Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER
Tara Ariano

S01.E06: A Woman's Place

Recommended Posts

Quote

A Mexican Ambassador visiting Gilead questions Offred about her life as a Handmaid. Serena Joy reflects on her marriage and the role she once played in Gilead’s inception.

Share this post


Link to post

I've been looking forward to any scene involving June and the world outside of Gilead. In the book it was Japan which, to my mind, fits better... but hopefully with it being an ambassador we may get some insights to the political climate regarding Gilead that wasn't available in the book.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

Makes me wonder how the powers that be in Gilead will play off all the public hangings/ Mass killings/ secret police hauling people off the street in broad daylight on this State visit. I guess the visit will be highly controlled, but it's not like that Gilead has been secretive about these things, and we know word has been spreading. I hope the Mexican ambassador has his BS detectors set high.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

The preview for this episode looks incredible. Once again Offred/June is being put through sheer hell by those around her, once again having all power and dignity taken away from her even further so she can make a "good impression". 

I must give kudos to the actress who plays Serena Joy because I think she is nailing the character frankly as every single time I see her and she says more than two words on screen I want to snatch her by the hair.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
On 5/12/2017 at 7:42 PM, AnswersWanted said:

I must give kudos to the actress who plays Serena Joy because I think she is nailing the character frankly as every single time I see her and she says more than two words on screen I want to snatch her by the hair.

She's doing a great job. Especially in Late where you could see her subconsciously acknowledge the wrongness of the world she helped create while also doubling down on it. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of how she was an architect of this hell and how she is a lot to blame for the hell she has brought on herself and others. Also, rightly or wrongly, I'm always doubly impressed with an actor who can work so well while also working in a convincing accent. It's a talent not a lot of people have but Strahovski certainly does, imo.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post

I'm going to assume that the Mexican Ambassador will be a woman because it will be a much more effective plot point. Having June and Serena face to face with a free woman of power and influence will be far more unsettling to both of them. And from the Mexican/international point of view it make the most sense for intelligence gathering. A woman is more likely to see through any insistence from the Wives and Handmaids that their new lives are just great both because she'll be less likely to be swayed by any deep rooted feelings of male privilege and because her unsettling effect on the women she meets will make it harder for them to lie. And while it may not be made explicit in the series there is no way that this ambassador won't have a background as an agent of CISEN. It's not uncommon for ambassadors to have a background in espionage and for a country like Mexico, sharing a border with a dangerous, potentially belligerent, highly militarised neighbour, it would be gross negligence to not send an ambassador/spy. Someone like a female, lower profile, Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza is exactly who they'd be sending.

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post

Well, that was one intense hour. I was so afraid June was going choke or loose it at any moment.

I'm really confused about the status of world wide fertility now. I was under the impression that the worst of it was confined to America now Gilead, but according to the Ambassador it is very bad in Mexico, as well. My question is how is it that Mexico doesn't have enough of their own fertile females and males? One would think they had at least as many (proven) fertile bodies as Gilead. What about various fertility treatments, do none of them work? And would the Mexican government really want to risk basically engaging in a slave trade with a nation that (according to what I thought I remember hearing) is under sanctions by the UN? What the hell is going on the rest of the world, that any semi-sane country would even consider this?! I feel like a need a supplemental for some of the details we are getting from episode to episode.

I'm also confused about Serena Joy's pre-Gilead "domestic feminism". Unless I missed her entire manifesto, it didn't make sense. She wanted  traditional, back to basics roles for women but she wanted woman to have real power as well? In what universe did she think that would work? I don't feel one bit more sympathetic to her. She can hang with that awful, disgusting rapist of a husband of hers when Gilead falls and the War Crimes trials start. I have rarely felt less sympathy for an admittedly not totally evil character.

So was the Handmaiden that was giving all the goods to June the new Ofglen? I wasn't 100% sure, but if it was her I wonder why she is so keen to learn all this info when just an episode ago she was fine with the status quo. If I was June I'd be worry to trust her, she seems two-faced.

Man, June's moment of truth with the Ambassador at the end, I was terrified for her. And, as both my husband and I were trying to tell her through our tv, the Ambassador only cared about her bottom line. But awesome that the Ambassador's right hand man was not playing that bullshit. And holy crap at Luke being alive, at large, and assumingly underground. I can't wait to see how all this plays out.

  • Like 20

Share this post


Link to post

Well, was not expecting that ending.  How does the Ambassador's assistant even know who Luke is?  Is this guy part of whatever the Mexican version of the CIA is?  The fact they want to trade the handmaids is disturbing and I really didn't think the show could still surprise me like that.  I guess fertile women really are a rarity world wide.

June really should consider what she says in front of Nick, considering he's an Eye.  Or does she really not care at this point?  She really was unraveling here.

Serena and Fred discussing plans for a terrorist attack in a crowded movie theater was dumb.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post

This show is so amazing, just visually stunning, and emotionally devastating, and it has the endless tension that The Americans used to have, and lost this season.  Holy crap this was good.

Washing the blood off the wall was great cinematography and the action/dialogue on screen was just as good.

