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S02.E09: Smart Power

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3 minutes ago, Bubbetv said:

Or maybe she prevented her nephew from being treated by a doctor considered a gender traitor. 

I'm pretty sure that was long before "gender traitor" was a thing.  Aside from that, she's the aunt, not the father or mother, she wouldn't be making medical decisions.

I was thinking about shaken baby syndrome, or simply neglect.

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3 hours ago, Empress1 said:

 

Joel from Parenthood very subtly read Serena for filth and I am here for it.

 

 

It was in my top 3 moments from the episode. I wished it had gone on for much, much longer. 

The only thing that might’ve made it even more perfect would’ve been if he had a binder with him, and he laid it out in front of her and began flipping through the pages, showing her all the countless men, women and either missing or presumed dead children, such as the binders Moira was going through in an earlier episode.

He would also question Serena about how much further she wanted to keep trying to protect and align herself with mass murderers and war criminals and that it’s time she realize the rest of the world is not buying what Gilead is trying to sell. 

 

14 minutes ago, Stiggs said:

Bawled my face off when they started singing America the Beautiful, and when Moira had her sign. 

 

 

My feels were not ready for it. I was already on edge thanks to Luke and June’s desperate search for protection for her baby. 

It’s those kind of moments that just wreck me because it is when the show feels the most real to me.

Even  though the premise can often be totally off-the-wall and outlandish because it is a dystopian world, supposedly something that is too awful and terrible to ever imagine happening, but it’s moments like that for me where it all rings true, and of course a lot of things going on in today’s world is what makes it so hard for me because technically it is happening in small ways every day. 

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2 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

Yeah, Lydia's bit about the baby dying at four days old and that it wasn't her fault was a very odd non sequitur.  There's obviously a lot more to that story than she was telling but June really wasn't in a position to ask.

Well, everyone is wondering what prompted her to become an Aunt, maybe this is it.  She killed some 4 day year old baby and now, she will do ANYTHING to see other babies born and cared for?  Including plucking out women's eyes, holding their hands over a gas burner, beatings, ritualized rape, slavery...

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42 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

We really need a character name for the third member of the Luke-Moira-handmaid apartment because she was brilliant in realizing the power of the letters dropping in the public

Her name is Erin. They introduced her on the bus when Luke first met her. 

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Seriously, I feel like every episode ends with June saying some variation of "fuck that."

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3 minutes ago, LittleRed84 said:

Her name is Erin. They introduced her on the bus when Luke first met her. 

I completely forgot that particular detail.  Thanks.

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I'm confused by the speculation about whether or not Serena can have children. Isn't the infertility of the wives the point of a handmaid? Or are wives just not even allowed to have their own children even if they're fertile, and if not, huh? Why?

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19 minutes ago, Bubbetv said:

I think another day or so would make a big dent in Serena’s resolve, as mentioned above. Another conversation with the American diplomat telling her he values her thinking...could entice more dialogue. She is starving for discourse and attention...especially if he can spin in a little God Gave You That Mind To Use...would seduce her to “treason” eventually.

 

 I think the release of the letters basically undercut their whole need for Serena’s help.

The government was trying to get a story out and figured that Serena would be their best bet because she’s the wife of one of the higher ranking commanders and who better to give them a lot of intimate details, but then the letters were released. 

They were filled with numerous details from women all across Gilead, from Marthas and Handmaids and probably some Econo wives, also women trapped at Jezebel’s.

 My thinking is after Gilead basically perfected their border security, it has been very hard for people to escape alive. 

More than likely a lot of the people in Little America in Canada seem like people who got out either right before or just as everything was starting to go downhill, like Luke and the others. 

Moira seems like one of the extreme rarities is of a woman who managed to get out after being put through the system for over two years, becoming a handmaid, being punished and sent to Jezebel’s, and yet she still managed to make it out. 

That stack of letters carried the voices of all the other women who are still trapped, telling their stories to the rest of the world and exposing Gilead in a way that I don’t think the regime has ever faced before. 

They have had a few escape here and there, but those letters were literally like another bomb going off on them, as the formally mute handmaid mentioned to Luke and Moira, that this kind of exposure would be like an explosion.

Even if they wanted Serena in hopes that she could give them information about the regime and their future plans, Serena has basically been blockaded out of most of those conversations, and if she were to deflect there’s absolutely no way that Fred would live much longer.

I can only imagine what they would think of a commander who lost total control of his wife that she could actually leave and run into the enemy’s arms to basically tell all she knows.

He would be hanging before sundown and after that anything Serena might know would no longer apply because Fred would no longer be a part of the conversation, the other commanders would probably come up with a plan totally separate of anything she was privy to before. 

Obviously there was no way for her to even return home to try to grab anything of importance, documents or get her hands on Fred’s laptop, the agent was telling her that they would have her on a plane in an hour. 

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20 minutes ago, gesundheit said:

I'm confused by the speculation about whether or not Serena can have children. Isn't the infertility of the wives the point of a handmaid? Or are wives just not even allowed to have their own children even if they're fertile, and if not, huh? Why?

Gilead blames all infertility on the women, and as we heard in this episode, on their sins.

Gilead has never blamed the men for anything.

