The Gateway to the Multiverse
Hawthorne returns home to find the place swarming with Nazis and his wife injured and handcuffed. Immediately, he puts a gun to his own head but is persuaded by John to let himself be captured so that his wife will be spared. Himmler is pleased to have High Castle in custody but he requires John’s presence in the Poconos Mountains in Lackawanna and sends a helicopter to get him.
Neither of them knows that Juliana and her band of believers are sneaking through another tunnel in the mountains to observe the Nazis’ machine. She watches as John is brought in and is visibly stunned at the “gateway to the multiverse,” as Dr. Mengele puts it. For Doctor Who fans, the basic setup here is not unlike what Torchwood was doing in Canary Warf. There’s a opening to another world down a long tunnel. The Nazis have built machinery to interact with the anomaly and turn it on (or make it bigger, as the Tenth Doctor would say). Test subjects are strapped to a platform and sent down the tunnel towards the anomaly. The very 60s look of things is reminiscent of the evil lab of a James Bond villain.
As the test subjects approach the anomaly, they flatline. John walks down the tunnel with Mengele to see the horribly charred and bloodied remains. But there are only three bodies there. One of the subjects made it through. Everyone else celebrates while John looks like he might throw up. He snaps back to attention when part of the vent Juliana and Wyatt have been spying through breaks. Soldiers are sent to investigate as Juliana and Co flee. A shootout ensues and Wyatt and Juliana are separated. A grenade knocks her out and he’s forced to leave her as the Nazis take her back with them.
This is How Liberty Dies
John interviews Juliana alone. He shows her a photo of Joe’s body in an attempt to rattle her but she’s stone cold. Once the Fuhrer was done with him, she says, there was nothing left of the Joe she once knew. When John asks her what she thinks she saw while watching through the vents, she responds, “Failure.” Juliana taunts him with her knowledge of other worlds. Do the Nazis think they’ll be able to roll tanks through the portal to conquer those worlds? Preposterous. She taunts him more by recounting her last conversation with Thomas, who was always doomed because nothing could save him from the way he was raised. She, accurately, supposes that knowledge must weigh heavily on John.
Frustrated, getting nowhere, and on the brink of showing too much emotion, John leaves Juliana to be tortured with electroshock. Armed with information on Hawthorne’s war service, he visits the Man in the High Castle next. But that too doesn’t go as planned. Hawthorne remembers John’s name from when they were in the American service. He knew John would receive Hitler’s film archive and also correctly supposes the films would affect him deeply.
Seeking some normalcy and probably some comfort, John returns home but finds it only his maid there. She tells him Helen and the girls left on an impromptu trip to the beach after the nurse was sent away. John drives to this beach house, which is also empty. Meanwhile, Wyatt slips into New York to visit an old army buddy who now runs a raunchy film business.
John returns again to New York to attend the ceremony where the Statue of Liberty will be torn down. Himmler is displeased that John is without his wife and children and once again warns John to “get his house in order.”
Looking stricken but trapped by his own choices, John himself must give the order for Lady Liberty to be destroyed. Nazi youths cheer all around as the torch finally goes out. Before they leave the yacht, Himmler tells Nicole she is being sent back to Berlin for “re-education.” He ordered the raid on the lesbian club. Nicole wonders aloud what will happen to Thelma but Himmler says it is none of her concern.
Nazis everywhere are rejoicing in the Statue of Liberty’s death. Riots have broken out in the streets. While John wants to quell the violence, Himmler says to let the people celebrate. He smiles… and is shot in the chest. Wyatt and his army buddy have hidden up above in a window and are firing with a sniper gun. They get in a few more shots, all misses, then slip swastikas onto their arms and disappear into the surging crowd outside.
The next day, Wyatt departs with crates full of films, including the one that shows the Allies winning the war. Frank’s Kempetai logo is stuck on the outside as a label.
A crestfallen Ed and Jack arrive at Childan’s shop that night. Childan laments to them about the destruction of the Statue of Liberty, not out of patriotism but because he could’ve gotten a very good price for any part of her. Ed snaps. He yells at Childan’s capitalistic view of everything then hands him a paper. It’s a flyer reporting Frank’s execution.
Ed and Jack ask Childan to come with them that night, presumably to paint graffiti but Childan is too weak to do it. However, after they’ve nearly gone, he changes his mind and joins them. They unfurl a large banner with Frank’s anti-Kempetai design on it from a tall building.
As Himmler remains in surgery, John goes back to his dark, quiet apartment. Finally, Helen calls to tell him they are safe and won’t be coming home. John thinks this is because of the medical test for their daughter but Helen corrects him; they are running away from him.
Frustrated and nearing his wit’s end, John questions Hawthorne again. Hawthorne reveals someone can only travel to another world if the version of themselves in that world is already dead. Although he doesn’t say it, John must be thinking that means the Thomas in another world, could come to this one. This revelation also explains why Trudy could visit Juliana in this world. And remember what else Trudy said? Juliana was dead in her world.
The lights in Hawthorne’s cell flicker and the floor begins to quake. In her room, Juliana is sitting cross-legged and eyes closed. John sprints towards her room as the shaking becomes more violent. He pulls out his gun and gets off one shot into her shoulder and then. Juliana disappears.
- Himmler ordering John to join him in the Poconos is hilarious if you know that the Poconos are a popular romantic getaway destination.
- When John reports the meeting with Tagomi went well and that Japan has made no direct threat towards the Reich, Himmler retorts that they made no direct threat before Pearl Harbor either.
- In a strangely kind move, Kido arranges for his “hostess” to be released from servitude. He even gives her money to start a new life. Killing Frank apparently put him into a generous mood.
- If Himmler dies, will that put John on the fast track to becoming Fuhrer?
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