So, we are leaving the book behind, and in most ways I am thrilled, we finally get to see more of the story.

I adored watching the earlier Serena Joy.  Talk about Karma!  I didn't think it was possible to hate the Commander more after last week, but I do.  The Commander, skinny little dweeb that he is, is so evil and threatening, he's perfect for this role, in spite of my earlier doubts, though honestly, it's so well written, I think several actors could have nailed it too.  It's hard to say.

If Moss doesn't get an Emmy for this, she won't just be robbed, it's beyond that now.  The moment the Mexican Ambassador asked if she was happy.  Her pulling herself together to suck up to the Commander and ask to stay.  I knew she was talented, but damn.  She's amazing. 

I'm really starting to love crazy Janine. 

How pitiful that the women they scarred and damaged weren't good enough for the "party."  Loved seeing the Aunt ordered around for a change.

Edited by Umbelina
  • Like 23

Share this post


Link to post

This is six degrees of Elizabeth Moss. The Ambassador's man was in The Bridge, a series I've started watching recently. The Bridge also stars Thomas M Wright who was the boyfriend in EM's Top of the Lake. And Alexis Bledel (original OfGlen) was in Mad Men.

While Serena's back story was interesting, it's not likely to inspire much sympathy. She was literally the architect of her own downfall.

If June's husband is alive, she can't be having a baby and contemplating running away with Nick.

I'm less happy with the deviation from the book.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Not that I've ever had sympathy for Serena Joy before, but her shit-eating grin and "praise be" after hubby told her about the planned attacks to kill the president and all of congress sealed it for me that she's irredeemable just like he is. 

1 hour ago, HeySandyStrange said:

So was the Handmaiden that was giving all the goods to June the new Ofglen? I wasn't 100% sure, but if it was her I wonder why she is so keen to learn all this info when just an episode ago she was fine with the status quo. If I was June I'd be worry to trust her, she seems two-faced.

No, that was a different Handmaid, Janine's shopping partner. She's the one who told Offred about seeing something on the news a few episodes ago, before she caught herself and remembered that watching the news was "illegal" for Handmaids.

There was a throw-away scene that made my blood boil, as Offred was waiting outside the living room with Nick, the Commander opened the door and told Nick to "bring her in", as if she wasn't standing right there and perfectly capable of walking herself in. But she's property and not a person to him, so she didn't even warrant a personal invitation to come in.

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post

So was that dude with the Ambassador an assistant?  I kept thinking he was her husband.  (!)

Obviously he's a member of Mayday, there is no way he could know her name unless Nick told him.  Even with that though, a first name, June, how could he possibly connect her to Luke?  Did June ever mention Luke to Nick? 

The book never definitely said

Spoiler

Luke was dead, though useless as he was, I was sort of hoping he'd died. 

I don't know if I need to tag that or not.  Oh well.

Whomever the Mexican guy was, he sure has excellent intelligence, unless Nick somehow knew Luke, and when they spoke arranged for the message.

They really had to go off book by now, they've almost covered most of it, except for three large things to come.  So far, I'm happy with that part of things, I've wanted to know more for 32 years now.

The Ambassador nailed her role too, and kudos to the person that guessed she would be a she.

Edited by Umbelina
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Quote

Obviously he's a member of Mayday, there is no way he could know her name unless Nick told him

 

The aunts who "train" the girls know their names and it's clear that they work for the Regime and even partner with the Eyes as we saw earlier when Aunt Lydia and that jerk paid June a visit to "discuss" Emily, and I am fairly certain that the Commanders and their Wives probably are aware of who these ladies truly are but they go along with the law as everyone else.

I would not think it'd be a big secret with those in power what the girls real names are, they just choose not to use them however especially when addressing the girls directly. So just because Nick didn't know her real name, or at least he presented it that way, that doesn't mean other higher ranking "Eyes "would not be well aware of June's life before.

In fact, what better trap to snare her with? To pretend to be someone trying to help, trying to save her, just so they can weed out the "troublesome" ones who would fight for the resistance, who would, if given the chance, run and never look back and tell the world their story just as June laid out on the table with the Ambassador.

I would not be surprised if they had files on them, listing names, DOBs, their past families, their past children or at least successful fertility tests that they use to even qualify them for a position as a Handmaid.

It isn't that very few know the girls real names, it's that the Regime has made it were they are restricted from having their separate identities on purpose, to hammer home that they are no longer individuals or people but mere property.

It's been made fairly clear that "Eyes" are spies, so I don't think they are above using plenty of underhanded and devious tactics to find their targets.

 But I actually do hope this guy is a "good guy" and he is telling her the truth. The girl needs something good to happen otherwise she is going to snap, crackle, and pop.

 

Quote

There was a throw-away scene that made my blood boil, as Offred was waiting outside the living room with Nick, the Commander opened the door and told Nick to "bring her in", as if she wasn't standing right there and perfectly capable of walking herself in. But she's property and not a person to him, so she didn't even warrant a personal invitation to come in.

