all of the races, ethnicities, and cultures they conquered would be simmering with discontent.

    Of course, the show could have done a lot lot more with these different approaches that would better set up the idea the Nazis were stronger until they violated their initial bargain with white Christian America by turning their children against their parents through Jar Null.
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  14. weaverj Fortnite Delenda Est

    Oct 6, 2015
    Munich, Germany?
    I am hoping to work on an Aftermath map of this series. Anyone here have any ideas what changes would come around 1980?
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  15. Born in the USSA Well-Known Member

    Nov 14, 2015
    I'd presume a standoff between the coasts would be a pretty heavy focus in North America
  16. weaverj Fortnite Delenda Est

    Oct 6, 2015
    Munich, Germany?
    I had some ideas based on O'Malley's suggestion, but I was wondering about the rest of the world. What would the map look like by 1980 (or even the year 2000 if we want to look farther ahead.)
  17. Born in the USSA Well-Known Member

    Nov 14, 2015
    Well for one the Aryan-American split sets a precedent that at least a few tributaries of the Reich could be deputized under allied (heh) regimes. Some sort of Afrikan Reich could be a possibility, for example, although South America could remain a joint North American/European project. Japanese withdrawal from the West Coast is another story, as that would likely inspire waves of revolt throughout Asia. Whether the result is an isolated Japan surrounded by enemies or a more confederal Co-Prosperity Sphere as a compromise is a question.
  18. Polish Eagle AntiFa Supersoldier

    Apr 11, 2009
    Where the skies are so blue
    Episode 8: There is a holiday called ‘Reichsgiving.’


    On to more serious analysis of the entire season:

    I was initially cold on the idea of the BCR being the dominant rebel group in the JPS (not to sound like a 'gamergate' type, it seemed more like it was put in to be 'woke' than plausible), but the idea has grown on me a bit. It makes sense that there would be considerable white-flight from the JPS to the Reich and considerable movement of black refugees westward. The 1940 population of California was 6.9 M. The black population of the US in 1940 was almost 13 M. It wouldn't take all that much of the black population fleeing west to give them local majorities in much of the state, particularly if many white Americans leave.

    If the Japanese were smart about it, they could have had a very pliable subject population in the refugee blacks--a group of people already hostile to the white population, and of near-guaranteed loyalty when the alternative is the Nazis. But, apparently, they weren't.

    The obviously-Soviet weapons and the fact that China is supposed to be a major threat to Japan in the 1960s raises too many questions about China. Honestly, the most plausible explanation is that Mao's China has its own portal through which its funneling lots of weapons and soldiers. Realistically, with the Nazis in complete control of Europe and America occupied, China should have disintegrated by 1950 under the strain of a decade of nonstop war and such things as the Henan Famine.

    The immediate aftermath of Smith's death is likely a long power struggle and consolidation by a junta of generals in the reconstituted US Army. Probably Whitcroft in charge. It's to be noted, though, that between them, Smith and Goertzmann have culled the majority of recognizable charismatic would-be Fuhrers--Heydrich, Hoover, Rockwell, Himmler, Heusmann, all gone. The military junta is going to be a bit weak-kneed without someone like Smith to unite them. Whitcroft is the closest thing to such a figure--the conquest of the Neutral Zone makes him a war hero and someone around whom 'Americanist' Nazis can rally. If he avoids assassination, he can probably consolidate his position enough to complete his goal in a few years...

    Assuming the Japanese don't extend their nuclear umbrella over the JPS, which they might. The BCR and their allies might realize just how unstable their position is, and sheepishly ask for that back in exchange for trade deals very advantageous to Japan.

    Which brings me to my complaints about the season: As I said, the BCR grew on me, but they should have been built up longer. They should have done more than one good strike on an oil pipeline. Ideally, they should have been built up in previous seasons, but if this was a late idea, they should have spent a whole 10 episodes building them up as a threat to the Japanese. Maybe also explain the changed demographics of California as I suggest. The season should have been stretched another few episodes, maybe to 15, to allow for this and not make the Japanese Empire look like it has a glass jaw.

    And that ending with the people coming out of the portal--that's just baffling. My own pet theory is that those are people who died in the Man in the High Castle timeline (in German camps and Japanese killing fields), but lived in other universes, but that's really not all that satisfying--why should they just be allowed to cross over? That could have used some build-up, or just been left on the cutting-room floor. A better ending, IMO, would have just been to follow through with toppling the Nazi American Reich and establishing some kind of real free government, even if that does clash with the BCR's stated goal of not being the old America--which is a good thing in the show, so admittedly it's a bit hard to square this circle.

