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S02.E05: Seeds 2018.05.16

On 5/17/2018 at 4:52 PM, Empress1 said:

*If nothing else, this world looks SO BORING. Is there any entertainment at all besides Jezebels? For anyone? Any movies, even religious ones? Restaurants? Coffee shops? Parks? What does Serena do all day? She doesn't even tend the home - the Marthas do that.

Heh, I finally caught up with this show after a week long marathon (broken up by lighter far, or just starring at a wall) and, while this whole place is clearly horrifying for a million reasons, what always get me is how fucking boring it must be. Like, if you dont go insane from the constant fear and abuse, you go insane from sheer boredom. There is literally nothing fun in this world anymore apparently, unless your a creepy rich guy off to get drunk with the Jezebels, and even thats only at night.  What the hell do these people do all day long? Not even the men seem to read much, there arent TV or movies, even propaganda, there are no parks or places to eat or anything else that I can remember seeing for people to hang around at. On the almost always empty streets, its just people walking around. Everything people ever, in the history of the world, ever did for fun (sports, writing, parties, sex, decent food) all seem to have been banned. Hell, even the fucking Nazis made movies. Really shitty movies, but movies none the less. From what we've seen, being a Martha or a driver/handyman seems like the best gig you could get, because at least you actually have some shit to do every day, beside sit around and contemplate your terrible life. They dont even get to read the bible or play cards I dont think! Their brains must all be jello from disuse at this point. If I was the government, I would be concerned about a resistance forming just out of a desperate desire to find SOMETHING TO DO. 

Edited by tennisgurl.
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How long has Gilead been in existence/power?  Based on the age of June's daughter when we saw her briefly in Season 1, they haven't been separated for much more than a year.  So we're looking at what - 3-4 years of Gilead?  With that timeline in mind, all the child brides would have been mostly raised in "normal" society.  Even if Eden is 15, she knows what she no longer has.  She would have grown up with books and tv and movies and school and playing outside and playing with boys, and probably their equivalent of whatever pop stars 10 year olds are crushing on right now.  Yeah, you can do a lot of brain retooling in 5 years, especially at that age, but she has to know somewhere deep inside of her, that this marriage ain't right. 

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1 hour ago, chaifan said:

How long has Gilead been in existence/power?  Based on the age of June's daughter when we saw her briefly in Season 1, they haven't been separated for much more than a year.  So we're looking at what - 3-4 years of Gilead?  With that timeline in mind, all the child brides would have been mostly raised in "normal" society.  Even if Eden is 15, she knows what she no longer has.  She would have grown up with books and tv and movies and school and playing outside and playing with boys, and probably their equivalent of whatever pop stars 10 year olds are crushing on right now.  Yeah, you can do a lot of brain retooling in 5 years, especially at that age, but she has to know somewhere deep inside of her, that this marriage ain't right. 

 

 The current world of Gilead I think it is between 2 to 3 years old, I’d wager, but they have been implementing their grand takeover for a while, they were implementing their plan in stages, such as how they managed to totally disrupt the government and kill all the members of Congress and the president.

As we have seen in flashbacks, Gilead was up-and-coming even before Hannah was born.

They were Infiltrating the United States under the guise, the ruse, of a religious group, with certain beliefs that could “heal the land”, and they were recruiting devout followers.

Of course we don’t know much about Eden’s parents but there’s a good chance they could’ve been among that group, they could’ve been people who taught her things based off of the Gilead’s way long before the US got to the state that it’s in currently.  

 Or they could’ve just been very religious people who found Gilead because they felt this group was their last hope for salvation.  Gilead did not create the hyper spiritual and religious way of thinking that some of its members display, it just took advvantage of it, and there are plenty of groups and people who would fit into that category right now currently in the real US and the world. 

So Eden could have been restricted from a lot of modern day society even before the takeover. They could have restricted her from watching TV, reading certain books or magazines, she could’ve gone to a very etrict religious school, maybe one controlled by Gilead before the fall of education, or she could’ve been homeschooled and they could’ve had control completely over her education from start to finish, if they bothered to actually teach her anything worthwhile at all.

 Even in today’s society we have such people that exist, they intentionally block their children from having what they consider to be immoral and sinful influences from the outside world.  They are not bringing up their children to view the world as a safe place, as a godly place, they want them to truly believe and act as if their chosen religious lifestyle is the only way, the truth, and the light. 

One of the most recent and truly terrifying true life cases for me would be the family with 13 children that they hid away and abused and brainwashed and truly kept those kids in a state of constant ignorance and fear for nearly a decade. 

