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chocolatine

S02.E09: Smart Power

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8 minutes ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

Would a girl with parents like the Waterfords be afforded a more substantial upbringing--some kind of education and a pool of high status potential husbands?

No education for any woman in Gilead, no matter the status. But I don’t think she’d be a handmaids, with a commander as “father”. But education is distracting from “their biological destiny”. 

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1 minute ago, LittleRed84 said:

No education for any woman in Gilead, no matter the status. But I don’t think she’d be a handmaids, with a commander as “father”. But education is distracting from “their biological destiny”. 

barf

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12 hours ago, BellyLaughter said:

Yvonne Strahovski is the star of this show....she won't be getting the Emmy but she should....no matter how very much I despise Serena Joy.  Her performance is incredible.

My favourite part of the episode was Mark pointing out to Serena that they now believe that the infertility problem is a male issue....not female.  That's a neat little hand grenade that got lobbed her way....considering she already knows Fred is firing blanks...

Yes, she stole this season. 

To me, in the last season SJ wasn't even in the top 5 most interesting characters, but now she is the top one. And the feedback Yvonne is receiving on her performance is really great.

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23 minutes ago, LittleRed84 said:

No education for any woman in Gilead, no matter the status. But I don’t think she’d be a handmaids, with a commander as “father”. But education is distracting from “their biological destiny”. 

I would imagine there's something along the lines of a "finishing" school - for the various levels. We've seen at least the early version of the Handmaid's school, there's likely to be one for the higher echelon wife pool.

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Serena is delusional on so many levels it’s not even funny. She’s not even thinking past this baby. She’s given no thought to what life this child is gonna have. If it’s a girl she’s destined for a life of a servitude to a man, where she cannot read or write with no power or freedom. And if it’s a boy he will be raised to treat Serena like a second class citizen with no respect for her at all. Once he’s no longer a baby, not even “her” son will respect or love her in that society. Has she even thought of that? She’s damned herself no matter what.

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2 hours ago, DrSpaceman said:

I know what you mean by the tourist angle, but there is no way the leaders of Gilead could simply let people in the country and travel around without government officials escorting or watching them.  They are executing people in the streets.  They seem to  be under martial law with guard everywhere waiting to beat up the first person that gets out of line.  Any guest or "tourist" in the country would have to be carefully monitored or escorted around to prevent them from, quite easily, seeing the wrong thing and exposing the totalitarian nature of the country. 

 

Oh the tourists would have to be watched like hawks, I agree, but Gilead is very well-versed in that kind of watchman mentality because that is how they treat their people every single day. 

 That’s why I said I think that a general tour of Gilead would be like a factory tour.

These people wouldn’t just be let in and allowed to roam around it free and clear at all, they would be under heavy surveillance and supervision, but Gilead probably would come up with a simple reason as to why it needed to be that way. 

They would just make it seem normal that for the tourists’ safety, after all there is a war going on, and for their best experience in Gilead, they would have guard guided tours with some cheery or bubbly sounding tour guide, probably a wife that would be more than happy to play that part just to get her out of her normal mundane existence.

 Gilead also knows that having a woman take such a lead would also be a good false front for them to put up that makes it seem like this place is not the totalitarian oppressive regime that everyone keeps making it out to be.

 I remember reading a few reports on those who actually did go on tours in North Korea and it sounded very similar to how I think Gilead would run their own such operation.

Everything was planned from start to finish, there was no deviation from the routes they were to take, there were only specific places they could go in or visit, there were only specific sorts of people that they were allowed to interact with, asking detailed questions was a huge no no, there were few select places they could go to eat or reside during their stay. 

The government controlled every single moment from when they arrived to when they left, so it can be done. 

Book spoiler below. 

Spoiler

In the book I believe that Atwood captured much of the same, she had a tour group come in from Japan, I believe it was, and they actually observed June out on one of her walks. She took note of the women in the group visiting whom were dressed normally and wearing makeup and it was such a stark difference to her, after so long of having that right taken away from her to beautify herself and to dress in whatever she wanted, and it gave her varying feelings about what she’d lost and what her life was currently like. I always loved those parts of the book where Margaret Atwood really focused on giving insight into things that might seem so simple but yet truly held great importance to the story. 

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4 minutes ago, GraceK said:

Serena is delusional on so many levels it’s not even funny. She’s not even thinking past this baby. She’s given no thought to what life this child is gonna have. If it’s a girl she’s destined for a life of a servitude to a man, where she cannot read or write with no power or freedom. And if it’s a boy he will be raised to treat Serena like a second class citizen with no respect for her at all. Once he’s no longer a baby, not even “her” son will respect or love her in that society. Has she even thought of that? She’s damned herself no matter what.

Which really brings home the point that we haven't really seen any families - other than the econofamily - in this show. At least they haven't been a focus. If this society is supposed to be so family oriented, I really want to see Commanders with families - surely some of them had families already. Even with a low sperm count and falling birth rates, some must have managed to produce children. Not just babies, but children of varying ages. The only ones we've seen (so far as I recall) are those with Hannah.

Unless the cause for the low sperm counts and birth rates is a virus specific to puffed up asshats. Ruin their junk and remove that DNA from the human race.

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12 minutes ago, GraceK said:

Serena is delusional on so many levels it’s not even funny. She’s not even thinking past this baby. She’s given no thought to what life this child is gonna have. If it’s a girl she’s destined for a life of a servitude to a man, where she cannot read or write with no power or freedom. And if it’s a boy he will be raised to treat Serena like a second class citizen with no respect for her at all. Once he’s no longer a baby, not even “her” son will respect or love her in that society. Has she even thought of that? She’s damned herself no matter what.

