The Man in the High Castle Season 2: A Non-Binge-Watcher’s Review

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Amazon Prime Video
Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Amazon Prime Video /

A review of The Man in the High Castle Season 2 starring Rufus Sewell, Alexa Davalos, Luke Kleintank, and Rupert Evans.

By now, this is probably the last review of The Man in the High Castle Season 2 to be published, so if you are just finishing the season like me, welcome to the club. And, welcome to our review of the second season of Amazon’s most popular original series.

For once, I did not binge-watch this season of an Amazon series because I wanted to see if I would like the series the same over time, and because I just didn’t have the time over the holidays. I have to say it was worth it to take this season at a slow, methodical pace. There was a lot to digest in this season of alternate history series, and it was much better and more entertaining than I thought it was going to be.

Immediately after the first season of The Man in the High Castle, I had much higher hopes for a second season of the series. While the world is incredibly interesting and makes viewers think, the characters never developed in an entertaining way during the first season. I believed that the ship could be put on course with a few tweaks, and I thought more time would do this series a lot of good.

Then, I heard Frank Spotnitz, the showunner of the series, left mid-production on the second season, and I thought this season was going to be rough. The story was going to be all over the place, and that would cause the series to be inconsistent, overall. I was very wrong!

Related: When will The Man in the High Castle Season 3 be on Amazon Prime Video? 

The second season is even better than the first season. Earlier in the series, the scope was too small. You can’t have a world like this, where the Nazi and Japanese dictatorships control the world, and then solely focus on one or two main storylines within each episode. Sure, characters must be introduced and their stories explored, but the characters were not the appeal of the show. I didn’t watch to be taken on a confusing journey in a world we didn’t understand.

The Man in the High Castle basically zooms out in the second season and reveals how everything in this world is connected at the macro level. The season felt very Game of Thrones, in that regard. We spent more time in New York and Berlin, rather than San Francisco and the Neutral zone. While the location doesn’t necessarily matter, the fact that the audience understands just how big this world is makes the series more real and believable.

There are all these moving pieces trying to find where they belong and how they belong. Others, like Trade Minister Togami, played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, decide if they want to belong in this world at all. This was much different from last season when each character had these missions, but there was no cohesion between the stories or their actions. That caused the plot to feel forced on the viewer, and that’s never a good thing.

In the second season, every character and every choice are connected. The characters and their choices are driving the plot forward. In a thriller like this, the characters  need to drive the story. They, simply, can not be pawns of the larger game at play. Julianna, Frank, and Joe, finally, stop letting the world push them in the wrong directions and start making moves. Whether or not they are the correct moves or not remains to be seen, and that’s why  third season is already in the works!

Over the course of the season, the series transitioned from an entertaining mediocre show to one of the best dramas of the year. This season had a point, something to say, rather than something to show.

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In this season, we also get to meet the Man in the High Castle, who is played by Stephen Root. Looking back, it seems a little silly that he was not introduced in the first season. We desperately need some force or influence who knows what is going on or at least has a plan to tie the precious films into the real world. Based on how the season ends, I think we will be seeing quite a bit more of the Man in the High Castle in the next season.

While some may disagree, the best part of this series has nothing to do with the looming war between Japan and the Reich. There were two great storylines in the second season: one, John Smith and his struggle to protect his son Thomas, and, two, Trade Minister Tagomi’s adventure into the different reality to be with his wife and son once again.

Obviously, Smith is a powerful, cruel, and ruthless Nazi and he’s easy to hate. But, he’s also easy to root for as he tries to save his son. There is hope for him yet.

Tagomi is basically the entire reason The Man in the High Castle is still going for another season. His arc leads to Smith taking the tape to Berlin, ending the war, and saving the world. And, that’s not his best moment. The scene where he fixes the mug and, in doing so, apologizes of all the wrongs he committed against his family is the best moment of the entire series so far.

Because of Tagomi, his vision, and some of Julianna’s efforts, there is still hope for the people in this series, and although it is a fictional show, that makes the show interesting and gives the audience a rooting interest. If The Man in the High Castle can keep that into the third season, this show has a chance to be even better and more popular than it already is.

For me, Rufus Sewell, who plays John Smith, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa stole the show in season 2, although the whole cast had a great season. I was impressed with almost every performance.

Many people have asked me whether or not The Man in the High Castle Season 2 is worth time investment. Obviously, it depends on your taste, but I’d definitely give this show another shot if you wrote it off. It does, in fact, get better. Hopefully, we can say the same thing for the world inside the show.

Must Read: 50 Best TV Shows on Amazon Prime Video

The Man in the High Castle ranks in the 50 Best TV Shows on Amazon Prime Video, obviously! While you wait for the next season of the series to be released on the streaming service, check out the rest of the ranking for more great shows to watch!