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S04.E08: Testimony

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June confronts a painful reminder of her Gilead past. Lawrence presents something helpful to Aunt Lydia.

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Original air date: 6/2/21

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I wonder if the scene of the Handmaids and Aunts is a flashback.

It looks like the other Aunt (Ruth?) is interceding when Aunt Lydia tasers one of the Handmaids, which doesn't fit with Aunt Lydia presenting herself as the benign protector of the new Handmaids.

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Wow, they're really leaning into the "June is psychotic" angle this episode, aren't they?  Half of the shots made her look like pure evil.

That group annoyed me. They sounded like robots until then end, though maybe that was the point.  Why should they get to say how they felt about the Aunt's death before Emily?  I knew about the spoiler with the Aunt's hanging, and was a bit disappointed to learn that Emily had no direct hand in her death.  

Edited by Brn2bwild
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June's testimony was so well done, I felt the horror of everything she talked about even though I've seen all of those things happen before. But then she lost me again when she brought the former aunt to the support group against Emily's wishes. The show tried to make it look like it helped Emily in the end, but I still think June overstepped. Poor Moira was really taken aback by June's vengefulness, and I won't be surprised if Moira distances herself from June in the future.

I'm so happy that Janine is still alive but hate that she's back in Gilead. I know it sounds terrible, but I wish she hadn't followed June and stayed with Steven and his group. He's a rapist, but whatever Gilead has in store for her now will be a thousand times worse than staying with him.

It was jarring to see a group of protesters cheer for Fred and Serena, but I guess it makes sense that both US and Canada have/had ultra-conservative crowds, with the one in Canada being a minority. Still, it makes me question how "safe" the Gilead refugees are in Canada, to the extent that anyone is safe anywhere in that world. It was ironic that women were holding up written signs in support of Serena, since neither they nor Serena are allowed to read or write in Gilead.

I hope the scene of June trying to initiate sex and Luke refusing settles the discussion whether last episode's encounter was consensual. I'm glad though that June was finally ready to tell him about the last time she saw Hannah.

Edited by chocolatine
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I'm mainly thinking about the giant plothole that is June standing up at the hearing, which all the Gilead commanders will be keeping a close eye on, and openly stating that Lawrence disobeyed the laws of Gilead. Sure he's the commander that gets to sit in the middle of the table now but the other commanders, who will resent that as he got there by blackmail, now have grounds to have him right up on the wall.

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I'm just glad that when June got the scissors out she didn't cut off her cattle tag again!

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I wish we had heard Moira testify about Jezebels!

June is recruiting.  Being safe isn't going to be enough.  She wants Gilead obliterated.  New Army starting I think.  Moira's love and forgiveness isn't one size fits all therapy.  Looks like Emily is all in.

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Just now, Hathaway said:

I wish we had heard Moira testify about Jezebels!

June is recruiting.  Being safe isn't going to be enough.  She wants Gilead obliterated.  New Army starting I think.  Moira's love and forgiveness isn't one size fits all therapy.  Looks like Emily is all in.

Yeah, instead of getting handmaids killed now she's going to get former handmaids killed.

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1 minute ago, LordOfLotion said:

Yeah, instead of getting handmaids killed now she's going to get former handmaids killed.

Freedom isn't free.

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In this episode I believe that June has  come full circle and embraced her anger and desire for revenge. Another glimpse of how single-minded June has become. She is not concerned by the consequences of her actions and how they would effect others she's only concerned about seeking revenge regardless of what it costs.

Moira is loosing ground with June because she wants to put the past behind her and move on, and doesn't want to address the same pain she shares with everyone else. Junes actions will eventually end up costing her something ,I'm curious to find out what it may be this time. Jeanine is back in Gilead but I think this time she is with new hope and purpose after learning June has made it to Canada. 

June is a victim of repeated trauma ,she has lost everything ,her behavior reflects that. She does not have love in her heart ,nor peace nor solitude, she is holding on to the only thing that gives her purpose ,her pain.... Now she has a new group of victimized women to manipulate to their demise. Once her husband learns the whole truth about the last time June seen Hannah ,he will have a better understanding of the path of destruction June is on. 

 

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Fred's a dumbass. No wonder he hates women-his wife is 3x his superior. 

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The pro-Gilead crowd at the prison scene was dumb, bcause the politicians that govern Canada have 3 digit IQs, and would know how to manage the Waterford's movements in a way that precluded such an event.  Another instance of writing and directing that doesn't trust the audience, so they go with the ridiculous visual.

I thought the Aunt Irene subplot was quite good. June's justified fury really is getting in the way of sound decisions with regard to defeating Gilead. The war is not won, and an Aunt who has defected really is an asset to be exploited. Telling her that she needs to come clean, in public testimony, and in behind the scenes debriefing, before she gets to ask for forgiveness, would have been smart.

The most likely outcome for June's marriage with Luke is that it fails. Extraordinary trauma changes people, and when people change enough, marriages more often than not fall apart. It'll be interesting to see if the writers take that path, which a lot of fans won't like.

Along those lines, I do think they may be extremely anti-fan service, and have Janine turn on June, if Janine finds out June's been lying about the fate of Janine's 1st child.

Lawrence is just an extraordinarily nasty piece of work, with his wife no longer acting as a check on his worst impulses (which I think is good writing). He's worse than Waterford in some respects. He's not a chronic rapist (although I could see that happening), but unlike Waterford, he hasn't successfully deceived himself with a bullsh*t ideology, which he then uses to justify his behavior. He knows it's all nonsense, but he just likes the nice house, good booze, and most importantly, people being subservient to him, so he just inflicts misery and suffering in pursuit of those things he wants. If he ever gets what he deserves, he'll just cynically chuckle when he sticks his head in the noose, and say "Well, it was fun while it lasted".