I now really hope she never gets a baby. Nor June’s or her own or anybody else.

That will be her greatest punishment.

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8 minutes ago, GraceK said:

Serena is delusional on so many levels it’s not even funny. She’s not even thinking past this baby. She’s given no thought to what life this child is gonna have. If it’s a girl she’s destined for a life of a servitude to a man, where she cannot read or write with no power or freedom. And if it’s a boy he will be raised to treat Serena like a second class citizen with no respect for her at all. Once he’s no longer a baby, not even “her” son will respect or love her in that society. Has she even thought of that? She’s damned herself no matter what.

 

Serena initially seemed flattered that the little girl at the elevator thought she was a princess.

But the kicker for me is that the little girl could only think that because she had the freedom to in Canada, where her mommy could still read her books about princesses, or she could still watch a DVD about a princess, or she could still play dress-up as a princess.

Her mind was still allowed that imagination and sense of wondermeant, it was being encouraged to. 

In Gilead, however, princesses don’t exist, that title and role implies that a woman could have a status above a man, that women can have power, that women can have control. 

Serena would never be allowed to teach her daughter about princesses, or god forbid queens.

Serena wouldn’t even be allowed to teach her daughter very much at all, such a woman of high intelligence and yet she would have to use pictographs for her daughter.

Her daughter would never be allowed to hold a pen or pencil, her daughter would never even be allowed to learn how to write her own name. 

And if she were to have a son I would imagine that Fred would take the reins before too long, probably when the boy began to become of an age to learn, and he could sit on his father’s knee in that office and become cultured and refined as a future high-ranking commander in Gilead society, being reared and taught to be just like Daddy. 

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I think Hannah and June's baby would end up in similar circumstances. Hannah was "given" to a high-status family as I understand it. 

But "some kind of education"? If you can't read I'm not sure that's possible.

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My grandfather was a guide for international (i.e. from non-communist countries) tourists in the former Soviet Union. International tourists were put up in separate hotels from Eastern Bloc tourists, had a controlled itinerary, and were always accompanied by guides who spoke their language; they weren't allowed to wander off on their own to explore or interact with the locals. So while they got to visit the Soviet Union, they didn't get to experience Soviet life, as it were. I think Fred was thinking along similar lines.

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2 hours ago, GraceK said:

Serena is delusional on so many levels it’s not even funny. She’s not even thinking past this baby. She’s given no thought to what life this child is gonna have. If it’s a girl she’s destined for a life of a servitude to a man, where she cannot read or write with no power or freedom. And if it’s a boy he will be raised to treat Serena like a second class citizen with no respect for her at all. Once he’s no longer a baby, not even “her” son will respect or love her in that society. Has she even thought of that? She’s damned herself no matter what.

Yep. I believe she wants to be a mother but that she's built the baby up to become her entire life, purpose, family, and job.  IMO she will treat the baby with kindness, but I'm afraid for the child once it's old enough to fail to meet her expectations--and it will. 

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When Luke left the celebration, I have to ask if he was wondering what had they really accomplished? So, now Fred and SJ can head back to Gilead and take out their anger on June? Yes, Fred got kicked out of Canada, but how does that help the ex-pats family and friends in Gilead?  I also have to wonder if he was thinking about his mother-in-law (Holly) at that moment. Since they arrived in Canada, the ex-pats have been sitting around, drinking coffee and posting photos of their loved ones where only they will see the photos. Holly would have been organizing protests, getting the ex-pats who had connections to use those connections to publicize what has and is happening to the rest of the world.  I think Holly would have had a large group of protestors at the airport and been rocking that car, breaking the window glass on the car, blocking the steps to the plane . . . finding a way to get Fred and SJ put in a jail in Canada. I think that would have been an interesting story line: to see SJ in jail, telling her that June had the baby and having SJ's face rubbed in the fact she couldn't go through a ritual labor/delivery and that the baby wasn't hers. I think it would have broken SJ.

Maybe Luke will start organizing the ex-pats to take action to pressure the rest of the world to bring an end to Gilead so he can reunite with June and Hannah.

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5 hours ago, DrSpaceman said:

The official talking to Serena at the bar was a representative of the "US" government, whatever that means anymore.  So some part of the country survived separate from Gilead. 

I didn't think about that male doctor and what he stated before, I thought it was just an offhand comment but you may be right.  The scientific community probably does know its more the males than the females. 

We were told long ago that Hawaii and Alaska were the current USA, and also, though there are scattered wars on Gilead land constantly from the Resistance, Gilead does control/claim all land in the contiguous continental USA.

Yes, what few doctors there are left...I'm sure they realize after some Commander goes through several Handmaids and his Wife with no children, hmm, maybe it's HIM?

5 hours ago, DrSpaceman said:

I know what you mean by the tourist angle, but there is no way the leaders of Gilead could simply let people in the country and travel around without government officials escorting or watching them.  They are executing people in the streets.  They seem to  be under martial law with guard everywhere waiting to beat up the first person that gets out of line.  Any guest or "tourist" in the country would have to be carefully monitored or escorted around to prevent them from, quite easily, seeing the wrong thing and exposing the totalitarian nature of the country. 

Already answered by @chocolatine and @mamadrama and @AnswersWanted, and I still haven't figured out how to delete quotes.  Korea, Saudia Arabia, the former USSR all spring to mind.  Heavily controlled and in many ways staged "tours."  Gilead is so desperate for money and to break the embargo, they would do anything possible to make it happen.

