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S02.E12: Postpartum

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1 hour ago, WearyTraveler said:

If the writers are smart, little Holly-Nicole's fussiness could be related to medical/biological reasons.  We saw that June was almost an automaton when she was pumping in the Red Center and that her milk production was low.  It's not too much of a stretch to consider that her mental state was not only affecting the quantity of milk she was producing, but also the quality.

June was still depressed and beaten down when she moved back to the Waterford's house, so, the quality of her milk could still be affected. 

Also, they could posit that there is an issue with lactating mothers which contributed to the dropping birth rates.  We saw that they have a special ambulance for babies (why would you need one, when a regular one would do the same job?), and Aunt Lydia said something about "these things happen" when they were all sure baby Charlotte was going to die, which makes me think that along with the fertility issue, there might also be an infant mortality issue. Fertility rates dropping and infant mortality rising would make for a pretty worrying situation regarding the future of the human race.  Serious enough for some people to back the crazy Gilead idea.

One underlying biological reason they could give is that breast milk is not as nutritious as it used to be, so babies need more of it than they did before and mothers don't produce enough if they are not with their child.  A bit of a stretch, I know, but the premise of fertility rates dropping so low as to cause a major worldwide issue is also a bit of a stretch, so, they could do it.

I don’t think implying that depression and trauma are somehow seeping into breast milk is a good direction to go in. 

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I can't help but wonder about the impact of Eden's execution (murder) on this society. To take an innocent creature, who was such a true believer, and drown her in front of everyone, whilst she quotes from 1st Corinthians, isn't going to bode well, imho. Eventually, something is going to have to rock this sick 'nation,' and I think this may be it. LOVE LOVE LOVE Commander Josh Lyman, his wife as "the madwoman in the attic," AND their sassy Martha!

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3 minutes ago, rachel is awesome said:

The baby doesn't know the difference. I don't see anyone normalizing there situation. The baby doesn't know she wasn't adopted or understand the situation for what it is.

There was an actual kidnapped baby who was taken from the hospital and they found her alive living with her kidnapper when she was 18. She has full parental affection for her kidnapper who she considered to be her mother. 

The point is, people keep saying that the baby wants her real mother or that the baby knows SJ isn't her real mother. In the real world, the baby would have no idea - except by smell. In the context of the baby crying, babies who have been adopted (or otherwise not with their bio mother) are able to be soothed. 

 

I just think Serena has shit all parenting skills.

New parents usually deal with a rather steep learning curb and need time to figure out what is best for their baby, but what I find very telling, and shows her innate selfish nature, is she has help but refuses to take advantage of it. 

The baby’s biological/rightful mother is right there, able to feed and able to show her some tricks of the trade, certainly June hates everything about giving her child over to Serena, but she loves her enough to want whatever is best for Holy despite that. 

And then you have Rita, a mother with life experience standing by but Serena would rather hog the baby all to herself, trying to pretend she knows what her baby needs even when Holly’s screams are only getting louder and more piercing.

There could have been a scene where Serena finally gave in, realized she was totally over her head, and asked Rita for help. 

Then Rita could have taken Holly, more than likely striped her of all those ridiculous layers cooking the poor kid, and she could have shown Serena one of her old tricks for soothing a crying child if you think they are just fussy or irritated by something. 

Even as one who utterly despises Serena, I would not have minded that type of scene, showing that she could finally put aside herself and her easily bruised and wounded pride to do what was best for the child in the moment. 

But as is, Serena seems more desperate and determined, imo, to have things work out the way they always have in her head instead of accepting and embracing reality. 

Serena was more concerned, at least until the very end, with cutting all of Holly’s ties to June than much else, including how to really deal with the baby in times of distress. 

IMO, the ending was just further proof Serena has no intentions of losing her heavily paid for investment, Holly, any time soon.

She has no desire to end up with her own “baby girl dying in the hospital due to immense parental shortcomings” debacle. 

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35 minutes ago, GreekGeek said:

 

Poor Eden. So much for all those “she’s going to rat out Nick” theories. There was one woman among the spectators who looked especially distressed. Was that her mother? I was so annoyed by June’s “get love where you can” speech. Didn’t she know that following her heart wouldn’t end well for Eden?

June also said not to worry about her[June], because she’d be gone soon. It was my impression that she thought Eden was referring to Nick, as the only person Eden has talked to June about is Nick. I don’t think June ever thought Eden would run off with Isaac, even if June saw some flirtation. She never saw the kiss and I don’t think Nick and June have had any moments to gossip. It sounded like she was implying that she should hold onto the love she felt for Nick and try harder and that Nick would eventually do what he’s supposed to once June was no longer a distraction. It was only later when Eden and Isaac were both missing that it fell together for her. 

 

31 minutes ago, rachel is awesome said:

The baby doesn't know the difference. I don't see anyone normalizing there situation. The baby doesn't know she wasn't adopted or understand the situation for what it is.

There was an actual kidnapped baby who was taken from the hospital and they found her alive living with her kidnapper when she was 18. She has full parental affection for her kidnapper who she considered to be her mother. 

The point is, people keep saying that the baby wants her real mother or that the baby knows SJ isn't her real mother. In the real world, the baby would have no idea - except by smell. In the context of the baby crying, babies who have been adopted (or otherwise not with their bio mother) are able to be soothed. 

I agree completely. The baby wasn’t crying because she wanted her bio mom. I do believe that Serena felt she knew better and that the baby needed to eat more, but Serena thought she could soothe her instead of deferring to the one part of June that she was allowing to still be near her. Some babies need more. Even mothers breastfeeding have had to supplement with formula. It was Serena refusing to recognize that that i felt was the problem.

Just like Janine’s baby wasn’t thriving not because she wasn’t with her bio mom, but because  the mother she had wasn’t giving her any actual affection and treated her baby like a nuisance. Babies that don’t get physical and emotional affection do suffer. 

Edited by VagueDisclaimer · Reason: i hate typos
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12 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

The baby did not need to be changed every 10 minutes, that does not constitute a sign of good mothering to me, at all

Being a good mother, in my eyes, is knowing when your baby is crying and she wants a bottle of her mother's real milk. 

A good parent shouldn't be so selfish and self absorbed that instead they decide to dry feed her as if that is going to solve the problem.

I think it's going to be hard for Serena to admit that you cant treat a baby like a garden. She's used to watching her flowers blooming after doing everything precisely and according to plan, and newborn babies are loud, poopy little balls of chaos (I love 'em, but they are). 

Totally different subject but did anyone notice when Waterford was talking to June it was so dark that his beard blended into the background and all you could see was his skin and eyes? I joke about needing night vision goggles to watch this but sometimes I really do need to squint to see.

Moar crazy attic wife!!!!!

Edited by The Mighty Peanut
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5 hours ago, VagueDisclaimer said:

June also said not to worry about her[June], because she’s be gone soon. It was my impression that she thought Eden was referring to Nick, as the only person Eden has talked to June about it Nick. I don’t think June ever thought Eden would run off with Isaac, even if June saw some flirtation. She never saw the kiss and I don’t think Nick and June have had any moments to gossip. It sounded like she was implying that she should hold onto the love she felt for Nick and try harder and that Nick would eventually do what he’s supposed to once June was no longer a distraction. It was only later when Eden and Isaac were both missing that it fell together for her. 

Agree. And I'm happy for Eden. She is far better off now that she realized the truth, experienced true love (albeit only momentarily), and her death could possibly become the catalyst for revolution--making her the martyr who eventually liberates these enslaved women and children. Eden went out of there like a rock star.

Edited by StevieRocks
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6 hours ago, alexvillage said:

Nicole (or Nichole, as in the CC). Not so subtle name. I wonder who chose it.

I liked how they showed that the pool is a place where executions are not that rare, as we see all the weights at the bottom. Good directing points.