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I like that the show isn’t shying away from showing June’s damage.  The rage is real, it’s normal to feel that way, and it DOES constantly loom large over every thought.  We see it in war movies all the time where a soldier can’t adjust to being home, and doesn’t know where to put the pain that clouds every single day, and I’m ecstatic that the show has done the same thing for the Gilead refugees.

They’re (speaking of the Handmaid’s survivor group) all fucked up, they all need a lot of help, and that is OK.  What’s not OK was also dealt with really well. Luke is there for June.  For him it’s a “WE” thing, but for June, the walls are up, and I don’t think she knows whether she can be a part of a couple.  She doesn’t know how to talk, and thankfully Luke made his needs known in a clear, firm and compassionate manner.  Whatever happens to their marriage, I want them to communicate constructively.

I am LOVING this season.

Also:  the defense lawyer being a ringer for Nikki Haley was definitely not an accident.

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20 minutes ago, AntFTW said:

Looking at the scene, I didn’t think it made sense for two high profile prisoners to be out in the open like that and unguarded.

It's annoying, because it's such needlessly silly writing and direction, like June and Nick's Scarlett and Rhett smoochapaloozza on the bridge. I think Elizabeth Moss directed that episode, too. The show needs one of the other producers to whisper a clue in her ear every now and then.

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Not very nice to say  but aAlexis Bledel has really aged in an unexpected way in my opinion. I thought she was quite beautiful a lot of the time on Gilmore girls it’s just Little surprising that she hasn’t aged into her face all that nicely considering she is still youngish.

otherwise I am liking this season also. I hate that Waterford’s have any support at all. 

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3 minutes ago, Bannon said:

She's seems to be a quite attractive 40 year old woman to me, playing an extreme torture survivor; she's supposed to look like she's been deeply traumatized, which ages people.

It wouldn't surprise me if the way they shot her face was with a special lens to magnify skin blemishes, etc.

Plus, Emily was in the colonies and poisoned by radition for months.

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10 minutes ago, Brn2bwild said:

It wouldn't surprise me if the way they shot her face was with a special lens to magnify skin blemishes, etc.

Plus, Emily was in the colonies and poisoned by radition for months.

Exactly. The character is supposed to look like she's been through Hell on Earth, not like she lives in pre-Gilead Beverly Hills, Calabasas, or Malibu, regularly visiting the spa and consulting with dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

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The show is definitely aging Alexis. Here she is on a Zoom call about a month ago. Obviously she's not as dewy as she was on GG 20 years ago, but she looks much better IRL than on the show.

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39 minutes ago, revbfc said:

They’re (speaking of the Handmaid’s survivor group) all fucked up, they all need a lot of help, and that is OK.

This is why I found it unlikely that a non professional and someone from Gilead leading the therepy circle. Ignore that June's damage is obvious and the government's need for her to testify warrants special handling (tho I will touch on that)  Moira isn't a professional. Her own experiences are going to affect her. The very fact that the therepy circle was in a public place where strangers could walk by and hear them talk is a huge problem, exemplified by Irene wandering in to disrupt the session. Moira also wasn't professional enough to say no to June.

And June needs to hear no, and "yes we get you're damaged from Gilead but society has rules". Sure its lovely to note how June is free to do as she pleases and say no to medical care simply because she can, but even non Gilead societies have rules. However awful Irene was in Gilead, Irene chose to leave rather than continue to wield a tazar against "disobeying" Handmaids. That little display was not "June deeply concerned about Emily" at all, that was June spitting her rage at a target that never harmed her, and not really caring whether it helped Emily or not. If Tuello wants a viable witness at the upcoming trial and not someone well known for vile behavior, he needs to sit June down and insist on private therepy  - where June can't be overheard by the public and possible Gilead spies, the security was ridiculous - so that June isn't known by the public for acting like a feral animal. To be fair, one thing I did like about her performance here is that she's acting like she's still in Gilead, complete with being just about completely shut down about talking to others because she can't trust them, but there's a huge trial coming and she needs better help than cut rate group therepy in a public library.

13 minutes ago, Bannon said:

She's seems to be a quite attractive 40 year old woman to me, playing an extreme torture survivor; she's supposed to look like she's been deeply traumatized, which ages people.

Some of that is make up choices as well - I think she's meant to look not so great as she might in real life.

2 hours ago, Bannon said:

The pro-Gilead crowd at the prison scene was dumb, bcause the politicians that govern Canada have 3 digit IQs, and would know how to manage the Waterford's movements in a way that precluded such an event. 

And we've seen HUGE protests against Gilead and the Waterfords so hard to believe there weren't counter protests going on.

 

2 hours ago, Bannon said:

The most likely outcome for June's marriage with Luke is that it fails. Extraordinary trauma changes people, and when people change enough, marriages more often than not fall apart. It'll be interesting to see if the writers take that path, which a lot of fans won't like.

Along those lines, I do think they may be extremely anti-fan service, and have Janine turn on June, if Janine finds out June's been lying about the fate of Janine's 1st child.

I wouldn't be shocked if June and Luke split for a bit. I wouldn't be against it either. After what? Five, seven years? Apart? Where I kinda doubt Luke has been entirely chaste in waiting and June has a passionate thing for Nick? There are problems in the marriage. 

As for Janine, I was half expecting Lydia to drop that bomb right then.

2 hours ago, Bannon said:

Lawrence is just an extraordinarily nasty piece of work, with his wife no longer acting as a check on his worst impulses (which I think is good writing). He's worse than Waterford in some respects. He's not a chronic rapist (although I could see that happening), but unlike Waterford, he hasn't successfully deceived himself with a bullsh*t ideology, which he then uses to justify his behavior. He knows it's all nonsense, but he just likes the nice house, good booze, and most importantly, people being subservient to him, so he just inflicts misery and suffering in pursuit of those things he wants. If he ever gets what he deserves, he'll just cynically chuckle when he sticks his head in the noose, and say "Well, it was fun while it lasted".