5 hours ago, mamadrama said:

As a former travel writer, I have traveled to countries that weren't open for the general public to just go into and walk around on their own. We either had personal guides or had to book a tour package (like in Bhutan in the 1990s). They could do either one of these with Gilead and it would control the flow. 

Exactly.  My class visited the Soviet Union before the wall came down, as did a few friends.  They were not even allowed to speak to average people on the street.

3 hours ago, chaifan said:

 

Sorry, the "them" in my question wasn't well defined...  I get why Gilead, supposedly, hasn't figured it out (though it seems they actually have).  I was wondering about the statement from Marc, which seemed to say that "they", meaning the US and possibly the rest of the world that's affected, are just realizing it's the men and not the women.  That's what I can't figure out as to why it took them so long.  It would have made more sense for Marc to say, "you do know it's the men, right?  They're the ones with the fertility issues."  Which Serena did already know, at least to some extent.  But it would have reaffirmed that for her.

Of course, if that were the real issue, there really wouldn't be that much of a population/fertility crisis in the rest of the world, at least in modern, developed countries.  If most women can still bear children, any country that wanted to keep their birth rates up would just provide free artificial insemination for any women wanting to get pregnant, incentivize pregnancy, etc. 

I don't think it's "only" the men, but what I took from what Mark's saying is that perhaps they've found ways to increase sperm counts, for example, some medical way to treat already ejaculated sperm to then artificially insert it (turkey basters anyone?) and also other methods to help with infertility.  Those are things Gilead, who reject science, wouldn't even consider.  From what he was saying, I took the sperm issue to be just one of the things the rest of the world is experimenting with, not as one magic solution.

Meanwhile, Gilead waits for God to bless their "piety."

3 hours ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

You know, it took this episode for me to really realize how delusional SJ is. I can excuse a lot of the things she's done including to help build Gilead because I really don't think she realized what she was getting into...but she has NO claim to this baby, even by her dumb religion, because not only was it not conceived by the commander, it wasn't even conceived during a Ceremony. They can't even claim paternity by ritualized mimicry of sex between a husband and wife via proxy. Meeting the American should have at least jolted her, but she doubled down. The devil you know, and all of that. 

Do we know what happens to baby girls? For example, are Hannah and June's baby (if it's another girl) destined to grow up like Eden? Will Hannah, since she's from Before with "sinful" parents, become a handmaid? Would a girl with parents like the Waterfords be afforded a more substantial upbringing--some kind of education and a pool of high status potential husbands?

 

We've seen that girls marry at 15, and I think that would hold true for the children of Commanders, but simple logic, for me anyway, and looking at history?  They would marry future Commanders.  In Oligarchies such as Gilead, born to power means you keep it, and that includes your children.

Either way, as we've seen, no one is really happy there.  The Commanders are the only one with any freedoms, so a "Hannah," or "Charlotte" especially?  Best they could hope for would be to become a Serena or Mrs. Putnam. 

No education as we know it, for them maybe how to manage a staff, or drink tea in a ladylike fashion?  The boys would be able to read, etc.

2 hours ago, Stephanie23 said:

Yes, she stole this season. 

To me, in the last season SJ wasn't even in the top 5 most interesting characters, but now she is the top one. And the feedback Yvonne is receiving on her performance is really great.

All of the women on this cast are so amazing.I

2 hours ago, Clanstarling said:

Which really brings home the point that we haven't really seen any families - other than the econofamily - in this show. At least they haven't been a focus. If this society is supposed to be so family oriented, I really want to see Commanders with families - surely some of them had families already. Even with a low sperm count and falling birth rates, some must have managed to produce children. Not just babies, but children of varying ages. The only ones we've seen (so far as I recall) are those with Hannah.

Unless the cause for the low sperm counts and birth rates is a virus specific to puffed up asshats. Ruin their junk and remove that DNA from the human race.

We don't really know if the Commanders ever had any children of their own, if they did, most would be older now.  Or maybe the Coup people consisted of mostly childless men?  The powerful that already had children or a child would be less likely to be involved with the Coup factions?

2 hours ago, Stephanie23 said:

I now really hope she never gets a baby. Nor June’s or her own or anybody else.

That will be her greatest punishment.

Oh, I want her to have more punishment that that.  While I would have been thrilled if she'd defected and gone to Canada or Alaska and written that book, become a part of the "outside of Gilead" world?  Once she turned that down, including the chance for her to be part of what brings Gilead down?  I want her to suffer.  I'd like to see her at Jezebels actually.  Fred dead, Jezebel's or the Colonies as her choices.  Because of her, I think mostly genuine, religious bent?  That would be so interesting, let her see what her dreams of a religious society really have fostered.

1 hour ago, dleighg said:

I think Hannah and June's baby would end up in similar circumstances. Hannah was "given" to a high-status family as I understand it. 

But "some kind of education"? If you can't read I'm not sure that's possible.

Girls would not be allowed to read, Serena isn't even allowed to read.  The boys, I think would be educated as the future leaders of Gilead.

42 minutes ago, chocolatine said:

My grandfather was a guide for international (i.e. from non-communist countries) tourists in the former Soviet Union. International tourists were put up in separate hotels from Eastern Bloc tourists, had a controlled itinerary, and were always accompanied by guides who spoke their language; they weren't allowed to wander off on their own to explore or interact with the locals. So while they got to visit the Soviet Union, they didn't get to experience Soviet life, as it were. I think Fred was thinking along similar lines.