I don't trust Commander Lemon-Lyman. Not even a little bit. I am interested in the wife's story. I hope she is faking her "craziness". I want to see her being the one who will allow Emily to be the face of the resistance among the handmaids. Maybe a bond between the two? 

I didn't even think of the Nick/Nicole connection in the names.  I wonder if Serena did?  Probably not, she's probably had baby names picked out since she was 12.

Yeah, that pool has been used before.  How odd to have such a nice pool, and apparently only use it for gruesome executions.  Maybe the men get to swim there? 

I think the wife seems crazy, but is it because she's the only one making sense in a crazy world?

6 hours ago, burghgal said:

I am so hopeful that Josh Lyman is part of the resistance because right now we need some power there  (okay, its been years since WW, but to me Josh is who he will always be).  Total creepy vibe from him though so maybe they are going with a sadistic tormentor - I hope not, we have enough of these on this show. 

He obviously doesn't buy into the whole "Gilead" premise and its faith gaslighting techniques, but yet he did help to architect this society.  I wonder if he's similar to those socially awkward economic philosophers (like a K. Marx) who want to see a certain type of functioning society (i.e., efficient government ! energy independence !) and didn't consider the cost of human suffering and loss of rights to get to that "utopia".  Now he sees the human consequence, and I am not sure how he is responding to that.  He obviously values intelligence and knowledge as he married a professor.

I am interested in this development because Josh may give us insight to what's going on within "the powers that be" with this f'd up society as he is blunt and, well, at least straightforward in his thinking.  I could use a little more "fight the power" going on and less torture/killing/rape - I need some hope in this show so I can root for something !

Yes, I'm all about getting more details about the world and about the rest of Gilead.  Anything at all that accomplishes that will make me very happy.  The micro-focus worked well in the book, but this is a "series" TV show now, I need some macro, and I need it soon.  That Canada episode was my favorite this season. 

So with Commander Lawrence and his unusual household, and obviously not towing the party lines in many ways, AND with Fred now "in charge of media" I do see some light on the horizon for more information next season.  I think the show pretty much has to do it, the reviewers are not bathing them in love, and some are mentioning those exact things.  I'm hanging on to hope here.

5 hours ago, BellyLaughter said:

I really liked the new weirdo commander....that house brings a whole new tone to the show.....I was all “ok, he’s  clearly vetting Emily...” but then the awkward “have you healed down there” question....yep, I would have taken a huge swig of booze at that point too! 

Even so I am confident he’s a good guy and I really, really hope the wife is faking it! 

The agressive reaction from Fred regarding Eden made me hate him even more! What a vile human.... if he even qualifies as “human” at this point! Pious, self righteous pig!

 

Anything new and different in this repetitive show is good.  I nearly laughed out loud when the Martha swore at him and then said "try it old man!"  His "super" was also perfect.  It's obvious he's not fanatical about obeying the Gilead "norms."  I still don't trust him though, but really, for Emily, this may be her best sign of possible hope yet.

I like the wife!  She's horrified by horror.  Why are we considering that crazy?  (honest question there, I don't care if posters think she's crazy or a saint, I'm here for all opinions)  To me she seems quite sane, and quite trapped.

4 hours ago, LordOfLotion said:

I have the impression that Lawrence got her with the eye already missing. The way he bickered with the martha over her moving his stuff around could have been anyone. She cussed loud enough for everyone to hear and dared him to try to beat her because she knew he wouldn't do it. All of the others keep their heads down and quietly go about their business.  This martha is not afraid of him the way other marthas and handmaids are afraid of their commanders.

On commanders and wives with children, I don't think they would have an opportunity to show handmaids much in a household that already had kids. That doesn't mean there aren't any. It's something else they can't address because they waste too much time needlessly dragging out some of these scenes.

We don't know that Lawrence is the one that took out her eye though.  Maybe he did.  ?

Commanders with children do not get handmaids.  Many commanders are older, so even if they did have children, those kids could be adults now with their own households.

1 hour ago, WearyTraveler said:

If the writers are smart, little Holly-Nicole's fussiness could be related to medical/biological reasons.  We saw that June was almost an automaton when she was pumping in the Red Center and that her milk production was low.  It's not too much of a stretch to consider that her mental state was not only affecting the quantity of milk she was producing, but also the quality.

June was still depressed and beaten down when she moved back to the Waterford's house, so, the quality of her milk could still be affected. 

Also, they could posit that there is an issue with lactating mothers which contributed to the dropping birth rates.  We saw that they have a special ambulance for babies (why would you need one, when a regular one would do the same job?), and Aunt Lydia said something about "these things happen" when they were all sure baby Charlotte was going to die, which makes me think that along with the fertility issue, there might also be an infant mortality issue. Fertility rates dropping and infant mortality rising would make for a pretty worrying situation regarding the future of the human race.  Serious enough for some people to back the crazy Gilead idea.

One underlying biological reason they could give is that breast milk is not as nutritious as it used to be, so babies need more of it than they did before and mothers don't produce enough if they are not with their child.  A bit of a stretch, I know, but the premise of fertility rates dropping so low as to cause a major worldwide issue is also a bit of a stretch, so, they could do it.

Yes, there could be many reasons Holly is fussy.  I've known and babysat or cared for many children and infants over the years.  All of my friends have kids, my sister, etc.  Some babies are just fussy.  I'm thinking of one friend's oldest child when he was first born specifically.  I watched him for her when she was singing in a Opera in SF.  I changed him, cuddled him, fed him her expressed milk, played with him, talked to him, sang to him.  (I get along wonderfully with babies and kids by the way.)  NOTHING worked one night, it was endless crying, and kicking.  Honestly, it reminds me of the Sex and The City scene when Miranda's baby did the same thing, until another mother brought her over a vibrating baby holder.  Sometimes, babies just cry.

Charlotte was obviously not loved, not held, not actually wanted by her Gilead "mother."  All that woman did was complain about her, and that was in public, so what happened in private was probably worse.  That's not the case with Holly, although I do believe in the "smell bond" between birth mothers and babies, and Holly could have been missing June.  Who knows?

Minor detail from the book about the "major worldwide birth issue" statement. 

Spoiler

It wasn't worldwide.  It was specifically 1st world countries, so mostly white, and Gilead's goal was for the white race to not be wiped out.  Babies were still abundant in places like India and Africa, in more undeveloped places.  So "black babies" were still being born.

1 hour ago, madpsych78 said:

Aunt Lydia's reaction to Commander Lawrence was everything I needed in my life.

Aunt Lydia is getting to be a little "all over the place" for me, even though I'm enjoying it.  She order's Fred's household around like she owns them, but doesn't mention anything in Emily's new house about the swearing, the lack of cleanliness, the "super" and the obviously NOT Gilead acceptable environment?

Suddenly she's accepting snark from Handmaid's?  Sometimes she's cozy and they confide in her and speak openly, and other times she's cutting out their tongues and all of them are terrified of her?

I mean, so far, I'm enjoying it, but it's skating pretty close to the "WTF" areas for me.

59 minutes ago, GreekGeek said:

Add me to the list of those more interested in Commander Lawrence and his family than in June’s story at this point. According to the subtitles, his Martha is named Cora and his wife is Eleanor. A couple of other things seemed different about him: all those paintings everywhere, for example. Did Eleanor paint them? They looked like the sort of work a place like Gilead would find decadent. And he has lots of books in plain sight too. Fred kept his books in his private man cave.

He certainly knew a lot about Emily. I liked his little bit of hesitation when he said, “You have a...wife and a son.” He didn’t add “in Canada,” though, so he either doesn’t know everything or he isn’t telling everything he knows.

When Serena tried to breastfeed Holly/ Nicole, my take was that she thought milk would somehow come. I think she’s doing her best but doesn’t have many parenting skills. Changing the baby every ten minutes was her way of using all those beautiful clothes she’d looked forward to using for so long. I kept wondering if Gilead has a backup supply of canned formula in case mother’s milk fails. Probably not, why make feeding Baby easier for anyone?