Agreed. I like Lawrence but I have huge problems with his being highly placed at this point. June is literally testifying in public that he violated the whole "ceremony" by not banging her on schedule. He's known to have assisted in the Angel Flight. He really should be dead. Yet instead he's just merrily going along. Likewise Lydia who also should be dead for her numerous fuck ups, but instead gets her old job back and immediately fucks up and STILL gets handed Janine like a favorite teddy bear when Janine is an escapee who was already sentenced to a rape farm but somehow its more important to cart her back to the Boston area so Aunt Crazypants Lydia can tell her she deserves what she gets?

I don't see how Fred thinks any of this will get him off the hook. He should be afraid of going back to Gilead at this point (although Lawrence's example does give pause) simply because he's been outed as a completely ineffectual man. His wife tricked him, his handmaid tricked him, his driver fucked his handmaid under his nose, he's the idiot who stupidly drove across the Gilead border into Canada on some hair brained scheme by his wife to get their baby back...

Hilariously if Serena's baby is born in Canada, it's automatically a Canadian citizen.

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3 hours ago, Bannon said:

The pro-Gilead crowd at the prison scene was dumb, bcause the politicians that govern Canada have 3 digit IQs, and would know how to manage the Waterford's movements in a way that precluded such an event.  Another instance of writing and directing that doesn't trust the audience, so they go with the ridiculous visual.

I've only seen a few clips on Youtube and I am excited to watch the episode tonight at 10 pm (sigh Canada).

But ...

The pro Gilead crowd was stupid. First, there were signs.  If they were SO pro Gilead, these women wouldn't be writing signs, they would be in pictures. They wouldn't be protesting their support. Their husbands would be. Hence, I don't think that they fully understand what is going on in Gilead.  Plus where is the anti Waterfords group? There was a big protest the first time Fred and SJ were in Canada.  Why didn't Moiria organize something?

Next, Serena is reading.. again.  If she was pro Gilead she would have to either have a) someone read these things to her or b) pictures.  It goes to show the viewer again, how SJ thinks herself above the rules.

Onto the court scene. Powerful. I wish that June would have mentioned the Handmaids in DC that have rings in their mouths.  The lawyer for Fred is one bitch with a shitty job defending a shitty person. The you had a choice was a terrible way to create a defense for Fred. What choice? Either die from radiation or being raped. 

I hope Gilead lays claim to the Waterfords kid, sends SJ to be a Handmaid and Fred to the colonies.

PS Fred is an absolute tool. He couldn't get it up at Jezebel's so he watched and masturbated. Utter tool.  A bullet is too good for him.

P.S.S. - Does anyone know where the court scene was filmed?

Edited by greekmom
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6 minutes ago, greekmom said:

The pro Gilead crowd was stupid. First, there were signs.  If they were SO pro Gilead, these women wouldn't be writing signs, they would be in pictures. They wouldn't be protesting their support. Their husbands would be. Hence, I don't think that they fully understand what is going on in Gilead.  Plus where is the anti Waterfords group? There was a big protest the first time Fred and SJ were in Canada.  Why didn't Moiria organize something?

I'd say that you want to remember that Serena was the writer and speaker who advocated the Gilead ideal so its not unheard of for females in a not Gilead society to not understand the ramifications. 

Moira was busy running open air, open access therepy groups.

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16 minutes ago, EllaWycliffe said:

I'd say that you want to remember that Serena was the writer and speaker who advocated the Gilead ideal so its not unheard of for females in a not Gilead society to not understand the ramifications. 

Moira was busy running open air, open access therepy groups.

I get what you are saying but remember those letters that Luke released? How can they NOT understand the ramifications?  It is a well known fact of what is happening there. Not rumors but actual survivor's testimonies coming through.  

Moira's therapy group was just as bad attempt as Oona's "red cross" mission.

 

Edited by greekmom
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1 minute ago, greekmom said:

I get what you are saying but remember those letters that Luke released? How can they NOT understand the ramifications?  It is a well known fact of what is happening there. Not rumors but actual survivor's testimonies coming through.  

I agree - I get what the writers were attempting but in context of the show, it really doesn't make sense. The whole routine previously where Fred and Serena were diplomats and all the Canadians were spitting mad, mentioning their same sex spouses and giving Serena a picture agenda is Canada as a whole in my opinion. I think they were going for "there's always some crazies" but it just comes off silly and unlikely.

5 minutes ago, greekmom said:

Moira's therapy group was just as bad attempt as Oona's "red cross" mission.

Agreed. It also allows things like Irene crashing etc because a real therapist wouldn't be having group in a public setting. 

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I'm no expert, but if I had been mercilessly tortured by people who still held power and were still engaged in that behavior, and I was in a group therapy session, where the session leader was trying to tell me to reel back my expression of my desire to strike down on my oppressors with great vengeance and furious anger, I'd politely tell the session leader to eff off.  The time for moving on will come when enough m*therf*ckers are put in the ground, or are in small jail cells, and the torture regime is utterly destroyed.

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1 hour ago, greekmom said:

P.S.S. - Does anyone know where the court scene was filmed?

I think they filmed it in the rotunda at (new) City Hall. There’s the bit where they walk towards the doors of the courtroom that strikingly resembles the elevators to the west tower. The rotunda also has the offices on the second floor looking down on it and you can see that in some angles of the courtroom. And it’s round. 

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Watching Janine... get dragged back... to Aunt Lydia... Breaks. My. Heart.

