After episode 1 established the tone of the series, episode two was all about revealing the characters’ surprising depths.
In the neutral zone, Juliana and Joe continue their dance of mutual suspicion and attraction. Joe is clearly onto her from early on, so the question stops being whether he’ll discover who she is, and becomes whether or not he’ll turn her in. Now that he’s watched the film himself and saved her from a fairly inept assassin, is he on the side of the Resistance? Or would that be far too easy?
Meanwhile, Rufus Sewell’s ObergruppenFührer is balancing life as a devoted family man with getting regularly shot up by revolutionaries, while the Japanese trade minister is trying to keep a lid on the Cold War that’s simmering between the Japanese and the Nazis.
The ‘baddies’, we’re being told, are just humans after all. And some of them are genuinely pursuing peace.
The main emotional thrust of episode two, though, lies with Rupert Evans’ Frank, being tortured physically and emotionally by the Japanese forces who also threaten his sister and her children. He dismissed the naivety of the revolutionary in the next cell, but by the end of the episode he’s changed his tone. Frank is free to go, but his sister and her family have been gassed.
Evans plays Frank’s emotional journey wonderfully, and by the end the audience is in no doubt that Inspector Kido hasn’t broken Frank – he’s just turned him into a dangerous enemy.