Poor Eden. So much for all those “she’s going to rat out Nick” theories. There was one woman among the spectators who looked especially distressed. Was that her mother? I was so annoyed by June’s “get love where you can” speech. Didn’t she know that following her heart wouldn’t end well for Eden?

Yes, ANYTHING "different" in Gilead is so welcome.  It's tiresome seeing the same old shit all the time, and at least Emily's new posting is vastly different from all we've seen before. 

Eden did mention accusing Nick of being a gender traitor which could have meant his death.  So the threat she posed was quite real.  She was so indoctrinated and innocent that it wasn't said maliciously, but the end result would have been the same. 

I thought the little talk June and Eden had was lovely and a nice moment.  I'm spoiled though, so I knew the dark side, completely unintended by June as far as I can tell, of the sweet love sentiments.  I'm pretty sure June was trying to be helpful and kind, and will be horrified at the end result.

Edited by Umbelina
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2 minutes ago, VagueDisclaimer said:

I do believe that Serena felt she knew better and that the baby needed to eat more, but Serena thought she could soothe her instead of deferring to the one part of Hune that she was allowing to still be near her. Some babies need more. Even mothers breastfeeding have had to supplement with formula. It was Serena refusing to recognize that that i felt was the problem.

 

 If Serena could’ve pulled some Similac from the shelf and happily hummed a hymn while she filled up countless bottles with prepared formula to keep on hand, she would’ve much preferred that than having to constantly think about the fact that June’s milk was literally this baby’s only life source. 

That was something Serena could not get away from but she was trying her best, and everyone around her noticed it, and it was causing Holly problems, a hungry baby only knows that it is hungry, it doesn’t understand why nor does it care, it just wants food. 

Babies Holly’s age only care about the mother’s breasts because of the smell, and promise, of milk, a dry teat will not suffice, even mothers struggling to bearstfeed know how quickly a baby will turn ornery if they find they aren’t getting anything out of the nipple. 

That was my main issue as well, her lack of acceptance about it, if the kid is hungry she’s hungry, stop overthinking things, put your pride off to the side, and feed her. 

 

6 minutes ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

I think it's going to be hard for Serena to admit that you cant treat a baby like a garden. She's used to watching her flowers blooming after doing everything precisely and according to plan, and newborn babies are loud little balls of chaos (I love 'em, but they are). 

Totally different subject but did anyone notice when Waterford was talking to June it was so dark that his beard blended into the background and all you could see was his skin and eyes? I joke about needing night vision goggles to watch this but sometimes I really do need to squint to see.

 

I so agree, heh, the very first newborn I ever cared for...sweet god it was an unforgettable experience. I won’t say it was traumatizing exactly, but...the screaming might still haunt my dreams from time to time. 

They really aren’t kidding when they say a baby’s cry is one of the hardest sounds to ignore.

But I agree with you, I think Serena is trying to apply what she knows generally, it does not seem she’s actually cared for a baby for any extended period to me, to caring for a baby, and that just doesn’t work, heh, babies are a whole different species and the sooner you realize that the better off you will be. 

They are bound to cry for seemingly no reason whatsoever, but if you think a bottle might shut them up then by all means grab that bottle, you really have nothing to lose by trying. 

This episode really was dark, I normally don’t struggle too much with the lighting but this time it was very noticeable to me. 

I felt like the mystical wolf dog from last week kept walking past the camera almost, blocking my view. 

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55 minutes ago, VagueDisclaimer said:

I don’t think implying that depression and trauma are somehow seeping into breast milk is a good direction to go in. 

I wasn't suggesting that depression and trauma were seeping into June's milk, but that depression and trauma can cause hormonal imbalances and we know that depression can be the result of chemical brain imbalances.  This could all affect June's milk production, considering her hormones are also off balance after her pregnancy, as is normal.

If what a pregnant woman eats affects her milk to the point that her baby could have an allergic reaction, then, any hormonal alteration can have an effect.  I wasn't implying that the milk was making the baby sad or depressed, but that June's depression was affecting her to the point that she wasn't producing enough milk and/or that the milk she was producing wasn't as strong in nutrients as the baby needed, ergo, the baby was hungry, ergo, the baby cried.

 

18 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Minor detail from the book about the "major worldwide birth issue" statement. 

  Hide contents

It wasn't worldwide.  It was specifically 1st world countries, so mostly white, and Gilead's goal was for the white race to not be wiped out.  Babies were still abundant in places like India and Africa, in more undeveloped places.  So "black babies" were still being born.


The show made it clear that other countries were having the same problem.  As a matter of fact, one idea Gilead played with in Season 1 was that Gilead could export Handmaids!

18 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

 

Edited by WearyTraveler
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9 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Inside the episode (sorry, the only version I could find of this on youtube has the S2.E13 promo at the beginning so if you don't want to be spoiled by that, skip the first 30 seconds):

I love what the actress playing Serena says at the end of this, "I'm not safe, my child isn't safe" and that she lets Offred back in because "it's best for the child," and Serena's feelings about Offred aren't more important than the baby.

I really do wish the writers had developed the love story between Issac and Eden though.  What a waste.  For one thing, their ends would have had far more impact, but for another?  It would have been a nice respite to see young love.  Also?  All we've seen of Issac is him being a dick, and cruel, Rita afraid of him, Janine savagely attacked, and one tiny kiss between Issac an Eden, as well as some flirting, and his attentions to her.  It's a real shame.  I wish they could have shown them after they ran away, or at least included a bit of romance there.

It's an odd choice not to.

14 minutes ago, WearyTraveler said:

The show made it clear that other countries were having the same problem.  As a matter of fact, one idea Gilead played with in Season 1 was that Gilead could export Handmaids!

Yes, they did, but I will say they were only talking about a few countries there, I think they've only mentioned Canada and Mexico.  I try to forget the Mexico storyline, but I've fan wanked that Mexico is close to California nuke plants, etc.

It's hard to separate the pollution and chemical issues, and very hard for me to ignore that part of the book.  I can't tell if I should do that, or if the show just hasn't bothered yet to clarify.  After all, they are pretty much ignoring the world, aside from mentioning boycotts and that one lovely Canada episode.  I really hope that changes by next year.

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I'm divided on what I think of Commander Lawrence.  I totally got the sadistic vibe from  him, one of the paintings in the foyer looked like it had someone in chains, his toying with Emily in the conversation and the "have you healed" question.  But then I was thinking, here he has a crazy ass wife, and he could easily get rid of her if he wanted, but he hasn't.  And it kills me that I've set the bar for potentially being a decent human being so low (not killing your wife or sending her to the colonies), but it makes me think that maybe he isn't all bad.  I'm just glad that they introduced the character/family in this episode and not the next, because I need to get a little more from the plot line before waiting until next season. 

In response to a post upthread (I'm too lazy to search it back out and quote it) about people wanting Serena to have a redemption arc...  I sort of want Serena to have a redemption arc.  Not because I think Serena, as a character, deserves it.  She's evil, and her occasional nice gestures don't wash away any of that evil.  But I think it would be a really interesting plot line.  And when it comes down to it, I'm here to be entertained!  So, yeah, get Serena to turn on Fred, join Mayday, work from the inside and get Holly to Hawaii in the end.  That could be some good TV!  Then she can die a horrible death.

Did I miss it or did the show totally skip over explaining what happened to Nick at the lake house?  I don't want any spoilers if it will come up next episode, just wondering if I wasn't paying attention for 3 seconds or something.

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i do think the Nicole/Nichole was intentional, but less in honor of Nick and more as a constant reminder to Fred about whose eyebrows that little girl will inherit.

I have a question: Why wasn’t Eden’s infidelity punished with her becoming a handmaid?