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Poor Moira/great acting in the moment where her support group goes off the rails. The scene in the court was good. The crowd outside waiting for the Waterfords threw me off, not so much because they were supportive of them, but because they seemed way too happy and cheerful and their signs had words that seemed way too sane comparatively for them to be supporting these two and/or Gilead in general. 

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11 minutes ago, bettername2come said:

Poor Moira/great acting in the moment where her support group goes off the rails. The scene in the court was good. The crowd outside waiting for the Waterfords threw me off, not so much because they were supportive of them, but because they seemed way too happy and cheerful and their signs had words that seemed way too sane comparatively for them to be supporting these two and/or Gilead in general. 

Moira has more restraint and understanding where June is concerned and she shouldn't at this point, they are all in it together but typical June needs to bulldoze over people no matter what.  

I feel like June's testimony could have been a bit meatier, there was no mention of her treatment at the hands of Aunt Lydia or how Commander Waterford forced her to go to Jezebel's or how handmaids loose eyes, arms and tongues for breaking rules...all of these things that the Waterfords deem appropriate treatment of women because, you know, the bible.

My surprise by the Waterfords leaving the trial without an escort of police or feds was strange and how did Serena get the teal "wife" maternity dress?  None of the wives were supposed to get pregnant, right?  

At one point I thought Serena was going to play Fred to get what she wanted as in a lighter sentence but now it seems she is down with helping Fred for real, I agree with June, Serena is a sociopath.

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I think maybe the reason June didn't mention Lydia, or Washington is that this is the Waterfords' trial. The Waterfords didn't run Washington and they didn't control Lydia. When someone is on trial it's all about them and what they did. What you guys want is a tell-all interview. Some escaped aunt supposedly did one of those in the first season and we never got to see that. That's part of the problem with this show.  They won't show anything that goes on beyond Agent Coconuts so when they show these pro-Gilead protestors it feels like they're just pulling something out of thin air.

Spoiler

And I think it's being done to set Serena and Fred up to be kept alive and around for season 5, because the writers like them and don't want to kill them off.

 

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OMG, Fred. Please STFU. I can't bear to hear someone who abused his position and power tell the court about how they all made sacrifices in Gilead. Yes, it must have been terrible for YOU when you were breaking Gilead laws to go to Jezebel's and raping your handmaid every month. My, my, such sacrifices he made.

The issues with June and Luke are so complex that I don't know where to begin. I was solidly with Moira when she told him that he didn't understand what June had been through. His reply ("Maybe that's the problem") made me really anxious. I get that he is June's husband and that he wants to move forward, which will require work on both their parts. But I am also firmly of the belief that an assault victim never needs to talk about their trauma unless they want to do so.

This is complicated by the fact that June was chomping at the bit to testify against the Waterfords, but I understand her desire to make them pay for what they did to her as a drop in the bucket for what Gilead did to so many other women. The difference is that she was able to dispassionately describe a list of things that they had subjected her to. Luke, on the other hand, would no doubt want more than that. He would want to talk about the details and how she felt and I don't think that she's even close to ready for that.

In a relationship, both people have to have similar goals in order to be in harmony. Luke wants to heal their relationship. June is deliberately shutting him out. I think she really needs to give serious thought as to whether she wants to be married to Luke anymore and what that will entail. Everything can't be on her terms (especially her sexual aggression).

But by the same token, Luke needs to respect June's boundaries. She said she didn't want him to come to court and hear her testimony but he showed up anyway. Maybe he should have considered that it might be more difficult for her to give her testimony if he was in the room.

One thing I liked about this episode was the acknowledgment that not everyone reacts to trauma the same way. June was frustrated that the other girls in her support group were talking about their feelings and journaling and wanting to forgive and later she didn't understand why Emily wouldn't want to confront Aunt Irene.

But the truth is that some people lash out at those who hurt them and other people don't want any further contact with their abusers. There's no right way to respond to trauma, just what's right for you. But I'm with Moira (again) - anger is an understandable reaction but you can't live there. You can channel it onto specific actions (like testifying against Fred) but you can't be angry 24/7 without it affecting you negatively.

I disliked that the show ended up making June right again. I don't think she should have ambushed Emily at therapy by bringing the aunt. It should have been Emily's choice whether to confront her or see her at all.

All of this brings me to the point that June needs a real therapist. I appreciate Moira offering a support group to the handmaids who clearly need some fellowship with other survivors who understand what they've been through. That is important. But June (and the others) still need professional counseling about the immense amount of abuse and trauma that they suffered for years.

I'm glad that Janine is alive but so disappointed that she's back in Gilead and specifically under Lydia's thumb once again. Hopefully Lydia's attempts to brainwash Janine into turning against June won't be successful.

Gross to see how many supporters Fred and Serena had after his "God rewarded us" moralizing.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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1 hour ago, LordOfLotion said:

I think maybe the reason June didn't mention Lydia, or Washington is that this is the Waterfords' trial. The Waterfords didn't run Washington and they didn't control Lydia. When someone is on trial it's all about them and what they did. What you guys want is a tell-all interview. Some escaped aunt supposedly did one of those in the first season and we never got to see that. That's part of the problem with this show.  They won't show anything that goes on beyond Agent Coconuts so when they show these pro-Gilead protestors it feels like they're just pulling something out of thin air.

  Reveal spoiler

And I think it's being done to set Serena and Fred up to be kept alive and around for season 5, because the writers like them and don't want to kill them off.

 

That's another good point. One thing that i forgot to mention was that I don't think this is SJ trial.  I don't see a lawyer for SJ (just Fred) and June did say she wants: "for the international court to confirm these charges against this man and put him on trial."

She doesn't mention for the international court to confirm the charges against the Waterfords or them.

