When all else has been taken away, we are left with hope. So ends Man in the High Castle—on a note which clearly states even in the bleakest times, hope can save us all.
Joel de la Fuente, who played Inspected Kido, guested on the Man in the High Castle AfterBuzz TV after show and joined us for our final discussion of one of television’s most thought provoking shows. We interviewed de la Fuente about his thoughts on the ending after providing our own feedback about certain characters, such as John Smith who killed himself, taking the cowardly way out.
“It’s so much fun to sit back, you know, because we, we’ve spent so long working on, uh, this story and on these characters,” de la Fuente commented. “For those of us who’ve been sort of been working, umm, without an audience, you know, to finally put it out in front of people and to hear all of these, umm, strong and varied responses is just, it’s so fun and interesting and, umm, y’know just to see how the work that we do provokes such strong reactions.”
De la Fuente lamented that after five years of working on the show, he has bittersweet feelings about its end. He also commented on the growth of his character and expressed happiness with Kido’s change throughout the four seasons we see him in this alternate world where the Nazi’s won World War II.
One common thing that all of us seemed to agree on is every character who actively participated in doing terrible things, even those who had ended up changing course in the right direction, still suffered the consequences. Nobody was let off easy—even Helen who, despite her complete change and aiding of the rebels, still ended up dying near the end of the episode. Her involvement with the Nazis, and her choice to go along with the Nazi takeover of America, led to her ultimate downfall.
“I also appreciate what you guys said, too, that, umm, we must never forget that, uh, some of these characters do terrible, horrific things. […] No one gets away unscathed,” de la Fuente offered. “Joining the Yakuza, it’s not, if, if you could draw it up, there’s no worse thing, umm, that Kido, that could happen to Kido. I mean, I think death would be easier for Kido than to join the Yakuzo.”
While discussing the final moments of Man in the High Castle—the opening of the portal and what this slightly ambiguous ending meant—we discussed Philip K. Dick’s source material, the way his novels tends to end on the same sort of uncertain note, and how people arriving via the portal in the end signified hope.
“[The book] is more about the characters that are in this world realizing they’re in a false world, and their eyes are opened,” I said on the show. “So, I feel like this kind of more ambiguous ending with the portal where people are coming in is, it’s a different way of showing the same thing where people who are in this world, they’re going to learn the truth from people who are entering who know what could be. Umm, and what other, you know, what other realities are out there, and that people don’t have to be living in this world, that they, you know, they were otherwise ignorant to the outside and what other opportunities and possibilities exist out there.”
“What a lovely way to say it,” de la Fuente commented, “Please put that on Twitter ASAP.”
We ended the conversation by asking de la Fuente a few questions about his involvement on the show. He mentioned specifically about season four initially being written for two seasons, Robert Childan’s character being more clearly identified as heading off in a boat to Japan, and—most hilariously—a scene with Kido in his pajamas which de la Fuente was sad to see get cut.
“I was so upset to lose [the pajama scene],” de la Fuente said, “because, you know, there was so, such an absence of personal… of anything personal having to do with Kido until this season. And so there was a lot this season, and so I was so excited you know cause you never see him out of his work clothes, and to see him in his pajamas that was really fun.”
Though we’re beyond sad to see the end of Man in the High Castle, be sure to catch the rest of our interview where we went into depth about the ending, some behind the scene pictures provided by de la Fuente, and parallels between this alternate world and our own.