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  1. The Last Season 1 All Episode Discussion

    Finally got around to catching the last couple of episodes. I'll agree with the posters who said it was moronic betrayal of the entire premise of the show to suddenly have Tray selling drugs, even if it was for a good cause and even if it was fairly amusing that they were making a mess of using the terrible Kevin Costner Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as a guide. We're supposed to buy that the guy we've been watching for a half dozen episodes at that point choking down some serious aggravation with the changing world and his place in it because he's determined to do better for himself and the kids who have just began to really accept him in their lives is going to risk throwing all that away? Even worse, there was no followup on his daughter finding out and then the entire story was dropped to rush headlong into whether Wavy set him up and was he going to kill him, which also would have been stupidly out of character along with making accomplices of every single one of the halfway house crew and likely Bobby too. But the entire back half of the season felt like they didn't have quite enough material to work with and started just throwing things out there. So the epitome of gentrified white guys is a former heroin addict and oh, he's also a secret NA sponsor but forgot to mention it to his wife? The whole subplot seemed designed to give Tiffany Haddish some meaty material to work with. Still, there's something about Josh and Tray being able to appreciate each other that's compelling.
  2. Spoilers For the Hulu Show

    We have GPS in practically everything now. We use it to keep tabs on petty criminals and parolees. It's in our cell phones. They have all the same technology we do even if access is limited to a select few. So it doesn't make sense to me that a regime as hellbent on maintaining control of these women's every movement wouldn't be tagging and tracking them just for something like this. I suppose it's possible that June would have been as equally anxious to remove a property tag after her escape from the hospital, but the scene of her cutting it out and throwing it into the fire has so much more urgency if she's doing it to shut off one more avenue for these people to hunt her down.
  3. Spoilers For the Hulu Show

    I'm wondering if something else hasn't gone down too by the time they go looking for June (and Nick too, assuming Fred doesn't already know perfectly well what happened to him). Is it possible the chickens are coming home to roost on Fred's previous fuckups with the Red Center attack and the PR disaster of the Canada trip now by the time you throw in dragging all the bigwigs out for the embarrassing birthing that wasn't, Lydia knowing something's not right in the Waterford house, losing their handmaid again in what's going to be harder to pass off as a "kidnapping" this time, a visibly trusted member of their household also gone missing, and maybe one of the half dozen people traipsing through that house at any given time mentioning to the wrong person that they were using "the Ceremony" for purposes it clearly wasn't intended? Yet my sense of the brief clips in the trailer is that Commander Fred and Serena are on their own in this one. Maybe not. Trailers can be deceiving. But we know June got a shiny new tracker bolted through her ear again after she was recaptured so homing in on her shouldn't be that big a deal if they're using the regime's resources. But these two are acting like there's nothing they can do, which might be true if they're trying to keep this quiet for the time being.
  4. S02.E10: The Last Ceremony 2018.06.20

    This is my feeling too. Not to get all bookish because this isn't the place for it, but Lydia has a line in the book about how much easier it will be for the women who come after them because they won't have those pesky memories of the before time as a basis for comparison. Gilead is all they will have known and remember. Eden at best has what are probably hazy childhood memories of the world as it used to be and has spent her most formative years under this system, so she should have been a great illustration of that. We're getting a bit of cognitive dissonance from her in that her arranged marriage hasn't given her immediate love and bliss and she's clearly seeing that the handmaid system isn't this unselfish nurturing partnership that produces children, but it could have been so much more.
  5. S02.E10: The Last Ceremony 2018.06.20

    Eden didn't mention reporting the gender traitor thing though. She asked June if she thought he might be and trailed off in a way that could be read as open ended. June extrapolated from that. I went back and found that scene since so many people seem to remember it that way that I was at the point that I couldn't be certain either. We've actually seen her do nothing more sinister than watch other people do what they were doing anyway and respond to a man closer to her own age flirting with her.
  6. S02.E10: The Last Ceremony 2018.06.20