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Like so many episodes, this episode had a lot of good ideas that all came together in a weird kind of way. For a show that wants to be so gritty, there are so many moments that don't seem real at all, like this high profile witness being allowed to just walk around free with only minor security, or the Pro Waterford crown all cheering Fred and Serena. I can buy that some crazy people would be on their side, but the Canadian government doesn't seem dumb enough to just let Fred give speeches to the world on the big screen and let the crazies run loose, and there would have absolutely have been people protested against the Waterfords, like there have been literally every other time the Waterfords have been seen in public. From everything we have seen, the Canadian public have been shown to almost universally hate Gilead and its supporters, but I guess now they have a whole crowd that make signs for them? Not really consistent with anything that has been shown before, but whatever. This show has been putting its big moments and visuals over the actual story for ages now. 

June looked so pleased with herself getting all the women in the support group to start venting about how pissed off they are, things are going to get pretty awkward back home after June hijacked Moira's group to start building her next army after her last one was run over by a train. I know that her testimony was just about Fred and not Gilead in general, but I feel like her testimony could have had more teeth. In general I wish we saw more Gilead refugees telling their stories about the horrible abuses and murderers they experienced and witnessed in Gilead, there is just so much to choose from. I did think June's testimony was some of Elizabeth Moss's best acting so far this season, especially when she talked about how Fred and Serena drank coffee in the kitchen while she and the Lawrence's were forced to do the ceremony. It felt really visceral, and made me think of poor Mrs. Lawrence.   

Will Janine ever get a break? Could she please get a break? Honestly the show should have offed Lawrence after he helped June with the escape and Lydia when she lost the last batch of Handmaidens. If Gilead is supposed to be so scary and unforgiving, they should be a lot quicker to kill traitors and screw ups. They just need to learn when characters have outlived their narrative purpose. 

I cant blame Emily for being happy that the woman who got her girlfriend killed and led to her being mutilated killed herself, its certainly not her job to give that woman her forgiveness after what she did to her. June getting the former handmaidens spitting mad is probably not going to end well, being filled with anger isn't exactly healthy, but at the same time telling people not to express anger, even angry violent vengeful thoughts, cant be healthy either. After all of the evil things that the Commanders and the other people who supported Gilead have done, wanting to dream about getting revenge in righteous fury seems pretty natural. Especially when so many of them are still out there murdering and abusing innocent people, a bit of anger can go a long way, as long as its properly channeled and doesn't eat you alive. You don't have to forgive people who hurt you, especially when they have done nothing to earn forgiveness. Of course June leading the group to feel the way she wants them to feel doesn't feel helpful so much as manipulative, which is why this group really needs an actual therapist in charge, and not just Moira, who has plenty of her own trauma to unpack. 

Edited by tennisgurl
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Question. What exactly is Fred on trial for? Is he on trial for rape of June Osborn? For his part in the coup of the American government? For domestic terrorism? For crimes against women in Gilead in general?   

This isn't a formal trial but did they mention the specific charges?

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4 hours ago, Bannon said:

I'm no expert, but if I had been mercilessly tortured by people who still held power and were still engaged in that behavior, and I was in a group therapy session, where the session leader was trying to tell me to reel back my expression of my desire to strike down on my oppressors with great vengeance and furious anger, I'd politely tell the session leader to eff off.  The time for moving on will come when enough m*therf*ckers are put in the ground, or are in small jail cells, and the torture regime is utterly destroyed.

Me, too. I think her righteous anger is completely justified and shouldn’t be stifled.

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36 minutes ago, greekmom said:

Question. What exactly is Fred on trial for? Is he on trial for rape of June Osborn? For his part in the coup of the American government? For domestic terrorism? For crimes against women in Gilead in general?   

This isn't a formal trial but did they mention the specific charges?

They might be able to get him on treason, sedition, human rights issues, trafficking of minors, kidnapping, rape, geeze, so many to pick from.  

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3 hours ago, Baltimore Betty said:

My surprise by the Waterfords leaving the trial without an escort of police or feds was strange and how did Serena get the teal "wife" maternity dress?  None of the wives were supposed to get pregnant, right?  

 The no police thing was a stupid choice.  I really don't get that.  

The dress though?  Looks like Serena put that together, she was wearing a white turtle neck, and it looked like the dress had been draped and kind of "put together" by her.  She  advocated womanly arts, so she would know how to sew at least that much.

Wives do get pregnant in Gilead sometimes though, those wives don't have handmaids.  Remember that one Commander that got promoted because he impregnated his new bride?  Virility is prized in this "men are men" society.  (and in a lot of religious cults that exist today as well)

 

3 hours ago, Baltimore Betty said:

At one point I thought Serena was going to play Fred to get what she wanted as in a lighter sentence but now it seems she is down with helping Fred for real, I agree with June, Serena is a sociopath.

  I think you are correct, she was.  She may still, she will do whatever it takes to survive.  Right now, her survival may depend on them being a team (more later when we get to the protesters.)

 

3 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

OMG, Fred. Please STFU. I can't bear to hear someone who abused his position and power tell the court about how they all made sacrifices in Gilead. Yes, it must have been terrible for YOU when you were breaking Gilead laws to go to Jezebel's and raping your handmaid every month. My, my, such sacrifices he made.

God yes!  Also bullshit on Fred allowing a woman to represent him.  None of his buddies/coworking commanders back in Gilead are going to like that, in spite of the optics being good for his case.

 

3 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

The issues with June and Luke are so complex that I don't know where to begin. I was solidly with Moira when she told him that he didn't understand what June had been through. His reply ("Maybe that's the problem") made me really anxious. I get that he is June's husband and that he wants to move forward, which will require work on both their parts. But I am also firmly of the belief that an assault victim never needs to talk about their trauma unless they want to do so.

