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S02.E10: The Last Ceremony

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2 hours ago, Joana said:

Agreed. I think that ever since she was first introduced, we're supposed to see her as some kind of antagonist and a permanent threat to the characters we've grown to love, like a dark force constantly lurking in the background waiting for others to make a wrong move so she could tell on them and have them punished. I assumed that's what her role would be, too, but I no longer think so. She's witnessed several instances of rules being broken and she hasn't done anything about it, so I really don't think she has her mind set on ruining other people's lives. Instead, she just wants to live hers the way she believes she's supposed to - which she is being denied and she doesn't know why. 

I could see how her "love story" with Isaac would work in theory. Nick is hardly ever around, and even when he is, he's completely ignoring her. Isaac, however, is always there, and he's the only man in her life to show her any kind of affection. He acknowledges his presence. He smiles at her. He compliments her cooking. I can see why she would get attached to him. Likewise, she's the only female close to his age he is in regular contact with. She's been taught to be subservient to men with any authority without questioning it, so she is always being pleasurable and nice to him, unlike other women he encounters whose reactions to him are fear and avoidance. So, he starts showing more affection towards her, which in turn brings out more affection for him from her, and slowly, a bond is created.

But obviously, it all takes time. You cannot choose to have it portrayed in three or four scenes of 30 seconds over a couple of episodes and expect it to work. 

Eden's casual mention of reporting Nick as a "gender traitor" automatically put her in the threat/danger category.  She could end his life so easily.

I'm glad she's not just a cookie-cutter villain or brainwashed idiot though, she has made me care about her, even in her spoiler role.

As far as kissing Issac?  She's 15.  Even as a religious fanatic who has been brainwashed, she's still 15.  Raging hormones, and a romantic idealistic idea about marriage and being in love makes complete sense to me for Eden.  Her parents, from the little snippets we've heard, and who are probably her main role models?  Seem to have that romance and love.  The mother TELLS the dad to take out the garbage.  "You never touch me" and "You have never kissed me" to me anyway?  Means that's what she's seen in her own house, and what she expected from marriage. 

For her, this marriage was real, and she thought she'd be treasured, have her food complimented, be appreciated for making the house nice, and have a husband, perhaps like her father is to her mother, who gives spontaneous hugs, compliments, looks at her from across the room with loving eyes.

Issac does all of that.  Issac is really her very first crush, first foray into love and affection from a boy/man.  I remember those feelings!  Books and plays have been written about how powerful that is, and yes, in circumstances different, but as bad as Gilead.  Romeo and Juliet anyone?  Love across caste systems, or in war zones, or across racial barriers...it's a pretty powerful thing.  Eden and Issac are seeing each other every day.  He watches her, is attentive to her, appreciates her, gives her compliments, cares about her. 

Would she have looked at him twice if her immature and socially ordered marriage had any of that?  I don't think so.

 

55 minutes ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

All of this. He has a baby on the way with the woman he loves who is married to someone she loves but has been forced into sexual servitude with his (Nick's) boss, and has now for the second time been forced to impregnate a woman except she isn't a woman so much as a child and he had to marry her or die. It's a terrible situation. We get it.

With that said the time for pouting is over. What June and the women seem to get that Nick doesn't get despite his decency is that survival in Gilead is as much if not more of a performance than it is going through the motions. Eden will take crumbs.  She wasn't raised to expect happiness. She wasn't raised to expect good sex.  She wasn't raised to expect intelligent conversation. All Nick needs to do is pretend to care about her just a little bit and he can stop worrying about being turned in and murdered. 

I have to admit, though. The absolute lack of fucks he gave when he saw her making out with Isaac made me laugh in what was otherwise an extremely dark episode.

Yes, I absolutely do not blame Nick for any of this.  He's never been a "talky" guy, and his life is a like walking through mine-fields.  He's an Eye, he's in Mayday, he has a baby who will soon be a child that he can't have much to do with.  He's fallen in love with June, a married woman, who he tried but failed to save, a woman living in hell that he can't protect, though he is trying.  He could probably escape Gilead much more easily than most, but he stays, and he fights it from inside.

Now he has this child living with him, he had to have sex with this child.  He doesn't hate her, but he also doesn't know her, or probably even WANT to get to know her, let alone lead her down some fake romantic path that can only end in disaster considering his other commitments. 

Do I wish he'd just make it part of his duty to compliment her twice a day, or give her a brotherly hug once a day?  Yes.  Do I understand that he's overwhelmed and repelled/appalled by even the idea of leading Eden on, beyond the self preservation of sheet hole sex?  I  do.

28 minutes ago, madpsych78 said:

That reminds me. Fred clearly knows (through Serena and June) that he is not the father of June's baby, but does he know that Serena was the one who basically puppeteer-ed that first rape with June and Nick? If not, I would be curious as to how he responds if/when that tidbit comes out.

I think Fred did arrange the meeting with Hannah (it was totally a control move, cushioned in something "nice"), but I'm not sure about his part in Nick getting shot. Still, he has motive, especially given that he knows Nick is fertile combined with that tidbit that Commander Harris was promoted because his wife became pregnant. Nick could eventually be promoted to Commander and I think that possibility just doesn't sit well with Fred. 

Aunt Lydia was spot on this episode. Yep, she's not incredibly fond of Serena and I want to see that come out more in future episodes. 

I wonder if Fred knows Serena arranged it, or how Serena knows as well.  Great catch!  Why didn't I think of that? 

I'm sure he suspects Nick, or possibly the doctor, surely if all the wives know about the helpful impregnating doctor, Fred may know as well?  Nah, that could just be something known among the wives I suppose, and that makes more sense, because the wrong Commander knowing that would mean that doctor would be dead by now.  Curious to think about though.

