Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER
Deputy Deputy CoS

S03.E03: Useful

Recommended Posts

Quote

June navigates a challenging meeting. Serena Joy attempts to recuperate. Lawrence teaches June and lessons about the difficult decisions he makes a Commander  

Share this post


Link to post

OK, so is Boston the capital of Gilead?   Because it seems like all the major meetings and councils are held there.    

At first I thought Commander Lawrence was having June in the meeting so she could overhear the plans.   But then he was just being a dick.  Or maybe both.

Then I couldn't figure out what lesson, if any, he was trying to teach her at the prison facility.   That his books and ideas were twisted around just as much as Selina Joy's where?    That he's just as much a prisoner of the system he indirectly helped create?    Or was he just being vindictive?  

Edited by jcin617

Share this post


Link to post

I for one think Commander Lawrence's wife is laying on the "crazy" thick so she can work with or help the resistance without suspicion.

The writers added a little Shindler's List/Sophie's Choice to the episode where Commander Lawernce made her choose the five women that would become Martha's.

Nick is promoted to Commander but has no wife?  I thought that was part of the promotion, you get a wife.

Serena Joy "baptizing" herself at the end was interesting, she gathered her strength and walked out of the ocean and past Fred, very symbolic, it shows she is so over him.  I think it was a pivotal moment for SJ when her mother said she was nothing without Fred, a reminder that SJ should get with the program.  I am wondering how her mother has any station in life without a husband, where is SJ's father?

LIfe in Canada with Emily will be interesting, she was so strong in Gilead but once freed she could be afraid, vunerable, etc...I hope her wife has not moved on and found someone else.

June still moves as slow as molasses going up hill in the winter when speed would have been of the essence.

If Commander Lawrence believes in what he designed then why isn't he using the handmaids for procreation?

Fred gave us a Don Draper moment reciting his speech and when the camera pulls back we see his audience.  Oh so very Don Draper.

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post

Can someone tell me why June is mad at Nick again? I can never keep up with her shit.

  • Like 16

Share this post


Link to post

Releasing three episodes at once was nice (and smart) of Hulu, especially since having to spend three weeks with nothing but build-up would be aggravating.

After seeing more of Commander Lawrence, I’m definitely on the fence about him.  I see where he sticks his neck out, but his comments about “letting rebels blow off steam” makes me think he’s an Emmanuel Goldstein, or (more aptly) an O’Brien type.

Edited by revbfc
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I didn’t see this one to the end. Too much Waterfords

I don’t know what they are doing with Lawrence but after he helped Emily escape was when the ambiguity disappeared. He showed his hand so now it’s up to the show to show viewers why he acted that way. Instead they are trying to shove him back into a cloud of obscurity.   

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
53 minutes ago, AnswersWanted said:

I finally put my finger on what's been bugging me most about these first 3 episodes so far: June is apparently an indestructible superhero now.

By all the rules of Gilead we've seen, Aunt Lydia was right:  June should be up on the wall.  We've seen people punished far more severely for much less than what June gets away with.   But then we wouldn't have a story.

Edited by jcin617
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, jcin617 said:

By all the rules of Gilead we've seen, Aunt Lydia was right:  June should be up on the wall.  We've seen people punished far more severely for much less than what June gets away with.   But then we wouldn't have a story.

If the show had only just followed through with June’s initial escape we would be in a much better, more believable, spot, imo. 

The show decided to keep playing around with the themes of escape, capture, and release, way too many times. It’s become a joke, and not even a humorous one. 

They had so much story to pull from with Atwood’s original writings. She had given them the keys to the kingdom, but these writers wanted to put their own, unique, spins on Gilead and it has suffered tremendously for it. 

They no longer seem to care about what makes Gilead “Gilead” except when it comes to killing people and the drab scenery. The so called totalitarian system has become a hoax at best, a scam at worst. 

I feel like the writers are punking us to be honest. 

  • Like 11
  • Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post

I have to be honest, I am going to need to see some movement, some hope because at season 3 we just have torture porn and it's old. 

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post

I think I may be done with this show.  Its too much of June "being fierce" when she really is just being stupid.  I almost like the show the less June is in it -- in fact any non-June scene is what I was fast forwarding too.  I wondered why but it seems to me that is where the plot development is.  With her its getting dull and I felt the same way in Season 2.

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post

I thought this was a decent episode.  Yeah, Lawrence humiliating June in front of the other commanders hurt, as did his brutal take down of her, saying she was not as smart as she thought she was, and then making her choose who would become Marthas and who would be sent to The Colonies.  At the same time, I saw it as him pushing her into really using her intellect and she does end up choosing five women who would be beneficial to the resistance.

Lawrence is the villain this show needed - someone who is charismatic (Bradley Whitford can act circles around Joseph Finnes), someone who is a challenge to June as she cannot read him, and someone who instills a love-hate dynamic with the protagonist.  He's the shot in the arm this show needs and hopefully the showrunners don't blow it.

