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S02.E01: June / S02.E02: Unwomen

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Something was said during the episode that the women in the colonies out there in the field were "digging for duck eggs" but there was so much input to keep up with I'm not sure what it meant ... anyone want to posit a guess (or actually know, LOL)?

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3 hours ago, guilfoyleatpp said:

 

These were both interesting insights into "data collection." If we were to extend Gilead from our time, when we have HIPAA and other legislation that protects individuals from having their personal information sorted through by the government, there are always work-arounds.

The pre-Gileadian government doesn't have to force health care organizations and individual physicians to turn over their patient records when they can simply ask. The implication is that the information is shared voluntarily, even though the incidents we saw clearly involved pressure to compel a response.

The airport incident immediately made me wonder what I would do. Should she answer in the affirmative to "prove" her biological tie to her child (as @Scarlett45 said) or would I have an inkling that they might force me to stay and bear children for Gilead and then lie? I don't know. I would probably affirm my biological tie to my child as an impulse without consciously considering that I might be held hostage.

And the CPS thing, under the pressure of being asked whether or not a child they were investigating was my biological child, I would immediately think that a non-biological relationship would put us at more risk of being separated. And I totally got the racial component as the older mother of a child who is not the same color as I am. And that impulse response is "f*ck you."

I didn’t even think of that.  They were collecting fertile women.  

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My question is about Season 2 generally, but this thread would seem to be the best place to ask it.

I gave up on Season 1 because of my great admiration for the book. I felt like Season 1 fell so short of doing the novel justice that I didn't want to degrade my experience of Atwood's achievement. 

But my understanding is that they "finished" the book in Season 1, and that Season 2 is entirely new material. This gives me hope that I might like Season 2 better.

Is my understanding correct (i.e., Season 2 is all new ground)? If so, is there anything I need to know about how Season 1 sets up Season 2 in the event Season 1 ended differently from the book?

Edited by Milburn Stone
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17 minutes ago, Milburn Stone said:

My question is about Season 2 generally, but this thread would seem to be the best place to ask it.

I gave up on Season 1 because of my great admiration for the book. I felt like Season 1 fell so short of doing the novel justice that I didn't want to degrade my experience of Atwood's achievement. 

But my understanding is that they "finished" the book in Season 1, and that Season 2 is entirely new material. This gives me hope that I might like Season 2 better.

Is my understanding correct (i.e., Season 2 is all new ground)? If so, is there anything I need to know about how Season 1 sets up Season 2 in the event Season 1 ended differently from the book?

Replying in the Blessed Be thread.

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One thing I noticed about the colonies is that in the areas directly around the barns they live in, things are growing. There is some sort of grass or crop surrounding the area they live in, as you see them walk back through it in an overhead shot. And Emily was out picking peppermint from directly outside the barn when the group of prisoners including the wife arrived. Whereas in the area where they are digging up and bagging the earth, it is entirely bleak and devoid of life. So presumably we are to infer that the colonists have actually taken back some of the land and are very slowly working their way out.

Edited by AllyB
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9 hours ago, chaifan said:

Second, does anyone other than me have trouble sleeping on nights they watch this?  My mind just can't stop racing through all the situations.  I think I have to save these for weekends when I don't have to get up in the morning.

My only nitpick with these episodes, is that in Ep 2, I would think that someone would have had a much closer eye on Nick once June went missing.  Yes, I know Serena is the only person who knows about him and June, but I'd think that everyone in that household would be under very close scrutiny, just in case they were the one helping her.  I still think Serena could point a finger at Nick without giving herself up, just a "I saw them talking a few times, I think he likes her..."  Also, what was the point of her cutting her hair?  I would think the best way of smuggling someone out of the area would be to disguise them as a man with a fake ID.  I thought maybe that's where they were going with that, but it doesn't seem so.

I learned last season that I absolutely can't watch this before I go to bed.  

And good point about Nick.  Then again... he's all June's POV, so we really don't know what's going on with him, or if we really can trust him.  Right now that trust is wrapped up in having no other options.

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17 minutes ago, Bad Example said:

I learned last season that I absolutely can't watch this before I go to bed.  

And good point about Nick.  Then again... he's all June's POV, so we really don't know what's going on with him, or if we really can trust him.  Right now that trust is wrapped up in having no other options.

Yeah, this show is lunchtime viewing for me.  I definitely need "calming down time" after watching an episode.

About Nick: A thought occurred to me and I wonder if I'm off base.  He mentioned at least once (I "remember" it being more than once, but it might just have been something that stuck with me") that it was "our baby" to June.  I mean, yeah, he is the biological father.  But, I got the feeling that he may not be as good a guy.  He said that he couldn't help June escape, but what if that was just because he wanted to keep her and, more importantly, the baby nearby.  What if June is now just in another version of prison with him?

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17 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

Yeah, this show is lunchtime viewing for me.  I definitely need "calming down time" after watching an episode.

About Nick: A thought occurred to me and I wonder if I'm off base.  He mentioned at least once (I "remember" it being more than once, but it might just have been something that stuck with me") that it was "our baby" to June.  I mean, yeah, he is the biological father.  But, I got the feeling that he may not be as good a guy.  He said that he couldn't help June escape, but what if that was just because he wanted to keep her and, more importantly, the baby nearby.  What if June is now just in another version of prison with him?

He obviously just DID help June escape.

