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ElectricBoogaloo

S02.E08: Women's Work

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I watch this show with closed captions. The doctor who was gushing over the pediatrician/martha was named Dr. Epstein. So, they didn't kill all the Jews, then?

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19 minutes ago, Mya said:

Because reading and writing are considered a crime for women I am wondering if Eden actually didn't read the letters since she is so devoted.  Anyone else think that?

I thought the same thing,  she seems very brainwashed and devoted to the cause.  

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My only comment is Serena is once the person that told Fred, June's baby was not his because he was unworthy.  She has a lot on Fred, both his affairs with Handmaids and most likely more.   He's crazy for taking her on...it's one thing if he was actually devout but he basically doesn't follow any Gilead laws

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24 minutes ago, GraceK said:

She did seem really upset though about Angela, going so far as almost attacking the doctor when he said she wouldn’t make it. Do you think that was acting? These people keep confusing me! Does she actually love the baby but is just not maternal at all? I’m honestly at a loss as to what to think .

 

I think when it comes to Naomi she does not out rightly hate the baby, she however does hate all she had to go through to get her and she really doesn’t seem to be good at giving maternal care, the way that she would ignore the child screams when she was upset or more than likely hungry or wet. She hever learned how to soothe and comfort her, to tend to her lovingly. 

 I think the idea of being a mother was a lot better than the reality of being a mother where she is concerned. 

 Being a wife with a baby just makes you stand out and gets you tons of attention and presents and everyone fawns over the child.

Naomi loved the attention, but when the other wives eventually went home and the Marthas cleaned up after the party, she was left with a needy, tiny little life that was wholly dependent on her and she was not and still is not equipped to handle that.

So for so long she has been incredibly stressed out and when she heard that even after everything that she forced herself to go through and put up with the baby was very well still going to die, she snapped and reacted with a whole plethora of emotions.

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3 hours ago, GraceK said:

She did seem really upset though about Angela, going so far as almost attacking the doctor when he said she wouldn’t make it. Do you think that was acting? These people keep confusing me! Does she actually love the baby but is just not maternal at all? I’m honestly at a loss as to what to think .

I think she loves the social power of having a baby. I don't get the impression she is particularly liked among the wives, but in terms of status she is elevated more than Serena Joy. That's what she doesn't want to lose. However, I don't think she enjoys being a parent. No one likes sleepless nights, crying, teething, projectile vomit, colic, diapers, etc, but she seems to really resent the baby being a baby.

Also (as I continue to totally overthink this), in this fucked society if Angela died, maybe Naomi would be sent to the colonies for being an unfit mother.  

On a different topic Aunt Lydia WTF. "If this breaks her, I'll hold you (June) personally responsible." I'm sorry Aunt Lydia but you lost your right to blame others for Janine's mental health issues when you HAD HER EYE SURGICALLY REMOVED, brainwashed her, sent her away to be raped in monthly installments, made her have a baby under duress which she was then forced to give away, and then tried to have stoned to death by her own friends. No no no no no no you do not get to blame June.

Edited by The Mighty Peanut
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16 minutes ago, GraceK said:

She did seem really upset though about Angela, going so far as almost attacking the doctor when he said she wouldn’t make it. Do you think that was acting? These people keep confusing me! Does she actually love the baby but is just not maternal at all? I’m honestly at a loss as to what to think .

We may find out differently later, but it's possible that Naomi is afraid of what will happen if she touches the baby. We don't really know much about the Putnams other than they don't seem to have much experience with children and Warren's extra activities with Janine. Naomi never seems comfortable with the baby and we know that horrible things happen to people in Gilead whether people are at fault or not. She's been handed this child, she seems to know nothing about childcare, her family has already had bad attention brought on them by Warren's actions, when they go out they're walking by hanged bodies and men with guns every 20 feet... who wouldn't be scared to do something wrong with the baby? She strikes me as someone who was always a little on edge to begin with and now she has this baby in the house that might get her into more trouble.

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2 minutes ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

Would she have been taught to read? 