Finally, they seem to be addressing something that's been bugging the hell out of me - all the radiation and its effects.  That one wife at the prayer meeting is obviously dying, and admittedly I was getting frustrated in them not addressing the radioactive elephant in the room of a huge radiation zone covering almost all of Missouri and several surrounding states.  Hopefully, this will addressed further in future episodes.

Why are the Waterfords still a thing?  And Nick?

Edited by bmoore4026
  • Like 18

Share this post


Link to post

I'm going to echo the sentiment of a lot of others in this thread. Why so much Waterfords? They are useless from a story perspective now. Ideally we wouldn't have seen anything of them after last season.

In the best possible timeline June would have escaped to Canada and started working with the resistance there instead of going all Rambo in Gillead. Maybe going back in season four, only this time with backup and a proper spy network.

Even in this timeline, where she is dumb and gets captured, she shouldn't have been sent back to the Waterfords. Off to the reeducation center and then straight to her new posting. Maybe Nick could have stopped by and told her what happened, but not anything more.

I get that the show runners love the actors. Hell I love the actors. Yvonne Strahovski is doing an amazing job. But when the characters don't serve a purpose anymore, you gotta cut them loose. "kill your darlings" is an expression for a reason. As a writer you often do your best work when you kill what you love in order to further the story.

11 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

Also, another ending with June's patented look of deviance that means "business", or some shit. I am tired of it, so very tired.  

God I'm so sick of her look of defiance. She should stop looking like that and actually do something... maybe something not stupid for a change.

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post

I'm really fucking confused by Lawrence. Is he evil? Good? Somewhere in between? Is he for or against Gilead? Is he putting on an act, or what? I don't know if his character is an actual sign of good writing, or that the writers are throwing everything into this character to see what sticks. The actor is great, and the character is compelling, but I do hope they settle on some type of direction for him in the coming episodes.

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post

I can’t quite make out what Lawrence’s deal is, but while he said and some seriously messed up stuff to June, he wasn’t exactly wrong when he said that an intelligent person would have gotten into that van. 

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post

June pushing Lawrence and mouthing off to him was just reckless (as was Nick just showing up at Lawrence's house at night and walking up to June's room). And it was ridiculous that she was just chatting with Fred about Lawrence and asking his advice. I mean, seriously, WTF?

  • Like 23

Share this post


Link to post

Junes smugness is really starting to get on my nerves. At this point, she will be the 1st female leader of Gilead with all that she gets away with. I loved Lawrence pointing out her basicness, but its highlighted the incredulity of her survival thus far. I wanted to punch her when she smugly announced that she chose the next Marthas, when her basic ass couldn't even handle the thought of the task at first.  I think I will rewatch the scene of Aunt Lydia poking her with a cattle prod and screaming about how she should be on the wall just for the satisfaction of it. 

I want a new heroine, this one sucks.

  • Like 13
  • Useful 1
  • Laugh 1

Share this post


Link to post

Damn, I got all excited when I thought Serena was going to drown herself.

IMO, June's story should have primarily ended in season 1, where it ends in the novel. Season 2 we can explore other areas of Gilead, the resistance in Canada, etc. Maybe we see glimpses of June here and there, knowing she made it safely to Canada and is working to smuggle Hannah out as well. But it's such an interesting world and these characters' stories are just DONE at this point. I want to know about Aunt Lydia's back story! More about the colonies! What's going on in Mexico???

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
16 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

I can’t quite make out what Lawrence’s deal is, but while he said and some seriously messed up stuff to June, he wasn’t exactly wrong when he said that an intelligent person would have gotten into that van. 

I like that about him though.

My impression so far, which is completely subject to changing?  I think he's bored easily, and that can lead to somewhat reckless acts.  I also think he's probably used to being the smartest person in the room.  That combination can make him "play" with people, with ideology, and with morality.  Some of his choices may have simply been about intellectual curiosity and boredom.  "Gee what if we created Gilead...that would at least be something different, and slightly less boring for a while." 

14 hours ago, AgentRXS said:

Junes smugness is really starting to get on my nerves. At this point, she will be the 1st female leader of Gilead with all that she gets away with. I loved Lawrence pointing out her basicness, but its highlighted the incredulity of her survival thus far. I wanted to punch her when she smugly announced that she chose the next Marthas, when her basic ass couldn't even handle the thought of the task at first.  I think I will rewatch the scene of Aunt Lydia poking her with a cattle prod and screaming about how she should be on the wall just for the satisfaction of it. 

I want a new heroine, this one sucks.

I want new writers.

That said, this could work.  Leaders and heroines are not perfect people, they never have been.  People in a subversive regime that are fighting against it DO make mistakes, do let emotions get the better of them at times, and DO have to learn how to fight the system and that will involve missteps, a lot of them. 

The other thing they need is a willingness to risk their lives, and anger or resentment or cause bigger than their own lives is what enables them to take those risks.  June has come along slowly here.  She was scared and chicken for a long time, but step by step she is caring less about her own life, and more about others.  Her daughter.  The woman who was escaping.  Lawrence's "Who is this HER?" showed the difference between them.  He doesn't give a shit about people, only ideas, only stimulation. 

