Thursday, April 16, 2020

What I’m Watching: The Plot Against America (Penultimate Episode)

The Plot Against America: Season 1, Episode 5 “Part 5” (B+)

One of the reasons this show – and its underlying story – is so effective is that it portrays the subtle steps taken by the United States government on a mass scale and the characters we know on a more intimate one to relocate the Jewish population against their will. Herman getting a transfer order along with a number of other Jewish employees at his company demonstrated how that was happening, and it was much more worrisome to see Seldon and his mother shipping off to Kentucky also when Philip came to Evelyn asking why his friend couldn’t be sent there instead. Herman typifies the sentiment expressed by many Jews in Europe during the Holocaust who didn’t leave even when signs of Nazi invasion were imminent, and everyone around him, including Bess, believe they have to get to Canada before it’s too late. Rabbi Bengelsdorf still believed that he was doing the right thing, keeping Herman off the FBI watch list by sending him away, but he got a rude awakening to the value of his input when Secretary Ford scoffed at the idea of paying someone more to do the same job when they weren’t being given any choice in their relocation. The rabbi didn’t seem bothered at all when he was confronted by synagogue leadership at his own wedding about congregants leaving because of his political activism, and he was happy to get presidential candidate Walter Winchell fired when he spoke against him. After efforts with Josh Pais’ lawyer failed for Herman, his presence at the rally that turned violent was deeply disconcerting. As Evelyn believes even more strongly in the rightness of what she’s doing, Bess summed up a seemingly forgotten issue best with her sincere question about whether there was even a synagogue in Danville, Kentucky.

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