I think he was saying that escapes are not part of his duties as part of the resistance.  I think it's pretty obvious he's much more valuable to them being placed in the Commander's house.  However, he was obviously valuable enough to arrange for those in the resistance that DO help people escape to make that happen.  We've seen that duties in the resistance are kept secret, it's a "need to know" situation.  So the others certainly trusted him enough, or owed him enough, to get June out.

Now whether or not he's able to return to the Commander's house or not is problematic.  I'm guessing no, since he actually lives there, and has now been gone for a while, and didn't mention rushing back or show any urgency to leave.  So, perhaps he has a cover story, or perhaps he's going to escape with June, or perhaps he'll stay and fight for the resistance in some other way (be reassigned now.)  We'll probably find out soon.

I didn't see him saying "our child" as being threatening.  It IS their child, and a gift in this world he probably thought he'd never have, a child.  Men can love their children as much as women do, and given that they are such a rarity, it's easy for me to see Nick as overwhelmed and happy along with terrified for both June and their child.  I suppose anything is possible, but honestly, it never occurred to me that Nick is or would be any kind of prison for June.

He's never forced her to have sex, he's never even suggested she risk both of their lives to come and have sex with him.  That's been all June.  June prefers being on top with her men, she's nobody's possession, other than Gilead's.  There hasn't been a single time I've heard him tell her what to do.  Hell, even when she foolishly and emotionally wanted to just drive away?  He gave her the keys, AND he gave her his gun.  He waited and she realized he was right, but he didn't try to manhandle her or get her out of the car.

Edited by Umbelina
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1 minute ago, Umbelina said:

He obviously just DID help June escape.

I think he was saying that escapes are not part of his duties as part of the resistance.  I think it's pretty obvious he's much more valuable to them being placed in the Commander's house.  However, he was obviously valuable enough to arrange for those in the resistance that DO help people escape to arrange that.

Now whether or not he's able to return to the Commander's house or not is problematic.  I'm guessing no, since he actually lives there, and has now been gone for a while, and didn't mention rushing back or show any urgency to leave.  So, perhaps he has a cover story, or perhaps he's going to escape with June, or perhaps he'll stay and fight for the resistance in some other way (be reassigned now.)  We'll probably find out soon.

I didn't see him saying "our child" as being threatening.  It IS their child, and a gift in this world he probably thought he'd never have, a child.  Men can love their children as much as women do, and given that they are such a rarity, it's easy for me to see Nick as overwhelmed and happy along with terrified for both June and their child.  I suppose anything is possible, but honestly, it never occurred to me that Nick is or would be any kind of prison for June.

He's never forced her to have sex, he's never even suggested she risk both of their lives to come and have sex with him.  That's been all June.  June prefers being on top with her men, she's nobody's possession, other than Gilead's.  There hasn't been a single time I've heard him tell her what to do.  Hell, even when she foolishly and emotionally wanted to just drive away?  He gave her the keys, AND he gave her his gun.  He waited and she realized he was right, but he didn't try to manhandle her or get her out of the car.

I'm not arguing with any of this, but I am going to admit that perspective is important here.  As someone said, we are seeing things through June's eyes, which is true--and which makes me probably overly-skeptical about the motives of anyone besides June, Emily, and Moira.  So, I don't know--is this show unsettling me to the point that I'm seeing things that aren't there, or could it be that maybe things aren't quite what they seem through June's eyes.  I don't know...but I am sure that it will come out during this season (unless we get a 3rd season...then who knows how long!)

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15 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

I'm not arguing with any of this, but I am going to admit that perspective is important here.  As someone said, we are seeing things through June's eyes, which is true--and which makes me probably overly-skeptical about the motives of anyone besides June, Emily, and Moira.  So, I don't know--is this show unsettling me to the point that I'm seeing things that aren't there, or could it be that maybe things aren't quite what they seem through June's eyes.  I don't know...but I am sure that it will come out during this season (unless we get a 3rd season...then who knows how long!)

I understand.  I don't think we are seeing things only through June's eyes though.  In the book?  Yes.  In the show?  No.

  • We've seen the Commander and his wife alone, no June, in both present day and flashbacks.
  • We saw Nick getting instructed to keep an eye on the Commander, again, no June.
  • We've of course seen Emily alone, several times last year, the operation, the hanging, the new Of-whomever house and wife, and now the Colonies, and her flashbacks.
  • We've seen Moira and Luke both escape, and then in Canada, with others who escaped, and those helping the resistance there.
  • We saw the trial of the errant Commander.
  • There are other stories that have happened that June could not have possible seen as well.

There is just no other logical way June could have escaped, and then had Nick join her.  Nick HAD to be instrumental in arranging that.  He's an Eye, but he has to be part of the Resistance as well, or he would have never found The Boston Globe hideaway.

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: adding stuff
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@OtterMommy We may need a Nick thread, you are obviously not the only one that is having questions about his intentions, worth, etc.  Maybe a combined Nick and Luke thread...the men in June's life.

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3 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

@OtterMommy We may need a Nick thread, you are obviously not the only one that is having questions about his intentions, worth, etc.  Maybe a combined Nick and Luke thread...the men in June's life.

Good idea...

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Until a new thread is made, I'll just go ahead and say that I do not like Luke (the actor isn't helping either). He's quite dull & doesn't seem to have any redeeming qualities... & superficially I don't even find him attractive.

