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S03.E03: Useful

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The holding cages for the women heading to the colonies really were horrific to observe. 

Gilead does everything it can to dehumanize women at every single turn, especially the ones that they trap and place into the lower status roles. 

I still would have loved to see Serena's face staring back at June as one of the condemned. That would have made up for June saving her from the fire. 

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10 hours ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

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.

I think so.  If June did reveal that she knew what Lawrence was talking about, she would have been in danger of losing a finger just like Serena did.

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On 6/6/2019 at 5:32 PM, 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, they can tell a three season story in way more than 10 seasons. Yawn. 

Did they really say that?

It would be hard to sustain viewers interest that long.

Or the interest of the cast, unless Hulu is willing to pay out of its nose to keep them on the show.

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On 6/5/2019 at 1:24 PM, AnswersWanted said:

I nodded off watching this one, it seemed very repetitive and pointless. 

Lawrence is weird, scary, unpredictable, June can openly sneer or disobey without consequence, Fred's pathetic and somehow still alive, Nick is still Nick and still alive, Serena is depressed and still alive, and the gears of Gilead keep grinding. Yawn.

Was I meant to feel something watching Serena get dressed down by a frigid mother figure? Was that supposed to make me feel bad for her? Oh poor, suffering Serena, crying in her mommy's kitchen who was mean to her, give me a goddamn break already. 

The fuck, Rita?

First June goes all helpmaid to the witch in episode 1, and now Rita, her house slave, wants to make her downtrodden mistress feel better with a fake finger she made? I am speechless.

Why couldn't they just have had Serena walk off into the water and drown herself? That might have added a much needed layer of depth to this season's direction. That could have been used to push Fred over the edge and into action or something. 

Also, show, filming Yvonne from across the room is not an effective way of hiding her obvious baby bump. 

June, if you keep making that face it's bound to stay that way. Oh wait, maybe it already has. 

How is Fred still ablebodied? He's a total failure according to Gilead principles, the others have to know this considering the state of his household and all the major screwups he's been responsible for. His ass should have had something chopped off or permanently removed. All he got was a mere demotion that still earns him a seat at the Commanders' table? Bullshit, I say. 

The ending scenes were ghastly, imo. This show can keep pushing the narrative that June needs Serena, and vice versa, but to me it's all rubbish. Fred himself isn't even a high commander anymore, he's pretty much useless.

June is now with one of the highest heads of Gilead leadership, a man that at times will actually do something good, why would she waste time trying to recruit a has been like Serena? She would be focusing on proving herself to Lawrence and continuing the small resistance operation.

I get that Serena is a wife and has access to other wives, but frankly June would be foolish to think that she could ever trust some of those women to do more than rat her out and get her, and the others, exterminated. 

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

I love your posts. 😄

I had the same thought about that grimace/fart face. In a closeup no less. Can they make her any more unattractive?!

Edited by ferjy
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5 hours ago, ferjy said:

I love your posts. 😄

I had the same thought about that grimace/fart face. In a closeup no less. Can they make her any more unattractive?!

I think I liked EM for about 5 minutes when she was in the West Wing. I could never watch Mad Men, hated Top of The Lake and never cared about her. But being "unattractive" would be a plus regarding this show. Handmaids are vessels, nothing more. 

Totally agree that the character personality doesn't come out - at least not in the way I gathered by reading the book - and the same expression for every single emotion. Making her a cursing super hero is a terrible idea. She is a victim after all. She should be more vulnerable and her strength should not have come so quickly. Seriously, June show no fear anymore. All defiance. I like defiance but real fighters are not super humans. 

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1 hour ago, alexvillage said:

I think I liked EM for about 5 minutes when she was in the West Wing. I could never watch Mad Men, hated Top of The Lake and never cared about her. But being "unattractive" would be a plus regarding this show. Handmaids are vessels, nothing more. 

