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Tara Ariano

S01.E08: Jezebels

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The Commander surprises Offred with a secret adventure in Gilead. Nick’s troubled past leads to his recruitment by the Sons of Jacob. 

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It was great to see Moira again, and her interactions with June were the highlight of the episode.  But it was heartbreaking to see that she had, seemingly, resigned herself to her fate after being so willing to engage in rebellion before.  Hopefully we'll get to see more of her, and that she still has some fight left.

Elizabeth Moss was magnificent again, really making us feel her dread as she put on that make up.  It again makes me wish we hadn't had the previous episode, as it took away from the atmosphere of shear claustrophobia and entrapment that this show does so well.

Also, what are we supposed to assume the Commander did that drove the previous Offred to kill herself?  Toy with her?  Make her think he loved her?  Or was Serena just projecting?  

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An infinitely better episode this week. June looked 10x prettier at the end in her simple Handmaid shift than in that gaudy rhinestone dress that was all kinds of wrong for her body type. In the really old days we used to call those CFM shoes.

Moira's broken spirit is the worst kind of death. I missed her.

Seeing Nick's background was interesting. Shows how the road to hell is paved with good intentions and bad family dynamics.

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7 hours ago, WaltersHair said:

An infinitely better episode this week. June looked 10x prettier at the end in her simple Handmaid shift than in that gaudy rhinestone dress that was all kinds of wrong for her body type. In the really old days we used to call those CFM shoes.

Admittedly I was watching on my phone and it was dark, but I liked the dress. :x

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"Why Does The Handmaid's Tale Keep Trying To Make Us Care What Men Are Feeling?" This I don't care. Not in general, in general I care what men think...but in the context of this show...I don't...every man in it has it better than the women...so showing us their struggles is like comparing fireworks to a terrorist event...not in the same ballpark...

Also I don't like Nick...I think he is a guy taking advantage of someone that doesn't have any options...yes she is visiting him on her own now...but their entire meeting was engineered by her lack of power and her actions now seem like Stockholm syndrome...would she ever be with Nick out of the context of this life? Probably not.

The Commander is the biggest f*cking hypocrite...what about this new life does he like...his whole life is pretend and trying to recreate his past one...by fake scenarios...admit it your new world order is a FAIL!

Edited by dmc
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15 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

 

I'll admit I wasn't terribly enthused about the initial casting of Joseph Fiennes for this part because I thought he was too pretty, too young, too Shakespeare in Love to ever bring the blandly deceptive menace of the book commander to the role.  I also wasn't convinced after the first episode.  But he really knocked it out of the park here just in the sheer sliminess and hypocrisy of what he's doing and the way he really drove home his complete and total ownership of Offred. It comes through in every touch of familiarity, of every "isn't this fun?" as if he's asking a small child if she wouldn't like ice cream.   In the flashback he showed that he understood that the "ceremony" was going to be a tough sell to the wives, so it's not even like he's utterly oblivious to how terrible this new society is.  He clearly knows on some level that no, June doesn't find this fun or exciting.  No, she doesn't want to go anywhere unknown with you.  No, she's not turned on.  But it doesn't matter a whit to him as long as she playacts appropriately as though her life depends on it.

 

I think he finds the situation a turn on which is vile.  He is not clueless, he knows how disgusting this is and he enjoys the thrill They made a world with no thrills.  A Utopia, and force the regular people to live by the rules then do what they want.  It is so disturbing

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2 hours ago, Ragingviolet said:

 

While this is a feminist show, want to know what the men are thinking.  want to know their reasons for doing the things they're doing both petty and deep.  I want to know everything about everyone in this universe and I think to only put it from June's perspective or the perspective of the handmaids does a disservice to the full scale of the story.  I was glad for some of Nick's thoughts.

 

Many times over - yes. Thank you for putting this into words. Good or ill, I'd much rather have a coherent and holistic story than one told from a limited perspective. Granted in the book it worked and it worked brilliantly - but for the show this is far more satisfying and insightful. 

 

34 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

How many times have we heard about various countries where radicalism and extremism took over and ended up being very bad for women, that a huge chunk of the problem was young disaffected men without jobs or a purpose and that embracing that radicalism gave them one?

And isn't this really one of the massive underpinnings for a lot of scenarios that go like this? If you want to take over a society you have to either fill the void created by society or create the void to fill with your own agenda. Either way, it's a powerful tool and one that goes unattended. 