 

 I think she would have, her parents probably would have wanted her to learn the Bible backwards and forwards and other religious literature that coincided with their beliefs. 

i’m not sure if she did read the letters or not, I am leaning more towards not because of everything she seems to hold near and dear about Gilead, but at the same time I think about her age and I believe no matter the brainwashing rebellious behavior and teenagers just go together. 

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1 hour ago, stephinmn said:

I watch this show with closed captions. The doctor who was gushing over the pediatrician/martha was named Dr. Epstein. So, they didn't kill all the Jews, then?

As I remember it, they had the choice to convert or get deported.

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1 hour ago, Mya said:

Because reading and writing are considered a crime for women I am wondering if Eden actually didn't read the letters since she is so devoted.  Anyone else think that?

I totally believed her. I think she really, really believes all of it and is disheartened that everyone else around her is totally faking it.

If she's faking her devotion then I'm hoping she's a super secret double-agent who once worked for the FBI — who is really 40 but was a great agent because she has Ralph Macchio face — and her mission is to kill Fred and frame Serena. Otherwise, I kind of like her as a true believer. At this point, I think the only other one is Aunt Lydia.   

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14 minutes ago, Stiggs said:

 

If she's faking her devotion then I'm hoping she's a super secret double-agent who once worked for the FBI — who is really 40 but was a great agent because she has Ralph Macchio face — and her mission is to kill Fred and frame Serena. Otherwise, I kind of like her as a true believer. At this point, I think the only other one is Aunt Lydia.   

Gilead Jump Street? I’m digging it. Season 4.

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I remember in Season 1 when Serena chided and degraded Fred about his impotence & basically told him that it was Nick’s child. I think it was a weapon of Serena’s to use because she was angry about the cheating. It seems unrealistic to me that now Fred can wield such power over Serena. I’m wondering if the spanking was his displaced anger with Serena, knowing she disdains and doesn’t respect him? I do understand that sexist men enjoy setting up “cat fights” and competition between women. Fred felt safe that Serena and June would never align with each other. Regardless of Fred’s motivation...the way Serena shamed him last season, I was expecting her to kick June out and end up whipping weak li’l Fred.

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55 minutes ago, boes said:

As I remember it, they had the choice to convert or get deported.

It seems odd to me that Jews (and Muslims) would choose to convert in Gilead rather than be deported to Israel, epecially if it meant hanging off the side of a building if you said a prayer in Hebrew.

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14 minutes ago, stephinmn said:

It seems odd to me that Jews (and Muslims) would choose to convert in Gilead rather than be deported to Israel, epecially if it meant hanging off the side of a building if you said a prayer in Hebrew.

Many did.  Many more probably pretended to be Jewish just to get out.  Unfortunately, the boats they left on were problematic.  They were dumped overboard and the boats returned for more.  More profits that way.  Some got out, I can't remember if Israel sent boats of their own, or if airports were already closed to other countries.

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4 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

I think that all things considered, for now, because Eden is such a wild card it is actually beneficial for Nick to focus more on keeping Eden contained and in line

Although I agree from his point this is best.... he might be driving her right into

Spoiler

the open arms of a manipulative and creepy Commander. She is desperate for affection and approval. If she doesn’t get it from nick, I think she will grab onto it from anyone who gives it to her. Then, commence pillow talk. And out come her little secrets about secret letters and her husband not wanting to have sex with her etc...

Nick might be smarter to keep her happy, even if he has to fake it. If she’s a happy homemaker singing and decorating like Snow White cleaning the house, then her mind won’t be making trouble. He’s giving her too much room for doubt. 

Cmon Nick. June had to let the commander have sex with her and flirt with him. And say she liked it. Man up and fake a relationship with Eden for your survival. 

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15 hours ago, LittleRed84 said:

Im all for different opinions. But this one shocked me! Totally reread it 2-3 times. 

I’m curious if your hatred of Nick goes beyond his eyebrows annoying you? Hes frustrated with Eden. Doesn’t trust her. Hes not cruel, just indifferent. He’s been good to June. I think without him, her life would be much much worse. He’s not perfect, but I certainly don’t cheer for his demise like I do Fred. You seem to.

Could you elaborate?

