The Man in the High Castle season 4, episode 9 recap: For Want of a Nail

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 must face a Reich that stands against him while Juliana tries to convince Helen to turn against her husband. The fate the world stands in the balance on The Man in the High Castle.

The BCR may have ousted their Japanese overlords, but now they have the Reich to worry about. Before Bell and Elijah can get too comfortable, air raid sirens blare as fighter jets soar overhead. But they don’t drop bombs, they drop propaganda fliers encouraging the white population to rise up against the black community. If they can stir up unrest, it will be easier to take over on The Man in the High Castle.

In Berlin, the Reich begins strategizing their invasion. Smith is invited to the meeting, but his opinions and loyalty are questioned at every turn. He puts on a good game, insisting that America can only truly be controlled by an American, fighting to keep his job and his life. But they have been surveilling him for months and they have recordings of every argument and doubt that has been aired in his home and among his family. It seems like the hammer is finally coming down on him and there is no escape.

Smith is sent to see Himmler alone in his office. Himmler tells Smith that he always saw him as a son, someone he loved and connected to and saw himself in. But Smith never returned that love and dedication, not even once. In a triumphant show of defiance, Smith tells Himmler that he’s right. “I never saw you as a father. I saw you as a petty little tyrant. You’re a mediocre man…The very thought that you see yourself in me, it sickens me.” It’s an amazing, cathartic moment. We cheer for Smith because we think he’s finally renouncing the Reich.

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Smith kills Himmler and emerges from his office to find his own men standing over the bodies of the Reich guards. Back in the war room, Goertzmann stands among the bodies of the Reich officials. It’s a fantastic coup. Smith kills Hoover and then it’s finished. Smith has complete autonomy over North America and Goertzmann gets the rest of the Reich. When they heil each other, we get the feeling that the world is no better off.

Helen finds the films of Thomas from the alt-world, which makes her question everything that Smith has told her. She makes a secret appointment with Juliana under the guise of a doctor’s appointment but doesn’t have long before Martha gets suspicious. Juliana tells her everything about the alt-world and the portal and that Smith has been keeping it from her. With the Japanese retreating and the Reich moving in, millions of people are going to die in concentration camps. Helen doesn’t believe that Smith would ever let that happen if he could prevent it, but she sounds uncertain.

Juliana asks Helen to tell them when Smith is taking the train to the portal so they can kill him; it’s the only way to prevent another holocaust. Meanwhile, their time is up. Wyatt fights Martha to try to prevent her from calling in backup and nearly dies. Juliana saves him and together they kill Martha, but Helen sees it and runs. She doesn’t tell the other SS agents, but it certainly doesn’t help Juliana’s case.

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Meanwhile, Childan and Yukiko face obstacles at every turn in their attempt to leave the city together. The face-down looters and bribe dockyard guards who refuse to accept Childan’s letter of passage. In the end, they give away their money, a valuable watch, and even Yukiko’s engagement ring just to get her on the boat, but Childan must stay behind. He tells her to go ahead and that he’ll find a way to get to her.

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