 

36 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

Serena Joy's line "what did you think was going to happen?" after the hanging of the previous Offred was pitch perfect in its utter ambiguousness.  Did she mean Commander Fred had also been playing faux girlfriend on the side with her?  Was it about the entire handmaid setup?  The upending of society that has left all of these women miserable? 

YMMV obviously, but I really think this was leveled as an accusation against her husband for playing outside of the lines they drew. Her justification for all of this is to have a child of her own. To that end, the rest of it (the handmaid structure, the destruction of society that leaves women abject and hopeless) is worth it for her. She is blinded by her own desire to have a child and the religion that is her tool to make it all happen. She just doesn't care about the welfare of anyone, not even herself (I think). 

And I think you nail it by observing that Fred gets off on being the exception and creating a world where he gets the thrill of having exceptions while everyone else suffers. 

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More than likely in a real world Gilead women like SJ would be in charge of leg shaving or whatever...or there would be a waxing place where all the handmaids would have to make a weekly visit, so as to never have razor blades enter the picture. Not that the society would necessarily put a stop to what the males were doing, but because women like SJ would take a keen interest in what was, in their eyes, their "property". Same thing for the "club". It makes no sense given the inherent value of June's fertility to mess with her on a weekend when SJ was away. She very probably has charts and graphs of when June's copulations took place (not including of course the ones with Nick, though who knows if she's not aware of those?) and a pregnancy arising from that weekend might be pinponted. Now if he's using protection, again, why, since June's value is her fertility for them. I understand the story that Atwood was/is telling, and that hypocrisy is a centerpiece of any discussion of religious fanaticism (the guy who shot up the Pulse was said to have gone there to cruise, even though it was also just as likely to be to case), but her world-building falls apart for me with these contradictions.

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They've done away with ultrasound or anything that might be used for precise dating of a pregnancy.  If June misses her period, everyone will know she got pregnant that month.  Given the level of baby delusions Serena engaged in when they thought June was a few days late, which also suggests June has a consistently regular cycle that wouldn't be affected by when sex takes place, I doubt anyone is going to care about the specifics beyond that.

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While I hope this was the last guy-centered episode, I don't mind finding out more, getting more back stories. For 25 years I have wanted to know more about these characters, so I like that some blanks are getting filled in. The book is just from Offred's limited POV, so I'm enjoying learning more about the other characters. Though dude, more Moira!

Nick isn't bad or good to me. The cult leader saw him for what he was - a desperate underachiever who had no idea what to do. I think Nick represents a lot of men in that unless it affects his life personally, he can stay out of it. When faced with making the right or wrong decision, he'll make whichever benefits him the most, and whatever he can get away with. I think he has a conscience, but he's gotten really good at ignoring it and rationalizing a lot of what he's faced with doing because he knows what happens when people don't tow the party line. It's weird - I don't like or dislike him. I'm interested in where the show will take him now. Is his rejection of Offred to keep them safe or him remembering not to get involved and to roll with the punches?

The Commander is a vile human being who makes my skin crawl. I get physically uncomfortable just seeing him now, and man, I used to really dig Joseph Fiennes. He's so gross in this - which means he's doing a great job. But so disgusting. The scene in the limo with the three white guys casually discussing how to market sex slavery made me want to puke. And ten bucks Serena knows exactly what her husband is doing at all times, including Jezebels. Her festering resentment is going to explode one day, especially given that she is a true believer of this bull shit. If he winds up swinging on the wall, it wouldn't shock me if it was because of her. Of course, I have no idea how that would place her in the Gilead world. We're headed into uncharted territory. :) 

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1 hour ago, nodorothyparker said:

I'll agree and add on that every scene where it's mentioned that something is "forbidden" or outlawed now, he makes a point of mentioning how there are exceptions to be made.  I think he gets off on thinking he's the exception, that he can do all this and not be corrupted like their rhetoric says.

YEP!!! So basically it's available but just for you and your cronies...this show makes me too angry

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It just occurred to me that things could get very ugly if Offred finally got pregnant but Fred knew all along he was sterile while his wife only thought he might be.

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"Why does the show keep trying to make us care what men are feeling?" The men in the show, or men in general? Because from this comment it's not clear. F all men I guess, oh, unless they're gay, then they have some level of oppression points that makes their feelings more valuable? This type of thinking is mind-boggling.

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I don't mind them world expanding through men, because the women would certainly never see that, and I'd like to know more.

I do detest several changes they've made from the book that involve Offred's words and POV/knowledge though.

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The book only explores Offreds mindset, so it's understandable why the men's characters are not explored. That said, it would be interesting to get into the mind of the commander. I think it's  too easy to say that all men are bad, hypocritical creeps.