Edited by VagueDisclaimer
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11 hours ago, watchTV said:

The only new thing is the eccentric commander Lawrence. First impression is he's sadistic. He has a maid with a gouged eye. He shoved his troubled wife who condemned his creation of the colonies. He sure did his research on Emily though. Why would he want a woman exposed to radiation to have his baby? Why would anyone want that at all?

Then there's June. She just doesn't think things through. It was her fault for planting seeds of pursuing love in that kid's head. And because THT writers like shock and drama, they decided to drown them for the sake of love. A tribute to Romeo and Juliet. Not.

Enter Serena with so much humanity in her tears. She is distraught about Eden. How do you go from raping a pregnant woman to that? Oh but they don't stop there. We must give the woman she helped rape a bonding moment. She allows June to hold her baby while Serena looks on with joy. Seriously?

This show is all sorts of mind twisting.

 

As others have already said, I don't think commander Lawrence hurt his maid, quite the contrary. And regarding Eden's death, it isn't June's fault at all. 

11 hours ago, GraceK said:

Fred is really so nice to June. He’s the only one showing her any kindness and concern.  Also, he has such a nice face and Joseph Fiennes is so sexy and attractive, and Fred really does love and desire June...why, I bet if June is nicer to him , he will just do anything she wants. Really, looking back on the whole show, he is the one who has given her any glimpse of Hannah and any glimmers of help. Maybe there’s a redemption arc for him???? ( that was sarcasm btw)

does that sound ridiculous or what? I find it really interesting that in all this discussion, Fred is not once is given half the sympathy Serena gets just because he has a penis. Serena has proven herself to be the more ruthless, sadistic, cruel and intelligent of the pair, with pretty much all of the  brains and was one of main architects of this society, yet so many of the posters here feel that because she was shut out of the end result she is a victim. Fred may be a man and wield the most “power”, but in actuality, he has consistently been the only one in that household who has actually  treated June well besides Rita and Nick.Serena and Lydia  are the only ones who have abused her. The rape was instigated by Serena and done by both Fred AND Serena. So really, Fred can be considered her ally if you break it down. Yet no one has talked about “redemption “, or “character growth” or “hidden depth “ when it comes to Fred, but are happily willing to overlook a vicious , evil harpy of a woman because why??? 

 

He's raped her several times so I wouldn't say he treats June well. Anyway, I don't think it has to do with penises. In my experience, female characters are judged more harshly than male characters. So I'd say the main difference is that Fred is mostly happy with his life as Commander in Gilead whereas Serena's trying to convince herself that she's happy with her life in Gilead. If they could go back in time. Fred would create Gilead again: I'm pretty sure Serena wouldn't. And that's why she's more interesting to me than Fred or why I find her motivations more intriguing. Also, YS is amazing. Joseph Fiennes is a fine actor but who can tell, behind all that hair?

Anyway, Serena's awful and I don't like her better just because she let June feed the baby. I don't trust her: tomorrow she could be sending June to the colonies. 

I'm very curious about the new Commander. I think he regrets what he did and wants to make amends. The character may help to develop the plot in new directions, something sorely needed. 

I wish I could say I care about Eden's death, but I don't. 

Edited by Helena Dax · Reason: grammar
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1 hour ago, AnswersWanted said:

 

I just think Serena has shit all parenting skills.

New parents usually deal with a rather steep learning curb and need time to figure out what is best for their baby, but what I find very telling, and shows her innate selfish nature, is she has help but refuses to take advantage of it. 

The baby’s biological/rightful mother is right there, able to feed and able to show her some tricks of the trade, certainly June hates everything about giving her child over to Serena, but she loves her enough to want whatever is best for Holy despite that. 

And then you have Rita, a mother with life experience standing by but Serena would rather hog the baby all to herself, trying to pretend she knows what her baby needs even when Holly’s screams are only getting louder and more piercing.

 

I must admit, when I was a new mother I was exactly the same way. I didn't WANT any help. I didn't want anyone else touching "my" baby or giving me advice-not even the people around me who probably knew more than me. I wanted to figure out that learning curve all on my own and screw the person who tried to tell me that I was doing something wrong. 

I mean, this is a totally different situation since Serena Joy has essentially kidnapped Holly at this point, and she's a sociopathic moron, but still...

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7 minutes ago, chaifan said:

Did I miss it or did the show totally skip over explaining what happened to Nick at the lake house?

Fred said something about an overzealous patrol and that Nick protected their Handmaid.  Then Aunt Lydia said that June was brave because she had gone out for a drive and then had to deliver the baby herself.

So, apparently, what happened was that Nick was captured by some guys who though it was suspicious that he would be there alone and then they concocted the story that he was just driving June around, she went into labor, Nick entered the house to find shelter for June and the guys showed up.

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2 minutes ago, VagueDisclaimer said:

I have a question: Why wasn’t Eden’s infidelity punished with her becoming a handmaid?

 

I just think it boils down to lazy, inconsistent writing. 

The show seems to go so long without explaining anything, and then out of the blue an episode like this pops up where we supposedly see Gilead law being religiously (puny) enforced, but there’s really no method to the madness.

It’s all over the place and incredibly random and, to me, it makes for a much weaker story.

There is no explanation because they didn’t bother to give us one, we are supposed to make it up in our own heads I guess.

Perhaps the show was presuming that we were to take away the implication that Eden would have become a handmaid if she had asked for forgiveness as they were demanding before they got pushed off into the pool.

 If she had gone through with it, then she would be labeled a “fallen woman”  who could now only earn redemption and salvation through duty as a handmaid. 

But overall, I saw the drowning punishment and treatment of Eden as more mental gymnastics that the show keeps requiring us to get through just to try to make a little bit of sense of something that, to me, should be told through basic story writing, nothing special, just showing awareness for the storyline and its’ purpose. 

I think this season has created a numerous amount of questions that should never have existed, because the story should’ve explained itself along the way.

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1 hour ago, StevieRocks said:

Agree. And I'm happy for Eden. She is far better off now that she realized the truth, experienced true love (albeit only momentarily), and her death could possibly become the catalyst for revolution making her the martyr who eventually liberates these enslaved women and children. Eden went out of there like a rock star.

I thought it was impressive for someone so young to essentially say, "I'm going to die either way, so I will die believing that God forgives the love in my heart and that He put Isaac before me for me to love. So I won't apologize for my 'sins.'" Because if she had confessed and apologized, it wouldn't have saved her - I think they'd still have drowned her, it's just that they'd assume their God will forgive her. But she went out believing in her version of God, not the one they tried to force on her. It was pretty subversive.

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11 hours ago, watchTV said:

The only new thing is the eccentric commander Lawrence. First impression is he's sadistic. He has a maid with a gouged eye. He shoved his troubled wife who condemned his creation of the colonies. He sure did his research on Emily though. Why would he want a woman exposed to radiation to have his baby? Why would anyone want that at all?

Then there's June. She just doesn't think things through. It was her fault for planting seeds of pursuing love in that kid's head. And because THT writers like shock and drama, they decided to drown them for the sake of love. A tribute to Romeo and Juliet. Not.

Enter Serena with so much humanity in her tears. She is distraught about Eden. How do you go from raping a pregnant woman to that? Oh but they don't stop there. We must give the woman she helped rape a bonding moment. She allows June to hold her baby while Serena looks on with joy. Seriously?

This show is all sorts of mind twisting.

I had the exact opposite impression of Lawrence, I must say. I think he specifically asks for the damaged people to be sent to him. He could have had his wife committed or sent to the Colonies, but he hasn't. Fred beat his wife for doing something that made him angry-Lawrence's wife (who appears to be a little cuckoo) argued and shouted at him and he just put her in another room. To me, that was more of a, "We don't know this new Handmaid yet and how pious she is so you'd better get in there before she runs off and reports you to someone." He knew EVERYTHING about Emily, including her "before" life. I believe he asked specifically for her, just as he asked for the Martha with the eye injury. He said that they all enjoyed their privacy in his house and his Martha felt VERY comfortable snapping back at him. I think this Commander is going to be the one to know and that he's going to help at least one person, maybe more. 