In this country people are allowed to act underneath religious protections, and such protections like that would be instrumental for a group like Gilead to take advantage of.

If I want to say that I don’t want my child to go to public school and I would rather homeschool them and I would rather teach them a certain belief system I can, and whether or not the argument could be made about whether these ideals are truly in the best interest of my child or children, no one can interfere, not even the government. 

Edited by AnswersWanted.
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4 hours ago, chaifan said:

Even if Eden is 15, she knows what she no longer has.  She would have grown up with books and tv and movies and school and playing outside and playing with boys, and probably their equivalent of whatever pop stars 10 year olds are crushing on right now.  Yeah, you can do a lot of brain retooling in 5 years, especially at that age, but she has to know somewhere deep inside of her, that this marriage ain't right. 

In my head Eden had this type of up bringing, though probably with even less education due to her gender/family's social status. Her parents would possibly have been Quiverfull types, though presumably the fertility crises would have negatively impacted their plan to fill their quiver. Whatever the actual details of her backstory, I doubt very much that she had 10 years of singing Let It Go while playing with My Little Pony, Barbies and Bratz Dolls to look back on and remind her of her life's diminished potential. I think she lived in a form of Gilead from the moment she was born.

https://www.autostraddle.com/i-was-trained-for-the-culture-wars-in-home-school-awaiting-someone-like-mike-pence-as-a-messiah-367057/

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I think Nick "sensed" her laying there, it was all music, but it's possible he either actually heard something, say a small moan, or it's like when you feel someone's eyes on the back of your neck.  I think it was also showing that Nick does love June, is connected to her.

I'd like to know how she got outside too.  Probably more blood-loss wandering downstairs, but when the last scene before that was her at a window?  It was confusing and poorly done IMO, as if she may have jumped.  Maybe she did? 

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1 hour ago, AllyB said:

In my head Eden had this type of up bringing, though probably with even less education due to her gender/family's social status. Her parents would possibly have been Quiverfull types, though presumably the fertility crises would have negatively impacted their plan to fill their quiver. Whatever the actual details of her backstory, I doubt very much that she had 10 years of singing Let It Go while playing with My Little Pony, Barbies and Bratz Dolls to look back on and remind her of her life's diminished potential. I think she lived in a form of Gilead from the moment she was born.

https://www.autostraddle.com/i-was-trained-for-the-culture-wars-in-home-school-awaiting-someone-like-mike-pence-as-a-messiah-367057/

 

Man does that link bring back memories ... I hate to say I knew and still know a lot of people like them thanks to my upbringing which, thankfully, did not stick even the slightest bit, heh.  

 Those I came across did not align themselves with that particular group, but even though they go by a bunch of different names in different religious sects, a lot of their behaviors are similar if not identical. And definitely they all have the same goal, to live a so called “righteous life”. 

 But when you’ve seen it face-to-face, it is truly mesmerizing.

These are people who restrict and control everything from their kids diets, they don’t take them to fast food places or any kind of restaurant, they don’t allow them to wear certain clothing, and it’s far more strict of course if you’re a girl, think dresses that hit no higher than the ankle and not being allowed to wear pants at all, they will not allow any sort of television show to be viewed, and forget going to the movies ever, they control what sort of music their children listen to, they control the way they wear their hair and even the length of it for a woman’s hair is her “beauty” according to god, and they are not allowed to wear makeup or jewelry.

And as far as any sort of teachings about one’s bodily functions and sexual development, good luck, you can probably get more accurate info from an actual bird and bee. 

They are constantly reminded of remaining pure and good and devoting themselves to having a godly husband that will be the leader and head of the household and, so often, the agenda is to produce as many good little babies as her body can pop out for as long as she is fertile. Be fruitful and multiply is their mantra.

They have every single step of the way mapped out and these kids practically walk around like well tuned robots. They know so little if anything about the outside world, to them the outside world is full of sodomites that are all going to hell. 

 From what little we have seen of Eden so far, I agree with you, I think she was being conditioned from birth most likely.  

She does not seem to have any of the qualities of a young girl that is struggling to overcome a free pass to do whatever she wanted to do and a normal childhood to now being all about Gilead’s regime without any questions or comments.

What I see in her is a girl who was raised that way, she was never really given freedom to do anything before it became a law that such privileges would be lost for good, she was taught to expect this way of life for as long as she can remember, which is also what makes her incredibly dangerous to those who continue to fight for freedom like June and potentially Nick. 

