The Man in the High Castle: Sunrise
November 23, 2015 1:27 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Frank's fate hangs in the balance as he is held captive by the Kempeitai. Meanwhile, Juliana makes contact with a mysterious man who gives her a clue about the films, and Obergruppenf├╝hrer Smith is surprised by an unfortunate turn of events.
posted by Happy Dave (16 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I made the mistake of not rewatching the pilot and spent the first few minutes of each plot arc playing catch up on who people were and why they mattered (except for Joe and Juliana).

Frank's story was by far the most moving storyline in this episode. I wanted him to save his sister and her kids but I didn't want him to betray Juliana. The acting and tension building was agonizing in its perfection. I thought this a perfect example of how people are moved to radicalism in an oppressive environment.

The J&J segments were interesting and dramatic but seem like they're headed to more interesting action than we saw this episode.
posted by toomanycurls at 5:04 PM on November 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Well that was brutal. Note to self: this is not one to watch while getting ready to go sleep.
posted by Alterscape at 12:20 AM on November 24, 2015

Added the AV Club recap to the sidebar, for those (like me) who watched this a few weeks ago when it first came out as a tease for the full season.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:40 AM on November 24, 2015

The second episode definitely picked up and ran with the same intensity as the first. I'm thankful they opted not to show Frank's sister and her children actually being gassed, but I couldn't decide if the plastic on the furniture was simply the fad of the time or the show's promise that they were going to die. I was, admittedly, shocked that Frank held off on telling them where Juliana was, if only because it might save his niece and nephew (usually children's lives are considered more valuable than adults in a story telling context).

The double cross on Juliana at the end was a nice surprise and I'm glad her judo came into play.

This show has the really weird situation of playing evil against evil. The Japanese Empire committed many atrocities, but the Nazis definitely have a much scarier place in this world.
posted by Atreides at 7:44 AM on November 24, 2015

Did anyone catch who the bible guy was working for?
posted by noneuclidean at 8:24 AM on November 24, 2015

He was supposed to be an undercover agent of the Nazis (or one of their agencies, to be precise). His tendency toward origami was what alerted Rufus Sewell's character of who he was, and that character told Joe about it. Which is why Joe went running out to save Juliana.
posted by Atreides at 10:00 AM on November 24, 2015

Ahh, ok. I thought I remember them saying he was part of SD and had no clue what that was (in-universe or out). I'm now seeing that was the intelligence division of the SS. Makes more sense now.
posted by noneuclidean at 10:28 AM on November 24, 2015

All of this leaves me wondering what's going on with the Resistance -- the crane/bible SD agent obviously knew enough of their game (right down to her sister's name, the intended messenger) to play Juliana. So, are we to conclude that the SD has thoroughly compromised the Resistance? If so, what alternate angle is the faction Joe's aligned with (non-SS bureaucrats?) working here? And is there actually a resistance? Or is the whole thing an SS ploy to screw with the Japanese? If that's the case, why the apparently-legitimate film-from-another-world?

I mean I'm sure all this theory-ing will seem woefully naive when I get to the end of the series, and then I'll want to read the books to see PKD's original story..
posted by Alterscape at 9:40 PM on November 24, 2015

I think there is a resistance, but how large and how capable is a question I can't fathom the answer for. Obviously, Joe has infiltrated the Greater Reich branch.

Another question, and pardon if it was answered in the pilot, but why did they ban bibles? Though, I see this throw away line in a Wikipedia article implying the Nazis might have planned to do away with Christianity after the war. I do get the Japanese ban if the state religion of Shinto was extended to the Pacific States and was intolerant to competing faiths.
posted by Atreides at 7:35 AM on November 25, 2015

The Bible ban was another kind of glaring thing for me, especially given German Protestantism. My hand wavey head canon is that in America, much of the rebellion came from Christian bases, and so they wanted nothing that could inspire people to get together. But this was the one thing I found really heavy handed and clunky.
posted by corb at 3:26 AM on November 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Speaking of religion, the other headscratcher was why would the Imperial Japanese follow the Nazi's in capturing and persecuting Jews? Especially since in OTL they prohibited Jews from expelled from Japan.
posted by FJT at 3:41 PM on November 28, 2015

In the book the Japanese cared much less about the whole Jewish thing. In fact, Frank talks about it being one reason he likes the Japanese since the alternative is obviously dramatically worse for him.

In general it's much more action-y and violent than the book, which I guess makes sense for TV. No long discussions about cultural differences and such (Robert Childan was the source of much of that, I guess, so his absence makes a big difference), instead much more "resistance". Not sure I'm a fan of that change yet, although it would probably be hard to do the book as-is on TV.
posted by thefoxgod at 7:37 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

The origami makes me think of the Edward James Olmos character in Blade Runner (also based on PKD.)
posted by larrybob at 1:17 PM on December 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Regarding the Bible, the entire Old Testament is Jewish, and the New Testament has many statements about Jesus being the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy. Makes sense the Nazis would ban that.
posted by otherchaz at 8:16 AM on December 15, 2015

The origami makes me think of the Edward James Olmos character in Blade Runner (also based on PKD.)

Ridley Scott produced this, so I believe it's a direct reference by/from/about him.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:00 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

From an "efficient totalitarianism" angle, letting Frank live was a fantastically stupid thing for the Kampeitai to do.

I mean, you've got a guy you know your partners would prefer killed, who won't cooperate, did nothing to ingratiate himself to you, was exposed to radicalism while under confinement, and you just killed his family, giving him a frightfully solid reason to turn against you.

I'm not talking about the moral thing they should have done, just the practical, keeping in touch with their motivations thing. It didn't make sense.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:49 AM on January 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

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