@Callaphera I think we posted at the same time! I think you just answered my question before I asked it lol

I think Nick is just resentful that his life is a such a shitshow. I think he heard June when she snapped at him for complaining about having to have sex with someone he doesn't want to, and is trying to be mindful of that, but he is being oppressed himself. He didn't want to get married. He is now responsible for someone who he feels paternal towards, but also has to have sex with for the purpose of procreation even though he doesn't want to be a dad. On top of that, Eden has the power to kill him with two words: gender traitor. 

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3 hours ago, dmc said:

My only comment is Serena is once the person that told Fred, June's baby was not his because he was unworthy.  She has a lot on Fred, both his affairs with Handmaids and most likely more.   He's crazy for taking her on...it's one thing if he was actually devout but he basically doesn't follow any Gilead laws

Exactly! If Warren lost a hand for some oral sex with Janine... what would Fred lose if Serena told the council about his taking handmaids to Jezebels? Sneaking them around as wives? Having sex and letting them play scrabble?? I think he might lose his life!

Why isn’t Serena playing her cards??? She has a good hand to play!

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2 minutes ago, LittleRed84 said:

Exactly! If Warren lost a hand for some oral sex with Janine... what would Fred lose if Serena told the council about his taking handmaids to Jezebels? Sneaking them around as wives? Having sex and letting them play scrabble?? I think he might lose his life!

Why isn’t Serena playing her cards??? She has a good hand to play!

I wondered the same thing. Maybe she isn't ready to bluff. If he goes down, she goes down too. 

Another thing I noticed about this episode. All the women, except maybe Eden, were having actual, honest conversations with each other. They were women talking to other women, not a Wife talking to a Handmaid or an Aunt talking to a Handmaid etc. The female doctor forced to work as Martha became a person too. That part felt nice, but I'm not sure this should be happening. I mean why were suddenly all of them acting and talking like real human beings instead of Wives, Aunts, Handmaids etc?

And the voiceovers were pretty terrible, tbh.

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As far as Naomi Putman goes, I think she just wants the baby for the attention and status it brings her.  She is not maternal at all, which is fine, unless you live in a society that forces all wives to have babies and be mothers.  This is one of the many things that is so awful about Gilead.  Here is a woman who might have some other plan for her life and would have been perfectly happy to be childless, but in Gilead having a child is a way to raise her family's social profile and her own.  Now she is a neurotic mess because she feels shame for not being maternal, when for her it is natural.  I find her to be  a cold woman by nature anyway.  Even when Warren was fooling around with Janine, I got the feeling he was looking for human warmth in addition to nookie.  Gilead lacks any humanity or warmth.  Not that I have much empathy for either Warren or Naomi.  They just show another of the many ways Gilead fails. 

I think Nick must be living a nightmare.  Worrying about the child he is having with June, having Eden threatening his life, and then having to have sex with Eden and risk bringing another child into this mess.  And all that's without mentioning the insanity of dealing with Gilead, plus if he is in the resistance there's a little more stress to throw on his shoulders.  How awful.

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2 minutes ago, Normades said:

I think Nick must be living a nightmare.  Worrying about the child he is having with June, having Eden threatening his life, and then having to have sex with Eden and risk bringing another child into this mess.  And all that's without mentioning the insanity of dealing with Gilead, plus if he is in the resistance there's a little more stress to throw on his shoulders.  How awful.

Yes! Nick has a lot to deal with. I can empathize with his choices. I may not think he’s choosing correctly at times, but under stress- we all have regrets and make dumb rash choices! Hindsight is 20/20! He’s doing the best he can. 

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38 minutes ago, LittleRed84 said:

Cmon Nick. June had to let the commander have sex with her and flirt with him. And say she liked it. Man up and fake a relationship with Eden for your survival. 

Seriously. And it would be so much easier to fool Eden than the Commander. I strongly believe Nick could easily get away with not actually having sex with her. She's so innocent, and with that sheet in the way, she wouldn't have known if he had faked it with his hand or a prop. 

Edited by NicoleMN6
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3 minutes ago, NicoleMN6 said:

She's so innocent, and with that sheet in the way, she wouldn't have known if he had faked it with his hand or a prop. 

