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S03.E08: Unfit

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15 hours ago, The Mighty Peanut said:

Rejected by religious widower-->have someone else's children removed-->beat women with cattle prods until they submit to ritualized rape. Do everything possible to facilitate healthy childbirth-->don't even try CPR with stillborns. 

Perfect.

11 hours ago, Umbelina said:

it had absolutely nothing to do with "not getting dick." 

I disagree. It had everything to do with that.  Lydia's character arc now depends on her getting dick, because when you flip the story (Lydia gets laid) she does not end up becoming who she is. 

Which means the only choice that will save Lydia from becoming a monster is a man sexually acccepting her. 

And because this is backstory explaining how Lydia becomes that monster,  there is only one choice Lydia can make here: the negative choice that leads Lydia to becoming a torturer of women.  And that,  in turn,  means her whole character evolution now depends on male agency (what I do with my dick) not female agency (the choices open to me depend on me, not what he does with his dick). She's been reduced to a one dimensional character - not even two - just a chalk body outline.

And it's beyond enraging, because these are toxic ideas preached by men since the dawn of time -  from the bible to Knox to Quiverfullers - and this backstory VALIDATES those reductive concepts. If they wanted carnality to be the shame trigger that causes Lydia to turn on her female self,  great. But leave out the dick;  let her explore all sorts of independent pleasures  (as a reflection of how Gilead destroys the same in women) from the intellectual to the emotional to the physical to the sexual - eventually touching her own body in a way that causes her to feel both lust and shame as the turning point  - let her explore all the things this burgeoning oppressive world is telling women they are not allowed to have. 

And then have her retreat into patriarchy - as many women have done, in the face of how powerful their own desires and needs and hungers are, how terrifying those things can feel once uncovered - let her become who she is because of herself, not because she was not blessed with the mercy of dick, the One True Road to salvation. 

Fuck this show.  They created the Bechdeldick test, and Lydia passed it.  Hooray.

Edited by film noire
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@film noire

We just see it differently, though I admit, I was quite disturbed by Dowd's comment in the "Inside the Episode."

It's an interesting question though.

If he had fucked her, would she have been kinder?  Would the fact that she'd sinned have not bothered her?  (sins of envy, lust, fornication, seduction, and whatever else)  Would her life course have changed?

I think there are certainly arguments to be made that it's possible.  Then again, only if he'd married her, because she WAS religious, and living in an increasingly fanatically religious sick theocracy.

For me though?  I think she would have still had regrets, and felt that she'd "thrown herself into sin" prompted by that adulterous bad mother who seduced her with make up and attention.  I think she would have still be embarrassed and ashamed, but not HUMILIATED.

Without the humiliation she felt, would she still be on course to become Aunt Lydia who hates all sin as defined by her new government?  Would she be a "Wife" now?  Was that guy powerful enough to be part of the Commanders, or would she now be an "Econowife?"  I doubt that, since she's well beyond childbearing years.  More likely, she'd still be an Aunt or a Martha, or shipped off to the colonies as useless.

Still, I can believe that she equates her SIN as deserving as her punishment (humiliation, pain) and decides to go on a war against SIN, beginning with punishing that incompetent mother who led her down that path and ending with the horrors she willingly deals out to "her girls.'

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15 minutes ago, tennisgurl said:

Oh I’m sorry, I thought I had clicked on The Handmaidens Tale on Hulu, not that awful direct to DVD sequel to Mean Girls. My bad!

I know these writers are horrible, 🤑, but are they really so completely awful that we are now rooting against Handmaids who are trying to save themselves by teaching a snitch, who just got two people killed, and could cause their own deaths or extreme pain by snitching on them at any moment a lesson?

That was straight up "snitch and we will shun you" and they had no idea that being taught that vital lesson would cause OfMathew to lose her mind completely and start trying to kill people.

This isn't high school where snitching might mean "stay after school" this is Gilead, where a snitch is a threat to their very lives and limbs, and they, as they should?  Dealt with that danger.

All of the OfMathews need to be eliminated, for true revolution and the eventual destruction of Gilead can happen.  In WWII?  They called them "collaborators" and they were shunned/punished/dealt with as well.

If I were a handmaiden?  I'd be thrilled she was eliminated. 

Edited by Umbelina
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1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

I know these writers are horrible, 🤑, but are they really so completely awful that we are now rooting against Handmaids who are trying to save themselves by teaching a snitch, who just got two people killed, and could cause their own deaths or extreme pain by snitching on them at any moment a lesson?

That was straight up "snitch and we will shun you" and they had no idea that being taught that vital lesson would cause OfMathew to lose her mind completely and start trying to kill people.

This isn't high school where snitching might mean "stay after school" this is Gilead, where a snitch is a threat to their very lives and limbs, and they, as they should?  Dealt with that danger.

All of the OfMathews need to be eliminated, for true revolution and the eventual destruction of Gilead can happen.  In WWII?  They called them "collaborators" and they were shunned/punished/dealt with as well.

If I were a handmaiden?  I'd be thrilled she was eliminated. 

Unfortunately, yeah, that's pretty much where I'm getting to this season. 

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7 minutes ago, mamadrama said:

Unfortunately, yeah, that's pretty much where I'm getting to this season. 

I get it, I was there last season and the two episodes before this one.

This one though?  Held up for me.

  • I'm glad the snitch was dealt with.
  • I'm glad June is done with playing by ANY rules.
  • I'm glad Hannah is off the table so June can go full revolutionary don't give a fuck.
  • I believe that event, along with the Theocracy gaining ground pushed Aunt Lydia into straight up monster, self righteous fanatic.

There is also the understandable side of "these writers have sucked so long I won't even bother to give them a chance" frustration, which I recognize.  This episode though?  Did work for me, but perhaps that's because until I read it here?  I never saw this as frustration over not getting "dick."  From the jump this was humiliation for "sinning" to me, and Lydia being pushed further into thinking (what was going to be) Gilead was the way to go, and into her true believer self.

She's a crazy, mean, nasty woman, and Gilead gave her a place that needed those qualities, much like many others throughout history who do unspeakable things to those under their power. 

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4 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

I get it, I was there last season and the two episodes before this one.

This one though?  Held up for me.