 

I felt the same way about this scene and when the "damaged" Handmaids were sent home from the party so that they would not be a blight on the evening in the eyes of that wicked witch Serena Joy.

To see those girls whom she was perfectly fine knowing had been maimed and mutilated because of what she did, because of her grand scheme that took their rights away, that encased them in a cage of immense suffering, and for her to single them out for having lost limbs, eyes, being slashed, burned, etc, it was sickening.

They weren't really "girls" to her but necessary hunks of meats that she only wanted the choice cuts from.

When Aunt Lydia is actually trying to stand up for her torture victims because even she can't remain silent while such an injustice occurs, that is really saying something.

  • Like 19

Share this post


Link to post

But he didn't need to snare her, she's already confessed her true feelings AND asked for help.  All he had to do was tell the Commander what she said.

I agree it could be a dangerous trap, everything there can, but in this case?  I think he was telling the truth.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

But he didn't need to snare her, she's already confessed her true feelings AND asked for help.  All he had to do was tell the Commander what she said.

I agree it could be a dangerous trap, everything there can, but in this case?  I think he was telling the truth.

 

That was my only point, that he could be on her side or he might just be an agent for the Regime, it is really hard to tell because, as usual, he is a man and Offred seems to strike out more often than not when she comes across one in Gilead.

I think it helps that he does seem to be a foreigner and one would hope (desperately) that the Gilead Regime has not yet infiltrated other countries, but again since they seem to be one of the few power groups with "walking wombs" who knows.

I will probably say this a few times more but I just have a hard time trusting anyone in Gilead with a penis heh. Though it isn't as if a good number of the opposite sex aren't just as sleazy and slimy and dangerous (looking at you Serena Joy...).

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post

Honestly this was the weakest episode so far for me. Only the twist at the very end redeemed it. Discussing the terror plot in the movie theater was corny, as was the idea that Mexico evidently has no fertile women at all and would be trading for handmaids. (And, why would Gilead be trying to trade away their handmaids, since they're still having so few healthy babies?)

From a technical point of view, I think they are over-using some of the tricks for dramatic effect. Long scenes where no one talks, filters, tight close-ups on someone's face having a range of emotion. I don't need to be quite so bashed over the head with the dramatic-ness of it all. The movie theater scene also annoyed me this week. I had the brightness on my screen turned up all the way and I still could barely see anything.

Spoiler

The next episode looks like it's going to be kind of Lucas-heavy. So, probably more departures from the book. I don't particularly mind that; I'll be interested to see how they handle it.

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post

I had some issues with this episode mainly because of two reasons:

 

1.  They literally move all of the stuff out of the bathroom so these women don't kill themselves and last week one handmaiden drove into a guard and killed him in the town square but they trust them to advocate this new life to foreigners...this seems BEYOND dumb...if you have to have people everywhere to keep them from escaping...this just seems to be a foolhardy move

 

2.  Why are the handmaiden's cleaning the blood off the side of the building...these seems adverse to their actual purpose...having children...first there are sanitary issues from blood clean up.....

  • Like 19

Share this post


Link to post

This show kicks my ass. 

I have to say that I, like June (it's still so weird to know her name), did not see the human trade thing coming. I thought it was weird that the Mexican official was in such awe of the kids, like, "Really? You'll trade because the kids are cute?" so then it made sense. I REALLY hope we get a better explanation of where the fertility problems are worse, if they're world-wide, etc.

I am not sure how I feel about Luke being alive. I guess it's giving the show roots to grow, so I hope it's done well. It kind of makes me feel awful for June because she was actually experiencing pleasure, and now I worry she'll feel guilt. And I don't want any eventual fist fight between Luke and Nick. Please no. 

My biggest surprise is how freaking disgusting Joseph Feinnes can manage to be. I have always thought he was pretty hot, but he seriously makes me want to vomit. The foreplay prayers cracked me up, though. I know showing the "before" of both Commander and the Mrs. should make me feel a little sympathy for them, but yeah, no. They disgust me, and remind me so much of the squawking heads you see on the 24-hour news channels today. Great performances by both actors. 

Elizabeth moss is killing it and killing me. She's been good in many things, but I really think this is going to be her Rubber Soul. She's really at her best and she (and Alexis Bledel) can make me cry with literally a blink. 

So pleased with this show. It's not perfect, but it's really well done. It would have broken my heart otherwise. I've been waiting to find out what happened to Offred for like, 25 years. :)

  • Like 20

Share this post


Link to post
5 hours ago, dmc said:

I had some issues with this episode mainly because of two reasons:

 

1.  They literally move all of the stuff out of the bathroom so these women don't kill themselves and last week one handmaiden drove into a guard and killed him in the town square but they trust them to advocate this new life to foreigners...this seems BEYOND dumb...if you have to have people everywhere to keep them from escaping...this just seems to be a foolhardy move

 

2.  Why are the handmaiden's cleaning the blood off the side of the building...these seems adverse to their actual purpose...having children...first there are sanitary issues from blood clean up.....