It quite possible that Fred's infertility was the real cause of Serena not having a baby, but because she was a woman, she was blamed instead of him.  Now though?  It's also possible that that low abdomen gunshot did make her unable to have a child.  If true, and I hope the show spells it out for us, all the more reason to turn down living in Hawaii.  Their scientists work with infertility and sperm counting won't help someone without a Uterus.

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: e
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14 minutes ago, gesundheit said:

I'm confused by the speculation about whether or not Serena can have children. Isn't the infertility of the wives the point of a handmaid? Or are wives just not even allowed to have their own children even if they're fertile, and if not, huh? Why?

In the episode titled First Blood, we saw SJ get shot in the lower abdomen. It hasn't be said that she cannot have kids outright but that's the speculation on the one cause (the other being that Freddy's shoots blanks).

With the Putman's, to me it looks like Naomi is just past her due date for having kids.

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Bigger question that just occurred to me: why don’t more refugees from Gilead head to Alaska or Hawaii after escaping to Canada?  Those people are still considered US citizens, and I’m sure the country needs all the help it can get.

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3 minutes ago, revbfc said:

Bigger question that just occurred to me: why don’t more refugees from Gilead head to Alaska or Hawaii after escaping to Canada?  Those people are still considered US citizens, and I’m sure the country needs all the help it can get.

Some probably do.  Some may feel safer in a UK and NATO country like Canada than in the only two remaining US states.

Hawaii is very expensive, Alaska is colder than Canada, and hey, at least Canada has free health care.

Edited by Umbelina
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17 minutes ago, gesundheit said:

I'm confused by the speculation about whether or not Serena can have children. Isn't the infertility of the wives the point of a handmaid? Or are wives just not even allowed to have their own children even if they're fertile, and if not, huh? Why?

I don't think we've ever been properly explained, but from what I understand/guess, if a woman doesn't get pregnant after a certain amount of time, she's deemed "barren" and her husband (if he's a member of the ruling class) is entitled to a handmaid. The official stance is that men are not to blame for fertility issues, but as we saw in the previous season, a lot of people are aware that it's BS and are looking for ways around it. I'd even say it's an open secret at this point - after all, Fred himself seems to have turned a blind eye to how June got pregnant. 

It does bug me that they've never shown Commanders and Wives who have their biological children. Logically, there must be at least a few of them. 

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17 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

It quite possible that Fred's infertility was the real cause of Serena not having a baby, but because she was a woman, she was blamed instead of him.  Now though?  It's also possible that that low abdomen gunshot did make her unable to have a child.  If true, and I hope the show spells it out for use, all the more reason to turn down living in Hawaii.  Their scientists work with infertility and sperm counting won't help someone without a Uterus.

I really wish now that the show hadn't thrown in Serena getting shot low enough that this could even be a question.  Because I'm not a doctor, I don't claim to know if a gunshot wound to the abdomen could take that possibility off the table or not.  TV Medicine as practiced on TV suggests that it is.  But now with American government Mark dangling the possibility that the science Gilead shuns could make a baby happen for her, we have no idea how much that may be affecting Serena's thought process or what she might ultimately decide to do.  If she knows it's absolutely a no-go on her end, then sure, Gilead is her better option on that front, odious as it may be.

We also don't know where the bulk of the refugees may be.  I'm sure quite a few probably have gone to Alaska or Hawaii, but basic geography would limit the means to get there.  Moira couldn't have walked to Hawaii, after all.  As most of our story is taking place in the Boston area, it makes sense that the ones who got out by land are sitting in Canada.

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The real question is, why did I capitalize uterus?

Oh, I know, because I haven't been to sleep yet!

Yeah, I think the show may let us know about Serena's child bearing possibilities being compromised or eliminated because of that rather suspiciously placed gun shot.  I have faith they will let us know.  It certainly does seem important now, after turning down Tiki Bars and writing again for Gilead.

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To me after last week, this week's episode was pretty uneventful.

Serena telling June that she had to leave immediately didn't ring true.  First, it's not her decision but Aunt Lydia.  Aunt Lydia is clearly the person calling the shots for all births.  My take is that the wives were basically stuck listening to her instructions as well.  So basically this is a plot device to escalate any plans June may have.

 

Commander Waterford is a mystery to me.  He is not a true Gilead believer.  He breaks any rules with regards to it and at any time he sees fit.  He is smart but not familiar with the bible.  In addition, he seems bored and miserable with his life.  I think he and Serena almost are too arrogant to break with Gilead because it means admitting they were wrong.

I  also don't think he needs Serena, I think he doesn't want to leave her and June alone together again. 

 

The bloom is finally off the rose for Serena but I think she isn't sure exactly what to do.  The actress playing her was stellar this week as she navigates a marriage and country that are completely alien to her.  Also, the response to her in Canada is that of a monster.  

 

I am finally team Nick for June.  

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5 minutes ago, dmc said:

First, it's not her decision but Aunt Lydia.  Aunt Lydia is clearly the person calling the shots for all births. 

Births?  Yes.  Babies?  Nope.  As she said to June, it's up to the wife.  Aunt Lydia could force June to use a breast pump after all.

5 minutes ago, dmc said:

He breaks any rules with regards to it and at any time he sees fit.  He is smart but not familiar with the bible.  In addition, he seems bored and miserable with his life.  I think he and Serena almost are too arrogant to break with Gilead because it means admitting they were wrong.

