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S04.E07: Home

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13 minutes ago, RandomX said:

Sorry, broken quote — How would Serena have a custody claim for Nichole?
 

There is plenty of in-show evidence about Serena believing she has a custody claim and that motivating her to turn against Fred. Tuello convinced her that he would arrange for access to Nichole (at the very least) in exchange for her luring Fred over the border and into US/Canadian custody. She tells Fred following her arrest she needed to turn on him to see “her” baby again. We’ve seen several scenes of her having visitation with Nichole over the objections of Luke and Moira — including the scene in which she’s arrested due to Fred’s counter accusations of Serena coercing / facilitating June’s rape by Nick (coercion) and by Fred (to hasten labor).

The claim would clearly be under Gilead law and the circumstances of Nichole’s conception, birth and abduction by the Waterfords would preclude Serena pursuing a custody claim under Canadian or US laws. That said, Tuello seems to have had the latitude to dangle Baby Nichole as a carrot before Serena. In the show world, Nichole’s “kidnapping” was shown to be used to stir up political unrest against Canada, and the threat of a Gilead attack was insinuated before the Angel Flight happened. The DC Commander (Christopher Meloni) told Fred that the agitation stirred up over the “kidnapping” of Baby Nichole was more useful than the value of Baby Nichole herself, and Serena’s suspicion that Fred and other commanders weren’t seriously pursuing Baby Nichole’s return was insinuated to be Serena’s turning point in her decision to cooperate with Tuello.

The show strongly pinned Serena’s defection to her desire for Baby Nichole, about whom Serena, now that she’s pregnant, hasn’t been shown to give a hoot. 

I find it interesting not so much from a legalistic perspective but because

  • It supports Serena’s sociopathic tendencies — she wants to be Nichole’s mother until a better baby comes along (and one whom wouldn’t be forced into a problematic subservient role in the Gilead she helped to create).
  • The show has put forth varying perspectives of what it means to be a mother by nature (biology) and nurture — Moira willingly giving her baby up for adoption pre-Gilead; Gilead’s forced abduction / adoption of children through sexual slavery and by declaring mothers as unfit under various religious pretenses (lesbianism, divorce, occupation); June giving Baby Nichole to Emily in a desperate attempt to secure freedom for Nichole (and Serena agreeing to surrender Nichole at the time with the same motivation) (and Emily accepting that responsibility); Luke and Moira raising Nichole in a loving household in June’s absence with neither having a bio connection; June repeatedly staying in Gilead to rescue Hannah; June’s suggested maternal bond with Mrs. Keyes; the entire Janine-and-Baby-Angela saga; success in the Gilead male hierarchy being accompanied (and perhaps advanced) by successful pregnancies of wives or handmaids; the conspicuous parental “consumption” of children by the highest ranking commanders (following DC Commander’s disappearance, his wife laments that she’ll lose all of their children, since their custody is apparently tied to his rank); June’s complicated relationship with her own mother; and on-and-on. All of this played out in a scenario of rapidly declining childbirth and increasing infertility. So when Serena suddenly forgets about Baby Nichole, I notice.
  • Baby Nichole will continue to play a key role in the story. She is the embodiment of the relationship between Nick and June, which has had and will likely continue to affect Luke, not to mention have international diplomatic ramifications. She is a powerful symbol for Gilead, Canada and the US. Baby Nichole has a high public profile in Gilead — and June participated in highly publicized staged events in DC that were calling for Baby Nichole’s return. In the show, Hannah clearly knows that June is her mother, so knowing that Baby Nichole was smuggled out of Gilead combined with June’s now-famous role as the Angel Flight instigator should influence her already-complicated feelings about her mother, especially since Hannah remains in Gilead. And the fact that Gilead still has Hannah will continue to motivate June’s actions.

/end novelette 

Thanks. Yeah, under Gilead law, such that it is, Serena clearly has a custody claim. Could we get to a place where the govt. of Canada decides to allow Serena to use Gilead law to press a custody claim, over the objections of the US govt.? When war may be in the offing, anything's possible, of course. I'm really interested to see how they wrap up this show; there just seems to be so many huge developments that need to take place, in a small amount of remaining episodes, to have a traditional conclusion, that I kind of hope it isn't attempted. They may be better off with a much more  ambiguous ending.

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1 hour ago, EllaWycliffe said:

My vibe on watching the scene was that he was surprised that she wanted to have sex, but wasn't actually against having sex.

This was my read on it. I assume he wanted to have sex with her (not just that night, but in general) because she's his wife and he still loves and is attracted to her, but he has at least some sense of what she went through. He doesn't know everything, but he knows that she went through a lot and that she was raped in Gilead, because the only sex anyone is supposed to be having in Gilead is rape by the laws and mores under which Luke operates. He yelled at Fred "You raped my wife!" in an earlier episode.

He kissed June with urgency earlier in this episode and then she pulled back, and he accepted that immediately. I assume he thought "she'll let me know when she's ready" and I would guess in his mind, her mounting him like that was her letting him know that she was ready. It's a gray area for sure because that sex wasn't about Luke, it was about June, but I don't think anyone could convince Luke to say it was rape.

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I’m actually kind of shocked at some of the commentary here. Luke told June to “wait” and she not only ignored him, she put her hand over his mouth and kept going despite his clear discomfort. The episode ended with June’s voiceover (ostensibly) about Serena saying “she‘ll rape you” as Luke looks at June with unease. There’s no ambiguity for me. 
 

That it was a trauma response/June reclaiming herself/whatever doesn’t negate her actions. It wasn’t about Luke, it wasn’t about sex, it was about power and anger and domination. It was rape.