  • I'm glad the snitch was dealt with.
  • I'm glad June is done with playing by ANY rules.
  • I'm glad Hannah is off the table so June can go full revolutionary don't give a fuck.
  • I believe that event, along with the Theocracy gaining ground pushed Aunt Lydia into straight up monster, self righteous fanatic.

There is also the understandable side of "these writers have sucked so long I won't even bother to give them a chance" frustration, which I recognize.  This episode though?  Did work for me, but perhaps that's because until I read it here?  I never saw this as frustration over not getting "dick."  From the jump this was humiliation for "sinning" to me, and Lydia being pushed further into thinking (what was going to be) Gilead was the way to go, and into her true believer self.

She's a crazy, mean, nasty woman, and Gilead gave her a place that needed those qualities, much like many others throughout history who do unspeakable things to those under their power. 

I get what you're saying, but people are going to draw their own conclusions from what they saw. My conclusion was that the episode was contrived, lacked logic, and (worse) verged on boring. When my reaction to someone getting shot, someone being bullied, and someone beating up a mirror in frustration is to laugh then I have a real problem with the material. 

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It's actually possible that in her mind, OfMatthew really believed she was saving June from certain death that awaited her once her ill-conceived plan to meet her daughter fell apart. Because, make no mistake, that's exactly what would happen if June wasn't the protagonist of the show - she would have been immediately discovered and then severely punished. You can't really blame the poor woman for not knowing about June's plot armour. 

At the same time, you can't really blame June for not being able to see that perspective considering her state of mind at the time. Although, one may wonder how June is able to garner at least some sympathy for the people who raped, beat and tortured her and are ACTUALLY responsible for the kidnapping of her daughter, while absolutely none for the person who might have been trying to help her. Still, it's at least somewhat understandable.

It's the behaviour of other handmaids that I really take issue with. Yeah, no one likes a snitch. Also, no one likes having their body parts cut off. We all know how much pregnancy is revered in Gilead, to the point of fetishization. Bullying a pregnant handmaid, in public? Calling her names, shoving her, spitting into her drink? All that for doing something that's actually looked upon very favourably by the authorities? That's a pretty huge no-no. Aunt Lydia would have none of it and she'd find a way to make them pay for that. They HAD to be aware of what. That they were able to get away with it (except poor Janine, the only one who didn't take part in it *sigh*) is an absurd plot contrivance. 

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I'm an equal opportunity hater, heh, I can hate all aspects to a story that is a complete failure no matter which way I look at it. 

I am also more than willing to take the show at face value, and right now, imo, its' face value is that it is a god forsaken shit pit of pointless plots, stagnant storylines, and character assassination, when they even bother to focus on actually writing characters and not just putting people places to do things that will either shock the audience or other.

 I read a review about this episode that basically said the show gave us a great reason to not care about her or her reasons for being who she is thanks to such a poorly executed story, and I could not agree more. 

This back story did not humanize her or make her further complex and interesting, it made her a cheap caricature.

  I see no need why they would even what to have Lydia's backstory hing on such a stereotypical path to darkness, especially for a female.

There was no need to involve a man at all with her.

Regardless of it was a failed romance or spurred sex tryst, whatever the case may be, Lydia could have and should have been written as a person first, not a reeved up libido gone wild.

There was so much more she could have been than a plain Jane religious pollyanna that took one failed night of sexual awakening and let it become the main motivator for her descent into darkness.

They might as well have just made her a staunch virgin who always viewed loose, immoral women as little she devils who used their lustful bodies to defy god and brought his wrath upon the US, cursing it with infertility and pollution. 

This show continually wants to settle for telling a story that's severely lacking in creative, inspiration, and motivation. 

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8 hours ago, huskerj12 said:

It's also very difficult for a show based on a sick horrific alternate reality specifically built to keep the protagonist down, to make you dislike the protagonist. An unbelievable feat, really!

Yes 100%. I enjoy when a protagonist is turned into an antagonist when it’s done very well showing a gradual flip and so it seems logical ala Breaking Bad. However, with THT - number 1, if she is indeed becoming the antagonist there’s been no build up and number 2, to make that creative decision in this type of narrative, where it is women being systematically raped and tortured, to have one those women turn on her sisters like that is incredibly distasteful and focusing the attention away from the subjugation of women. 

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22 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

I find Gilead's whole baby regime to be baffling.  It's just so strange to me that a society that is clearly insane to get healthy babies, purposefully takes steps to make it harder for a woman to give birth to a healthy baby.  I mean, it isn't like the bizarro birthing ritual couldn't be done in a hospital with a medical team on standby should there be complications.     

And I know it’s been talked about so much before but to reduce the changes of pregnancy to one rape a month based on the woman’s cycle is ridiculous. They could be doing ultrasounds to see when they are about to ovulate and then artificially inseminate them for 3 days to increases the chances, they don’t have to do IVF. Anyway I know that’s a tangent and anyone else who has had reproductive help as I have is probably thinking it each time babies are mentioned on THT as well !

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2 minutes ago, Save Yourself said:

Yes 100%. I enjoy when a protagonist is turned into an antagonist when it’s done very well showing a gradual flip and so it seems logical ala Breaking Bad. However, with THT - number 1, if she is indeed becoming the antagonist there’s been no build up and number 2, to make that creative decision in this type of narrative, where it is women being systematically raped and tortured, to have one those women turn on her sisters like that is incredibly distasteful and focusing the attention away from the subjugation of women. 

Do you mean "no build up" to June finally throwing all cares to the wind?  Or someone else?  June's has been building up for a very long time, longer than Moira's or Emily's which were both cheered here.  Losing Hannah again is more than enough of a final straw for me.  ???

There have always been snitches, and snitches are always dealt with one way or another.  Whether it be during war, or in prison (and these women are essentially in prison.) 

I feel like Gilead's constant brainwashing of OfMathew just worked, call it Stockholm Syndrome or just being beaten down...it worked on her.  She bought into it all, and got praise for snitching, and probably snitched before.  Aunt Lydia put her with June to spy on her, and I'm sure she's garnered a lot of praise and "love" from Aunt Lydia for popping out so many kids.  Praise she could have desperately needed, along with the safety of being a "favorite."

Nonetheless, she was a snitch, and dangerous to the resistance, and dangerous to the other handmaids.  Near the end, it seemed as if she realized what she had become, and she was also so terrified for her "daughter" that she went nuts and aimed that gun.  In the end, she aimed it at the right person.