He likes the power, and finally "feeling like a man" or at least his sick version of what manly is.  For him, life in Gilead isn't miserable.  He has the Handmaids and his Wife to abuse and to pretend to love him, and he has work, cars, computers, books, music, prestige, and of course, Jezebel's.

Edited by Umbelina
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1 minute ago, Umbelina said:

Births?  Yes.  Babies?  Nope.  As she said to June, it's up to the wife.  Aunt Lydia could force June to use a breast pump after all.

He likes the power, and finally "feeling like a man" or at least his sick version of what manly is.

I don't think so she was still there with the Putnams months after their baby was born dealing with it being sick.  I think the weaning and leaving is all standard and not up to the wives.  

 

However he actually doesn't have any power either.  He also has a leash which you see when his friend's arm is cut off last season despite his assertion for mercy.  you also see it when he's in the hospital and the other guy tries to take his power.  He has more power than June and Serena but that's it 

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I'm sure Aunt Lydia didn't say the death of that baby wasn't her fault for no reason. She must be blaming herself for that on some level (even though she probably wasn't directly responsible) and I guess that's what pushed her religiousness towards fundamentalism.

That pictogram with Serena's schedule was EVERYTHING. And yes, they most definitely did it on purpose and it had to be such a slap in the face for Serena. Speaking of her, I didn't think her throwing matches into the fire was supposed to represent her choosing Gilead. At that point, she had already made her choice. She returned to Gilead and there was no way of getting out again. I took it as her wanting to leave the entire experience behind her - the humiliation she endured and the realization of just what she had once willingly gave up on and now sorely misses. I don't think she wants to be reminded of that again. It will be interesting to see how she treats June now. I'd say their days of exchanging pleasantries are over. 

I'm not always sold on Elisabeth Moss's acting, but she was excellent in that scene with Nick, portraying all those emotions that must have been running through her mind in that moment. And I'm really glad we finally got to see Luke and Nick fleshed out more. Their scene at the bar was very powerful. 

Edited by Joana
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Lydia did say it was Mrs. Waterford's decision.  "That is her prerogative, of course.  Whatever the mother feels is right for the welfare of the baby."  She did do a bit of a double take at hearing about it though, which suggests that it probably isn't how it's usually handled.  Lydia and, I guess, the other aunts seem to be the go-to for any issues with the handmaids as well as kind of a general baby nurse.

The show across the board has issues with clearly laying out power structures and where the characters fit into those structures.  We know there are multiple commanders, but what exactly are they in command of and what is their hierarchy?  I've gotten the impression that good old Commander Fred has been regarded as a bit of a lightweight among his peers and the recent fiascos of the Red Center bombing and now the Canada trip probably won't help that any.    

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6 minutes ago, dmc said:

I don't think so she was still there with the Putnams months after their baby was born dealing with it being sick.  I think the weaning and leaving is all standard and not up to the wives.  

 

However he actually doesn't have any power either.  He also has a leash which you see when his friend's arm is cut off last season despite his assertion for mercy.  you also see it when he's in the hospital and the other guy tries to take his power.  He has more power than June and Serena but that's it 

Well, then Aunt Lydia was lying to June.   She wasn't at the Putnum's house that I recall, she got involved after the baby became sick, perhaps they do get involved if a baby is dying, but even then, she had no power in that hospital.

Fred has power over every single person in Gilead except other Commanders, and with them, it appears to be shared, and is ill-defined.

Fred's happy, he'd got it all, except for his own child, but I honestly don't think he even cares about having a child.  He's not restricted like the women.  He has a car, a driver, prestige, a maid, people kissing his ass, a computer, books, music, alcohol, Jezebel's, Scrabble, and satisfying work, or at least as satisfying as most people's.  He's not suffering.

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9 hours ago, Umbelina said:

 

So Aunt Lydia was Godmother to her sister's baby and it died four days later.  Wonder what "It was not my fault" means?

 

It was totally her fault.

3 hours ago, revbfc said:

One more observation on the United States.  Though only having two stars does aptly reflect the current situation, why wouldn’t the government want to stick with the old 50 as a symbol of hope and a promise to the people?

I think it is because then you can brag every time you add a star, like you can see the country's growing, which may be more intimidating to Gilead, too. 

49 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Well, everyone is wondering what prompted her to become an Aunt, maybe this is it.  She killed some 4 day year old baby and now, she will do ANYTHING to see other babies born and cared for?  Including plucking out women's eyes, holding their hands over a gas burner, beatings, ritualized rape, slavery...

Yeah, I agree. My mind went right there when she said that and I thought June was going to be terrified after hearing it. 

My favourite part of the episode was when some Canadian woman told Serena she didn't know how Serena was able to sleep at night because that's what I've been wondering myself since minute one. And this time I was glad to see her embarrassed and humilliated because it was for the right reasons, by the right people. As for Fred, he isn't even aware of the monstrosity he has created and he needs to die in a very painful way, the sooner, the better.

I'm not sure it'd be wise to spend ten years with June and the Waterfords, since that'd mean nothing can really change: June can't run away. Fred can't pay for everything he's done...

Spoiler

Since we know Gilead's going to last a couple of centuries, maybe it would be better to make a time jump and tell the story of the next stage of Gilead with different characters. I'd miss a lot of actors and characters, but it might be better for the show.