I'm interested mostly in the world building side of things with this extended show.  It was actually interesting to me to here that the young guy (presumably a former guardian like Nick) was being promoted to Commander.  Also in a previous episode Nick was told he was on the path to becoming a Commander.  I'd always assumed that future Commanders would come from present Commander's children.  An oligarchy of inherited power really, but instead, apparently "earning your way up" still exists in the former USA. 

That wasn't in the book that I recall, so the writers did give us a bit more of a "world" or at least some Gilead clarification after all.  It's actually a pretty large chunk of that.

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9 minutes ago, maxineofarc said:

I read an interview with the writer of this episode in which she says that her intention was that Fred arranged the meeting with Hannah out of guilt at what he had done to June (of course not realizing that that was basically exactly what he's been doing to her every month, only this time she was "present" for it) and not as an intentional trap, which makes sense given that he wouldn't want his 9 months pregnant handmaid to disappear AGAIN. He might or might not be invested, but Serena certainly is, to say nothing of their entire social circle, and I can't see him destroying this thing she's so invested in on purpose. Also, it's been made clear that the status of a Commander depends partly on his progeny; that baby is valuable to Fred on multiple levels.

I'd like to read that, do you have a link?

Yes, that's why I don't think Fred was involved in that ambush.  He's been walking on very shaky ground for quite a while now, he doesn't need to have more "issues" with disappearing a Handmaid.  He's aware of the precariousness of his "position" and has been since that other dude's hand was chopped off.  He knows how many rules he's been breaking, and that people are watching him.

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10 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Eden's casual mention of reporting Nick as a "gender traitor" automatically put her in the threat/danger category.  She could end his life so easily.

Eden didn't mention reporting the gender traitor thing though.  She asked June if she thought he might be and trailed off in a way that could be read as open ended.  June extrapolated from that.  I went back and found that scene since so many people seem to remember it that way that I was at the point that I couldn't be certain either.  We've actually seen her do nothing more sinister than watch other people do what they were doing anyway and respond to a man closer to her own age flirting with her.

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She caught flake for being happy to have a vegetable. Granted, her reaction was ridiculous but it is sad that that is what she finds delight in. There is not much joy to derive out of Gilead.

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8 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

I'd like to read that, do you have a link?

Posted it to the News & Media forum. And you're right, Fred is on very thin ice with the other Commanders. He needs this birth to go perfectly.

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4 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

Eden didn't mention reporting the gender traitor thing though.  She asked June if she thought he might be and trailed off in a way that could be read as open ended.  June extrapolated from that.  I went back and found that scene since so many people seem to remember it that way that I was at the point that I couldn't be certain either.  We've actually seen her do nothing more sinister than watch other people do what they were doing anyway and respond to a man closer to her own age flirting with her.

Yes, I agree.

It was still a huge red, flashing "DANGER DANGER WILL ROBINSON" moment that was deliberate by the writers, and told us that Eden might get Nick killed, accidentally, because she was a devoted, brainwashed member of Gilead, or deliberately.

She still might. 

Would that be her fault?  No, not to me.  She's 15.  She's had her very first feelings of romantic love, she just had her very first kiss.  Anyone could end her life at any moment.  Shes actually a fascinating character who could really grow in this role, but I get a strong feeling she's doomed.  Nick may be doomed as well, he never really caught on with the audience, and his life is a minefield.  Serena and Fred also seem doomed to me, something that at this point would bring audience cheers.

We may have a whole new supporting cast by next season, now that I'm thinking about it.

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Great article! If it wasn’t Fred, I go back to thinking it was Isaac. Who else has a motive against Nick?

Edited by GraceK
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42 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

Spot on.  Every episode since she first appeared people have been speculating that Eden must be a time bomb or some kind of mastermind that will be the death of them all.  And maybe she will be.  But all of it is built upon the show throwing her in as an obstacle between Nick and June and her one time tentatively asking June if Nick might possibly be a gender traitor because he hadn't touched her.  In that particular scene, she wasn't making any threats to report him or do anything about it.  She was merely wondering and fearing that it meant that there was something wrong with her and what it might mean.  And to be fair, because Gilead is Gilead that was enough to set the alarm bells off in June's head to tell Nick that he needed to get the fuck over himself and join the official Gilead club of people who have been forced into fucking someone they didn't want to.  In actuality, what we've seen of the character is a sheltered young girl who bought into what Gilead was selling struggling to make sense of all the dysfunction she's seen in the Waterford house and an arranged marriage that's fallen far short of expectations. 

This is not to say that Eden doesn't present a possible danger.  She does if she ever starts talking about some of what's going on in that house with the wrong people.  That very well may happen.  But the fact that we're all waiting for it, anticipating it, rather than seeing a 15-year-old in tears over having technically had sex before her first kiss and being so starved for affection and kindness that she's coming damn close to risking adultery in a society she has to know won't respond well at all to it, is another thing I think can be chalked up to tropes of teenage girls and a male show runner willing to feed into them.  Of course the teenage girl is going to doom an older man over sex.  Of course she can't help being spiteful and conniving and may be plotting because of it.  Because she's a teenage girl.  We've all seen movies about this.

This was all really beautifully put. :) And it sums up my thoughts as well. I too think people's reaction to Eden is mostly based on that conversation with June and June's assumption that Eden would report Nick for being "a gender traitor". It was a perfectly reasonable assumption (I mean, this is Gilead, expect the worst and you'll usually be right), but still it came solely from one character's speculations about the motives of another character, and most people took it at face value and ran along with it. I certainly did, and now I even feel slightly annoyed with myself for not seeing through it immediately. 