June cares about her daughter, she cares about a stranger desperately trying to run, and she is willing to risk her life for all the hers.

What's happened is that she suddenly has hope and information, she has found a network of like minds, at least of a sort.  She's trying to build allies with that.  Serena could be a very powerful ally, so connected, so able to see and hear things June and other rebels could not.  Lawrence?  She assumed was an ally as well, but she's adjusting to the fact that he's not quite that simple, and his motivations aren't hers. 

He could be a great aid to the revolution, or he could decide to kill them all.  This is the line June is trying to walk right now.

15 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

June pushing Lawrence and mouthing off to him was just reckless (as was Nick just showing up at Lawrence's house at night and walking up to June's room). And it was ridiculous that she was just chatting with Fred about Lawrence and asking his advice. I mean, seriously, WTF?

Honestly, no one saw them talking, and Nick was her very best chance to try to get clues about Lawrence, someone she needs to understand, if she's to use him as an asset to the revolution.

She trusts Nick, so she had to take that chance, because her initial impression of Lawrence was obviously too simplistic.  This is too important to her, to all of them, to not take the risk of finding out more.

9 hours ago, jcin617 said:

Some of what Lawrence says I interpret to be the very tongue-in-cheek things someone might say that are just over the ridiculousness of it all.   Like I thought his "See?   Women can be useful."  line as playing to the room, rather than something he really believed, since he earlier made a point to June that he helped Emily because she was smart and can help mankind.   He can't help everyone so I think he really is one of those "pick the battles that matter" type of people.   Like the prisoners:  he worked to get 5 saved because that's all "they" would allow, now he was stressing over which 5 were most important to save.   (And maybe he even, in a round-about fashion, was telling June - "pick the 5 that will help you").

Anyway, he is fascinating.  He's not purely evil, since he could have turned June in 6 times over by now, not to mention he never had to take her in, in the first place.   But he's not really purely altruistic either, given his rant about June being an adulterer and pointing out that incident with her daughter being sick at school while she was at work that one time.  (Seriously, what kind of database does Gilead have access to... or were pro-Gilead folks already taking notes on everybody before the coup.)

Lawrence would have access to everything. 

My biggest "hmmm" moment was when June said something like "you helped me, you didn't know me." and he replied, "Is that what you think."  (paraphrasing)

I think it may go back to what I said above.  He's in his head.  His head created Gilead, or at least part of it, and now it's here, and it's not interesting enough for him anymore, so he's playing around and fucking with it.  He wanted to help Emily because of her brain, he wanted to help June as well, but we don't know why yet.

I think it has to do with his own amusement, people are like chessboard pieces to him in a way.  He may not even want to bring down Gilead at all, he may simply want to see how well it works under resistance.  I think it's mostly a game to him to keep his brain from being bored.

He does seem to care for his wife in some ways as well, and he's obviously not into rape as an amusement.

I loved how he asked if June's BS really worked on (that fool?) Wallingford.  She really needs to sharpen her wits to deal with him, and she's not immediately good at that, but she's paying attention and trying to be.

6 hours ago, rubinia said:

Damn, I got all excited when I thought Serena was going to drown herself.

IMO, June's story should have primarily ended in season 1, where it ends in the novel. Season 2 we can explore other areas of Gilead, the resistance in Canada, etc. Maybe we see glimpses of June here and there, knowing she made it safely to Canada and is working to smuggle Hannah out as well. But it's such an interesting world and these characters' stories are just DONE at this point. I want to know about Aunt Lydia's back story! More about the colonies! What's going on in Mexico???

They really need to bring the world into this story, and they can, Canada newspapers, TV, interviews with the press in the UK or France of the refugees, etc.

That said, I think Serena should have dunked herself if that was supposed to be her baptism into being reborn.  I kept waiting for that.

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: think not thing
  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post

I still call bullshit on how the Waterford's are even able to leave the house at this point, Serena visiting her mother, Fred going to the commanders' power circlejerk, like seriously? 

Those two should have no privilege left, nada, zip. Their status should have totally been stripped from them fully, and they should have been left waiting in solitary confinement for their final fates to be determined by the high court. And even that would be a generous handling of them frankly, in Gilead. I could easily see Serena now fading away quickly in Jezebel's or the colonies, while Fred swings rotting from a rope, just for starters. How about another pool drowning? The fact that these two are still breathing for no real reason whatsoever just reeks of shitty writing.

It's infuriating that the show wants to keep them this badly. They aren't worth destroying the inner workings of Gilead for. They are just two war criminals who now need to face the same end they've sentenced countless others to without mercy. That should not be a hard decision. 

10 hours ago, AgentRXS said:

I want a new heroine, this one sucks.

May I sit here?

For real, I want to trade June for Rita or that awesome Martha doctor from season 2, or Emily, or Moira, or even Janine.

At least none of them seem allergic to common sense (Janine notwithstanding), and don't find smirking and scowling to be important enough facial expressions to showcase all waking hours of the day.