Totally agree that the character personality doesn't come out - at least not in the way I gathered by reading the book - and the same expression for every single emotion. Making her a cursing super hero is a terrible idea. She is a victim after all. She should be more vulnerable and her strength should not have come so quickly. Seriously, June show no fear anymore. All defiance. I like defiance but real fighters are not super humans. 

BB1 - I was referring more to EM than the character. She’s no beauty but she has looked fairly attractive at times. That face she makes is painful to look at. 😄

BB2 - Agree. If it weren’t for the handmaid wings and cap, I could barely tell June and Peggy Olson apart. 

Edited by ferjy
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Put me on the bandwagon for not liking June becoming a super-hero ("Super!June"?) Trite and boring and simplistic.

I loved Lawrence when he was introduced last season: the museum/hoarder household with rock music blaring really grabbed me. The boho element of Gilead.  Having met a few economists in my life (outside the classroom) I can attest to the world-building aspects of their economic/social fantasies. I have no trouble seeing Lawrence as such a person, who has discovered that everything doesn't fall into place once that world is built. He's discovering the human costs and finds he must do something about it in a way that doesn't get him killed. A fascinating character and Bradley Whitford is great in the role.

I have no trouble with Serena Joy's character either---she thought she wanted things a certain way and discovers she hates it. A lot of people don't question things until they're personally affected by them; that's Serena's position. She'll make a valuable inside agent, which June sees. Doesn't make Serena more likeable, just a more layered character.

I think it's likely that Aunt Lydia was seriously injured; she seems more erratic and emotionally unstable than before.

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1 hour ago, Katalina said:

Put me on the bandwagon for not liking June becoming a super-hero ("Super!June"?) Trite and boring and simplistic.

I loved Lawrence when he was introduced last season: the museum/hoarder household with rock music blaring really grabbed me. The boho element of Gilead.  Having met a few economists in my life (outside the classroom) I can attest to the world-building aspects of their economic/social fantasies. I have no trouble seeing Lawrence as such a person, who has discovered that everything doesn't fall into place once that world is built. He's discovering the human costs and finds he must do something about it in a way that doesn't get him killed. A fascinating character and Bradley Whitford is great in the role.

I have no trouble with Serena Joy's character either---she thought she wanted things a certain way and discovers she hates it. A lot of people don't question things until they're personally affected by them; that's Serena's position. She'll make a valuable inside agent, which June sees. Doesn't make Serena more likeable, just a more layered character.

I think it's likely that Aunt Lydia was seriously injured; she seems more erratic and emotionally unstable than before.

That could be. I was thinking that Alzheimer’s might be setting in. Having dealt with it with my father and my mother-in-law, the symptoms are familiar. 

Edited by ferjy
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24 minutes ago, ferjy said:

That could be. I was thinking that Alzheimer’s might be setting in. Having dealt with it with my father and my mother-in-law, the symptoms are familiar. 

It could be Alzheimer's. It could also be that she doesn't like people seeing her look weak. You don't have to be in a dystopia for that. And in this dystopia, a weak woman often gets sent to the colonies.

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On 6/6/2019 at 6:07 PM, 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. 

And, in both instances I was waiting for them to call her out for "reading" the titles of the books she was fetching and punish her severely.  Although that could have been the point too -- show her how meriful they were by allowing her the illegal pleasure of reading.  

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10 hours ago, LordOfLotion said:

It could be Alzheimer's. It could also be that she doesn't like people seeing her look weak. You don't have to be in a dystopia for that. And in this dystopia, a weak woman often gets sent to the colonies.

Actually, that's a good point.  What happens to an Aunt who can no longer perform her role - whether she "retires" (gets too old to work) or had health problems?  I'm assuming there are no assisted living homes in Gilesd.

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17 hours ago, alexvillage said:

I think I liked EM for about 5 minutes when she was in the West Wing. I could never watch Mad Men, hated Top of The Lake and never cared about her. But being "unattractive" would be a plus regarding this show. Handmaids are vessels, nothing more. 