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I will say the June-Lydia scene does give the impression that June isn't clear on who outranks who either.  There was air of tattling on Serena in hopes that Lydia would overrule her and of course when she didn't, June looked positively crushed.

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1 minute ago, nodorothyparker said:

I will say the June-Lydia scene does give the impression that June isn't clear on who outranks who either.  There was air of tattling on Serena in hopes that Lydia would overrule her and of course when she didn't, June looked positively crushed.

I will say that until June got pregnant, I thought it was more of the wife's say.  Then the Lydia started lecturing Serena on smoking and the vibe in the house.  I got an entirely different impression which is there is a systematic way they do births for the "good" of the child.

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3 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

The show across the board has issues with clearly laying out power structures and where the characters fit into those structures.  We know there are multiple commanders, but what exactly are they in command of and what is their hierarchy?  I've gotten the impression that good old Commander Fred has been regarded as a bit of a lightweight among his peers and the recent fiascos of the Red Center bombing and now the Canada trip probably won't help that any.    

Yes, we need to have that laid out more clearly, but I have a feeling the writers themselves are not entirely sure how they want to have it. There are too many inconsistencies at this point - Fred simultenously seems to be both the most powerful figure in Gilead and on the verge of being purged. 

Also, when you think of it - quite a few of Aunt Lydia's girls have misbehaved in a variety of ways, including some very serious ones. I'm surprised she hasn't been reprimanded yet. 

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21 minutes ago, Joana said:

I'm sure Aunt Lydia didn't say the death of that baby wasn't her fault for no reason. She must be blaming herself for that on some level (even though she probably wasn't directly responsible) and I guess that's what pushed her religiousness towards fundamentalism.

That pictogram with Serena's schedule was EVERYTHING. And yes, they most definitely did it on purpose and it had to be such a slap in the face for Serena. Speaking of her, I didn't think her throwing matches into the fire was supposed to represent her choosing Gilead. At that point, she had already made her choice. She returned to Gilead and there was no way of getting out again. I took it as her wanting to leave the entire experience behind her - the humiliation she endured and the realization of just what she had once willingly gave up on and now sorely misses. I don't think she wants to be reminded of that again. It will be interesting to see how she treats June now. I'd say their days of exchanging pleasantries are over. 

I'm not always sold on Elisabeth Moss's acting, but she was excellent in that scene with Nick, portraying all those emotions that must have been running through her mind in that moment. And I'm really glad we finally got to see Luke and Nick fleshed out more. Their scene at the bar was very powerful. 

 

 

I agree, Serena I believe was confronted with the fact that she doesn’t fit in anymore, that she carries these invisible scars everywhere and everyone recognizes them. 

 She’s stuck, she can’t change everything that has happened, she can’t change her involvement in any of it, and it doesn’t look like the rest of the world is exactly hopping on the “let’s give Serena another chance” train.

Staying in Gilead is really her best option because at least there she is still seen in a positive light.  She’s not facing confrontation at every turn, she’s not facing a angry and vengeful world calling for prosecution or her annihilation.

Serena is not able to hide behind a mask or play the part of the victim in this, she was an active participant and it’s well-documented and well labeled and well-established and leaving Gilead opens her up to treatment from those who see her as nothing.

They are not forced to respect her, they are not forced to show her honor or dignity, in the real world she is the true Offred.

A fallen woman, an unwanted sinner, and in the real world there’s no matter of red stained clothing that could ever earn her forgiveness now.

I felt the same way at the end. 

June ran an emotional gauntlet as Nick kept hitting her with so much good news for once, he saw her husband in the flesh, he truly is alive and, thankfully, he relayed Luke’s message of love and devotion to her, and then to top it off that Moira had managed to escape and that she was safe and alive, giving her hope again.

I was really impressed by the bar scene as well, the actor playing Nick actually didn’t do a bad job and I was glad to see them finally letting Luke break a little, because it is showing that this is a man who has been on edge for years, suffering. 

It was very impactful, I hope the trend continues. 

Edited by AnswersWanted
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3 minutes ago, dmc said:

I will say that until June got pregnant, I thought it was more of the wife's say.  Then the Lydia started lecturing Serena on smoking and the vibe in the house.  I got an entirely different impression which is there is a systematic way they do births for the "good" of the child.

I mostly thought this too.  I didn't expect to see Lydia so actively involved in June's pregnancy or what was going on in the house, but I realize the show has an Emmy winner in Ann Dowd and they probably figured it wasn't that much of a stretch that an aunt's role would extend to handmaids throughout their gestation so they could give her more to do.  It's made for some entertaining interactions between Lydia and Serena, as when Serena could do nothing but quietly seethe when she realized aunts get "special dispensation" to read and write.

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5 minutes ago, AnswersWanted said:

 

I agree, Serena I believe was confronted with the fact that she doesn’t fit in anymore, that she carries these invisible scars everywhere and everyone recognizes them. 

 She’s stuck, she can’t change everything that has happened, she can’t change her involvement in any of it, and it doesn’t look like the rest of the world is exactly hopping on the “let’s give Serena another chance” train.

Staying in Gilead is really her best option because at least there she is still seen in a positive light.  She’s not facing confrontation at every turn, she’s not facing a angry and vengeful world calling for prosecution or her annihilation.

