The Man in the High Castle – Season 1 Episode 1: “The New World”

Amazing. I watched the pilot episode of The Man in the High Castle last night, and it was amazing. Some would even say life-altering. The show is rich in suspense, drama, action and conspiracy. Everything that a World War buff like me would need.

The episode starts with establishing how the Axis powers won the war and had taken over America. They divided the United States into two parts, between Japan and Nazi Germany. The plot quickly progresses about how there was an American resistance group working to dethrone Hitler from America and bring back their democratic ways. The episode progresses, with strong and established World War 2 facts and instances along with a strong background about how Nazi Germany actually won the war. The Furher is seen to be suffering from Parkinson’s disease, which calls upon his subordinates swimming like sharks. A little lazy moving plot, explaining everything with intricate detail, which on paper would prove to be ‘laggy’ and boring, but it actually was delightful.

The episode though leaves a high amount of questions unanswered, and I’m eager to find out the answers to these. The concept of this show is so unique, that it actually comes close to the perfect show. Viewers are aware of the main plot, the main features, yet they do not know what is going to happen at the next turn. It always keeps the viewer guessing. What’s more beautiful is that, they beautifully managed to show how Nazism would affect the American lifestyle. The strong anti-Jew and anti-Black sentiment is carried from Germany to the United States and we see various instances where these are highlighted, including a strong anti-Jewish action being taken in the second episode.

Something that struck me really hard was the propaganda the Nazi’s sent out in all forms of media across their country. In the start of the episode itself, we see a message being shown in the theatres, it’s exactly like 1960’s US advertisement, but it ends with a Nazi scheme and message. Then an iconic scene where the Nazi emblem is displayed over Times Square in New York. This kind of strong and bold display of frowned up figures, actually makes you wonder “what if” and in the end you start accepting that this was a possibility, which ultimately was the goal of this episode. We get to live in the Nazi regime vicariously.

The acting is simply wonderful and so is the direction. A special mention to the writers for thinking of such an intricate script to such a controversial topic and complex plot. The episode does get a little laggy and slow, and you’ll feel like pausing it and resuming it some other time, but trust me, wait till the end. Spies, back-room meetings, controversy, betrayal, clandestine operations and patriotism, the Man in the High Castle promises to be lip-smacking cocktail of my favorite genres. A must watch.

My rating for The Man in the High Castle -Season 1 Episode 1: 8.9/10

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