It takes one heck of a villain to tilt the focus of a story away from the main characters. The bad guy has to be quite special to illicit a dueling sense of dread and anticipation for his next appearance and the Marshal earns that distinction in “The Illustrated Woman,” the third episode of The Man in the High Castle. The Marshal (Burn Gorman) is a bounty hunter that is hot on the heels of Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank) and Juliana Crane (Alexa Davalos) after the second episode saw her nearly killed by a Nazi double agent that tried to take the film. His dogged pursuit of Joe and Juliana quickly becomes the narrative center of this episode as it becomes clear their paths will inevitably cross. He comes to Cannon City to meet with the deceased double agent who should have killed Juliana and acquired the film. When she refuses to flee the city immediately, much to Joe’s chagrin it leads to a tense encounter at a gas station. Joe encounters the Marshal there and it takes a few moments for him to be on the wrong end of a shotgun before any introductions are made. It doesn’t take long to realize that his presence inevitably brings bad intentions. There is a difference in motives between a villain like the Marshal and Obergruppenführer John Smith (Rufus Sewell). There is a method to the madness with Obergruppenführer — his unyielding loyalty to the state drives him to eliminate any threats to the Nazi Regime. The Marshal is simply a man that enjoys violence and just so happens to make good money doing it. His encounter with a wanted man at the Canon City book store reveals him to be a sociopath as he is rather upfront about what’s going to happen. It’s not long before the bookstore owner is found dead and hanging in the middle of town minus a thumb. With the Marshal in hot pursuit, Joe and Juliana have become accomplices to a crime and appear headed toward a more serious relationship. It’s Joe that saves her from the double agent and suspects that his boss Obergruppenführer Smith may want him killed for having even touched the film. While Joe takes it upon himself to protect Juliana, they are often at odds as she remains resolute in investigating the origins of the subversive film. Joe does not see how these movies will change the world yet he puts himself at risk for Juliana. The plight of Frank Frink (Rupert Evans) is another sign that they are headed for a more serious relationship. Frink’s story serves as a sad counterpoint to all the tense moments involving the Marshal, Joe and Juliana. The end result of his incarceration and interrogation by the Kempeitai is that he is a free man left to pick up the pieces after his family is killed. Having to confirm the identities of his dead sister and children then breaking the news to her husband takes a toll on him. He lashes out at a representative of the resistance that finds him at a bar then there is a scene where he can barely hide his resentment toward Juliana when they speak over the phone for her indirect role in what happened “The Illustrated Woman” is an early turning point in the show as much of the tension building up finally reached a tipping point with Joe and Juliana on the run from a terrifying antagonist in the Marshall. Then there is Frank and what he may do after enduring so much suffering. It’ll be intriguing to see where the show goes from here, particularly how the tension between Germany and Japan ends up resolving itself. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.