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Umbelina

S03.E11: Liars

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I feel zero tension about anything that happens to June because I know she can't get hurt anymore, but I more or less liked this episode anyway. And, as others have said, I LOVED the music. Aside from the Kate Bush song, my favourite part was the score in the scene where Fred and Serena are lying in their separate beds. It was creepy and surreal and kind of sad and captured the mood really well, given the betrayal going on.

I also thought it was really funny that Lawrence got trapped in his own depressing version of Collateral, where he had to drive June around and wait in the car while she killed people.

On 8/1/2019 at 12:00 AM, Lemons said:

I know, all the Martha’s risking death at every turn cool as a cucumber, every handmaiden working with the resistance show no emotion.  But there’s spastic June with her facial tics looking like she’s having a stroke every time something happens 

Somebody made a comment this episode -- maybe Lawrence -- that June always stays calm no matter what happens and I was like, "No. She makes the same expression no matter what happens, but then she goes berserk."

On 8/1/2019 at 8:30 PM, Ashforth said:

I also thought that what made June snap out of her acquiescence with the rape was that Winslow was going for anal. The fight, not "realistic" for sure, but it's pretty surprising what people can do when fighting for their lives.

I think they missed an opportunity to have her take him out in a premeditated way because she knew he was going to tell on them. Or to rearrange the situation so that she and Lawrence killed him together and became partners in crime more than they already are. Instead, they framed it more like self-defense, and had her use an improbable, improvised weapon that she grabs in the moment, and it didn't quite work for me.

On 8/1/2019 at 10:41 PM, Ashforth said:

I'll sit at your table! I make no apologies for finding Serena Joy the most fascinating character in this series. 

Same. Serena is one of my favourite characters, and not because I think she's a good person. I just think she's in an interesting position, because she's both a victim and a perpetrator, which makes things a lot more complicated.

On 8/2/2019 at 5:00 AM, Ariam said:

What was the point of Lawrence giving June the gun? If "they" are coming how is a gun going to help her?

To me, that reads as "Let's force them into a standoff and make them kill us" which is what people do when they don't want to be arrested.

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I think Serena set Fred up after she saw how obsessed he was with June. I don't give her enough credit that she turned on him after the ceremony they forced on the Lawrences. I think Fred had managed to trick her into believing he loved her when they were in DC and that explains her behavior during that period. 

How ever after seen Fred interact with June she realized it was all a lie. That is when she set him up.

I don't understand why if Canada had the courage to arrest Fred they didn't just do so the first time he entered Canada. Gilead's power is portrayed so inconsistently. One minute Canada is so scared of Gilead that they are considering an extradition treaty. The next minute they have the courage of arresting a commander. It's so inconsistent. There are tons of war criminals that walk around freely because they are backed by powerful governments. 

Is Gilead weak or is Gilead strong? And if Gilead is a weak Nation why has it not been toppled yet?

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8 hours ago, SourK said:

Serena is one of my favourite characters, and not because I think she's a good person. I just think she's in an interesting position, because she's both a victim and a perpetrator, which makes things a lot more complicated.

That is the most succinct and accurate assessment of Serena. Yes.

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12 hours ago, CouchPotatoNoLife said:

I don't understand why if Canada had the courage to arrest Fred they didn't just do so the first time he entered Canada. Gilead's power is portrayed so inconsistently. One minute Canada is so scared of Gilead that they are considering an extradition treaty. The next minute they have the courage of arresting a commander. It's so inconsistent. There are tons of war criminals that walk around freely because they are backed by powerful governments. 

Is Gilead weak or is Gilead strong? And if Gilead is a weak Nation why has it not been toppled yet?

The first time that Fred came into Canada was on invitation from the Canadian government.  This time he crossed the border without authorization.  In this case, it's all bets are off. 

Serena's situation reminds me of killer Karla Halmolka. She got a sweet sweet deal to convict her husband, minimal jail time for the crimes that were committed by both of them and is now living a great life in Montreal. 

