While the first season of The Man In The High Castle was a worthwhile investment for those who didn’t lose patience with the at times galactically slow pace, there was always a bit of doubt surround its future considering a) the lack of source material, and b) the lack of a showrunner. In spite of these hurdles, Season Two manages to be even better than what came before it.
Even if the ending of Season 1 was frustratingly open-ended, it did at least offer clear storyline directions for its leads: Juliana (Alexa Davalos) is on the run after effectively trading her safety for Joe’s (Luke Kleintank), who himself embarks on a voyage of discovery in more than one way this season. All the while, Frank (Rupert Evans) continues his spiral into radicalisation after Ed (DJ Qualls) takes the fall for the shooting, with Kido (Joel de la Fuente) in his crosshairs, and Tagomi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) takes more journeys into the unknown in the wake of last season’s finale revelation.
In such a different world, the rules of who to root for become blurred. Sure, John Smith (Rufus Sewell) is a monster, but when his immediate family become victims of the same barbaric rules he helped implement, you can’t help but feel a pang of sympathy for him. Likewise, as Frank’s actions increasingly start to resemble his Nazi counterparts, you get an idea of how far he has fallen.
All throughout, The Man In The High Castle subtly expands its own mythology, offering small glimpses of the wider world while continuing to tell a decent story. It may not be the one people were necessarily expecting (the mirror-world scenes are probably the weakest element), although the surprises are the best part. Despite last season apparently indicating his imminent demise, Ed is a fresh breath of relative innocence in a world gone to hell, and Juliana continues to get the best storytelling arcs.
So despite everything, not only is The Man In The High Castle still here, it’s still excellent viewing. Let it continue to defy the odds.