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ElectricBoogaloo

S04.E08: Testimony

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On 6/2/2021 at 1:14 AM, chocolatine said:

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.

I've lived in Canada all my life yet have never heard of or seen religious fanatics picketing in favour of rapists and kidnappers who claim to do the Lord's work. That part of the show was jarring for me and took me out of the story.

There was so much more June could have said while she was testifying - the mutiliations, the cattle prods, the hangings, etc and when she said "they" cut off Serena's finger, did she not know or not remember it was Fred who did that? I seem to recall she did.

I am over and done with Luke. Now June, the person who has been to hell and back and suffering PTSD, has to prop up the weepy whiner? God, he's useless and annoys me greatly. It's a good thing he hauled ass out of Gilead PDQ. He never would have made it there.

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15 minutes ago, AngelaHunter said:

I've lived in Canada all my life yet have never heard of or seen religious fanatics picketing in favour of rapists and kidnappers who claim to do the Lord's work.

There's always a first time! :D

The first time I ever heard an adult casually refer to black people with the n-word - not on tv -was in a small town outside of Calgary in the early 2000's and I was genuinely shocked since I'd been to Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia many times and saw Canada as a liberal bastion but apparently there is a "flyover" part of Canada that it happens in.

That said, I doubt they'd make it to Toronto for a protest so your point remains.

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Besides the possibility that Serena still has some fans in Canada from her pre-Gilead days -- who support the back to the home + pro-environment message and probably chalk up the negative info as lies -- the best analogy I could come up with for the Waterford supporters is the tankies of social media. There are unironic fans of regimes like North Korea's out there on Twitter, who will praise the government and everything they believe it's done for economic justice and a clean environment, claim anything bad said by refugees is Western propaganda, etc., etc.

These same kids will absolutely never attempt to set foot near North Korea (or any other oppressive regime they may support on social media), much like the Canadian Gilead ubers are perfectly content to remain on Canadian soil.

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44 minutes ago, EllaWycliffe said:

There's always a first time! :D

Yeah, you never know. I cannot imagine it but that's not saying it could never happen.

45 minutes ago, EllaWycliffe said:

The first time I ever heard an adult casually refer to black people with the n-word - not on tv -was in a small town outside of Calgary in the early 2000's and I was genuinely shocked

Oh, those cowboys out there don't like us Easterners either!

I'm really finding Aunt Lydia to be one of the most compelling characters lately as she seems to be veering more and more off the rails into BSC territory. Her relief at learning she wasn't being fired was palpable and very well acted. I was tense when she was hugging Janine, fully expecting some brutality to follow.

What DOES happen to Aunts if they lose their positions or can no longer work?  Maybe it's been mentioned but I have no memory of it.

 

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On 6/4/2021 at 7:36 PM, SourK said:

Here's what I'm confused about: if they're that young, and they were raised in Gilead, and they basically follow the rules... why are they Handmaids? Why aren't they being married off to creeps? What is the rule Gilead's using to decide who becomes a Handmaid, now, if the justification that it's because of what they did pre-Gilead is gone?

status maybe?? daughters of the commanders go to be wives and lower class females are handmaids?

16 hours ago, AngelaHunter said:

I've lived in Canada all my life yet have never heard of or seen religious fanatics picketing in favour of rapists and kidnappers who claim to do the Lord's work. That part of the show was jarring for me and took me out of the story.

 

It was weird to me too... if they supported Gilead... then why aren't they living in Gilead? seems like they would take whomever they can get. 

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3 hours ago, Dmarie019 said:

status maybe?? daughters of the commanders go to be wives and lower class females are handmaids?

It was weird to me too... if they supported Gilead... then why aren't they living in Gilead? seems like they would take whomever they can get. 

They may support some of Gilead‘s ideals, but don’t want to live in a war zone.

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It's the same reason that female leaders of the stay at home/complementarian movement don't stay at home and instead spend all their time on speaking tours and writing books, etc. They are in favor of it for others but think they are the exception to the rule. Everything we have seen of Serena screams of this attitude. She loved her role in speaking engagements etc but when Gilead prevailed and the men started implementing their proscribed roles for women she was unhappy and powerless. She wanted to be at the head, and instead she was just another stay at home wife with no say in anything at all. Fine for other women, but not for Serena.

So people protest and are all fans of the theory of the thing but don't want to actually live it when it comes down to it. In the sixties there was a thing I likened to comparing apples to oranges with regarding to political systems. Folks would compare the written intentions and constitutions of communist dictatorships to life as they live it in the US or other democracies and find the democracies wanting. But life as lived in the communist countries was dire if they bothered to look at it clearly but they were all caught up in what 'should be' and not in 'what is'. Those protesters probably loved what Serena wrote and spoke of in theory. They would not be so enamored if they had to live it like she did. Well, the women anyway. The men might like it, if they were among the privileged few, which would be unlikely. There's a reason they need guards to keep people in rather than out.

