The second episode of The Man in the High Castle, the Amazon series that’s combined the World War II film Der Untergang with Mad Men and dashes of LOST, Back to the Future and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It’s hard to properly describe it, because of its crazy premise. ‘Sunrise’, like many second episodes, isn’t as exciting as the first one – especially the plot line of Frank takes a lot of wind out of it – but it definitely doesn’t disappoint. Characters are being fleshed out more, while alliances are made and broken.
Nazi Spy Agent
At the end of ‘The New World’, Joe (Luke Kleintank) made an ominous call. Obergruppenführer John Smith (Rufus Sewell) picked up. Joe’s an undercover nazi spy agent. However, I was too quick to assume he was after Juliana (Alexa Davalos); he didn’t know as much as I thought. But he’s all up to speed now.
In the town Canon City, which is more of a deserted, shot all to hell site than an actual town, Juliana and Joe are kind of spending their holidays. Joe doesn’t do a whole lot of trucking for his cover as a truck driver. I guess it doesn’t really matter he’s so tight-lipped about it, because Juliana isn’t very talkative either. She knows she’s stuck there. She can’t go back. When she tried to reach her boyfriend Frank (Rupert Evans, Fleming), no one picked up. Well, eventually a Japanese voice answered, which equals bad news.
Her sister Trudy was probably going to meet her contact here, but there’s no way of knowing who she was looking for – or who’d be on the lookout for her. So getting a job as a waitress it is, then. She’s in luck: diner owner Lem Washington (Rick Worthy, The Magnificent Seven, Star Trek: Enterprise, Eyes, Heroes) is looking for one.
Turning On The Projector
Joe’s shadowing Juliana, tracking her moves, having John Smith do background checks of people she meets. But that movie reel, it’s still bugging him. How is it possible a fabricated news broadcast is able to put the fear in his leaders? (That’s not just a mystery to Joe, but to us viewers as well.) John Smith tells him not to ask questions; the best way to motivate people to figure it out for themselves. Joe breaks into an abandoned movie theatre, turns on the projector and watches… something amazing..? An obvious, silly hoax?
In the diner, Juliana meets a guy (Allan Havey, Mad Men) reading the Bible. Not an illegal book, but not such a legal one, either. She’s interested. Maybe he’s part of the resistance? Joe finds out the guy’s far from any resistance activity. After watching the reel, it seems like Joe’s loyalties are on a slippery slope. When Juliana’s almost thrown off a CGI arch dam by the Bible guy, Joe comes to her rescue. It isn’t really necessary, though, given Julian’s able to lift and push the guy over the ridge all by herself.
We get a glimpse of John Smith at home, as a father. Once you say exactly what he wants to hear, it’s easy to please him. So that’s what his son does. One wrong word, though, and daddy could get very angry. It’s a tense scene, with Rufus Sewell not doing much, but turning up the suspense to great heights. The show couldn’t have picked a better bad guy.
How To Change A Mind
But most of the episode is about Frank. He’s locked away in a cell, getting beaten en threatened if he doesn’t tell the Japanese where his girlfriend went to and why. It all takes a bit too long, but it’s clear why the writers felt they had to take a realistic amount of time. Frank had to change his mind about becoming one of the freedom fighters and it’s hard to change a character in a scene or two.