I find Nick's character more sympathetic on the show than in the book... & he's definitely hot, although boyish.

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I don’t think Nick is smart enough to be pulling a long con wherein he gave June car keys and a gun, when there was a pretty good chance she’d leave with them. I just don’t believe he’s smart/savvy enough to have known for sure how that scene would play out.

(Hell, maybe we’re even supposed to think they have real feelings for each other, but this show does zero service to Nick and Luke as far as explaining why June is “with” them, so no idea.)

Edited by kieyra
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I wondered why more "unwomen" weren't begging Emily for some of those poison pills. I'm sure there are those who would rather suffer for a few hours and die than do hard labor for weeks while gradually growing sicker and then dying.

I too was curious about those plants (the mint that Emily pulled up to make tea) that were growing in the Colonies. Are we to understand that the soil is still good once the layer of radioactive waste is removed?

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42 minutes ago, GreekGeek said:

I wondered why more "unwomen" weren't begging Emily for some of those poison pills. I'm sure there are those who would rather suffer for a few hours and die than do hard labor for weeks while gradually growing sicker and then dying.

I too was curious about those plants (the mint that Emily pulled up to make tea) that were growing in the Colonies. Are we to understand that the soil is still good once the layer of radioactive waste is removed?

My guess is that Emily doesn't advertise that she had poison pills.  Otherwise her med kit would quickly be confiscated.  Maybe it's something she made up for herself, to use if things got too bad, or maybe it was something she was able to cobble together with the meds she already had.  I got the impression she was able to trade with the matrons or other staff for duck eggs that she found while working in the garden.

As for the mint & soil, someone up-thread commented that after an incident in Japan they did remove the top layer of soil.  I'd guess that the soil around the compound would have been the first to be removed, so it's possible the mint is growing in ok or not-radiated-as-much-as-the-other soil.  Or maybe it's radioactive mint, but it provided comfort to a woman who is dying already.

I was shocked that Emily put the wife's body out on display.  Considering the punishment they mete out to potentially pregnant handmaids for refusing to kill someone, I can't imagine what they would do to these women for an actual murder.

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41 minutes ago, chaifan said:

I was shocked that Emily put the wife's body out on display.  Considering the punishment they mete out to potentially pregnant handmaids for refusing to kill someone, I can't imagine what they would do to these women for an actual murder.

These are “unwomen” though. I’m guessing so long as the work gets done they are left to organize themselves as they see fit. I doubt the guards care so much if one dies given a bus full will arrive again eventually. 

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2 hours ago, GreekGeek said:

I wondered why more "unwomen" weren't begging Emily for some of those poison pills. I'm sure there are those who would rather suffer for a few hours and die than do hard labor for weeks while gradually growing sicker and then dying.

I too was curious about those plants (the mint that Emily pulled up to make tea) that were growing in the Colonies. Are we to understand that the soil is still good once the layer of radioactive waste is removed?

Or they could just bash each other's heads in with those shovels. That was one of my first thoughts.

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Much like in season 1, the flashbacks are often eerier than the sucky present beccause they show so well how easily people adapt to crappy situations and grow complacent, opening the door to more shit happening. One of the things that I am almost sure was downplayed intentionally was the scene before June and Hannah leave home. It's Luke who's weirded out by having to sign a note for his adult wife to be able to get birth control (!!!), while June is pretty resigned to it. And then they are seriously contemplating having another baby in those shitty circumstances (!!!!!). Which all spells out the status quo became normal to them and that is effing chilling.

 

On 26. 04. 2018. at 5:22 PM, Shangrilala said:

ETA:  "After a while crocodile" man is my favorite person of the episode.  

Such an excellent fuck you to the system. I hope he comes back.

 

On 27. 04. 2018. at 8:19 AM, Lemons said:

Why didn’t they show her answering the question about whether it was her egg?  I’m thinking maybe it was her wife’s egg and that’s why the child could leave.  

It wasn't necessary. We know she became a Handmaid and it was pretty obvious that moment sealed her faith.

Somebody mentioned the student Emily was supportive of was the one who ratted her out. She was the horrified girl we saw when Emily's superior was hanged, wasn't she? I think she may have brought attention to Emily, but innocently. Like she simply commented on the professor's cute family to someone she shouldn't have.

On 27. 04. 2018. at 5:16 PM, Tinfoil Hat said:

I watched these last night, holding my hand over my iPad during the ear scene. I can handle all manner of movie gore, but that was too much.  Not understanding why they insisted she cut off part of her hair—she was still recognizable.

1. Ditto.

2. As for the hair cutting, I don't much get the insistence either, but I do think it has a great effect. It's a symbol of Offred slowly turning back into June. June had shoulder length hair, not a rope of it hanging down her back or being polled into a bun. That was Offred. And it goes nicely with her hiding at the Boston Globe. Yes, it's a place of horror. On the other hand, it's also a place of writing and that is a connection to June's professional past. They both feel like steps in her reclaiming herself.

Since Nick has been mentioned multiple times, my chief problem with him is that he looks like his 12. And the actor, while perfectly solid, isn't able to trancscend that and make me forget it.

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22 minutes ago, bijoux said:

Somebody mentioned the student Emily was supportive of was the one who ratted her out. She was the horrified girl we saw when Emily's superior was hanged, wasn't she? I think she may have brought attention to Emily, but innocently. Like she simply commented on the professor's cute family to someone she shouldn't have.