I thought the writing and acting were great wrt June's  repressed reactions to the brothel. I wanted so bad for her to call him out on his hypocrisy, but of course she is just trying to survive. Please don't let me feel sorry for Serena. 

So I heard today that the series has been renewed. I wonder if they are planning to continue the story beyond the book because we are almost at the end, plotwise . I wonder if they will continue with June or pick up a different story of another handmaiden. 

Edited by poeticlicensed
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11 hours ago, Ragingviolet said:

While this is a feminist show, want to know what the men are thinking.

Ha. I thought you were being sarcastic...

This was my favourite episode so far. I devoured it. I didn't want it to end. I thought the filmmaking was kind of breath-taking.  It was all so beautiful.  The "White Rabbit" scene when June first sees the club, wow.  It told a great story well.  Great directing for this one.  "Eyes Wide Shut" is one of my favourite films, haha, so I guess it shouldn't be surprising!  The soundtrack and the wardrobe, yum, I wanted to eat it all up!    The Commander makes me sick, but I guess that means the show is doing a good job of portraying this character.

The women in Gilead are prisoners, but Serena Joy treats them like they've suddenly become children.  LOL. It's so fucking stupid of her.

(I barely made it through the last episode, and I still have never finished it.  Bleh.)

Are we supposed to gather that Nick had an affair with the woman who hung herself?  It's all confusing.  

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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I feel like I missed something, but I can't quite figure it out. When June is talking to Nick in the kitchen, trying to convince him to continue on with their "relationship" (not sure that's the right word to characterize whatever it is they have going on), he finally comes around but then she kind of verbally smacks him, reminding him he's an "eye". What was going on there? Had she been baiting him all along--waiting until he wanted her again so she could pull the rug out from underneath him--or did he piss her off somehow? I watched it twice, and I'm still confused about the reason for her seemingly abrupt turn-around. 

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Given what we've seen of Fred (I"m not calling him "The Commander" or "Waterford" because fuck that guy), we haven't seen anything overtly violent himself. He's definitely sinister, capable of emotional torture and rape. But has he ever hit, punched, stabbed, shot someone? 

The reason I ask is that the one thing I kept wondering about is how did Offred keep any mask up for him while he raped her without SJ being around or the safety of a ritual. I can't imagine her being able to smile and coo or shout or whatever to his satisfaction. And I can't imagine him not taking that as a huge insult... 

I went back to dig up Commander Guthrie (the one who was busted sleeping with his Handmaid's... oh, and embezzling) and Commander Pryce - the man who met Nick in the job placement office. We know Guthrie is out of the picture... but Pryce I think may be coming back. He's got the "spirit of the lord" all wrapped up in this. 

And this might seem weird, but Fred's beard is bugging me. It isn't matching up with all the other clean-cut Christian boys running this show. I'm surprised they let him keep it. 

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1 hour ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

He rejected her and told her their 'thing' was over.... why would she not have a turn-around, right?

But she continued to try to convince him otherwise, even after he'd initially rejected her, so I figured there was more to it. Why go to the trouble of almost pleading with him to continue with her, just to reject him back once he's seen her point? Just a tit for tat "you rejected me so now that I've gotten you to regret it, I'm going to reject you instead" kind of thing? 

In any case, I'm probably just overthinking it--thanks!

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If this show is to go beyond the events of the book, then for plot and narrative purposes the audience has to see beyond June/Offred's point of view.

And while, yes, this story is a feminist one, I want to see how the men got here too.  For the audience to see the beginnings of Gilead we have to see it through the male characters.

Knowing how the "ceremony" came to be is important backstory.  But we can't get that through the women.

There are 2 episodes left this season and they have covered a good portion of the book.   I don't begrudge the showrunners for expanding the point of views we see in order to broaden and lengthen the story.  If we only saw everything from the female characters' points of view we would be missing out on a lot of the story.

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I really like the idea of Nick's back story being the struggling male whose blue collar job stopped existing. But I found it kind of thinly executed. While the ingredients were there on paper, when I think of people who are vulnerable to joining radical movements, I imagine feeling overlooked, forgotten, and isolated, leading to despair, rage, desperation. I didn't get that from the scene in the job agency or at the diner. When he threw the punch it just felt forced to me. Obviously, people do keep things bottled up and Nick certainly fits that (male stereo)type, but I guess my point is that I didn't really gain any new insights into Nick's motives that didn't come from my preconceptions/stereotypes about Nick's demographic. I was left wanting more.

