By Dave B.
The fourth and final season of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle finds the world on the brink of chaos as rebels in Japanese-held territories are bleeding the empire dry, and the Nazis strive for ultimate power over not just their empire and the territories of a crumbling Japan, but also over the multiverse itself. As rebels across the former United States prepare for their last stand, all hope for freedom rests on a pivotal showdown between the powerful, but embattled Reichsmarschal Smith, and the universe-hopping rebel Juliana Crain.
Well, the end of one of the most interesting shows on television is finally here. Unlike Season Three of The Man in the High Castle, Season Four does absolutely require having seen previous episodes to understand what is going on. This season of the show maintains the impressive strategic world-building of previous seasons and the action sequences are well-choreographed. As a whole, all of the 10 episodes are well-directed, with some truly impressive CGI and battle sequences. As a whole, Season Four is probably more purely entertaining and well-paced than any previous season. And the introduction of the Black Communist Rebellion is a welcome addition to the show, as previous seasons pretty much relegated non-white, non-Japanese characters to the background, despite the obvious impact that rule under Nazis and the Japanese Empire would have on other peoples.
Despite it’s entertainment value, this season of The Man in the High Castle begins to feel a bit…off, as it progresses. Ending a show in a way that is satisfying to fans can be difficult and I give credit to the showrunners for their attempt to tie many disparate plot threads together into a sensical ending, but this is the type of show where viewers want/need some sort of emotional catharsis with individual characters that they’ve been following since the show’s inception, and frankly, there just isn’t much of that. Further, ultimately, this season’s overarching point seems to boil down to “Nazis are bad and need to be fought no matter the cost”. While this is clearly true, it doesn’t say anything particularly new or more interesting than what the show has said in previous seasons.
As far as final seasons go, Season Four of The Man in the High Castle is solid. And solid endings are fine. It’s just that good endings are obviously better and The Man in the High Castle doesn’t quite deliver that. It’s a fun ride, and I personally like the show, but ultimately, this final season cements my belief that the entire series is slightly more fluff than substance. If you’ve watched the previous seasons, obviously you’ll want to see how it concludes, and I think you won’t be overly disappointed. If you’ve never seen any episode of this show, check it out if you’re a fan of alternate history and political maneuverings. But if you’re looking for a show that makes a larger point about the human condition, you have better alternatives available to you.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.