Totally agree that the character personality doesn't come out - at least not in the way I gathered by reading the book - and the same expression for every single emotion. Making her a cursing super hero is a terrible idea. She is a victim after all. She should be more vulnerable and her strength should not have come so quickly. Seriously, June show no fear anymore. All defiance. I like defiance but real fighters are not super humans. 

3 years isn't really "suddenly" to me.

She's always cursed, she curses in the books too.  Hell, if anything would fucking make me curse it's living in Gilead. 😉

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Serena it to me was quite obviously trying to kill her self. Then something made her change her mind. If it were a baptism she would have put her face in the water. She did not. I for one am glad she did not do the star is born ending, because she is by far the most interesting character on the show.

Yes, even more interesting than Lawrence, who I believe is not a psychopath. But he doesn’t want to show all his cards. He wasn’t really being cruel asking June to choose. As even I did not realize until the very end, offering her soldiers.

June could get Waterford in big trouble and he knows it so it makes sense she’d talk to hima and he has a kind of soft spot for her.

re mom and the reading and the walking partner: come ON show. Gilead is only a few years old. Every adult in the world grew up in in time before Gilead. There’s no way those men could possibly believe June has forgotten how to read, what was the point of that? Serena having a mother who is all in on Gilead  only makes sense if this show takes place about 70 years from now.  the thing with the walking partner. Even if she’s young, she went to high school and everything else in the world before Gilead. We know Gilead can’t have gone on that long because her daughter still a child.

aunt Lydia got mean when she couldn’t make it up the steps. Not dementia or concussion just lashing out in embarrassment.

dont know where Cora is but guessing she’s safe.

Edited by lucindabelle
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5 hours ago, Umbelina said:

3 years isn't really "suddenly" to me.

Compared to the book 

Spoiler

Because in the book it wasn't the handmaid telling the tale who "liberated" Gilead

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2 hours ago, alexvillage said:

Compared to the book 

  Hide contents

Because in the book it wasn't the handmaid telling the tale who "liberated" Gilead

No, but

Spoiler

The book DID say Gilead had rebels, and was eventually liberated, and June at least made it as far as that cabin.

We are beyond the book now, I wish we were further beyond it.

Perhaps with Marthas escaping to join the revolution and fighters instead of escaping to go to Canada, and with Nick now about to fight in Chicago, the world will finally expand even more.

Edited by Umbelina
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Dear lord!  Do we need so many close ups of June's face???????  Personally,  I am over June and she can just sit back and suck it at crazy Joe's place.  I'm ready for Serena to become a quiet force and start harnessing her anger and take down Giliead from within.  Joesph's wife?  Maybe he is a loon and she knows things that would put him on the wall so he keeps her drugged/sedated, etc....and close.. OR he is a complicated man that really loves her and there is something wrong with her that would put her on the wall (she's a secret lesbian or bi or has a mental disorder that is frowned upon, or she murdered their only child, etc....) so he plays both sides to keep her safe???????  So did June and Nick just make baby no. 2 or what?  AND I HATE Luke; he's such a whiney baby.

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"

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."

I thought it was to put June in the position in which she had to choose between deliberately disobeying her commander's order, or revealing that she could read the title of the book.  If he's evil, it's to screw with her and rescue her at the last minute, which demonstrates his power.  But since he choses not to hurt her each month, I'm guessing its to look like he's hurting her and manipulating her in front of the other Commanders.  If he appears to be the kind of man who hates women (which his comments about the women indicated) they'd be less likely to suspect him of supporting the resistance.

And I do understand why he would throw away Cora - he'd be pretty pissed that she lied to him, plus he does need to completely trust his staff if he's going to support the resistance in his home.  