One of the interesting questions with both Nick and Luke is to what extent we hold them responsible for being limited by a male perspective when they are after all male. However, to me they represent two different versions of this.  Luke is a blandsome college-educated type who basically had nothing to complain about prior to Gilead (since we're supposed to ignore race as a factor), so he more represents the privilege of getting to be ignorant, which leads to being frustratingly slow to wake up to his new reality. Nick provides a counterpoint in that while he doesn't know what it's like to be a Handmaid, he apparently knew pre-Gilead what it was like to have society tell you you weren't worth much.  Does this make him more or less culpable when he turns around and (seemingly) contributes to a new society that does a worse version of the same thing, just to different people/groups than before?  It's these kind of questions that make me interested in Nick and Luke's perspectives in theory.  In practice I haven't been that satisfied but maybe two episodes is judging prematurely. 

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Reviews were mixed about Nick.  One point I thought was interesting was a woman killed herself, and yet all we got to see is the impact it has on Nick.  Screw her, she was just a woman basically.  I get it, we are only seeing through the eyes of characters on screen.  Still.

I thought White Rabbit was a perfect song for June as walked through the halls, even though I was rolling my eyes, is Fred that great a sleeper in a strange bed?  Anyway, nailed Junes life completely with that song, kudos.

I don't mind them moving away from the book to tell it through eyes that were actually seeing things, which needs to be male if we are taking about power and origins.  I'm not sure this episode wowed me though.

Edited by Umbelina
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On ‎5‎/‎31‎/‎2017 at 0:26 AM, chocolatine said:

I didn't know it was possible, but the scene of the Commander shaving June's legs and making her get dolled up for Jezebel's was even more sickening to me than the "ceremony" rape scenes. He's getting off on making her squirm and feel even less safe than she already is. Sick bastard.

I'm puzzled that they have the Handmaid's shave their legs at all. It's not necessary for fertility (or any other reason, really) so why risk giving them a razor even once a month?

14 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

He clearly knows on some level that no, June doesn't find this fun or exciting.  No, she doesn't want to go anywhere unknown with you.  No, she's not turned on.  But it doesn't matter a whit to him as long as she playacts appropriately as though her life depends on it.

He gets off on making her 'pretend' to like these things. Some men are like that. A friend of mine once dated a man who couldn't get it up unless she was *crying*.

8 hours ago, Umbelina said:

I do detest several changes they've made from the book that involve Offred's words and POV/knowledge though.

Same. Making it all about fertility (the birth crisis in Mexico) makes the society more confusing, because clearly they aren't doing all they could to increase the birthrate. And the scene with Moira in Jezebel's wasn't nearly as heart-wrenching in the series as in the book.

 

I'm sorry to say the series is losing me. The changes they're making aren't making sense.

 

5 hours ago, EC Amber said:

And this might seem weird, but Fred's beard is bugging me. It isn't matching up with all the other clean-cut Christian boys running this show. I'm surprised they let him keep it. 

Every time I see the beard, I think of the hipster tech bros running around San Francisco.

49 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Reviews were mixed about Nick.  One point I thought was interesting was a woman killed herself, and yet all we got to see is the impact it has on Nick. 

I thought the biggest impact was on Rita (the Martha). She was really shaken up, both when she found Offred #1 and when they carted the body away.

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Dead bodies swinging about, casually washing blood off the streets and walls yet I was tense and creeped out during this entire (great) episode.

But just to be slightly nitpicky in the midst of these wonderful thoughts: I was distracted by the fact that June took her heels to meet with Moira. Not sure why. 

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1 hour ago, kissedbyarose said:

 

But just to be slightly nitpicky in the midst of these wonderful thoughts: I was distracted by the fact that June took her heels to meet with Moira. Not sure why. 

I thought she took the heels to blend in and avoid suspicion. Every time I see Nick I think "EYEBROW". they are massive. it kind of takes me out of the scene. 

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Best part of this entire episode: Moira is alive!!!!

I know that Offred is called Offred because the Commander's name is Fred, but I have such a hard time thinking of the Commander as anything but the Commander.

I don't trust him at all. Everything he does is suspicious to me. I kept waiting for everything he was doing to be a trap to get Offred in trouble. It's disturbing to see just how many normal things are now illegal for the handmaids: lipstick, mascara, pretty dresses, earrings, wearing their hair down, going past the wall, reading, drinking coffee or alcohol, being out in public alone. But of course the rules don't apply to the elite of Gilead. The commander can get all of this contraband. But if they get caught, she is the one who will be punished. He is definitely one of those people who LOVES that he gets to break the rules, and he loves reminding Offred that they're breaking the rules. He is a prime example of someone blatantly enjoying his privilege.