Yes, thank you!  Some tourists would be really interested in Gilead, for many reasons, closed societies may be for only a few, while most want beaches or luxury boating?  Some like history or anything different from the norm.

32 minutes ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

Yep. I believe she wants to be a mother but that she's built the baby up to become her entire life, purpose, family, and job.  IMO she will treat the baby with kindness, but I'm afraid for the child once it's old enough to fail to meet her expectations--and it will. 

I actually think Serena would be a great mother, she's no "Mrs. Putnam."  In reality though, especially if the baby is a girl?  It think it would tear her up having to "read" to her from books with only symbols for words.  While she accepted 15 year old strangers being married?  I really, really doubt she would accept that for her own daughter.  I also wonder at what age she would have to start treating her son as her better, with deference? 

Edited by Umbelina
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2 hours ago, Helena Dax said:

Gilead. Because nightmares are just a different kind of dream.

You're hired!

25 minutes ago, Quinny said:

When Luke left the celebration, I have to ask if he was wondering what had they really accomplished? So, now Fred and SJ can head back to Gilead and take out their anger on June? Yes, Fred got kicked out of Canada, but how does that help the ex-pats family and friends in Gilead?  I also have to wonder if he was thinking about his mother-in-law (Holly) at that moment. Since they arrived in Canada, the ex-pats have been sitting around, drinking coffee and posting photos of their loved ones where only they will see the photos. Holly would have been organizing protests, getting the ex-pats who had connections to use those connections to publicize what has and is happening to the rest of the world.  I think Holly would have had a large group of protestors at the airport and been rocking that car, breaking the window glass on the car, blocking the steps to the plane . . . finding a way to get Fred and SJ put in a jail in Canada. I think that would have been an interesting story line: to see SJ in jail, telling her that June had the baby and having SJ's face rubbed in the fact she couldn't go through a ritual labor/delivery and that the baby wasn't hers. I think it would have broken SJ.

Maybe Luke will start organizing the ex-pats to take action to pressure the rest of the world to bring an end to Gilead so he can reunite with June and Hannah.

Every movement forward needs a tipping point. This struck me as one that the world can no longer ignore.

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2 hours ago, Clanstarling said:

You're hired!

Every movement forward needs a tipping point. This struck me as one that the world can no longer ignore.

Yes, exactly!

I'm pretty sure the world was already appalled from stories coming from the refugees in Canada, but those letters?  Those are women who haven't escaped, who are still living their nightmares every single day and night. 

I REALLY hope someone on screen, either the Canadians, or Fred, or the other Commanders discussing it at a meeting, at least mention how France or England or Italy or Russia has responded to those letters, or the UN!  I need more of the outside world in this show, that's why I'm really watching.  Atwood, for me anyway, covered Gilead so well, what I was hoping from the extended TV series is "the rest of the story."

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: added an s
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We were told long ago that Hawaii and Alaska were the current USA, and also, though there are scattered wars on Gilead land constantly from the Resistance, Gilead does control/claim all land in the contiguous continental USA.

I don't recall hearing that anywhere in the TV series, though I did find it reading through the book thread.  Maybe I missed being stated it in the show. 

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7 minutes ago, DrSpaceman said:

I don't recall hearing that anywhere in the TV series, though I did find it reading through the book thread.  Maybe I missed being stated it in the show. 

Yeah, it's super easy to miss things, especially without closed captioning which is now a MUST for me, but they did mention that Anchorage is the new capital of the current USA, which consists of Hawaii and Alaska.

They haven't mentioned the current boundaries of Gilead specifically that I can recall, but it's implied, and in the book it's spelled out, that it's the current contiguous USA.  Little things, citrus from Florida, stuff from California, Canada talking about trying to ease tensions along it's border, the whole idiotic trade handmaid's to Mexico show, etc.

ETA, it's also kind of the process of elimination for me.  They wouldn't specific Alaska and Hawaii, and not mention if Utah, or Montana, or North Dakota, or California were still part of the new USA.

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1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

I actually think Serena would be a great mother, she's no "Mrs. Putnam."  In reality though, especially if the baby is a girl?  It think it would tear her up having to "read" to her from books with only symbols for words.  While she accepted 15 year old strangers being married?  I really, really doubt she would accept that for her own daughter.  I also wonder at what age she would have to start treating her son as her better, with deference? 

I agree with you in that Serena does have a genuine love of children, and that of all the Commanders' wives she is probably the best one to have if you want to learn how to read in secret and avoid marrying at 15. She definitely won't waste away from lack of motherly love like poor Charlotte. SJ would love to nurture and see her child grow. That's not unimportant. However, I think once her child acted with any real defiance (not a toddler's tantrum, but a long teenage spat of you-don't-know-anything-mom), or threatened SJ's status in Gilead somehow, she would get really mean, really fast. She doesn't want a fully realized person with their own feelings and wants and needs. She wants a baby to provide herself, Serena Joy, with the love she is missing in her own life.

Edited by The Mighty Peanut
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15 minutes ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

I agree with you in that Serena does have a genuine love of children, and that of all the Commanders' wives she is probably the best one to have if you want to learn how to read in secret and avoid marrying at 15. She definitely won't waste away from lack of motherly love like poor Charlotte. I think SJ would love to nurture and see her child grow. That's not unimportant. However, I think once her child acted with any defiance (not a toddler's tantrum, but a long teenage spat of total derision), or threatened SJ's status in Gilead somehow, she would get really mean, really fast.

