“The Man in the High Castle” Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot” was released on Jan. 15, 2015 on Amazon Prime. This television show is an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle.” It was set in the 1960s and in an alternate history, in which the Axis powers won World War II, thus dividing the United States into three areas — the Pacific States of America, which include much of the West Coast; the Neutral Zone, which was found in the Rocky Mountains; and the Greater Nazi Reich, which include most of the East Coast. In this episode, in New York City, in the Greater Nazi Reich, Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank) joined the Resistance and was given a mission to bring something in a truck to Canon City in the Neutral Zone.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific States of America, Juliana Crain (Alexa Davalos) traveled to Canon City in the Neutral Zone, much to the disappointment of her boyfriend, Frank Frink (Rupert Evans). It was after her sister handed her a bag with instructions before she was shot to death. While all of this happened, Trade Commissioner Nobusuke Tagomi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) met up with Swiss businessman Victore Baynes (Carsten Norgaard), who was in reality Captain Rudolph Wegener. They both grew anxious as they were both worried that the power vacuum caused by Fuhrer Adolf Hitler’s death might lead to a new war, in which the Japanese would be ousted out of the West Coast.
The episode began in 1962, in New York City, in the “Greater Nazi Reich” in a movie theater. While the audience watched a propaganda clip on how the United States was lucky to be under the Germans, a young man, Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank), was given a card with a symbol on one side, and on the other side were written the words “Lariat Manager, 4112 East Motowk”. The young man then took a train across New York City, and asked for Mr. Don Warren (Michael Rispoli), who, after making sure that he was not a spy, welcomed Joe to The Resistance. He was then ordered to take a truck “across the Reich” to Canon City. It was located in the Neutral Zone, where the Rocky Mountains were. He was then told that their contact will go to him “if it’s safe.” He was then told that he was delivering coffee makers. They gave him several pills which he could take whenever he felt sleepy so that he would not fall asleep on the road. However, just right when he climbed into the driver’s seat, they were ambushed by several Nazi officers. They took Mr. Warren captive and executed all the other workers in his office and factory.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, in the Japanese Pacific States, Juliana Crain (Alexa Davalos) walked back home from a good session of Aikido at a nearby dojo. On the way home, she stopped by a Chinese herbalist’s shop in order to get some herbs to make it into a medicinal tea for her mother. While she was there, her younger half-sister Trudy Walker (Conor Leslie), came in and hugged her. She told her that she had just gotten a new job, and that she would have to go out of town to do it. At home, Juliana’s mother could not understand why her daughter liked things that were Japanese, since they were currently under their rule.
She then left for a bar, where she met up with Frank Frink (Rupert Evans), her long-time boyfriend, whom she was living with. There, Frank became understandably nervous about the fact that the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, was getting older and older by the second. It turned out that Frank was a Jew, but he hid his heritage because of the possible horrible things that might happen. As soon as his co-worker and good friend, Ed McCarthy (DJ Qualls) showed up, Juliana decided to go home. He then told Frank that he knew that the Fuhrer currently had Parkinson’s. Moreover, if a new Fuhrer filled his spot, that they might wipe out the whole West Coast.
Before Juliana could enter the apartment, she was stopped by Trudy. She instructed her to take her bag and to immediately go inside her apartment. Trudy then ran off and was shot dead by several Japanese soldiers who chased after her.
Inside the apartment, she found a news reel labeled “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy.” She then attached it to their projector and watched it over and over again. Each time she did so, she teared up and smiled. She watched it until Frank arrived. She then told him that it was a news reel which showed a different version of events — the United States had won against the Germans, the Nazi regime had fallen and that President Roosevelt was still alive. However, Frank insisted that it was not real, but it was a movie made by a man known as the “man in the high castle.” She then broke the news that she got it from Trudy, who got shot by the Japanese on the street. He then instructed her to go to the police station the next day. The police would know that she had nothing to do with is so that she would not be killed as Trudy, apparently, had been part of the Resistance.
The next morning, Juliana found a bus ticket among Trudy’s things. It was a ticket to Canon City, and on the back was written “Sunrise Diner, 12.5.” She then saw Frank and told him that she would be the one to go to the police. However, she did not such thing as she packed her things, placed the reel in a case labeled “Popeye.” She also left the necklace that Frank had given her and left. On the way to the bus station, she was stopped by Tony, one of her admirers, at the dojo. She had promised that they would have some tea together but told him that they would definitely do that next time.