I even wonder if she might accept rubbing on her lower torso as actual sex. In that earlier episode many of wondered at her distinct lack of discomfort for a "first time."

Edited by dleighg
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5 hours ago, Joana said:

Count me in among those who felt for Eden. At the end of the day, she's just a child trying to live the only life she's ever known. She's never asked for any of this and I wish Nick would treat her differently. Yes, I know he never wanted a wife and that the thought of having sex with a young girl physically repulses him, as it should, and that he's afraid of what might happen to him because of her - that's all more than understandable. And it's understandable he can never be warm and loving towards her, but it doesn't mean he cannot muster up a bit of basic human kindness and just a tiny effort to be more pleasant would go a long way. As I said, she had no say in anything that has ever happened to her in her entire life and s/he's just another victim of the people he's nominally serving. Also - recklessly leaving those letters exposed enough for her to find them was your damn fault.

Perhaps I am a monster, but I am Team-Nick on this one. I acknowledge that Eden  is an abused child, and, in a perfect - or normal - world, she should be taken away and sent to school and put under the tutelage of loving parents. But this is not a normal world and she is dangerous. It’s not right (by our standards) that she is the true believer that she appears to be. ITA she’s not going to respond well to anything but the discipline she believes is right and that includes the discipline of her husband. Nick has no choice but to be harsh with her about rifling through his contraband because she’s not going to respond to the kindness she’s never known. 

5 hours ago, PamelaMaeSnap said:

BTW, was I the only one who, when SJ and June were discussing a Martha who was the world's best neo-natologist (sp?), thought it would turn out to be Rita?

Not the only one. I also thought it would be Rita and was struggling with how I felt about that. I’m both relieved and disappointed they didn’t go that route. 

4 hours ago, Mya said:

Because reading and writing are considered a crime for women I am wondering if Eden actually didn't read the letters since she is so devoted.  Anyone else think that?

I agree. She knows it would be an offence before Godard wouldn’t do it. Now, whether she keeps that up or not, remains to be seen. 

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1 hour ago, LittleRed84 said:

Exactly! If Warren lost a hand for some oral sex with Janine... what would Fred lose if Serena told the council about his taking handmaids to Jezebels? Sneaking them around as wives? Having sex and letting them play scrabble?? I think he might lose his life!

Why isn’t Serena playing her cards??? She has a good hand to play!

He caught her off guard I guess, she will.  

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5 hours ago, GraceK said:

She did seem really upset though about Angela, going so far as almost attacking the doctor when he said she wouldn’t make it. Do you think that was acting? These people keep confusing me! Does she actually love the baby but is just not maternal at all? I’m honestly at a loss as to what to think .

Angela is like a Mercedes Benz to the type of woman who seeks to parade her "status" for all to admire and envy".  She lunged at the doctor like she would lunge at another driver who backed in to her Mercedes in a parking lot - lots of anger in that lunge but no tears or sadness.

Angela - and all other babies - are the ultimate luxury car, designer handbag, precious jewelry for wives in Gilead.

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7 hours ago, Empress1 said:

I wondered if Eden could read too. When she said “of course not,” my mind assumed she meant “because I can’t read.” But then I thought, “If she’s 15 and Gilead has only been Gilead for 5 years, she can probably read but maybe not above grade level.” I would assume she was in school before she ... wasn’t. But she could also come from the sort of family that already didn’t value education for girls, so she may not have had much formal education.

I cannot imagine not being able to read. Even leaving aside reading for pleasure, which I love but I know there are people who don’t, you would be so helpless. UGH.

As I said in another post, I am friends with a family here in the US who live very paranoid, shelteted, isolated lives. Only one of their six kids can read and it's because I taught her myself. They are all in their 30s now and have zero formal education. Their main friend group consists of other families who live and believe like them. Because I know so many people who do this, I have no problem believing that Eden may be illiterate.

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2 hours ago, LittleRed84 said:

Although I agree from his point this is best.... he might be driving her right into

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the open arms of a manipulative and creepy Commander. She is desperate for affection and approval. If she doesn’t get it from nick, I think she will grab onto it from anyone who gives it to her. Then, commence pillow talk. And out come her little secrets about secret letters and her husband not wanting to have sex with her etc...