Edited by AnswersWanted
  • Like 14

Share this post


Link to post
 
 
 
1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

That said, I think Serena should have dunked herself if that was supposed to be her baptism into being reborn.  I kept waiting for that.

Was it meant to symbolize baptism? I took it as she intended to drown herself, but then saw the sunrise and realized that it was (literally and figuratively) a new day, and decided to hang in there.

  • Like 10
  • Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
14 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

June pushing Lawrence and mouthing off to him was just reckless (as was Nick just showing up at Lawrence's house at night and walking up to June's room). And it was ridiculous that she was just chatting with Fred about Lawrence and asking his advice. I mean, seriously, WTF?

I know. Just walking up and talking to him, like she wouldn't get into trouble for it. He's also her former rapist - wtf? I suppose she's sucking up to him, but calling him merciful was really the icing on the cake. She had the perfect excuse to not talk to him: she "belongs" to someone else now. And his looking concerned when Lawrence wanted her to get him a book, was stupid - he used to do the same thing to her. It may not have been among others, but he still did it. He was playing with her, just like Lawrence. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Also, in a previous episode, when she seemed to threaten the other handmaid, as they stood on the side of the road - that handmaid could have told someone. It was just stupid. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
15 minutes ago, Anela said:

I know. Just walking up and talking to him, like she wouldn't get into trouble for it. He's also her former rapist - wtf? I suppose she's sucking up to him, but calling him merciful was really the icing on the cake. She had the perfect excuse to not talk to him: she "belongs" to someone else now. And his looking concerned when Lawrence wanted her to get him a book, was stupid - he used to do the same thing to her. It may not have been among others, but he still did it. He was playing with her, just like Lawrence. 


With one word June could have both Fred AND Serena hanging on a wall. 

Lawrence asking her to get the book was a dangerous game.  She is not supposed to know how to read anymore.  He saved her at the last minute by describing it, whatever it was "red letters on yellow" because if she got the book without having it described in something other than title?  Serena lost a finger, June would have lost a lot more than that.

Fred was concerned because he knew the trap Lawrence set for June with the "fetch the book" thing, it was a tense moment for the entire room, especially for June.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
38 minutes ago, Umbelina said:


With one word June could have both Fred AND Serena hanging on a wall. 

Lawrence asking her to get the book was a dangerous game.  She is not supposed to know how to read anymore.  He saved her at the last minute by describing it, whatever it was "red letters on yellow" because if she got the book without having it described in something other than title?  Serena lost a finger, June would have lost a lot more than that.

Fred was concerned because he knew the trap Lawrence set for June with the "fetch the book" thing, it was a tense moment for the entire room, especially for June.

That's what I mentioned myself: he'd done that to her already, and I don't buy that he would be concerned for her. I know exactly what game Lawrence was playing, and why he described the book for her. Some of the men were amused by it all. 

If he knows that much about June, then he has to know a lot about the Waterfords. I also think that if she said anything to anyone else, she would be up on the wall with them. 

I also don't like that Lawrence set the tone for the house, and Cora is sent away  for something. He doesn't like liars, when he's lying and helping people for his own amusement? 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I am watching this now and stopped because I didn’t want to forget the line.

lawrence: if women don’t want to be defined by their bodies, why they always use them to get what they want?

WTF? In Gilead? Women getting what they want, using their bodies or not? 

I am already tired of Lawrence. Badly written character, badly directed. I don’t think Bradley Whitford knows what the character is supposed to be. 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Anela said:

Also, in a previous episode, when she seemed to threaten the other handmaid, as they stood on the side of the road - that handmaid could have told someone. It was just stupid. 

They really are trying to give June this sort of entitlement of being above it all at this point, as if she's untouchable and it is so goddamn annoying. 

If anything, after all she has done, there is no way the other women haven't been told to rat her out immediately if she says anything out of line or questionable in regards to their strict training. It's almost to the point the other handmaids are supposed to fear June more than Gilead. Like...who is coming up with this fuckary?

She is still just a lowly handmaid, show, you made that decision, so why the hell is she getting away with all the things that would have any other handmaid nursing some indescribable injury or mutilation? Or sentenced to an unspeakable death. Just...I'm out of balance again.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post

When the producers say the show will last 10 seasons they are not joking. With the mandatory close ups that pile on and the never ending slow motion, they can tell a three season story in way more than 10 seasons. Yawn. 

  • Like 5
  • Laugh 6

Share this post


Link to post
48 minutes ago, alexvillage said:

I am watching this now and stopped because I didn’t want to forget the line.

lawrence: if women don’t want to be defined by their bodies, why they always use them to get what they want?

WTF? In Gilead? Women getting what they want, using their bodies or not? 

I am already tired of Lawrence. Badly written character, badly directed. I don’t think Bradley Whitford knows what the character is supposed to be. 

I actually thought that line was perfect coming from Lawrence because he is, after all, one of the originators of Gilead.

He is a disgusting, deplorable, misogynistic pig who views women as children to be controlled, disciplined, and kept in line, "in their place", under a man, the head of the household.