 

1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

I'd like to know how she got outside too.  Probably more blood-loss wandering downstairs, but when the last scene before that was her at a window?  It was confusing and poorly done IMO, as if she may have jumped.  Maybe she did? 

 

 They did this all the time in season one when June would sneak off to Nick’s place in the middle of the night, sure it was to drive their coupling and all but come on, really? 

Is no one watching them at night time? There’s no security system, there’s no watchmen, nothing?

So they just have the guards during the daytime and then they go back into their guard holes at night? Oh no, why do you need patrols at nighttime, obviously no one would ever do anything nefarious under the cover of darkness ...

 But with everything that’s happened now in season two I find it even more unbelievable and unlikely and ridiculous because June has shown herself to be someone who can escape and go on the run and yet she still could easily make her way downstairs somehow and out the door and collapse in the yard to die overnight, or somehow she managed to get out of her window to fall or jump out, but wouldn’t the window be the first thing that they would have secured to make sure she couldn’t get out of it?

Lazy and ludicrous plot planning.

For me there was a far easier and believable set up they could have gone with: Nick slipped away and was attempting to visit her in secret because he wanted to talk to her about his new baby bride, he finds her collapsed in her room in the same way that she was in the yard, he then carries her downstairs to get help.

No one was going to ask any questions about how Nick managed to find her, they’d be more focused on trying to keep her alive. And if anyone asked about it later on he and Rita could easily come up with a cover story that she was going to check on the girl and sounded the alarm which he responded to, done. 

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No, I did like it being outside, but they could have showed her wandering down there, disoriented from blood loss, just wanting to get outside of that house and into the air.

Or at least not shown her at the window right before that.

Nick would have NO reason to be in her room at night, zip, none, big boo boo.

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Eden grew up on a farm.  It makes total sense that she is super sheltered and a true believer.  She's like the quiverful or FDLS hardline believers (which is much easier at 14 or 15).

 

I think this season has a bit of Emmy seeking madness.  Instead of trying to create a great show, they're trying to create episodes that can win awards with their acting or directing or writing, episodes that can stand on their own and that's been a drag on the story.  We've seen enough of Moss' acting chops and we need the story to move along.

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5 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

No, I did like it being outside, but they could have showed her wandering down there, disoriented from blood loss, just wanting to get outside of that house and into the air.

Or at least not shown her at the window right before that.

Nick would have NO reason to be in her room at night, zip, none, big boo boo.

 

As I mentioned Nick would not have been found in her room, he would’ve been the one carrying her downstairs. 

Rita covering for him would’ve been of no consequence.  All she’d have to say was that she was bringing her more of that precious cinnamon milk crap, she did offer June that right before June went up to her room. 

The Waterfords’ house is a house of secrets, I doubt that Rita would mind keeping one for Nick especially if he acted to save June’s life.

 I could just see him moving around the house a lot easier to find her and leaving her in the house, then her managing to make her way out it wholly undetected with blood soaked drawers outside to then drop in the yard.  But that’s just me and they decided to play it the other way. 

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I love Elizabeth Moss's scenes, she's an amazing actress, and seeing her perform without makeup is wonderful.  You can see every emotion, and it's never overplayed.  Much like the other actresses on this show, she's nailing every single scene, subtly, and never once over-acting. 

This is her story, and no, I'm not sick of it.  Not in the least.  I'm glad the world is expanding more, and love the (finally!) inclusion of the Econwives.  The wedding of the "honored" underlings to the very young brides was shocking, real, and also in the book.  Seeing the suspicion or tension in the Commander's ranks is also fantastic.  The colonies and Bledel's amazing scenes.  This difficulty of reentering a sane world up in Canada.  Mayday and the attempted escape!

So much has happened this season already, so many new things introduced (all, in one way or another addressed in the book.) 

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I was thinking about the boredom. We know the wives are allowed to knit and paint, presumably they can also crochet, sew, embroider, etc. I wonder are they allowed to play any games? Obviously Scrabble/Boggle is out but can they play chess? Draughts? They don't require literacy but are they considered too cerebral? Can they play Snakes and Ladders? Ludo? Are they allowed to do puzzles? Could they do Sudoku on a game board? Rubik's cube? Can they play card games? Even simple ones like Snap using picture cards? Peg Solitaire? Tangram block puzzles? Can they do a jigsaw?

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The music during that super-gross child bride wedding was incredible. Just…Gah.

I know the colonies are awful, and the concentration camp imagery is deliberate, but the misery porn of this part of the show just leaves me cold. 