1.  I think they show explained that well.  Gilead really NEEDS trade relationships with other countries in order to thrive or just survive economically.  Mexico seems to be the first possible bite.  If they establish that, they may gain ground with other countries.  The Handmaids are well controlled, terrified with their very lives at stake, or eyes, or a hand, or feet, or simply beatings and cattle prods.  June speaking out wasn't at the party, it was in private, at the Commander's house, and I seriously doubt that meeting alone would have been allowed had the Commander been aware of it.  It worked for me.

2.  I agree with this, and thought the same thing.  That seems to be a job for the laborers/men that they've kept around as servants, or, if not them, then the Martha's.  However, I don't care because that whole segment was so visually stunning, and it's an easy fan-wank for me that they used the Handmaid's right before the party to remind them of where they will end up if they misbehave.  Dead or bloodied, or with their skin falling off from nuclear waste clean up.

About Mexico's birth issues, which were not mentioned in the book--we've departed the book for the most part in this episode BTW.  Anyway, one thing I can suppose from the book about birth problems there which is in no way a book spoiler is that obviously we share a continent.  Other things already mentioned on the show are nuclear power plant issues from earthquakes, (which, hello California, and obvious area where that could be a problem) and it also shares a border with Mexico, so the fallout could have impacted them.  In addition, we all know, and the show mentioned the use of pesticides and herbicides and improper disposal/over use of those things.  Mexico's standards were/are even lower than our own (for now probably not next year) so it makes sense that they might share some of the physical problems.

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
9 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

1.  I think they show explained that well.  Gilead really NEEDS trade relationships with other countries in order to thrive or just survive economically.  Mexico seems to be the first possible bite.  If they establish that, they may gain ground with other countries.  The Handmaids are well controlled, terrified with their very lives at stake, or eyes, or a hand, or feet, or simply beatings and cattle prods.  June speaking out wasn't at the party, it was in private, at the Commander's house, and I seriously doubt that meeting alone would have been allowed had the Commander been aware of it.  It worked for me.

2.  I agree with this, and thought the same thing.  That seems to be a job for the laborers/men that they've kept around as servants, or, if not them, then the Martha's.  However, I don't care because that whole segment was so visually stunning, and it's an easy fan-wank for me that they used the Handmaid's right before the party to remind them of where they will end up if they misbehave.  Dead or bloodied, or with their skin falling off from nuclear waste clean up.

About Mexico's birth issues, which were not mentioned in the book--we've departed the book for the most part in this episode BTW.  Anyway, one thing I can suppose from the book about birth problems there which is in no way a book spoiler is that obviously we share a continent.  Other things already mentioned on the show are nuclear power plant issues from earthquakes, (which, hello California, and obvious area where that could be a problem) and it also shares a border with Mexico, so the fallout could have impacted them.  In addition, we all know, and the show mentioned the use of pesticides and herbicides and improper disposal/over use of those things.  Mexico's standards were/are even lower than our own (for now probably not next year) so it makes sense that they might share some of the physical problems.

1.  One of the handmaidens ran over someone last week after she had to be gender mutilated for disobeying...they don't have them under control. That is why they have all of the eyes...you don't need people watching if you can trust them.  I get that they needed it but the smarter thing to do would be to choose someone like that handmaiden that had it better than before and have her do it.

2.  Back the day, I worked in property management (residents would sometimes die) you actually have to crime scene clean up come when there is something like this...you can't even use a normal cleaning service for blood...they even wear protective gear.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

That was one handmaid though, the rest are still pretty cowed, certainly in public.  I would have screamed bloody murder if one of them staged a protest or acted up during that party, because it would be too ridiculous to be believed.  They are terrified and they have no power or options to escape death/murder/maiming, that's a pretty huge motivator for towing the line.

Again, sending them to clean up the murder wall may have been to remind them of how easily their lives can end.  As for blood, they've done away with science in Gilead.

Except Janine of course, who has completely lost her mind now, and she wasn't there.

Edited by Umbelina
  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
46 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

About Mexico's birth issues, which were not mentioned in the book--we've departed the book for the most part in this episode BTW.  Anyway, one thing I can suppose from the book about birth problems there which is in no way a book spoiler is that obviously we share a continent.  Other things already mentioned on the show are nuclear power plant issues from earthquakes, (which, hello California, and obvious area where that could be a problem) and it also shares a border with Mexico, so the fallout could have impacted them

That all makes sense, I am just surprised that the in show Mexican gov't is so desperate for fertile bodies that they would be willing to engage in a modern day slave trade with a nation that seems to be barely tolerated by the rest of the world. Seems like that would potentially get them blacklisted as well. I'm wondering why the Mexican gov't can't find at least as many fertile bodies as they have in Gilead? I guess I just want to see the other side of the fertility crisis and how NA/the rest of the world are dealing with it. Canada should be suffering as much as Gilead/Mexico, yet they don't seem to have any interest in trade, much less fertility slave trading (that we know of). It makes me more nervous for the Handmaids, that if one country is willing to go to such desperate measures that other countries may follow suit. It is pretty terrifying that in this world that legal slave-trading between 1st world countries could be in the future.