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10 hours ago, Andyourlittledog2 said:

It's the same reason that female leaders of the stay at home/complementarian movement don't stay at home and instead spend all their time on speaking tours and writing books, etc. They are in favor of it for others but think they are the exception to the rule. Everything we have seen of Serena screams of this attitude. She loved her role in speaking engagements etc but when Gilead prevailed and the men started implementing their proscribed roles for women she was unhappy and powerless. She wanted to be at the head, and instead she was just another stay at home wife with no say in anything at all. Fine for other women, but not for Serena.

So people protest and are all fans of the theory of the thing but don't want to actually live it when it comes down to it. In the sixties there was a thing I likened to comparing apples to oranges with regarding to political systems. Folks would compare the written intentions and constitutions of communist dictatorships to life as they live it in the US or other democracies and find the democracies wanting. But life as lived in the communist countries was dire if they bothered to look at it clearly but they were all caught up in what 'should be' and not in 'what is'. Those protesters probably loved what Serena wrote and spoke of in theory. They would not be so enamored if they had to live it like she did. Well, the women anyway. The men might like it, if they were among the privileged few, which would be unlikely. There's a reason they need guards to keep people in rather than out.

I think this is a good analogy. My reading of Serena is that she actually did want to be a stay-at-home mom and raise a happy family and live out some idyllic version of the past that never existed, but her wanting to do that was predicated on the belief that the men she left in charge of Gilead would make the exact same decisions that she would have, and rule in a way that she considered fair and just.

In reality, she put ultimate power in the hands of people who immediately abused it in ways she hadn't anticipated -- which is the problem with setting up a political system that depends on the kindness and mercy of the person in charge rather than a shared distribution of power.

I don't think she exactly expected to be treated differently from other women, or thought that other women should be treated like garbage -- I think she bought into the idea that a Good Man will cherish his wife and take care of her, etc, etc, and therefore she has no need for legal rights because she's safe with him, and he surely won't do anything to curtail her freedom unnecessarily. And that was mistaken.

The more we talk about it, the more I can buy the idea that the protesters had probably read Serena's books, and might believe that the Handmaids were fertile women who volunteered to help repopulate the earth and the ones who ran away were outliers.

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11 hours ago, SourK said:

My reading of Serena is that she actually did want to be a stay-at-home mom and raise a happy family and live out some idyllic version of the past that never existed, but her wanting to do that was predicated on the belief that the men she left in charge of Gilead would make the exact same decisions that she would have, and rule in a way that she considered fair and just.

Oh, I think she expected to have some power. There was an instance where she thought she'd get to speak at some convening of powerful people, and Fred came out and told her that wasn't going to happen. She's referenced writing her books and asked "how could you take that from me?" She was shocked when they cut off her finger. She thought she'd be the exception and she played herself. (Zero sympathy - in fact, I've enjoyed watching her come to that realization over and over. Her face falling when she got the Pictogram itinerary in Canada? Priceless.)

11 hours ago, SourK said:

I don't think she exactly expected to be treated differently from other women, or thought that other women should be treated like garbage -- I think she bought into the idea that a Good Man will cherish his wife and take care of her, etc, etc, and therefore she has no need for legal rights because she's safe with him, and he surely won't do anything to curtail her freedom unnecessarily. And that was mistaken.

I do think she didn't plan on the "absolute power corrupts absolutely" idea re: Fred - I think she thought he'd take care of her, and he did not.* Again, she was shocked when she was dragged off to have her finger cut off and Fred sat there and did nothing to stop it.

*I bet $5 that Fred's former colleagues aren't checking for him either.

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I thought the Canadians were cheering for Fred and Serena since the desperation to have children was global. They may not have embraced Gilead but were seeing pregnant proof of success. Plus, there are nuts everywhere. 

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1 hour ago, Quickbeam said:

Plus, there are nuts everywhere. 

Exactly, Canada has it's fair share of crazy bastards who believe just about anything. Come to Ottawa and see some of the crazy shit people protest on Parliament Hill. I can't remember when, but I am pretty sure I have seen at least one person in Canada flying the Confederate flag.

Edited by Kel Varnsen
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Just on an aside, isn't it a little weird that all the political stuff seems to happen in Toronto but the national capitol is Ottawa? 

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On 6/6/2021 at 6:08 PM, EllaWycliffe said:

That said, I doubt they'd make it to Toronto for a protest so your point remains.