Nick might be smarter to keep her happy, even if he has to fake it. If she’s a happy homemaker singing and decorating like Snow White cleaning the house, then her mind won’t be making trouble. He’s giving her too much room for doubt. 

Cmon Nick. June had to let the commander have sex with her and flirt with him. And say she liked it. Man up and fake a relationship with Eden for your survival. 

 

But for me that’s the thing, Nick is a man, he is in a position of power that women no longer have or can have in Gilead.  

June used her body because that’s all the leverage she had, there was no alternative, it was either let her “lord and master” rape her more regularly than usual and hope it got her a treat in the end or risk death because of a false accusation or because he got sick of her. 

Nick does not have to be nice or kind or attentive to Eden to get what he needs from her, which is silence and obedience, all he has to do really is rely on the laws of Gilead for that assist. 

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On 6/6/2018 at 7:55 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

June, on the other hand, has gotten comfortable and careless. She was smart enough to realize that Eden might report Nick if they didn't have sex so she must realize that Eden is not like her, yet she made no attempt to disguise the contempt on her face when the Commander returned home. Later, she called Janine by her real name in front of the guard walking them home which was also careless and stupid. And she really thought that it would be a good idea for Janine to see the baby again? When Warren said, "What harm could it do?" I thought uhhh, at best Janine will get hysterical but at worst she might try to kidnap her.

Maybe I'm a freak but I was like, OMG, Warren has still got it so bad for Janine and just wants to see her.  LOL.

I was so scared in the last scene :(  I was scared something horrible was going to happen.  I couldn't enjoy it.  I was terrified throughout the doctor scene because I thought someone would murder the doctor, then I thought the doctor would murder the child (in a crazed fit, that I wouldn't even blame her for, like some fucked up PTSD), then I thought Janine and the baby would try to escape, and someone would murder them, or something, this show has really fucked me up good.  I'm like the Emily version of a viewer.

That baby was sooooooooooo cute but I thought it was a boy, who knows, not that it matters, but that baby was so cute and I love a chubby baby (next to Janine it looked kinda plump and omg, so beautiful.)

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3 hours ago, LittleRed84 said:

Exactly! If Warren lost a hand for some oral sex with Janine... what would Fred lose if Serena told the council about his taking handmaids to Jezebels? Sneaking them around as wives? Having sex and letting them play scrabble?? I think he might lose his life!

Why isn’t Serena playing her cards??? She has a good hand to play!

 

 If Serena were to play such a hand then she needs one hell of an escape route for herself, because she has broken just as many rules and laws as Fred has and something tells me that he would not just go down on that sinking ship without trying to take her with him. 

 Naomi more than likely had no skeletons in her closet for Warren to use to keep her quiet, she could freely go to the council and have him punished. She did have the upper hand over him, at least in that instance. 

Yet in Serena’s case, just in this episode alone she broke how many rules?

Fred’s office is filled with documentation proving that Serena has been breaking Gilead law left and right, and that she involved a handmaid in her dealings.

 Serena is trapped because if she tries to expose Fred then she exposes herself to a hell of a lot as well, and more than likely if he’s hanging on the wall then she’ll be hanging right beside him.

Or she’ll get shipped off to the colonies and left to rot or face the same fate as the other wife did when she arrived. In the colonies it is clear that being a wife makes you the lowest denominator in the group, a total reversal from Gilead, fittingly so I might add. 

I Think that is what makes the Waterford’s home a true house of horrors for everyone that lives there, because both Fred and Serena do things that compromise not only themselves but the others, Rita, June, Nick, so basically if one card falls that whole house of cards comes down.

None of them are safe if one of them opens their mouths at any point.

 Whole households can be slaughtered for the actions of just one, as we learned last week. 

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11 hours ago, Chelz said:

I had a very different idea of what may be happening to baby Angela. I thought that Naomi was secretly poisoning her to "escape" motherhood and that the expert Dr. would happen to discover it. Then what? But I was way off.

