The Man in the High Castle season 4, episode 5 recap: “Mauvaise Foi”

Photo: The Man in the High Castle: Season 4.. Image Courtesy Liane Hentscher/Amazon Studios
Photo: The Man in the High Castle: Season 4.. Image Courtesy Liane Hentscher/Amazon Studios /

Smith faces the road not taken as he explores the alt-world, while Juliana is reunited with Wyatt and the BCR begins peace talks with the Empire on The Man in the High Castle.

At the end of WWII in 1946 with the transition of the Eastern United States to the Nazi American Reich, American soldiers have the choice to join the Reich or be declared war criminals on The Man in the High Castle. John and Helen Smith, who fought for the Allies, have a new baby and no food. They make the difficult choice to join the Reich in order to save their family. Their Jewish friend Daniel (Charlie Hofheimer) has no such luxury. Daniel feels a little betrayed that the Smiths could put aside their morals and conform to a society that reviles him. The Smiths are clearly conflicted, but they both believe it’s the right thing to do.

Smith’s choices are thrown into sharp relief as he explores the Allied won alt-world. He sees the future he fought for in his world and the principles he abandoned in order to save a son who was taken from him by the very powers he accepted. He’s able to see his son come of age with the benefits afforded by a free society and he experiences a loving and generous marriage untainted by the strain of compromised morals (although sleeping with his alt-wife under false pretenses is extremely problematic).

But Smith’s choices in his world have changed the man he is and his alt-family begins to recognize his erratic behavior. He starts to spiral when Daniel shows up on his doorstep, bringing back the shame of having left him to die in his world. While sitting at a cafe with Thomas, Smith stands by while a black couple are refused service and forcibly ejected, a reaction that Thomas finds completely out of character and immoral for the father he knows. Thomas is considering joining the military, but Smith’s approach to dissuading him actually pushes him toward the decision.

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Meanwhile, Wyatt arrives in DC to find that Juliana has amassed quite a following of people wanting to hear her stories of the alt-world. Knowing there is a world where the Nazis were beaten gives them hope that they can be beaten here. Juliana’s leadership is inspiring, but so is Wyatt’s tearful, relieved smile when he sees her alive. Later, they catch up privately and Juliana shares that she feels suspended between worlds, each just as real as the next. What can she hold on to? He takes her hand and they share a passionate kiss. She can hold on to him.

Juliana jumps right back into the Resistance. She discovers that Helen spent a year in the Neutral Zone and thinks there might be an exploitable crack in her marriage. The way to John Smith is through his wife and Juliana wants to try. Smith has put extra security on his family, including a specially trained wife-companion to shadow Helen on her outings. Helen is not exactly happy about this, but now with someone keeping watch, it will be harder to get to her.

Bell Mallory welcomes BCR leader Equiano Hampton to their base in preparation for preliminary peace talks with the Empire. They are cautiously optimistic about the talks, knowing that the order has come down through the royal family and that it’s the first time anyone in American, the JPS, or the Reich has negotiated with a black man as an equal. Whatever happens, that’s progress.

The first talks go well until the secret summit is raided by the Kempeitai. Equiano is killed and Admiral Inokuchi is arrested for treason. Bell and Elijah escape. Kido prepares to make arrangements for Inokuchi to face court-martial in Tokyo, but Yamori wants to keep the trial away from the scrutiny of the royal family. Without admitting guilt, Yamori points out that Kido himself has done unscrupulous and illegal things in order to protect the Empire. How is this any different? But Kido personally gave the Crown Princess his word he would find Tagomi’s killers, and his first duty is to her.

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The BCR leadership council calls an emergency meeting to regroup after Equiano’s death. Childan is ordered to be killed but is secretly set free by a sympathetic rebel. He returns to his shop and is reunited with Yukiko, but now he is in hiding from the Kempeitai.

What did you think of this episode of The Man in the High Castle? Be sure to tell us in the comment section below!