As for the art...he said his wife was an art professor. Many of those paintings were famous ones that were probably stolen from galleries. Some, however, might have been his own wife's. 

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14 minutes ago, mamadrama said:

I must admit, when I was a new mother I was exactly the same way. I didn't WANT any help. I didn't want anyone else touching "my" baby or giving me advice-not even the people around me who probably knew more than me. I wanted to figure out that learning curve all on my own and screw the person who tried to tell me that I was doing something wrong. 

I mean, this is a totally different situation since Serena Joy has essentially kidnapped Holly at this point, and she's a sociopathic moron, but still...

 

For me I think it’s that Serena has always acted like this.

 I don’t believe that she’s acting this way because she’s now a mother and dealing with stress and uncertainty, she’s just Serena with a baby now.

 The baby is not bringing out these insecurities and the fear and the prideful stubbornness and he inability to ask for help, that just seems to be Serena’s personality from the word “go”. 

For two seasons her personality traits have been on display and they are the main reasons why, long before she ever got Holly, I never believed this chick could be a decent mother, nothing about her to me has ever given me the impression that she has what is necessary to truly put a baby first before herself.

Finally allowing Holly to feed from her lactating mother was as basic an act as you get.

This hungry baby needs food, you produce it, here, feed her for me.

I have seen animals eager to nurse a different spicers from their own little ones because it’s instinctual for them to give a crying, hungry baby a feed. 

Afaic, Serena’s parenting awareness and skill is about at squirrel level. 

Dealing with a newborn whether right or wrong, to me, is not with Serena is doing, she is just being herself and unfortunately an innocent baby is now stuck with her.

IMO,  Serena needs to stick to gardening, because plants are not people

 Figuring out how to tend to your baby on your own terms, certainly it’s about gaining experience and learning the do’s and the don’ts, but ignoring a hungry baby because you just hate the biological mother that you stole it from that much? That’s where I am at when it comes to Serena.

Plus she’s a rapist baby stealer so I am just not a fan personally, heh. 

Edited by AnswersWanted
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Just now, AnswersWanted said:

 

For me I think it’s that Serena has always acted like this.

 I don’t believe that she’s acting this way because she’s now mother and dealing with stress and uncertainty, she’s just Serena with a baby now.

 The baby is not bringing out these insecurities and the fear and the prideful stubbornness and he inability to ask for help, that just seems to be Serena’s personality from the word “go”. 

Dealing with a newborn whether right or wrong, to me, is not with Serena is doing, she is just being herself and unfortunately an innocent baby is now stuck with her.

 Figuring out how to tend to your baby on your own terms, certainly it’s about gaining experience and learning the do’s and the don’ts, but ignoring a hungry baby because you just hate the biological mother that you stole it from that much? That’s where I am at when it comes to Serena.

Plus she’s a rapist baby stealer so I am just not a fan personally, heh. 

Yeah, I just didn't see it as her "ignoring a hungry baby." Rita offered a bottle, Serena replied that the baby had just eaten. 

I have lots of things to bitch about Serena Joy when it comes to the baby. Being a bad mother and neglecting Holly-Nichole's needs is just not one of them for me. 

YMMV

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26 minutes ago, VagueDisclaimer said:

I have a question: Why wasn’t Eden’s infidelity punished with her becoming a handmaid?

My theory is that it's because she hasn't proven that she's fertile, unlike the handmaids who have all had children previously. Granted, Eden didn't even have much time to get pregnant, but I guess they don't want to take their chances with a woman who might as well be "barren". 

But in reality, it's probably because the show needed a dramatic scene. 

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25 minutes ago, VagueDisclaimer said:

i do think the Nicole/Nichole was intentional, but less in honor of Nick and more as a constant reminder to Fred about whose eyebrows that little girl will inherit.

I have a question: Why wasn’t Eden’s infidelity punished with her becoming a handmaid?

The last Wife's infidelity was punished by sending her to the Colonies, where Emily promptly killed her.

As far as Eden?  Only proven fertile women are chosen as handmaids.  She's been married for a while now, and no baby (she mentioned they tested her for pregnancy to Nick.)  Maybe it's because Wives are more important than Econowives?  Who knows?  The Wife in the colony said her lover was hung, right?

I can't tell if the show is just throwing punishments around where they wish, or if Gilead's punishments are changing, as Lawrence mentioned, or if it's just lazy.

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11 minutes ago, mamadrama said:

As for the art...he said his wife was an art professor. Many of those paintings were famous ones that were probably stolen from galleries. Some, however, might have been his own wife's. 

I read in some article that Fred & Serena's house contains paintings from the Boston Art Museum, so the implication here is that yes, museums were pilfered and contents went to people of rank.  The person being interviewed even commented how they found a really good artist to do very good reproductions of the originals for the set. 

I got an "oh, fuck" vibe from both Emily and Aunt Lydia when they were looking at the art at Commander Lawrence's home, like this was some weird shit. 

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8 minutes ago, mamadrama said:

Yeah, I just didn't see it as her "ignoring a hungry baby." Rita offered a bottle, Serena replied that the baby had just eaten. 

I have lots of things to bitch about Serena Joy when it comes to the baby. Being a bad mother and neglecting Holly-Nichole's needs is just not one of them for me. 

YMMV

 

I don’t see a baby kidnapper as ever being able to call herself a true mother of the baby she’s stolen, especially when the real mother is her rape victim and slave, but that is my mileage and you are more than welcome to your own. I will agree to disagree. 

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2 minutes ago, chaifan said:

I read in some article that Fred & Serena's house contains paintings from the Boston Art Museum, so the implication here is that yes, museums were pilfered and contents went to people of rank.  The person being interviewed even commented how they found a really good artist to do very good reproductions of the originals for the set. 

I got an "oh, fuck" vibe from both Emily and Aunt Lydia when they were looking at the art at Commander Lawrence's home, like this was some weird shit. 

Some viewers have paused the screen on some of the paintings and researched them. The paintings that were chosen for the set were all chosen with care and actually relate to THT's plot in some way. I think that's pretty cool. 

I get a really good, almost relieved, feeling about this commander. He just seems to be over so much of this shit. I don't know how his story is going to play out in terms of his original responsibility to Gilead, and how I will the more I know about him, but so far I'm kind of on board with him. 

I'm a spoiler freak, though, so sometimes going into an episode "wet" instead of "dry" makes a big difference. 

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I felt bad for Eden. And I really hope Nick finally starts getting motivated to kick some ass.

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1 minute ago, mamadrama said:

I had the exact opposite impression of Lawrence, I must say. I think he specifically asks for the damaged people to be sent to him. He could have had his wife committed or sent to the Colonies, but he hasn't. Fred beat his wife for doing something that made him angry-Lawrence's wife (who appears to be a little cuckoo) argued and shouted at him and he just put her in another room. To me, that was more of a, "We don't know this new Handmaid yet and how pious she is so you'd better get in there before she runs off and reports you to someone." He knew EVERYTHING about Emily, including her "before" life. I believe he asked specifically for her, just as he asked for the Martha with the eye injury. He said that they all enjoyed their privacy in his house and his Martha felt VERY comfortable snapping back at him. I think this Commander is going to be the one to know and that he's going to help at least one person, maybe more. 

As for the art...he said his wife was an art professor. Many of those paintings were famous ones that were probably stolen from galleries. Some, however, might have been his own wife's. 

I don't think she's crazy at all. I think her reaction makes perfect sense.