Of course he would make such a pathetic, untrue claim that women want to, or need to, use their bodies as bargaining tools just to get a man to do something. And of course he ignores the fact that he created a world where women are really only worth what their bodies can offer men. He's the ultimate hypocrite.

He views women as seductresses and dangerous, using their lady parts to lure in men like sirens so that they can then trap them and take all that they want and more.

Lawrence is the guy who decries feminism and feminists as being anti-men. They want to make men weak and powerless. They want to deny that men are meant to rule over women, thus sayith the lord, blah blah. Women have become too domineering, too powerful, too equal to men and it isn't right. His is the rallying cry for male masculinity and sexist empowerment. 

I am probably not going to credit much this season, but I did think they got the tone right in this scene to showcase just how a man like Lawrence would want to craft such a place as Gilead by choice.

His thinking is flawed, ignorant, hateful, and cruel enough to implement this sort of world and inflict it upon women, certain women especially, gladly.

Edited by AnswersWanted
  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not sure if Lawrence is really a misogynist.

I think he is the smartest guy in the room, and most people bore him silly, women and men, so he plays his little games with them.  He was humoring those idiotic men, and testing June to see if she was worth his time or effort with the dangerous book thing.  He insulted Fred as well, actually, the only person I've heard him praise is Emily.

June WAS flirting with him, she WAS willing to use her body (nothing wrong with that in this world, IMO) and he called her on that.  June, at this point, will use anything to help her daughter escape, to survive, or to help others survive.

Actually it kind of reminded me of that scene in GWTW when Rhett Butler bids on newly widowed Scarlett to dance, and she accepts.  While dancing she starts to flirt in her tried and true way and he tells her to stop that simpering southern belle routine.

June needs her wits for this one, and he put her on notice about that.

  • Like 18

Share this post


Link to post

My favorite moment was the June/Lawrence scene where he says “that really worked on Fred?”. I thought it revealed a lot of insight and that this by is a far deeper well than anyone thought. Maybe he’s gay. I love the show although challenging to watch. 

  • Like 11
  • Useful 2

Share this post


Link to post

My jury is still out on Lawrence.  He's clearly brilliant.  He's clearly twisted.  I just can't figure out which way he twists.  Was he testing June in front of the commanders?  Putting her in her place?  Both?  

His statement about how you "have to give a rebellion a few victories" or whatever it was, was interesting?  An indication thar Gilead's knowledge of the rebellion runs deeper than they realize?  Or him fucking with June?

From where I'm sitting, so far, Emily is the only one he helped.  Emily killed an aunt in his own home and he got her out.  But that doesn't make him a good guy.  It just means he was good to her.  And it means his household is a bit more lax.  It doesn't mean he isn't still an unrepentent evil fuck.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post

I believe that the show is selling Lawrence as a misogynist, at least partly going off of the language he's used towards his female captives and the way he treats them depending on his mood. Personally I think it makes a lot of sense that type of thinking is at the core of Gilead's beginnings.

These men wanted power and control of the country, without question, but they have definitely targeted women in numerous, cruel and unforgiving, ways.

The structure is based on a lot of misogynistic beliefs, whether it's religous based or not. The common theme that exists in Gilead is that all women, whether high in status or not, are kept subservient to men. 

These men have fully taken away their access to education, no female is allowed to read or write, they cannot travel freely without permission and often with a guard babysitter, they also are not permitted to question or deny the rule of a man over them, whether he is their father or husband or any man with authority, and yet still these same men have a Jezebel's to frequent when they want to on top of all that. 

I don't see how you end up with a Gilead without a lot of hate or bias and prejudiceness towards women flowing from the source at certain points. 

I don't think he is gay, I actually think they sell him as loving his wife in his own weird way. In fact, if anything, I wonder if his wife ties into his initial desire to make Gilead in the first place. 

Did something happen to her during the time before, when women were free to choose? Did he believe that she made the wrong choice but he wasn't allowed to stop her, that women cannot be trusted to make the right choice unless a man guides them or has the right to dominate them when necessary? (that sounds like a conversation we could be having about current events...)

I am definitely convinced that trapping his wife in Gilead has harmed her tremendously and Lawrence knows that. I wouldn't be surprised if that is why he's choosing at times to do something good or kind in a way. He is working from a place of guilt and pain, maybe he hopes one day it'll be enough to earn his wife's forgiveness. 

Overall I think Lawrence has layers to him and that is why, for now, I am interested in his development. He is the opposite of Fred in all the right ways. 

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post

If I remember correctly, he devised the economic side of Gilead, which may or may not have anything to do with the subjugation of women.

Honestly, I don't think he "cares" in normal human ways about any of it, other than as a mind exercise, could it be done, what would happen if it was, would the downfall be interesting, something "different" than the normal boring human interaction.

We shall see. 

I don't think he thinks in terms of right or wrong at all, let alone in good or bad.  If anything, his criteria for keeping his attention is "interesting or boring?"  I feel like he's only interested in Gilead at all as a grand experiment, and even that?  Is just to see what happens.  I think he's bored with it now, and has been for a while, but it's downfall?  The humans beginning to RESIST?  The fall of all those pompous fools that are Commanders?  Now THAT may be "interesting."

