Trailer Alert: The Man in the High Castle (Season 2)

Money switches hands; power does not.

I find some of the ongoing Trump/Race rhetoric (via media and social media…my first mistake) surreal…referencing a return to whiteness or restoring white values. Even if this is “white man’s last stand” (another common refrain) I can’t understand how many people expected a “smooth power transition.”

Power is not like a Dad letting his 16 year old kid take the wheel (here ya go)…power has always been associated with struggle.

Thing is we (probably conditioned by movies and sports and inspiring Nike commercials) tend to focus on the “good guys” and celebrate their valiant struggle against the oppressors (especially if they succeed). We talk grace but champion karma. Oppressors have a dog in this fight and it’s just as real for them too.

Truthfully nobody wants to go gently into that good night.

This is what’s fascinating about The Man in High Castle. I’m tired, tired, tired of happy endings. That a resistance exists in this alternative universe to pushback against fascism is expected. Maybe even necessary. Yet it remains the most boring aspect of this compelling series. I’ve no patience or interest in watching The Resistance negotiate a better reality (Resistance is Futile?).

Rather I’m curious to see and understand how power is maintained, ruthlessly and through violent intimidation. The best science fiction takes a logical course of action to its logical conclusion.

One of the fascinating Man In the High Castle aspects is it prompts viewers to root for Nazis.

In the first season I sided with the Nazis…they had efficiency, branding, vision…a strong leader. I may not agree with their philosophies (and as a visual minority they wouldn’t agree with me…thankfully this is all playful science-fiction) but I don’t have to agree with it; that’s not the issue at hand. I’m forever grateful for science-fiction allowing me to be a tourist; it’s startling to be in a world that doesn’t represent my values. Nice places to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Season 1 was your typical world building…conquering the world was something the Nazis set out to do. We don’t like to admit it but success can be as hard to grapple with as much as failure. That was the big take-away.

Season 2 released on December 16, 2017 on Amazon Prime sheds lights on the complex lives in a Nazi-occupied world.

And in the second episode of Season 2 the Japanese ruthlessly step up. Takeshi Kido is Kempeitai (Japanese secret police) and here’s one scene where he interviews a prisoner:

Takeshi Kido: I have your confession here, Mr. McCarthy, but I wanted to ensure that you fully understand the consequences.

Ed McCarthy: I understand.

Takeshi Kido: In addition to your execution, Mr. Frink and your grandfather will also be shot. As well as every worker at the factory before it is burnt to the ground.

Ed McCarthy: Why would you do that?

Takeshi Kido: Why would I not?

Ed McCarthy: Because you got what you wanted!

Takeshi Kido: I can assure you, Mr. McCarthy, I did not want any of this.

Ed McCarthy: {Sobbing} No! No! You’re a liar! You enjoy this. You must! You beat every word of that out of me, and I would have died first. I would have let you kill me if I knew you were going to do this anyway. Then at least I would have died with some dignity. No!

Now THAT is how you run an evil empire. Instantly I switched allegiances and sided with the Japanese. Woah that’s brutal and cold. (Shout out to Joel de la Fuente who is Takeshi Kido…he’s offensively and compellingly despicable in his delivery).

Good guys/bad guys have always been facile ways to describe people. It’s no different than a NBA Finals game…it’s just 24 players with different motivations. The Nazis and Japanese don’t seem themselves as bad guys…if anything they’d view the Resistance as the bad guys: for they’re distributing the new world order. Fascinating to quote Spock.

In real life it’s fantastic when the “good guys” triumph…however short lived those victories may be. (Between the assassinations of MLK and Malcolm X to Black Lives Matter truly how much progress (in as much as you can measure progress!) has been made…or worse lost?).

One more scene then you must go watch this tv show. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is Japanese Trade Minister Tagomi who basically has felt a disturbance in the force. He can no longer cling to the illusions we all accept…and has begun asking questions. Oh Boy.

Because of his high rank and status in the Japanese government he asks a librarian for access to banned books. What is it “they” don’t want you to know?

Tagomi: Do you know this book? That is a question, not an accusation.

Librarian: What we do not understand can be frightening.

Tagomi: “Yes it can be. But when one is troubled by the reality of this world, it can be comforting to consider other possibilities. Even if those possibilities disturb us. So strong is the desire to escape the tyranny of consciousness and the narrow boundaries of our perceptions—to unlock the prisons of thought in which we trap ourselves, all in the hope that a better world or a better version of ourselves perhaps may lie on the other side of the door.”

Which is the appeal of all potent science fiction. Seeing a fictional world devoid of hope and ruled by injustice should be enough inspiration for us to make the necessary changes in this badly broken real world.

Sammy Baltic Web

Sammy Younan @ W • T • F

Ziggy Was Here January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016

Also published on Medium.

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