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Why Father Ziegler From Mrs. Davis Looks So Familiar

Spoilers for "Mrs. Davis" Season 1, Episode 3 "A Baby with Wings, a Sad Boy with Wings and Great Helmet"

"Mrs. Davis" proves that if a priest asks you where you got your shoes, you should probably answer. Episode 3 of "Mrs. Davis" sees Simone (Betty Gilpin) and Wiley (Jake McDorman) travel to the United Kingdom in order to continue their search for the Holy Grail, and they soon find themselves at a massive contest involving historical helmets and a giant sword in a stone. Wiley then finds himself a part of this simple endurance contest that just requires its participants to keep at least one hand placed firmly on the massive sword, much to the dismay of Simone.

As Wiley stands there for countless hours, he communicates with Simone through cans connected by a string, and at one point a mysterious priest known as Father Ziegler (Tom Wlaschiha) manages to get on the line; he then asks Wiley where he managed to get a pair of BK Knights sneakers. This pair of shoes was given to Wiley by Simone, who in turn received them from a proxy of Mrs. Davis. However, Wiley should have answered Father Ziegler, as soon another conspiracy is revealed. Of course, Father Ziegler has a unique look, and there is a very specific reason why he looks so familiar.

Wlaschiha appears in many German shows and movies before reaching English audiences with The Deep

Tom Wlaschiha has an extensive career, with IMDb noting that he currently has over 80 acting credits. His early career consisted of several German-language television shows and movies like "Stubbe — Von Fall zu Fall," "Wolkenstein," and "Ich wunsch Dir Liebe." Following those, Wlaschiha soon started to appear as unnamed background actors in Hollywood movies like 2001's "Enemy at the Gates" where he plays a soldier, 2005's "Munich" where he is part of a news crew, and 2008's "Valkyrie" where he plays a communications officer.

His first big break when it came to English-speaking audiences, though, came in 2010 with the British miniseries "The Deep." Starring alongside Minnie Driver and James Nesbitt, this five-episode show follows a crew of deep-sea researchers investigating a mysterious new source of energy found only at abyssal depths. Wlaschiha plays the role of Arkady, a Russian survivor trapped at the bottom of the sea in a damaged advanced research and drilling station. 

Though the protagonists of "The Deep" aren't quite sure what to make of Arkady, he is eventually able to prove his worth.

Wlaschiha plays a German occupier in Resistance

Tom Wlaschiha's next endeavor was in the 2011 Welsh film "Resistance," where he played a character named Captain Albrecht Wolfram. This movie follows an alternate reality where the Germans were able to successfully invade the United Kingdom after the failure of D-Day. As such, the countryside is now filled with German soldiers and the wives of British soldiers and partisans. However, Albrecht soon becomes involved with Sarah Lewis (Andrea Riseborough), a Welsh woman whose husband went off to fight against the occupiers, and the two have a very nuanced dynamic.

Speaking with Cover Media (via Film-News) in 2011, director Amit Gupta said that Wlaschiha was absolutely perfect for the role of Albrecht, and explained, "Well, I knew that I wanted the German [parts] to be in German, so I knew I'd be casting German actors. We met quite a lot of actors and I saw Tom Wlaschiha do a couple of things and when I met him I thought, 'He's perfect for Albrecht'. He was sort of beautiful looking, but sort of tragically beautiful. I just met him and thought, 'This is a man who's carrying some history with him' — and I found that really powerful."

Wlaschiha has no name in Game of Thrones

Though Tom Wlaschiha certainly has a history of playing foreign soldiers and individuals, the role that put him on the proverbial map, at least in the eyes of the vast majority, is from the massively popular HBO show "Game of Thrones." Originally introduced as Jaqen H'ghar in 2012's Season 2, this enigmatic figure becomes a fixture in the life of Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) when he shows her that he is actually a powerful assassin that has an assortment of magical skills. 

However, Jaqen may not actually be his real name, as the character is actually part of a group called the Faceless Men. This group is essentially a religion, and they pray to the Many-Faced God, which is just another name for death. Calm and collected, Jaqen and Arya have a fascinating teacher-student relationship, and he is partly responsible for turning Arya into one of the most fearsome fighters in the world of "Game of Thrones."

During an interview with Geek Culture, Wlaschiha spoke about what he liked about his character, and he said, "The Faceless Men have this philosophical aspect that all men are equal regardless of their social status, and what they've done in life. They regard all of them as equal, and they will kill anyone for just the right price. I like this aspect."

Wlaschiha is a dangerous operative in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan

Dropping his magical persona and getting into the world of high-stakes espionage, the next major project for Tom Wlaschiha found him appearing in 4 episodes of 2019's "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan." Similar to his role in "Game of Thrones," Wlaschiha's character in this show is also a deadly assassin. Starring alongside John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce, and Michael Kelly, Wlaschiha is a Season 2 villain known as Max Schenkel, a dangerous German operative that gets caught up in a game of cat and mouse with Jack Ryan (Krasinski).

Speaking with The Knockturnal during a red carpet interview, Wlaschiha explained some of the background history of his character. He also mentioned that he spent an incredible amount of time running and jumping during many scenes, which he added was quite a problem at the altitude they were at because of the thin air. Wlaschiha was then asked if he did his own stunts, and he replied, "I did the stuff that I could do, but obviously I mean I wasn't allowed to do everything. I would have loved to do everything but wasn't allowed to do so. But the running was really, I mean I think I always thought I was a good runner, but at this height, it's a completely different thing."

Wlaschiha helps Jim Hopper escape a Russian prison in Stranger Things

Besides appearing as everybody's favorite smooth-talking assassin-zealot in "Game of Thrones," Tom Wlaschiha also lent his talents to another massively popular television series, "Stranger Things." Popping up in Season 4, Wlaschiha plays Enzo/Dimitri, a Russian prison guard who is instrumental in reuniting Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) and Jim Hopper (David Harbour). However, these three soon find themselves all trying to escape from Russia once it is discovered that Dimitri has been aiding Jim in his escape attempts.

During an interview with Collider, series creator Matt Duffer mentioned that the original draft of Season 4 would have seen Dimitri die, but that particular plot point was later changed. Duffer explained, "In terms of who makes it, who lives or dies. I think there was a version where Dimitri, AKA Enzo, didn't make it. Then he ended up making it. But that's [the most] radical of a departure from the original idea versus what we ended up with." 

The reason for this character change could be that "Stranger Things" managed to recruit Wlaschiha, but whatever the case may be, it seems that whenever a television show or movie needs a foreign-sounding soldier, killer, or priest, Wlaschiha is just a phone call away.