Offred took a huge risk leaving the hotel room to see Moira. I was sure that when she got back, the commander would be awake and ask where the hell she'd gone.

Nick being pouty reallly annoyed me. It's not like Offred had any choice in getting dolled up and brought to the club. She couldn't say no to any of it - not the makeup, not the dress, not the excursion, and not the sex. The commander essentially treated her like a hooker/doll. I will dress you up and take you out and then you will have sex with me. 

In their own ways, both he and Serena Joy treated Offred like a child in this episode. He told her that she was getting a surprise/treat like she was a little kid. Then he picked out what she was going to wear, supervised her getting ready, and then patronized her with all of his "Isn't this fun?" comments, constantly reminding her that he was the reason that she was allowed to do any of this. Serena Joy, on the other hand, gave a grown ass woman the kind of music box that you give to a four year old little girl. And to add insult to injury, she said, "I thought you would like it." Yes, because what every woman who is held captive and raped regularly really wants is a child's toy.

Once again, Offred decided that the kitchen was the best place in the house to have a private conversation. That's so risky when both the commander and his wife are home!

17 hours ago, NorthstarATL said:

It makes no sense given the inherent value of June's fertility to mess with her on a weekend when SJ was away. She very probably has charts and graphs of when June's copulations took place (not including of course the ones with Nick, though who knows if she's not aware of those?) and a pregnancy arising from that weekend might be pinponted. Now if he's using protection, again, why, since June's value is her fertility for them. I understand the story that Atwood was/is telling, and that hypocrisy is a centerpiece of any discussion of religious fanaticism (the guy who shot up the Pulse was said to have gone there to cruise, even though it was also just as likely to be to case), but her world-building falls apart for me with these contradictions.

They keep track of Offred's period so that they can approximate when she is ovulating and have the "ceremony" then. If Offred had been ovulating during this episode, Serena Joy definitely wouldn't have skipped the ceremony to visit her mom. Your due date is calculated based on when you had your last period so even if Serena Joy or whoever is in charge of these things miscalculated when Offred is ovulating (I'm assuming that since technology and science are bad,they aren't using ovulation kits, basal temperature, or cervical mucus as ovulation indicators), as long as Offred has sex with the commander during the next window for the ceremony/ovulation in the coming month, getting pregnant wouldn't raise any suspicions. It's not like she skipped the ceremony for six months and then became pregnant.

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6 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Reviews were mixed about Nick.  One point I thought was interesting was a woman killed herself, and yet all we got to see is the impact it has on Nick.  Screw her, she was just a woman basically.  I get it, we are only seeing through the eyes of characters on screen.  Still.

While I understand the complaint about the hanging being seen through Nick's eyes, their choices are either Nick or Rita since they're the ones who found her and cut her down unless they wanted to do a cutaway to just a body hanging, which then really should have been in the episode we learned about her.  We haven't gotten anything yet about Rita, who seemed to be taking it very hard, so I wonder if that's coming next.  We never really learn a damn thing about women who end up as Marthas in the book except that they weren't fertile women for one reason or another but somehow got the "privilege" to live as completely sexless housekeeping drones.

What did strike me about that entire interlude about the previous Offred is that it was Rita who found her and Nick who had to cut her down and handle it, the two people who bear the least amount of responsibility for the poor woman being a handmaid in the first place while the two who are culpable get to stand and look on.

5 hours ago, NoSpam said:

I'm puzzled that they have the Handmaid's shave their legs at all. It's not necessary for fertility (or any other reason, really) so why risk giving them a razor even once a month?

Heaven forbid a man should have to fuck an unwilling woman with hairy legs, right?  It's so physically unattractive.

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22 hours ago, NorthstarATL said:

More than likely in a real world Gilead women like SJ would be in charge of leg shaving or whatever...or there would be a waxing place where all the handmaids would have to make a weekly visit, so as to never have razor blades enter the picture. Not that the society would necessarily put a stop to what the males were doing, but because women like SJ would take a keen interest in what was, in their eyes, their "property". Same thing for the "club". It makes no sense given the inherent value of June's fertility to mess with her on a weekend when SJ was away. She very probably has charts and graphs of when June's copulations took place (not including of course the ones with Nick, though who knows if she's not aware of those?) and a pregnancy arising from that weekend might be pinponted. Now if he's using protection, again, why, since June's value is her fertility for them. I understand the story that Atwood was/is telling, and that hypocrisy is a centerpiece of any discussion of religious fanaticism (the guy who shot up the Pulse was said to have gone there to cruise, even though it was also just as likely to be to case), but her world-building falls apart for me with these contradictions.