Not to mention that I don’t think she has a grasp on reality any longer. She is thinking in a vacuum, which is baby baby baby. Cute little clothes, something to nurture and cuddle and love, something to focus on and give her a purpose in life. She has no vision though of the future beyond that point. She thinks of how wonderful a child would be for HER, not what having a child would be like for that child. Or what’s gonna happen to that child when it gets older and has questions. Or what kind of Father Fred will be. Or what kind of son he will want to raise. Or what having a son means in that world for Serena. He will despise her, look down on her, or worse, be indifferent. A daughter will be sold off as soon as she is fertile and will be basically property. She seems to have no plan at all for the future of “her” child other than what emotional comfort it will bring her.

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On 6/14/2018 at 2:23 PM, Umbelina said:

That cape, gloves, and little crown like hat, all in the slightly royal colors!  I totally got that kid's comment.  ;~)

It's more than likely my age ... but when I saw the scene ... my mind went to Grace Kelly.

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I loved the scene where Serena was putting her clothes away. 

She must be SO sick of "teal" and even the shoes are all matchy matchy.  I wonder how the older wives are dealing with still having to wear the required and specified high heels?

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6 minutes ago, LeLalique said:

It's more than likely my age ... but when I saw the scene ... my mind went to Grace Kelly.

I thought of Grace Kelly, too. :-)  This has nothing to do with my opinion of her as a person, but standing there in her little blue dress and cloak and her blonde hair, I thought she looked beautiful, if silly and a little out of place. Yvonne is a striking woman. With that being said, I'd have been depressed, too, to have to return to my closet of teal which is only slightly better than the ugly underwear and bulky red sweatshirt that June has. 

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4 hours ago, GraceK said:

Serena is delusional on so many levels it’s not even funny. She’s not even thinking past this baby. She’s given no thought to what life this child is gonna have. If it’s a girl she’s destined for a life of a servitude to a man, where she cannot read or write with no power or freedom. And if it’s a boy he will be raised to treat Serena like a second class citizen with no respect for her at all. Once he’s no longer a baby, not even “her” son will respect or love her in that society. Has she even thought of that? She’s damned herself no matter what.

 

4 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

 

Serena initially seemed flattered that the little girl at the elevator thought she was a princess.

But the kicker for me is that the little girl could only think that because she had the freedom to in Canada, where her mommy could still read her books about princesses, or she could still watch a DVD about a princess, or she could still play dress-up as a princess.

Her mind was still allowed that imagination and sense of wondermeant, it was being encouraged to.

In Gilead, however, princesses don’t exist, that title and role implies that a woman could have a status above a man, that women can have power, that women can have control. 

Serena would never be allowed to teach her daughter about princesses, or god forbid queens.

Serena wouldn’t even be allowed to teach her daughter very much at all, such a woman of high intelligence and yet she would have to use pictographs for her daughter.

Her daughter would never be allowed to hold a pen or pencil, her daughter would never even be allowed to learn how to write her own name. 

And if she were to have a son I would imagine that Fred would take the reins before too long, probably when the boy began to become of an age to learn, and he could sit on his father’s knee in that office and become cultured and refined as a future high-ranking commander in Gilead society, being reared and taught to be just like Daddy. 

 

28 minutes ago, GraceK said:

Not to mention that I don’t think she has a grasp on reality any longer. She is thinking in a vacuum, which is baby baby baby. Cute little clothes, something to nurture and cuddle and love, something to focus on and give her a purpose in life. She has no vision though of the future beyond that point. She thinks of how wonderful a child would be for HER, not what having a child would be like for that child. Or what’s gonna happen to that child when it gets older and has questions. Or what kind of Father Fred will be. Or what kind of son he will want to raise. Or what having a son means in that world for Serena. He will despise her, look down on her, or worse, be indifferent. A daughter will be sold off as soon as she is fertile and will be basically property. She seems to have no plan at all for the future of “her” child other than what emotional comfort it will bring her.

Great points brought up about how Serena Joy really isn't thinking about the true type of life her child will experience being raised in Gilead. She is delusional, because if she thinks that things will be different for her kid, just like how she thought that she wouldn't be treated like all the other wives, wait until Fred uses her as an example of the "perfect wife" and does something to make her feel even more worthless in front of their child.

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8 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

She must be SO sick of "teal" and even the shoes are all matchy matchy.  I wonder how the older wives are dealing with still having to wear the required and specified high heels?

And while they have reveled in the winter scenes of Boston (Toronto), it DOES get hot in Boston in the summer. Man those outfits would be hell.

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11 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

I loved the scene where Serena was putting her clothes away. 

She must be SO sick of "teal" and even the shoes are all matchy matchy.  I wonder how the older wives are dealing with still having to wear the required and specified high heels?

Well, it isn't like the Wives are expected or even allowed to do anything more strenuous than knit, garden and participate in monthly ritualistic rapes of the Handmaidens.

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Grace Kelly's wedding dress - high collar, headpiece, the veil even makes it look like a little capelet...  all somewhat similar to Serena's outfit, so the comparison is a good one. 

image.png

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18 minutes ago, dleighg said:

And while they have reveled in the winter scenes of Boston

And thinking about this, a lot of the filming seems to have been done in winter. I guess it better fits the mood.

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2 hours ago, Clanstarling said:

You're hired!

Every movement forward needs a tipping point. This struck me as one that the world can no longer ignore.

haha, thanks

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1 hour ago, GraceK said:
1 hour ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

However, I think once her child acted with any defiance (not a toddler's tantrum, but a long teenage spat of total derision), or threatened SJ's status in Gilead somehow, she would get really mean, really fast.