Don't be so sure.  I was living in San Francisco when we were having same sex marriages performed in 2004. Some friends and I walked over to City Hall to show our support and there were these two maybe 20ish kids, a young man and woman, outside with the handful of anti-marriage equality protesters who were there every day. On the second or third time we walked over, I asked them who they were. Turned out they were from either West Virginia or Kentucky (I don't remember now) and members of a local religious group chapter or KKK (again I don't remember and either way the beliefs espoused were of a piece) and had been sent out to SF to protest. 

I actually felt bad for them.  There were sometimes 0-2 other anti-marriage equality protesters (California does have its crop of nutberger reactionaries) and they were literally surrounded by us rainbow flag waiving NorCal libs.  In any case, the point is that, apparently, whakadoos travel when it means enough to them.

11 hours ago, EllaWycliffe said:

Just on an aside, isn't it a little weird that all the political stuff seems to happen in Toronto but the national capitol is Ottawa? 

I forget that other countries really do centralize such things.  New York is as at least as much the center of international politics as DC is, possibly more.  And the State Supreme Court of California is in SF and not Sacramento.  So having political and legal centers in major cities which are not the capitals is totally not a thing that occurs to me. 

 

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I need Janine to be free.  Away from abusive assholes, sleeping in safety, for seventeen hours.  
June overstepped.  She doesn’t get to decide when someone else confronts one of their abusers.  
of course there would be douchebags cheering on the abusers.  
So, is June going to take over everything now? 

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On 6/2/2021 at 1:14 AM, chocolatine said:

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.

The way that some keep referring to Steven as a rapist is really starting to bother me. I feel it undermines the definition of rape by redefining it as any sex that is unwanted - whether consensual or not. Rape requires that the sex is non-consensual. While Steven is an asshole, it does not rise to the level of non-consent. June initially consented and then changed her mind. There was no coercion to force her to perform. While the consequence  of leaving might be unpleasant, ultimately they left anyway so it was always an option they were willing to take. Most certainly when Janine voluntarily went back to Steven to perform the act, again it was a choice. Rape victims are robbed of choice - either by force, extreme coercion or physical incapacitation. Let’s not diminish their trauma. 

Edited by laprin
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3 hours ago, laprin said:

The way that some keep referring to Steven as a rapist is really starting to bother me. I feel it undermines the definition of rape by redefining it as any sex that is unwanted - whether consensual or not. Rape requires that the sex is non-consensual. While Steven is an asshole, it does not rise to the level of non-consent. June initially consented and then changed her mind. There was no coercion to force her to perform. While the consequence  of leaving might be unpleasant, ultimately they left anyway so it was always an option they were willing to take. Most certainly when Janine voluntarily went back to Steven to perform the act, again it was a choice. Rape victims are robbed of choice - either by force, extreme coercion or physical incapacitation. Let’s not diminish their trauma. 

I definitely think there's some nuance here that's overlooked when turning this into a rape/non-rape issue. 

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2 hours ago, EllaWycliffe said:

I would consider "you can stay if one of you blows me" coercion. But thats just me. 

Are you saying that June had no choice but to stay? Because as I recall she did not perform. Walked away of her own free will and no one came after her because of it. 

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Oh I agree, she was free to walk away. I just still consider it coercion to allow them to stay only if they give blow jobs.

I mean no one got thrown down against their will. But it wasn't an ok proposition... a similar equivalent is 'you'll get the job/promotion if you sleep me'.  Technically if you say no to that  you're not getting raped against your will but you're still being exploited sexually.

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5 hours ago, EllaWycliffe said:

Oh I agree, she was free to walk away. I just still consider it coercion to allow them to stay only if they give blow jobs.

I mean no one got thrown down against their will. But it wasn't an ok proposition... a similar equivalent is 'you'll get the job/promotion if you sleep me'.  Technically if you say no to that  you're not getting raped against your will but you're still being exploited sexually.

Especially since they ostensibly had nowhere else to go and were on the run for their lives.

Edited by Cinnabon
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15 hours ago, EllaWycliffe said:

Oh I agree, she was free to walk away. I just still consider it coercion to allow them to stay only if they give blow jobs.

I mean no one got thrown down against their will. But it wasn't an ok proposition... a similar equivalent is 'you'll get the job/promotion if you sleep me'.  Technically if you say no to that  you're not getting raped against your will but you're still being exploited sexually.

I think having a conversation about "sexual exploitation" is interesting. 

I think what happens in these discussions is that people are hearing different things, often things that aren't actually being said (or thought). Someone says "IMO what happened to X wasn't rape" and what the other person hears is "what happened to X wasn't bad." Then both sides shut down or dig in and the conversation grinds to a halt. 