He liked Emily because of her brain, that made her worthy of escaping this experimental world.

He shows no interest in having sex with these handmaids, and he could, at any time.  He is definitely protecting his wife from Gilead "norms."

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, alexvillage said:

When the producers say the show will last 10 seasons they are not joking. With the mandatory close ups that pile on and the never ending slow motion,

Season nine will be ten straight episodes of June walking in slow motion down the street while folksy music plays in the background. 

I really dont get why this show is so obsessed with treating Serena as some tragic sympathetic character, at least this way. I could be alright with a Serena redemption arc, her realizing that this system that she wanted and even faught for is actually evil now that she has seen it in action and has realized that, as a woman, maybe oppressing women is a bad idea for her, maybe developing empathy for the people she previously wanted to oppress now that she sees what this has done to innocent people, but thats not really what has happened.

What gets me is that Serena has never really seems to feel sympathy for any of the woman who have been enslaved and raped, have been abused and taken from their families and careers, families town apart, people who have been tortured and killed because of their sexuality/religion/profession/whatever stupid reason Gilead came up with, countless lives ended and destroyed, she is upset because of how it all affects HER and the baby that she has decided is HERS even if she is totally not. She has never even really apologized to her supposedly BFF June for how much she abused and mistreated her. She is sometimes upset by other things kind of, like when Eden and her boyfriend were killed, but its mostly all about how she hates that she does not have the power she expected to have, is victim of the system she helped put in place, and now that her not baby is gone. I certainly dont get why Rita gives a shit about her, even if June has some kind of weird baby connection with her. Yeah maybe she didnt know exactly how bad Gilead was going to be, but she knew she was committing treason, she knew she was murdering everyone in congress and certainly many others, not even getting into the people who will die in the way, and she certainly had some idea about at least some of what would happen, and she did it all anyway, happily. If they want me to keep all teary because Serena lost a finger and her marriage is crap because she is just now realizing that her murderous, treacherous, misogynist husband is, in fact, an asshole. 

  • Like 24

Share this post


Link to post

Are these houses so damn cavernous that no one can tell when company comes over and stays the night in the handmaid's room, or does Lawrence really not care? Nick just strolled right in and I assume didn't leave for a while and that's totally fine, I guess?

Also, add me to the list who thought Serena was going to drown herself.

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
On 6/6/2019 at 1:31 PM, Umbelina said:

I think he's bored easily, and that can lead to somewhat reckless acts.  I also think he's probably used to being the smartest person in the room.  That combination can make him "play" with people, with ideology, and with morality.  Some of his choices may have simply been about intellectual curiosity and boredom.  "Gee what if we created Gilead...that would at least be something different, and slightly less boring for a while." 

This is my initial read on Lawrence too, which I realize is always subject to change down the road as more information becomes available.  He reminds me a lot of those bookish intellectuals I've known who wanted to be acknowledged as that guy and liked to play what-if games with ideas that if followed to their logical conclusions could have some pretty horrifying results.  These guys always seem to want to play devil's advocate with notions that have and can be used to propagate subjugation and genocide because they know it will never ever ever be about them.  Even in a "we're just talking" sort of way.  Only we know that at some point his ideas stopped being hypotheticals and now there is an entire government and economy based on them that's horribly killing scores of people.  The whole thing of him forcing June to pick which women got to live as enslaved Marthas over being sent to die in the colonies felt like he was trying to teach her an object lesson in this.  At this point, I'm having as hard a time as June is in drawing a bead on how serious he is in some of the things he says and how much is him testing and playing with her to see how she'll respond.  I believe him that he says he realized that Emily is a brilliant mind who has more to potentially offer the world than mindlessly breeding for Gilead or dying on the Wall.  I'm just not sure yet how much else to believe about him.  

The only way June's interactions with good old Commander Fred and then Nick make sense to me is if Lawrence knew they were happening and again let them happen to see what the end result would be.  Otherwise, this is more of the show being sloppy letting her flit around so openly like this.  I did like Lawrence immediately recognizing she was trying to play him the same way she'd played Fred and calling her on it, as well as his pointing out the obvious that she was largely responsible for burning the Waterfords and then the whole house down and that he's well aware of that too.

Introducing Serena's big meanie mom this far in doesn't do much for me beyond making me wonder what exactly her situation is.  Older women don't really have any purpose in a society like Gilead that's so hyperfocused on controlling women through their relationships to reproduction.   It felt a little heavy handed for her to be spelling out that there's no place in Gilead for a Wife who's not a Wife, but I will say it made me laugh that big meanie mom basically told Serena to get over herself and stop being so damn dramatic only to cut to her next scene of wading out in the water to seemingly drown herself.

It's actually a huge leap forward for Serena to both be able to lucidly acknowledge that June's baby wasn't actually hers and that June had been Hannah's mother before having her ripped away from her.  The entire wife-handmaid setup rests on categorically denying both of those things as true, so it's a possible starting point.