Where is Emily getting those drugs? That may have been explained but I missed it.

Edited by marinw.
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Oh Serena. She looks at Aunt Lydia loudly writing and then her husband typing away on his freaking laptop. If she wasn’t so horrible I might have felt badly for her.

Edited by marinw.
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On 5/16/2018 at 10:30 AM, dmc said:

It's interesting to me that Serena wants June to be her confidante but is legitimately horrible to her.  She doesn't even try to be nice and when she does...it comes off the way a cold detached mother treats a child.

 

I also found it interesting and, for a minute, it made me think maybe Serena would learn a lesson about how you shouldn't try to break somebody's spirit, but, ha ha, no. She just doubled down on being terrible.

In all seriousness, though, people prefer if their victims seem okay with being victimized, because it makes what they're doing seem less bad for them. It's one way of resolving the cognitive dissonance that comes from doing something evil. So, I don't think Serena sincerely cares about what's good for June (if she did she wouldn't be into this handmaid thing to begin with) but she would sincerely prefer for June to be all right with it, because that would ease her conscience.

On 5/16/2018 at 1:36 PM, Miles said:

Our modern ideal of marriage is a pretty new one. Gillead is bringing it back to it's roots in biblical times. At least they are consistent.

Which is also why it was always so laughable when christians talked about "traditional marriage" when they were trying to keep gay people from getting married. Nothing traditional about modern day hetero marriages.

...

Serena seems conflicted as well. On the one hand, she likes June subservient and under her heel, but on the other, she isn't comfortable with it either. She wanted June to actually hold a conversation with her on their walk. Part of it is probably because she is bored out of her skull, but another is that somewhere deep down she knows how creepy and inhumane this is.

One of the things I find really interesting about this season is that it's doubling down on the religious stuff, and the contrast between the religion Gilead presents and the version of Christianity that people remember from before, about love and peace. It seems clear that Gilead's religion is really just a way to justify a caste system that places the leaders of the revolution above everyone else in the society they created -- making up a bunch of reasons why that's holy is almost an afterthought.

The thing I probably liked most about this episode was the contrast between the awful, holy Gilead marriage ceremony that's all about service to the state, and the marriage in the colonies, where God doesn't care if you're Jewish (or gay) as long as you love each other.

On 5/16/2018 at 3:52 PM, Joana said:

Serena looked like she was about to spontaneously combust with fury when she saw Aunt Lydia writing, and Auntie picked up on it and rubbed it in. The dynamics between these two women are quite fascinating. Serena probably considers Aunt Lydia to be beneath her, while Aunt Lydia must have realized that Serena is far from happy with her new life under Gilead, which likely makes her a false believer in her eyes. I wasn't sure about it before, but it does appear that Aunt Lydia wields more power in this society than a Wife does. Serena should be careful.

It seems like women's power in this society is limited to the power to kick down at other women, but the Aunts are the only women we've seen who hold state jobs, so they do have that. Similar to what I said above, I think it's interesting that Aunt Lydia seems like she's a true believer in this religion that has conveniently raised her up to a much more powerful position than she probably had before (and toppled the kinds of women she probably didn't like before). Once again, I'm curious to know more specifics about who she was before everything happened.

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This season is dragging a bit. I don't think putting June back with the Rutherford s was the right choice. The show is dragging over the same ground as last year and its so hard to watch with so little payoff. There is a fine line between political commentary and misery porn the show is getting awfully close to the line. 

For all the complaints about Nick's actor he was really good this week. His face in the ceremony said everything.

Also I suspect Fred was trying to ship him off to the front lines. Which explains why Boston seems so important if DC is a battleground.

I actually liked the scenes in the Colonies best this week it actually seemed hopefull.

Edited by Emily Thrace.
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On 5/20/2018 at 4:20 PM, AllyB said:

I was thinking about the boredom. We know the wives are allowed to knit and paint, presumably they can also crochet, sew, embroider, etc. I wonder are they allowed to play any games? Obviously Scrabble/Boggle is out but can they play chess? Draughts? They don't require literacy but are they considered too cerebral? Can they play Snakes and Ladders? Ludo? Are they allowed to do puzzles? Could they do Sudoku on a game board? Rubik's cube? Can they play card games? Even simple ones like Snap using picture cards? Peg Solitaire? Tangram block puzzles? Can they do a jigsaw?

