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"For Want of a Nail" is the ninth episode of Season Four of The Man in the High Castle, and the thirty-ninth episode of the series overall. This episode, along with the rest of the season, was made available for streaming on Amazon Video on November 15th, 2019.
Smith and Helen’s true loyalties are placed on trial by an old nemesis. The BCR struggles to maintain order across the JPS. Kido is forced to confront his atrocities. Bands of roving vigilantes threaten Childan and Yukiko.
Elijah and Bell Mallory are awoken by the loud drones of Luftwaffe bomber planes flying over San Francisco. Bell and the BCR walk outside the former Japanese headquarters to find the bombers dropping thousands of propaganda leaflets, labeling the BCR as "Negro Overlords". Bell realizes the Nazi invasion is imminent.
Chief Inspector Kido watches the last television broadcast of the Japanese Pacific States in San Francisco from his gas chamber cell and sings along to the empire's hymn before the TV becomes static. Later, Kido hallucinates watching a Japanese baseball game with a young Toru Kido, where he wishes to become a baseball player in the future, but Kido demands he become a soldier, which makes Toru upset. Seeing his mistake, Kido expresses his belief he will be a fine player one day and reaches out to ask him for a father-and-son practice, but Toru disappears.
Robert Childan and Yukiko finish packing up to head for the last ships bound for Japan, but briefly encounter armed vigilantes hunting for any remaining Japanese. Robert demands that they leave, and are persuaded when Yukiko shows up pointing a revolver at the Americans. At the docks, the guards at the checkpoint won't allow any Americans to board despite Robert's signature from the Crown Princess. The couple tries to bribe anything of value but only Yukiko is allowed passage. Robert bids her farewell as he remains and watches the last ship leave the West Coast.
In her husband's absence, Helen Smith finds the hidden films in John's office. When Helen sets up a film projector, Helen is shocked and awed when the film shows the alternate Smith family, with an alive Thomas enjoying their lives. Helen decides to call the number Juliana gave her, accepting to meet her tomorrow at a women's clinic, just as Staatspolizei lieutenant Martha arrives.
At the clinic, Martha has her guards spread out the lobby. When the nurse escorts Helen to her room, Martha is asked to remain. The nurse opens up a door leading toward the clinic's basement where Juliana takes her to a secluded room. Juliana explains to Helen the true nature of the films she saw as depictions of the alternate world and that her husband has visited it, by revealing the Die Nebenwelt project. She asks Helen to find out John's travel details on his next departure for the portal, but Helen is reluctant to betray John. Meanwhile, Martha has grown suspicious and makes her way to the basement. Wyatt attempts to ambush her but is overpowered when she stabs him and prepares to slit his throat. Juliana stops Martha by suffocating her, allowing Wyatt to redirect her knife to her heart. Helen witnesses Martha's gruesome end before fleeing the clinic. Juliana and Wyatt dispose of Martha's corpse into an incineration chamber before they escape.
On her return, Helen finds Bridget in tears in her bedroom. Bridget silently asks her to stay quiet as she gestures that they're being surveilled, so she writes down her explanation that J. Edgar Hoover had interrogated her and shows Helen hidden recording devices planted all around their apartment. Helen tries to contact and warn John but is cut off. Helen asks Bridget to hurriedly bring her daughters home.
Reichsmarshall John Smith arrives in Berlin and meets Oberstgruppenfuhrer Eichmann at the Volkshalle. Eichmann bars John from joining Himmler and other generals in the Fuhrer's quarters and is instead told to wait outside. A few hours later, Eichmann discusses initial plans for the invasion of North America by conducting heavy bombing runs in major West Coast cities before the Wehrmacht can begin their march. John raises his skepticism of reducing the cities into rubble but Eichmann believes it is necessary, seeing the BCR as not a major threat. Himmler then questions if John should have the role on leading the invasion force, as Eichmann suggests a German should. John disagrees, believing an American can truly control the continent. But both Eichmann and Himmler begin to doubt John's loyalties, signalling Hoover's entrance.
Hoover reveals that his agency has been secretly scrutinizing John's family ever since Helen left for the Neutral Zone. From their surveillance, Hoover plays audio recordings of all the treasonous private statements that John and Helen had, including Jennifer's. John remains silent, allowing Hoover to continue his accusations as a traitor. Himmler has John brought to his private room alone. When John enters, Himmler expresses his feelings for John as his own son and is distraught that he could not return the same admiration. Himmler urges John to say anything to defend himself from the accusations. John's only response is to admit how he despised Himmler and never viewed him as a father. Himmler starts coughing violently and quickly reaches for his oxygen mask. John approaches him and forcefully pushes the mask to stay in Himmler's face that leads to his death, revealing the air he was breathing in the oxygen tank was replaced with the poisonous Zyklon B gas.
When John emerges, all of Himmler's security detail have been killed by rogue SS troops. John heads back to the war room to find all of the Nazi generals shot dead, except for Goertzmann, revealing that he and John had masterminded a secret coup against Reich leaders. Goertzmann spares Hoover for John to personally deliver his execution, by mortally stabbing him with an army knife. With the overthrow complete, Goertzmann finalizes their partition of the territories, with John having complete control of North America while Goertzmann controls the rest of Nazi Germany's empire. The two men offer the Nazi salute, acknowledging each other as both Fuhrers of their respective territories.
Cast & Characters
Notes & Trivia
- John Smith is now Reichsführer after he has killed Himmler.