 

Not to mention that I don’t think she has a grasp on reality any longer. She is thinking in a vacuum, which is baby baby baby. Cute little clothes, something to nurture and cuddle and love, something to focus on and give her a purpose in life. She has no vision though of the future beyond that point. She thinks of how wonderful a child would be for HER, not what having a child would be like for that child. Or what’s gonna happen to that child when it gets older and has questions. Or what kind of Father Fred will be. Or what kind of son he will want to raise. Or what having a son means in that world for Serena. He will despise her, look down on her, or worse, be indifferent. A daughter will be sold off as soon as she is fertile and will be basically property. She seems to have no plan at all for the future of “her” child other than what emotional comfort it will bring her.

All of this.  She's focusing so hard on the perfect baby, perfect nursery, the perfect way it's going to fill up that huge hole in her that nothing else in tedious life as a Gilead wife will.  In some ways, she's almost reading like those teenage girls who get pregnant early and think it's all going to be great because "at least the baby will love me and I can give it all of my love."  Which as anyone who's had kids will tell you, it's often nothing like you thought it was going to be.  It's messy and exhausting and the little snots often won't cooperate, don't appreciate you or that lovely nursery you arranged just so for them, and so on and so on. They may not be as pretty as you wanted them to be, or as smart, or as athletic or graceful.  They may not be as healthy or have other issues.  Some of it can be downright disappointing, and we know how well Serena does with disappointment. 

There's no sense there that Serena is thinking of any of that.  It's something she wants because she wants it and she's not allowed to want anything else.

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1 hour ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

I agree with you in that Serena does have a genuine love of children, and that of all the Commanders' wives she is probably the best one to have if you want to learn how to read in secret and avoid marrying at 15. She definitely won't waste away from lack of motherly love like poor Charlotte. SJ would love to nurture and see her child grow. That's not unimportant. However, I think once her child acted with any real defiance (not a toddler's tantrum, but a long teenage spat of you-don't-know-anything-mom), or threatened SJ's status in Gilead somehow, she would get really mean, really fast. She doesn't want a fully realized person with their own feelings and wants and needs. She wants a baby to provide herself, Serena Joy, with the love she is missing in her own life.

Yes, her unnatural need to have children and to love them comes out probably out of her need  to be loved. because now she is isolated from feelings and doesn't have a husband or a family (the relationship between Fred and SJ to me is not a marriage and can even less be called a family). so the baby in her mind is giving her a family as much as she is giving him as well. 
My main problem with Serena has always been her lack of empathy.
She sees evil in Fred and Gilead when something happens to her. But she doesn't  see wrong in rape and stealing a child since (still) it hasn't happen to her. And I think that if her marriage was just a little bit better she wouldn't given a second thought to the Hawaii escape, so she probably thinks that after the baby comes the idea that Gilead is bad will be gone.

And her scene with Eden was a bit telling because she was acting motherly towards her and looked surprised when she heard how Eden thinks of sex, but she didn't look like she felt sorry or regretful because partially she is the reason Eden knows nothing else outside the Gilead bubble. 

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11 hours ago, mamadrama said:

As a former travel writer, I have traveled to countries that weren't open for the general public to just go into and walk around on their own. We either had personal guides or had to book a tour package (like in Bhutan in the 1990s). They could do either one of these with Gilead and it would control the flow. 

You went to Bhutan??

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I enjoyed this episode. There was some superior acting from Max and Yvonne. I too got the “Elsa” image the little girl saw when she thought that Serena was a princess. ?

 

They are WASTING Samira Wiley. The Canadian scenes could be so much more developed as a whole but they are dropping the ball. 

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24 minutes ago, Scarlett45 said:

They are WASTING Samira Wiley. The Canadian scenes could be so much more developed as a whole but they are dropping the ball. 

Not to me, at least not after this episode.  Honestly the only reason I like that we have characters in Canada is to see what the outside world is thinking/doing about Gilead.  They finally did that, and I'm thrilled.  I don't mind a little bit of PSTD, but we have enough characters still suffering in Gilead.  In Canada, I want to see INFORMATION and ACTION.  I'm over the flashbacks.

I loved Samira scene and the beautifully done "I'm not Ruby."  I loved seeing Luke become furious, and then run after Nick to give June messages.  I'd like to see both Nick and Moira getting active now, going to speak in other countries, interaction with others to put pressure on Gilead.  I also need some FUN on this show, and they are the ones who could be doing those things, and should be.  People stuck in Gilead would kill to be them right now.  OK, you moped, your pain is real, now move the fuck on and live the lives you've been given. 

Moping and wallowing does nothing for you, and not for those you've lost, but they have the opportunity now to be important voices for those still trapped.  I'd like to see that happen, and that doesn't mean yelling at the people trying to run the help center for new arrivals.

Set up websites, fly to England, write something, spell it out for those who are only hearing snippets.

Edited by Umbelina
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4 hours ago, LeLalique said:

It's more than likely my age ... but when I saw the scene ... my mind went to Grace Kelly.

I kept thinking the same thing! That actor is very Grace Kelly, especially with that particular get-up. (Still wish the mom had flipped off Serena, lol. Perfect set up!)

Adding to the Canada love, here. I have always wanted to go to Toronto - my husband traveled there a lot for business and was always thrilled to go back. He said any time he sat down by himself at a hotel bar he had a new BFF in seconds because someone would scope him out as a lone US business dude and they couldn’t bear to see him drink alone in their country, lol. He loved it. 