In general, I think Eden's storyline is such a wasted chance for the show. It was a unique opportunity to show a character that has been exclusively shaped by Gilead. Even hardcore believers like Aunt Lydia remember a world that had different values, but for Eden, Gilead and its ideals are all she's ever known. It would have been so interesting to show how a mind like that works, and yes, that even being brainwashed into a religious belief doesn't strip you of the nearly universal human need for affection and attention. And instead of developing a real person, we've got a blank slate for people to fill with their own assumptions and expectations. It's disappointing. 

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31 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Do I wish he'd just make it part of his duty to compliment her twice a day, or give her a brotherly hug once a day?  Yes.  Do I understand that he's overwhelmed and repelled/appalled by even the idea of leading Eden on, beyond the self preservation of sheet hole sex?  I  do.

All of this. I think Eden is just as fascinating as Serena. It’s easy to just see them as a threat and hate hate hate. They are set up as an antagonist but it takes a little open-mindedness and analysis to see both sides. Examine their POV. Imagine yourself in exactly their shoes. Why do they make these choices. Not “what would I do”, but “why are THEY doing/saying this”? It’s easy to chastise. But they are human and in terrible circumstances. I love the complexity of both characters. We are guided to see June as the all-good protagonist who must come out on top. But that doesn’t have to mean that we cannot empathize or at least try to understand the mindset or challenges of the other women. 

If June was straight “good” and all others were clearly 100% evil, this show should be boring and predictable. I love the multiple layers. No one is 100% bad or 100% good. 

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13 minutes ago, Joana said:

In general, I think Eden's storyline is such a wasted chance for the show. It was a unique opportunity to show a character that has been exclusively shaped by Gilead. Even hardcore believers like Aunt Lydia remember a world that had different values, but for Eden, Gilead and its ideals are all she's ever known. It would have been so interesting to show how a mind like that works, and yes, that even being brainwashed into a religious belief doesn't strip you of the nearly universal human need for affection and attention. And instead of developing a real person, we've got a blank slate for people to fill with their own assumptions and expectations. It's disappointing. 

This is my feeling too.  Not to get all bookish because this isn't the place for it, but Lydia has a line in the book about how much easier it will be for the women who come after them because they won't have those pesky memories of the before time as a basis for comparison.  Gilead is all they will have known and remember.  Eden at best has what are probably hazy childhood memories of the world as it used to be and has spent her most formative years under this system, so she should have been a great illustration of that.  We're getting a bit of cognitive dissonance from her in that her arranged marriage hasn't given her immediate love and bliss and she's clearly seeing that the handmaid system isn't this unselfish nurturing partnership that produces children, but it could have been so much more.

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On 6/20/2018 at 9:56 AM, Umbelina said:

Is anyone else kind of bothered that a man wrote this episode, and another man directed it?  I see a few female writers and directors that have credits on other episodes, but this one was all Bruce Miller at least according to IMDb.  Here, according to wikipedia are the other episodes and writers.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Handmaid's_Tale_(TV_series)

It's a pretty sickening episode, and also of course, a pretty large departure from the book.

Sorry if it's a sexist question, but I really disliked his "inside the episode" on this one, and decided to check the writers on this, and others.  2 rapes, very graphic, the most realistic I ever remember on this show.  I did appreciate the two kicks to the dead guy's balls, but still... 

 

It's not a sexist question.  It's always a good question to ask whether a rape scene portrayed on television is gratuitous.  If you say it's a large departure from the book, then even more so, without a doubt.  There is a lot of good literature out there (by this I mean articles/blogs by female writers) who discuss how certain rapes are unnecessary or gratuitous or exploitative or offensive in our television and film entertainment.  (Immediately I think of a certain trope where strong female characters are often raped onscreen to 'bring them down', to 'teach them a lesson', to humanize them.  This does NOT happen to male characters.)  I know there will be disagreements to this, but this series is supposed to be based on a book.  Anyone can argue that anything is necessary to depict, and in that same vein I can argue it's unnecessary too.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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5 minutes ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

It's not a sexist question.  It's always a good question to ask whether a rape scene portrayed on television is gratuitous.  If you say it's a large departure from the book, then even more so, without a doubt.  There is a lot of good literature out there (by this I mean articles/blogs by female writers) who discuss how certain rapes are unnecessary or gratuitous or exploitative or offensive in our television and film entertainment.  (Immediately I think of a certain trope where strong female characters are often raped onscreen to 'bring them down', to 'teach them a lesson', to humanize them.  This does NOT happen to male characters.)  I know there will be disagreements to this, but this series is supposed to be based on a book.  Anyone can argue that anything is necessary to depict, and in that same vein I can argue it's unnecessary too.

Also, both of these particular rape scenes were by far the most realistically done, IMO anyway.

The men had more explicit orgasms for example, the camera did focus on that, and I thought, in some ways, that was very good, they've kind of glossed over that in the past, instead slipping into Handmaids "checking out" of the experience more. 

I also get the two rapes being ceremonial, this wasn't Jezebels, both perverted, but June's rape doubly perverted because it violated even Gilead standards.

People have complained about them departing from the book before, but other than the idiotic Mexico episode, and the issue of racism in Gilead, there really haven't been many departures.  Everything else was at least alluded to in the books, or was possible, such as Luke and Moira escaping, Mexico, escaping to Canada, Eyes, trade issues...June either heard about them, or the Epilogue included them.

Raping a pregnant Handmaid during a perversion of a perverted Ceremony?  DID NOT HAPPEN.  It's the most complete invention so far. 

I'm just torn, I thought showing the men's orgasms was an important choice on the one hand, stop pretending anything about this was holy, but on the other hand, DID that make it gratuitous?  Maybe so.

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On 6/20/2018 at 9:56 AM, Umbelina said:

Is anyone else kind of bothered that a man wrote this episode, and another man directed it? 