I hope we get more backstory for her.  She was interesting.

2 minutes ago, Save Yourself said:

And I know it’s been talked about so much before but to reduce the changes of pregnancy to one rape a month based on the woman’s cycle is ridiculous. They could be doing ultrasounds to see when they are about to ovulate and then artificially inseminate them for 3 days to increases the chances, they don’t have to do IVF. Anyway I know that’s a tangent and anyone else who has had reproductive help as I have is probably thinking it each time babies are mentioned on THT as well !

I was shocked they even had an ultrasound machine! 

Since the idiot showrunners put that in?  WHY wouldn't they use it?

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15 minutes ago, AnswersWanted said:

its' face value is that it is a god forsaken shit pit of pointless plots, stagnant storylines, and character assassination, when they even bother to focus on actually writing characters and not just putting people places to do things that will either shock the audience or other.

Don’t be shy @AnswersWanted.  How do you really feel?

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I really liked this episode. I thought Dowd did great work, I enjoyed seeing more of her. I was disturbed that there seemed to be no effort to save Ofmatthew’s baby. Because that would seem more important in this world than Ofmatthew herself. By the way, the actress who played Ofmatthew was luminescent. Very lovely.    

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31 minutes ago, Joana said:

It's actually possible that in her mind, OfMatthew really believed she was saving June from certain death that awaited her once her ill-conceived plan to meet her daughter fell apart. Because, make no mistake, that's exactly what would happen if June wasn't the protagonist of the show - she would have been immediately discovered and then severely punished. You can't really blame the poor woman for not knowing about June's plot armour. 

There's also the fact that she had been kind to June in the grocery store, and didn't she admit that she wasn't happy about being pregnant again? She's trying to survive there, just like the rest of them. And June knew better than to do certain things in front of her, especially when it came to cute little threats about pushing her walking partner in front of a car. 

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4 minutes ago, Anela said:

There's also the fact that she had been kind to June in the grocery store, and didn't she admit that she wasn't happy about being pregnant again? She's trying to survive there, just like the rest of them. And June knew better than to do certain things in front of her, especially when it came to cute little threats about pushing her walking partner in front of a car. 

Actually, I think it was June who was kind to her, comforting her, in spite of everything.

Then, she showed her true colors and got that Martha and the guard hung by snitching.  Two people died so she could be praised.

She's either a flat out selfish bitch, or she's brainwashed.  I'd rather think she was brainwashed.  Trying to survive by putting others in danger while snitching and colluding with the oppressors is not admirable.  Ever.

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: clarity
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7 hours ago, Umbelina said:
12 hours ago, Joana said:

I saw THIS incident as the shameful thing that pushed her over into fanatically religious.  She hung out with a sinner, was corrupted by that sinner, then sinned herself trying for fornication, already made with "lust" and probably throw a little "envy" and who knows what else into her transgressions.

It changed her, and it had absolutely nothing to do with "not getting dick."  It had to do with humiliation and sin and starting down "the devil's path" by becoming friendly with an adulterous cocktail waitress, and letting that woman "paint her face" and send her out to sin.

Her sins, and associating with a sinner happily, led to pain and shame and despair.  Never again would she stray from the strict word of the bible, as she, and the "new Gileadeans" interpret it.

This.⬆️

Yeah, it looks on the surface like she's flipping out b/c of rejection but that's not what's happening. He didn't truly reject her. Just requested a delay and said he wanted to see her again. It's about self loathing at what she thinks is imperfection. She allowed herself to relax and open up and be human and then had shame for it. That's why she's smashing the mirror. It's an act of self rejection. She's smashing her own image in it. Now,  I'm just like 'why does she hate herself'? 

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21 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Actually, I think it was June who was kind to her, comforting her, in spite of everything.

Then, she showed her true colors and got that Martha and the guard hung by snitching.  Two people died so she could be praised.

She's either a flat out selfish bitch, or she's brainwashed.  I'd rather think she was brainwashed.  Trying to survive by putting others in danger while snitching and colluding with the oppressors is not admirable.  Ever.

I thought she told her that she was glad her baby was okay, and safe in Canada, and seemed like she wished that her baby could also be safe, instead of being born where he/she will be. 

I haven't watched this episode. I was thinking of when she was in the grocery store with her, and June walks off looking all smug, until the police come for her. June wasn't smart when dealing with OfMatthew before, as I mentioned, and what if her true colours were wishing that her baby could be born outside of Gilead? Only for her to snap back to reality, and do what was expected of her? I never said she was admirable, but neither is June when she's getting other people murdered. But I'm supposed to accept it from her, because she's the main character. 

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3 minutes ago, Anela said:

I thought she told her that she was glad her baby was okay, and safe in Canada, and seemed like she wished that her baby could also be safe, instead of being born where he/she will be. 

I haven't watched this episode. I was thinking of when she was in the grocery store with her, and June walks off looking all smug, until the police come for her. She wasn't smart when dealing with OfMatthew before, as I mentioned, and what if her true colours were wishing that her baby could be born outside of Gilead? Only for her to snap back to reality, and do what was expected of her? I never said she was admirable, but neither is June when she's getting other people murdered. But I'm supposed to accept it from her, because she's the main character. 

June didn't get other people murdered.

Gilead did.  OfMathew did by being a despicable snitch and colluding with Gilead.

That Martha didn't have to show up at the store.  She didn't need to give the Guard's name either.  She wanted to.  She's obviously been a member of the resistance for a while, or she would never have agreed to let June meet Hannah that first time.

ETA June comforted OfMathew when she was stricken in the store, told her to breathe, listened to her worries.  If you didn't watch, there is no way to know that.  June was kind to her even though she didn't trust her.

Edited by Umbelina

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On 7/10/2019 at 1:22 AM, bluestocking said:

I think June actually gave Ofmatthew a little nod when she aimed the gun at her, almost as if to say 'go ahead and shoot me.' Did I just imagine that?

No, you didn't. She doesn't care anymore. Like a kamikaze. 