You're not the only one.  That whole situation reeked of Munchausen by proxy.

Fred must die x 1000.  I still don't carry any sympathy for Serena because the bad far outweighs the good bit she did NOT deserve that.  It was just a horrible power play that Fred used to remind all that his word is law.

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On 6/6/2018 at 4:13 PM, Helena Dax said:

I don't blame the doctor. Gildead was built on the premise that babies were the most important thing in the world. I'm not surprised the doctor couldn't even imagine that after everything they've done, a Wife could despise a baby so much.

Good point, the doctor does not see what we do, whatsoever.  She was brought in last minute as a hail Mary.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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I think being young and raised with Gilead's belief system gives Eden a small edge in how-to manipulate the situation to get what she wants. She may have been taught these tactics at her mother's knee. She's got the husband she wanted and now she wants the baby. When Nick was trying to be honorable and not touching her, did she sit back and defer to her husband's judgment on at least waiting to get to know each other? No, she was not going to wait for her status symbol. She was ready to turn him in as a gender traitor. And she let it be known. I think she manipulated the situation to get her way and will continue to do so.

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12 hours ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

Is TV show Serena Joy supposed to be the same age as June, just unable to conceive due to the gunshot wound? Whenever SJ and June are in the same room I am always struck by how young and dewy Serena looks. Especially after Waterfuck whipped her and she was in her room wearing the plain tank top, I thought she looked like she was in her late twenties whereas June looked 35+. 

I am older than both these women IRL and don't mean to be ageist. It's just something I've noticed since being of childbearing age is such a focus.

ETA: Did Fred actually SPANK Serena Joy? EW. I thought he just whipped her back which is bad enough. That motherfucker needs to die.

I'm not convinced that Serena is the one with the problem conceiving; I think the problem might well be her husband.

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12 hours ago, charmed1 said:

ITA. For me, it harkened back to enslaved African women being forced to serve as wet nurses and midwives for the children of plantation owners. Especially seeing her dressed in that get up.  Wonderful piece of acting. Her scene was the very first and only time I shed a tear during this entire series. Every one of my doctors is a black woman — from dermatologist to therapist. It definitely resonated with me.

My Mom has been an Ob/Gyn for 42 years, she also watches this show with me sometimes. She says they would kill her in Gilead because she is too old, or best case she would be a Martha. That woman reminded me of a younger version of my Mom. 

 

I think Eden may know how to read simply because not reading AT ALL for women is pretty extreme. Her family may have assumed girls needed to be able to read recipes, make supply lists, do basic math. Nick needs to think two steps ahead and be kinder to her as not to arouse suspicion. 

Edited by Scarlett45
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6 hours ago, LittleRed84 said:

Exactly! If Warren lost a hand for some oral sex with Janine... what would Fred lose if Serena told the council about his taking handmaids to Jezebels? Sneaking them around as wives? Having sex and letting them play scrabble?? I think he might lose his life!

Why isn’t Serena playing her cards??? She has a good hand to play!

Fred is really high in the Gilead leadership structure.  With Nick’s true believer boss dead, I think Serena just killed one of the only people that could have checked Fred if she showed her hand.

Spoiler

Maybe Bradley Whitfords character will be powerful enough?

Edited by TarotQueen
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I love Serena. I didn’t interpret her sending June away as cold. Proud people HATE sympathy. I’ve encountered  this before. It’s jarring to say can I help to someone who’s been whining and have them suddenly get huffy hutbit bappens. Similarly Serena SAID don’t be stupid- and then she did it. June is learning how to read her. Serena can’t say what she thinks anymore than June can and she’s a prisoner too. 

 

I dont thinkbthis beating will will drive a permanent wedge between the women- or if it does that’s bad plotting. 

 

There will be caution and then then it will continue. 

 

Intoo want Fred dead.

 

 

and yes Janine with Angela/Charlotte was beautiful and aunt Lydia seemed sincerely thrilled. Maybe now handmaidens will be allowed to nurture their infants longer. 

 

Hard mot to think of the children warehoused in our own country right now while their parents are held for interrogation at the border, Eben if asylum seeking. Small children don’t just need food and shelter they need cuddles and songs and love. 