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12 hours ago, chaifan said:

I really liked this episode.  I think they did a great job showing June in absolute wonder at all the "normal" stuff that she's missed.  I loved the bit about what happened to the potato chips. 

I think the scene with June and Serena was perfectly done.  Serena getting down on her knees was totally unexpected for me.  It truly shows her desperation.  As for whether Serena believes all this "redemption" stuff...  part of me says yes, because of the scene in the chapel where she was alone.  OK, it's possible she assumes (or knows) the chapel is bugged, so she's putting on an act there as well.  But I assumed she wasn't.  But... that final scene with Fred makes me wonder.  She's obviously playing him.  And if she's playing Fred, is she playing everyone???

I also really liked the end scene with Truello and June, and her telling him how Serena can suck you in and to run away.  Again, I'm not sure whether Truello is truly getting sucked in by Serena and/or falling for her, or if he's simply playing it that way to get what he needs against both her and Fred.  But I did love June saying it out loud - she's a sociopath, a psycho, a manipulator, and don't fall for her. 

I was confused by the final scene with Luke & June.  Was there a time jump?  Did it snow overnight?  How'd we go from seemingly late fall weather to enough snow for a snowman?  Yeah, it's Toronto, but did I miss something here?

Did anyone else expect June to crack a line about the hotel bathrobe being red?  Seriously, when she came out in the robe I was thinking, oh dear god, will this woman ever be able to wear anything but red??? 

And for what it's worth, I did not see the Luke & June sex scene as rape or anything involving less than full consent by Luke.  I think his initial hesitation was for June's sake, not his, that he wasn't sure if she was ready for this.  (She probably wasn't.)  But when she put her hand over his mouth (in my mind the non verbal "dude, just shut up and fuck me") he was like, ok, this is what she wants so ok then.  I like @The Mighty Peanut's analysis of this, above.  YMMV, I'm not going to argue this with anyone, this is just my viewpoint. 

 

 

I thought the same thing about the red hotel robe, usually they are white terry cloth robes but I guess the producers thought the red would be more WTF for us to watch.

My take on June and Luke's sex was she needed to connect with him, she needed to get the first one out of the way in order for her to feel somewhat normal again.  June was on top and in charge, something that did not happen as a handmaid.

Serena was totally playing Fred when she visited him at the end of the episode, she referred to June as OfFred just like he did even though she was trying to redeem herself of her prior Gilead sins, she has a plan with her teaming up with Fred.

The weather in Canada has been like winter year round, snows enough for a snowman, the skies are always ominous, I know for a fact Canada has four seasons why don't the producers know about that? LOL.

June should be debriefed, you would think she would be ready to scream about it from the roof tops about the torture and oppression the women in Gilead have experience.  Also, her visit to Serena did not sit right with me, it should have been from behind a glass partition and a phone same with all of Serena's meetings with Fred, monitored and with a barrier in between them.  Also, I am not sure why F&S's cells are nice, shouldn't they be more uncomfortable?

The supermarket could have just been with Moira, no Luke or baby, there was no reason to bring them.  The potato chip aisle had Lay's but I guess she would not see thru to the next aisle if she took the bag closer to the floor, btw, in my local market there is no way to see in to the next aisle by taking an item off the shelf.

I was hopeful that once June got to Canada she would talk a bit faster, there would be better lit scenes and not so many closeups on June's face but no, it did not happen.

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Nobody else has mentioned this so I’m sure I’m missing something—but how are we certain that Nicole is Nick’s daughter and not Fred’s? Did the ceremony stop long enough that Fred could not be the father? 

Edited by Lukeysboat
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I think that's technically unknown at this point. Fred was having sex with June at the same time she was having sex with Nick and Nick and Fred have a similar physical look.

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37 minutes ago, Lukeysboat said:

Nobody else has mentioned this so I’m sure I’m missing something—but how are we certain that Nicole is Nick’s daughter and not Fred’s? Did the ceremony stop long enough that Fred could not be the father? 

Spoiler

I think Elizabeth Moss or one of the showrunners said it in an interview and it wasn't something said in the show.

 

Edited by LordOfLotion · Reason: Spoilered for reasons
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I am glad I am not the only one who thought the red robe was an odd choice. If I were June I may have actually asked for a white one.

I loved the long sleep. While I realize some of it was due to being concussed (she really should have gone to a hospital), she needed that purifying sleep. That was the sleep of someone who felt safe for the first time in years. For YEARS June has lived every day wondering if she would be alive by the end of it...and now she can finally rest knowing that while tomorrow is never guaranteed, it is at least very likely.

Someone else mentioned it and I could not agree more...the look on EM's face when she realized no one was going to force the debriefing. When Luke got a little alpha and said he would be taking his wife home to be with *their* daughter, especially after June gave him that tiny nod that yes she wants to go home and see Nichole right now...I felt all the things. 

I do wonder how June will handle recovery. Moira, Rita, and Emily seem to share the goal of coming to terms and moving on while karma takes care of the rest. June wants to be karma. She wants her day in court, hell she wants her day at the gallows yelling "HEAVE" until the Waterfords are reduced to two pairs of dangling feet. I don't blame her, but it's a dangerous road. I feel like the only way June can feel like she deserves to drink wine and eat junk food and go to the grocery store is to "make them hurt" as she said. 

Spoiler

Which apparently she does in E8 when an escaped Aunt at a refugee meeting admits she was the one who turned in Emily for her relationship with a Martha. Sounds like June forces a meeting with the Aunt and Emily that results in the Aunt hanging herself.

 

Edited by The Mighty Peanut
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15 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

June is a high profile Gilead escapee and a high value intelligence asset.  Why doesn't she have a security detail on her 24/7?  Why is Luke allowed to just take her home? (I feel the same thing about baby Nichole.  How long before Gilead agents just swipe her from her stroller?)