I feel like I am a post-liking fool. Such great discussions! This episode was a bit of a turning point, I feel, and my stomach is knotted to think of wtf is coming up...

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Here's what I'd like to see next.  Moira is a guest on CNN international.  She describes her life as a Handmaid, and then at Jezebels.  She names NAMES of the Commanders who frequent the place, she talks about the double standard there, she talks about the black market.

She wants to get Waterford?  Dry the tears babe and JUST DO IT.  She can bring him down completely, she has the power.  I want to see her focus and do that.

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24 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Here's what I'd like to see next.  Moira is a guest on CNN international.  She describes her life as a Handmaid, and then at Jezebels.  She names NAMES of the Commanders who frequent the place, she talks about the double standard there, she talks about the black market.

She wants to get Waterford?  Dry the tears babe and JUST DO IT.  She can bring him down completely, she has the power.  I want to see her focus and do that.

yes! I want to hear her talk about things that could get these men in trouble in Gilead as well as on an international front. She holds a lot of cards. I also want to hear her talking about how her medical history was held against her (how it made her a Handmaid) and then get into the mind fuckery that goes on at the Red Center. Then about how the Wives actually hold the women down for sex. Tell the world about her "choice" to either go to the Colonies or to Jezebels. Just let it all hang out. 

33 minutes ago, Stiggs said:

I kept thinking the same thing! That actor is very Grace Kelly, especially with that particular get-up. (Still wish the mom had flipped off Serena, lol. Perfect set up!)

 

I know the American man did it on a lesser front, but I wanted that mother to rip Serena a new one and tell her how awful she was for basically helping her husband rape a woman and then stealing her child-all the things that the Handmaids want to say to the Wives and can't. Serena would have had to have just stood there and taken it. 

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1 hour ago, DrSparkles said:

You went to Bhutan??

Twice, actually. :-) It took 3 tries to get in the first time. At that time they were limiting the number of tourists who entered each year. It was very beautiful there, I loved it. My trips to Bhutan and Tibet, and later to Bosnia right after the war ended, are some of my favorite memories. In my early twenties as a young, single, blonde American I stood out in a lot of places I got sent to but I was also MUCH more adventurous than I am now. We drove into town for pizza tonight and I am exhausted. 

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39 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Here's what I'd like to see next.  Moira is a guest on CNN international.  She describes her life as a Handmaid, and then at Jezebels.  She names NAMES of the Commanders who frequent the place, she talks about the double standard there, she talks about the black market.

She wants to get Waterford?  Dry the tears babe and JUST DO IT.  She can bring him down completely, she has the power.  I want to see her focus and do that.

You’re reading my diary, man. 

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Hell, she doesn't even have to get on CNN.  She could start her own You Tube channel.

Why are they all sitting around up there doing nothing, when the world is open to them now?  They can make a difference, they have voices where no one in Gilead does.  Stop feeling so sorry for yourself for ten minutes a day and DO SOMETHING.

The capital of the USA in Anchorage would make sure those videos get out to the world.  Why aren't we seeing that CIA dude approach them?   Yes, Serena is a bigger propaganda/truth tool, but hell, so are many of those refugees.

Why just Moira's story for that matter, she could interview others as well.  Someone up there must have some gumption and I want to watch that.

Edited by Umbelina
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I felt disappointed with this episode on so many levels. Why would June ever think Serena was her friend ? I knew she would take out her anger on June after Waterford beat her. 

Luke and Nick's scene seemed so rushed! A lot more questions should have been asked on Luke's part and it was the perfect opportunity to make an escape plan for June or at least set up a way for communication between them. 

Nick has got to be my favourite character in the show...but why was it necessary for him to go on the trip to Canada? The Waterford's were provided with a driver and security so why not leave him at home? . It seemed unlikely he would be able to locate Luke in the first place and travel with the letters undetected. He also worked with the resistance in an attempt to free June and was the only person never caught or even suspected. With the way this show goes I don't think Nick's invincibility will last much longer. I sense that Eden knows there is something going on between them and will get Nick in to trouble. 

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14 hours ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

Do we know what happens to baby girls? For example, are Hannah and June's baby (if it's another girl) destined to grow up like Eden? Will Hannah, since she's from Before with "sinful" parents, become a handmaid? Would a girl with parents like the Waterfords be afforded a more substantial upbringing--some kind of education and a pool of high status potential husbands?

I'm assuming that the children born into the different types of families will be expected to marry into families within their caste.

Upper - Sons of Commanders become Commanders and daughters of Commanders marry Commanders.  I feel like they get to "choose" their spouse and aren't placed in an arranged marriage like Nick.  Obviously they have to stay within their caste but I imagine there is some type of "courting season"; they have afternoon teas and lunches and dances and the like each year when all the Commander Kids come of age.  All the boys and girls (not saying men and women because I bet they do it when they turn 15 or 16 like Eden) spend two months getting to know each other and they pair off with who they click with.  I wonder if the boys are given the option to stay single until they find a girl they love but within a deadline?

Middle - (this one is the least clear to me with regards to what type of men/women/families belong in this class) Men like Nick - Eyes and security and maybe other "preferred" professions (physicians, attorneys, farmers etc.) are assigned wives from families within the same level.  

Lower - Econofamilies - blue collar and laborers, people who work retail, factory workers, etc.  Not clear if these men get to actually choose their own spouses or if they are assigned in some way like Nick and the other men at that ceremony we saw.

I really hope we get to see some of that kind of stuff.  At this point, Gilead is still young and most of the Commanders and Wives  and other citizens have marriages that pre-date the society's founding - like Fred and Serena - so they wouldn't have had to go through the process of selecting a spouse.