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I'm trying very hard not to hate June.  She is, afterall, a victim.  She is, like all others, trying to figure out how to survive this world.  She has, in the past 5 years (or so) experienced multiple episodes of major emotional and physical trauma.  She has every right to be angry and make some colossal mistakes.  She is not yet a survivor, but she clearly does not come across as a sympathetic victim.  So I am not sure how to react to her because when you consider all that she had had to endure, why am I expecting her to be careful, thoughtful, pragmatic, and likeable?  Why do our female leads have to be likeable?  If this was flipped and this was a man, would we cheer when he attacked the male version of OfMatthew?  Would we love him for verbally and physically dishing it out to his oppressor, in his face, Jack Bauer style?  Would we cry at him desperately running along the perimeter of a schoolyard just to hear his daughter voice?  Or would we be pissed off that he was being careless, getting people killed, and annoyed at his invincibility?  

So yes, with that in mind I'm trying to be patient with the character of June.

However, if I thought for one moment that she was being written this way with intent and a nod to all that had happened in her recent life, then perhaps it would make more sense.  But right now the writers are just being downright sloppy.  And Moss's interpretation is suddenly so one-dimensional (is that a word?).  Is it because of the writing?  Who is directing her?  Where are the layers and nuances of June? Is Moss doing her best with crappy material or is she being directed to "be angry!!!" and therefore she can't give us her best work?  I don't love Elizabeth Moss but I do think she is better than this.

I stand by my earlier statements about the scope being too narrowed through June.  Yes the story is about June, it is her tale, but somehow it is now too narrow.  I can't figure out how else to describe it.

And as for Aunt Lydia...insert giant eyeroll.  I mean, that was some seriously dumb elementary shit.  Girl gets rejected and becomes evil?  I felt like I was watching that old BH90210 spring dance episode where Andrea is feeling jilted and sorry for herself and daydreams about attacking her classmates at the dance with a chainsaw.  

What I wanted to know?  How did Lydia become involved with the Sons of Jacob?  How did she become Supreme Aunt around these parts?  I'm assuming she didn't answer the ad in the Gilead Times.  How did she grow to hate herself so much?  At what point did her religious indoctrination begin?  And how do you mentally go from an "I'm not ready for sex" rejection to "I will torture hundreds of younger women who clearly have gotten laid in their lives because they have had children."  I mean...that's a stretch by any psycho means.

And to the poster who commented about Alma, yes!  I want more Alma!  She is clearly smart, part of the resistance, has a certain ability to get information from her commander, and better informed than June.  Why can't we have more of her with June?  I don't need her in place of June, but why not with June?

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5 minutes ago, BrindaWalsh said:

What I wanted to know?  How did Lydia become involved with the Sons of Jacob?  How did she become Supreme Aunt around these parts?  I'm assuming she didn't answer the ad in the Gilead Times.  How did she grow to hate herself so much?  At what point did her religious indoctrination begin?  And how do you mentally go from an "I'm not ready for sex" rejection to "I will torture hundreds of younger women who clearly have gotten laid in their lives because they have had children."  I mean...that's a stretch by any psycho means.

I'm just hoping they delve into all of that more in future episodes.

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14 minutes ago, Trillian said:

Don’t be shy @AnswersWanted.  How do you really feel?

Oh there just aren't enough expletives in the world at this point, heh. 

 I never had to turn on a show the way I have with this one to be honest.

Season 1 was like one of the best experiences I've ever had as a TV watcher, and to see what I'm seeing now, I feel personally attacked in so many ways. 

THT is no longer about the handmaid experience, imo, and not just because we don't see the "ceremony" anymore, or so much open brutality, but the whole universe seems to have shifted. 

I find it somewhat amusing that Miller developed the show "Eureka" but he hasn't got a clue about how to make this show appropriately function with its' subject matter. 

Watching the handmaids in this episode was baffling, they were handmaids in name only, but their behavior, their demeanor was like something out of a cheesy C movie drama on LMN about a girls' club at junior high where one member gets excommunicated.

 Not only doesn't June show fear anymore, though that's been happening all damn season, but in this episode almost none of them do either.

It was too tempting for the writers,  I guess, to pass up the chance to show June and her handmaid crew giving you all the attitude and "face!" because these ladies are hardcore. 

I could not roll my eyes enough about this bullshit. 

These women are watching and participating in hangings occurring every other day, they are still followed by guards who seem rather trigger happy, so much so in fact that they would actually fire on a pregnant handmaid, but none of that matters because hey're safe from repercussions the same way June is and so they operate as such. 

The writing team ensures these characters will hardly face a basic scolding, then there will always be some lazy excuse given for it and everything moves on until the next time. 

To me this current style of writing completely removes, not to mention ruins, the illusion these are tormented and tortured sex slaves, helpless, hopeless, victims in fear of the slightest mistakes or errors which could lead them to the colonies or the wall. 

If they wanted to start showing the handmaids resisting more and more,  they skipped some pretty key steps.

Step 1 should have been to provide these characters with actual resistance.

We should have seen them actually pushing back, getting knocked down and then getting back up again only more determined than before, while all in keeping with the brutal, absolute consequences they sold us on during season 1.

At this point any semblance of accountability for the key players has vanished, it's nonexistent.

Everyone vital to the plot is always going to be safe and survive in this world, regardless of it being Gilead, a heartless, cold, cruel regime without any true sense of consciousness and morality. 

But if June wants to act out and mouth off, look out, she's the queen bee around here. 

I can't and won't accept that kind of fuckery just because she's the lead.

I said something similar to this in another post of mine - if Miller wants to.make this show some kind of Sci-fi production where characters survive the impossible and improbable, and there's always some other worldly magic barrier that keeps the plot safe no matter what, I'd rather he stop halfassing it. 

When Emily was driven away with Holly at the end of season 2, I feel as if she was the last, true handmaid I've seen since. 

Just like June, these women may wear the uniforms and bonnets, but their handmaid roles are merely lip service now for the most part. 

They're daring and fearless and sassy and in your face about it in a place where a mere disagreeable word could get a finger removed or burnt hands just for starters.

Yeah, I'll buy that, right along with Lydia being a secret dominatrix at Jezebel's.

And I hope to god I just didn give them any ideas...

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7 hours ago, Save Yourself said:

 to make that creative decision in this type of narrative, where it is women being systematically raped and tortured, to have one those women turn on her sisters like that is incredibly distasteful and focusing the attention away from the subjugation of women. 