I wondered about this! She absolutely should have a security detail. Perhaps she does have one and they're laying low, trying to stay unobtrusive, but you'd think there would at least be a throwaway line about their presence.

I was so relieved that June's trauma wasn't treated glibly. I worried that she'd land in Canada and immediately go into "Let's bring down Gilead" warrior mode. Her PTSD, flashbacks, survivor's guilt, trauma responses, and culture shock were palpable. There were several moments that really gripped me during this episode, including the Sabrina-bashing survivors circle; the scene with June and Sabrina in the prison; and June's disoriented, shell-shocked wonder in the grocery store. (I also felt badly for her during that scene because Luke and Moira's easygoing co-parenting rapport really drove home the point that June hasn't been there for most of her daughter's first year of life. They are, in essence, her parents and June right now is just a third wheel, an outsider.)

I know the focus has to be on Gilead, but I sure would enjoy learning more about the Gilead refugees in Canada, including the Angel Flight kids, as they adapt to their new lives and work through their trauma. Maybe in the form of a limited-run spin-off or book?

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1 hour ago, LadyAmalthea said:

I’m actually kind of shocked at some of the commentary here. Luke told June to “wait” and she not only ignored him, she put her hand over his mouth and kept going despite his clear discomfort. The episode ended with June’s voiceover (ostensibly) about Serena saying “she‘ll rape you” as Luke looks at June with unease. There’s no ambiguity for me. 
 

That it was a trauma response/June reclaiming herself/whatever doesn’t negate her actions. It wasn’t about Luke, it wasn’t about sex, it was about power and anger and domination. It was rape.

I don't really disagree, but just as killing someone who you found out is abusing your child, when you could have merely had the person arrested, is a different degree of murder than killing your spouse because she is leaving you, dominating a person into having sex at a time when they aren't ready to do so, when they clearly have the power to stop it if they so desired, and you are doing it as part of a trauma response, is a diffetent degree of rape than what June experienced in Gilead. Like I said, it disturbed the hell out me, and had a tough time watching it. To be sure, that's kind of been the case for all the rape scenes in this show.

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9 hours ago, SDVegas said:

So. June raped Luke. 

I get that she was reclaiming her agency, her power, her sexuality, herself.
 

But the fact is, June raped Luke. 
 

How is he to cope with that?

And how will she be able to face herself or him? Or will it simply not be addressed?

He didn’t say stop he said slow down.  

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Luke said "wait wait wait" multiple times. He could have meant "Hold on, my love, let me catch up!" or he could have meant "Hold the fucking phone, what is happening here? Let's stop and talk for a sec...", but either way, June ignored him and restrained his wrists and covered his mouth. Whatever degrees of rape there are--and of course, there are--what June did to Luke is definitely on the continuum.

The word "brave" is used far too glibly about TV shows and movies, but I really appreciate that this show (which I hate-watched last season) actually dramatized a victim acting out their untreated trauma by becoming a victimizer; it's the oldest tragic story in our human family book. I'm a little disturbed that the next scene of June and Luke was the Happy Family Snow Montage, but I fully expect this is not the last we've seen on this theme for these two.

Edited by Penman61
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I definitely thought June was referring to herself in her end monologue. I was expecting her to finish with "and now let me tell you about Serena", or something.

I'm glad they had the F*ck Aunt Lydia therapy session, because I was concerned this was going to become All About June's Suffering In Adjustment to New Life. Emily, Moira and Rita all had trouble at first too, and still do (Emily's reference to her patient wife).

While she is an absolute sociopath, I am fascinated with Serena. Kudos to the acting, because I am compelled to watch and listen when she's on screen.

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21 hours ago, Penman61 said:

Luke said "wait wait wait" multiple times. He could have meant "Hold on, my love, let me catch up!" or he could have meant "Hold the fucking phone, what is happening here? Let's stop and talk for a sec...", but either way, June ignored him and restrained his wrists and covered his mouth. Whatever degrees of rape there are--and of course, there are--what June did to Luke is definitely on the continuum.

^^
Agreed. The word "wait" may mean "stop, for now," but you still gotta stop to wait. June did not. There are degrees of non-consensual acts of sex, but they're still non-consensual acts of sex. That's rape as far as I'm concerned.

Of course, victims are free to define their own experiences and how they want react to them (granted they hurt no others), so if Luke forgives June or choses to see it a different light, that's his prerogative.

Edited by GiuliettaMasina
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Nick and Moira must be doing pretty good financially. Not only do they live in a house in Toronto, but they shop at Longos! 😀

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LOL.  Do they have a car?  It seemed like June took a government car to see Serena.  If they don't, then that's typical.  There are never cheap grocery stores within walking distance in Toronto unless you get really lucky.  I live above an expensive grocery store, I'm not going to walk miles (kilometres) to a cheaper one.  I tried that before and some of my groceries got ruined in the process which defeats the purpose of saving money.

You don't have to be a millionaire to have a house in Toronto.  I know a lot of people who own property in Toronto and aren't millionaires.  But, do the people on The Handmaid's Tale like Luke, Moira, and Emily even have real salary paying jobs?  Because I totally get the complaint that they definitely couldn't "afford" a house.  But as @ElectricBoogaloo points out we don't really know what's going on with the Canadian economy in this universe and maybe they are renting?

Edited by Ms Blue Jay

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Yeah, but Longo’s stores tend not be located in low-rent areas.  I thought it was an odd choice, myself, suggesting both high-end neighbourhood and means to do regular grocery shopping at a high-end grocery store.  There are a lot of cheaper places to buy chips (even the drugstores, which are plentiful).