Edited by greekmom · Reason: Fred does NOT have any authorization
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5 hours ago, greekmom said:

The first time that Fred came into Canada was on invitation from the Canadian government.  This time he crossed the border with authorization.  In this case, it's all bets are off. 

Serena's situation reminds me of killer Karla Halmolka. She got a sweet sweet deal to convict her husband, minimal jail time for the crimes that were committed by both of them and is now living a great life in Montreal. 

Not to mention, the first time he crossed the border, it was on invitation from the Canadian government, on a "diplomatic assignment", with security detail, etc.

This time he drove over the border as a private citizen with his wife.  

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Is Fred stupid enough to cross the border and try to meet with the Americans with whom he is at war? Well, he's pretty stupid, but probably not THAT stupid. Is killing (or incapacitating) someone with a pen feasible the way it was shown? Was the writing super great and tight and made sense? HELL, NO!

But did I care? Also no!

I will take it, you guys! Do you know how long I've spent waiting for a rapist to get murdered on this show? Now THAT'S the kind of "man pain" this show should be focusing on: The bleeding, writhing around on the floor kind! Talk about something worth tuning in for! And yes, the pen was a stupid weapon, but I also appreciate the poetry of an editor being forbidden from using a pen for its intended purpose, and using it to kill her oppressor instead. As much as there is to complain about this season, the show HAS been bringing in more female writers, and while the particular writers Miller has hired are not qualified or experienced enough to take on a project with this magnitude, one positive consequence of having more women in the writers' room is that I don't think we've been subjected to ANY gratuitous rape scenes this season. Even in the last episode, we got all the dread of "The Ceremony" without actually having to watch it. And now, we get an almost-certain rape that ends with the bloody bludgeoning of a commander by his victim? YES, PLEASE!

Sure, it wasn't actually GOOD, and yes, it was a total waste of Meloni's character (and never got to pay off  or explore the insinuation that he was not heterosexual), and all the complaints about lazy writing and plot armor and everything are STILL every bit as relevant and annoying, but add to this glorious killing the fact that Fred has been arrested (which actually did surprise and delight me, even though I'm not convinced they'll follow through on it), and this is the very first time ALL SEASON that I have actually felt rewarded for tuning in.

I'LL TAKE IT!

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Yeah that struggle wasn't too convincing.

That guy is huge so a couple of punches would have numbed or knocked June unconscious.

The pen pokes would be unpleasant but it wouldn't incapacitate him to the point that she could deal him the death blow on the head being able to wind up and take her time to hit him in the head.

Now if she'd poked him in the carotid arteries in his neck a few times and puncture those, yes the pen would have been lethal.  But poking him on the torso several times wouldn't have left him in that state.

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On 8/2/2019 at 8:59 PM, Baltimore Betty said:

Maybe we will see Emily and Moira go to Fred's hearings or trial

I wonder if we may see more of Emily in relation to what happens to Serena from here on in. Remember that speech she gave to the wife she poisoned in the colonies? About how she should die alone and in pain because she was a rapist too? I'd like to see Emily get more of a platform to remind people in the free world of the complicity of the wives in this scheme too. Also, seeing as the show loves to throw in real world happenings, I wonder if Serena does get her freedom whether we will see some of the refugees from Gilead taking a kind of personal revenge on her à la the female collaborators in France after WW2?*

(*I have never seen Game of Thrones, but am aware of some of the scenes in it, and isn't there a scene with a female character who has had her head shaved and is paraded through town? So I can imagine the writers of The Handmaid's Tale probably wouldn't want to emulate that too much at the same time.)

 

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3 hours ago, Slovenly Muse said:

And yes, the pen was a stupid weapon, but I also appreciate the poetry of an editor being forbidden from using a pen for its intended purpose, and using it to kill her oppressor instead.

Oh snap! That never occurred to me. Love it.