 

I believe the episode writer is a woman.

As for Nick, I don't think anyone set them up intentionally. Fred was clear they had to stay out of sight, and the driver accompanying Hannah was very urgent in telling them it was time to go Right Now, so I think they both knew there would be a likely check-in patrol on the way. June delayed long enough, first by going after Hannah again and then when she was clearly not capable of thinking clearly, that they missed their window of opportunity to get out before they were spotted.

A question I've always had is who the heck came up with all of these ceremonies in the first place. The Ceremony, I can understand; but things like the funeral for the bombing victims, where the Handmaids had prescribed mourning garments and ritual words and actions to perform? Who makes this stuff up and who teaches it?

Edited by maxineofarc · Reason: That guy wasn't an Eye
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1 hour ago, maxineofarc said:

There's a little farm near me that I buy eggs from sometimes, where they post Bible quotes in the yard and the wife and daughters all wear plain dress, and I think of Eden when I

Quote

This is a brainwashed teenage bride. That status should be the focal point of the character. I resent that the show positioned her to be ridiculed, dismissed and outright hated on. She is one of the victims who is also totally innocent. I will be pissed if her arc ends in her unjustified death.

I justify it in my mind that perhaps Eden's parents were followers of Serena Joy's books and mentality of Gilead, you know before reading and writing was forbidden for females,  and raised her in exactly that manner. She knows nothing else. 

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34 minutes ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

It's not a sexist question.  It's always a good question to ask whether a rape scene portrayed on television is gratuitous.  If you say it's a large departure from the book, then even more so, without a doubt.  There is a lot of good literature out there (by this I mean articles/blogs by female writers) who discuss how certain rapes are unnecessary or gratuitous or exploitative or offensive in our television and film entertainment.  (Immediately I think of a certain trope where strong female characters are often raped onscreen to 'bring them down', to 'teach them a lesson', to humanize them.  This does NOT happen to male characters.*)  I know there will be disagreements to this, but this series is supposed to be based on a book.  Anyone can argue that anything is necessary to depict, and in that same vein I can argue it's unnecessary too.

Jaime Fraser - Outlander. But as he's the only one I've ever seen, I'm not disagreeing with your point.

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8 minutes ago, maxineofarc said:

I believe the episode writer is a woman.

As for Nick, I don't think anyone set them up intentionally. Fred was clear they had to stay out of sight, and the driver accompanying Hannah was very urgent in telling them it was time to go Right Now, so I think they both knew there would be a likely check-in patrol on the way. June delayed long enough, first by going after Hannah again and then when she was clearly not capable of thinking clearly, that they missed their window of opportunity to get out before they were spotted.

A question I've always had is who the heck came up with all of these ceremonies in the first place. The Ceremony, I can understand; but things like the funeral for the bombing victims, where the Handmaids had prescribed mourning garments and ritual words and actions to perform? Who makes this stuff up and who teaches it?

 

Thanks.  Do you have a link to something saying this was written by a woman?  My search didn't come up with that, but it could have been updated.  Directing counts too of course.

I don't think Nick was set up either, but it's confusing so anything is possible.  I agree, June, aside from being VERY pregnant and hormonal, was just raped, and just saw her very loved child for the first time in 3 years.  Of course she didn't want to let her go.  If the other guardians had said, "Someone's coming, leave NOW" she would have.  For all she knew, they were just sticking to the rather arbitrary 10 minute schedule.

Oh, and I would have looked out the damn window too.  Honestly, who wouldn't?

The men.  They made that clear in that early episode.  They came up with "ceremonies" to sell the handmaid idea to the women.  They even, if I'm not mistaken, laughed about it.

Edited by Umbelina
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2 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Thanks.  Do you have a link to something saying this was written by a woman?  My search didn't come up with that, but it could have been updated.  Directing counts too of course.

Ii just read it, the episode was written by Yahlin Chang. The Washington Post interviewed her. 

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32 minutes ago, DuckyinKy said:

Ii just read it, the episode was written by Yahlin Chang. The Washington Post interviewed her. 

Thanks.  I just googled her name, and SEVERAL articles about this episode came up.

That makes me kind of happy.  I know he still directed it, and as show runner decided what the content should be, but I'm glad at least that women are still involved in writing it, especially this one.

ETA

Also, and I don't know why I forgot to mention this, for the first time EVER on the show, we got to see a woman, June, scream "NO!"  repeatedly.  For once, during this disgusting "ceremony" that happened.  It was powerful.

Pointed out by the writer well in The Washington Post Article.  Possibly pointed out in the other articles I just linked in the media thread as well, not sure, the tabs are open, but I haven't read them yet.

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That was the point that the episode’s writer, Yahlin Chang, said she was trying to make with the horrible scene. The “ceremonies” have always been rape. But the people in charge of Gilead seem to have convinced themselves that it’s a completely normal way to conceive children. Usually, the handmaids are silent — as Emily/Ofglen (Alexis Bledel) thinks at the beginning of the episode, during a ceremony, “You treat it like a job. An unpleasant job to be gotten through as fast as possible. You steel yourself. You pretend not to be present, not in the flesh. You leave your body.”

In this instance, the idea was for viewers to tell that the commander and Serena were not expecting Offred’s reaction.

“They’ve done the ceremony a million times, and Offred’s never fought back,” Chang said. “Serena does not like realizing how brutal and terrible this actually is. She doesn’t want to know truth of that, confronted with the truth that it’s rape.”

Edited by Umbelina
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So, the writers say that Fred's "gift" to June is because he feels guilty?

If that's so,  Joseph Fiennes' acting was terrible because the delivery was all sociopath Fred to me.