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On 6/6/2018 at 2:53 AM, LittleRed84 said:

4) I think a main motive for Fred beating Serena in front of June was to drive a wedge between them. When he saw the music box, and THEN that rose.... it's very easy to see that they are getting along and bonding. Red flag for him. Plus they were both gone? And then he pieced together that they were both working on the documents together. He can't have 2 strong willed and smart women bonding behind his back and breaking laws- it's a threat. And that's exactly what happened. He preferred it when they hated each other and June needed to seek refuge in his office for some companionship. So, he whips Serena in front of June. Serena was embarrassed and ashamed. It's bad enough she just now realized the monster she is married to, but also that it happened in front of June. Just as Fred wanted, Serena turned cold again towards June and sends her away. He's very manipulative. I think that was his main intention. The joy of asserting his power and beating her was icing on his cake. Sick, sick man. But I think eventually, maybe it will backfire. Perhaps he will become both of their common enemy? 

This was my interpretation too. He doesn't want them conspiring against him.

 

I think that if Eden knows how to read, then she read those letters. It's really hard to look at words without automatically reading them. Having said that, she really wasn't acting like she had read them - she was very convincing.

 

I also agree that Nick needs to play his part better with respect to Eden or she will make a lot of trouble for him. I get that he is put off by her age but he is putting himself and others in danger by being so cold to her.

 

I am confused by the baby storyline. First, we see what looks like a newborn in that isolette, then we're told she's 10 months old, then when Janine is holding her, she looks maybe 6 months old. And ten months is a bit old for a neonatologist anyways - I know they are often pediatricians before specializing in neonatology, but why not just call her a pediatrician?

When the doctor asked for a skeletal survey, I was sure they would find physical evidence of abuse, and I thought that is what the doctor was telling the Putnams and Serena behind the glass. I also saw the ending coming a mile away - to me, it was clear the story would end with Janine's presence appearing to heal the baby. While love and affection are necessary for proper growth and development, I don't believe that was the cause of the illness as described. I think it's more likely that it was an infection that resolved, but there was a lot about the storyline that didn't make sense to me and really took away the impact. I did love the scenes with the doctor being a doctor, though. She was fantastic.

 

I actually really liked Serena and June working together. Would like to see more of that. I much prefer that to Serena being a cruel witch.

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4 hours ago, Scarlett45 said:

My Mom has been an Ob/Gyn for 42 years, she also watches this show with me sometimes. She says they would kill her in Gilead because she is too old, or best case she would be a Martha. That woman reminded me of a younger version of my Mom. 

 

I think Eden may know how to read simply because not reading AT ALL for women is pretty extreme. Her family may have assumed girls needed to be able to read recipes, make supply lists, do basic math. Nick needs to think two steps ahead and be kinder to her as not to arouse suspicion. 

She must be able to read. Gilead hasn't been around as long as she's been alive, it's only been 2-3 years, right?

If she read the letters, she can't say anything, otherwise she'll be in trouble, too. 

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3 hours ago, secnarf said:

I think it's more likely that it was an infection that resolved, but there was a lot about the storyline that didn't make sense to me and really took away the impact. I did love the scenes with the doctor being a doctor, though. She was fantastic.

She did blood tests, and urine tests and skin tests to that would show disease, infection, or poisoning.  There was no evidence of that, and the scans showed no issues either.

It really was simply failure to thrive, which is why she said to unhook the baby from the machines and to love her.  She couldn't spell it out because that would be a Martha criticizing a wife and commander, but she did tell them what to try, and it did work.

Edited by Umbelina
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2 hours ago, Anela said:

She must be able to read. Gilead hasn't been around as long as she's been alive, it's only been 2-3 years, right?

If she read the letters, she can't say anything, otherwise she'll be in trouble, too. 

Gilead may have only existed for a few years, but the Sons of Jacob has presumably been around much longer. It isn't a far stretch to think that Eden's family was involved with that ideal and lifestyle long before the US government was overthrown. There are many cults whose members practice similar things right now.