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45 minutes ago, Ashforth said:

Oh snap! That never occurred to me. Love it.

I bet it never occurred to the writers either. It's brilliant, so it must have been put in by mistake. 😄

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On 7/31/2019 at 2:33 AM, ferjy said:

And it has to be mentioned, that dress looked awful on June. She doesn’t have the figure for it. There are a million dresses they could have fitted her with to make her look good. The wardrobe department is as bad as the writers. The whole thing is a head shaker. 

That makes sense to me though since it wasn't June's dress and she would have had limited options when it came to finding a dress before going to Jezebel's.

On 8/1/2019 at 2:54 AM, AnswersWanted said:

It’s hard enough to take 20 kids on a fucking field trip to the museum in a society where they aren’t stolen children who are constantly under watch by armed guards and fake “parents”.  

I went with my daughter's kindergarten class to a museum last year. There was about 60 kids there and even though there were a bunch of parents and teachers and they were in an enclosed area just wrangling and keeping track of everything was a challenge. How the fuck is June going to do that plus get out of the country witj the risk of being killed hanging over her head. She would be caught and killed on the first bathroom break. 

Also when it comes to escaping why are boats not an option? I remember reading something about how during US prohibition there were always a shitload of boats parked off the coast of major costal cities just on the side of international waters. June lives in Boston. Although part of it is that I just want to see what kind of Navy Gilead would have.

Also as far as that crazy Gilead bed and breakfast where was that supposed to be? Serena arrived at an airport and then got in Fred's rental car (where he was too cheap to spring for the GPS obviously) and then they drove. But was the airport Boston or somewhere else?

And lastly why does Jezebel's have some kind of crazy incenerator? I mean heating boilers and that kind of thing aren't designed where the user can just open them up while they are running and throw shit in.

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1 minute ago, Kel Varnsen said:

That makes sense to me though since it wasn't June's dress and she would have had limited options when it came to finding a dress before going to Jezebel's.

I doubt that has anything to do with it in this show. They always dress her horribly. They give her outfits to try make her sexy, I suppose, but they don't suit her figure at all. Just bad wardrobe choices.

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2 hours ago, Kel Varnsen said:

Also as far as that crazy Gilead bed and breakfast where was that supposed to be? Serena arrived at an airport and then got in Fred's rental car (where he was too cheap to spring for the GPS obviously) and then they drove. But was the airport Boston or somewhere else?

Ha! I would guess that the internet in Gilead is blocked. But also since Fred and Serena were on a secret mission to meet an American (way more secret than dumbass Fred knew), he would not want GPS tracking on the car they used if it was even available.

I thought it looked like Serena and Rita went to the airport as if Serena was going to take a flight, but then Fred pulled up all OG in his fine ride. But hell, who can tell. I would have to watch it again. 

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Rather than being overwhelmed by all the implausibilities in this episode, my mind just deflected to the superficial and landed on "Oh look, June finally got to shave her legs again."

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10 hours ago, Kel Varnsen said:

Also as far as that crazy Gilead bed and breakfast where was that supposed to be? Serena arrived at an airport and then got in Fred's rental car (where he was too cheap to spring for the GPS obviously) and then they drove. But was the airport Boston or somewhere else?

I thought that was the hotel where they were shown to be staying in the previous episode. Her leaving the hotel. 

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8 hours ago, Ashforth said:

I thought it looked like Serena and Rita went to the airport as if Serena was going to take a flight, but then Fred pulled up all OG in his fine ride. But hell, who can tell. I would have to watch it again. 

I thought Serena was in the lobby of the apartment building they moved to (after she set fire to their house), they were there when Commander Winslow was visiting.

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9 minutes ago, Baltimore Betty said:

I thought Serena was in the lobby of the apartment building they moved to (after she set fire to their house), they were there when Commander Winslow was visiting.

Of course! You and @Ariam are right. I totally didn't get that before.