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2 minutes ago, EllaWycliffe said:

Guys, they probably went with the grocery store willing to let them film.

Lol. So true. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. 

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Remember the flashbacks of Luke's affair with June while he was still married?  June got on top, it was actually pretty similar to the sex the traumatized June had with Luke in this episode.  After that?  Luke asked her to marry him.

June likes to be on top, it's the way she can cum.  Her husband certainly knows that.  Hell, even Nick knows that.  

In this scene, she didn't want him to talk, she didn't want his hands to make her decisions.  She "had her way with him" as a damaged victim of the five years of hell she's been through.  She didn't want Luke to say things like "Are you sure you're ready?" or "Are you OK with this, maybe we should wait?" or any of that.  She didn't want his hand guiding things, so she pushed his arm down.

Luke wasn't objecting to the sex, his concern was all about June, and if this sex would make it worse for her.  June was trying to be her old true self, and block everything out but that.  

I'm not trying to convince anyone, that's just the way I see it.  This is the whole "Bridgerton" argument again, some more.

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But the bigger question I suppose is whether Luke considers it rape. If he doesn't, then there will be no complaint filed. My vibe on watching the scene was that he was surprised that she wanted to have sex, but wasn't actually against having sex. He seemed to be on the "you're damaged so I will be the good guy and go at your pace rather than assume you're ready to resume our marriage" train, so June initiating sex surprised him but I doubt he considers himself a rape victim. 

Quote


In this scene, she didn't want him to talk, she didn't want his hands to make her decisions.  She "had her way with him" as a damaged victim of the five years of hell she's been through.  She didn't want Luke to say things like "Are you sure you're ready?" or "Are you OK with this, maybe we should wait?" or any of that.  She didn't want his hand guiding things, so she pushed his arm down.

Luke wasn't objecting to the sex, his concern was all about June, and if this sex would make it worse for her.  June was trying to be her old true self, and block everything out but that.  

 

 

We actually have no idea if Luke was objecting or not.  She stopped him from saying what he would have said.  She covered his mouth, held his hand down.   

If a woman is sleeping, and man starts to move on to her and then starts to have sex with her, and she says "wait wait," and that man covers her mouth with his hand and disregards that statement and keeps going, that is not clear consent.  Furthermore, the man would know exactly what he was doing.  He was having sex with that sleeping woman and still going - despite clear signs and words that were indicating a wish to stop, or at the very least, slow down.  

Luke was sleeping.  June started to move over him and then started to have sex with him.  He clearly said "wait" and she covered his mouth with her hand and disregarded that and kept going.  There was no clear consent, and she knew exactly what she was doing.  She was having sex with Luke, despite clear signs and words that were indicating a wish to stop or at the very least slow down.

It doesn't matter if June didn't want to hear Luke ask her if she's okay.  As callous as it sounds, it doesn't matter if she is a Gilead survivor.  It doesn't matter if she was raped repeatedly and is trying to take back her power, her sexuality, her womanhood.  And who knows, Luke might have said okay let's keep going.  We'll never know.  She did not allow him to express hesitation during sex.  

Honestly, credit to the actors - the scene left us confused as to what just happened.  There are layers upon layers to peel back here, this is even really just surface stuff - and the actors portrayed that beautifully. 

I said this during the similar scene with Nick - I don't find these sex scenes to be empowering at all. I find them to be the exactly opposite, quite frankly. They are driven by rage, desperation and sadness.  Nowhere in them to I find empowerment.  While we were cheering her on for her rage at Serena, it was that rage that fueled the sex with Luke.  I don't find that empowering.  

Maybe nobody noticed this but me, but there was a scene earlier in the show where Luke announces to Tuello that he is taking his wife home.  Luke taking charge and telling June where she was going, what they were doing, etc.  In his eyes, "protecting" June who is still incredibly vulnerable.  We then got long shot of June absorbing that moment.  I don't think she was looking at Luke with gratitude or admiration.  I think she was taking in that she was "free" and yet it was another person taking charge of what she was going to do, just in another kind of way.  And I think that also played a role, on a subconscious level, of June not acknowledging Luke's hesitancy.  

I suppose one could argue that if Luke had really wanted to stop her he could have but given the situation he may just as easily have felt that if he HAD forced that stop it would have caused greater problems.  That's why it was even more important for Luke to not have his voice silenced.  

June was doing what SHE wanted.  She was not necessarily what Luke wanted.  And if you don't allow that person to express that, then what are you left with?

 

 

 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, BrindaWalsh said:

And if you don't allow that person to express that, then what are you left with?

As I said, we just disagree.

Let's all forget the fact that Luke, in one move, without any real effort, could have flipped her over, or tossed her off and said, "NO.  You are not ready June."

Using the word rape bothers me greatly.  Because if it was Luke, there is no chance in hell June could have stopped him, and that is true with most rapes.  Women are overpowered.

I will never believe Luke was overpowered, or couldn't have stopped it, and been loving with her after.

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36 minutes ago, BrindaWalsh said:

We actually have no idea if Luke was objecting or not.  She stopped him from saying what he would have said.  She covered his mouth, held his hand down. 

Yet, I actually think Luke grabbing her hand, shouting "No, damn it!" and denying her the act would be viewed as "Luke was being a jerk about June's recovery".

If Luke feels he was raped, he'll say so. I'll support him if he does. Personally, it didn't feel that way to me, but I am not a cop. 

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Can anyone remind me? Does Luke think that Commander Waterford is Nichole's biological father or does he know she's Nick's (or at least someone other than Fred)?

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Just now, ww92 said:

Can anyone remind me? Does Luke think that Commander Waterford is Nichole's biological father or does he know she's Nick's (or at least someone other than Fred)?