This! I’ve been trying to say this and I find it incredibly frustrating when people keep defending the “amazing character building” which makes me think they just think this show was about entertainment when the original story was about  care, a feminist cause and exposing the subtle ways in which patriarchal culture hurts women and what it could lead to if brought to an extreme. I’m angry that they’ve done this and I feel like someone should tell these stupid idiots what they’ve done. Seriously, I shouldn’t be this angry about a tv show but it’s just the fact that these men screwed up something that in a weird way was an empowering story by showing how disempowered women are. 

I also have a feeling like maybe Moss  is partly at fault, after all ste agrees with the script and praises it. From all her interviews I get the feeling that she’s not the smartest when it comes to understanding power structure and feminism, so she puts up with this shit entertainment and what they’ve done to her character without realizing what has happened to the story they were supposed to tell. The whole “all of this has happened in real life” doesn’t apply anymore either. 

I’m a bit upset at the rest of the actors too for just doing their job and accepting the shitty script  aunt Lydia’s story was the last straw for me  

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6 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

Just like June, these women may wear the uniforms and bonnets, but their handmaid roles are merely lip service now for the most part. 

They're daring and fearless and sassy and in your face about it in a place where a mere disagreeable word could get a finger removed or burnt hands just for starters.

That's the biggest problem with the show, much as it has many problems. The handmaids' isolation of Ofmatthew needed to be incredibly subtle. Them deciding she was an outcast and removing from her any small acts of solidarity they may previously have shown her would be believable. Her slowly crumbling under the loss of a connection that she didn't think she'd miss until it was gone as she struggles to deal with her 4th pregnancy and her fears the baby would be a girl, and possibly her gnawing guilt that the Martha died, would be believable. June and her red dress gang visibly bullying her in front of Aunt Lydia was ridiculous on every level. Aunt Lydia taking June's accusation against Ofmatthew at face value and forcing her to be berated by all the women she knew were bullying her just after she had already told June to stop them from bullying her, was ridiculous. Lydia may have taken the accusation seriously and dealt with Ofmatthew's feeling privately, but she wouldn't have played right into June's hands like such an utter ridiculous dupe.

Then even more ridiculous, in the supermarket when June is told by Lydia that she will move her from what is a relative sanctuary with the Lawrences back into a household where she will be ritually raped again, June zones out of this important conversation so she can turn her head to the side and angle it so Ofmatthew can see her crazed smile. Somehow knowing that this will break her. She smirks her way through Janine's beating and just makes a big Skeletor smile face when a gun is pointed at her, before psychically conveying that Ofmatthew should shoot Lydia, and Ofmatthew tries to comply. WTAF was all of that supposed to be??? It broke the bounds of any form of storytelling and was just an insane sequence of events that followed no logic and for once even the cinematography was as awful as the "plot." It was just awful on every level.

As for June being someone who has finally snapped and no longer cares for anything but hurting Gilead, that would be a fine story. I'm watching the new Das Boot series and Lizzy Caplan's Carla is a character who's resistance to the Nazis and experiences under them has brought her to such a state. And by being in this state she's not a likeable character. She is doing what we understand to be a good thing in resisting Nazis but it has cost her so much in terms of her humanity and compassion and it leads to bad decision making. But she is a believable character. If this is what we are supposed to be seeing in June, we aren't. We're just seeing a pouting teenager thumbing her nose at her oppressors. She's literally right in their faces, flouting her "resistance" and openly sneering at everyone. It's ludicrous and stupid and utterly boring to watch.

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15 hours ago, rubinia said:

Oh, you are probably right. I just remember them having drinks at Jezebel's and it being super special and forbidden, but maybe just forbidden for anyone not a wife/commander.

Good observations. I can’t remember if the commanders and wives drank. Now it has me wondering if Aunts are allowed to have a drink. Probably not while they’re herding the handmaids around but out of the public eye they made have permission. Somehow I can’t see Aunt Lydia breaking that rule if it is indeed a rule. 

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It doesn't matter if a snitch that just got two people killed is a man or a woman.  It has nothing to do with female solidarity.  They needed to let her know that doing that would not end well for her, obviously in hopes that she wouldn't do it again...to another one of them.  There are always snitches, whether it's for praise from their jailers, or perks, or self delusion that they are part of the "team" of oppressors, some of them are women.

Just as Aunt Lydia and the wives are traitors to women, so was OfMathew.  Being a female doesn't make you untouchable or a perfect being.

I agree that OfMathew was a mess, but she just killed two people who were trying to help a child escape Gilead, or at least see her mother. 

Those that collude with the enemy need to be dealt with, and shunning is a relatively mild way to do that.  Was OfMathew so nuts or so Stockholm Syndrome'd that she honestly expected women to praise her or love her for doing that? 

Maybe, I hope we find out in flashbacks.  Still, she was pretty and a mess, but a snitch in that world is dangerous, and I don't blame the other handmaids at all.

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3 hours ago, AllyB said:

That's the biggest problem with the show, much as it has many problems. The handmaids' isolation of Ofmatthew needed to be incredibly subtle. Them deciding she was an outcast and removing from her any small acts of solidarity they may previously have shown her would be believable. Her slowly crumbling under the loss of a connection that she didn't think she'd miss until it was gone as she struggles to deal with her 4th pregnancy and her fears the baby would be a girl, and possibly her gnawing guilt that the Martha died, would be believable. June and her red dress gang visibly bullying her in front of Aunt Lydia was ridiculous on every level. Aunt Lydia taking June's accusation against Ofmatthew at face value and forcing her to be berated by all the women she knew were bullying her just after she had already told June to stop them from bullying her, was ridiculous. Lydia may have taken the accusation seriously and dealt with Ofmatthew's feeling privately, but she wouldn't have played right into June's hands like such an utter ridiculous dupe.

Then even more ridiculous, in the supermarket when June is told by Lydia that she will move her from what is a relative sanctuary with the Lawrences back into a household where she will be ritually raped again, June zones out of this important conversation so she can turn her head to the side and angle it so Ofmatthew can see her crazed smile. Somehow knowing that this will break her. She smirks her way through Janine's beating and just makes a big Skeletor smile face when a gun is pointed at her, before psychically conveying that Ofmatthew should shoot Lydia, and Ofmatthew tries to comply. WTAF was all of that supposed to be??? It broke the bounds of any form of storytelling and was just an insane sequence of events that followed no logic and for once even the cinematography was as awful as the "plot." It was just awful on every level.