Edited by Ashforth
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7 minutes ago, Ashforth said:

Of course! You and @Ariam are right. I totally didn't get that before.

It is confusing because that apartment and building are so modern looking and all the official's homes are so not also, all the buildings in Canada look more modern than Gilead.

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22 hours ago, Kel Varnsen said:

And lastly why does Jezebel's have some kind of crazy incenerator? I mean heating boilers and that kind of thing aren't designed where the user can just open them up while they are running and throw shit in.

I thought Jezebel's was a repurposed luxury hotel in Boston, and as such (especially if it's an old one), its not too weird to have a trash incinerator

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On 7/31/2019 at 1:48 AM, AnswersWanted said:

Man oh man, so much fucking bullshit so little time. 

Aaaand - thank you, for taking the time to write out so eloquently and accurately every one of my thoughts about this episode after finishing it just now.

I did enjoy Fred's cool car.

Edited by AngelaHunter

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A small point but I appreciated that the family singing "Dona Nobis" did not sound like professional singers and some were out of tune, like real life. Pet peeve in some films and shows is that as soon as people start singing it's "Glee."

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Did anyone else notice when the Martha was cleaning the blood on the carpet that there was one sliver of carpet she missed that still had a blood stain on it?  

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Usually you capture war criminals, you know, after the war is over and you've won.  Capturing a war criminal and leader of a nuclear superpower that's sitting right next door to you?  Nice knowing you, Canada.

Edited by Dobian
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On 7/31/2019 at 1:01 PM, jenn31 said:

The writers figured they’d have a winner with this pathetic episode (I see you giving yourselves pats on the backs) by throwing in the arrest. Get the viewers to cheer that Fred is going to finally get his, because we really don’t care about proper plot development. The whole thing was so poorly executed with so many plot holes. The entire episode was bad with so many boring parts to boot. My finger was hovering over the FF button on the remote. The timeline seemed all wrong too. Just how long have those muffins been sitting there? I was inspecting them for mold. I can’t wait up see the wives having at them. 

Right off the bat we’re supposed to cheer June on for stopping Eleanor from shooting Joseph (pat, pat, pat). I guffawed. I was praying hard that in a scuffle Eleanor would put a bullet in June. Of course June’s invisible body armor is as thick as her plot armor, no doubt, so I quickly canned that dream. 

As people have mentioned, the Marthas are so underused. That whole network and the Marthas’ backstories (nooooooo!) could be so interesting. Yet the only reason they are in the show is to pop up to aid June whenever she needs help (always!) in her rattlebrained schemes. What a waste of everyone on the show. 

Which brings me to my question. Why are there Marthas on Jezebel's??? Makes absolutely no sense to me. This show, I swear...

Seeing Commander Lawrence taking orders from June actually made me cry. What the hell, writers? No words.

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11 hours ago, Dobian said:

Usually you capture war criminals, you know, after the war is over and you've won.  Capturing a war criminal and leader of a nuclear superpower that's sitting right next door to you?  Nice knowing you, Canada.

I can't remember the exact number but a huge majority of Canadians live within a very short drive of the US border. Which means if you want to nuke Ottawa or Toronto or Vancouver you are also going nuking Gilead territory. I am not sure that even commanders are that dumb.

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13 hours ago, Dobian said:

Usually you capture war criminals, you know, after the war is over and you've won.  Capturing a war criminal and leader of a nuclear superpower that's sitting right next door to you?  Nice knowing you, Canada.

Except Gilead still wants to be a part of the "world" and have the world accept their "new normal."  They are trying to sell themselves as ecologists saving the planet, and saving the human race.  They don't even use nuclear power in Gilead anymore, which is why most of the lights are so dim, energy sources are precious.

They nuke ANYWAY, the world will be forced to reject them completely and band together.

4 hours ago, maddie965 said:

Which brings me to my question. Why are there Marthas on Jezebel's??? Makes absolutely no sense to me. This show, I swear...