Pretty sure

Spoiler

June told Luke that she belongs to Nick when they sent her tape to him, I forget which season it was.

 

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20 minutes ago, ww92 said:

Can anyone remind me? Does Luke think that Commander Waterford is Nichole's biological father or does he know she's Nick's (or at least someone other than Fred)?

He knows.

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3 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

As I said, we just disagree.

Let's all forget the fact that Luke, in one move, without any real effort, could have flipped her over, or tossed her off and said, "NO.  You are not ready June."

Using the word rape bothers me greatly.  Because if it was Luke, there is no chance in hell June could have stopped him, and that is true with most rapes.  Women are overpowered.

I will never believe Luke was overpowered, or couldn't have stopped it, and been loving with her after.

We can agree to disagree over this fictional incident. We can even disagree that the word "rape" should be used to describe this type of sexual assault culturally. It's really only in living memory that its definition has started to evolve from "forcible" to "lack of (informed) consent."

But, it's not true that most rapes, even if we just include rapes of women by men, are perpetrated via overwhelming physical force. People can be coerced into sex for all types of reasons. It happened on this show in "Milk." What's-his-name-rebel was able to almost coerce sex out of June and actually coerce sex out of Janine even after explicitly saying he not would not use violence. Not only did he not stop June from leaving after she refused, he didn't even kick the pair out (the actual threat he did use) right away. Sometimes the resources/power a person has is enough of a threat that violence is not required.

I don't think it's an accident that this episode showcased all the various ways in which June has more power than the average refugee. And that's without even delving into the racial aspects--June and Luke are U.S.ians, they have been acculturated to a specific cultural dynamic re: (even consensual sex) between white women and Black men.

 

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23 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:
  1.  
  2. June is a high profile Gilead escapee and a high value intelligence asset.  Why doesn't she have a security detail on her 24/7?  Why is Luke allowed to just take her home? (I feel the same thing about baby Nichole.  How long before Gilead agents just swipe her from her stroller?)

The lack of security was weird. The fact that she is even out in public is just as weird. June is basically Gilead public enemy number one and before this episode Gilead had no idea where she was. That gives her and the CIA people a major strategic advantage. Not only does it keep her safe, but as soon as Gilead knows where she is they can pressure the Canadian government to turn her over.

 

22 hours ago, SourK said:

Im from Toronto, and the only way you can afford to buy a house here is if you're literally a millionaire, so I call shenanigans.

They say real estate is all about location right. Toronto prices probably tanked what with it being less than two hours away from a war zone where one side is nuclear armed fascists. 

I also had to almost laugh at Moira's girlfriend complaining about Gilead not allowing her organization back in their country.  They tried to bomb you last time you were there so I am not sure you were ever allowed.

Edited by Kel Varnsen
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2 hours ago, BrindaWalsh said:

While we were cheering her on for her rage at Serena, it was that rage that fueled the sex with Luke.  I don't find that empowering. 

I did not either.  June's rage is misdirected because she has bottled up all the crap that has happened to her in Gilead and Luke was stupid for stopping the debriefing...she needs to talk about all of it, yes she got the kids and Martha's out on a plane but there was so much more and plus she has knowledge of the inner workings of Gilead, it makes me rage that she is not more forthcoming with all of that info!

 

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8 hours ago, Anosmia said:

and June's disoriented, shell-shocked wonder in the grocery store.

When June was trying to collect herself at the market she was sitting under a giant sign with eggs on it, kind of ironic since her worth in Gilead was placed on her eggs/fertility.

I thought June was heading for a potato chip melt down like Robin Williams did in a coffee aisle in some movie where he played a Russian musician who was seeking asylum in the US.

 

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9 hours ago, Lukeysboat said:

Nobody else has mentioned this so I’m sure I’m missing something—but how are we certain that Nicole is Nick’s daughter and not Fred’s? Did the ceremony stop long enough that Fred could not be the father? 

I'm not certain we do know anymore.  At the time Nichole was conceived, it was implied by the narrative that Fred was likely sterile, or at least the source of the issue with getting pregnant. Gilead had existed for at least 3 or 4 years in Season 1 and, in that time, he'd failed to impregnate 2 or 3 handmaids known to be fertile.  And that was certainly the assumption of the characters.

The doctor's gross offer to "help" June by impregnate also came with the suggestion that several of the commanders were, in fact, the source of the failure to have children in their marriages.

I feel like the book also implied that at least some declining birth rate was an increase in male reproductive issues. 

The twist of having Sarena get pregnant establishes that, at minimum, Fred is not sterile. He may, still have a very low sperm count, tho, and just hit a conception fluke hole in one. 

It appeared Nick and June were meeting up more frequently than the ceremonies occured. So the paternity odds are more in his favor. But, unless I'm forgetting a biological clue - blood type, DNA test, family illness - I'm forgetting, it is no longer as certain as the story originally presented it. 

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45 minutes ago, RachelKM said:

I'm not certain we do know anymore

This is what I’m thinking too. If Nicole turns out to be Fred’s daughter, things could get very twisted. 

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3 hours ago, Baltimore Betty said:

like Robin Williams did in a coffee aisle in some movie where he played a Russian musician who was seeking asylum in the US.

Moscow on the Hudson.  Good movie.

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4 hours ago, Kel Varnsen said:

The lack of security was weird. The fact that she is even out in public is just as weird. June is basically Gilead public enemy number one and before this episode Gilead had no idea where she was. That gives her and the CIA people a major strategic advantage. Not only does it keep her safe, but as soon as Gilead knows where she is they can pressure the Canadian government to turn her over.

 

They say real estate is all about location right. Toronto prices probably tanked what with it being less than two hours away from a war zone where one side is nuclear armed fascists. 