But keep in mind that a woman can only get pregnant when she is ovulating, and that's really just approximately a 36  hour time period in any given month.  The ceremony is tied to that time period and only that time period.  And we saw that in the show - when the doctor offered to try to impregnate her, she was sent to him because the ceremony was that night, and as he examined her, he commented that she was soft, and now would be the time to do it.  Not to go to far down the biology route, but that was in reference to her cervix - when a woman is ovulating, her cervix is high and soft.  When she's not, the cervix becomes more firm again.  So it ultimately doesn't matter if June and Nick have sex every day, or if the Commander rapes her 1 week after the ceremony, or if they even used technology to determine the age of the fetus and when it was conceived.  Even with the technology, any pregnancy and conception "date" still would go to at time when the ceremony is also taking place because it's the only time of month she can get pregnant (or a couple of days before because sperm lives in the body for up to 5 days).  And there are ways to track when a woman is ovulating, without bringing in the technology, and once you know that cycle, you can continue to track it in the homes with the martha's, wives, etc., being in the know.  It's not just June's body that is at the mercy of everybody, it is her fertility, her cycle, her womanhood.  All of her "worth" is tied up in 36 hours of an egg releasing.  There are of course women who have a cycle that isn't quite as regular, but I actually doubt that they would have been made handmaids because Gilead didn't just need fertile women, they needed "dependably" fertile women.

I think I finally have my answer to why June and Luke don't make sense for me.  For one, I don't think it's uncommon for an outgoing, strong, intelligent woman to sometimes marry a man who is kind of opposite of that.  But in terms of the idea of love, the idea of a soul mate and why these two came together...I'd argue that Moira is her soul mate -- her equal in intellect, in personality, in interest, etc.  We've seen more emotion out of June when she's with Moira than we've seen with Luke.  The idea that the bond of a close female friendship can transcend the bond of a romantic relationship isn't unheard of.  And I wonder if Atwood purposely created the character of Moira in that way as another way to examine the different roles that women can play in each other's lives and the value of female companionship.  If there is a love story to be found in this show, it's not June and Luke or June and Nick.  It's Moira and June...it's just not a romantic love story.

The Commander is evil.  He is vile.  And every time they do the camera shot where you can only see the whites of his eyes, I get completely freaked out.  The way he talked about "the collection" of women, his shaving of June's legs, the way it is all a game to him - he's not just above the law, he created the law - is so fucked up and just a brilliant interpretation of the character of the book.  In the book I always thought of the commander as weary, his breaking of the rules as some indication that he didn't like the world he had created but was forced to live by it. This interpretation?  Truly sinister.  

I don't understand what I'm supposed to do with Nick.  Do Serena and Fred know he is an eye but they know that his loyalty is to them, first and foremost?  

Why aren't the wives allowed in the city formerly known as Boston?  Makes me wonder what else is going on there during the day.  

One thing that the book constantly repeats is how all of this is new to this generation, but it will become normal in time.  Seeing June go from red shift, to sequined dress, and back to red shift -- which felt "normal" to you?  Well done, show, well done.  

Edited by Shangrilala
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Random thoughts:

This episode was so dark (literally) that it was hard for me to see. 

I don't feel like I needed Nick's back story.

I don't feel like Offred's makeup as garish enough, compared to the book. And I wish she had had the playboy bunny outfit instead of the dress...oh well.

Why does the Commander speak like a normal person in the time before and now he sounds like he's talking to a four year old all the time? (I know bc the handmaids are treated like children, but his slow speech drives me bananas.)

Edited by Eureka
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57 minutes ago, Shangrilala said:

In the book I always thought of the commander as weary, his breaking of the rules as some indication that he didn't like the world he had created but was forced to live by it. This interpretation?  Truly sinister.  

I have to agree! Though I'm also biased from the movie which reinforced this interpretation. Duvall did come across as you describe - weary and in a game made for younger men, but a believer in the path he has taken his country. 

What this interpretation does is so removed from this - I think my problem is that this version is he is coming off smarter than I think he really is. Commander Pryce and SJ seem to be more likely sources for the thinking that drives this society. Fred is a brutal, psychopathic hedonist. 

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I don't feel like Offred's makeup as garish enough, compared to the book. And I wish she had had the playboy bunny outfit instead of the dress... up oh well.