I mean, think about it. She was a professor before. Maybe she and her husband were religious, but she was still a woman who was able to receive the highest level of education in her field and build a career teaching others. And in the last few years, she's had to watch as her husband developed a system that stripped her of her right to work in her chosen profession (which, on a micro level, probably caused her to think "Did he ever love me? How could he want this for me?"), to ever read again (as a professor, that was probably torture for her), converted women into actual, literal slaves, executed journalists, doctors, homosexuals and other professors (if I recall correctly, Marisa Tomei asked Emily if she'd been sent to the colonies because she was a professor; apparently they'd rounded up professors en masse and sent them there, so talk about "there but for the grace of God" for Lawrence's wife) and sent the "disobedient" ones to dig toxic waste until they die and sent other formerly powerful women to a government-sanctioned brothel, and we know she expressly told her husband that the colonies were toxic waste and he was apparently like "Cool!" and was responsible for sending them there anyway, and now she's not allowed to continue in her chosen vocation and she's watching as, presumably, friends of theirs take in sex slaves to conceive, and as a former professor she probably had friends and former colleagues who were executed or sent to the colonies (which, same difference), and on top of ALL that, this is after her husband and his friends slaughtered the US government. 

I mean, is Emily crazy for not wanting a thing to do with any of this after: seeing her department head hanged, having to give up her wife and son possibly forever, being forced into sexual slavery, having to witness her new lover hanged, undergoing forced female genital mutilation, and being sent to dig up toxic waste where she watched the slow death of others? Not at all, in my opinion. Lawrence's wife looks crazy only in comparison to the other wives, who have all been shown to be true believers, and they are treating her as though she's crazy, but IMO hers is a completely reasonable reaction to the fuckery around her.

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12 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

The last Wife's infidelity was punished by sending her to the Colonies, where Emily promptly killed her.

As far as Eden?  Only proven fertile women are chosen as handmaids.  She's been married for a while now, and no baby (she mentioned they tested her for pregnancy to Nick.)  Maybe it's because Wives are more important than Econowives?  Who knows?  The Wife in the colony said her lover was hung, right?

I can't tell if the show is just throwing punishments around where they wish, or if Gilead's punishments are changing, as Lawrence mentioned, or if it's just lazy.

While I was watching it, I strongly got the impression that the elders (or whatever they are) didn't actually think that they'd have to kill Eden and Issac. The more he implored them to "repent" and ask for forgiveness, the more pleading I heard in that guy's voice. I kinda think that they took them there as a warning to everyone, thinking that the couple would repent and then be sent to different kinds of punishments (Jezebels or the Colonies or as a Handmaid for her, for instance). And then then they wouldn't, they had to carry on through with the punishment because it was too late to back out. But I don't think they actually thought that the couple wouldn't repent. 

1 minute ago, Empress1 said:

I don't think she's crazy at all. I think her reaction makes perfect sense.

I mean, think about it. She was a professor before. Maybe she and her husband were religious, but she was still a woman who was able to receive the highest level of education in her field and build a career teaching others. And in the last few years, she's had to watch as her husband developed a system that stripped her of her right to work in her chosen profession (which, on a micro level, probably caused her to think "Did he ever love me? How could he want this for me?"), to ever read again (as a professor, that was probably torture for her), converted women into actual, literal slaves, executed journalists, doctors, homosexuals and other professors (if I recall correctly, Marisa Tomei asked Emily if she'd been sent to the colonies because she was a professor; apparently they'd rounded up professors en masse and sent them there, so talk about "there but for the grace of God" for Lawrence's wife) and sent the "disobedient" ones to dig toxic waste until they die and sent other formerly powerful women to a government-sanctioned brothel, and we know she expressly told her husband that the colonies were toxic waste and he was apparently like "Cool!" and was responsible for sending them there anyway, and now she's not allowed to continue in her chosen vocation and she's watching as, presumably, friends of theirs take in sex slaves to conceive, and as a former professor she probably had friends and former colleagues who were executed or sent to the colonies (which, same difference), and on top of ALL that, this is after her husband and his friends slaughtered the US government. 

I mean, is Emily crazy for not wanting a thing to do with any of this after: seeing her department head hanged, having to give up her wife and son possibly forever, being forced into sexual slavery, having to witness her new lover hanged, undergoing forced female genital mutilation, and being sent to dig up toxic waste where she watched the slow death of others? Not at all, in my opinion. Lawrence's wife looks crazy only in comparison to the other wives, who have all been shown to be true believers, and they are treating her as though she's crazy, but IMO hers is a completely reasonable reaction to the fuckery around her.

Oh, I think she makes perfect sense, but I still think she's lost a few marbles. I know that I would. If I lived in a screwed up place in which I felt like I was the only person who saw how horrible everything was, I'd definitely start cracking. 

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3 minutes ago, GraceK said:

I felt bad for Eden. And I really hope Nick finally starts getting motivated to kick some ass.

 

I would have liked to have felt bad for her, and I hold the show responsible for not fleshing her out a lot more and sooner. 

I felt more like they wanted to brand their own Gilead “Romeo and Juliet” and pushed that angle even if there were better avenues to take. 

Nick really needs something, anything, to do already. 

Why couldn’t he have had one, at least one, stinking meeting with some of his fellow Eyes or the resistance by now? 

Can they bring back that awesome chef Martha he was buddies with? They had nice chemistry and he came alive, kind of, with her. 

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13 minutes ago, AnswersWanted said:

Nick really needs something, anything, to do already. 

Why couldn’t he have had one, at least one, stinking meeting with some of his fellow Eyes or the resistance by now? 

Can they bring back that awesome chef Martha he was buddies with? They had nice chemistry and he came alive, kind of, with her. 

It annoys me that he continues to take shit from Fred and does nothing. This dude has raped the love of his life, stolen his baby, now helped murder his wife and he’s just there hanging up pictures like it’s whatever. I would have liked to have seen him plotting something after last week but no. He’s still hanging out just being Fred’s lapdog.

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10 hours ago, Deputy Deputy CoS said:

This is not an adoption. An adopted mother would not do to the newborn what Serena did. Attempt to feed her. An adoption and what is going here are not the same and shouldn't be compared.

Again, normalizing this fucked up situation. 

No one's normalizing this. Your statements made it seem like only a biological mother could care for the baby which is not true. Then somehow the baby is aware it was stolen from her mother?

 

2 hours ago, Empress1 said:

That scene with June and Fred in the kitchen made me murderous with rage. Like, I was hoping June would grab a knife from the counter and slash his throat. "Is that all I get?" "Motherfucker, here's what you get!" [slash]

Yet again I wonder about the logic of "giving" every commander and wife a handmaid and ostensibly a child. Bradley Whitford is what, 60 years old? And his wife is "insane" (I say she's the only wife we've seen with sense but Gilead thinks she's insane) and hates him. Why bring a kid into that house?

I'm confused as to why anyone would think Fred is redeemable. As if being nice makes all the damaging things he's done go away. This guy has the gall to dangle the baby as a way into his rape victim's good graces. He probably thinks he's doing her favors. He's either delusional or manipulative or both.

The commanders consider themselves part of the upper class. It's the difference between insane and just stress. I don't think commander Lawrence's wife is crazy. She's rebelling against him and the terrible thing he created. He's trying to control her by physical or mental abuse and maybe medication. They want a baby because it's necessary for the human race to continue. If it doesn't work out then someone else will take it.

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15 hours ago, Souris said:

Same! I really want to know more about what's going on in Bradley Whitford's house. It's so creepy but interesting. It's almost like some effed-up Jane Eyre shit. (Not really, but anytime there's a young woman coming into a secretive household with a crazy wife kept upstairs, you just have to make the comparison.)

Yes! That’s exactly what I said when I saw her. “Well isn’t that nice? Mr. Rochester’s wife didn’t die in that fire after all.” At first glance, I thought the actress was Sarah Jessica Parker.

That Gilead water must be doing wonders for Ofglen Oflawrence Colonies-UnWoman. Her skin went from ashy zombie molten lava to fresh faced Rory Gilmore in no time.

...and okay, so that’s Bradley Whitford. He was a guest panelist on Real Time with Bill Maher this week and they kept mentioning that he’s on The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m like, “Where?”