Serena is not able to hide behind a mask or play the part of the victim in this, she was an active participant and it’s well-documented and well labeled and well-established and leaving Gilead opens her up to treatment from those who see her as nothing.

They are not forced to respect her, they are not forced to show her honor or dignity, in the real world she is the true Offred.

A fallen woman, an unwanted sinner, and in the real world there’s no matter of red stained clothing that could ever earn her forgiveness now.

I felt the same way st the end. 

June ran an emotional gauntlet as Nick kept hitting her with so much good news for once, he saw her husband in the flesh, he truly is alive and, thankfully, he relayed Luke’s message of love and devotion to her, and then to top it off that Moira had managed to escape and that she was safe and alive, giving her hope again.

I was really impressed by the bar scene as well, the actor playing Nick actually didn’t do a bad job and I was glad to see them finally letting Luke break a little, because it is showing that this is a man who has been on edge for years, suffering. 

It was very impactful, I hope the trend continues. 

Agreed Serena is a war criminal.  If Gilead falls, it's possible she could even be tried.  

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18 minutes ago, Helena Dax said:
  Reveal hidden contents

Since we know Gilead's going to last a couple of centuries, maybe it would be better to make a time jump and tell the story of the next stage of Gilead with different characters. I'd miss a lot of actors and characters, but it might be better for the show.

I really thought

Spoiler

Gilead only lasted a generation or two.  Three Phases of it though, each getting progressively worse for women.  The book is so unclear, it could just be decades, or be generations, but centuries?  Maybe so.  ???  https://electricliterature.com/the-epilogue-of-the-handmaids-tale-changes-everything-you-thought-you-knew-about-the-book-82c67bc42888

12 minutes ago, Joana said:

Yes, we need to have that laid out more clearly, but I have a feeling the writers themselves are not entirely sure how they want to have it. There are too many inconsistencies at this point - Fred simultenously seems to be both the most powerful figure in Gilead and on the verge of being purged. 

Also, when you think of it - quite a few of Aunt Lydia's girls have misbehaved in a variety of ways, including some very serious ones. I'm surprised she hasn't been reprimanded yet. 

With Fred, in many ways, both things are true.  He's very powerful compared to the vast majority of Gilead, and extremely privileged, but he's also skating on thin ice, because honestly, he doesn't believe any of this shit.  He's only in it for the power and to feel "like a man" as Serena once told him.

Yeah, the Handmaid's are getting worse, for many reasons.  Starting with Emily driving the car, then June and all of the others refusing to stone Janine to death, then the suicide bomber.  I think Gilead expected issues with them since they were the "first generation" but still.  Now of course, they are in short supply, so have been getting away with more.

Oh, we haven't mentioned the new guard much.  It was chilling to hear Rita say that the twenty year old kid could break her jaw for no reason at all, and no one would care, and also to see him hit Janine with the butt of a gun and walk away not caring if she was bleeding to death. 

Always an adventure in Gilead.

Edited by Umbelina
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1 hour ago, nodorothyparker said:

Yeah, Lydia's bit about the baby dying at four days old and that it wasn't her fault was a very odd non sequitur.  There's obviously a lot more to that story than she was telling but June really wasn't in a position to ask.

Perhaps Lydia is a midwife,  nurse or doula based on her checking June's blood pressure etc. Maybe she assisted her sister in her delivery resulting in the baby's death at 4 days of life. She seemed very distraught at the memory.

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I'm still in the middle of the episode (although I'm spoiled that she doesn't take him up on his offer) but I wonder if there wasn't a baby involved, if Serena would've been more likely to take him up on his offer. 

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We have such nuanced actresses, why are the actors so...dull? Joseph Fiennes is the only one who has really embraced his character and we are all rightfully revolted by him. it’s fantastic.

Meanwhile, we have this dynamic character and actress for June and all we get is stoicism (Nick) and soggy (Luke).

I understand the argument in defense of Luke, that this is a realistic way people would act and while i’m sure that’s true, this is TV and I want interesting and Luke just isn’t, in the past or present versions. I mean, granted, the way the show has handled the Canadian scenes has been boring, wasting Samira Wiley, and just showing us sad and withdrawn Luke and Moira instead of what is actually happening in the world outside Gilead. Even Luke confronting Waterford felt underwhelming and while i felt for him in the scene with Nick, it just felt like more soggy Luke.

Meanwhile, Nick could be really interesting, but Max Minghella lacks the ability to show nuance. He had so many scenes this episode that could be great, but were left so flat because of the stoicism. It’s disappointing. He got something else across in that last scene with June, but it’s like he’s always on the cusp without ever getting into the pulp of it. 

13 minutes ago, Joana said:

Yes, we need to have that laid out more clearly, but I have a feeling the writers themselves are not entirely sure how they want to have it. There are too many inconsistencies at this point - Fred simultenously seems to be both the most powerful figure in Gilead and on the verge of being purged. 

I agree that the writers are just as jumbled, especially going into this season. Without the source material, I don’t think the writers are as careful. The characters are much sloppier, considering the amount of secrets they’re all simultaneously trying to conceal, and the power structures are all over the place depending on what story they're focused on. I think as the show progresses, like with it is with a lot of shows, it might be necessary to disregard a lot of lore from the first season as being established fact. 