    I've thought this too with some of the choices that are being made. A part of me actually loves that Nick can't be bothered to go through the motions of giving a single fuck about the child bride forced upon him. He can't even fake it like nearly everybody else in this story is. There's something genuine about that that I respect. But at the same time, can we acknowledge that Nick is only able to behave that way because of the relative privilege he has in this world by virtue of being a man and not one that doesn't have any connections or power of his own? I'm finding myself surprisingly and increasingly invested in the story of Nick, a man who can't be with the woman he believes himself in love with or the child he was basically cornered into standing stud for and is having dispassionate unwanted sex with a girl he knows is little more than a child to avoid endangering himself or said woman and child, in this seminal feminist work. At times, the character is reading more sympathetically than most of the female characters who are weekly being subjected to some pretty terrible things. I don't know if I'm necessarily complaining about it, but at the same time I can't help but wonder if that would still be happening to this degree if the show runner was a woman. Spot on. Every episode since she first appeared people have been speculating that Eden must be a time bomb or some kind of mastermind that will be the death of them all. And maybe she will be. But all of it is built upon the show throwing her in as an obstacle between Nick and June and her one time tentatively asking June if Nick might possibly be a gender traitor because he hadn't touched her. In that particular scene, she wasn't making any threats to report him or do anything about it. She was merely wondering and fearing that it meant that there was something wrong with her and what it might mean. And to be fair, because Gilead is Gilead that was enough to set the alarm bells off in June's head to tell Nick that he needed to get the fuck over himself and join the official Gilead club of people who have been forced into fucking someone they didn't want to. In actuality, what we've seen of the character is a sheltered young girl who bought into what Gilead was selling struggling to make sense of all the dysfunction she's seen in the Waterford house and an arranged marriage that's fallen far short of expectations. This is not to say that Eden doesn't present a possible danger. She does if she ever starts talking about some of what's going on in that house with the wrong people. That very well may happen. But the fact that we're all waiting for it, anticipating it, rather than seeing a 15-year-old in tears over having technically had sex before her first kiss and being so starved for affection and kindness that she's coming damn close to risking adultery in a society she has to know won't respond well at all to it, is another thing I think can be chalked up to tropes of teenage girls and a male show runner willing to feed into them. Of course the teenage girl is going to doom an older man over sex. Of course she can't help being spiteful and conniving and may be plotting because of it. Because she's a teenage girl. We've all seen movies about this.
  7. S02.E10: The Last Ceremony 2018.06.20

    I feel like I get what the show was going for with the two contrasting rape scenes. The first with Emily was so blandly uneventful and rote right up to that heart attack that it could be under the dictionary definition of banality of evil. The second with June is more what people often imagine rape must be with struggling and protesting and being forcibly held down in a way that only seems to goad the assailant on more. But same thing nonetheless. I see the effort to make that point, right down to using the same voice over with both scenes about detaching yourself and bees pollinating flowers. And maybe the fact that I can see it is the problem. Don't hit me over the head with it, show. I'm with everyone else in just being over June being smug and sassy well beyond what she can realistically back up. Yes, as we've seen being pregnant has given her some respite and a bit of protective camouflage. but her pregnancy's almost up. Everyone thought she was having the baby that day. Serena has already made it clear that June's out the door as soon as the placenta pops loose. And sure, that reality and her own surging hormones are probably doing a number on her. But especially in taunting Commander Fred, WTF is she doing? Don't give us scene after scene of June begging people to look out for her baby, caressing her belly and telling it she loves it, and then deliberately antagonizing the people who will have complete control over it after she's out of the house. The wives' faux birthing continues to be ridiculous because it is ridiculous. Funny though how quickly Serena went from eye rolling at Janine's birth to going right along with it when it was her turn. I too love that Lydia clearly has no love for Serena, although that probably only added to the humiliation on Serena's big pile o' grievances that provoked her to try to "induce" labor to finally get a win. We get that too. Serena is the most awfulest awful to ever awful. But even there, I could see the show trying to tie back into what it was attempting to say with the two rape scenes. That Serena probably expected that to go like every other teeth-gritting "ceremony" and nobody's been making a big fuss about that, so what's one more if it gets the desired ends? (Which probably does explain the twisted reasoning she uses to justify it all in the first place as well as anything else.) Clearly, she wasn't expecting Fred's pent up rage that he hasn't been able to make use of June for months or that with a new baby in the house he isn't likely to get use of a shiny new handmaid again anytime soon. The continued use of the same young actress for Hannah doesn't really bother me as kids mature and age at different rates. My 12-year-old is the same size as my almost 9-year-old, who often reads older to people who don't know her. She's a lovely young actress who does a bang-up job with the material she's given, and that's all I really care. I found her believable as a kid who's been through a huge amount of loss and was then stuffed into this weird unfamiliar life with strangers passing themselves off as her parents. Apparently Gilead ascribes to the rehoming a pet theory for stolen children and allows them to be renamed regardless of how shiny and new they actually are. I have no trouble believing Commander Fred may have set up Nick and June to be caught or taken out to remove both of them and their baby that obviously isn't his from his life, but the whole thing as presented doesn't seem to make any sense. The one part of the episode I actually did find quite affecting was Eden experiencing that first heady rush of being wanted with Isaac and then crying to Nick, first in contrition and then frustration that while she's a married woman who's had properly sanctioned sex. this was her first kiss. Sure, she definitely has the potential to be dangerous, but she's still 15. It's hard not to feel for a 15-year-old who's clearly been told this was the greatest thing for her to aspire to and then thoroughly romanticized it only to be crushed over and over by Nick's indifference. I don't blame Nick for that because we know he never wanted a wife nor sought one out, and certainly not a child bride he has absolutely nothing in common with beyond begrudgingly agreeing that yellow is a nice color for curtains. Yet at the same time, it might have been better for him not to be his usual taciturn self and be straight with her that he didn't know her well enough to love her and that shouldn't have been immediately expected in an arranged marriage anyway.
  8. What Are We Currently Reading?