 

I can see how he, after denying June her request to be moved closer to Hannah, and after raping her, would give her what he assumes is the ultimate gift, not because he regrets it in any form, but because he wants to show her who is in charge, and that he has total control over what happens to her. But guilty? I didn't see that at all.

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10 minutes ago, alexvillage said:

So, the writers say that Fred's "gift" to June is because he feels guilty?

If that's so,  Joseph Fiennes' acting was terrible because the delivery was all sociopath Fred to me.

 

I can see how he, after denying June her request to be moved closer to Hannah, and after raping her, would give her what he assumes is the ultimate gift, not because he regrets it in any form, but because he wants to show her who is in charge, and that he has total control over what happens to her. But guilty? I didn't see that at all.

That could still play out.  This visit and the consequences of it for many characters is certainly not resolved yet.

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2 hours ago, Umbelina said:

“They’ve done the ceremony a million times, and Offred’s never fought back,” Chang said. “Serena does not like realizing how brutal and terrible this actually is. She doesn’t want to know truth of that, confronted with the truth that it’s rape.”

 

But still few scenes of June and Serena where Serena is not raping her , and there is talk of them teaming up to take down Gilead. 

Edited by Deputy Deputy CoS

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On 6/20/2018 at 1:28 AM, Pachengala said:

Yeah, I was spoiled and prepared not to react, but then when Hannah said ‘Mommy!’ I lost my shit. 

I for one don’t think that was a routine patrol at all; I think Waterford set them up so that Nick would be taken out. I was yelling at June to get back inside and turn that house inside out looking for a compass and any kind of map or info that would let her know where she is and where to go. Because girl, it’s time to go. 

Holy shit you are right, It was a trap.. after June made it certain to him that he’s not dad. Damn

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5 hours ago, madpsych78 said:

I am stomped on why there is speculation that she didn't sanction the "ceremony".  In quotes because I won't conform to Gilead's way of thinking. RAPE. Twice now we have seen Serena initiate RAPE. First time involved two people and she stood watch over them. Second time, it was to a heavily pregnant woman. 

And you know what, it makes not a lick of a difference if Serena didn't pen the Rapes or wasn't in the room when it was made law. She sanctioned it and is an active participant. 

Totally. Serena is the epitome of a rapist. Frustrated for lack of power and sexual gratification she seeks to violate someone to feel the temporary high of total control. She has little capacity for empathy and when she does appear to exhibit some it is in response to something she understands only because it relates directly to her own experiences (example: Serena knows June misses Hannah and doesn't care because Serena has never been separated from her child. Serena knows June misses work and empathized because Serena also misses work). She feels a twinge of guilt after these acts but no real remorse and in both cases she used her knowledge of June to engineer not just the situation itself but the reaction to the situation, and perhaps even arranged mass ritual rape via ceremony the same way. 

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11 hours ago, meira.hand said:

At first I was inclined to really dislike Eden and just see her a danger to Nick & June, but than I realized this was the way the writers presented her and it was completely wrong. She is a child bride, sent away from her family to wed an older man she never met and brainwashed to see it as her religious duty. She has no adult females emotional support, no friends and a really bleak future if she does not bear a child. The fact that they chose to show her as unpleasant and sort of thick and annoying teenager keeps all our sympathies for the emotional suffering of the mature June & Nick. This is especially jaring as she does try to do her best, even if she misses the mark. In any other story, we would be outraged at Eden's fate and the fact that Nick does not even try to be nice to her and June does the absolute minimum mainly because of the perceived danger to Nick. I wonder, like several posts indicated, if this again is the male point of view coming thru. She is no less a victim of Gilead than the other female casts.

I've never disliked her, but I'm in no hurry for June to be partnered up with Nick, as much as I like him. Well, I'm not liking him so much, with the lack of kindness shown to Eden. 

9 hours ago, Shangrilala said:

I'm going to guess Grace.

I think I missed something. What is this guess about?

3 hours ago, Clanstarling said:

Jaime Fraser - Outlander. But as he's the only one I've ever seen, I'm not disagreeing with your point.

It also happened in

 

13 Reasons Why

this season, a guy assaulted as punishment for something. People seemed to be more shocked by that, than when it happened to two girls.

Edited by Anela
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1 hour ago, JennyMominFL said:

Holy shit you are right, It was a trap.. after June made it certain to him that he’s not dad. Damn

OMG!!!! Yes, that makes perfect sense.  

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8 minutes ago, maystone said:

I won't get to see the episode until Sunday because I live in Canada, but I do read this forum ahead of time, and I watched the "inside the episode" vid posted here. Umbelina? I actually spat out "Fuck you!" at the screen when he said the very condescending "Gilead is not a soft, comfy, wonderful place" and the audience needs to be shown that. Is there a woman watching this show who doesn't get that on a visceral level that no man will ever be able to experience, no matter how sympathetic he is? I was furious. I am furious! Rape is not an object lesson, asshole. It's not a teaching moment. I understand the centrality of The Ceremony to the story, but never, ever decide that rubbing our faces in that fact is necessary for our understanding of what it means to be a woman in a man's world.

Yeah, I mean he's the show runner, but as it turns out my googling was incorrect.  A woman actually wrote the episode (obviously ideas for episodes come from the show runners and from the writing room, not individual writers normally) and she had some very interesting things to say.  There are links in the media thread for a few interviews with her, all are interesting.

So, while the idea of the two rapes might not have been hers, she did manage to make a few points with them.  As I said earlier, they were the most realistic I've seen on the show, and the hardest to watch.  Part of that is the men's orgasms, which they've rarely focused on, but that actually worked for me, in a "screw this being holy" way.  The other thing that worked for me was that we finally got to see a woman scream NO and struggle, and both a Commander and his Wife had to hear that, and perhaps, realize that is exactly what the Handmaid's have always felt, so no one is buying your "ceremony" bullshit assholes.

