Amazon’s adaptation of legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle has taken on a tragic relevance in 2017, a year already so absurd you might think we’re all living in an alternate history. The show was just picked up for a third season, which is great news for fans of the alt-history series about what the world would be like if the Axis powers won World War II.
Not only will the show get to purposefully tackle the rise of xenophobia seen across the world, we’ll also get some answers about the huge cliffhangers we ended Season 2 on. Here are 7 questions we hope Season 3 answers when the show hits Amazon Prime sometime in 2017.
Season 2 spoilers below
1. Is Frank dead, because Frank can’t be dead, right?
The big climactic event of the last couple of episodes of Season 2 impacted a whole bunch of characters, most notably our erstwhile antique-maker turned Resistance fighter Frank Frink. He and Japanese-American Resistance fighter Sarah leave a homemade bomb in the parking garage of Kempeitai HQ in the appropriately named episode “Detonation,” but the bomb goes off before they can flee the building. Chief Inspector Kido sees them try and escape but gets caught in the blast before he can do anything to stop them. We see Kido and Trade Minister Tagomi alive but badly injured in the aftermath, but there’s no sign of Frank or Sarah.
Obviously this open-ended drama makes you think Frank is dead, but it would have to be some Game of Thrones-level craziness to kill off such an important character. The fact that we didn’t see a body means it’s highly unlikely that Frank’s actually dead, but it’ll be up to Season 3 to show how (and if) he gets out alive.
2. How will the show keep Joe Blake relevant besides the mystery of his father?
After gallivanting around the Neutral Zone and the Pacific States with Julianna in Season 1, Joe Blake headed off to Berlin in Season 2 to confront his estranged father, Reichsminister Martin Heusmann, only to find out that Blake was a Lebensborn, the SS-initiated and state-supported eugenics program meant to create so-called racially pure “Aryan” children.
Confronting his birth and the morality of his existence was the extent of Joe’s character arc. Beyond that emotional turmoil, he was just kind of coasting along as a VIP after Heusmann is made Acting Chancellor in the wake of Hitler’s death. Season 3 needs to keep him important to the plot instead of background dressing. Joe’s been arrested by Himmler along with Heusmann after Obergruppenführer Smith names him as a traitor to the Reich, which should make for some good drama since Blake and Smith aren’t the best of friends. But will Blake go full-on Resistance?
3. How on earth will Childan and Ed survive in the Neutral Zone?
Somehow The Man in the High Castle made tangential and mostly annoying first season characters Childan and Ed into the subtle everyman heroes of Season 2. While Frank was off being an ornery Resistance operative, Childan and Ed found themselves embroiled in some bad Yakuza business and weaseled their way out when a merciful Yoshida discovers their involvement and lets them go free. But before the big Kempeitai bombing, Frank convinces them to leave San Francisco for their own safety, with Childan last seen peering out of a coach bus window going over the Golden Gate Bridge as smoke billows from the Kempeitai HQ in the distance.
A ‘Childan and Ed in the Neutral Zone’ subplot can go one of two ways: It will either be an annoying and superfluous tangent to the important narrative, or it will build upon their Season 2 significance to the Resistance and turn them into true leading men, making a serious impact in the coming conflict.
4. Will Tagomi join the Resistance?
After doing some I Ching-inspired interdimensional traveling throughout Season 2, Tagomi decides to come back to his reality after seeing the true destruction of the atomic bomb. He takes the film he sees of a test detonation of a hydrogen bomb with him, hoping to show it to Kido who will hopefully put an end to the Pacific States nuclear program. It all kind of goes according to plan: Kido shows the film to Smith but heads back to San Francisco only to end up in Frank’s Kempeitai explosion with Tagomi.
Being in the real 1960s has taught Tagomi that the Axis-controlled reality will most likely lead to mutually assured destruction, which will force him into actively undermining Japanese control over the Pacific States. Considering the final scene of the season shows Resistance fighter Lem handing over Hawthorne Abendsen’s films to Tagomi, it’s clear Tagomi is going to veer dangerously close to becoming a high level Resistance spy.
5. Could Smith’s U.S. Army intelligence experience test his loyalty to the Reich?
The most fascinating scene with the show’s most fascinating character takes place at the beginning of “Fallout.”
John Smith, decked out in a U.S. military uniform, returns home with his wife Helen and witnesses the Nazi nuclear bombing of Washington which, presumably, led to the American surrender in this timeline. This is the second specific reference to Smith’s U.S. military experience following the mention of his participation in the Solomon Islands campaign in “Duck and Cover,” and it hints that his devotion to the Reich may not be as bloodthirsty and absolute as viewers think. Make no bones about it, Smith is a bad guy who did many bad things; he’s the best example of what happens when normal people become complicit in fascism. Match his somewhat guilty conscience with his psychological wrestling with his sick son Thomas’s decision to euthanize himself based on horrific Nazi ideology, and we may see Smith defect.
6. Is the Man in the High Castle the show’s real villain?
The show may have made a big mistake by introducing the titular Man in the High Castle, Abendsen, in “The Tiger’s Cave.” Why suddenly reveal the guy everybody was looking for in Season 1 in the very first episode of Season 2? He is, after all, the fabled leader of the Resistance who stores the alternate reality films that might spell doom for the Axis Powers. But the not-so-mysterious Man, who turns out to just be a kind of frumpy aggro dude hiding out in a barn surrounded by racks and racks of film cannisters, may not be so good after all. In “Duck and Cover,” Abendsen must move the location of his High Castle hideout for fear that his whereabouts were compromised, but in doing so he destroys most of the film collection by torching the place. Is he being selective with the alternate worlds people see, and will this lead to him to becoming another evil puppetmaster pulling the strings? We’ll have to see what barn he ends up in to find out.
7. How did Trudy survive!?
The biggest surprise happened in Season 2’s closing moments, and it all sprang from Season 1’s opening moments. Juliana’s sister Trudy was executed by Kido and the kempeitai in the shows pilot episode, “The New World,” for being sympathetic to the Resistance. But, surprise, she’s alive, seemingly well, and hanging out with the Man in the High Castle at the end of “Fallout.” We’re not entirely sure what the dimension-jumping rules here are, but we’ve seen Tagomi do it, so what’s to say Trudy hasn’t seen other alternate histories as well? What’s to say she’s not from one of the other timelines? Plus, someone has to be the one bringing Abendsen all of those films.