    Recently finished Madeline Miller's Circe, which was a wonderfully feminist subversion of The Odyssey, in which the title character gets only minor billing as the sea witch who turned Odysseus's men into pigs before being brought to heel as one of his conquests. As much as I really enjoyed it and revisiting a lot of the great characters of the Greek myths, it didn't give me the same giddy OMG I have to tell someone about this feeling that Miller's previous The Song of Achilles did. I have no idea how much of that was just about reading a new author for the first time and how much of it is about which book might actually be better. Reading them back to back though has definitely been a welcome treat. I'm now most of the way through Matthew Desmond's Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, which won a Pulitzer for its searing look at housing instability among the poorest of the poor and the ripple effect that instability has on tenants, their families, their surrounding neighborhoods, and society at large which in recent years has responded less and less with understanding or realistically workable solutions and more with onerous hoops to jump through and whole industries sprung up to efficiently shuffle these people from one bad situation to another while billing them not to have their meager lives dumped out on the sidewalk. It's eye-opening as I've been poor and I've lived in the inner city, but never like this. Some of following the subjects profiled makes for frustrating reading as you watch these people make bad choice after bad choice that only digs the holes they're in deeper, but Desmond wisely lets his subjects speak for themselves in acknowledging that sometimes the not wise choices are the only ones they have or give their lives worth in a society that clearly doesn't value them.
  9. S04.E01: Episode 1 2018.06.10

    That is wonderfully snarky. I think I'm going to refer to George as Evil George as if that's his full name from here on out. Just because. I love the reviewer repeatedly referring to Jago as "the one who sounds the most Cornish" because while for an American I'm usually pretty good at deciphering the different accents, I couldn't make heads or tails out of most of what he said on initial viewing. So maybe it's a blessing the character ended up hanging? Every time the actor had a line it gave me greater appreciation of a line from one of the later Outlander books where one character asks another of a minor Cornish bit player groom: "Did you actually understand anything he said?" "Not a word."
  10. Palimpsest: Novel vs. Show

    I'll be honest that some of it didn't register with me when I was a teenager first reading it in the late '80s, probably at least in part because, well, it was the '80s and we didn't recognize the sexism in some things the way we do now. (Watching some of the teen movies from then with modern eyes can be quite illuminating.) He was obviously pompous and dismissive, but no more so than one might expect from a caricature of an academic. The thing that did stick out for me even then, though, was the professor talking about how Offred had clearly been an educated woman, immediately followed by the crack "well, as much as you can consider any graduate of American universities of the time educated." As a college-bound kid of the time this story was supposedly taking place, I admit that one rankled a bit.
  11. He apparently also has a Talking Dead-style show about general pop culture that's supposed to be airing on Sundays on AMC separate from the WD franchise, as well as a gameshow on NBC. So far neither he nor either network has issued any kind of statement about this.
  12. Watch Duty: Spoilers and Spoiler Speculation

    And I think a good many of us would be joining you.
  13. S02.E09: Smart Power 2018.06.13

    Not to mention that I don’t think she has a grasp on reality any longer. She is thinking in a vacuum, which is baby baby baby. Cute little clothes, something to nurture and cuddle and love, something to focus on and give her a purpose in life. She has no vision though of the future beyond that point. She thinks of how wonderful a child would be for HER, not what having a child would be like for that child. Or what’s gonna happen to that child when it gets older and has questions. Or what kind of Father Fred will be. Or what kind of son he will want to raise. Or what having a son means in that world for Serena. He will despise her, look down on her, or worse, be indifferent. A daughter will be sold off as soon as she is fertile and will be basically property. She seems to have no plan at all for the future of “her” child other than what emotional comfort it will bring her. All of this. She's focusing so hard on the perfect baby, perfect nursery, the perfect way it's going to fill up that huge hole in her that nothing else in tedious life as a Gilead wife will. In some ways, she's almost reading like those teenage girls who get pregnant early and think it's all going to be great because "at least the baby will love me and I can give it all of my love." Which as anyone who's had kids will tell you, it's often nothing like you thought it was going to be. It's messy and exhausting and the little snots often won't cooperate, don't appreciate you or that lovely nursery you arranged just so for them, and so on and so on. They may not be as pretty as you wanted them to be, or as smart, or as athletic or graceful. They may not be as healthy or have other issues. Some of it can be downright disappointing, and we know how well Serena does with disappointment. There's no sense there that Serena is thinking of any of that. It's something she wants because she wants it and she's not allowed to want anything else.
  14. Watch Duty: Spoilers and Spoiler Speculation

    I don't even know what to say to that.
  15. Spoilers For the Hulu Show

    I'm generally able to roll with most things I watch and keep some kind of perspective on them and I'm damn pissed that they appear to be going there. What, were they afraid the misery quotient hasn't been dialed up to 17 every single second this season? Why am I watching this?