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7 minutes ago, dmc said:

Agreed Serena is a war criminal.  If Gilead falls, it's possible she could even be tried.  

I was happy to hear Moira say "war criminal" out loud - and why can't we hear more from Moira? WHY? - because that's exactly what Serena is. She is guilty of genocide, rape, all the bad stuff. And the actor playing Serena is kind of amazing because she can make this horrific war criminal seem human at times - though when/if (I hope when) we see Serena hanging on the wall, Imma cheer. Real loud, yinz. Just as long as her disgusting husband is with her. 

June's reaction to finding out Moira was safe was beautiful to watch. And I loved that it inspired her - not the message of love from her husband (which was lovely, don't get me wrong), but she was inspired that her best friend did the "impossible" and escaped, and therefore, she can do it too. Loved it. I agree that June's "fuck it/girl power" moments get watered down the more she has, but I think in June's life, she probably goes between "it's hopeless" and "I can do it" a million times a day. I mean, it's not like she can distract herself with the internet for hours, lol. Lots of time to think and rethink and rethink and rethink...

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27 minutes ago, AnswersWanted said:

 

They are not forced to respect her, they are not forced to show her honor or dignity, in the real world she is the true Offred.

 

 

Yes, this is so true. To the Canadians she was just like a property of the Commander.

 

And I love the way they showed him in Canada always behind her, like her shadow. It was like a metaphor for Gilead haunting her.

Edited by Stephanie23
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3 minutes ago, Stiggs said:

I was happy to hear Moira say "war criminal" out loud - and why can't we hear more from Moira? WHY? - because that's exactly what Serena is. She is guilty of genocide, rape, all the bad stuff. And the actor playing Serena is kind of amazing because she can make this horrific war criminal seem human at times - though when/if (I hope when) we see Serena hanging on the wall, Imma cheer. Real loud, yinz. Just as long as her disgusting husband is with her. 

June's reaction to finding out Moira was safe was beautiful to watch. And I loved that it inspired her - not the message of love from her husband (which was lovely, don't get me wrong), but she was inspired that her best friend did the "impossible" and escaped, and therefore, she can do it too. Loved it. I agree that June's "fuck it/girl power" moments get watered down the more she has, but I think in June's life, she probably goes between "it's hopeless" and "I can do it" a million times a day. I mean, it's not like she can distract herself with the internet for hours, lol. Lots of time to think and rethink and rethink and rethink...

This show is like watching the Nazi perspective of daily life.  They are a lot of parallels there.  Any time we usually discuss Nazi Germany it's from the POV of their many victims.  But Germans were living daily under their rule and I imagine it was similar to this.  

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1 hour ago, Stiggs said:

My mind wandered to "before" Aunt Lydia possibly being someone who has always been religiously devout - though not to Gilead's brand of religion - and that perhaps when she was made godmother, she took her role super more seriously. Then the baby died for whatever reason (maybe this happened once birthrates started plummeting?), and she took it personally, like her praying didn't work, felt rejected by god. Then someone comes along and tells her no, it's not her fault, it's the unwomen, the sinners, etc., THEY are killing the babies, and that sounds good to her and she jumps in with both feet. I obviously have put a lot of thought into Aunt Lydia, lol, but that ONE LINE felt like a huge clue to her mystery. 

Joseph Fiennes used to be so hot, and I'm sure he's still a handsome man, but he's doing his job way too well because he makes me want to freaking puke. I gagged over his beard. I had to look away. His beard? He just makes me THAT sick. Ugh. 

Eden...I can't wait to see where this is going, unless it winds up with Nick on the wall. I don't think that'll happen - I feel like June and Nick are way savvier in How to Gilead and could find some way to throw her off at the pass, so to speak. Man, this show owns me, lol.

I don't know if Luke is an alcoholic, but if I were in his shoes I'd drink my face off on the regular, so I have no judgment. The variety of emotions he had in his few moments with Nick were fantastic. Very strong scene for both of them. 

When I watched Intervention, there were some stories where I’d think “Jesus, no wonder you do drugs/get drunk.” Luke’s is one. Moira’s is another. If she spent her days nodding out, I would understand completely.

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 It’s almost borderline criminal for me now when they put Rita into scenes because I think she’s such an interesting character and I think the actress is obviously very talented and yet we only get snippets of her.

She made my heart ache in her scene with June, what an unimaginable position to be in, totally powerless but desperately wanting to save a baby.

As a mother herself that had to be gutting, and she gave June the most hopeful response she could, that she would try. 

I really thought by now she would’ve had her own episode that delved into her life before the fall, what she used to do.

That would’ve been a great episode to air during the time that June was on the run.

We could’ve seen from Rita’s own personal perspective what the Waterford’s household is like when it’s just her and them and Nick hanging around.

During those times when she realizes that she has little to do, there’s no one to wait on, with June being gone there’s no handmaid to be bothered with, that’s when she steals her quiet moments of reflection, thinking about her old life, what she used to do, where she used to live, her family and her son. 

There’s something about her which leads me to believe that Rita might’ve been a lawyer, maybe a former D.A. Or a cop perhaps? 

I know she said that her son was military, maybe she was too, obviously all female military members would’ve been removed from all branches, if women can’t read or write there’s no way they could have access to weapons. 

 But I want to know more about her, I think she’s in a significant enough role to deserve that attention.