Edited by HeySandyStrange
  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
35 minutes ago, dmc said:

1.  One of the handmaidens ran over someone last week after she had to be gender mutilated for disobeying...they don't have them under control. That is why they have all of the eyes...you don't need people watching if you can trust them.  I get that they needed it but the smarter thing to do would be to choose someone like that handmaiden that had it better than before and have her do it.

2.  Back the day, I worked in property management (residents would sometimes die) you actually have to crime scene clean up come when there is something like this...you can't even use a normal cleaning service for blood...they even wear protective gear.

But it wasn't one before the old Offred killed herself...Janine lost an eye...we saw two other handmaidens on trial with Alexis Bledel...two weeks ago too

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
19 minutes ago, HeySandyStrange said:

That all makes sense, I am just surprised that the in show Mexican gov't is so desperate for fertile bodies that they would be willing to engage in a modern day slave trade with a nation that seems to be barely tolerated by the rest of the world. Seems like that would potentially get them blacklisted as well. I'm wondering why the Mexican gov't can't find at least as many fertile bodies as they have in Gilead?

Mexico is closer to California than New England, so the nuclear disaster(s) that happened there may have affected them more. The ambassador said no child had been born *alive* in her city in six years, not that there were no births at all. Severe/fatal birth defects are a well-known side effect of overexposure to radiation. 

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post

That makes more sense. It's just, wow, that the Mexican gov't is actually considering trading humans with a dangerous, unstable nation like Gilead. It makes me a little disgusted at the Mexican ambassador and those in her government that are contemplating this. Here she was, asking so seriously about what it was truly like to be a Handmaid, yet even after June laid it on the line all she could do was give the woe is us! line about the falling fertility. Yet basically her government is going to do the same damn thing to these women. Maybe not rape them outright, but likely forcibly inseminating them. and maybe they will have a few more freedoms and more respect (big maybe), but it is basically the same damn thing. I am slowly becoming more and more disgusted by not only Gilead, but the whole world of this show. I really hope at some point at least one country, any one, comes out and straight up condemns Gilead and refuses to recognize/cooperate with them. I hope the UN doesn't lift the sanctions.

Also another thought occurred to me. Those attacks on the US gov't that Serena and Fred helped plan were originally attributed to Islamic terrorists, right? If so, I wonder what the possibility will be that those terrorists will declare war on Gilead, especially in the light that the Gilead Government probably executed many Muslims.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Stiggs said:

My biggest surprise is how freaking disgusting Joseph Feinnes can manage to be. I have always thought he was pretty hot, but he seriously makes me want to vomit. The foreplay prayers cracked me up, though. I know showing the "before" of both Commander and the Mrs. should make me feel a little sympathy for them, but yeah, no. They disgust me, and remind me so much of the squawking heads you see on the 24-hour news channels today. Great performances by both actors. 

I thought I would always find Joseph Fiennes hot because of Shakespeare in Love but apparently this role killed my soft spot for him. He is so repulsive to me now. So good job with acting super creepy?

55 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

That was one handmaid though, the rest are still pretty cowed, certainly in public.  I would have screamed bloody murder if one of them staged a protest or acted up during that party, because it would be too ridiculous to be believed.  They are terrified and they have no power or options to escape death/murder/maiming, that's a pretty huge motivator for towing the line.

Again, sending them to clean up the murder wall may have been to remind them of how easily their lives can end.  As for blood, they've done away with science in Gilead.

Except Janine of course, who has completely lost her mind now, and she wasn't there.

I agree. Yes, there have been instances of individual handmaids becoming so desperate that they snap (like Emily), but overall they are obedient enough to do as they're told, from wearing those red outfits and white hats to lying down to be raped every month. Even Jeanine didn't have a fit when she was told she couldn't go to the dinner. She said it wasn't fair but she didn't have a temper tantrum or cause a scene that was noticed by the guests. We are seeing things mostly from Offred's perspective, but even when she breaks the rules she does so quietly and sneakily because she fears what can be done to her. She doesn't want to be beaten, mutilated, or sent to the colonies.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
37 minutes ago, HeySandyStrange said:

That makes more sense. It's just, wow, that the Mexican gov't is actually considering trading humans with a dangerous, unstable nation like Gilead. It makes me a little disgusted at the Mexican ambassador and those in her government that are contemplating this. Here she was, asking so seriously about what it was truly like to be a Handmaid, yet even after June laid it on the line all she could do was give the woe is us! line about the falling fertility. Yet basically her government is going to do the same damn thing to these women. Maybe not rape them outright, but likely forcibly inseminating them. and maybe they will have a few more freedoms and more respect (big maybe), but it is basically the same damn thing. I am slowly becoming more and more disgusted by not only Gilead, but the whole world of this show. I really hope at some point at least one country, any one, comes out and straight up condemns Gilead and refuses to recognize/cooperate with them. I hope the UN doesn't lift the sanctions.

Also another thought occurred to me. Those attacks on the US gov't that Serena and Fred helped plan were originally attributed to Islamic terrorists, right? If so, I wonder what the possibility will be that those terrorists will declare war on Gilead, especially in the light that the Gilead Government probably executed many Muslims.