At the Nazi Embassy in the Pacific States, Trade Commissioner Nobusuke Tagomi (Cary-Nobuyuki Tagawa) and the Nazi Ambassador discussed the particulars regarding the furniture of the room for the arrival of the Crown Prince and his wife, who would be staying at the embassy in two day’s time. After the Japanese had left, the two Germans contemplated that it was a matter of time until they would be able to take over the entire North America. Meanwhile, in the elevator, Tagomi seemed a little bit disturbed. It was especially after the Oracle had just informed him that they were about to experience some darkness.
At Rikers Island Prison at NYC, Mr. Warren, who was being tortured, told them that the truck that had left contained coffee makers and was headed off to Alabama. However, SS Obengruppenfuhrer John Smith (Rufus Sewell) informed him that they knew exactly where the truck was going and what it was holding.
Meanwhile, on the road, Joe’s tire got blown. He was then helped out by a helpful and kind Nazi Officer, who had fought for the United States during the war.
Back in San Francisco, Juliana nervously entered the station. There, she accidentally bumped into a Japanese guard. She was saved by a man who knew Trudy and had given her the bag. As Juliana insisted on going in Trudy’s stead, she was just told that their contact would approach her if it was safe. She then boarded the bus headed for Canon City.
Meanwhile, Tagomi received the Swiss businessman Victore Baynes (Carseten Norgaard) at the Hirohito Airport. In the car, Tagomi confirmed that Baynes was truly Captain Rudolph Wegener. Tagomi then told him that the man he was going to meet up with would arrive in two days’ time. It was said that this person would be arriving with the Crown Prince and Princess. Tagomi and Wegener then talked about how worried they were. It was because they knew that when the Fuhrer dies, there would be a vacuum of power, and whoever succeeds Hitler would definitely seek to bomb the Japanese out of the Americas.
Meanwhile, Frank and Ed worked hard in the factory in order to make “Americana” goods like old time guns. The Japanese seemed to like those kinds of things. Because of this, Mr. Wyndham Masden (Jack Kehler) refused to allow Frank to make jewelry, despite his designs and drawings being good.
Meanwhile, another white woman, Katie Owens (Shannon Day), befriended Juliana. She began to pass herself off as her half-sister, Trudy. However, when the bus made a short pit stop during the night, she awoke to discover that Katie had stolen all of her things. However, she had not stolen the reel, which Juliana hid under her blouse.
Meanwhile, just before the checkpoint, Joe looked over the truck to figure out what he was really carrying. Underneath the truck, he discovered a film reel entitled “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy.” However, as all his papers were in order, they let him into the Neutral Zone.
Back in San Francisco, Frank discovered that Juliana had left for Canon City. The next morning, Inspector Kido and his men trashed the entire place and asked where Juliana was. He then told him that she had been at the dojo. However, as they had learned that she had not been there. They had beaten it out of Tony and they roughly arrested Frank by shoving him inside the back of the car. Nearby, the man who had given Trudy her bag was captured as well.
In New York City, the Obergruppenfuhrer ordered that Mr. Warren be flogged to death, and his body was dumped out on the streets.
At the Sunrise Diner, Juliana ran into a little trouble with the waiter. She told him that she could not pay him as all her things had gotten stolen. Joe, who had just entered the diner, decided to pay for her. He then followed her out and gave her a bottle of juice to drink. She then tried to steer the conversation in a way so that she would be able to find out if he was the contact that the man earlier had mentioned. However, it seemed like he was just a good Samaritan. After checking his watch, he then excused himself for a bit and placed a phone call to the Obergruppenfuhrer. He informed him that everything was going smoothly, and the Obergruppenfuhrer told him that his father, a war veteran, would be proud of him.
Back in San Francisco, Tagomi once again consulted his oracle sticks and looked grim after checking out what it meant.
What do you think of the pilot episode of the series? Would you like to see more episodes? Let us know in the comments below!
And that was all for the recap on Amazon Studios “The Man in the High Castle” Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot.” For more news and updates, including spoilers and recaps, on “The man in the High Castle,” and other television shows, keep following Movie News Guide (MNG).
Help make “The Man in the High Castle” into a series by watching, commenting and rating the pilot episode on Amazon Prime.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Balajimuthazhagan