This is complicated by the fact that June was chomping at the bit to testify against the Waterfords, but I understand her desire to make them pay for what they did to her as a drop in the bucket for what Gilead did to so many other women. The difference is that she was able to dispassionately describe a list of things that they had subjected her to. Luke, on the other hand, would no doubt want more than that. He would want to talk about the details and how she felt and I don't think that she's even close to ready for that.

In a relationship, both people have to have similar goals in order to be in harmony. Luke wants to heal their relationship. June is deliberately shutting him out. I think she really needs to give serious thought as to whether she wants to be married to Luke anymore and what that will entail. Everything can't be on her terms (especially her sexual aggression).

But by the same token, Luke needs to respect June's boundaries. She said she didn't want him to come to court and hear her testimony but he showed up anyway. Maybe he should have considered that it might be more difficult for her to give her testimony if he was in the room.

Luke is just clueless.

I love that the show is making their relationship so complicated, because honestly?  I would be.  

He betrayed her by telling Tuello her secret about that summerhouse meeting with Hannah.  He just shot off his big mouth, and took a tool from her, cluelessly, as usual.  She wanted to keep that card hidden.  He doesn't get it, he will probably never get it.  He escaped.  She did not.  He's HEARD the stories, but he didn't live them.

She specifically asked him not to come to the trial, but HE did whatever the hell he wanted to do, as usual, and ignored her wishes.  Sure, his motives were good, in his mind anyway.  He wanted to understand his wife, he wanted to be able to help her adjust, and felt he needed to hear it all to be able to do that.  Partly it was his way of trying to save his marriage.

Meanwhile, June, knowing he's unreliable, still, some more, was trying in her own way to save their marriage as well.  She was protecting him, keeping him from pain, as well as protecting herself from Luke spilling whatever she says to Tuello or someone else.  Now though?  I'm not sure what she will try or not try.  

She is about to tell him the most painful thing of all, while holding him.  The last visit with Hannah.

 

3 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I disliked that the show ended up making June right again. I don't think she should have ambushed Emily at therapy by bringing the aunt. It should have been Emily's choice whether to confront her or see her at all.

All of this brings me to the point that June needs a real therapist. I appreciate Moira offering a support group to the handmaids who clearly need some fellowship with other survivors who understand what they've been through. That is important. But June (and the others) still need professional counseling about the immense amount of abuse and trauma that they suffered for years.

Remember Emily already killed a wife, in the colonies.  Just to do it, to make that wife, someone she didn't even know, pay.  She also tried to kill Lydia.  June knows who Emily really is, and knows what Emily's been through.  Moira got out pretty quickly, she had a year or two of horror, Emily and June have had what?  5-7 years of it?

Moira has wonderful intentions, but most of the group did not want to disband, they wanted to stay, they wanted to really vent, something Moira seemed to always guide to some positive forgiveness or moving on goal.

Well, they had their own needs.  THEY chose to stay.  They aren't ready or willing to "move on."  Maybe they want or need more than a "safe" place to hide out.

June's made her choice, and it's been obvious for years now.  She wants Hannah out of that world.  Now though?  She wants them all out of that world.  She wants that world OVER and buried.  That IS her goal, and her focus now, and she is not alone in that.  Peace at any cost isn't in her wheelhouse.

 

3 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I'm glad that Janine is alive but so disappointed that she's back in Gilead and specifically under Lydia's thumb once again. Hopefully Lydia's attempts to brainwash Janine into turning against June won't be successful.

Gross to see how many supporters Fred and Serena had after his "God rewarded us" moralizing.

I bet the actress is loving all of this, but yes, Janine is the heart rending face of what Gilead really is.  I hope her teflon armor protects her and keeps her on our screens!

It was a relatively small crowd, but, as icky as it was?  It makes sense to me.  Religious fanatics are everywhere, they don't stop at borders.  Serena had millions of fans, and apparently, even after everything?  She still has some.

Speaking of Serena, she was soaking that in!  Until that moment, she was playing with Fred, both as a survival tool for her, and I think to manipulate him for Tuello to buy her freedom.  Now though?  She was basking in that "fan" adoration.  She's missed it so much!  The fame, the mass love, the attention.  This may change things up significantly for her!

 

2 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

Like so many episodes, this episode had a lot of good ideas that all came together in a weird kind of way. For a show that wants to be so gritty, there are so many moments that don't seem real at all, like this high profile witness being allowed to just walk around free with only minor security, or the Pro Waterford crown all cheering Fred and Serena. I can buy that some crazy people would be on their side, but the Canadian government doesn't seem dumb enough to just let Fred give speeches to the world on the big screen and let the crazies run loose, and there would have absolutely have been people protested against the Waterfords, like there have been literally every other time the Waterfords have been seen in public. From everything we have seen, the Canadian public have been shown to almost universally hate Gilead and its supporters, but I guess now they have a whole crowd that make signs for them? Not really consistent with anything that has been shown before, but whatever. This show has been putting its big moments and visuals over the actual story for ages now. 

I agree with most of this.  This was a hit and miss episode, and honestly, I had to sleep on it, and look this morning with fresh eyes, and also with the impressions it left amid some of the jumble.  Some I've already put above, but in general?

Two marriages, both adapting/adjusting for survival reasons, both now extremely political in nature, though for mostly different reasons.

The nature of war, being fought on many fronts.  Manipulation via Tuello and the USA, Serena coldly trying to decide her best move, June unwilling to allow Gilead to survive no matter what the cost.

Emotionally, this episode worked for me, I felt all of those goals/desires/needs throughout.  Some of the details/optics didn't work for me though, such as the apparently unguarded Waterfords, the female lawyer, etc.