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Eden almost certainly grew up in a family that was either an early follower of the Son's of Jacob or followers of similarly restrictive doctrine. She would have been homeschooled (as opposed to home educated) in the lifestyle prescribed by her family's religion, which may well have included a lack or literacy for girls. Even if she did learn to read, if the fact that women would be forbidden to read in Gilead was not yet known/decided upon, the odds that she could read well enough to read the cursive writing on those letters are low.  Even now, irl, cursive reading and writing is becoming an obsolete skill with a growing number of schools removing it from their curriculum. (It's the thing I think of most when I wonder how we can educate our children effectively in a world where rapidly changing technology is making an ever increasing number of skills obsolete. All the thousands and thousands of hours of my childhood spent working on a skill that I don't use for 20 minutes a year these days.) It's especially difficult to read if the writer has vagaries specific to their handwriting or learned to write cursive in a different style to the reader. For someone who isn't used to reading anything, reading cursive handwriting could be very difficult and for Eden who's literacy would at most be very, very basic it would be almost impossible to decipher meaningfully.

Edited by AllyB
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My take on Serena is that she is a sociopath. They will idealise then depersonalise people.

Serena has already demonstrated that she will turn on a dime towards June and even the commander depending on what suits her in the given moment. Sociopaths can be warm and friendly, as Serena is being right now towards June because she serves a purpose.

I could be wrong, but Serena is out for Serena and may easily turn on June the minute she has nothing further to offer her.

I love the unspoken elephant in the room between June and Serena that they are both going to fight for this baby.

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4 hours ago, Anela said:

She must be able to read. Gilead hasn't been around as long as she's been alive, it's only been 2-3 years, right?

If she read the letters, she can't say anything, otherwise she'll be in trouble, too. 

If she grew up in a fundamentalist community/home that supported the rise of Gilead perhaps no one taught her to read growing up.  That’s what I was suggesting.  

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17 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

 

 I think she would have, her parents probably would have wanted her to learn the Bible backwards and forwards and other religious literature that coincided with their beliefs. 

i’m not sure if she did read the letters or not, I am leaning more towards not because of everything she seems to hold near and dear about Gilead, but at the same time I think about her age and I believe no matter the brainwashing rebellious behavior and teenagers just go together. 

My second thought was would sheer boredom lead her to reading them?  She is also young and curious.  

This episode really hit home with how much has been taken from women in Gillead. 

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9 hours ago, DangerousMinds said:

I'm not convinced that Serena is the one with the problem conceiving; I think the problem might well be her husband.

Yes, it is Fred. Remember when June came to the Waterford's house she was Handmaid number 3...Fred failed to knock up the others and failed with June.  Nick has proven he has swimmers, I am guessing they will spring Eden's pregnancy on us very soon OR I feel like something dramatic will be Eden's demise her name is Eden after all.  They made her a hurdle but nothing permanent, IMO.

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22 hours ago, charmed1 said:

ITA. For me, it harkened back to enslaved African women being forced to serve as wet nurses and midwives for the children of plantation owners. Especially seeing her dressed in that get up.  Wonderful piece of acting. Her scene was the very first and only time I shed a tear during this entire series. Every one of my doctors is a black woman — from dermatologist to therapist. It definitely resonated with me.

Absolutely! This whole series "harkens back" to American chattel slavery which - for me - makes all of the contemporary feminist commentary so incredibly fascinating and ironic.  IMO this was one of the best scenes in the entire series for this reason.  It visually brought the parallels between this dystopian nightmare and real-life not-so-distant U.S. history to the forefront. Brilliant.

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11 hours ago, DangerousMinds said:

I'm not convinced that Serena is the one with the problem conceiving; I think the problem might well be her husband.

They showed that Serena had been shot in the abdominal area before Gilead took over, so I'm convinced she cannot conceive.  She also was pretty clear that the Commander was sterile because she went to Nick pretty quickly and then later told the Commander that he was not the father (TM Maury!).  I think Serena has been wanting a baby for a long time.  Originally it was her job and her husband's fertility problems that got in her way and later she was injured and left unable to conceive.  You could tell she had been hoping for a baby for a while when she opened up that trunk with all the baby things in it.  I forgot which episode that was. 

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