When sex is a "choice" but the options are between sex or probable death/starvation/torture then is it really a "choice" at all? 

To me, I feel like Steven sexually exploited the women. He took advantage of their sexual servitude in Gilead, and maybe even just the fact that they're women in general, and gave them "choices" that were demeaning and awful. In that way he definitely sexually exploited them. It carries on with the Gilead theme that women are basically just a couple of holes who can sometimes bake bread. 

I do feel like there's a spectrum of awfulness here, though, and the fact that he recognized that June didn't want do it and "let" her walk away puts him a few notches below Fred and Winslow. Yeah, it feels weird to write That sentence but this show goes to weird places. That the women are forced to use sex as a currency is awful. (Makes me wonder what he'd have required if they'd have been men.) 

I can't overlook Janine's feelings in all of this, either. In that moment, regardless of how I feel as a viewer, she as a character felt empowered. She used sex to better their situation and she felt good about it. Yes, it was most likely coming from a place of trauma (some of it pre-Gilead), but in a world where Handmaids have zero say in their bodies (they're even told how and when to bathe) she was able to "choose". They had made the decision to leave and she, without input from June, changed their direction. That was important for Janine as a character. She couldn't organize an angel flight or bomb a bunch of Commanders or run over a Guardian, but THIS she could do. On his part it sucked, but on her part it may have helped her try to regain a sense of power over her body and maybe an attempt to take back the sexuality that everyone else, including the men who gang raped her, tried to take. That's sad and terrible, and clearly homegirl could benefit from some massive levels of therapy, but I don't want to discount her feeling of pride, regardless of how misplaced. 

I see a similarity between the Steven situation and the cell visit from Lydia. Janine's one of the most interesting characters on the show. She's equally strong and vulnerable. Janine's reaction when Lydia hugged her showed a plethora of emotion: fear, nervousness, relief...but never resignation. She takes things as they come and manages to exert her independence and spirit in ways that might be small but are still significant. When she hugged Lydia I saw a play on her face that said "this heifer is fucking insane but at least I'm not in a freezing ass vat of milk getting yelled at by June." Instead of fighting Lydia for just a second she appeared to make the choice of allowing herself to feel a small, but earned, modicum of security. She gave in not because she's weak but because she knew it would earn her a tiny bit of kindness and a change in her current situation.

IMO being sexually exploited is just as "bad" as being sexually assaulted. One isn't preferable or better than the other, just different. 

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On 6/4/2021 at 5:09 PM, EllaWycliffe said:
On 6/4/2021 at 4:59 PM, AntFTW said:

 

An argument can made that the whole Nicole/Moira/Luke/June thing is a little unhealthy for all concerned.

I definitely think baby Nichole is going to come up as a plot point at some point. We’ve already seen that June feels like the odd woman out with Moira and Luke already having a system for raising the baby. June is not in a healthy place to raise the baby. Understandable that she wants to rage out, but still unhealthy. She overstepped with Emily. And then at the end she was like “well let’s hear what Emily has to say”.  Umm, all of a sudden you give a shit?  You didn’t give two fucks before. 

I hope Lawrence is playing Aunt Lydia. I think he struck a cord when he said no one likes her and she enjoys hurting and punishing people. These things are obviously true, but maybe she will want to prove him wrong and give Janine some sort of mercy, whatever that looks like in Gilead. 

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Luke is… normal. Frustratingly so. Annoyingly so. He wants June to be the old June and he lacks patience with what could only be an arduous and long healing process for her. Key in that process is loved ones respecting boundaries by not being where you asked them not to be and recognizing that your testimony in court is never all of it. Moving on is impossible with Hannah still in Gilead anyway. Luke wants Hannah back as much as June, but in his simplicity, would want his little girl, forever altered and never to be the same, back as well. 
 

Moss nailed June’s testimony. I liked how her voice softened when she spoke of becoming pregnant by Nick and of her resulting daughter Nichole. I do think June wanted to say “our daughter” for Nick that second time, but she had to protect him there and everywhere else as much as possible and she did. Softness in her voice gave it away though. 
 

I wonder if the Gilead brass like Nick and Lawrence got audio or a transcript? When Lawrence met with Lydia, I got the sense he had needed a lie down. Nick was surely beside himself too. I do not think he ever knew about the rape to induce labor and hasten his daughter’s arrival.
 

Anyway, Nick and Lawrence are on Front Street in Gilead after the testimony for sure. Loved Lawrence razzing Lydia about it. And, his crack that June “might just wrap that old goat [God] around her finger too” made me laugh out loud. 

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