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I do feel bad for Eden. Is she annoying sometimes? Of course. But looking at her situation, she truly doesn't know any better. Plus, Nick treats her like crap without realizing the consequences. All she's doing is trying to fulfill the role she was told that she had to play, but Nick won't even exchange some simple conversational words with her. He doesn't look at her, he only talks to her when he has to, and he really doesn't treat her well. It's not her fault either that they're in this situation, and she doesn't really have anyone there by her side. Plus, she's still a child, so she doesn't have the life before Gilead that Nick does, besides maybe a few short years of remembering a time before Gilead. I do think she's sympathetic more than annoying, though. 

Fred and Serena really are quite perfect for each other. They're both very despicable people who have issues with lack of power. Fred throws a temper tantrum because he has lost a lot of his power since the bombing, so he rapes June to induce labour. Serena throws a temper tantrum because she can't get rid of June fast enough and seems to be struggling with the idea of Gilead and she can't tolerate feeling torn about her decisions for the first time, so she gives Fred the idea to rape June and holds her down.

Though June does not deserve what has happened, and I was horrified by the rape scene, she really needs to stop the smirking. Unless she's on her own suicide mission, her time is running out in terms of being protected. She thinks she's so safe so she can get away with the taunting and smirking, and sure, she should be finding a way to get out of Gilead. But maybe don't do it in a way that'll end up in a body bag instead. I'm surprised June is naive to think that she can taunt the Waterfords so much and think that they'd just let her go without harm. June seems to have no plan and is completely reckless. There's a way to be rebellious that doesn't include complete stupidity. 

But back to that horrific scene, seriously, I did feel awful for June. She didn't want this and I can't blame her for her state afterward. I don't care how guilty Serena or Fred may or may not have felt; they still went through with it.

I did like Hannah and June's meeting. I thought it was emotional and it was well written. Poor girl, now named Agnes, has to be confused at this point, but good that she still knew who her mother was and ultimately trusted her.

I don't know if Nick got shot. He could have been knocked out instead, and rewatching the scene frame by frame, there was definitely only one shot, into the ground, and before the camera cut back to June, the other guard was clearly swinging at Nick. I'm not sure whether Fred had a hand in it, but I don't think so. Fred knows that he'd get in trouble for allowing a Handmaid to see her biological child, so he'd be punished for it. But him giving June her wish to see Hannah is something that an abusive partner would do after harming them, and with the previous June/Fred scene in the episode, I think it was his sick way of making it seem like he was trying to repent for his sin of raping a pregnant Handmaiden, which has to be illegal or frowned upon in Gilead. 

As for Nick's fate, I do think the guards being there was planned. They seemed too frantic to get Nick in the car, to grab his keys, and get out of there. Unless Fred was in on it and his plan was to get revenge on Nick for impregnating June, which could also be it. But again, going back to my above point in that it's still risky for Fred.

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On 6/20/2018 at 12:09 AM, Deputy Deputy CoS said:

Who would have thought it'd Rory who would bring down a man with her pussy. I always thought Paris would have the honors. 

Nothing Serena and Fred did is a shock, or out of character. This was just a reminder of what they've always been even when they put on a mask. They are the monster architect of this society where families are torn apart, women are imprisoned and raped until they conceive and their baby taken away from them.

This was Serena and Fred in all their monstrous glory. Frankly I don't derive any amount of entertainment from either character. No amount of nuanced performance would make me find them compelling. The atrocities they commit is too real and hits too close to home.

Amen. 

On 6/20/2018 at 12:28 AM, Pachengala said:

Yeah, I was spoiled and prepared not to react, but then when Hannah said ‘Mommy!’ I lost my shit. 

I for one don’t think that was a routine patrol at all; I think Waterford set them up so that Nick would be taken out. I was yelling at June to get back inside and turn that house inside out looking for a compass and any kind of map or info that would let her know where she is and where to go. Because girl, it’s time to go. 

Yes. Fred wanted Nick gone. 1. To punish June, 2. Cause everyone knows the baby is probably his. 

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49 minutes ago, JennyMominFL said:

Now, having read other posts...Im not so sure anymore

Yeah, I am flip flopping on all sorts of theories...it certainly keeps us guessing.

Maybe when Gilead falls and the good guys win there will be Nuremberg like trials.  Oh I would love that.  

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On 6/20/2018 at 11:00 AM, alexvillage said:

they are simply cruel and wanted to inflict as much pain as possible, using the excuse as a mix of despair and cruelty?

They did it to punish and humiliate June. 

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17 hours ago, VagueDisclaimer said:

Probably the same thing we were supposed to do when they had a loud argument together in the sitting room or were making out in a public hallway or when Nick casually made his way into June’s room in the middle of the night in the silent house. The writing has become so sloppy, making the characters so sloppy, I’ve just stopped questioning these obvious moments and declared this the season of suspension of disbelief. There’s just no telling when a sloppy moment will actually be significant until the TV show tells us. 

That really bothered me too. My thought was what if Waterford walked in? How was Nick going to explain being in there? Knowing how dangerous it could be, for both of them, there is no way he should have gone to her room. Definitely bad writing.

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7 minutes ago, ferjy said:

That really bothered me too. My thought was what if Waterford walked in? How was Nick going to explain being in there? Knowing how dangerous it could be, for both of them, there is no way he should have gone to her room. Definitely bad writing.

What I don't understand is that everyone stomps up to June's door and again once they're inside. And those damned hinges on the door could use some 3-in-1 oil like whoa. HOW IS NO ONE IN THE HOUSE HEARING THIS? Oh, right, bad writing. 