We're told in the book that Serena gardens in addition to knitting. Card games would most definitely be out; they have a history of being regarded as especially sinful: http://www.eaec.org/bibleanswers/playing_cards.htm Here's an article against chess for Christians: http://www.e-hope4all.info/should-christians-play-chess/ Not sure about the other activities; my guess is that anything competitive would be a no-no since we're supposed to be saving people's souls instead of looking for ways to prevail over them. Then again, Gilead is all about power rather than love, so who knows?

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3 minutes ago, GreekGeek said:

Here's an article against chess

Chess is intellectually demanding, so we can’t have that! Ditto for music.

The irony is that “crafty” things like knitting and baking can be challenging and rewarding, and there is science and math involved. Ask any enthusiastic knitter or baker! I suppose the difference is doing these things because you wan’t to and being forced to or having nothing else to do.

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Does anyone else think Jeanine might be related somehow to Aunt Lydia? Aunt Lydia seems to care more for her, and Jeanine most certainly seems to love her. 

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11 minutes ago, stephinmn said:

Does anyone else think Jeanine might be related somehow to Aunt Lydia? Aunt Lydia seems to care more for her, and Jeanine most certainly seems to love her. 

I don't think they're related. Don't forget how Aunt Lydia treated Janine initially, making all the other handmaids chant that Janine having been raped in her pre-Gilead life was her fault, and gouging out her eye as punishment for swearing. Aunt Lydia broke down "old" Janine and then pretended to love "new" Janine, similarly to what she tried to do with June telling her that Omar's death was June's fault, but not Offred's. 

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On 5/16/2018 at 1:26 AM, chocolatine said:

When Serena told Fred about the pregnancy last season and he teared up from happiness she told him that the baby isn't his.

Well, hell. I totally missed that, so thank you. That must have been before I started using CC, because I often can't hear/understand what people say.

I love how Serena now expects June to be her bestie, making jokes and sharing gossip, and this after subjecting her to assorted and ongoing brutalities and utter degradation all this time. I wouldn't say anything other than, "Yes/No, Mrs. Waterford" either. Anything else might result in a slap across the face or much worse, since Serena needs ways in which to take out her anger and frustration at her own situation, and maybe that ol' Freddie is firing blanks yet she's blamed for being "barren".

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As a very half hearted knitter (I like it - I am useless at maintaining gauge so i mostly make scarfs) I am seriously impressed that Serena does so much fancy knitting in the books (June thinks she does fancy knitting to make it trickier because life is so boring) because presumably knitting is allowed but knitting patterns are not - I have a couple of simple things I could make without a pattern but even more competent experienced knitters I know need patterns for fancier things - I suppose Serena has nothing but time to practice getting it right. 

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14 hours ago, marinw said:

The irony is that “crafty” things like knitting and baking can be challenging and rewarding, and there is science and math involved. Ask any enthusiastic knitter or baker! I suppose the difference is doing these things because you wan’t to and being forced to or having nothing else to do.

One of my grandmothers was very poorly educated to the point where she was largely illiterate. She was also very bad with money so I never really thought of her as someone who was very bright. She used to knit all the time, never using a pattern. When I was a kid she made me so many cardigans and sweaters in multi-coloured geometric patterns that were so big in the 80s. It wasn't until I was an adult and started knitting myself that I understood how very intelligent she had to have been to be able to knit like that. Without a pattern, just doing a raglan sleeve requires an excellent innate understanding of numbers. Pulling off the kind of complicated patterns she did, without so much as jotting down a note to help herself, is pretty similar to coding in terms of how you use your brain.
 

Edited by AllyB.
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19 hours ago, Emily Thrace said:

This season is dragging a bit. I don't think putting June back with the Rutherford s was the right choice. The show is dragging over the same ground as last year and its so hard to watch with so little payoff. There is a fine line between political commentary and misery porn the show is getting awfully close to the line. 

For all the complaints about Nick's actor he was really good this week. His face in the ceremony said everything.

Also I suspect Fred was trying to ship him off to the front lines. Which explains why Boston seems so important if DC is a battleground.

I actually liked the scenes in the Colonies best this week it actually seemed hopefull.

 

You are certainly not the only one to have said that it's dragging, going over the same ground, and it's misery porn.  I honestly don't feel that way at all.  You didn't specify June's story doing that, but many other's have.

