‘The Man in the High Castle’ asks the biggest ‘what if?’

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Times Square under Nazi dominion is the future in "Man in the High Castle."

Holly Chen, Staff Writer

What if? Often times, life is full of these small questions. What if I did x instead of y? But “The Man in the High Castle” asks the biggest “what if” in the history of mankind. What if Nazi Germany won the Second World War?

It is 1962, and the U.S. is split into three sections: the Greater Nazi Reich to the east, the Japanese Pacific states to the west, and a neutral zone, known as the Rocky Mountain States. Adolf Hitler is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and the future between Germany and Japan remains uncertain. These two nations are in the midst of a cold war, and tensions are high, as Germans are threatening to use nuclear weaponry.

To add to this turmoil comes the tape, “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy.” This tape shows news recordings of the Allied forces winning World War 2. In certain hands, it could lead to the destruction of both the Nazi Party and Imperial Japan. Anyone caught with these recordings will be executed because they were created by a mysterious person, known as the man in the high castle.

This tape has the ability to alter the future, and “The Man in the High Castle” plays with this possibility. This is exemplified when two officials are chatting about the impending crisis between Germany and Japan. One of them comments with, “Fate is fluid. Destiny is in the hands of men.”

During the trailer, a character says, “Evil triumphs only when good men do nothing.” This quote rings true, as all characters struggle for what they believe in. From a Nazi spy to a woman thrust into the resistance movement, these individuals all stand for and struggle to define what they view as right and wrong. “The Man in the High Castle” plays on the psychology of those lost in a world determined to destroy them.

The show itself is gorgeous, as creators pay attention to detail in each shot. In New York City’s Times Square, billboards of Broadway and Coca-Cola are replaced with Nazi propaganda. In San Francisco, east meets west, as shop designs are a fusion of both Western and Asian architecture.

The only shortcoming of the show is that the plot is a bit slow at times. Climatic moments are prolonged so much that they lose their intensity.

All in all, “The Man in the High Castle” explores an alternate reality and the psyche of mankind. This show is controversial in its content, and redefines conventional television.

“The Man in the High Castle” airs on Amazon Prime on November 20th.