    But back to the good stuff: Sewell's performance as John Smith is still the show's best element. He brings such a pathos to the role that one almost forgets just how monstrous he really is. Almost. It didn't even occur to me until about a minute before Helen tells Smith to stop (the genocide) and he answer's "I don't know how" to stop and remember that, as Reichsfuhrer, he doesn't actually have to go through with building death camps. He's in charge. He's eliminated his opposition. He can scale it back--slave labor, deportation--he doesn't have to fire up gas chambers. Is he a committed Nazi? The show seems to lean toward no, that he's justified everything he's done with 'for my family.' But the fact that he doesn't stop calls that into question. Is he trying to keep some constituents in line--but who? Rockwell is dead and the Germans have given him autonomy. He doesn't answer to anyone. Everyone who knew about his misgivings except Goertzmann is dead, so there's no one he has to prove his ideology to. Does it just never actually occur to him? That's plausible--he is so engaged in his Nebenwelt project that he might actually not be giving the invasion much attention.

    I wish there had been some meeting between Smith and Alt-Smith, but the show ruled that out last season.

    His daughters were also played well, Amy in particular having the creepy vibe we should associate with Nazi children.

    Childen is still the collaborator extraordinaire, just the right mix of sad, pathetic, and sympathetic.

    Juliana...meh, she's still not all that interesting compared to the others. More interesting things happen around her than anything she does is interesting.

    Kido's arc with his son was a satisfying end.

    Thoughts on the aftermath (ignoring the portal-people and disregarding my hypothesis of Mao's China having its own portal):

    By the mid-1960s, I expect Whitcroft to be solidly in command of a Nazi American Reich that includes the former Neutral Zone. A lot of the Jahr Null policies will be rolled back and a much more American-flavored Nazism will emerge. But they will be unable to push through into the Western States because those will have reentered the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere for its nuclear umbrella. Japan will have crushed the Chinese with reinforcements from across the ocean and have secured its position in Asia. Both them and the Nazis will have tested a hydrogen bomb, so a new cold war will settle into place. Nazi America will be a third power, kind of akin to OTL China or France--its own nuclear arsenal and geopolitical agenda (like China), but aligned with the Nazis (France was never really going to join the Warsaw Pact). The Germans are said to still be fighting military campaigns in the Urals, so some kind of Soviet government still exists--the Japanese will probably be supplying and arming that one after China is crushed, to keep the Nazis busy.

    Sooner or later, the Nazis' habit of massacring their leaders in bloody coups is going to send them into an actual civil war, which will probably go nuclear and escalate to a global thermonuclear war. I predict that that will happen by 1980.
  19. Tolkiene Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2007
    The impression I get is that Smith's mantra of doing everything he did just to protect his family just ended up being a convenient rationalisation. Sure, he does want to protect them, but it's not like he was a footsoldier. By the time the series starts, he's been heavily involved in genocide and become a general in the SS and essentially their commander in Nazi America. In short, he did far, far more than the bare minimum to be seen as loyal and whenever he gains more power, he carries on as before and follows the Nazi line. No wonder Himmler took a liking to him.

    I do wonder what happened to Goebbels. He gets name-dropped in the first three seasons and is mentioned as being Himmler's rival in the first. Then again, it's likely Himmler had him purged in the time that elapsed between season 3 and 4, especially since he's a lot more paranoid and unbalanced in the last season. One does get the impression that Himmler filled the higher ranks with his SS lieutenants. After all, it's Eichmann, not a Wehrmacht general, who briefs the high command on the invasion plan. And the three candidates to lead the subjugation of the western states are Eichmann, Smith and Goertzmann, all SS generals and creatures of Himmler. This is in keeping with OTL Himmler, who wanted the SS to become the Reich's new nobility. Now that Himmler's gone and a relative nobody has seized power, this may produce a backlash from the Party and/or the army. Since it's been established that power passes to whoever has the stronger battalions and can wipe out the opposition, I agree that there will be a bloody civil war at some point.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
  20. JFoxx Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2008
    Absolutely. That conversation between Julianna and the alt-alt Smith made clear that Smith committed atrocities in the pacific war and that holds shame about those and fear of what he was willing to do with an end to the war.