As for June being someone who has finally snapped and no longer cares for anything but hurting Gilead, that would be a fine story. I'm watching the new Das Boot series and Lizzy Caplan's Carla is a character who's resistance to the Nazis and experiences under them has brought her to such a state. And by being in this state she's not a likeable character. She is doing what we understand to be a good thing in resisting Nazis but it has cost her so much in terms of her humanity and compassion and it leads to bad decision making. But she is a believable character. If this is what we are supposed to be seeing in June, we aren't. We're just seeing a pouting teenager thumbing her nose at her oppressors. She's literally right in their faces, flouting her "resistance" and openly sneering at everyone. It's ludicrous and stupid and utterly boring to watch.

Tell the truth. 

This show is the one who made it clear to us what sort of society Gilead is, you don't just stop playing by its' rules, that will get you killed or you will end up in Jezebel's if you're a female to be prostituted to death basically. 

But now all these rules suddenly just have poofed, they don't apply to the most vulnerable members of this unforgiving society. 

Are they actually trying to say the second Lydia and her henchwomen saw their "girls" acting out so boldly they wouldn't have immediately been applying cattle prods and feet whippings, among other punishments, to get these troops back in line? 

There's no way these aunts would fuck around with even a sniff of such anarchy, they can't afford to.

If the handmaids start revolting then they have a huge problem, they have to keep these women submissive and beaten down by the system by any means necessary. 

These fuckers once faked a mass handmaid hanging to "teach the girls a lesson",  now they just wring their hands hopelessly, not knowing whatever can be done with these rowdy young ladies?

That is straight up just fucking ridiculous. 

Here, the show would rather have Lydia dealing with the obvious ringleader, June, like she's her wayward niece whose been sent to her for the Summer to get back on the "right track" and improve her wild behavior. 

The harsh realities of this world no longer apply, and not only do we the viewers know it, the characters seem to as well, especially June. 

June may be fertile and she's proven she can deliver a healthy baby, but at this point Gilead wouldn't trust her to pee in a chamber pot unsupervised. 

Lydia would have marked June ages ago for reassignment, after all she is the one who in an earlier episode screamed at June she would have had her on the wall if she'd had her way. 

And if reassigned I could easily see June sent to DC, making sure her bad influence on the others was removed completely.

It would be the perfect place for a rebel like her. A place where handmaids lose their ability to speak freely and are practically taught to kneel and heel for their masters, like proper pets. 

They would have either broken June by now or killed her trying, unless she managed to somehow get away. 

But instead we have unbreakable, unwavering June thwarting the system in its' face at every turn.

And make no mistake, her Sisterhood of the Traveling Red Cloaks are all coming with her. Just try and stop them...

Oy. 

Edited by AnswersWanted
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8 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

Season 1 was like one of the best experiences I've ever had as a TV watcher, and to see what I'm seeing now, I feel personally attacked in so many ways. 

THT is no longer about the handmaid experience, imo, and not just because we don't see the "ceremony" anymore, or so much open brutality, but the whole universe seems to have shifted. 

I feel your pain.  Once upon a time, The West Wing was my absolute favourite show, as in I woke up the morning it was on with a song in my heart and couldn’t wait until it aired. After Aaron Sorkin left, cracks started to appear.  Then, in Season 5, something happened that I found so ridiculous that I snapped. I walked out of the room and didn’t watch another episode until many years later when I’d calmed down and found another love in The Americans.  The fall is always harder, and more personal, when the initial viewing experience was so great.

I really enjoyed THT’s first season, but I didn’t love love it.  I thought both the Mexico and the Canada plots were bad. But the thing I really disliked (the first major crack) was June’s voiceover “if they didn’t want us to be an army, they shouldn’t have given us uniforms”.  I didn’t feel it was true to the book or to the spirit of the show.  The Handmaids’ experience in the book and most of Season 1 is claustrophobic and isolated. They have no one to trust.  “She is my spy and I am hers”.

And that’s where I think so much of this season has gone completely off the rails.  These handmaids run around barely supervised, openly having conversations amongst themselves and their captors are powerless to control them. Aunt Lydia can’t do anything except tell June to tell her friends to cool it?  Book and Season 1 Lydia would’ve shocked them with cattle prods for speaking, and had June forceably removed from the store and beaten.  They wouldn’t have had a chance to shun OfMatthew. They would’ve hated her but she would’ve been protected by Lydia and held up as a model prisoner. Some handmaids would've followed her example for their own protection. 

I’ve been trying to think of an example from history, art or literature where these kind of shenanigans happened.  Something to justify what’s happened to the plot, because, yeah, these things happen. Somewhere else where the prisoners rule the roost; where they have multiple chances to escape but don’t so they can undermine the system from within; where their captors are powerless to control them and have to rely on their leader to get any sort of cooperation.

And the best I could come up with was Hogan’s Heroes. 

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Apologies if this has been said already but there has been a LOT of posts on this thread and I only read the first page.  A number of people said this episode jumped the shark because it was all about Aunt Lydia going crazy because she was jealous of the mother and because Lydia didn't get some dick. My take on this episode was that Aunt Lydia hadn't had much luck with men and devoted her life to the children.  When this new woman came into her life and said she should put herself out there, encouraged her, made her up, she gave her hope.  So when Lydia put herself out there and got rejected (at least in her warped mind), she was angry and that's why she turned on the mother and the principal.  It fits perfectly with the narrative of Gilead because the worst thing you can have is hope.

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One more thing re: June becoming a mean girl, I think one of my favorite movie quotes applies here: "When you dance with the devil, you can't change the devil, the devil changes you".

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11 hours ago, Umbelina said:

June didn't get other people murdered.

 Gilead did. 

Gilead did the killing but June’s actions got them killed. No doubt about that.  

11 hours ago, Umbelina said:

That Martha didn't have to show up at the store.  She didn't need to give the Guard's name either.  She wanted to.  She's obviously been a member of the resistance for a while, or she would never have agreed to let June meet Hannah that first time.

I’m not sure she was part of the resistance. June outright lied to her and told her that her commander (Lawrence) could get the Martha out of Gilead. That’s at least one reason she helped June.

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11 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

I never had to turn on a show the way I have with this one to be honest.

So true. I keep asking myself why I’m still watching. Normally I would have tuned out by now. I think it’s because every so often they show us a good scene or an upcoming plot line looks promising (like the Aunt Lydia back story anticipation) and I have a glimmer of hope. Only to have that hope brutally quashed.