 

2 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

June looked so pleased with herself getting all the women in the support group to start venting about how pissed off they are, things are going to get pretty awkward back home after June hijacked Moira's group to start building her next army after her last one was run over by a train. I know that her testimony was just about Fred and not Gilead in general, but I feel like her testimony could have had more teeth. In general I wish we saw more Gilead refugees telling their stories about the horrible abuses and murderers they experienced and witnessed in Gilead, there is just so much to choose from. I did think June's testimony was some of Elizabeth Moss's best acting so far this season, especially when she talked about how Fred and Serena drank coffee in the kitchen while she and the Lawrence's were forced to do the ceremony. It felt really visceral, and made me think of poor Mrs. Lawrence.   

I think many, including Luke and Moira, mistakenly believed that getting to safety was June's only goal, after all, that was THEIR only goal.  Of course the whole pie in the sky rescue Hannah thing was there, but I doubt anyone believes that possible anymore.

June's goals have been quite different for months now.  She doesn't care about her own safety, she's seen so much horror, and so much death, and so much torture, she's toughened up enough to know that the only way to stop it all, not just for HER, but for all those left behind in that hell, that Gilead, is to destroy Gilead completely.

Someone most sophisticated or talented might try to write profound books, or articles, but surely, among the many who have escaped, some have tried that.  Some try politics, talking, and they are good at that, government leaders have been trying that for years as well, kinda sorta, they have their own needs as well.

Some are fighting, all over Gilead, former United States citizens fighting to get their country back, to sabotage Gilead, from the Martha's who set those fires that allowed Emily and Nicole to escape, to the Mayday people who smuggle in and out weapons, and bomb makers, to the fighters in Chicago and elsewhere continually keeping Gilead troops fighting and wasting resources.  

That's what June knows, is learning, has decided is her destiny.  Why tell Luke that?  Would he even get it?  

Apparently that is a possible destiny for others as well, Emily, and the other escapees who stayed, over ruling Moira's attempt to disband.  Not everyone is willing to trade safety and personal comfort for the continued torture and hell of those left behind in their country.  

 

2 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

Will Janine ever get a break? Could she please get a break? Honestly the show should have offed Lawrence after he helped June with the escape and Lydia when she lost the last batch of Handmaidens. If Gilead is supposed to be so scary and unforgiving, they should be a lot quicker to kill traitors and screw ups. They just need to learn when characters have outlived their narrative purpose. 

Lawrence is still alive because Gilead is running out of experienced Commanders, Fred captured, many killed by June in that Jezebel's.  In addition, Lawrence was one of the prime economic brains they had to bring Gilead into being.  He's on shaky ground, but they need him.  In addition, with Lydia's help?  He blackmailed other decision makers.

 

2 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

I cant blame Emily for being happy that the woman who got her girlfriend killed and led to her being mutilated killed herself, its certainly not her job to give that woman her forgiveness after what she did to her. June getting the former handmaidens spitting mad is probably not going to end well, being filled with anger isn't exactly healthy, but at the same time telling people not to express anger, even angry violent vengeful thoughts, cant be healthy either. After all of the evil things that the Commanders and the other people who supported Gilead have done, wanting to dream about getting revenge in righteous fury seems pretty natural. Especially when so many of them are still out there murdering and abusing innocent people, a bit of anger can go a long way, as long as its properly channeled and doesn't eat you alive. You don't have to forgive people who hurt you, especially when they have done nothing to earn forgiveness. 

Emily isn't really the forgiving type.  She murdered that wife at the colonies.  She tried to murder Lydia.  Her delighting in having that Aunt who killed someone she loved, and got her mutilated makes perfect sense for this character.

Therapy wasn't working for her because Moira's brand of therapy isn't what Emily needed or wanted.  

 

6 hours ago, Bannon said:

I'm no expert, but if I had been mercilessly tortured by people who still held power and were still engaged in that behavior, and I was in a group therapy session, where the session leader was trying to tell me to reel back my expression of my desire to strike down on my oppressors with great vengeance and furious anger, I'd politely tell the session leader to eff off.  The time for moving on will come when enough m*therf*ckers are put in the ground, or are in small jail cells, and the torture regime is utterly destroyed.

EXACTLY!

Obviously when they refused to disband, that was their polite way of telling Moira her way was not the only way, nor was it helping them.

4 hours ago, AntFTW said:

Watching Janine... get dragged back... to Aunt Lydia... Breaks. My. Heart.

Oh God yes.  

4 hours ago, bettername2come said:

Poor Moira/great acting in the moment where her support group goes off the rails. The scene in the court was good. The crowd outside waiting for the Waterfords threw me off, not so much because they were supportive of them, but because they seemed way too happy and cheerful and their signs had words that seemed way too sane comparatively for them to be supporting these two and/or Gilead in general. 

Great acting all around.

I'd like to mention Serena's subtle basking in being famous again with that crowd cheering her.  Well done.

2 hours ago, greekmom said:

That's another good point. One thing that i forgot to mention was that I don't think this is SJ trial.  I don't see a lawyer for SJ (just Fred) and June did say she wants: "for the international court to confirm these charges against this man and put him on trial."

She doesn't mention for the international court to confirm the charges against the Waterfords or them.

Good point.

Yay, more to come!

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: off not of and whole not who
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2 hours ago, Baltimore Betty said:

At one point I thought Serena was going to play Fred to get what she wanted as in a lighter sentence but now it seems she is down with helping Fred for real, I agree with June, Serena is a sociopath.

I think Serena is first and foremost about self-preservation.

When they leave the facility, and are about go to into what they believe are a group of protestors, she's pretty cold toward Fred. It isn't until she sees and processes that the crowd isn't protesting but cheering for them instead, she embraces Fred's hand. I think that is because "self-preservation" in that moment was being a united front with Fred. These are people that agree with Fred's position and friends to the "Gilead cause", and therefore she has to put herself under that umbrella (by grabbing Fred's hand) so that she's perceived in the same light.