I wondered whether the girl student was the one who made it a big deal so I caught it again while my husband was watching and lingered over that part. When Emily calls the girl back, the boy student who tried to correct her lingered for a moment. Who knows how far away he was and what he may have been eavesdropping on. It could have been the girl who didn't approve of the family also. 

The theory I'm partial to is that by including that scene, they are showing us how non-threatened Emily was about her family. As we all mostly are nowadays, especially at university. Like the signature requirement on the birth control, another dart landed.

It could have been anyone and it doesn't matter who it was (unless they want us to know because they're planting a seed for a later story).

Edited by guilfoyleatpp
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9 hours ago, chaifan said:

My guess is that Emily doesn't advertise that she had poison pills.  Otherwise her med kit would quickly be confiscated.  Maybe it's something she made up for herself, to use if things got too bad, or maybe it was something she was able to cobble together with the meds she already had.  I got the impression she was able to trade with the matrons or other staff for duck eggs that she found while working in the garden.

 

I suppose, but the impression I had was that the others knew exactly what Emily was doing--giving out poison and not medicine--and approved of it. That room wasn't exactly private, so they would have heard Mrs. O'Connor retching and crying out.

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2 hours ago, GreekGeek said:

I got the impression she was able to trade with the matrons or other staff for duck eggs that she found while working in the garden.

Would you eat duck eggs from a radioactive duck?  If the water is still contaminated and they wash with it making things worse with open wounds and such, the food is probably killing them too.

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2 hours ago, Baltimore Betty said:

Would you eat duck eggs from a radioactive duck?  If the water is still contaminated and they wash with it making things worse with open wounds and such, the food is probably killing them too.

Everything in that place is radioactive, the water is contaminated, the food, their clothes, their skin, their sheets, walls, all of it.  The guards will die as well, just not as soon.  It's unavoidable and those masks and the fact that they aren't actually digging up the soil will prolong, but not save their lives.

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I really wish so much of the second episode hadn't been filmed so dark.  I could barely make out most of the scenes in the women's barracks so a lot of Emily making her nursing rounds and then ministering the fatal dosage to the wife lost some of their punch.  It's a shame because while this was a slower episode, we got a lot of setup of what the world looked like as Gilead took over.

I'm with everyone else in having a very visceral reaction to watching ICE tear apart this family onscreen after all the coverage we've seen of its real-life counterpart.  Like with June being impatient with the nosy nurse asking whether Hannah was her biological child, I don't think Emily was thinking any farther in those scenes than this is ridiculous, of course he's my kid.  Can we speed this up, we've got a plane to catch.  It's only because we already know what came next that we're able to look at it and see that they were apparently collecting information on what fertile women were out there.  I was a bit surprised too that they let little Oliver leave, but maybe with a Canadian passport, they figured one extra kid to redistribute was not worth a possible international incident until they had a firmer grip on power.

June holed up at the darkened Boston Globe offices was one of those things that worked better onscreen than I probably would have thought if I'd seen it on paper first.  Lots of nice small touches about lives suddenly cut short.  Having worked at a few newspapers in a previous life, I could only think yeah, if you were going to line people up against a wall you'd do it in the pressroom.  They tend to be in large basements or warehouse parts of buildings where no one's going to see any lights or hear anything, whether it be screams or gunshots.  I don't really have a solid opinion on the Nick debate, but I do think it was an important moment for him to hand her the keys and the gun so she could see that he wasn't trying to pull anything with her and understand for herself that right now she really doesn't have anywhere to go.  While my sense of him is that the potential child June is carrying is more real to him than it is to her at this point, which considerably ups the stakes for him as well as he knows perfectly well what happens to it if she's recaptured, I also get the sense that he's really out of his depth on this one.  It was one thing to be trading black market goods and information and spying on the people he was supposed to be working for.  That doesn't necessarily mean he was high enough up in Mayday or well enough connected to smuggle out an intensely sought after handmaid.  We really don't know.  It feels possible that June suddenly turning up pregnant with a child he knows is almost certainly his at the same time as the mini handmaid rebellion was more than he or anyone else was prepared for on short notice.

I'm also not really bothered by the June-Nick sex, which she was entirely instigating and taking the lead on.  It doesn't have to be romantic or beautiful or true love for it be empowering for her at that particular moment.  It's the closest they've come to interacting with each other on equal terms and the closest they've been to actually being free to make those choices.

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On ‎4‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 8:11 PM, belladonna77 said:

June wanted a second child with Luke, not Nick. She's with Nick because of circumstances, not because she's in love. 

I would shoot Nick because he's an Eye. I would not trust him at all. 

why would he go to all of that effort to get her to safety just to rat her out?  That makes absolutely no sense.  Nick is her best shot at getting to Canada, it would be moronic for her to split from him and try to go off on her own.  She realized that when she was sitting in the car getting ready to leave before it dawned on her there was nowhere to go on her own just yet.  

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@nodorothyparker

Yes, I agree with your whole post.

This show has always overdone the dark lighting, I think it's trying to be edgy, but it can be annoying.  I've learned to wait until it's completely dark, and turn off all the lights in the house before I watch it on my PC, it helps.

Those ICE scenes were probably the most chilling scenes of all for me, because we are already watching it happen in real life.  Well done show.