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I had a peculiar reaction to the Eden/Isaac execution - "Well, at least they're not burning them at the stake." Drowning may be horrific, but it does't look as horrific as burning.

On the whole baby issue, I seem to have heard that babies pick up on tension, and Serena Joy is one tense woman, so the whole blood/"adopted" issue was moot for me.

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3 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

 

I wtote that initial post last week, before the episode aired today. 

I got that first impression from the promo, but the show threw in a bit of a curve ball, heh, she just might be the most self aware wife of the bunch. 

To me she is greatly suffering because of her husband’s direct link to the creation of Gilead. She knows so much of the terrors which were enforced came, at least partly, from him. 

I hate that this family just got introduced to us with only one episode left.

If they had been apart of this season from the jump-off things might have been very different, a hell of a lot better, st least when it comes to plot development.

 

 

 

It is my belief as well that Lawrence has a perspective now of Gilead that burdens him, now that it’s gone from being merely ideas and “what if’s” to knock around, to actual laws and actual punishments.

His handiwork is on continued display in his own house: a blinded Martha who lost her eye, a wife living in a state of constant bereavement over his involvement and perhaps her own complicity by not fighting harder in the beginning, trying to do more to stop what was to come, and now he has Emily, a Handmaid that not only ended up with genitalia mutilation but she also was sent to the toxic waste colonies, another one of his apparent “genius” ideas to clean up Gilead, even as his wife said she told him it was poisoned land, unfit to be worked. 

To me, the disorganized state of his home was an external display that indicates what is going on internally for him. ~

His own mind is cluttered now, scrambled and jumbled up, messy and disorderly, as he tries to make sense of how everything ended up like “this”.

His master plans made sense before, they worked out on paper, they would keep things regulated and orderly, they would fix so many problems. 

But now he can no longer say with confidence any of that shit works, that any of it is fair or just. 

I believe he was one of the overly confident commanders who relished the chance to take over and make Gilead a functioning, susscessful, society, but now he’s left with the cold reality that they have somehow managed to make things even worse. 

However, unlike those like a Fred, he is not fighting so hard to embrace what Gilead has become, which gives me, slight, hope. 

This totally. He'd be a full blown hoarder if the martha wasn't there to pick up after him. They hate it when you move their stuff because in their heads they know where everything is. He probably got started with a few banned items and it snowballed from there as the wife went downhill and reality of the new regime set in. The martha didn't trip over that stuff because she didn't see it with only one eye. She tripped because it's a narrow passageway filled with junk.

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Why does Serena hate June so much??? I get a little bit of jealousy but this is another level. She seemed so level headed a little earlier in the show and now she's just gone insane. I don't get it.

It's really hard to watch this show as a mum of a newborn baby... I don't think I'll come back for season 3.

ETA - this was written before seeing the final 2 min of the show when SJ finally saw the light. Only took a drowning I guess.

Edited by lesmisfits29
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This episode was a frustrating hodgepodge of some truly interesting ideas and more frustration at the level of wheel spinning that it and the season as a whole has engaged in.  Like last week, I again came away thinking that if I had just seen only this particular episode and didn't have the larger sense that the showrunners couldn't really come up with enough material to justify 13 episodes but decided to forge on anyway that it was a pretty decent episode as far as the story it was trying to tell within that framework.

I think it helps watching this if you can buy into the AV Club reviewer's observation that Serena, like Lydia, is a monster.  On some level, even if it's deep down, they know they're monsters.  But the actresses who play them are playing them as humans who despite being monsters nonetheless still have human feelings and foibles.  Most of this episode Serena was so hellbent on "proving" that she was Holly/Nichole's mother and of course she knew what she was doing that she was again coming off like those very young girls we all knew in high school who thought that the baby would automatically love them back and isn't it fun to play dress up with them in these cute outfits I collected?  See what a good mother I am with my doll?  No, she and June can't be friends and they can't truly bond over this, given their history.  But at the very end Serena was finally able to at least momentarily put aside how terribly threatened she is by June to finally do what was best for the baby.

Maybe it's because I hated trying to pump with a fiery passion and struggled mightily both physically and emotionally with it, but the scene of Fred dangling June's child in front of her to trigger her letdown was one of the most debasing things this show has ever managed to pull off for me, and I realize that's saying something.  It was positively dehumanizing.  Lots of women in far less taxing situations fail to successfully pump for any duration and it can lead to terrible frustration and physical pain with little payoff, and that's before you get to the part where he was near salivating over making her beg for it.  Interestingly to me, it's that Gilead with its hyper baby fetish would even go along with the entire ridiculous setup of allowing a family to separate a new baby from "its food source" as Lydia put it that feels the most plot contrived of all of this.  You don't have to be a baby expert like Lydia seems to think she is to know that very young babies do a lot of cluster feeding and comfort nursing that stimulate milk production.

Eden's end was painfully inevitable but it actually worked for me that this was a 15-year-old girl who by this point had been thoroughly disabused of all of her romantic illusions about the ways of Gilead and her arranged marriage to a stranger.  Did she ultimately decide to throw her life away for what was likely a fleeting infatuation with the only person to show her any real kindness or affection?  Probably.  But again she is 15, and there was a terrible sense in those scenes that she knew that and decided to do it anyway rather than live a loveless life with Nick or with whatever "mercy" Gilead was likely to offer to an adulterous wife and see that infatuation/love torn apart too.  I can't even really blame June for telling her to grab onto whatever she could as we've been given no reason to think June had any idea that she was talking about Isaac and not still trying to make a painful go with Nick.  I thought too that it seemed obvious the officiant was expecting almost to the point of pleading with them to confess their "sin" and accept a lesser penalty, but from the number of weights at the bottom of the pool we can guess that other people must have also looked around at Gilead at some point and made the same choice.

Mrs. Lawrence may be the most sane person in this entire mess.  She can see what a complete and utter shitshow Gilead turned into, regardless of what better intentions they might have believed they had.  I was all in for the cluttery Victorian with books and art strewn everywhere.  I just wish they hadn't waited until the next to the last episode to introduce this story.

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1 hour ago, Helena Dax said:

As others have already said, I don't think commander Lawrence hurt his maid, quite the contrary. And regarding Eden's death, it isn't June's fault at all. 

 

That's why I prefaced it as my first impression. Take the maid out of the equation and it does not make up for the way he treats his wife. He practically shoves her and locks her away for speaking. I think it's pretty serious that she stated he created the colonies. The place where people are condemned to labor and die. Pretty sadistic to me. As for June, she told a struggling and impressionable 15 yr old that she should pursue love wherever she can find it.

 

1 hour ago, mamadrama said:

I had the exact opposite impression of Lawrence, I must say. I think he specifically asks for the damaged people to be sent to him. He could have had his wife committed or sent to the Colonies, but he hasn't. Fred beat his wife for doing something that made him angry-Lawrence's wife (who appears to be a little cuckoo) argued and shouted at him and he just put her in another room. To me, that was more of a, "We don't know this new Handmaid yet and how pious she is so you'd better get in there before she runs off and reports you to someone." He knew EVERYTHING about Emily, including her "before" life. I believe he asked specifically for her, just as he asked for the Martha with the eye injury. He said that they all enjoyed their privacy in his house and his Martha felt VERY comfortable snapping back at him. I think this Commander is going to be the one to know and that he's going to help at least one person, maybe more. 

As for the art...he said his wife was an art professor. Many of those paintings were famous ones that were probably stolen from galleries. Some, however, might have been his own wife's. 

Are we dismissing the part where his wife said he created the colonies? I guess he could rid her to the place he created. I bet all those condemned to work and deteriorated to death there were appreciative. I'm just not sure an arsonist gets credit for putting out a fire. And how much do you think Emily enjoyed recalling all the sadistic things done to her? He went over them one by one. Why? A normal person would simply sympathize with, "You've been through some harsh situations. Sorry."