I also had to almost laugh at Moira's girlfriend complaining about Gilead not allowing her organization back in their country.  They tried to bomb you last time you were there so I am not sure you were ever allowed.

They may have had security around that we didn't see, at least that first night when they put them up in the hotel.

 

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18 hours ago, Lukeysboat said:

Nobody else has mentioned this so I’m sure I’m missing something—but how are we certain that Nicole is Nick’s daughter and not Fred’s? Did the ceremony stop long enough that Fred could not be the father? 

I suspected it as soon as Serena's pregnancy was revealed.

Nichole takes after June in terms of looks, so no clue there about paternity.

If anything, Fred may arguably be the more likely candidate. Serena's pregnancy proves that he can father a child. There is no such proof where Nick is concerned.

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14 hours ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

You don't have to be a millionaire to have a house in Toronto.  I know a lot of people who own property in Toronto and aren't millionaires.  But, do the people on The Handmaid's Tale like Luke, Moira, and Emily even have real salary paying jobs?  Because I totally get the complaint that they definitely couldn't "afford" a house.  But as @ElectricBoogaloo points out we don't really know what's going on with the Canadian economy in this universe and maybe they are renting?

The Canadian government housed June in a nice hotel suite when she arrived. Maybe Nick and Moira got help with the house because they were the guardians of the famous Baby Nichole.

It's also possible, given the extremely low birthrate, that suburban family homes are less in demand.

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21 hours ago, Bannon said:

Thanks. Yeah, under Gilead law, such that it is, Serena clearly has a custody claim. Could we get to a place where the govt. of Canada decides to allow Serena to use Gilead law to press a custody claim, over the objections of the US govt.? When war may be in the offing, anything's possible, of course. I'm really interested to see how they wrap up this show; there just seems to be so many huge developments that need to take place, in a small amount of remaining episodes, to have a traditional conclusion, that I kind of hope it isn't attempted. They may be better off with a much more  ambiguous ending.

If your theory is correct, which is possible,  then this would be a reason for June to willingly go back to Gilead, where she could resume her role as Super!June! and have more people killed. 

OTOH, Serena is pregnant and I am not sure if that is "allowed" in Gilead, she would also be in danger of being punished for her role in forcing another man, other than her ruler, to have sex with June, therefore violating the patriarchy

On a third hand, this show has veered so far away from the premise of the book, they can just have Serena and Fred concoct something that the commanders in Gilead would accept as awesome and then we are back in Gilead, June is a handmaid, nothing changed, rinse, repeat.

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On 5/26/2021 at 11:08 PM, chaifan said:

And for what it's worth, I did not see the Luke & June sex scene as rape or anything involving less than full consent by Luke.  I think his initial hesitation was for June's sake, not his, that he wasn't sure if she was ready for this.  (She probably wasn't.)  But when she put her hand over his mouth (in my mind the non verbal "dude, just shut up and fuck me") he was like, ok, this is what she wants so ok then

That is exactly how I saw it.  Luke was reluctant because he was afraid June wasn't ready for such intimacy yet.  The "no" wasn't because he didn't want her, he was concerned about her state of mind.  Rightly so.  She was lashing out, blinded with rage, but I doubt he would consider it a rape.  (And yes, had the roles been reversed it might be a different story, as hypocritical as that is.)

Elizabeth Moss was superb in this episode.

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Most of the  the Canadian scenes are dim.  I know it's more gray up there but this seems a deliberate production design choice.

That's ridiculous. The sun shines in Canada just as much as it does in the US. Weather patterns don't stop at the border. 

However, it looks like Giliead experienced some kind of environmental cataclysm, which may have affected Southern Ontario given how it juts into the US. This whole fictional world might have also affected house prices in Toronto's no which grocery store chains are around. Applying our current world rules and knowledge to this fictional one is pointless. 

Nice to see the Royal York; I've stayed there, very swank. 

I thought June's entire voiceover at the end, which was supposed to be about Serena, was actually about June. Gilead has created a vengeful monster.

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3 hours ago, circumvent said:

If your theory is correct, which is possible,  then this would be a reason for June to willingly go back to Gilead, where she could resume her role as Super!June! and have more people killed. 

OTOH, Serena is pregnant and I am not sure if that is "allowed" in Gilead, she would also be in danger of being punished for her role in forcing another man, other than her ruler, to have sex with June, therefore violating the patriarchy

On a third hand, this show has veered so far away from the premise of the book, they can just have Serena and Fred concoct something that the commanders in Gilead would accept as awesome and then we are back in Gilead, June is a handmaid, nothing changed, rinse, repeat.

I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on that specifically, but one of the consistent features of ideologically driven totalitarian regimes is the arbitrary enforcement of rules application, and application of word definitions. Who was "black" in the American South  in 1850, or a "kulak" in Ukraine in 1931, or a "Jew" in Germany in 1944, or a "class enemy" in China in 1967, was merely a matter of who those in power wished to kill or torture, and those few they might wish to share power with, despite the characteristics of those few. It requires no suspension of disbelief to accept that Gilead's elite will apply or ignore rules and definitions in any way they desire.

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10 hours ago, Hathaway said:

They may have had security around that we didn't see, at least that first night when they put them up in the hotel.

 

Yea I can accept that there be security people off screen but even so it seems dumb to walk June through the lobby of a busy downtown hotel. The best security would be Gilead thinking she died in Chicago. But that is probably gone, or at least it soon will be.

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4 hours ago, circumvent said:

If your theory is correct, which is possible,  then this would be a reason for June to willingly go back to Gilead, where she could resume her role as Super!June! and have more people killed. 