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12 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

Yeah, I'll buy that, right along with Lydia being a secret dominatrix at Jezebel's.

And I hope to god I just didn give them any ideas.

Snort! As I was reading this I was thinking “Don’t give them any ideas,” just to see it in your next sentence. Lord only knows with these guys. They’re probably rubbing their chins now, contemplating the possibility and jotting it down under their “SHOCK MATERIAL” column.

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2 minutes ago, ferjy said:

Snort! As I was reading this I was thinking “Don’t give them any ideas,” just to see it in your next sentence. Lord only knows with these guys. They’re probably rubbing their chins now, contemplating the possibility and jotting it down under their “SHOCK MATERIAL” column.

If the scene shows up in the show, we’ll put AnswersWanted in the middle of a circle chanting “Your fault!” 

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2 hours ago, HerkyJerky said:

Apologies if this has been said already but there has been a LOT of posts on this thread and I only read the first page.  A number of people said this episode jumped the shark because it was all about Aunt Lydia going crazy because she was jealous of the mother and because Lydia didn't get some dick. My take on this episode was that Aunt Lydia hadn't had much luck with men and devoted her life to the children.  When this new woman came into her life and said she should put herself out there, encouraged her, made her up, she gave her hope.  So when Lydia put herself out there and got rejected (at least in her warped mind), she was angry and that's why she turned on the mother and the principal.  It fits perfectly with the narrative of Gilead because the worst thing you can have is hope.

I agree with what you're saying, but the problem still is that it requires a gigantic leap to go from rejected/angry to mutilating young women and being gleeful at executions of ordinary people.  That's the problem with this episode.  We were promised a backstory that "explained" Lydia, and that's not at all what we got.  We got to see Lydia go from point A to B, but she's at Q now (I'm not saying Z, because I do believe she can get worse), with no explanation of what happened between C and P. 

That's where the criticism (including mine) comes from - do the writers really want us to believe that Lydia being rejected by a man took her all the way from A to Q in one step?  If so, that's some really bad writing. 

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3 hours ago, Trillian said:

I really enjoyed THT’s first season, but I didn’t love love it.

Same. I could get past the bad stuff though, and it was semi-enjoyable. It has been a free fall since the first episode of the second season. Initially, I could just dismiss it as a one-off thing, but then it acme clear that there was no hope with the head-writers in charge. Not only they are bad at what they do - writing - they are the type of clueless men who see women as stereotypes. 

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Heh, I thought the scenes where the handmaids are all sitting in a circle and chanting had such an "I, Robot" vibe, especially in the scene where Will Smith is trying to interview the 1,000 robots (all of them saying "One of us").

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4 hours ago, jenn31 said:
16 hours ago, Umbelina said:

June didn't get other people murdered.

 Gilead did. 

Gilead did the killing but June’s actions got them killed. No doubt about that.

No, OfMathew did, by snitching on her, and Gilead did, since they ordered the hangings.

June had no power over that Martha, she couldn't and didn't MAKE her come to that store. 

OfMathew had power over her though, and she snitched and got her hung.

3 hours ago, ferjy said:

So true. I keep asking myself why I’m still watching. Normally I would have tuned out by now. I think it’s because every so often they show us a good scene or an upcoming plot line looks promising (like the Aunt Lydia back story anticipation) and I have a glimmer of hope. Only to have that hope brutally quashed.

This may be my last season, but I agree. 

The "hopeful" things for me are the mentions of seeing in the "black box" of the power structure there (the Swiss, the Aunts planning) and Nick going off to "fight" the rebels, while he's apparently still both an Eye, A Spy, which SHOULD open up that side of Gilead.  June going full on kamikaze "give no fucks" because that also makes sense to me and could be interesting (ala Emily, the suicide bomber, etc.)  Also the internal resistance of Boston (the Marthas, whatever Lawrence is up to, and I pretty much loved the world of the elite DC 1%, and wouldn't mind spending more time there with the (I think) hypocrites that run the show.

That's actually quite a bit, but then, that's me, all I've ever really wanted from this show was "the rest of the story" of both Gilead, and June and her family's fates.

2 hours ago, chaifan said:

I agree with what you're saying, but the problem still is that it requires a gigantic leap to go from rejected/angry to mutilating young women and being gleeful at executions of ordinary people.  That's the problem with this episode.  We were promised a backstory that "explained" Lydia, and that's not at all what we got.  We got to see Lydia go from point A to B, but she's at Q now (I'm not saying Z, because I do believe she can get worse), with no explanation of what happened between C and P. 

That's where the criticism (including mine) comes from - do the writers really want us to believe that Lydia being rejected by a man took her all the way from A to Q in one step?  If so, that's some really bad writing. 

It doesn't though if you look at it like religious fanatics (or reformed druggies who have been through the 10 step program.)  They DO completely change once "saved."  I've seen people like Lydia my whole life, they may hide it more, but we are up close and personal with Lydia (including her nose hairs.)  We are with her when she is alone, something impossible in real life.

Lydia likes simple answers and solutions and she's a monster.  To her it's painful but very simple. 

  • She associated with bad company, the sinner mother.  (The devil who, as the devil does, seduced her into sin, turned her good intentions, helping the neglected child into something evil and sinful.)
  • She paints her face, she willingly and happily participates, even liking the 'devil' sometimes.
  • She loses her way (as the devil intended) and commits several sins, lust, trying for fornication, and whatever else she thinks she did wrong.
  • She's punished, as she should be, by terrible pain and humiliation. 
  • From the Bible, Romans 6:23 (King James Version): For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • She's "SAVED" and becomes a fanatic, that experience made her hate all sin and never sin again, although obviously she fails at this, even if she believes she's practically perfect in every way now.  She doesn't "sin" according to Gilead's norms.
  • She punishes "the devil" by taking away (saving) her child.

All of this happened while Gilead was embracing Serena Joy's new strict religion more and more each day.  So, Lydia was supported fully in her delusions.  That probably wasn't the first mother she judged "unworthy" and obviously, it was not the last.  A monster was born of humiliation and shame and sin and a God that forgave it all and would love her if she never sinned again.