The new guard really reflected themes from the book, from his behavior to his youth and cockiness. I couldn’t stand him the second I laid eyes on him. 

Then the little punk ass popped Janine and now I need someone to lay hands on him pronto. 

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22 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

I really thought

  Reveal hidden contents

Gilead only lasted a generation or two.  Three Phases of it though, each getting progressively worse for women.  The book is so unclear, it could just be decades, or be generations, but centuries?  Maybe so.  ???  https://electricliterature.com/the-epilogue-of-the-handmaids-tale-changes-everything-you-thought-you-knew-about-the-book-82c67bc42888

 

Oh, you're right, I remembered it wrong. 

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Another minor maybe-quibble about the new Guard.

Why did he call Janine an "unwoman?"  Is he so young that he's just stupid and doesn't know the designations, or was it supposed to refer to her time in the radioactive Colony, or was it just an insult?
 

Quote

 

Unwomen

Sterile women, the unmarried, some widows, feminists, lesbians, nuns, and politically dissident women: all women who are incapable of social integration within the Republic's strict gender divisions. Gilead exiles Unwomen to "the Colonies", areas both of agricultural production and deadly pollution. Joining them are handmaids who fail to bear a child after three two-year assignments.

 

It kind of threw me.

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2 hours ago, dmc said:

Agreed Serena is a war criminal.  If Gilead falls, it's possible she could even be tried.  

 

Absolutely she is.

And I sincerely hope that she will be. It’s the least she deserves. 

I imagine thousands of victim impact statements being read in open court to her face where she can’t run off or deflect them. 

 

1 hour ago, Stiggs said:

I was happy to hear Moira say "war criminal" out loud - and why can't we hear more from Moira? WHY? - because that's exactly what Serena is. She is guilty of genocide, rape, all the bad stuff. And the actor playing Serena is kind of amazing because she can make this horrific war criminal seem human at times - though when/if (I hope when) we see Serena hanging on the wall, Imma cheer. Real loud, yinz. Just as long as her disgusting husband is with her. 

 

I might have cheered a “fuck yeah he is!” with added fist pump at my tablet. 

But I so wanted her labeled as such as well. I do not want her getting a pass off like she’s just Fred’s little hapless wife who needs understanding.

A dump truck full of rocks that all her victims can pick from and her kneeling in a open field to be stoned works for me as well. 

 

1 hour ago, dmc said:

This show is like watching the Nazi perspective of daily life.  They are a lot of parallels there.  Any time we usually discuss Nazi Germany it's from the POV of their many victims.  But Germans were living daily under their rule and I imagine it was similar to this.  

 

That’s a great way to put it. I definitely catch a lot of similarities. 

Edited by AnswersWanted
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1 hour ago, nodorothyparker said:

I will say the June-Lydia scene does give the impression that June isn't clear on who outranks who either.  There was air of tattling on Serena in hopes that Lydia would overrule her and of course when she didn't, June looked positively crushed.

I agree. June could at least tell Aunt Lydia, in the hope she'd intervene and overrule Mrs. Waterford regarding required breastfeeding. I ALSO think June doesn't really want Aunt Lydia as the baby's godmother. I think she is planting seeds that will paint Commander Waterford as an abuser and therefore a danger to the baby. 

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Who is just a little creeped out and worried about Aunt Lydia?  She says her nephew was four days old when he died then follows it up with, "It wasn't my fault."  Geeze, what is she hiding?

My take on June asking if Aunt Lydia was ever a godmother was she was trying to soften her up or feed her ego so AL would be more inclined to help June.

I really have no doubt that Serena Joy would be a good mother, I think Fred will be checked out as a father unless it is a public thing and he needs to appear the doting father.  

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4 hours ago, Anela said:

I saw her throwing the matches into the fire, as choosing Gilead, because she'd just been humiliated in Canada. She's too proud to just leave, and admit that they were wrong in any way. 

I missed the part about returning illegal immigrants - and those people protesting included former handmaids! That gave me chills, when I realized they were holding signs with their real names. Especially Moira. 

 

Yes, after Fred's first meeting he said that it went well and that the Canadian government had spoken to him about returning "illegal immigrants" back to Gilead. I was glad that the episode ended the way that it did, with Canada kicking them out, because that made me very nervous. 

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1 hour ago, Empress1 said:

When I watched Intervention, there were some stories where I’d think “Jesus, no wonder you do drugs/get drunk.” Luke’s is one. Moira’s is another. If she spent her days nodding out, I would understand completely.

 

I absolutely took the scenes of Luke drinking for most of this episode as a sign that he is either becoming an alcoholic or perhaps he already is. 

Moira seems to have a very unhealthy connection to nightclubs and frivolous sexcapades where she is trying to both reclaim her sexual power but she’s also struggling just to feel like a person again.

Gilead is not just something that hurts people in the moment, it’s not even something that hurts people when they are directly around it, it’s a life long impact that its’ victims are never truly going to be able to get over.