OTOH, Serena is pregnant and I am not sure if that is "allowed" in Gilead, she would also be in danger of being punished for her role in forcing another man, other than her ruler, to have sex with June, therefore violating the patriarchy

On a third hand, this show has veered so far away from the premise of the book, they can just have Serena and Fred concoct something that the commanders in Gilead would accept as awesome and then we are back in Gilead, June is a handmaid, nothing changed, rinse, repeat.

The most unlikely aspect of the scenario I outlined, of Canada's govt. agreeing to apply Gileadian law in settling a custody dispute regarding Nichole, or June's asylum status, is Canadian popular opinion, and Gilead's current ability to project power. Gilead can't even take Chicago despite years of fighting, so it seems obvious that the only reason other nations still greatly fear its military is because it retains nukes, but the fact that those nukes don't allow Gilead to simply dictate terms to other nations, means that other nations still have nukes, too. Heck, maybe when the coup took place, the captains and crews of some US Navy ICBM carrying subs relocated to Hawaii, and the US Govt. can still credibly threaten Gilead with total annihilation if Gilead uses their nukes against Canada or anyone else. How the the heck does Gilead coerce Canada, given Gilead's very weakened state?  I hope the writers don't go in that direction, since it really doesn't make a lot of sense, given what they have told us about Gilead's power, relative to other political/military actors, until now.

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6 minutes ago, Kel Varnsen said:

Yea I can accept that there be security people off screen but even so it seems dumb to walk June through the lobby of a busy downtown hotel. The best security would be Gilead thinking she died in Chicago. But that is probably gone, or at least it soon will be.

This goes to some of the weaker aspects of the show's writing; giving into the urge of going for the supposedly striking visual, at the expense of narrative logic. Thus we get battered and bruised June in a 5 star hotel, and Toronto's most affluent grocery store. Or, worse, an arc shot circling June and Nick smooching, like Scarlett and Rhett, in the middle of a bridge in a bucolic setting, various Guardians looking on,which now requires the audience handwaving into existence a hardened cadre of absolute Nick loyalists surrounding him, which the writers have never fleshed out. Showing a logically sensible entry of June, into her life of asylum, actually would have expanded the interesting narrative options.

As with so many shortcomings in movie and t.v. drama, I suspect this stems from writers not trusting the audience to stick with a story, absent some superficial visual or narrative punchiness. Like a bartender that makes the mojitos too sweet.

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I re-watched the sex scene and I just can't get on board with this being rape. 

First of all, yes, Luke protested and June should have stopped so they could communicate. However, in accordance with her personality she was impulsive, bossy, and in a huge rush to prove a point. "I'm normal. We're normal. Fuck Gilead." If Luke really didn't want to have sex, from June's perspective, he certainly had the means to stop her.

She was right, too. His protest lasted about five seconds and it was out of concern on June's behalf, not his. Then he started moaning and making out with her while affectionately and intimately touching her body as a lover does, not a victim of assault. It is unwise to forget this part.

Lastly, Luke has at least 60 pounds on June. All he had to do was sit up or roll to the side. This is not the same as a victim being trashed for not fighting hard enough. He was not overpowered. Not even close. Had he used the same firm tone he did with Tuello it would have ended then and there. 

Again, I refer to Commander Winslow. Had Luke firmly and assertively told June he did not want to have sex under any circumstances, is there anyone who thinks June would have punched him in the face and continued to overpower him while he struggled and screamed for mercy? She would never in a million years do that to him. 

Lastly, does anyone think Luke will wake up tomorrow feeling unclean and unsafe down to his very soul, afraid to be near the one who committed the ultimate violation? That's what rape feels like. This was not that. He's gonna be happy to have been laid and also a little worried about moving too quickly.

Honestly calling this a rape minimizes rapes, imo. I say this as a rape survivor. Another survivor may feel the opposite and they are completely within their rights to do so of course, but I firmly believe this was complicated grey sex aftee trauma, not rape.

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30 minutes ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

I re-watched the sex scene and I just can't get on board with this being rape. 

First of all, yes, Luke protested and June should have stopped so they could communicate. However, in accordance with her personality she was impulsive, bossy, and in a huge rush to prove a point. "I'm normal. We're normal. Fuck Gilead." If Luke really didn't want to have sex, from June's perspective, he certainly had the means to stop her.

She was right, too. His protest lasted about five seconds and it was out of concern on June's behalf, not his. Then he started moaning and making out with her while affectionately and intimately touching her body as a lover does, not a victim of assault. It is unwise to forget this part.

Lastly, Luke has at least 60 pounds on June. All he had to do was sit up or roll to the side. This is not the same as a victim being trashed for not fighting hard enough. He didn't have to bite her or kick her or scream. He only had to exert 1% of his strength and use the same firm tone he did with Tuello. 

Again, I refer to Commander Winslow. Had Luke firmly and assertively told June he did not want to have sex under any circumstances, is there anyone who thinks June would have punched him in the face and continued to overpower him while he struggled and screamed for mercy? She would never in a million years do that to him. 

Lastly, does anyone think Luke will wake up tomorrow feeling unclean and unsafe down to his very soul, afraid to be near the one who committed the ultimate violation? That's what rape feels like. This was not that. He's gonna be happy to have been laid and also a little worried about moving too quickly.

Honestly calling this a rape minimizes rapes, imo. I say this as a rape survivor. Another survivor may feel the opposite and they are completely within their rights to do so of course, but I firmly believe this was complicated grey sex aftee trauma, not rape.

I really don't disagree with you, either, and if that makes me somewhat nonsensically ambivalent, so be it, and credit to the writing, direction, and acting. I just know I found the scene deeply disturbing and sad.

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On 5/26/2021 at 2:21 AM, Bannon said:

I mean, an obviously battered and bruised escapee from a war torn totalitarian regime, with immense propagada value, arrives on your shores, and her 1st stop isn't a medical facility, for complete documentation of her physical condition, and to receive any needed treatment. Really?