I agree with you about the sex as well.  I commented earlier that when surrounded by death, people often turn to sex to reaffirm life.  June was obviously surrounded by death this entire episode, from facing the hangman knot, to her narrow escape, to the horror she found in the Boston Globe building.  I've realized in thinking about it though, that for June the sex was more than just that.  She was also ANGRY at all of it, she finally escaped, though not completely, so the terror was still there, but she was at least away from those people and her fury came out in that sex.  She was the one who made it rough, she pulled his hair, she directed it from beginning to end.

So yes, still a reaction to death, but also, a way to get some of that absolute RAGE at all of it out, and AT a man, no matter how helpful he'd been.  There was nothing loving or caring in her treatment of Nick there.

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2 hours ago, Umbelina said:

I agree with you about the sex as well.  I commented earlier that when surrounded by death, people often turn to sex to reaffirm life.  June was obviously surrounded by death this entire episode, from facing the hangman knot, to her narrow escape, to the horror she found in the Boston Globe building.  I've realized in thinking about it though, that for June the sex was more than just that.  She was also ANGRY at all of it, she finally escaped, though not completely, so the terror was still there, but she was at least away from those people and her fury came out in that sex.  She was the one who made it rough, she pulled his hair, she directed it from beginning to end.

So yes, still a reaction to death, but also, a way to get some of that absolute RAGE at all of it out, and AT a man, no matter how helpful he'd been.  There was nothing loving or caring in her treatment of Nick there.

Exactly.  I was really struck throughout this episode how much her emotions have to be raging now that she's basically alone in the dark, surrounded by the obvious signs of strangers' deaths, with little to do but watch and wait.  It's not even just about the people who were lined up against the wall but about everything that's happened.  In scenes at the Red Center and at the Waterfords' house, we've seen how she's had to live all this time always on edge and always mindful lest she say or do the wrong thing or not respond in the approved fashion.  Because the consequences when she gets it wrong are so high.  Now she's in a place where she's not constantly being watched, she's in normal clothes again, she's cut her hair.  She finally has time to think about and process everything that's happened and everything's that's been done to her and everything's that's been lost.  So damn straight she's angry.

The scenes of her with Nick were shot the way you more often see male characters "possessing" women onscreen.  SHE was doing this, right down to insisting he try to go again when he said he didn't think he could.

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Exactly.

It's so odd to think about and some obviously won't agree with me, but when I read the book, and when I watch the show?

The women who are at least free to speak, without all the forced bullshit?  Seemed to have it better than those who had every single word out of their mouths controlled.

The sex club, again, my thought was that, in many ways, they had it better than the handmaids, maids, or wives.  They had some choices at least, they had some time to themselves, they could read, play games, have a drink, in exchange for sex shifts, and even in those?  They had chances to be themselves a bit more, they didn't have to parrot religious bullshit at least.

The colonies, once again, yes it's hell, but after their shifts, they could speak freely, be themselves.  They had the one praying thing, but they all obviously knew it was bullshit.  I know myself, and I wouldn't have given up, I'd be one of those people who would try until the very end.  Those women can talk now, and those of them who know there is a resistance out there, or got news of how close the fighting was, could share that freely with others, so hope, no matter how fragile, WAS there.  Some of them may also know how shaky Gilead's "leadership" and control really is, either from overhearing things where ever they were before that, or from work in the resistance.

June, or Moira, escaping, with all of it's dangers, knowing at any minute you could be caught, tortured, killed, sent back?  At least during all of that, they can/could speak their own minds, cut their own hair, have sex when THEY wanted it, and the way THEY wanted it, in a still limited, but not AS limited way, build a memorial, or choose what and when to eat. 

Even their "new" prisons" allowed more freedom than being a handmaid.  No matter how bad any of those things were?  They were better.

After a while crocodile.

Edited by Umbelina
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None of these women are free and none of them are living anything resembling what most people would call anything close to good lives.  While each of the roles the regime has carved out for women have their own unique brands of awfulness to them and I'm generally not a fan of getting into sliding scale comparisons about who has it worse, the whole handmaid thing has always seemed to me to be a special kind of unrelenting torture.  That torture clearly colors the choices June and Emily make in this episode.  

You're watched all the time.  You're constantly treated like a child who doesn't know her own body, presented with the equivalent of grade school lunches because you clearly don't know how to feed yourself, and have to be guarded against harming yourself like they think you're some kind of homicidal toddler.  You're not supposed to read or know anything beyond what they officially tell you.  Oh yeah, and there's that whole ridiculous rape ceremony swathed in religious bullshit where you have to pray and hope it gets you pregnant not because you want a child but so these people can treat you like breed stock and rip it away from you.  And you better always be perfectly polite and docile to your captors while all this is happening.  All the while being told how lucky you are.  It's a wonder all these women aren't completely fucking insane.

Having also watched years of The Walking Dead, I've always said I would probably be among the first to decide nope, had enough of this.  But I've also read enough Holocaust memoirs that I know that's not a universal thing.  Some people are just wired to hang on and hope when it seems like there should be none left.  Emily seems like she'd be inclined to fight as long as she can and take as many with her as she can when she goes.