For me, June has been a revelation this season in so many ways.  In a few short months, and only 5 episodes, we've seen her"

  • Expecting to die right then and there.  I know some people say "they wouldn't kill that many handmaids" but I defy anyone to think that would be any kind of comfort in this world, that LOGIC exists at all, or, to not see your own death as imminent if you had been one of those handmaids.  The dogs, the noose around your neck, the people that "just follow orders" as everyone must do in Gilead.  That handmaid that peed herself, and all of the others made me feel their terror, including June.
  • Exceedingly brave, my heart was pounding all through the terrifying "follow the red squares" escape, especially before she got in the freezer van full of dead meat, but after that, at any moment, she could be shot, killed escaping.  Still, she persisted, and in doing so had to blindly trust those helping her to know what they were doing.
  • Empathic and heart completely broken when she realized what had happened to all of the people who worked for the Boston Globe, and finding a true connection with God herself, praying for them, remembering them, honoring them, devastated by their fates.
  • Educating herself mercilessly and painstakingly putting all the pieces together about how all this happened to the the United States.  Realizing her complicity, and blindness, in contrast to her mother and her friends who could see the writing on the wall, because they chose to look and pay attention, and tried to stop Gilead, with their very lives.
  • Desperate when caught, and watching it all fall apart at that airfield, after showing much more initiative and bravery trying to save herself to simply get there.  "I waited before, I will not wait again."
  • Snarky and finally really back to her true self, and not just in voice overs, in actions and words, calling bullshit where she saw bullshit, to Lydia, and at the Commander's house.
  • Broken completely, without even any voice overs, the robotic Handmaid version of a Stepford woman, only laden with undeserved guilt "We've been sent beautiful weather."
  • Hopeless, this time by at first, being willing to bleed out slowly and die rather than continue in this bizarre and inhuman world.
  • Becoming like her mother, She found the real fight and resistance inside herself, connected with the life inside her, and promising to fight on, to not let her child be born into this.  Her resistance now is quite different, she's not the blind or naive soul anymore, everything that's happened has changed her.  She may not have much fight left in her for herself, but she has it for her child.

So many things have changed in Gilead and in Canada too for us, so much more is being told and some of it is hopeful, like "Blessed be the fruit loops."  June is not the only one on screen going through many changes here, and yes, some are more subtle than others, but they've all changed from last season.  Fred is obviously scared now.  Aunt Lydia is feeling her power and now that's extended to power over a Wife and Commander as well.  Nick is obviously in love with June and his baby, and is now forced into marriage with a child, and frankly, that "child" looks and sounds pretty dangerous for someone like Nick, doing the things Nick does, both as an Eye and in Mayday.  Luke has changed from that callous husband that screamed at his wife.  Moira has changed in so many ways, and she can't leave Gilead behind, especially sexually, or in her job of helping to orient recent escapees.  Emily, Janine, everyone on the show is in a different place now, and we have the Econfamilies, in their precarious positions now too, and I really hope we get into more of that.  We've had new ceremonies and traditions of the young Gilead as well.

There is just SO much.

It does remain a bleak show though, because that is what it's about, what happens when you give up or allow freedoms, equality, and all the rest to be taken from you.  What happens when you don't pay attention?  We are watching things in real life now being stripped away, every single day something new happens.  First thing on my Facebook Feed this morning was about taking away the "wrong" belief in separation of church and state, second thing I saw was about evolution not being taught in a certain state anymore, another school shooting, more racism and bigotry, more insults to the press, more men taking control of women's vaginas.  I turned off Facebook and other news feeds.  Am I doing what June did?  Can't face the sickening reality, so going on with my life as best I can, blinders attached?  Not really, but it's MUCH too close.  I think that's why this show is so hard to watch at times, it's much much much too close.

Edited by Umbelina.
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I so agree this is a rich season. I'm fascinated by Janine. 

She is barking mad, the Pennsatucky of Gilead, but she is a warrior who will go down swinging. 

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7 hours ago, AngelaHunter said:

Well, hell. I totally missed that, so thank you. That must have been before I started using CC, because I often can't hear/understand what people say.

From a recap of that episode:

Quote

"She's pregnant," [Serena] says. "It isn't yours. You're weak, and God would never let you pass on that weakness. You can't father a child because you're not worthy." 

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Still playing catch-up.   I was trying to get a sense of how long a time period this episode was supposed to cover because like everyone else, I kept wondering how at least Rita never noticed that June was filling her underthings and likely her sheets with blood since she would be the one to be handling her laundry.  I know we've seen a lot of sneaking around in that creaky old house that everyone is seemingly oblivious to, but it also bugged that we're apparently supposed to think June could slip entirely unnoticed downstairs and outside past everyone in just her bloody underwear only to collapse in the yard.  But we'll go with it.