Not a book reader, but the Bunny look would have made sense in the 80s; it would have looked strange and dated now. Then again, I haven't seen this episode so I don't know what she was actually wearing in relation to modern/real-world fashions. 

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26 minutes ago, kieyra said:

Not a book reader, but the Bunny look would have made sense in the 80s; it would have looked strange and dated now. Then again, I haven't seen this episode so I don't know what she was actually wearing in relation to modern/real-world fashions. 

Good point. Hadn't thought of that. If they were going by today, I'd think she'd be showing a lot more skin than she was. Wouldn't she?

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@Eureka I loved all of your "Random thoughts". And dammit, I always have my screen's brightness turned up to 100 for this show and it's still not bright enough for me!

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This is the time I feel compelled to say, you really should read or listen to the book.  For one thing, it's a beautiful book, and for another, I see some of the true non readers going off on mistaken tangents about a few things because the show is unclear or not telling some crucial parts of the story as written.

I think I will ask and answer a couple of those in the "Ask a Book Reader" thread if any of you want to mosey over there but don't want to read the book (or listen to the audio books up on Youtube, one the original, and one the new audio book with the additional 10 questions and answers and two great afterwords.)

I will say that the entire nightclub and getting ready scene, specifically the clothes and make up and shoes, is a pretty big departure from the book.

One comment just tagged here, it only shows a specific change the showrunners made, and one that I think was terrible for this story.

Spoiler

The clothes are obviously warn and tawdry in the book, they don't fit, they have pit stains, they are missing bangles, shabby, the shoes are particularly problematic because the men don't care if they fit, they just want a "sexy look."  The make up is old and runny, and some of it previous used by others as well.  I honestly don't know why they changed it.

Taking the rest to the Questions thread, and I will also answer the one about the rape and guy the handmaid's tore apart, and something they left out of this episode that refers to 'the colonies' Moira speaks about.  The answers are spoiler tagged so you only see the ones you want to know about. 

It was OK, but honestly, this time I will say with complete objectivity?  The book version of Jezebel's was better in so many ways.  If they ever needed to use voice over?  It was last night.

Edited by Umbelina
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I think it's important to take the TV show independent from the book or people who are avid fans of the book will spend more time being disappointed than enjoying the tv show on its own merits. The book does provide some insights the show hasn't - but I suspect it's because the show is providing and will continue to provide elements that were never addressed by Atwood - either by oversight, intention or the concept simply wasn't current at the time (as an aside this is something that's been on my mind since the show started regarding the contemporaneous definitions of rape and how they clearly shifted over the past 20+ years). In some ways I rather prefer it as I feel like some of the questions I've carried are finally be addressed (mostly about what the hell is going on in the heads of everyone else). 

I loved the opening and the closing voice overs as it was taken from the book itself as the writing was so sublime that incorporating it was "June's" voice really made this episode so much better. I wish they would do that more - more of June's voice taking the words of the book which captured her mind so well. 

In the end, I totally agree - the book is remarkable and beautiful and really should be ready by everyone. But don't let it be the thing that hangs up the enjoyment of the show itself. 

Back to the topic of this episode. I though Moira was wearing ears at the table, which I thought was a subtle callback. Could be wrong... I actually like the costumes in that I didn't think they were really all that flattering to the individuals wearing them. Especially June as it didn't seem to fit her body comfortably. What I thought was probably the best in the astute costuming was the handmaid cape while kissing the woman dressed as a wife while the Commander was (<ahem> forgive the imagery) taking her from behind. Perfect approach - force this deplorable modes of dress on women and then use it to mock the system you helped create. Reminds me of a documentary on priests in Vatican City who were caught on camera performing a Mass and then engaging in a homosexual orgy. 

 

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I agree with you for the most part @EC Amber and I do appreciate the show for what it is, especially the world expanding parts, because I've always wanted to know.

However, I completely disagree with you about Jezebels, and the way they chose to handle this one.  I can appreciate it for what the show did do, but the deliberate and unnecessary changes we've been talking about in both Palimpsest and the Ask the Book Reader section are, to me, unforgivable.  Happy to discuss it with you in either other thread though.

I've only complete disagreed with show changes in one other pretty huge change:

Spoiler

about the race issue, but that's already been talked to death in those two threads, and in the Race and whatever thread.

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: tag
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Well, I can't say I'm watching as a comparative study with this and the book. 