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11 hours ago, kitkat343 said:

I thought it was to put June in the position in which she had to choose between deliberately disobeying her commander's order, or revealing that she could read the title of the book.  If he's evil, it's to screw with her and rescue her at the last minute, which demonstrates his power.  But since he choses not to hurt her each month, I'm guessing its to look like he's hurting her and manipulating her in front of the other Commanders.  If he appears to be the kind of man who hates women (which his comments about the women indicated) they'd be less likely to suspect him of supporting the resistance.

I think he wanted to show her that he has the power to do whatever he wants, even if he refuses to rape the handmaids. To me it is still the male dominance position: I can crush you, I could even rape you, but I choose the direction your life will take, including if I want to help your resistance. Mansplaining all around.

Something I guess we will never know, because writers, is if Lawrence has ever done the rape ritual because in the first season we were led to believe (at least I was) that there was some kind of pressure on the commanders to impregnate a handmaid. Or maybe he is the most powerful commander, not only getting a pass on having people coming to him and not participating in the other rituals. 

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He is still pretending he participates in "the Ceremony" though.  Remember that scene with Aunt Lydia asking how it all went?

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1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

He is still pretending he participates in "the Ceremony" though.  Remember that scene with Aunt Lydia asking how it all went?

Haha, I guess my brain finds the show more boring than I am consciously aware. I don't remember that.

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16 minutes ago, alexvillage said:

Haha, I guess my brain finds the show more boring than I am consciously aware. I don't remember that.

She mentioned June's "time last week" and asked how it went, the wife had the vapors and he said something like "aces!" with two thumbs up.  (that last part is possibly wrong, but the feel was the same 😉 )

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On 6/6/2019 at 6:25 PM, Umbelina said:

Lawrence asking her to get the book was a dangerous game.  She is not supposed to know how to read anymore. 

Are we to believe these men actually think that all these educated, adult women have forgotten how to read in a few short years? Their daughters won't be able to read, but they certainly can. I have no idea if Lawrence is a psychopath or if he's just so cerebral he sees other people as not real, like chess pieces, there for his manipulation and amusement?

I have to say I'm really bored with this snail's pace, scenes dragged out with endless close-ups that seem to last forever and the droning, ominous music is distracting and irritating when conversations are taking place, like June and Lawrence's.   If the slo-mo and close-ups were eliminated or just cut down, I think each ep would top out at 30 minutes.

On 6/6/2019 at 11:45 PM, tennisgurl said:

I really dont get why this show is so obsessed with treating Serena as some tragic sympathetic character, at least this way.

I don't get it either, especially thinking of the sadism, degradation, and cruelty she heaped on June,  just because she could or she was in a bad mood. She had no qualms about tearing a baby from its mother in a way most people wouldn't do with animals.  She has no sympathy for anyone else and I lost sympathy for her when she was in Toronto and was offered sanctuary, but turned it down to go back to... what? Subjugation? Humiliation? To hold down women during her slimebucket, pisspot hubby's monthly raping? Why would she come back? She can't be that brainwashed so quickly. It's not as though these women were born into this scenario.

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Thinking more about this ep (and I saw it only tonight): If Lawrence isn't some kind of psycho, then I think he merely has contempt for most of humanity and maybe rightly feels that none are his intellectual equals. He's bored with it all, bored with stupid people, so I think maybe he engineers escapes because it's exciting, an adventure,  a rush, something that makes him feel alive, maybe even make him feel young, as his old rock songs might.

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What was up with the very young Martha? She looked like a teenager. Wouldn't she be assigned as a handmaid or econowife?

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6 hours ago, marinw said:

What was up with the very young Martha? She looked like a teenager. Wouldn't she be assigned as a handmaid or econowife?

Not if she's barren, or had her tubes tied, or whatever.

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15 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Not if she's barren, or had her tubes tied, or whatever.

That's what I was thinking - that it's known she's not a viable carrier.

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So how come Serena's mom, a total true believer, was able to live in a big house and be Gilead high society but we never saw any sign of Serena's dad? 