Seeing Commander Lawrence taking orders from June actually made me cry. What the hell, writers? No words.

Because the whores and commanders need to eat, and want clean plates, clean sheets, clean bars and rooms.  Marthas are maids and servants, the cleaning and food crews there, just as they are everywhere in Gilead.  

1 hour ago, Kel Varnsen said:

I can't remember the exact number but a huge majority of Canadians live within a very short drive of the US border. Which means if you want to nuke Ottawa or Toronto or Vancouver you are also going nuking Gilead territory. I am not sure that even commanders are that dumb.

Yeah, and in a recent episode they also discussed nuking the rebels, but decided not to because there are probably fertile women among them.  

One thing, of many, that Bruce Miller has blown, is having a plethora of kids running around, which undermines the whole idea that children are rare, the species, in the book of course it's only

Spoiler

the WHITE race,

is dying out.  It's an actual problem for a civilization when birth rates drop or disappear.  They really are concerned about that, which is getting lost in all the spectacles on this show.  Strange things begin to happen in societies like that, you know, like banning abortions, making birth control hard to come by, regulating women's bodies.  ahem

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Ok maybe this is really a mute point, because this show has gone to hell and there's no point in trying to make sense of anything. Still I try.

Marthas are servants, ok. But they are also part of the new Gilead order. A household must have a Commander, a wife, a handmaid and a Martha. And maybe kids, if the Lord decides to open. Marthas are an integral part of the whole system and even participate in some of the rituals. Now Jezebel is not part of that order. It's not a household. It's sort of illegal, even if it's accepted by the powers that be. Marthas do not belong there. Nor for me anyway. Were they there in Season one? I don't remember. My point: the only reasons there are Marthas in Jezebel's is to help Superjune stay invulnerable.

Someone upthread suggested that next season should be all about the Marthas. That would be nice. Who knows, I might even watch it...

Edited by maddie965
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24 minutes ago, maddie965 said:

Someone upthread suggested that next season should be all about the Marthas.

this has probably been discussed but I've forgotten. What gets you being a Martha? The young woman in the last episode mentioned that she'd been studying for her MCATs; that she planned to be a radiologist. Is it just single-women-who-have-not-sinned? Are they never allowed to be econowives? Can they "meet a guy" and have an old-fashioned family life? Since there are young Marthas it's clearly not that they are post-menopausal and therefor only "good for housework."

Edited by dleighg

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5 hours ago, maddie965 said:

Ok maybe this is really a mute point, because this show has gone to hell and there's no point in trying to make sense of anything. Still I try.

Marthas are servants, ok. But they are also part of the new Gilead order. A household must have a Commander, a wife, a handmaid and a Martha. And maybe kids, if the Lord decides to open. Marthas are an integral part of the whole system and even participate in some of the rituals. Now Jezebel is not part of that order. It's not a household. It's sort of illegal, even if it's accepted by the powers that be. Marthas do not belong there. Nor for me anyway. Were they there in Season one? I don't remember.

Someone upthread suggested that next season should be all about the Marthas. That would be nice. Who knows, I might even watch it...

Just to clarify, commanders don't HAVE to have a handmaid.  They are only given to childless commanders.  For example, that black commander that was just promoted because his wife had a baby will not get a handmaid, and can continue to have sex with his wife, in hopes of more babies.  They were obviously an econofamily before his promotion.

5 hours ago, dleighg said:

this has probably been discussed but I've forgotten. What gets you being a Martha? The young woman in the last episode mentioned that she'd been studying for her MCATs; that she planned to be a radiologist. Is it just single-women-who-have-not-sinned? Are they never allowed to be econowives? Can they "meet a guy" and have an old-fashioned family life? Since there are young Marthas it's clearly not that they are post-menopausal and therefor only "good for housework."

Not fertile, not married, and no crimes against you would result in being a Martha, OR being sent to the colonies.