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20 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

None of these women are free and none of them are living anything resembling what most people would call anything close to good lives.  While each of the roles the regime has carved out for women have their own unique brands of awfulness to them and I'm generally not a fan of getting into sliding scale comparisons about who has it worse, the whole handmaid thing has always seemed to me to be a special kind of unrelenting torture.  That torture clearly colors the choices June and Emily make in this episode.  

You're watched all the time.  You're constantly treated like a child who doesn't know her own body, presented with the equivalent of grade school lunches because you clearly don't know how to feed yourself, and have to be guarded against harming yourself like they think you're some kind of homicidal toddler.  You're not supposed to read or know anything beyond what they officially tell you.  Oh yeah, and there's that whole ridiculous rape ceremony swathed in religious bullshit where you have to pray and hope it gets you pregnant not because you want a child but so these people can treat you like breed stock and rip it away from you.  And you better always be perfectly polite and docile to your captors while all this is happening.  It's a wonder all these women aren't completely fucking insane.

Having also watched years of The Walking Dead, I've always said I would probably be among the first to decide nope, had enough of this.  But I've also read enough Holocaust memoirs that I know that's not a universal thing.  Some people are just wired to hang on and hope when it seems like there should be none left.  Emily seems like she'd be inclined to fight as long as she can and take as many with her as she can when she goes.

In Gilead women aren't allowed to read AT ALL.

When I saw all those newspapers my first thought was, hell, I'd be reading EVERYTHING!  I'd be searching through desk drawers for novels.  I'd be looking in purses for whatever might be left of my old, pre-Gilead days, I'd ransack that place.  I'd also be looking for anything at all that might help in my escape, warm coats, changes of clothing, a hat, gloves, lotion! 

I think they wouldn't show June doing that because it would look too heartless, but in reality?  Those people are dead and gone, except for personal mementos, I would, I think, assume the dead people would be thrilled for me getting out, and if they were around, say "yes please, take whatever you need!"

That's what I mean about being in the sex club, colonies, or escaping, at the very least, you are NOT watched all the time, and that would be a certain kind of freedom.  In Gilead proper, you are always watched, in every way.

ETA, I agree, everyone has their breaking points, for me?  I'd rather die in the colonies or work in the sex club than be a handmaid, and that's not because of the monthly rapes, that would be the least of my issues.  I would go insane as a handmaid, maid, or wife, having my every move/word/meal every minute monitored and watched.  If suicide was my option?  It would be in Gilead proper that I would consider it.

Edited by Umbelina
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Who are the men and women who are guarding the unwomen in the colonies?  Surely they know that the radiation will be affecting them, too, even if they wear the masks.  Do they only spend a short amount of time in the colonies and then go elsewhere?  Are they aunts / cooks / maids / drivers / wives / husbands who have committed lesser offenses and are sent for brief stints in the colonies as punishment?  

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6 minutes ago, McKinley said:

Who are the men and women who are guarding the unwomen in the colonies?  Surely they know that the radiation will be affecting them, too, even if they wear the masks.  Do they only spend a short amount of time in the colonies and then go elsewhere?  Are they aunts / cooks / maids / drivers / wives / husbands who have committed lesser offenses and are sent for brief stints in the colonies as punishment?  

They aren't allowed to read, so how would they know?  It's not as if they can google it. 

My guess is they only know what they are told, or foolishly think those masks are all they need, or Gilead picked the stupidest people on purpose?

It's a good question though, the lowest of the low Aunts maybe?  It's this or be one of the un-women?

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Relatedly, I'm also wondering how the aunts are recruited and trained.  Aunt Lydia certainly seems enthusiastic about both the religious indoctrination and the ability to freely abuse the handmaids.  But we did see other aunts that didn't seem so thrilled - didn't one of them make an escape to Canada and tell all?  Do all of the aunts use such abusive, cruel tactics (is it an expected part of doing their job)?  If so, do you have to volunteer to become an aunt, or do you have no choice?  I'm wondering if the latter is the case, and the aunts who are not so enthusiastic about the job get a stint as overseers in the colonies to persuade them to be happier and more thorough in their abuse of the handmaids.  And I'm also thinking that for a normal person who is not a sadist or abuser, being an aunt would be hell.

I do hope we get more insight and backstory into the other positions in Gilead.  We know quite a bit about Serena's back story, and some of the Commander's.  

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41 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

It's a good question though, the lowest of the low Aunts maybe?  It's this or be one of the un-women?

They only seem to have it marginally better than the women they're supposed to be guarding, with the biggest "perk" being the possibility to mistreat them, so I'd say they're basically kapos? And I'd guess they're recruited among the more "ordinary" criminals from the pre-Gilead times.

25 minutes ago, McKinley said:

Aunt Lydia certainly seems enthusiastic about both the religious indoctrination and the ability to freely abuse the handmaids.  

I thought she tipped more towards the latter in this episode and I found it slightly out of character for her. I mean, obviously she's a heinous person doing heinous things, but it the first season she totally sold it as a true believer convinced she's doing God's work, no matter how unpleasant it might be. In this episode she seemed sadistic more than anything else, but it could well be her being unnerved by June challenging her authority. 

I too want to see more of her backstory. I hope it's not something too stereotypical, like coming from an abusive background and turning into a religious fanatic in the process. 