 

And on a completely different note and something else I'd like to know - what does Gilead do with disabled babies?  We know they have the whole "shredder baby" deal, but it seems like those kids have a severe genetic disease or maybe something brought on by the environmental problems.  And I think those babies die shortly after birth.

I'm more wondering about babies with Cerebral Palsy or Down's Syndrome or deaf babies or blind babies or babies with limb deformities.  I can't imagine Fred and Serena would be down with raising a baby with CP or one missing an arm.  We haven't seen much in the way of anything eugenics-based in the Gilead belief system but I pray they don't murder them to "Keep our blood pure!" or some other disgusting nonsense.  I keep picturing some kind of awful orphanage or institution in Gilead full up of disabled babies and children.

Basically, I want more world building damnit!!!!

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1 hour ago, KillBill said:

I felt disappointed with this episode on so many levels. Why would June ever think Serena was her friend ? I knew she would take out her anger on June after Waterford beat her. 

Luke and Nick's scene seemed so rushed! A lot more questions should have been asked on Luke's part and it was the perfect opportunity to make an escape plan for June or at least set up a way for communication between them. 

Nick has got to be my favourite character in the show...but why was it necessary for him to go on the trip to Canada? The Waterford's were provided with a driver and security so why not leave him at home? . It seemed unlikely he would be able to locate Luke in the first place and travel with the letters undetected. He also worked with the resistance in an attempt to free June and was the only person never caught or even suspected. With the way this show goes I don't think Nick's invincibility will last much longer. I sense that Eden knows there is something going on between them and will get Nick in to trouble. 

He's Fred's Guardian, and apparently in line to be a Commander at that, isn't that what was said a few episodes ago, before the bombing?

He would travel with Fred.  Hell, even if Fred didn't want him there, Nick's an Eye watching Fred and Serena, so his (real) boss would see to it that happened.

Edited by Umbelina
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Why would June ever think Serena was her friend?

This!!! “When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.” (Angelou) A 30 year old plus year old woman does not change who she is, I’m sorry. Maybe slightly, she grows. But no 180... She has committed to a space and that’s just who she is. June should know better. 

Edited by julia1130
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On 6/13/2018 at 9:11 AM, 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 didn’t see that.  What exact geography is Gilead in?

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4 minutes ago, Lemons said:

I didn’t see that.  What exact geography is Gilead in?

The continental contiguous USA.

Alaska and Hawaii weren't conquered and now call themselves the USA.

I don't think June thought Serena was her friend, but there is no doubt they were getting along quite well until the beating.  Fred wins.

Edited by Umbelina
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My favorite episode thus far.

I have to confess that I experienced a vicarious thrill seeing the Commander and Serena Joy confronted by sane people who weren't having any of their shit and weren't afraid to tell them to their faces. 

This episode did a subtle but powerful job illustrating Serena's plight, from the pictogram itinerary to her sad gaze at the identical green outfits filling her closet.   She's in a hell of her own making, and she knows it.   I don't think it was patriotism or maternal prospects that kept her from accepting the offer in the bar.   I think it was guilt.

I wonder why Gilead, a repressive society which has stripped women of virtually all adornment, from clothes to cosmetics, still allows them to wear high heels.   Serena's shoes seemed distinctly discordant with the rest of her Puritanical get-up when the Waterfords first enter the lobby of the Canadian hotel.

The protest at the airport seemed too small given the circumstances.

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11 minutes ago, millennium said:

I wonder why Gilead, a repressive society which has stripped women of virtually all adornment, from clothes to cosmetics, still allows them to wear high heels.   Serena's shoes seemed distinctly discordant with the rest of her Puritanical get-up when the Waterfords first enter the lobby of the Canadian hotel.

There's probably something of the June Cleaver ideal about it, as well as it being sort of a class marker (compare and contrast with the handmaids' dumpy boots). But also - as a woman who detests heels and is appalled at how they keep getting absurdly, ever more painfully high - I always say that a woman who struggles to walk in her shoes, much less run if she needs to, is right where they want her: hobbled.

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On 6/16/2018 at 12:58 AM, Bama said:

And on a completely different note and something else I'd like to know - what does Gilead do with disabled babies?  We know they have the whole "shredder baby" deal, but it seems like those kids have a severe genetic disease or maybe something brought on by the environmental problems.  And I think those babies die shortly after birth.

I'm more wondering about babies with Cerebral Palsy or Down's Syndrome or deaf babies or blind babies or babies with limb deformities.  I can't imagine Fred and Serena would be down with raising a baby with CP or one missing an arm.  We haven't seen much in the way of anything eugenics-based in the Gilead belief system but I pray they don't murder them to "Keep our blood pure!" or some other disgusting nonsense.  I keep picturing some kind of awful orphanage or institution in Gilead full up of disabled babies and children.

 

Refer to what happened in Germany.

Gilead would have a policy of euthanizing disabled babies - or not "perfect" babies. It would all have started with the fundamentalist parents and their need to grow a society based on their idea of perfection asking the ones in power to "let that beautiful baby go to his maker" or whatever  BS they would say to excuse themselves from the cruelty and murder.

Gilead is a supremacist society. Even if the show doesn't follow the book concerning the racism, I am pretty sure they would not allow "defective" citizens (since they would consider people of color defective, as eugenicists do) - unless is someone like Janine who lost her eye due for breaking the rules, and because she is a fertile vessel.

Edited by alexvillage
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