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post

This show was meant to go down since the moment it didn't end when it had to. Think of the movie The Road. Can you imagine a second part where the kid starts some revolution to clean the world and kill the villains? It would destroy the point of the first movie.

And there are few things worse for serious stories than plot-armour, which June and the Waterfords have.

As a lesser show, though, it's working for me. I want to see what happens. I don't mind Serena turning slowly into a destroyer of the world she has created. In some ways, she's like Lawrence: they're resposible for the birth of Gilead and they regret the results. Does it make Serena a hero? No. But it's opening her eyes and perhaps it'll make her stronger too. It happens. 

And the fact that the relationship between the characters are fucked doesn't mean there isn't a relationship between them, especiallywith people living in such close quarters... So I'm not surprised Rita tried to help Serena, for example, or that Serena and June have some weird bonding over Nichole. The people unable to go beyond their natural hate and disgust for their oppresors were the first to die. 

Edited by Helena Dax · Reason: spelling
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not terribly bothered by Rita trying to help Serena because as we saw this episode there aren't a ton of openings for Marthas and if Gilead doesn't have a use for you as a woman, it's off to the colonies you go.  Just because Serena doesn't have a house for Rita to slave away in at this exact moment doesn't mean the Waterfords won't have another in the near future.  Good old Commander Fred has been demoted, but for whatever reason he's still a commander.  So it's in Rita's best interest to stay on their good sides so she gets to go with them when they do have that new place.

Like June, a lot of what Rita does is likely about self interest.

  • Like 14

Share this post


Link to post
On 6/5/2019 at 8:06 PM, bmoore4026 said:

I thought this was a decent episode.  Yeah, Lawrence humiliating June in front of the other commanders hurt, as did his brutal take down of her, saying she was not as smart as she thought she was, and then making her choose who would become Marthas and who would be sent to The Colonies.  At the same time, I saw it as him pushing her into really using her intellect and she does end up choosing five women who would be beneficial to the resistance.

As frustrating as June has been these last few episodes, her choosing of the Marthas definitely displayed some sort of growth and lesson finally learned by going with a new resistance approach.  As she stated at the beginning of the episode, she needs allies.

I am glad that June reminded Serena that she is hardly the first person to be separated from their child especially in Gilead.  As much as they want us to feel sorry for her, there will always be that pall that Serena contributed to a regime that separated children from so-called "unworthy" women.

I am liking the dynamic between Lawrence and June.  I still don't like how June gets away with her outbursts but I did like each of them calling the other out of each other's bullshit.  And we got Lawrence's hand to an extent, he's willing to help smart and useful people and is also offering an in for June to be useful herself.

19 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

Overall I think Lawrence has layers to him and that is why, for now, I am interested in his development. He is the opposite of Fred in all the right ways. 

All of this.  Part of why I'm more invested in this season than I thought I would be is that I want to see more layers of this character whereas I am so over Fred.  We know everything we need to know he can die now.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post

This episode made me realize that the only member left of the Waterford's household that holds any remaining interest for me at this point is Rita. 

She's the only one who I feel still has a lot of uncovered layers yet to be exposed.

I want to know her from the time before. I want scenes with her and her family, her son, her job and friends and how she was when she had her freedom. I want to see how she was chosen to be a Martha, I think she would be the perfect one to take us through the training for Marthas. I want to know when she became apart of the resistance, was it before June got there or because of her arrival and everything that's happened since. 

I would much rather see a Rita focused episode than more slow walks and close ups of June existing and scowling at me. 

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post

I agree with most of the criticism, especially the way overdone closeups of June brooding/smirking, but let me comment on some of the things I like:

First, and foremost...  binders full of women!  Loved it!  I have no idea if that was written in the script or if BW ad libbed it (my first guess), but it was great.

Second, has anyone else noticed that this season things are a little lighter/brighter?  Comm. Lawrence's kitchen, for example - lots of natural light streaming in.  Same with Serena's mom's place.  I don't know if this is symbolic, a sign of hope/change, or if the producers heard our complaints of "this scene is too dark!  I can't see who is doing what where!" from the last 2 seasons. 

Third (or consider this 1a), I do love Comm. Lawrence.  Love the "this shit worked on Fred?  what a maroon." line when June was trying to sort-of-seduce him.  Love the "she poured too slow" as a reason to get June in the room.  His Schindler's list "no, don't bomb Chicago, there are children and fertile women there" and saving 5 Marthas is very interesting.  I want his backstory asap.

Fourth, I loved the "I heard her walking partner pushed her in front of a bus" line.  I really don't understand how any handmaid can be drinking the koolaid as much as June's new partner seems to be. 

Fifth, yeah!  Nick is going to the front lines!  I'm soooooo bored with/of him. 

Sixth, yeah!  Emily called her wife!  Family reunion next week, maybe?

I do not understand Lawrence sending Cora away, though.  She knows he helped Emily and has willfully ignored the underground Martha movement.  She could easily rat him out to (try to) save herself.  Bringing in a new Martha with unknown loyalties puts him and his household at risk.  Even though I get that he doesn't like liars, that made no sense to me.  Cora's lies were obvious, and gave him plausible deniability.