Unbelievable that it was just like "Alright welcome to Canada! ... Enjoy your hotel!... ok seeya later!"

I kept saying she needed the full Captain Phillips treatment!!

 

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The showrunners have said repeatedly that Nichole belongs to Nick, and so has Margaret Atwood. There have been comments on Nichole not taking after Fred. Nichole being born of love and not rape has been a very big point for all involved. I suppose they could always go back on that but I doubt they will. 

My feeling is Serena's pregnancy is a one in a million fluke between her injury and Fred's irradiated sperm. THMT is in uncharted territory now and for her to be pregnant opens up so many possibilities for the plot. Personally, I want to see her having a religious crisis over god giving her a baby with major birth defects that can't survive outside of the womb.

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On 5/27/2021 at 10:46 AM, LadyAmalthea said:

That it was a trauma response/June reclaiming herself/whatever doesn’t negate her actions. It wasn’t about Luke, it wasn’t about sex, it was about power and anger and domination. It was rape.

Whatever the intent was, the sex scene reminded me of the scene early on in Breaking Bad when Walter comes home after doing some kind of "bad"/cathartic deed and finds Skyler in the kitchen and wordlessly goes up behind her and starts trying to have sex with her. Skyler is somewhat amused at first but quickly gets annoyed and then furious because he's acting so weird and pushy and she finally has to scream at him to stop before he finally does.

Similarly to the scene in this episode, it wasn’t about Skyler, it wasn’t about sex, it was about power and anger and domination. There are obvious differences when a man is the one doing it, and the situations involving the context and characters are extremely different as well. But Breaking Bad made it very clear that what he did was shameful and gross AT BEST.

The scene in this episode could've been a lot more clear about whether we as the audience were supposed to view it as Powerful June Reclaiming Her Agency or Traumatized June Desperately Needing Therapy And Resocialization. In a different show I might appreciate the subtlety and ambiguity, but Handmaid's Tale doesn't really do subtlety and ambiguity very well in my opinion and I doubt it'll factor into the plot again.

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1 hour ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

She was right, too. His protest lasted about five seconds and it was out of concern on June's behalf, not his. Then he started moaning and making out with her while affectionately and intimately touching her body as a lover does, not a victim of assault. It is unwise to forget this part.

This is not what happened on screen. From the moment June stifles his protest, her hand remains over his mouth until she climaxes. When she does remove her hand, he lies flat and expressionless. The camera then cuts to June, and the scene ends on her. The next scene, is him looking happy to June to her face, but changing expressions when her back turns. At this exact moment the voice-over discusses a woman committing rape.

Quote

Lastly, Luke has at least 60 pounds on June. All he had to do was sit up or roll to the side. This is not the same as a victim being trashed for not fighting hard enough. He didn't have to bite her or kick her or scream. He only had to exert 1% of his strength and use the same firm tone he did with Tuello. 

Yes, but some victims do not fight at all. Even ones that theoretically could. Especially ones being ones assaulted by people they know and love (the most common type of rape). Especially ones being assaulted by people who have some type of power of them. 

Freezing is a perfectly natural and very common response to an attack. People can provide zero physical resistance and still be raped.

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Again, I refer to Commander Winslow. Had Luke firmly and assertively told June he did not want to have sex under any circumstances, is there anyone who thinks June would have punched him in the face and continued to overpower him while he struggled and screamed for mercy? She would never in a million years do that to him. 

I absolutely believe there is a chance that June could have reacted with violence to a more assertive protest from Luke. June's default response is to act out, often violently, in ways that make little sense and that she may even regret later. 

I do think it's more likely that she'd return to her room, sulk, and wake up the next day intent on destroying his life. And considering his current life consists of sharing living expenses with June's best friend, raising and clearly bonding with June's child to whom he has no biological claim, and (it seems) making a living by raising money for refugees using June's story, this is a threat she could easily follow through with. If Luke didn't have time to weigh the odds of provoking June's ire in time to physically stop June before she finished, I'm not going to blame him.

1 hour ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

Lastly, does anyone think Luke will wake up tomorrow feeling unclean and unsafe down to his very soul, afraid to be near the one who committed the ultimate violation? That's what rape feels like. This was not that. He's gonna be happy to have been laid and also a little worried about moving too quickly.

I don't know if Luke will consider it rape (honestly, I expect that he won't for lots of reasons), but I really don't think he'll feel happy or a "little" worried about June's actions. If my partner who I hadn't seen in years, because they had been kidnapped and repeatedly raped, decided unilaterally that our first sexual encounter should involve them silencing my dissent to a sexual act? Well, I probably wouldn't get the law involved, but I'd certainly be a "lot" worried.

I'll refer again to the camera focusing on Luke's changing expression just as June's voice-over says "she'll rape you...". If this was the show's way of communicating that Luke was "happy to get laid" that's some real shoddy directorial/editorial decision-making. 

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1 hour ago, GiuliettaMasina said:

This is not what happened on screen. From the moment June stifles his protest, her hand remains over his mouth until she climaxes. When she does remove her hand, he lies flat and expressionless. The camera then cuts to June, and the scene ends on her. The next scene, is him looking happy to June to her face, but changing expressions when her back turns. At this exact moment the voice-over discusses a woman committing rape.

Hmm, reading this, because i guess I wasn’t watching that scene closely enough.. what if it really was an act of aggression and anger towards Luke, making him experience  a tiny part of what she had just been through on a much grander scale. To regain her power over males in general, but also as punishment for not being able to save her for those long years. ?  I don’t know what was going on in her mind, so add me to the majority!

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