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48 minutes ago, watchTV said:

No one's normalizing this. Your statements made it seem like only a biological mother could care for the baby which is not true. Then somehow the baby is aware it was stolen from her mother?

When what Serena is doing is likened to adoption, that is normalization. There is no comparison between the two situation and I stand by that assertion. 

I didn't make it seem like an adoptive mother couldn't take care of a baby. That would be a ridiculous assertion to make. I was objecting to Serena inserting her breast into the baby's mouth. That is an adoptive parenting thing. It is not something someone who've gone through the pains to adopt a child would do to it. That adoption  has be used to explain the situation is normalizing it. 

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I don’t think anyone should be jumping to any conclusions about this new commander yet or his wife until we learn more. A lot of us were all on the “ Eden is timebomb and can bring danger to Nick “ bandwagon and it turns out she was the most innocent victim of all and ended up martyred. It’s very possible that no matter how Commander Bradley Whitford started out or what he has been responsible for in the past, he could turn out to be a mayday resistance fighter now who regrets what he had a hand in and could be quite a fantastic character. Who knows? So far he’s ten times more interesting and charismatic than Fred and I loved All those scenes in that house with his Martha and Lydia and Emily. They were hilarious and delightful.

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I thought Serena was almost hoping (even though she knew she wouldn’t) that she would miraculously lactate. She wants to be  the baby’s mother so badly that she wants to experience that connection that only a lactating mother can have with a baby. She doesn’t want June to touch, much less nurse, the baby.

Also, as someone who wasn’t able to produce enough milk for my own baby, it kind of bugs that this idea of “low milk supply” is somehow new and different? Does every woman in Gilead that gives birth automatically produce a ton of milk?

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4 hours ago, Deputy Deputy CoS said:

 I am really really digging Alexis Bledel in this role. 

I am literally stunned by how much I find myself loving AB in this role. I’m on record, when I learned of her casting, as totally against it because she was so weak and annoying in Gilmore Girls, but holy shit she’s killed every single scene.

I want to believe in Commander Bradley Whitford but him shoving his wife into her room was really visceral and upsetting. They’re going to need to explain that if they plan to make him a hero figure. 

Finally, please @mamadrama, I have to know: is your affection for Joseph Fiennes going to survive this season intact? Because I’ve actually gotten to the point where I avert my eyes whenever he’s onscreen; that’s how much he’s repulsively inhabiting this role. 

Edited by Pachengala · Reason: Verbs are important!
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The thing is that you can sort of see how Gilead took what our modern ideas about adoption and surrogacy were and threw the Old Testament stories like that of Rachel and Leah about women having their handmaids bear children for them into the blender and came up with this.  They had to be able to sell all of this to women who came from modern society that was supposed to have been like our own, so it feels almost deliberate that they would leave some basis for comparison.

I think we were supposed to get from the prebirth scenes of Serena announcing that June wouldn't be able to stick around to nurse and Lydia's surprise at it that this isn't how they usually do it.  It's more typical to let a mother remain at least for awhile to wet nurse her own child.  Even Janine said as much.

I'm reserving judgment on the new commander too.  Right now it's enough that there's obviously something different going on there.

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8 minutes ago, Pachengala said:

I want to believe in Commander Bradley Whitford but him shoving his wife into her room was really visceral and upsetting. They’re going to need to explain that if they plan to make him a hero figure. 

I kind of got the feeling that was an "OH FUCK! SHUT UP!  We don't know this new person from Adam!  She could rat us both out any second!  Get back in your room and keep it together until I figure her out." reaction.

Yeah, it was jarring and violent but when both your life and your crazy wife's life could be at stake, I can see a rebellious Commander who is hiding in plain sight having that type of reaction.

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24 minutes ago, rubinia said:

Also, as someone who wasn’t able to produce enough milk for my own baby, it kind of bugs that this idea of “low milk supply” is somehow new and different? Does every woman in Gilead that gives birth automatically produce a ton of milk?

It's not new and/or different, there are plenty of women today who experience this problem and it has many causes. But perhaps this problem might be even worse in Gilead and the same thing that is causing their infertility problem could also be causing a problem in lactation.

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On 7/3/2018 at 10:29 PM, LittleRed84 said:

IMO Holly should have had more olive skin and black hair. As a nurse I see all the time how strong those dark hair/skin genes are. She’s very fair. I wanted a baby that was obviously and blatantly Nicks...

 

16 hours ago, pinky33 said:

I just want to say that I have a friend with dark hair, brown eyes, and olive complexion. She is married to a blond-haired, blue-eyed, fair skinned man. All 3 of their kids look like him....light blond hair, fair skin, and 2 out of 3 with blue eyes. It can happen!

Yup, recessive genes happen all the time. I have seen countless examples of this in real life. One Jewish couple I know both have dark brown hair and olive complexions but their kid has blonde hair and blue eyes. Another couple has a mom with jet black hair and brown eyes who’s 1/4 Chinese and a dad who, along with both of his siblings, has dark hair. They had one kid with brown eyes, one kid with green eyes, and another kid with blonde hair and blue eyes.  There's another family I know that's more similar to June and Nick's situation. The dad has dark hair and brown eyes and is 1/2 Asian. The mom has red hair, blue eyes, and a very fair complexion. All three of their daughters have their mom's red hair and pale skin.

18 hours ago, Joana said:

why is Fred being increasingly written as some infatuated idiot? I fear some major retconning is underway for a lot characters/situations.

 

I think it’s less that he’s infatuated with her and more that he’s truly convinced that he’s a nice guy who is being kind to June. He reminds me of those people who are jerks all week but think they’re good people because they go to church on Sunday. Fred thinks that because he does things like let June see old magazines, he’s nice to her which conveniently leaves out that he rapes her. 

14 hours ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

Totally different subject but did anyone notice when Waterford was talking to June it was so dark that his beard blended into the background and all you could see was his skin and eyes? I joke about needing night vision goggles to watch this but sometimes I really do need to squint to see.

 

I have dark hair so I always hated when our school picture backgrounds were dark because it meant my face would look like it was floating in a sea of black.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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I also thought at first that it was odd that Eden wasn't sentenced to be a Handmaid, but as someone pointed out upthread, she hadn't proven to be fertile. My guess is that since Isaac was assigned to Fred, and Eden was part of Fred's household, that Fred made the decision to kill them. After the TWO disappearances of his Handmaid, it sends the message to other Commanders that he is a Gileadian hardass. More important, it was the vehicle for him to vent his rage at June's "defection" and his hatred of Serena Joy and put some fear into them, and to make up for his figurative (and sometimes literal) impotence. 

And again, like the abuser he is, he came to June afterward to make nice.

Edited by Ashforth
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Emily's new post seemed different from the moment she walked in, there were nude paintings (the wife is or was an artist) and they had books, and a very sassy Martha.  Emily is rebellious but this house may prove too much for her. 

I wonder if Aunt Lydia will make a wellness check on that house on a daily basis.

6 minutes ago, WearyTraveler said:

It's not new and/or different, there are plenty of women today who experience this problem and it has many causes. But perhaps this problem might be even worse in Gilead and the same thing that is causing their infertility problem could also be causing a problem in lactation.

I think June's frame of mind/depression might have been an issue for milk production. 

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Commander Bradley Whitford was too OTT for me to believe. No way he'd let his chaos be seen outside the house. Anyone could report them, he could end up losing a hand or on the wall, but here he is being disrespectful in front of Aunt Lydia, whom we know has power to get him in trouble. Put on a little pretense for the sake of staying alive, dude.

 

I just didn't feel this episode.

 

And I'm heartily tired of the glorification of biological motherhood on this show.

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My thoughts, which I have seen some of you express on other episode threads. What did this season show us to advance this story? And why again was Eden even there? And what’s the deal with the Get Out-style Bradley Whitford? I know we have one episode left but last season was far superior. I am holding out for the epilogue, that is what I really want to see.

Edited by Eureka
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