Also what is up with Gilead's stupid kindergarten style everyone is a commander command structure? Doesn't that get super confusing that Nick has the same title as Lawrence?

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I'm extremely confused by the scenes with Serena's mother. They didn't seem to be set in Gilead at all.

First off, how is she able to have her own property? Isn't that against the laws now? She doesn't dress like the other women. She hosts events where men and women mix freely. Also, has Jesus Christ ever been referenced to in any of the other Gilead-style prayers before?

It was all so very strange. Maybe it could have worked as some kind of a flashback to Serena's youth, which would help to explain how she became the person she is. As a part of the present-day storyline, it felt really out of place. 

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Serena’s mom was conceived to forward Serena’s storyline, because frankly, as you guys have so well pointed out, it’s beyond unbelievable such a woman could even exist in Gilead, not without an ass bunch of backstory and build up towards her appearance, which of course we’ve not been given. 

She was just presented to us like “here, Serena has a ‘mean mommy’, don’t you feel sorry for her?”. She was basically Serena’s “wolf in the woods”. Except the wolf was actually more believable honestly, it wasn’t a elder female in Gilead. 

So far I feel as if Gilead is not a static place, one minute it’s a heartless, unforgiving, totalitarian society, and then the next you get the idea that fact gets in the way of the writers so they just do away with that harsh reality and they write whatever plot they have in mind, even if it totally undermines the world the very plot is meant to be based on and around. 

Atwood made sure to balance the Gilead she wrote about to allow some leeway within this hell of a prison without removing the clear rules and risks established in it, this show just seems incapable of doing that. 

If anything, why didn’t they just give her a dad?

That way it’d make so much more sense for her to have a parent with such freedom, cause dude privilege of course, and it could have established the sort of relationship with men Serena had growing up.

It would have laid a lot of groundwork for her past if her father was an incredibly devout man who had long instilled in her, her role as a godly woman in life and marriage, blah blah. He could have been a cult leader even, maybe one of the founders of a group that heavily supported the Sons of Jacob. 

Edited by AnswersWanted
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I have to say, I genuinely liked the twist where picking give people to be Marthas got re-framed from "decide which five people to save from the colonies" to "draft five people to fight in the resistance, and maybe save everyone." I didn't see that coming, and I thought it was a powerful moment. It turned a helpless, depressing situation into something hopeful, with a purpose.

On 6/5/2019 at 8:26 AM, jcin617 said:

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.

I think it's always both with him. It's hard to get a read on his character but I think he's playing the wrong of Falsely-Friendly-Seeming-Sexist. He doesn't want to hit anyone or rape anyone, and he will tolerate letting the women around him do what they want up to a certain point, so it's tempting to mistake him for an ally. But he's also not willing to let go of his position of power and treat women as equals.

It's the kind of sexism where guys say, "I think men should be the head of the family but they should be nice to their families." It's holding onto a dominant position, and playing dumb little games to test or prove your dominance, without intending to go super dark and evil.

The book thing struck me as being a dumb game or a bit of a performance -- the part that really cemented for me that he has animosity toward women in his heart was the disgust in his voice when he told her she stole someone else's husband.

On 6/6/2019 at 1:23 AM, Miles said:

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.

From a writing perspective, I agree with you 100% but, from a TV production perspective, I think it's often more difficult. People have contracts and, even when they don't, if someone's nice to work with, you don't want to suddenly fire them from a job they like.

It's easier on a show like Game of Thrones where there's a roadmap extending far into the future and you can say at the outset "We're hiring you for two seasons, and then your character's dead." In situations where the writers are making it up as they go, you reach a point each season (or at each contract renewal) where you have to decide whether people will still have jobs next year, and I can understand why that would suck, and why you would try to keep them on.

On 6/6/2019 at 6:25 PM, Umbelina said:

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.

This dynamic confused me.

