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EC Amber

Commander Waterford and his ilk

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Thought this would be a good place to discuss the character as well as the role of "Commander" in the show. Hoping there's more than "F*$& those f*$*%ng raping f*$%" which, while totally understandable, only gets us so far. 

I posted this because I had a line of thought that I wanted to throw around a little bit. I was thinking of the scene in the first episode regarding the procreative events between he as Offred, how he cleaned himself and then gave a quick exit. 

You think he smiled when he was out of the room or did he really think he just committed "the Lord's work"? 

But then I wondered about all the other Commanders... how likely would some of them use that act to further humiliate their wives? 

At this point in the show (waiting for episode four) we have seen and heard very little from Comd Waterford. To be perfectly fair his perfunctory clean-up and quick disappearance made me feel he at least had enough of a sense of decorum to leave as fast as he could. I suppose that is something to say. Still, what good and admirable qualities does this man really have? What about his peers? Looking forward to seeing how his role develops and hoping we get to see other Comd's as we have their wives. If only to have a hope of finding some quality or aspect more human and less monstrous. 

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I don't need to spoiler tag stuff from episode 4, do I?  I'm not even sure how to do that.  We do get to see more of him this week and how he interacts with both Serena and June.  It seems pretty clear he knows this is all a pile of BS but he's going along with it because, hey, power!  He's also more powerful in Gilead based on what he said this week than I realized.  I'm wondering what the command structure actually is.  I thought in the book the commanders were the soldiers leading the fight where as here they seem to be the people running the government.  Still, there must be some kind of ranking we aren't privy to.

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7 minutes ago, Shaynaa said:

It seems pretty clear he knows this is all a pile of BS but he's going along with it because, hey, power!

He did not get to a position of power by accident. He must have been one of the chief orchestrators of Gilead.

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3 minutes ago, chocolatine said:

He did not get to a position of power by accident. He must have been one of the chief orchestrators of Gilead.

That seems quite likely.  I just don't believe he buys fully into the crap.  He believes it to a certain extent but he has no issues with repeatedly breaking the rules when it suits him. 

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I was thinking a lot of the men must've been in some sort of church hierarchy resembling the Duggar family's Gothardism, but in the show's case, it would be an oligarchy instead (Gothard is the head of Gothardism, I think the show would have a group instead of one individual). At the very least, they had to have some higher ups in the government. Maybe congressmen? Plant some fellas in the secret service?  I'm really interested in how exactly they were able to topple the government of the US. I know some characters talked about blaming terrorism and using the fertility crisis, but then what did they do? How exactly did they use those to their advantage?

I also want to know how the Commander is so high up when he is relatively young. He must be very good at business in order to be working on the trades with Mexico.

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What I'm curious about is this: are there *any* Commanders that are part of the resistance. How high up does that go? Being limited solely to Offred's POV in the book and only a slightly larger world in the show we really have no idea how the structure was designed - though there are some interesting hints (the court scene still reflected American court proceedings more than the biblical system of "town fathers" who people who bring their grievances to). 

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A bit of insight from "A Woman's Place" - I think the Commander's idea about love stems from seeing his wife diminish in his eyes. Sure, he loves how she submits to him - but he loves that in all women. What got him excited (and we saw it twice) was when she exercised a semblance of power, when she used that sharp mind of hers to propel the growing leadership that would be the leaders of Gilead and again when she created a powerful bit of show for the Ambassador. I suspect he genuinely loves her, but ironically only when she is being what both claim they don't want for women. 

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Anyone else think that despite being the villain of the piece the Joseph Fiennes has become quite the heartthrob? In the book the Commander and his wife are both elderly, like Jacob in the biblical parable. In the movie he was more of a fatherly figure as played by Robert Duvall and his wife Faye Dunaway a fading beauty who resented Offred accordingly. But this series portrays him as young and handsome and a lot of women I've spoken to seem quite sweet on him?

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I've been crazy about Joseph Fiennes since SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. Back in the late 1990s, I even flew to England to see him in a stage production. (He originated the role that Daniel played in THE WOMAN IN BLACK. It's a phenomenal play.) I think he's dreamy. 

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He rocked that full set beard before it became fashionable! It's funny I used to be a big fan of Buffy/Xena and the amount of women who fancied Ares/Spike/Angelus even though they were evil was amazing. 

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On 5/18/2017 at 2:01 PM, EC Amber said:

A bit of insight from "A Woman's Place" - I think the Commander's idea about love stems from seeing his wife diminish in his eyes. Sure, he loves how she submits to him - but he loves that in all women. What got him excited (and we saw it twice) was when she exercised a semblance of power, when she used that sharp mind of hers to propel the growing leadership that would be the leaders of Gilead and again when she created a powerful bit of show for the Ambassador. I suspect he genuinely loves her, but ironically only when she is being what both claim they don't want for women. 

Agreed. Fred is far from the first man to claim he wants a "traditional" woman, gets her, and then finds her a big bore. So he turns to a more free-spirited mistress. 

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On 10/29/2017 at 1:47 AM, Joe Hellandback said:

Anyone else think that despite being the villain of the piece the Joseph Fiennes has become quite the heartthrob? 