There were a couple of interesting things going on in this episode.  Serena continues to fascinate in that after all the complaining she's done about June's presence and her lack of quiet compliant behavior, she's now complaining that she's become little more than a silent specter yesing and noing ma'am at her side.  We haven't really gotten enough look at the inner lives of the other wives to know how much they fully buy into this new order, although most of them seem to go along with it just fine if it gets them an occasional fussy party or baby out of it, but it's always pretty clear that Serena understands full well how ridiculous and ridiculously empty so much of it all is.  She and June would have both been educated white collar women in the before time, and she had moments here she was giving off vibes off of wanting some kind of camaraderie with her that they might have had before if only it weren't for that whole participating in your ritual raping and now waiting around to steal your baby because the law says I can thing.  I was really struck by June's inner monologue going radio silent throughout this episode to clue us in to just how effective Aunt Lydia's previous gaslighting her had been.  If she's accepted that everything bad that's happened is entirely her fault and her only recourse is to passively be, it makes a certain amount of sense that she would also passively accept what she clearly thought was a miscarriage and maybe bleeding out.

The narrative choice to pull Nick all the way in and make him complicit in the system by giving him a child bride he clearly wants no part of but now has to play the part for instead of letting him just be the maybe good guy on the sidelines opens up all kinds of possibilities.  Good old Commander Fred obviously at least suspects that whatever went on to get Offred pregnant involved Nick even if he can't openly acknowledge it or do anything about it, and he was showing here that he still loves to play the magnanimous big man he thinks he is in "rewarding" Nick with a wife while demonstrating that he entirely missed that he's being watched or just how much trouble he might be in trying to get him reassigned.  The mass wedding of the child brides who probably have only fuzzy memories of life "before" was indeed disturbing although it provided a terrific visual of June's line from the book about Nick not having been "assigned a woman" yet and what that would actually look like.

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I think the bleeding all took place in one day.  June first noticed it when she was on the toilet.  The wedding ceremony, the second bath of the day, the collapse?  Probably all in around 16 hours, so no chance yet for Rita to change the sheets, or be doing laundry, which June would have probably hidden anyway.

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21 hours ago, Umbelina said:

You are certainly not the only one to have said that it's dragging, going over the same ground, and it's misery porn.  I honestly don't feel that way at all.  You didn't specify June's story doing that, but many other's have.

I actually feel its more the Rutherfords who are dragging over the same ground. They are assholes and I really don't see what else there is to say about them. Trying to mine more sympathy for the devil feels repetitive at this point. Even this week the walk with Serena and June felt like something we had seen before. Serena was fake nice,  June shut her down and Serena reverted to bitch mode. Nothing we really haven't seen before.  I think there are ways they could have kept the character's on the show without putting June back in that house.  I feel like June's growth and character could have been explored in better ways even as a handmaid in a different house. 

I also am slightly uncomfortable with how far they have taken breaking down June and bring her low. Its not that I think a feminist work needs to only build up their female characters. Its more that if in June's case I wonder if it actually serves the story at this point. It feels more like they needed to give the character  something to do while they set up other stories. Which is a terrible reason to go for a full blown breakdown of the main character. 

I also have issues with the level of violence and the constant threats. Last year the threats were implied. Jeanine was mutilated but it was off screen, people were killed but it wasn't anyone we knew. Now they are showing the mutilations and the death threats are daily and implicit. I get that they are trying to raise the stakes but I think they could do that(putting Luke in harm's way or showing more of without resorting to throwing violence in our faces. I would hate for this show to become something the MRAs watch to see "the bitches get what they deserve". 

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On 5/17/2018 at 8:14 AM, AnswersWanted said:

I don't see Hannah fitting into a group such as the child brides that we saw in this episode.

I don't even think she fits into the group that the Econo family's son is in now, since they took his mother and father away.

 Hannah is probably the lowest of the low when it comes to the kids in Gilead.  

She is the child of two adulterers, making her a child had out of wedlock under the law, she is not a priviledged girl I don't think.

Most likely they are training her up to serve a purpose, but she will never regain social status to be a wife of any kind or a Martha. 

 I could certainly see her being the next generation of handmaids in fact.

To me it makes sense that they would want some upcoming young girls to take the place of the handmaids as they age out, or run out of opportunities to bear a child, and who better than the female offspring of the 1st generation?

 Gilead is not opposed to using children for whatever purpose they see fit to use them for, so a girl like Hannah, when she reaches puberty, why wouldn't she be fair game to become a handmaid.

What would also add to their appeal would be that girls like Hannah will be raised with the Gilead mindset and mentality deeply instilled so that they will not fight back the way their mothers and aunts and older sisters are doing now.