At the macro level, I think the essence of his insult was that he led up to it as if he were about to ask her opinion or advice about what books to consult on gender theory, but then he just asked her to physically bring him a book. (I'm not familiar enough with Descent of Man to analyze what it means that he chose that one but it seems to dovetail with his "women are fine, men are better" philosophy).

At a completely different level, there is this awkward question of reading. I don't think picking up the book he asked her to pick up and handing it to him would necessarily be considered "women reading" for the purposes of their rule against women reading, and I don't think anyone would seriously expect her to pretend she forgot how to read. But I think he made the situation tense for everyone by playing with an edge case -- a situation where she was told to do something she shouldn't have been told to do but where there wasn't a clear prohibition against it. It seemed like he just wanted everyone to be uncomfortable.

On 6/7/2019 at 6:04 PM, kittykat said:

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. 

I'm confused about why she feels comfortable telling him all the details of the crimes she's involved in but not saying, "Hey, what's your deal?"

Also, I feel like his Martha talked to him a lot more directly last season and now the dynamic has changed so that people are more afraid of him.

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I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned previously, but one of the Martha's specifically said that if the commanders want a meeting with Commander Lawrence, they have to come to him. This automatically sets the dynamic that Commander Lawrence is in a higher position of power than the other commanders.

The other bit of context we can get from previous episodes is about June and how the other commanders know she is a troublemaker. I remember the episode where the commanders went skeet shooting, Commander Waterford was the butt of jokes because it appeared he couldn't get his house in order and let the women run the show.

My theory about Commander Lawrence is his treatment of June in front of the other Commanders serves two purposes:

1. So he can prove to the other commanders that he is worthy of his position of power amongst them by being able to tame June who is a known troublemaker.

2. So June does not become too familiar with him, and tried to assert a position of power over him in front of an audience.

However, I'm not sure if his underlying motivation is simply to be in charge of everyone male and female because he's already stated that he thinks he's pretty much smarter than everyone else. Or it could be that he's trying to teach June how to strategize for the long-term in order to be able to survive Gilead.

Because the show is already full of so many monsters, I'd like to think it's for the latter reason and not the former.

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5 hours ago, Catfi9ht said:

I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned previously, but one of the Martha's specifically said that if the commanders want a meeting with Commander Lawrence, they have to come to him. This automatically sets the dynamic that Commander Lawrence is in a higher position of power than the other commanders.

Which again makes me wonder why they are all called commander. It's so dumb. I mean how hard would it be to call some of them Lieutenant-Commander. And call the most senior one Supreme commander or something. Plus if every lady in a green dress is the wife of a commander, how many commanders are there?

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On 6/12/2019 at 12:43 AM, lucindabelle said:

...

re mom and the reading and the walking partner: come ON show. Gilead is only a few years old. Every adult in the world grew up in in time before Gilead. There’s no way those men could possibly believe June has forgotten how to read, what was the point of that? Serena having a mother who is all in on Gilead  only makes sense if this show takes place about 70 years from now.  the thing with the walking partner. Even if she’s young, she went to high school and everything else in the world before Gilead. We know Gilead can’t have gone on that long because her daughter still a child.

...

THANK  YOU!! I don’t get it?!

Also, can someone remind me what happened to Serena’s finger(s)?

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51 minutes ago, DrSparkles said:

THANK  YOU!! I don’t get it?!

Also, can someone remind me what happened to Serena’s finger(s)?

(Not directed at you) 

No one expected the Handmaids to have forgotten how to read. That exercise was a POWER TRIP to remind them that they are forbidden to do so. Similar games were played with slaves, who were illegally taught to read so they could do the jobs their owners wanted them to do, but routinely punished for knowing how or reminded that they could be punished for reading. The analogy was clear to me.

Serena’s finger was cut off for reading the Bible in a council meeting (she was petitioning for all children to be allowed to read the Bible). 