Why bother attacking Gilead?  They are destroying themselves.  Islamic radicals would hardly care about women being subjugated.  In addition, suspending parts of the constitution was also blamed on terrorists.  Sound familiar?  It sure does to me, the terrorist boogy man is used daily even now to justify our own atrocities, even though far more murders, mass killings, and mayhem is carried out by "deranged" white men.  If they are POC?  No longer "deranged" but instead?  Terrorists!  Immigrants!  Boogy men!  (even if none of that is true)

I see people on Facebook every day now suggesting elimination of the first amendment, and being disgusting about women as well.  It's all happening right now.  Will it lead to a Gilead?  We are getting much too close for comfort.  They laugh about killing protestors and driving over them if they are (legally) in roadways, the hate speech really zoomed up during the Women's March.  Coincidence?  Hell no. 

That Mexican ambassador was wonderful.  She really wanted to believe the Handmaids chose this life.  She didn't at first, but she willingly bought it whole hog, because it suited her agenda.  When Offred told her the truth, I do believe she was devastated that it wasn't as clean and simple and OK as she thought, or as she had convinced herself it could be.

What will happen?  What decision will she make?  Stay tuned!  She may reject it after thinking of it, and look for another solution.  She may try to mitigate some of the issues, use artificial insemination instead of rape, let the handmaids raise their babies as long as they stay in country, end torture, get rid of the outfits, grant more freedoms, allow them to read and work?  Or she may, after really considering what Offred said, and what state Mexico might be in with the rest of the world (boycotted too?) decide, fuck it, I'll find another more humane decision.

Surely there are poor fertile starving women in undeveloped countries that would be relatively happy to have shelter and food and a relatively safe place to live and have kids, especially if they could bring their families with them.  Also, I don't think Mexico has mentioned rejecting intellectuals, doctors, or science, so they would also have that going for them.

Edited by Umbelina
  • Like 20

Share this post


Link to post

Still working my way through this, but thanks show, for planting that image of fundamentalist wackjobs heavy breathing scripture at each as foreplay.   Now I'll never be able to not see that in my head when certain real life personalities are getting all fire and brimstone.

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, HeySandyStrange said:

That all makes sense, I am just surprised that the in show Mexican gov't is so desperate for fertile bodies that they would be willing to engage in a modern day slave trade with a nation that seems to be barely tolerated by the rest of the world. Seems like that would potentially get them blacklisted as well. I'm wondering why the Mexican gov't can't find at least as many fertile bodies as they have in Gilead? I guess I just want to see the other side of the fertility crisis and how NA/the rest of the world are dealing with it. Canada should be suffering as much as Gilead/Mexico, yet they don't seem to have any interest in trade, much less fertility slave trading (that we know of). It makes me more nervous for the Handmaids, that if one country is willing to go to such desperate measures that other countries may follow suit. It is pretty terrifying that in this world that legal slave-trading between 1st world countries could be in the future.

 

And suddenly Gilead has so many babies that it can afford to trade the handmaids away for something else?  

 

42 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

That Mexican ambassador was wonderful.  She really wanted to believe the Handmaids chose this life.  She didn't at first, but she willingly bought it whole hog, because it suited her agenda.  When Offred told her the truth, I do believe she was devastated that it wasn't as clean and simple and OK as she thought, or as she had convinced herself it could be.

What will happen?  What decision will she make?  Stay tuned!  She may reject it after thinking of it, and look for another solution.  She may try to mitigate some of the issues, use artificial insemination instead of rape, let the handmaids raise their babies as long as they stay in country, end torture, get rid of the outfits, grant more freedoms, allow them to read and work?  Or she may, after really considering what Offred said, and what state Mexico might be in with the rest of the world (boycotted too?) decide, fuck it, I'll find another more humane decision.

Surely there are poor fertile starving women in undeveloped countries that would be relatively happy to have shelter and food and a relatively safe place to live and have kids, especially if they could bring their families with them.  Also, I don't think Mexico has mentioned rejecting intellectuals, doctors, or science, so they would also have that going for them.

1

I had the thought too that it might be somewhat more tolerable there is they do things in the way a scientific society that was not delusional would if you need more children.    Match the fertile women up with the studly studs and treat both very well to keep them healthy, etc.  

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Quote

She doesn't want to be beaten, mutilated, or sent to the colonies.

 

In last week's episode when Offred snaps at Serena Joy after she's been forced to have sex with Nick, and Serena Joy turns and walks towards her there's an immediate look of terrified fear on her face and she shrinks back against the wall behind her, immediately uttering a desperate "I am sorry, please forgive me!" as she cowers, afraid she will be backhanded, or worse as usual.

These girls are pumped full of fear of almost everything, but most of all of being "bad little girls", that is how the centers trains them, that is how they are treated by the wives and Commanders, as simple minded children who can be severely, cruelly punished and they need to do all they can not to get in trouble.