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: typos
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I agree with most of the comments.  I am especially disappointed because I was looking forward to the back story of aunt Lydia.  I was trying to guess what she was in her past, I never guessed  lawyer or teacher.  I thought she was a doctor or nurse.  But yeah, don 't understand what her motivation is for her attitude toward young fertile woman.  A woman scorned is not good enough.  Cheapens the character and the story.  Yeah this show is has jumped the shark. Too bad because it was so good the first season.  

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She sinned, and suffered for that, so she's "found God" who saved her, and she wants the other women who have sinned to first suffer and then be saved as well.

Fabulous interview with OfMathew (Natalie) in the Media thread here:

I really loved this actress, I hope we see much more of her, at least in flashbacks.

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: typo

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On 7/10/2019 at 1:08 AM, chocolatine said:

I really wanted Ofmatthew to shoot June right in her smirking face. That's all I've got.

There could be 55 cannons pointed at June and not one of them would hit this motherfucker.  She's Bulletproof.  It is BEYOND PARODY

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19 minutes ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

There could be 55 cannons pointed at June and not one of them would hit this motherfucker.  She's Bulletproof.  It is BEYOND PARODY

As are Luke, Nick, Serena, Fred, Moira, Janeen, and Emily.  All of whom have had several certain death experiences and easily survived.

This idiots addiction to PERIL and avoidance of resolving the various PERILS is just flat out horrible writing.

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On 7/10/2019 at 7:30 AM, maggiegil said:

Does June really think shes off limits because shes occasionally been in videos about Nicole? If Gilead is as harsh as we've been lead to believe then they would not hesitate to replace June with another similar looking woman or put a veil on her, I presume she hasn't spoken or featured that prominently in the videos that anyone in Gilead would notice or they'd just spread a story that she died of grief for Nicole.

(FYI I'm ranting at June and the show here, not you ---)

Who the F gives a F about what June looks like in those videos?!?!?!?!?!??!!?!  All of a sudden they care about abused Handmaids now????  So what if she was hurt or something in them or even missing a limb.  If the Canadian government doesn't care that women are RITUALLY RAPED are they going to care about a missing eye or burned arm?  

Also, who gives a F about putting JUNE in the video?  A handmaid doesn't need to be in the video, or any handmaid can!  Who cares?

NOTHING ON THIS SHOW MAKES SENSE

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On 7/10/2019 at 8:34 PM, PepSinger said:

Y’all. Y’ALL. Grown ass women sat in a circle pointing at another woman calling her a “crybaby.” It was so fucking embarrassing.

I don’t even recognize this show anymore.

Haha I thought it was a dream sequence.  And then it wasn't.  LOL

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21 hours ago, Save Yourself said:

And I know it’s been talked about so much before but to reduce the changes of pregnancy to one rape a month based on the woman’s cycle is ridiculous. They could be doing ultrasounds to see when they are about to ovulate and then artificially inseminate them for 3 days to increases the chances, they don’t have to do IVF. Anyway I know that’s a tangent and anyone else who has had reproductive help as I have is probably thinking it each time babies are mentioned on THT as well !

(This might be obvious to say but) I think the premise of Gilead is based on the thought that fertile, modern women are not having kids and do not want to have kids.  Let's say the majority.

So when the population dies out and no babies are being born, you must take control of the women.  According to Gilead thinking.  

There COULD be a book where there's a dystopian future where no babies are being born and they are doing everything medically smart and advantageous to produce more healthy babies - BUT - you need millions of fertile and willing women.  If you don't have that, you either have nothing, or you could have a system where women wilfully decide to donate their eggs.  (I don't remember how "Children of Men" goes.  Maybe they do that.)  But even then with a bunch of donated eggs you need women willing to give birth to them.

So instead of that, we have Gilead.  

If Gilead cared about doing anything "medically smart" I don't think rounding up women and ritually raping them would have any part in trying to make healthy babies.  I have no knowledge of whether it's easy to produce babies through rape, obviously.  I know that it happens but you would THINK (??) there's some evidence that raping a woman probably doesn't lead to the best chances of pregnancy.

I never read the book so I'm already confusing myself.  Why were babies not being born pre-Gilead?  We saw that June's clearly was.

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10 hours ago, Trillian said:

I feel your pain.  Once upon a time, The West Wing was my absolute favourite show, as in I woke up the morning it was on with a song in my heart and couldn’t wait until it aired. After Aaron Sorkin left, cracks started to appear.  Then, in Season 5, something happened that I found so ridiculous that I snapped. I walked out of the room and didn’t watch another episode until many years later when I’d calmed down and found another love in The Americans.  The fall is always harder, and more personal, when the initial viewing experience was so great.

This was some beautiful writing!  I really enjoyed it.  I think many of us can probably relate.

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3 hours ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

(This might be obvious to say but) I think the premise of Gilead is based on the thought that fertile, modern women are not having kids and do not want to have kids.  Let's say the majority.

So when the population dies out and no babies are being born, you must take control of the women.  According to Gilead thinking.  

There COULD be a book where there's a dystopian future where no babies are being born and they are doing everything medically smart and advantageous to produce more healthy babies - BUT - you need millions of fertile and willing women.  If you don't have that, you either have nothing, or you could have a system where women wilfully decide to donate their eggs.  (I don't remember how "Children of Men" goes.  Maybe they do that.)  But even then with a bunch of donated eggs you need women willing to give birth to them.

So instead of that, we have Gilead.  

If Gilead cared about doing anything "medically smart" I don't think rounding up women and ritually raping them would have any part in trying to make healthy babies.  I have no knowledge of whether it's easy to produce babies through rape, obviously.  I know that it happens but you would THINK (??) there's some evidence that raping a woman probably doesn't lead to the best chances of pregnancy.

I never read the book so I'm already confusing myself.  Why were babies not being born pre-Gilead?  We saw that June's clearly was.

It seemed to be a multi-faceted issue. On the one hand you had women who were focusing on careers and delaying pregnancies and those who didn't want any children at all, and then there seemed to be a problem with men being sterile. In the book they explain the biological issue. I think it stemmed from some kind of tainted food. (It was always blamed on the women, but it's the men who are sterile.) Serena Joy's platform was built on how women needed to fulfill their "biological destiny" and have children. Birthrates are actually down right now as well. There doesn't seem to be one exact issue that's causing it. 

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Not only was I disappointed with Lydia's backstory, since watching it I've had "Islands in the Stream" stuck in my head.

"Sail away with me to another world
And we rely on each other, ah-ah
From one lover to another, ah-ah"

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