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10 hours ago, Kel Varnsen said:

Which again makes me wonder why they are all called commander. It's so dumb. I mean how hard would it be to call some of them Lieutenant-Commander. And call the most senior one Supreme commander or something. Plus if every lady in a green dress is the wife of a commander, how many commanders are there?

I disagree. I'd rather learn about the people and society through context, conversation, and nuance. To me, that makes the world-building more realistic because they're not constantly giving you Gilead 101 lessons but are instead inviting you watch moments in time about their society as a whole and history as it occurs.

We learned:

1. Waterford was demoted and Nick was promoted.

2. Lawrence is such a central figure that he can require the other Commanders to visit him whenever they need to meet.

3. I believe this was the first time we saw the military-style coats the Commanders wore which were slightly different based on rank. (Waterford had a black shoulder cord while other Commanders had white ones. I think I saw different lengths as well, but maybe those were tricks played by camera angles.)

I believe the Commanders are basically ceremonial in title only similar to other totalitarian countries today because we've seen Commanders with a variety of backgrounds and talents other than military ones. I don't think the number is necessarily reflective of army size but most likely are the original followers of the cult who were rewarded based on their actions during the coup.  

To expand on my assumption above, the more Commanders I see the more frightening the story becomes for me because we get to see the sheer numbers of these "true believers" rather than those who were just co-opted into serving Gilead after the coup.

Edited by Catfi9ht · Reason: Originally thought Waterford had no cord on his jacket but screenshots show he has a black one.
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On 6/5/2019 at 1:12 PM, AnswersWanted said:

They honestly want me to believe that June's face isn't recognizable by every single aunt and guard and soldier in Gilead at this point? 

I don’t know. I kind of get this in a society where everybody had been reduced to a role, especially women. Men don’t see people; they see red dresses, teal dresses, aprons and headscarves. Walk in pairs, keep your head down, don’t speak, it’s somewhat plausible-ish. At least in the spectrum of implausible stuff the writers and producers have served up.

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10 hours ago, EssieMay said:

I don’t know. I kind of get this in a society where everybody had been reduced to a role, especially women. Men don’t see people; they see red dresses, teal dresses, aprons and headscarves. Walk in pairs, keep your head down, don’t speak, it’s somewhat plausible-ish. At least in the spectrum of implausible stuff the writers and producers have served up.

To your point, that’s why I am almost certain that the Gilead leadership would keep a troublesome female like June on their radar at all times.

June, a mere walking womb of a woman, is basically making a fool of Gilead leadership at this point.

Her attempts at escape, her going over to Hannah’s new home, and her openly rebellious nature wouldn’t just go unnoticed by this bunch the way the show has written it, not the same Gilead regime they established in season 1 especially. 

She would have eyes on her movements, literal and physical, at all times, if she wasn’t locked away 24/7 in a cage somewhere. They did show that they are willing to restrain in chains even a pregnant handmaid, so it isn’t as if her womb would go to waste. 

I just found it more of pure plot convenience that June can continually lurk about at will, no face coverings or any sort of barrier between her and the patrols who supposedly are checking ids, and she’s this lone invisible figure. It’s too kitschy for me to buy into. 

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On 6/18/2019 at 10:58 PM, Catfi9ht said:

I disagree. I'd rather learn about the people and society through context, conversation, and nuance. To me, that makes the world-building more realistic because they're not constantly giving you Gilead 101 lessons but are instead inviting you watch moments in time about their society as a whole and history as it occurs.

We learned:

1. Waterford was demoted and Nick was promoted.

2. Lawrence is such a central figure that he can require the other Commanders to visit him whenever they need to meet.

3. I believe this was the first time we saw the military-style coats the Commanders wore which were slightly different based on rank. (Waterford had a black shoulder cord while other Commanders had white ones. I think I saw different lengths as well, but maybe those were tricks played by camera angles.)

I believe the Commanders are basically ceremonial in title only similar to other totalitarian countries today because we've seen Commanders with a variety of backgrounds and talents other than military ones. I don't think the number is necessarily reflective of army size but most likely are the original followers of the cult who were rewarded based on their actions during the coup.  