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Now that the show has expanded beyond the book, I'm hoping we get to find out how some of these other people got where they are too.  The chef at Jezebel's last season mentioned to Nick that she'd been a prize winning professional chef before.  Waterford seemed particularly amused to point out that at least a couple of the women "working" there had been professors, highly educated, or high powered business women before for men who were looking for more intellectual stimulation, which just sounded particularly cruel, but didn't elaborate.  We still know nothing about Rita and how she ended up in the Waterford house,

Spoiler

although in the book we know she seems to think the handmaids have an easy gig and might have preferred that had she not gotten her tubes tied before.

I would love as much as anybody to know what people like Lydia were doing before this and what singled them out for this job beyond obviously not being childbearing age.

The Marisa Tomei wife in this one was interesting.  We obviously can't know if she was as complicit as Serena in bringing Gilead about.  It's possible she may have just been a passive wife of someone important and didn't get much say in the matter.  In between her completely self-absorbed "God will somehow save me from this because LOVE" ramblings she does mention that she'd been an interior designer with an art degree before all this.  Yet when everything happened, she apparently wasn't too bothered to roll right along with the whole handmaid setup and thought she was special enough that the draconian rules for sexless wives didn't apply to her.

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I assume that the aunts were the type of women who made up Serena's fan base in the pre-Gilead days. Religiously brainwashed women. Women who campaign against abortion and contraception. Women who are venomously homophobic. Women, usually childless, who don't want mothers to choose whether they work outside of the home or not. Women who look down on and resent single mothers (though they'll claim to love both until they talk them out of abortion). Women who think that women who enjoy sex are whores. Serena's book seemed to be part of a social movement that she grew as part of the plan to create Gilead. So when it came down to choosing the Aunts, they already had a long list of names ready to go.

In terms of where the plot goes from here, I think I have seen all I want and need to see of June as a handmaid. I really don't want to see her get caught and forced back into that life. And I don't mean that as 'I really don't want that for her character,' I mean it as in, as a viewer, that's a bleak turn of events I have no interest in seeing. If she does end up back with the Waterford's, I need it to be some sort of choice she has made, as part of resistance work, but even then I just don't need to see it. I used to watch The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones but gave each up a few seasons in because I have absolutely no desire to watch dark plots for the sake of dark plots. I don't think June can escape to Canada anytime soon but I'd rather see her somewhere else in Gilead. I wouldn't even mind if the show went the route of the crappy movie and we see June travelling in the opposite direction and finding herself in rebel held territory.

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On ‎4‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 9:42 AM, OtterMommy said:

From what we saw in the first episode, being stoned is a "humane" execution and being sent to the colonies is designed to make women (are they only women?  I can't remember if I saw men there) suffer a painful death.  I'm still not clear how Emily is alive AND how she has medical supplies in the colonies, but hopefully that will be explained.

As for the colonies, it just looks like they are shoveling dirt, so I can't quite buy the idea that the people sent there are of any real use to TPTB in the colonies.  I mean, if everything there is radioactive, they can't possibly be growing food for Gilead (which makes me wonder where Gilead is getting their food...).

Unrelated note: my continual complaint about this show is that it is just too DARK.  And I'm not talking about subject matter...some of the scenes from the colonies felt like I was just watching a powered off TV.

Yes!  I was starting to get really aggravated by how dark some of the scenes were, to the point where you literally couldn't even see anything at all.  I even started looking for the settings on my TV to turn up the brightness.  It seemed really unnecessary.  We get it, it's dark and dreary.  We'd still like to be able to actually WATCH the show though, as opposed to merely listening to it like a freaking radio show, for crying out loud.

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8 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

The Marisa Tomei wife in this one was interesting.  We obviously can't know if she was as complicit as Serena in bringing Gilead about.  It's possible she may have just been a passive wife of someone important and didn't get much say in the matter.  In between her completely self-absorbed "God will somehow save me from this because LOVE" ramblings she does mention that she'd been an interior designer with an art degree before all this.  Yet when everything happened, she apparently wasn't too bothered to roll right along with the whole handmaid setup and thought she was special enough that the draconian rules for sexless wives didn't apply to her.

I also thought that her ramblings were more along the lines of a more mainstream kind of Christianity, instead of... whatever the hell Gilead is on about. Perhaps it was just my impression, but I found it interesting. And it got me thinking about the wives in general and how many of them really believe in what the new order is preaching. I guess a lot of them were educated and had jobs before "the laws changed", and quite of few must be married to mere opportunists looking to climb up the social ladder, as opposed to true believers. It's entirely possible that many of those women really didn't expect what was going to happen or least the extent of of it. 

 

6 minutes ago, AllyB said:

In terms of where the plot goes from here, I think I have seen all I want and need to see of June as a handmaid. I really don't want to see her get caught and forced back into that life. And I don't mean that as 'I really don't want that for her character,' I mean it as in, as a viewer, that's a bleak turn of events I have no interest in seeing.

I agree with this 100%. I also don't want it to become some sort of action drama with June almost getting caught and nearly escaping time and again, as it would get old really quickly. I wouldn't even mind it if she somehow made it to Canada already in the next episode, although I realize it's not going to happen and her joining the resistance movement is more realistic. I'm fine with that too, it's just that I really feel that the story of June the Handmaid has been exhausted AND there are other stories that should be told.

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There are a lot of sheep in this world, as we've seen in real life, they believe whatever powerful people tell them to believe.