When Janine tries to stay at the party, the way Lydia talks to her like some five year old was just so degrading. She would make sure that this brutalized and raped victim would get a whole tray of treats if she went along like a good little girl. And Janine accepted, it was a "good deal" to get such a reward for being good and not making trouble because of course she already knows what happens to those who "fuss". They work to break these girls at every turn, there's no escaping it.

When Serena Joy locked June away in heer room and nearly drove the girl to madness, that has stayed with her, that sort of punishment gets ingrained, imprinted and it all breaks down whatever willpower she might have to resist and disobey.

The Gilead Regime does not seem to care if they ever get Handmaids trustworthy enough that they could let them have real "freedom", they probably don't even think that's possible considering how they seem to think woman are such "devious whores" when left to their own devices.

They rule with fear, with terror, with swift judgement that is both unjust and unimaginable. The Handmaids are well aware they're at the bottom of the totem pole now, their wombs are all that make them worth something.

They are truly subjugated and as Offred/June found out at the end of the episode, there is really no escape for them or help coming because it seems more and more that the desperate need to produce children is taking over the sensibilities of those around them, even from another country.

The Handmaids are the new, desirable resource of "America" and just like we see often happening today, they are sure to be exploited to the fullest and used up until eventually that well runs dry too.

 

Quote

Surely there are poor fertile starving women in undeveloped countries that would be relatively happy to have shelter and food and a relatively safe place to live and have kids, especially if they could bring their families with them.  Also, I don't think Mexico has mentioned rejecting intellectuals, doctors, or science, so they would also have that going for them.

 

The fact that Mexico's Ambassador was female seems to imply that they haven't crossed as much off the list as Gilead has, but I am going to assume that if they haven't rejected science then it must mean that science has stopped working.

I think the show is coming up with a whole new narrative now about the fertility crisis, that whatever has happened has rendered modern medicine useless. If Mexico hasn't become so jaded to the role of a woman then surely if they could get their own people pregnant they would be, they would be fighting to keep their own culture alive before involving anyone else.

I am wondering if Gilead's own "turn to god" shtick is because the rest of the world continues to grapple with failing science and "devil's work". Gilead expelled and exiled all of that, they literally are making everything about biology and the way god intended things to be from the beginning, even if it is flawed (claiming that men can't be the infertile ones).

I will admit that the whole idea of bartering Handmaids reminds me of the captive panda breeding programs that this country even takes part in. The Handmaids are kept in captivity, marked with "red tags" meaning they are fertile, meaning they can be bred, they can help produce children for a floundering nation, or even two, or more, who knows, as long as they are kept in line and not allowed to escape.

Despite all the physical, emotional, and mental challenges they face they still produce children, they still function on the basic biological levels as females, and that is all these people are focusing on. Beat them, mark them, maul them, toy with them, rape them, break them, but as long as they can lay on their backs and spread their legs, there is a chance a child, a viable child, will be produced. Praise be.

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post

I like it when the series breaks away from Offred's POV and lets us see more of the other characters when she isn't around. But Serena and Fred as a couple puzzle me. Pre-Gilead, they had an active sex life and worked as a team. Now they lead separate lives and he pushes her away if she makes the smallest move towards him. What changed? I know, the laws say that the marriage bed is for procreation only and if a wife is barren that means no sex, and a woman mustn't presume to give her husband advice, etc., etc. But neither one has a problem breaking the rules when it suits them, so why are they--especially he--so cold to each other? Calling it now--Serena will be preggers at some point.

I'm not convinced Luke is alive. I'm wondering if the ambassador's assistant used that as bait to make Offred willing to go to Mexico. In addition to all the other indiscretions, she could get in trouble for writing!

That banquet hall was gorgeous. You could tell by the face of Offred how starved she was not only for fancy food, but for beauty. Does anyone know what building it is?

I loved seeing the box of books Nick carried out to the trash. We know that Fred kept a bunch of them; what got thrown away away looked mostly like romance novels and A Woman's Place, which I assume was Serena's book.

Edited by GreekGeek
  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post

Nick and June kissing in the hallway made me very tense. 

Timeline wonky issues:  some of those kids brought out were at least 5. There is no way the handmaids program has been in place for 6 years. First, the adults haven't aged enough: second, this is offreds second assignment, there at each one for 2 years, add a year for beating into submission, we're still a couple of years short. I don't think they were captured kids either, they'd be too hard to control 

Share this post


Link to post

Offred escaped capture in the beginning I believe, since she was married, and I don't think they immediately made all women who had been divorced, or married a divorced man handmaids, I think it happened in stages, which is why we see her still at home with Luke when her job is gone, etc.  Either way, when she joined the Handmaid's boot camp seemed like a well oiled established machine...she may not have been first wave.  She didn't have her baby when she lost her job right?  So time had passed.

Edited by Umbelina
  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
7 minutes ago, LaChavalina said:

The entire "Mexico needs handmaids" storyline makes less sense to me the more I reflect on it. The handmaid concept is based on a fundamentalist/evangelical interpretation of the Bible. If Mexico doesn't accept that (which they don't--e.g., women ambassadors and women reading books), why bring in handmaids? Likewise, are we to believe that Gilead is now cool with Catholicism and vice-versa? Finally, Mexico is not a small country. There are tens of millions of women in Mexico. If almost all the women there are infertile as the ambassador claims, there's no way a few of Gilead's handmaids would have a meaningful effect on population decline.