They've been annoyingly vague about econofamilies, but I think they are mainly composed of pre-existing husbands and wives with or without kids, who have committed no Gilead "sin" as yet.  The other side would be people like Nick, before he was a commander, when he married Eden.They were an econofamily, but living at, and he was working for the Waterfords.  If she had lived, when he was promoted she would have become a Wife, but not given a handmaid unless she was proved to be infertile.  She would have a Martha then though.

I suspect made up crimes are charged against particularly fertile econowives, married to soldiers, garbage collections, plumbers, construction people, train people, etc.  If they aren't YET, they probably will be as the availability of handmaid's dwindles.

The kids of the Commanders/Econofamilies are married off presumably in that ceremony we already saw, when Nick and Eden were married.  As in any society, I'm sure the wealthy among them were married to single commanders, or those with promise to become one.  After all, someone like Serena wouldn't want her grown daughter to be stuck in an econofamily, and we already know future marriages will have nothing to do with love, they will be ordered by the state.

No, from what I understand, you can't "meet a guy" or a "girl" and court.  The state decides on marriages, not individuals, and they don't date, or even know each other, they are introduced at their group wedding ceremony.  Now would a powerful commander's daughter have more say?  I doubt it, but her daddy might be sure to pick the husband he wanted in the family for her.

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: added something

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12 hours ago, Kel Varnsen said:

I can't remember the exact number but a huge majority of Canadians live within a very short drive of the US border. Which means if you want to nuke Ottawa or Toronto or Vancouver you are also going nuking Gilead territory. I am not sure that even commanders are that dumb.

I would just aim my nukes several miles north of the Canadian population centers then.  😄

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I'm really late to this party so I'll just say . . . holy shit.

That was a wild episode and I think I enjoyed the ride (after donning my willful suspension of disbelief hat.)  The off-the-charts violence was a bit much though.

 I'm just glad that whole "lets snatch 52 kids plot" is done (I hope.)  Because even if those kids WERE originally kidnapped, they'd be traumatized all over again (possibly more so) by being snatched by a Martha and shoved on a bus with 50 other terrified children.  That was a stupid plot-line.  I hope it's dead and burned in a furnace.

Spoiler

Oh.  That plot line is NOT dead.  Well . . . color me surprised.

Edited by WatchrTina

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On 8/17/2019 at 12:46 PM, Umbelina said:

The kids of the Commanders/Econofamilies are married off presumably in that ceremony we already saw, when Nick and Eden were married. 

This episode is the first time it occurred to me to ask: why aren't the children of Econo-Families seized and distributed to Commanders & Wives?

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19 hours ago, rejnel said:

This episode is the first time it occurred to me to ask: why aren't the children of Econo-Families seized and distributed to Commanders & Wives?

We saw it happen with the wife and child of the man who was in the resistance that helped June during her first escape attempt.  I wish we had seen more of both of them, but we did at least HEAR that it happened.

In the book, IIRC,

Spoiler

this begins to happen more and more as Gilead continues, in the beginning they left the econofamilies alone, but as Gilead went on, more and more they did take the kids and wives away, to give the kids to the rich, and make those fertile women handmaids.  They generally used trumped up charges to justify it.  Then again, June's child was taken and she was made a handmaid just because she'd married a divorced man.  so...

We may or may not see this in upcoming seasons.

Edited by Umbelina

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20 hours ago, rejnel said:

This episode is the first time it occurred to me to ask: why aren't the children of Econo-Families seized and distributed to Commanders & Wives?

The econo people are probably the largest group of Gilead supporters right. Gilead leadership has to kind of do the bare minimum to keep them happy or society falls apart. You take away their kids and the resistance is going to get a lot bigger.

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Thanks, Umbelina and Kel Varnsen. That all makes sense!

And now that you mention it, Kel Varnsen, I do vaguely remember from the book (it's been a while) that at some point they started going after fertile women with less pretext. 

Such an interesting world; SO MANY other characters and stories I'd love to see onscreen. 

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