Juliana Dives Deeper Into Her Alternate Memories And Reunites With Joe In The Man In The High Castle’s “Sensô Kôi”

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Amazon Prime Video.

The Hero of the Reich

John Smith covers for his wife by staging a crime scene to make it look like Alice was killed during a robbery. He doesn’t see Helen’s button under a table. To keep their secret, Helen agrees to stop seeing her therapist.

John is the (un)lucky recipient of Hitler’s film archive. He is also shown a woman named Fatima who is being studied because she is believed to come from another world. “So you’re saying that different versions of us exist in different worlds?” John says, somewhat breathlessly. You can almost see him wondering if his son is alive in these other worlds.

Before he can watch any of the films, he and Helen must endure the release of Nicole’s propaganda film about Thomas and the Smiths. John has his hands full navigating Helen around, trying to keep her from asking Dr. Mengele what happened to Thomas, and telling Thelma to report someone has been arrested for Alice’s murder. He’s also busy sidestepping Reichminister Rockwell’s nasty insinuations.

Rockwell reports they have captured Hawthorne Abendsen but this may be posturing. While watching the film, which paints John almost as heroically as his son, Rockwell looks like he might throw up. Hoover later tells Himmler he is sure Smith killed Alice and her husband.

Hoover and Rockwell are right to sense that John is a threat, though not because he wants to be. John tells Helen he knows he’s being groomed to be Reichsmarshall but he looks utterly tortured at the prospect. He may even think, as I do, that Nicole’s film has put a target on him, maybe on purpose. When his wife asks what he thought about the film, John says, “It sickens me.” Helen agrees, saying they’ve created a phony version of Thomas, but that’s not really true and maybe John knows that and it’s what sickens him most of all. They raised Thomas to be the perfect little Nazi, and he was. He was so loyal to the Reich that he gave himself over to be euthanized. What parent wouldn’t be sickened by that?

With all of this on his mind, John flips on one of the AU films at random. A group of young people are gathered on a beach watching water skiing. Almost at once, he sees Thomas in the crowd. John looks equally heartbroken and fascinated.

The Neutral Zone

Apparently being mildly on the run hasn’t taught Childan anything. He strikes up a conversation with a man at a bar who seems interested in antiques and gives the man the address to his shop. It’s quickly revealed the man planned to turn Childan in but he’s stopped by another man hunting Jews who demands to be driven up into the mountains where they are said to be hiding.

Ed and a cowboy he met last episode are hitting it off big time. Having always needed to hide his attraction to men, Ed is hesitant but excited by the possibility of not needing to hide anymore. That’s when Childan interrupts their date to say it’s time for them to go home. Ed doesn’t want to leave yet but Childan says he’s going in the morning, with or without Ed.

When Joe Met Juliana (Again)

Together, Juliana and Tagomi watch the film where a version of her is marched into a tunnel, dragged forward, and shot by Joe, who then shoots himself. In another film, Juliana inspects the remains of a Nazi base. Real world Juliana goes into her “memories” and sees herself riding in an SS vehicle towards the base. Joe, as a Nazi soldier, sits next to her and secretly holds her hand. When she returns to the present, Tagomi asks Juliana about Joe and she freely admits to having had feelings for him (God knows why). Tagomi reveals Joe is attending a reception that night.

What neither know is that Joe is in San Francisco as a Reich hitman. He kills two Japanese agents, then kills a Nazi who had conspired with his father. Kido is called to the crime scene and quickly deduces it’s the work of a Nazi hitman and another of the Reich’s attempts to provoke Japan into war.

At the reception, Joe sees Juliana immediately but almost doesn’t believe it’s really her. She approaches him and they exchange subtle updates on their lives. When he breaks and uses her name, she brushes him off, knowing it’s not safe. She doesn’t know how right she is. Earlier, Joe received a new assignment that includes killing Tagomi. The Trade Minister invites Joe to meet with him the next day, but the meeting is rather short. Tagomi cuts through the b.s., declares the Reich’s fuel embargo an act of war, and tells Joe to relay those sentiments to Smith.

When Juliana and Tagomi spoke about Joe, Juliana had wondered if he was the same man she knew. The answer is yes… and no. When Joe shows up at Juliana’s door, he kisses her right away, relieved that she’s not dead like he had been told. He reveals he was arrested, tortured, forced to pledge loyalty to the Reich, and denounce his father. Joe says everything he’s done, including killing people, was to survive and because he “had no choice.” Spoken like a true Nazi.

Juliana is clearly conflicted but kisses him again anyway because sometimes hot people just have to make out. She breaks away harshly when she flashes back to him shooting her in the tunnel. This time, she hears that Joe say, “Trust me.” Joe gives her a great Kylo Ren-style speech about how the Reich is the future and they can be leaders and be on “the right side of history.” Juliana’s face mirrors my exasperated skepticism.

Later, while re-watching the tunnel film yet again, Juliana remembers more details. A flood of light, a mechanical sound, Joe saying, “It’s ok, trust me” before he shoots them both. She realizes the Nazi base she’s seeing is in Pennsylvania.  

Guess Who’s Back

Japanese soldiers discover Resistance leader Hagan trying to sneak across the border. He’s captured and tortured pretty extensively until Kido comes to question him. Hagan rasps out three words: “Frink is alive.”

Stray Observations

  • Tagomi re-encounters Mrs. Watanabe and admires her finished painting. She gives it to him, bowing deeply in respect. Love is in the air…
  • Could this woman be from another world, though? There is a subtext to her paintings and her mention of Pearl Harbor that make me think so.
  • You know what exhausts me? Trying to care at all about the Joe/Juliana romance.
  • At the film party, Thelma and Nicole meet and exchange hot looks at one another. Later at lunch, they appear to be on the same, gay page. But if I were Thelma, I wouldn’t trust a woman who looks and sounds like Elsa from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
  • Kudos to my viewing companion for noticing Childan’s subtle Japanese character traits like the way he picks up a glass from the top and sets his hands on the table. It makes perfect sense for a man who reveres Japanese culture.
  • Helen’s constant talk about what happened to Thomas or whether he might still be alive makes me wonder if Thomas is alive and being experimented on. That seems a very Nazi thing to do with a sick boy.
Stephanie Coats
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