I get everyone's criticisms, and agree that compared to season 1, this show is a pale image of itself.  But I still like it.  It's not perfect.  Keeping main characters alive requires lots of handwaiving.  But it's entertainment, and good entertainment. 

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
14 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

This is my initial read on Lawrence too, which I realize is always subject to change down the road as more information becomes available.  He reminds me a lot of those bookish intellectuals I've known who wanted to be acknowledged as that guy and liked to play what-if games with ideas that if followed to their logical conclusions could have some pretty horrifying results.  These guys always seem to want to play devil's advocate with notions that have and can be used to propagate subjugation and genocide because they know it will never ever ever be about them.  Even in a "we're just talking" sort of way.  Only we know that at some point his ideas stopped being hypotheticals and now there is an entire government and economy based on them that's horribly killing scores of people.  The whole thing of him forcing June to pick which women got to live as enslaved Marthas over being sent to die in the colonies felt like he was trying to teach her an object lesson in this.  At this point, I'm having as hard a time as June is in drawing a bead on how serious he is in some of the things he says and how much is him testing and playing with her to see how she'll respond.  I believe him that he says he realized that Emily is a brilliant mind who has more to potentially offer the world than mindlessly breeding for Gilead or dying on the Wall.  I'm just not sure yet how much else to believe about him.  

The only way June's interactions with good old Commander Fred and then Nick make sense to me is if Lawrence knew they were happening and again let them happen to see what the end result would be.  Otherwise, this is more of the show being sloppy letting her flit around so openly like this.  I did like Lawrence immediately recognizing she was trying to play him the same way she'd played Fred and calling her on it, as well as his pointing out the obvious that she was largely responsible for burning the Waterfords and then the whole house down and that he's well aware of that too.

Introducing Serena's big meanie mom this far in doesn't do much for me beyond making me wonder what exactly her situation is.  Older women don't really have any purpose in a society like Gilead that's so hyperfocused on controlling women through their relationships to reproduction.   It felt a little heavy handed for her to be spelling out that there's no place in Gilead for a Wife who's not a Wife, but I will say it made me laugh that big meanie mom basically told Serena to get over herself and stop being so damn dramatic only to cut to her next scene of wading out in the water to seemingly drown herself.

It's actually a huge leap forward for Serena to both be able to lucidly acknowledge that June's baby wasn't actually hers and that June had been Hannah's mother before having her ripped away from her.  The entire wife-handmaid setup rests on categorically denying both of those things as true, so it's a possible starting point.

That's an interesting take on Lawrence and his actions that I hadn't thought about. I still don't think he is well written and don't trust the writers. Maybe you can forward this to them? 

I was also wondering how Serena's mother could be just living as if nothing is happening outside her beach house. But again, I don't expect the show to clarify that.

I agree with you about Serena. Again, I don't trust the writers to explore that side of the relationship. But it would be interesting to see a real character development. The actress is doing a very good job - even her close ups are better than June's - but there is no consistency on her journey.

13 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

I'm not terribly bothered by Rita trying to help Serena because as we saw this episode there aren't a ton of openings for Marthas and if Gilead doesn't have a use for you as a woman, it's off to the colonies you go.

You are right again. And again, the writers managed to mess things up because they could have shown Rita's conflict while doing that.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
On 6/5/2019 at 11:06 PM, bmoore4026 said:

I thought this was a decent episode.  Yeah, Lawrence humiliating June in front of the other commanders hurt,

So, the whole point of that scene was just to force June to pretend that she couldn't read, right?  I was a bit confused.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

There was definitely a strong element of humiliating her for the other commanders' amusement, which was definitely hard to stomach.  But he starts out by asking her in front of them all, hey, didn't you used to be a book editor?  So they do know she can read.  If she does so in front of them, though, she's breaking the law.  That's how Serena lost a finger.  You can see that Nick and good old Commander Fred both realize this in their reactions.  For me, it read as yet another instance in this episode of Lawrence testing her to see what she would do, how quick she is on her feet, how well she can control herself in the face of provocation.  He knows she's smart enough to have survived this far and done a little damage along the way.  He's gauging her in the same way she's gauging him.  

  • Like 10
  • Useful 2

Share this post


Link to post

I took that scene the exact same way.  She knew it was a trap so she did her best not to read the book titles knowing it would get her in trouble, she knew he had to guide her to the book's position to convey that she didn't read it.  It was his own way of asserting power and a reminder to June that the game has changed and her old tricks that worked on Fred won't work on him.

  • Like 6
  • Useful 3

Share this post


Link to post
10 minutes ago, kittykat said:

I took that scene the exact same way.  She knew it was a trap so she did her best not to read the book titles knowing it would get her in trouble, she knew he had to guide her to the book's position to convey that she didn't read it.  It was his own way of asserting power and a reminder to June that the game has changed and her old tricks that worked on Fred won't work on him.

AND to see if she is even worthy of the new game, which may be revolution.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×