"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Man in the High Castle 3.7-10: The Metaphysics of Alternate Realities

The Man in the High Castle saved its crucial metaphysical reveal until nearly the last scene of the last episode, where Abendsen (the actual man in the high castle) explains to Smith that you can travel to an alternate reality only if you're no longer alive in that alternate world.  This means Smith can bring back his son Thomas to his/our world (in which the Nazis and Japanese won the Second World War), Juliana can escape our reality to the one in which she saw herself killed (which she presumably does, also near the end),  Tagomi wasn't alive in our off-screen reality which he visited in which we won the war (but great seeing him beat that Hitler youth, and fine performance throughout by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), Joe can come back to our world (in which Juliana killed him) - though I hardly missed him in these last four episodes - and all kinds of similar possibilities.

But precluded in this metaphysics is Himmler's fevered dream of Nazis marching into all alternate realities via Mengele's transport, which Himmler is not likely to get too upset about if he doesn't survive the surgery.  I hope he doesn't - good for Wyatt/Liam for shooting him.  Maybe Goebbels will succeed him.  He was smarter, anyway - with a PhD from the University of Heidelberg - and less of a ranting lunatic, but just as evil.

As I said in my previous review, though, the movement of people through alternate realities deprives death of its meaning.  So if Himmler dies, he can still come back to our point-of-view reality, as could Hitler himself for that matter.   But so could Frank.   The portals are equal opportunity conveyors of people who are bad and good.

This third season of The Man in the High Castle was one good piece of work, lifting the overall series to the best science fiction I've ever seen on television.   The iconic scene of the Statue of Liberty going down typifies the pull-no-punches cinematography of this series.   And the interjection of people from our real history such as J. Edgar Hoover, especially in the New York story, was just outstanding, as I noted earlier.  Hey, maybe we'll see Fred Trump in 1962 Nazi New York next season.

I'll be watching and reviewing it whoever's in it.

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