To expand on my assumption above, the more Commanders I see the more frightening the story becomes for me because we get to see the sheer numbers of these "true believers" rather than those who were just co-opted into serving Gilead after the coup.

It still doesn't make much sense to me. I mean I get that they would reduce women to very basic titles like Martha or Aunt or Handmaid. But I have a hard time believing that these wanna be tough guys wouldn't come up with some sort of rank structure to instantly prove who is more important. Especially with how many of them there are, you can't really expect every commander to remember the level of each other commander if they all have the same title. Plus who is exactly in charge like a president or something? Lawrence seems like a big shot but he doesn't seem to leave the house much so it would hard for me to buy that he was the one calling shots and getting shit done.

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I liked this episode and the June/Lawrence dynamic is interesting. From what we saw in this episode, he's pretty much as misogynistic as anyone in Gilead, give or take a few quirks. I liked the detail of him calling Emily "unnaturally smart". Presumably the silent next bit of that was "for a woman".

I'm not wild about all of the writing for June in this episode though. We know June is observant and that she's seen Lawrence show concern for his wife on multiple occasions so it felt off that she would try and seduce him.

Also, if he was motivated by any sort of sexual attraction to June, it seems highly likely he would not be skipping the Ceremony. This thought also made me worried for June. If he's obsessed with people being useful, June's main use to Gilead is the fact she can have children but Lawrence isn't doing the Ceremony and if she was to sleep with someone else and get caught, that's meant to be punishable by death (or apparently some light chores if you are June in Gilead).

So if I was June I would be worried I was being used to stress test how sustainable Gilead is. The fact Lawrence talks about safety valves suggests he wants the society to endure.

With the Waterfords, some people wondered why Serena's Mum had the house. All I can think is that either we didn't see her husband or she has some reflected status as Serena's mother/a widow. That may be why she holds the prayer circles and has so many friends; she needs to be useful to maintain her position as well. It may also have played into her advice to Serena, which seemed to have strong undertones of disgust. After all Serena helped create the world where she needs Fred to survive (divorce definitely does not seem like it would be an option in Gilead).

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9 minutes ago, Beatriceblake said:

All I can think is that either we didn't see her husband or she has some reflected status as Serena's mother/a widow.

I wondered how mother SJ has that house. Have we ever heard anything about SJ's father? 

My co-worker thinks that Cmdr. Lawrence's wife has cancer (no treatments are "kosher" enough for Gilead, too modern for them, disease is just G-ds way, etc...) and bringing a baby in to that house would be ridiculous at his age let alone not having his wife to help raise the baby and that is why he does not have the ceremony.  I have to agree with that scenario so what will happen to June if she does not have a baby at her current post?

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14 hours ago, Baltimore Betty said:

I wondered how mother SJ has that house. Have we ever heard anything about SJ's father? 

My co-worker thinks that Cmdr. Lawrence's wife has cancer (no treatments are "kosher" enough for Gilead, too modern for them, disease is just G-ds way, etc...) and bringing a baby in to that house would be ridiculous at his age let alone not having his wife to help raise the baby and that is why he does not have the ceremony.  I have to agree with that scenario so what will happen to June if she does not have a baby at her current post?

In the book Offred mentions that if a handmaid successfully delivers a healthy child, their reward is that they won't be sent to the Colonies but it is by no means clear if this is actually true or not given that resources are scarce and it's not obvious what would happen to them in terms of Gilead's society (would they be sent to work as Marthas or allowed to become Econowives).

With the book, Atwood's thing was that none of those things that happen to women in the novel was made up (the Argentinian military dictatorship stole children from dissidents and then executed the dissidents.)

June's status in the show is interesting because although she has delivered a healthy baby, Gilead didn't end up hanging onto the child and also June has been near to or actively caught doing several things the regime dislikes.

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