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15 minutes ago, Trillian said:

I enjoyed the episode.  When I just let it wash over me, I do enjoy it.   But ...  I find the further they get away from Atwood’s source material, the weaker the story. And this episode had such major plot holes that it came across as very weak indeed.  Things that bugged:

I was not impressed with the portrayal of the Canadians. It was dumb. If you’re meeting with the Federal government, as appeared to be the case, why was the meeting in Toronto instead of the national capital Ottawa (other than “we’re already shooting in Toronto so it’s cheaper”)?  And why meet with Gilead if you’re going to send junior Ministers and civil servants who can’t even pretend to polite? Welcome to Canada, you’re an asshole and your country sucks.  Now let’s talk about trade.  And what would it mean to meet with Gilead? Does Canada have diplomatic relations with the surviving U.S. government?  I would’ve thought so, from clues we’ve seen.  If that’s the case, then you don’t just invite reps from the rival government to your country with big fanfare as if you are recognizing their sovereignty.  At most, IRL,  the junior ministers and civil servants would quietly go to Gilead for talks. Too many unanswered questions because no one seems to have thought through the politics.

Why did they need the letters when they have actual handmaids, at least one Aunt (referred to in Season 1) and many refugees?   And why were the Canadians suddenly so shocked by what’s going on in Gilead that they threw the Waterfords out?  It reminded me of Inspector Renault in Casablanca - I’m shocked!  There’s gambling going on here!  Kinda silly, since it was obvious from their earlier rudeness that they knew what was happening and there’s all these refugees who presumably are telling their stories.

No one has legally smoked in a  bar in Toronto for at least 15 years and almost that long anywhere in the province.   American guy would’ve known that unless he just arrived for the first time from Alaska  and if he didn’t know it, the bartender would’ve.  It’s not the bar’s policy - it’s the law.

Ok, that last one was really nit picky.  The episode got off to a bad start with me when I realized that the Waterfords were repeatedly driving up the same street en route to their hotel  (now we’re north of Bloor Street.  Oh.  Now we’re south of Bloor going northbound.  Oh look, now we’re even further south of Bloor still going northbound.)  I’ve said before that recognizing the shooting locations is a bit of a distraction for me but this one drove me nuts since it was actually supposed to be Toronto this time.  

I agree with all of this except for fan-wonk sake...they don't go to the capital or meet with higher ranking officials because it gives the Waterfords and Gilead more credibility to do that. There is definitely an argument to be made for the proximity of the US and Canada and a longstanding familiarity and relationship...but this is an uprising that usurped a legitimate government. They don't get the UK treatment, they get the unstable dictator treatment. 

Of course, that could have been explained to us in some way. Serena, Nick or Fred could have said "why not the capital?" or "what is your relationship to the Prime Minister?" So that's why I'm fank-wonking. 

 

Add me to the chorus who got major rushes from Serena being given a picture agenda, the woman who wouldn't get on the elevator with her, and the "leakage" of Aunt Lydia saying she didn't cause her God Child's death. 

I also loved that they sang the gentle and inspiring "American the Beautiful" instead of the bombs away national anthem. Tears. 

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Governments now don't meet in official capitals or send the president or prime minister or other top officials when they're trying to either avoid an international dispute (think most countries long keeping their embassies in Tel Aviv rather than Israel's official capital of Jerusalem) or when they're sending a message that this is not an official endorsement of that country.  Someone earlier posted transcripts of the TV news playing when Moira and Luke first spotted Waterford in the airport coverage and it mentioned then that the American government was protesting what it called Canada normalizing the Gilead regime.  As far as what Canada honestly hopes to trade with Gilead?  Who knows.  Maybe they were sending in a handful of junior bureaucrats just to feel the Gilead leadership out and find out what they want.  They still share a border and are hosting a not inconsiderable number of refugees from that country, so maybe they just deem it best to at least appear to be willing to hear Gilead out.  It didn't really bother me but I can also see where it would have been helpful to throw in a line here or there laying that out.  

I'm thinking its the sheer volume of letters that mattered.  We saw Commander Fred fretting last season about how to neutralize and discredit one escaped aunt telling her story to the Canadian press.  It is generally easier to discount one or just a couple of voices.  But even with what June burned, there have to be dozens if not hundreds of accounts in the letters all hitting the press at once.  Given time, sure, they can probably pick at least some of those stories off.  This however, just came out while these creepy people are in town smiling and waving and pretending that they're normal emissaries of a normal government that doesn't enslave and forcibly impregnate women as a matter of policy.

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3 hours ago, Empress1 said:

When I watched Intervention, there were some stories where I’d think “Jesus, no wonder you do drugs/get drunk.” Luke’s is one. Moira’s is another. If she spent her days nodding out, I would understand completely.

Heh, I think you and I could watch a lot of TV together, lol. I literally watched Intervention right before I watched this ep. :) "I won't love you to death...but you've been through some shit. Here's some vodka."

I expect Moira to be almost 100% self-destructive right now. To think of what it had to take to get from where she was to where she is — so many demons to exorcise once the dust settles, so to speak. I'd like to have more of a window into her daily routine, if she has a routine, if she and Luke really are "killing each other" like June mused in that lovely, jacked up little moment where she learned two people she loved were together and safe. 

And I've now totally talked myself into the fact that they're going to kill off Nick just when I think we're starting to figure him out. 

And man, Ann Dowd can be on screen for two minutes and still win the episode. Mad skillz, that one. Such a great cast (I agree that the women in the cast are stronger actors — though creepy Joseph Fiennes makes me physically ill, so that's talent.).

Edited by Stiggs
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