 

But I've seen enough fetish wear to see when things aren't fitting well. And what we saw? Nope. Those outfits were ill fitting, the make up seemed garish to me. If there's a valid complaint, I'd day it was going with fetish wear in the first place. I'd think that would be harder to get than crappy evening wear. Still with that great entrance where June was wearing that dress that just hung on her wrong as she was taking it in, seeing all those dead eyed women...The costume department did well. 

 

As an aside, is love to hear more about SJ's mother. What does she think about this world her daughter helped create? 

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3 hours ago, Shangrilala said:

But keep in mind that a woman can only get pregnant when she is ovulating, and that's really just approximately a 36  hour time period in any given month.  The ceremony is tied to that time period and only that time period.  And we saw that in the show - when the doctor offered to try to impregnate her, she was sent to him because the ceremony was that night, and as he examined her, he commented that she was soft, and now would be the time to do it.  Not to go to far down the biology route, but that was in reference to her cervix - when a woman is ovulating, her cervix is high and soft.  When she's not, the cervix becomes more firm again.  So it ultimately doesn't matter if June and Nick have sex every day, or if the Commander rapes her 1 week after the ceremony, or if they even used technology to determine the age of the fetus and when it was conceived.  Even with the technology, any pregnancy and conception "date" still would go to at time when the ceremony is also taking place because it's the only time of month she can get pregnant (or a couple of days before because sperm lives in the body for up to 5 days).  And there are ways to track when a woman is ovulating, without bringing in the technology, and once you know that cycle, you can continue to track it in the homes with the martha's, wives, etc., being in the know.  It's not just June's body that is at the mercy of everybody, it is her fertility, her cycle, her womanhood.  All of her "worth" is tied up in 36 hours of an egg releasing.  There are of course women who have a cycle that isn't quite as regular, but I actually doubt that they would have been made handmaids because Gilead didn't just need fertile women, they needed "dependably" fertile women.

That wasn't really my point. Just for fun, compare June to a classic car, and the Commander to a collector of cars who has several models available. He is NOT going to risk damaging the classic car on a joyride. He will take the classic out on a Sunday drive through a not-heavily-trafficked area, and probably not even valet park it, as the risk of some kid messing it up is too great for something so valuable. June is INHERENTLY valuable, because so much of what happens to her can affect her fertility. You are devaluing her by narrowing the scope of her value to just that small time frame, and that's where I think Atwood doesn't "get" her own creation.

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The fertility isn't as value as is the opportunity to control women. That is the real crux here. See, the Fred and all the Commanders can just go and get themselves a brand new shiny convertible when one gets tangled up in the trees, or dangling from a sheet. 

Edited by EC Amber
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The Jezebels part of the book always reminded me of the alien bar in Star Wars. I expected a little more of that yesterday (and really did expect to see a bunny outfit, heh), but I have to keep reminding myself that it's 2017. It's hard, because I'm old. :) The concept of Jezebels was communicated, so I was overall okay with it, but agree that some of the deviations surrounding it were surprising - and really defined THIS commander as much more predatory than book commander - who yeah, seemed weary. In my head, the commander always looked like John Heard, but that might be because I read the book not long after I watched Beaches, heh. I think since this show is living beyond the book, and because Fiennes is doing an amazing job, I'm okay with his recharacterization for TV, and it makes me relish any sort of future comeuppance even more. 

I have a few women friends who would be my Moira, and I've always said that my best friend is my soulmate, not my husband. I really hope we get to see more of June and Moira together in the last few episodes, but I'm not counting on it. 

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Guys, let's stop arguing amongst ourselves about where to post and leave it up to the mods. If nothing else, it's off topic. Thanks. 

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Since they were deleted... anyone have any thoughts about SJ's mother and the Martha downstairs with Nick? 

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Since they were deleted... anyone have any thoughts about SJ's mother and the Martha downstairs with Nick? 

Adding: SJ mother, for some reason, seems fascinating. Mostly because this is an entirely new element. is she like her daughter? Was she protected from the colonies because of her relationship as MIL to Fred? Is she sick over what is going on? Is she bitter and gleeful? What *IS* her status? So. Many. Questions. 

And the Martha downstairs... what got me was there are clearly "Aunt" like figures (from the "dorm"). The patterns are all the same. Older women to enforce the rule over the younger women who are held there against their will. And having Martha's makes sense... who else would serve the Commanders when they want to be the sick perverts they are? 

In writing this though it dawns on me: she was an award winning chef. That's why she is downstairs - pretty and happy with more freedom than most. As soon as she burns the soup though, or forgets what side her toast is buttered... she'll be upstairs on her back. 

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