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16 minutes ago, Scarlett45 said:

They did it to punish and humiliate June. 

Not according to the writer of the episode.

Articles in the media thread detail it, but basically she says that this was a "natural" way of bringing on labor (links included in some articles) and Serena and Fred were both shocked that June resisted, since June has been through these ceremonies before and never screamed "NO~! Stop!"  The writer and director intended for both Fred and Serena to be shocked by June's reaction, and Fred's guilt led him to arrange the visit with her daughter.

In one article Serena, after that trip to Canada, is having doubts and issues, and this was the quickest way she could think of to get June and the whole handmaid thing OUT of her house.  (I'll add, that it makes sense that then she could focus on the baby perhaps, and put the rest of Gilead's problems out of her mind, which would be filled with BABY!)

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1 minute ago, Umbelina said:

Not according to the writer of the episode.

Articles in the media thread detail it, but basically she says that this was a "natural" way of bringing on labor (links included in some articles) and Serena and Fred were both shocked that June resisted, since June has been through these ceremonies before and never screamed "NO~! Stop!"  The writer and director intended for both Fred and Serena to be shocked by June's reaction, and Fred's guilt led him to arrange the visit with her daughter.

In one article Serena, after that trip to Canada, is having doubts and issues, and this was the quickest way she could think of to get June and the whole handmaid thing OUT of her house.  (I'll add, that it makes sense that then she could focus on the baby perhaps, and put the rest of Gilead's problems out of her mind, which would be filled with BABY!)

That's how I took it. I didn't think there was any scheme of punishment of their parts. Serena just wanted the baby to be born so she could get rid of June. I thought that was why Serena was crying, she didn't think it was going to be such a violent episode. Though I did think Fred just wanted one more screw with June so would have agreed to anything that would provide it for him.

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@ShalimarGirl I had a different take on Eden’s family. My thought was that they were supporters of the Sons of Jacob before the war, and hard core supporters of the Gilead regime BUT actually did have Love/attraction/genuine affection for each other. Hence Eden believed that if she lived correctly and followed the rules as laid out she would have the same things with her husband. 

Eden is 15, she’s been forced to move away from her parents, she has no friends. She is a human being with teenage hormones to boot. Plus Nick isn’t a bad looking guy, and close to her age. If she believes they are together until DEATH, of course she will want him to like her. 

I felt awful for her crying in that manner. Nick could have at least told her that he didn’t love her yet because they just met, but that there wasn’t anything wrong with her and he was sorry she was upset. 

13 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Not according to the writer of the episode.

Articles in the media thread detail it, but basically she says that this was a "natural" way of bringing on labor (links included in some articles) and Serena and Fred were both shocked that June resisted, since June has been through these ceremonies before and never screamed "NO~! Stop!"  The writer and director intended for both Fred and Serena to be shocked by June's reaction, and Fred's guilt led him to arrange the visit with her daughter.

In one article Serena, after that trip to Canada, is having doubts and issues, and this was the quickest way she could think of to get June and the whole handmaid thing OUT of her house.  (I'll add, that it makes sense that then she could focus on the baby perhaps, and put the rest of Gilead's problems out of her mind, which would be filled with BABY!)

Of course I cannot argue with the writer, but I don’t think that’s how the actors played it. Fred is a SICK FUCK, who said that June didn’t know her place, now he feels guilty?!! I don’t buy it! I think they conspired to do this to June to show her that she was just their property, the possibility of inducing labor was just a benefit. 

You know, I’m not a man, but how does a man keep an erection knowing the woman is screaming and crying and begging him to stop. He must have no soul. 

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6 minutes ago, Scarlett45 said:

Eden is 15, she’s been forced to move away from her parents, she has no friends. She is a human being with teenage hormones to boot. Plus Nick isn’t a bad looking guy, and close to her age. If she believes they are together until DEATH, of course she will want him to like her.

I always thought Nick is in his 30s, not close in age to Eden. The actor himself is 32. I think the age difference is a part of the problem.

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Just now, secnarf said:

I always thought Nick is in his 30s, not close in age to Eden. The actor himself is 32. I think the age difference is a part of the problem.

Close to her age was relative. I meant he wasn’t some wrinkled old man with no visual sex appeal.

 

I acknowledge like the actress playing Eden, Max has a baby face and reads younger than his years. The actors are only a decade apart, I was thinking the same for the characters. 

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Hated this episode until the last ten minutes and then I was choked up the whole time. I had a feeling where they were going but DS and I said almost at the same time, “what’s stopping him from driving her to Canada right now?” I mean, from Cambridge we are only talking maybe five hours to Montreal and the commander said be back in three hours or something like that. By the time anyone would miss them, they’d be almost there.

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I think the writer of this episode was punked by the rest of the creative staff.  Because what she said in the interview seems miles away from what any of us on this thread saw on screen.  So maybe that's how she originally wrote it, but it's not how it was acted or directed or edited.  I wonder if she actually saw the finished episode.

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Am I supposed to feel so sympathetic towards Nick, even though he’s not suffering one tenth as much as June is, that I’m supposed to understand why he’s a complete dick to Eden? Am I really supposed to believe he can’t think of one single slightly more graceful way to handle that situation? How did this guy get into the position he’s in? We haven’t seen him be particularly competent at anything except smoking cigarettes and sulking. If he can’t finesse his way around the feelings of a guileless teenage girl with a crush, how the fuck is he supposed to be some bad-assed double-agent operative?

I don’t know, I get that the episode had a couple of really powerful scenes, but there was also a whole lot of filler in between the misery porn. I think I may be getting close to noping out if they can’t pace things a bit better, to say nothing of finding a better balance between sheer unrelenting hopelessness and ... literally anything else. 