I'm having exactly the opposite experience. The Commander is so repugnant and Fiennes plays him so well that he (Fiennes) now turns my stomach even out of character. 

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On 5/10/2018 at 11:58 AM, Pachengala said:

I'm having exactly the opposite experience. The Commander is so repugnant and Fiennes plays him so well that he (Fiennes) now turns my stomach even out of character. 

Exactly. Same.

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So I forget small details...the Commander knows this baby is not his?  Or does he think it is his?  

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He knows it's not his, Serena Joy told him at the end of last season.  (I forgot it too.)  He doesn't know, but probably suspects that it's Nick's.  (Honestly, the other choice is that doctor.)

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I’m almost through the first season.

I would hope that they do a backstory for him, as they did fo Serena and also showed a bit of Nick’s back story.

He doesn’t seem like the ring wing militia types in real life.  At least he talks about how Serena should be part of all the decision making.  Wonder what he’d have done if she insisted.  The other commanders showed open disdain for the role of their wives, knew they could make them accept whatever rule or laws the commanders imposed.

Of course the three commanders come up with the Ceremony in the back of that car, talk about optics and branding so that the wives would go along, by making them take part.  I guess part of the appeal is to humiliate their wives or gaslight them by being in the room.  

They obviously didn’t anticipate the resentment it would breed among the wives but also probably among the Guardians as they see commanders getting to have sex with the Handmaids and the Jezebels.

in Nicks backstory, he’s recruited for the Sons of Jacob by commander Pryce, who later makes him an Eye, tasked with spying on commanders who break rules.  Some commanders are arrested and stripped of their privileges because the Eyes rat them out for having affairs with their Handmaids outside of the Ceremony.

For it to be plausible that they’d topple the US, some of them would have to be general or at least have a high level military background.  I don’t see them conquering a big city much less a nation of 360 million without having a lot of troops and hardware and slaughtering millions.  

Yet so far little mention of the battles or the massacres, other than Luke seeing those bodies hanging in the church in a little town.  Ok but it would take years to subjugate a city millions.  A conquering army would have to go door to door.  Even if they didn’t meet a lot of armed resistance, it would take years and years to go through all the apartments and offices in all the buildings and skyscrapers of a modern metropolis.  

They wouldn’t be able to corral millions of inhabitants, imprison them, feed them, control them.  Things like the Red Center for non fertile women and men simply wouldn’t scale.

So what happened to hundreds of millions of Americans?

If tens of millions were massacred or died for whatever reasons, that gloom would hang over Gilead.  

In any event, they haven’t shown that the commanders are capable of plotting and executing the overthrow, then running this society, unless it’s a fraction of the size of America, a couple of million at most rather than hundreds of millions.

Why would the Guardians and Eyes, who appear to be where the commanders derive power and control, be loyal to them?  

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I keep forgetting about this thread, heh. 

I will post my thoughts about Lawrence in general here so I don’t overwhelm the episode threads. 

In regards to te TV Guide interview I posted in the Media thread and the intelligence discussion:

What especially stood out to me was Bradley comparing Lawrence to “Robert McNamara”. That is not a name I hear brought up a lot, but it really fits. A man with a plan that just happened to come with a price tag of over 3 million lives and the life changing affects are still being felt today by so many. 

For me, intelligence is the ability to apply critical thinking to a situation, someone who can display a useful skill of some kind, mastering a task, or the ability to function independently of others, not so much a mere follower but they show leadership qualities, independent thinkers who don’t merely fall in line with everyone else. They can challenge conventional thinking and behavior. 

I do think intelligence can be measured in behavioral ways, in ways of comparison of one outcome against another, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to even have terms like “genius”  or “savant” or even “smart”. We usually have a measuring stick of some kind to go by one way or another.

I am not going to say Lawrence gives me Einstein or Hawking vibes at all, but compared against a guy like Fred? I would have no problem assuming that Lawrence is the smarter of the two. 

And personally I think a lot of so called intelligent people are often huge assholes. They’re smug and arrogant and believe they’re better than someone else, than everyone, and that somehow gives them the right to interfere in the lives of others, to control them and manipulate them as they see fit. Life is a game to them, like some chess board where they’re always moving pieces around. I think that’s how we end up with those like Lawrence, they’ve long existed throughout human history. 

Someone who isn’t your typical, run of the mill worker bee in society, but they seek to run society themselves. It isn’t that they’re truly qualified, but they feel they are, they think everyone around them is incompetent or inept and dumb. And so then they go looking to build a a team that will help them execute their grand scheme and curtail society as they see fit.

I don’t think Lawrence is the most brilliantly written character by far, but I think he is realistic enough to believe in this setting, especially as an American. His behavior and beliefs and moral system do make sense to me because we have seen men like him before in our own reality. Some even currently exist in government as I type, imho (Pence). 

That’s why I liked his comparison to Robert much more than Trump. It’s one thing to get lucky and have people side with you, but when you are one of the key organizers, originators, creators of something to such a degree you can actually affect world order? That’s a very particular group to be apart of. 

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