The 2015 American series The Man in the High Castle, based on the 1962 novel of the same name, through 40 episodes across four seasons, aimed to depict life in the United States under the occupation of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. It also showed how the higher-ups of the respective empires struggled for power in a sort of like a Cold War between the former war allies.
In this article, we will examine the ending of Season 2. The said season left a lot of mysterious afterthoughts to the viewers because it featured several alternate dimension possibilities and travel between said dimensions. It was a sci-fi film in a way. The ending was also as mysterious and surprising as it gets. With that said, let’s get into the analysis.
Spoiler Warning! What you will read below contains recalls of events from both Season 1 and Season 2, but it will not be too much as we’re only focused on the ending of Season 2 and how the story got there.
The ending: Juliana’s sister was alive along
In Season 1, Episode 1, Trudy, the sister of the protagonist, Juliana, was seen shot by the Kempeitai. The reason for the shooting is that the sister was part of the resistant movement planning to take down both the Nazis and the Japanese. Trudy was carrying a film, which was sort of a propagandistic contraband throughout the movie. The films came from The Man in the High Castle, who was hypothesized to have created them and was using them for propaganda purposes.
In one meeting with Hawthorne Abendsen, The Man in the High Castle, it was revealed to Juliana that the films were depictions of alternate realities of how the war could have ended or how the war would have ended. That’s why there were a lot of them, and Juliana had seen films such as the Allies winning the war or San Francisco being nuked by the Nazis.
Moreover, in the said film where San Francisco was hit by a nuclear bomb, a dead man was shown. Abendsen revealed it was George Dixon. According to the films, San Francisco was doomed to be nuked anyway, except for the film that showed Dixon dead. Abendsen said that he was the key to preventing a nuclear war between Germany and Japan.
As he was the “key” to peace, Juliana intended to keep Dixon alive. However, in the end, she makes the risky choice of shooting him dead. When he met Abendsen again, he congratulated her for preventing a nuclear disaster. He also had a surprise for her – Trudy was waiting for her in the back of Abendsen’s barn.
What does this ending mean?
Let’s see first why Juliana killed Dixon. Smith, who was a Nazi officer, was found by Dixon to be cooperating with Juliana, who was a resistance member. He ought to report it to the higher-ups of the Nazi party.
Now, an all-out nuclear war was looming between the two superpowers. After Hitler died, the Nazis blamed the Japanese as an excuse to nuke their major cities.
With Dixon dead, Smith got to keep his position in the Nazi party. This then enabled him to come to Berlin to advise the leaders of the party not to attack Japan in fear of being nuked back (because he was shown a film that Japan had the capabilities to manufacture hydrogen bombs). The war was averted.
If Juliana insisted on sparing Dixon’s life, Smith would not be able to convince the Nazis to stop the attack. And there would be nobody else to do it because he was the only one who had seen the hydrogen bomb film. Through this murder, the prophecy of the film (where San Francisco was nuked) with the dead man identified as Dixon was fulfilled. Having killed Dixon, Juliana was greeted by Abendsen for having the prophecy fulfilled and saving the world.
As for the sister, she was dead early on in the series. Juliana saving the world from nuclear Armageddon did not save her from being killed. However, some characters in the series had some powers to travel across universes. This was seen at the end of Season 1 when a Japanese officer meditated in a park and woke up in the United States, where the Allies had won World War 2.
The Trudy she had seen in the backside was probably from an alternate universe where she wasn’t taken down by the Japanese.
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