Helen Takes Control
John Smith is using the Reich’s infiltration of the alt-world to keep tabs on Thomas there. The officer tells him the Vietnam War will be “quickly and easily won” because that world’s U.S. is such a superpower. Boy, are they wrong. And John knows it. He’s seen enough warfare to know that sometimes it’s not your weapons but your will that matters.
Helen invites Margarethe Himmler back to her house. The Fuhrer’s wife arrives with a bouquet of dried flowers and a bundle of vague threats. All of Berlin knows how Helen spent her year in the Neutral Zone. But Helen is stepping up her efforts. She wants to know how to regain respect in the Reich, and Margarethe says she needs to visibly support her husband. After she’s gone, and Helen has burned her flowers, Helen arranges to be on a popular cooking show. She’s all smiles and says all of the right things but as John watches there’s a palpable tension. When asked what makes a marriage last, Helen replies, “Honesty.”
Then she’s asked to reflect on her first Thanksgiving in the Reich, which we know is when she and John made the decision to join the Reich in the first place. Helen has a hard time controlling her emotions, even as she praises the Reich for “liberating” them and “mercifully” providing food after they’d been starving. She barely stops herself from saying John’s friends were also there, meaning, she barely stops herself from saying they had a very close friend who was Jewish.
When John arrives home, he finds the foyer flowing with gifts for Helen and a letter from Margarethe telling her well done. Privately, he asks Helen why she didn’t discuss her TV appearance with him and she reminds him that she’s the only one who can clear her name and she needs to do so in order to protect the girls. John is skeptical about how well she truly did given her near slip up. As he leaves, she asks him if he ever thinks about Danny. He stops dead, then answers no.
Eldest daughter Jenny walks in the park with her friend Henry. They discuss their eugenics class and Jenny rails against the hypocrisy of the Reich. Henry suddenly kisses her. They both smile but also see the men keeping tabs on them. Jenny still talks, far too loudly, about Helen’s facade with the Reich and her desire to return to the Neutral Zone, even though Henry shushes her out of fear. The men keeping surveillance record their conversation. For a moment it seems like this is the Reich building evidence against the Smiths but it’s actually the resistance building a plan to take down John.
Some members of the resistance think kidnapping Jenny and using her as blackmail is the best option. However, Juliana refocuses them on Helen, who she still believes will help them if they make contact with her. The Smith women have a shopping trip coming up so Juliana and Wyatt dress in Reich-appropriate costumes to infiltrate the store.
History is Made
The BCR have adopted Mallory’s plan to blow up Japan’s Pacific States oil pipeline. They’re mass manufacturing bombs that are concealed in shoeboxes. Drivers are sent out with triggers under their seats in case they’re stopped. The young man who let Childan go, Benjamin, says he’s ready to participate but at the last minute, his friend orders him out of the boat carrying the bombs for an oil tanker.
In a mirror of how he started the last episode, Kido now goes to visit Yamori, who has been arrested for treason. The General refuses to write out a confession because he believes the Emperor will pardon him since all he has done has been for Japan’s interests. He gave everything, including his two sons, to the cause and doesn’t want their deaths to have been for nothing.
Things are starting to look up for Childan, or not. He and Yukiko kiss but are immediately interrupted by someone entering the shop. It’s officers looking for Childan and though he tries to hide and Yukiko tries to lie, he’s quickly found and taken straight to Kido. Being quite possibly as racist as possible, Childan tells the Inspector about the BCR. He correctly observes that the members of the BCR have been fighting for their freedom for 400 years; Japan is just their latest enemy. Kido can only beat them if his will is stronger.
There’s an explosion. The BCR’s bombs have worked. An oil tanker is blown up as are several areas of the pipeline and any structures nearby sustain significant damage. Childan is sent home. Admiral Inokuchi reports there are explosions in several cities and Kido turns on a broadcast from the BCR. Mallory re-states their intentions: their own territory in return for a halt to attacks and Japan regaining access to oil. As the Crown Princess is being evacuated, she asks Kido if they can hold the territory. Yes, he says, if they have enough weapons and troops but it will cost them everything. They may prevail but he doesn’t believe they should.
The Crown Princess takes this message to the Emperor. Two days later, he makes a televised announcement. Japan will withdraw all occupying forces from the Pacific States. It’s a stunning decision. Yamori hangs himself in his cell at the news. The Reich is delighted. They will now try to take the entire U.S.
- It’s hard to know if Childan’s racist observations about the BCR are true beliefs he holds or what he thinks Kido wants to hear him say. And I suppose, if it’s that hard to tell, it’s probably because Childan does believe them, at least to some extent.
- Helen’s transformation from distraught mother last season to fierce warrior is fantastic. If she does join the resistance, the Reich won’t stand a chance.