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36 minutes ago, kieyra said:

Am I supposed to feel so sympathetic towards Nick, even though he’s not suffering one tenth as much as June is, that I’m supposed to understand why he’s a complete dick to Eden? Am I really supposed to believe he can’t think of one single slightly more graceful way to handle that situation? How did this guy get into the position he’s in? We haven’t seen him be particularly competent at anything except smoking cigarettes and sulking. If he can’t finesse his way around the feelings of a guileless teenage girl with a crush, how the fuck is he supposed to be some bad-assed double-agent operative?

I don’t know, I get that the episode had a couple of really powerful scenes, but there was also a whole lot of filler in between the misery porn. I think I may be getting close to noping out if they can’t pace things a bit better, to say nothing of finding a better balance between sheer unrelenting hopelessness and ... literally anything else. 

 

Exactly, the hopelessness. I felt ill when June was captured and back in that hellhole after being so close to freedom. The whole sick situation is getting harder and harder to watch, with the power hungry men, who made all the rules. The wives obviously don't like having a handmaiden around and want them out ASAP. Such BS about it all being to preserve mankind. The men just want their little fantasy. They've alluded to it enough times when they're having their get-togethers, with husbands' sexual remarks about their young handmaidens.

I mean really, since half the men are the ones that are sterile, why don't they have a strapping "handmaster" (or whatever the male equivalent to a handmaiden would be) that services the wives. I bet the wives would like that idea! Same ceremony, but the husband stands behind the handmaster and fakes thrusting. lol

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23 minutes ago, Eureka said:

Hated this episode until the last ten minutes and then I was choked up the whole time. I had a feeling where they were going but DS and I said almost at the same time, “what’s stopping him from driving her to Canada right now?” I mean, from Cambridge we are only talking maybe five hours to Montreal and the commander said be back in three hours or something like that. By the time anyone would miss them, they’d be almost there.

I'm guessing the borders were so heavily guarded that they would be spotted and turned back, with dire consequences for both. 

I also was puzzled by the author of the episode saying Fred arranged for June to see Hannah because he felt remorseful. On the other hand, June had previously requested just that from Serena and been refused--in fact, that was the end of Serena's making nice with June. I also recall the previous trip that Serena took June on, where she showed her Hannah from a distance but locked June in the car. I was also a bit puzzled by June's request to be transferred to Hannah's district, promising she would never approach Hannah. Wouldn't that be even more heartbreaking than not seeing her again, at least until they could be reunited for good (if that ever happens)?

The one bit of comedy relief was the Wives going through the motions of childbearing, only to find out "oopsie, false alarm." That must have happened before, so do they just reassemble and go through the silly playacting again when the Handmaid goes into labor for real?

I wonder if there are going to be consequences for Emily after that Commander keeled over. 

I also don't buy that the capturing of Nick was set up by Fred. He may resent Nick for accomplishing what he couldn't, but Serena will call down the wrath of Gilead on him if anything happens to that baby. She's clever enough to get him in trouble without implicating herself.

Eden can still cause problems for Nick, not because she's a criminal mastermind but because she's innocent enough to say the wrong thing to the wrong person. If someone as naive as that can figure out there's something between him and June, Nick is really bad at hiding his feelings.

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1 hour ago, Scarlett45 said:

@ShalimarGirl I had a different take on Eden’s family. My thought was that they were supporters of the Sons of Jacob before the war, and hard core supporters of the Gilead regime BUT actually did have Love/attraction/genuine affection for each other. Hence Eden believed that if she lived correctly and followed the rules as laid out she would have the same things with her husband.

I was thinking the same thing, but you said it much better than I would have.

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15 minutes ago, GreekGeek said:

I also don't buy that the capturing of Nick was set up by Fred. He may resent Nick for accomplishing what he couldn't, but Serena will call down the wrath of Gilead on him if anything happens to that baby. She's clever enough to get him in trouble without implicating herself.

Eden can still cause problems for Nick, not because she's a criminal mastermind but because she's innocent enough to say the wrong thing to the wrong person. If someone as naive as that can figure out there's something between him and June, Nick is really bad at hiding his feelings.

I think it's Isaac, trying to cover his ass for making out with a married woman. In front of her husband. I can't buy the Waterfords putting their baby - that close to her due date - in danger. Mrs. Waterford heard the doctor say that it falls under the "high risk pregnancy" category and leaving June there alone, even for just a few moments? After she ran once before? No.

But Isaac may not know that Nick doesn't give two shits about Eden and Isaac kissing. He may be trying to protect himself. I'm undecided as to whether Eden is involved (she's a young girl who's hurt. It's totally within the realm of possibility that she could lash out in retaliation). And honestly, it would give both Eden and Isaac something to do. They're just kind of... there otherwise. This would be them pushing the plot forward at least. 

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20 minutes ago, GreekGeek said:

I'm guessing the borders were so heavily guarded that they would be spotted and turned back, with dire consequences for both.

Right. I was trying to say that upthread but I somehow deleted my message. If the borders were that easy to cross, everyone would be having a go at it.

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1 hour ago, Scarlett45 said:

Close to her age was relative. I meant he wasn’t some wrinkled old man with no visual sex appeal.

 

I acknowledge like the actress playing Eden, Max has a baby face and reads younger than his years. The actors are only a decade apart, I was thinking the same for the characters. 

For the sake of the odd dark undercurrent of humor in that scene, a little part of me was hoping that when Eden asked why he liked June, she was going to follow it up with "She's so OLD!"

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I think this was the worst episode so far.  June is going about everything wrong.  Fred is screaming about how he “spoiled” June and she doesn’t know her place and then the next day he arranges for her to meet her child.  That would never happen.  

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