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1 hour ago, AntFTW said:

I think Serena is first and foremost about self-preservation.

When they leave the facility, and are about go to into what they believe are a group of protestors, she's pretty cold toward Fred. It isn't until she sees and processes that the crowd isn't protesting but cheering for them instead, she embraces Fred's hand. I think that is because "self-preservation" in that moment was being a united front with Fred. These are people that agree with Fred's position and friends to the "Gilead cause", and therefore she has to put herself under that umbrella (by grabbing Fred's hand) so that she's perceived in the same light.

She was soaking in all that adoration and applause.  She was LOVING it, and if that meant holding that fool Fred's hand?  She would do that, anything to keep that long-missed applause happening for a few minutes more.

Serena's fame/fans switch was flipped on again.  I doubt she'll want to let that end.  SO, what will she do next to keep that applause coming?

Remember, of anyone left standing after Gilead became a reality?  SHE was the famous one, and in a flash, all power, all fame, every single thing about her was poof!  Gone!  

For a few minutes outside of that courthouse?  She got it back.  I suspect she'll start writing again now, but maybe it will be even more than that?

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Lawrence saying that the new Handmaids have known it for "half their lives." So, what, they're all 10 (at most)? 

I think part of the makeup choices for Alexis Bledel is a psychological, 4th wall nod to her stint on The Gilmore Girls. Many of us remember a young, fresh, beautiful Rory. You didn't get more All American Independent, Intelligent Girl than that. Seeing her beaten down by Gilead...😥

Aunt Lydia's love for Janine (which, IMO, is probably real for her) makes it one of the most interesting and fucked up relationships on TV. I'm fascinated by it. Janine is Lydia's humanity-whatever of it is left. 

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28 minutes ago, mamadrama said:

Lawrence saying that the new Handmaids have known it for "half their lives." So, what, they're all 10 (at most)? 

I think part of the makeup choices for Alexis Bledel is a psychological, 4th wall nod to her stint on The Gilmore Girls. Many of us remember a young, fresh, beautiful Rory. You didn't get more All American Independent, Intelligent Girl than that. Seeing her beaten down by Gilead...😥

Aunt Lydia's love for Janine (which, IMO, is probably real for her) makes it one of the most interesting and fucked up relationships on TV. I'm fascinated by it. Janine is Lydia's humanity-whatever of it is left. 

Oh, Lydia is a really well constructed villain, and a helluva lot more interesting than Serena, who really is pretty tedious, as sociopaths tend to be. I'm all for more Lydia, and less Serena.

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30 minutes ago, mamadrama said:

Lawrence saying that the new Handmaids have known it for "half their lives." So, what, they're all 10 (at most)? 

I think part of the makeup choices for Alexis Bledel is a psychological, 4th wall nod to her stint on The Gilmore Girls. Many of us remember a young, fresh, beautiful Rory. You didn't get more All American Independent, Intelligent Girl than that. Seeing her beaten down by Gilead...😥

Aunt Lydia's love for Janine (which, IMO, is probably real for her) makes it one of the most interesting and fucked up relationships on TV. I'm fascinated by it. Janine is Lydia's humanity-whatever of it is left. 

Great points Mamadrama.

Do you think Janine represents the girl that we saw in the flashback with Lydia when she was a teacher? The one that she was trying to save?

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1 minute ago, greekmom said:

Great points Mamadrama.

Do you think Janine represents the girl that we saw in the flashback with Lydia when she was a teacher? The one that she was trying to save?

Yeah, I think shes definitely a surrogate for that student's mother. I think part of her feels betrayed (she blames her for a variety of things, like falling for a man and loosening her "morals" by getting her to wear makeup) but maybe even guilty for what happened, too, so she wants to "save" Janine from becoming the disappointment the mother was for Lydia. 

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1 hour ago, mamadrama said:

Lawrence saying that the new Handmaids have known it for "half their lives." So, what, they're all 10 (at most)? 

I think part of the makeup choices for Alexis Bledel is a psychological, 4th wall nod to her stint on The Gilmore Girls. Many of us remember a young, fresh, beautiful Rory. You didn't get more All American Independent, Intelligent Girl than that. Seeing her beaten down by Gilead...😥

Aunt Lydia's love for Janine (which, IMO, is probably real for her) makes it one of the most interesting and fucked up relationships on TV. I'm fascinated by it. Janine is Lydia's humanity-whatever of it is left. 

I'm trying to figure out how long Gilead's been around in this show.

I think the best bet is to go by Hannah (but...perhaps not?) 

Hannah was played by Jordana Blake, this season anyway, born in 2011.  So that makes the actress 10 years old.  I thought she was older, maybe playing older?Holy crap, I think she played Hannah in season one as well?  That premiered in 2017, so she would have been 6.

June had to be there more than 4 years though, right?  Now I'm all confused.

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17 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

I'm trying to figure out how long Gilead's been around in this show.

I think the best bet is to go by Hannah (but...perhaps not?) 

Hannah was played by Jordana Blake, this season anyway, born in 2011.  So that makes the actress 10 years old.  I thought she was older, maybe playing older?Holy crap, I think she played Hannah in season one as well?  That premiered in 2017, so she would have been 6.

June had to be there more than 4 years though, right?  Now I'm all confused.

In court June said that she was placed with the Waterfords in 2017.

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2 minutes ago, mamadrama said:

In court June said that she was placed with the Waterfords in 2017.

On the show wasn't that her 2nd or 3rd placement?

How long are the placements?  How long was the "training?"  For that matter, what year is it now in Gilead?  🤔

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