Someone else in another discussion pointed out that it would have made way more sense if the trade were envisioned in reverse--i.e., Gilead wants to bring in more handmaids from Mexico, and in exchange they will trade some of their food. 

Again, I think they are trying to show the desperate political and economic straights Gilead is in right now.  Babies are good and all, but these men want to make money and be powerful worldwide, not isolated by the rest of the world.  If Mexico is the only taker on trade agreements, they can't been too particular, also the more their policy is accepted world wide, the less ostracized they will be.

Maybe.

Still, your point is a good one.  Mexico is huge, and I doubt the nuclear and pollution problems spread all the way to the Yucatan, let alone the countries along the border with South America, or even South America itself.  It seems like they could simply offer money and benefits to people living in other countries to come to Mexico.

This is what happens when you leave the book behind I guess.  :)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I suppose any kind of dystopian world-building gets very tricky.

I also don't understand how science could "be failing". (I understand that humanity is failing.) There must be a bazillion pre-disaster eggs and sperm frozen in various banks. I admittedly know almost nothing about this, but wouldn't a species on the brink of extinction throw everything they had at the scientific solutions, i.e., IVF or whatever? (I get that IVF and such is no walk in the park, but if all the best scientific minds turned their focus to getting the women who could support a pregnancy all the way through term with healthy sperm, wouldn't that be better? And if you liken it to a crisis like WWII, wouldn't those women be *volunteering* to try to save the species?)

(Needless to say I am not religious.)

Edited by kieyra
  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post

Science failing is news to me.  Gilead killed them all and turned their back on science, but that doesn't mean the rest of the world did, just those assholes.

In addition I've always somehow thought that young ovulating teenage girls are the most fertile, but googling that brings up almost nothing other than "how to not get pregnant" stuff and churchy arguments about sex education.  Probably because it's a pretty creepy thing to google, and I doubt any clinical trials have ever happened, since, you know, children here.

My point is that to increase fertility, obviously something Mexico might do that Gilead would never consider is testing men's sperm and finding out if they were sterile before wasting young handmaids on them.

Meanwhile, there is at least one study out.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1619119/pdf/amjph00692-0031.pdf

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Didn't Commander Fred mention last episode that Gilead is under sanctions as a pariah state?  That could have left them in a position of beggars can't be choosers in getting someone to officially recognize and trade with them for the time being.  He did specifically mention this episode that their currency will go to shit within six months if they don't get some kind of trade or commerce or something going.

Yeah, on the face of it the Mexico thing is still a bit of a head scratcher.  If I wanted to fanwank it, I could maybe make the case that a country that hasn't seen a successful live birth in six years is desperate to the point of being willing to consider its options and hey, let's go take a look at what our neighbors to the north who are sharing in this repopulation disaster are doing about it.  And of course Gilead would be anxious to show off what they're doing as a success to get some kind of validation for it and maybe encourage a similar neighbor state.  I don't think the ambassador or Commander Fred ever actually said anything to officially confirm that they were talking about human trafficking handmaids, so we don't know for sure that's it's even true.  The handmaid who spread that bit of horror got it from listening to her own commander, but she never got the chance to elaborate on what exactly she actually heard.  Because of the closed off nature of the new society and how limited the handmaids' access to news was, the book was great at showing how what little they knew about anything was spread through the grapevine with them having no way of knowing whether any of it was true or not.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post

We know it's true though because the Mexican ambassador all but admitted it after Offred's heartfelt plea.

Yes, Gilead is in deep shit economically and globally, all of the Commander's stressful scenes have been about dealing with those issues, little tidbits dropped here and there to both his wife, whom he then shuts up, and even at times to Offred.  They were discussing how important this acceptance from Mexico would be during this episode specifically.  They were all nearly panicked that everything go well.

By the way, did anyone else notice the total shock and silence when suddenly Serena Joy stood up and started speaking?  I don't think that kind of thing happens very often in Gilead, but she must have had permission from hubby at least, right?

Edited by Umbelina
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

If I've learned anything from television, it's that you DON'T WRITE STUFF DOWN! That's going to bite June in the rear regardless of whether the guy is on the level about Luke being alive, etc., because there are so many ways that anything she writes winds up in the manicured hands of Serena Joyless. Gilead trading handmaids makes no sense to me. The problem with Gilead is the Theocratic Fundamentalism that subjugates women and ignores the science and biology behind procreation. Unless the rest of the countries in the world post-whatever happened ascribe to the same, or similar, view, there is no reason for them to incorporate a system that uses women such as June, et al. Fertility would likely be addressed by, as a previous poster put it, elevating the status of the fertile, or utilizing various artificial methods, along with natural ones. The Gilead "solution" is very narrowly defined and short-sighted.

Edited by NorthstarATL
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×