I just think the Aunts in the Colonies are some of them, probably think they are heroes working for the cause, probably too uneducated to know that masks are not going to save them.  Aside from that, they have limited alternatives.  If they were fertile, they'd be handmaids.  Being "wives" of the surviving leaders is the "luck" of the draw, and there can only be so many maids, or top tier Aunts.

At least they don't get wounds on their hands from shoveling, and don't have to work however many hours a day doing manual labor, other than guarding, which is far less work.  We haven't seen their quarters, food, or toilets, but I'd guess they have it better than the prisoners there, more creature comforts.

The choices for women in this world suck, the choices for decent men are only marginally better.

One of the things left out of the first season from the book that I would like to see are

Spoiler

the econowives.  They probably had it best of all, for a while...

Edited by Umbelina
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Is it just me, or does Giliad resemble the way many farm animals are currently treated? Tagged, forced to breed with a particular bull, having their babies taken away, killed when they are no longer useful? I dunno, maybe too many PETA videos many years ago...

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I thought the aunts were allowed to read, if only the highly edited religious texts.  

As for those kapo Aunts in the colonies, I kept thinking about the female guards at Auschwitz and other camps.  Most of them were true believers or at least highly desensitized enough to do the "work" with little trouble.

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1 hour ago, boes said:

I thought the aunts were allowed to read, if only the highly edited religious texts.  

As for those kapo Aunts in the colonies, I kept thinking about the female guards at Auschwitz and other camps.  Most of them were true believers or at least highly desensitized enough to do the "work" with little trouble.

Yeah, for now they have their re-written Gilead Bible.  However, since they are converting street signs to pictures and have already taken away all words in the grocery store?  I'd guess the even that Aunt's Bible will be a picture book soon.  Women are not supposed to read.  You'd think the Aunts would just about have to, since they assign and seem to keep records on the Handmaids though, so maybe, for now, they are allowed forms.  My bet would be that those will be assigned to a man somewhere though, the Aunt's reporting things verbally to a man to write down.

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There has never been another fictional show, and I doubt there will be one again, that makes me as viscerally angry watching it as this one does. Probably because not only could  it happen, the seeds have already been planted, what with the constant attacks on the press and science, government agencies rewriting facts to suit their twisted agenda, and the shameless pandering to religious extremism.  I always have to watch something light and funny afterward (good thing there's always a rerun of TBBT on somewhere!) just to get this show out of my head.

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14 hours ago, Umbelina said:

They aren't allowed to read, so how would they know?  It's not as if they can google it. 

My guess is they only know what they are told, or foolishly think those masks are all they need, or Gilead picked the stupidest people on purpose?

I don't think the reading ban is affecting this. These were all, or at least for the most part, adults who could read and had access to this information before the rise of Gilead. I'd sooner put my money on disbelieving it (global warming and evolution of the species, what's that?) and/or believing that God was protecting them unlike thescum that was sent there as punishment. 

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14 hours ago, Joana said:

I also thought that her ramblings were more along the lines of a more mainstream kind of Christianity, instead of... whatever the hell Gilead is on about. Perhaps it was just my impression, but I found it interesting. And it got me thinking about the wives in general and how many of them really believe in what the new order is preaching. I guess a lot of them were educated and had jobs before "the laws changed", and quite of few must be married to mere opportunists looking to climb up the social ladder, as opposed to true believers. It's entirely possible that many of those women really didn't expect what was going to happen or least the extent of of it. 

 

I agree with this 100%. I also don't want it to become some sort of action drama with June almost getting caught and nearly escaping time and again, as it would get old really quickly. I wouldn't even mind it if she somehow made it to Canada already in the next episode, although I realize it's not going to happen and her joining the resistance movement is more realistic. I'm fine with that too, it's just that I really feel that the story of June the Handmaid has been exhausted AND there are other stories that should be told.

I saw it last night. I have to say S2 is sucking me in like S1 did.

I agree with the above poster that June getting caught and being tortured or put back as a Handmaid is counter productive. I would love to see June making it to Canada. Nick dying because I can't see her leaving Luke for Nick. I would love to see the Americans in Canada fight to take back their country. Getting back their children. Freeing other Handmaids and freeing the "unwomen".

I also want a backstory on Aunt Lydia. I think she has to be some over zealous ex-nun or religious fanatic that was picked up by the group that Serena led.  

Speaking about Serena - I just cannot see her obsession for a baby to cause all this as her rights were taken away.  She seemed in flash backs from S1 to be pretty important and she liked it.  

About Marisa Tomei's character.  I saw her more as a passive wife. She went along with whatever the husband believed as she was deeply religious.  I think it was the religious part that upset Emily after all she's been through and did what she did.  I wonder what punishment the husband and the handmaid got. 

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I couldn't sleep for thinking about the two episodes I just watched.  The scary part is how quickly humanity can lose its ... well, humanity.  Would  we really give up an enlightened civilization earned over hundreds of years so quickly and easily.  There's always a small percentage of psychopaths, but I like to think that the majority of us would balk against cruelty to our fellow man.

Of course there's the Nazis, and other examples.  But I still maintain (hope?) it couldn't happen to a broadminded population with access to worldwide social media.  

I'm a Canadian.  Maybe we're a bit soft.  But I tend to think there's good in everyone.  Why would anyone chose  to enforce such a miserable existence on a population  when everyone's had it so good and the future only looks brighter.  It doesn't make sense.  We only get one stab at life.  Why would anyone want make things worse instead of better?

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