 In the same way that Eden is deeply submissive and docile, Hannah will be even worse what she gets to be the same age. 

 Except Eden was raised to be the perfect wife, Hannah could very well be raised to be the perfect womb. 

Even if Gilead is planning for kids like Hannah to become handmaids, the reality is that they won't really know if any of them are fertile for years. Just because their mothers were able to get pregnant doesn't mean that the next generation will definitely be able to.

When Serena went to visit Hannah at the end of S1, was she at a school or a group home? I am curious as to whether Gilead allowed any of the commander families to adopt the children they confiscated since they're so desperate for children. Kids like Hannah are young enough to be indoctrinated so they can probably churn out lots of obedient and devoted Gilead citizens. Although I guess the low birthrate means they will also run out of Marthas and Jezebels soon so they could always train the tainted kids to fill those roles for the next generation.

On 5/17/2018 at 2:46 PM, AnswersWanted said:

 So then we get a scene like we did in this episode, where they're sitting at the table and Serena is attempting to engage him in general conversation and he can't even be bothered to look her way.

And to rub some salt in that wound, he's ignoring her while he's reading!

On 5/17/2018 at 4:56 PM, AnswersWanted said:

 Other than their handmaids, who serve more as their torture victims really, it does not seen like these people allow themselves to have pets even. 

Or maybe all the domesticated animals have mostly died out? Who knows.  I doubt they'd want to feed them anyway considering the war going on and rationing supplies.

I think there a scene in S1 where Emily was in the backyard of her current commander's house (I think this was after she got moved from Glen to Steven) and she was tossing a ball to a dog.

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Do you mean when June was in the car? That scene was at a private home I thought.

1 minute ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

When Serena went to visit Hannah at the end of S1, was she at a school or a group home

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They don't have group homes.  Getting a child is so rare and valuable they are just given to the infertile Commanders and Wives.

I don't think Hannah is "the lowest of the low" at all.  I think she looked happy and well cared for, she's probably more like most adopted children, beloved.

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On 5/24/2018 at 3:56 PM, Umbelina said:

They don't have group homes.  Getting a child is so rare and valuable they are just given to the infertile Commanders and Wives.

I don't think Hannah is "the lowest of the low" at all.  I think she looked happy and well cared for, she's probably more like most adopted children, beloved.

I agree. That looked like a private home to me, and in a good area. I am almost positive that they mentioned Hannah going to another family in one of the earlier episodes. 

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On 5/24/2018 at 2:35 PM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Even if Gilead is planning for kids like Hannah to become handmaids, the reality is that they won't really know if any of them are fertile for years. Just because their mothers were able to get pregnant doesn't mean that the next generation will definitely be able to.

Of course, by definition, everyone's (birth) mother was able to get pregnant ...  :)

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I found this episode so hard to watch.

When I saw the blood my heart stopped ! I wondered was June's immediate thought had she lost the baby and did this mean certain death for herself, and was this why she didn't tell anyone, was she hoping she hadn't lost the baby and it was just spotting, or did she even care at that point whether she lost the baby or not. Or the bigger q, if she did fear the reaction and the possible death sentence for herself, again you'd almost have to wonder why she'd fear her own death at that point, it would be a release from that hell, and possibly her only escape. So many questions about her mental state. I don't like June's face but the acting is phenomenal. I also kept thinking of June and Serena's whole "once my baby is safe your baby is safe" , and had June miscarried "Serena's" baby would Serena immediately take action to hurt Hannah. Anyway, looks like the baby is ok.

I'm so on edge while watching Serena's scenes. Then in the times she almost wants to befriend June and have somebody to chat to, I feel myself ALMOST rooting for her good side to emerge more but then bam she turns psycho again. Surely there is a wife somewhere who feels guilt for all that is going on.

There seems to be an emphasis on homosexual relationships in this series and I'm wondering is that because these are the people supposed to be most affected by the Gillead regime? but surely everyone is affected, food for thought. I do note the apparent lack of racism too and that is interesting whoever brought that up.

That last scene where June seemingly gets back to herself and promises to fight for her and her baby is a love/hate scene for me. I don't want her to just succumb to it all and keep her head down but I also do, so that she can survive !! If that makes sense. The thought of watching another escape attempt terrifies me !!!

Also, I love that pretty much everyone on here refers to her as June and not Offred ! Amazing what a show can do :) :) :)

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3 hours ago, BARISTA said:

I'm so on edge while watching Serena's scenes. Then in the times she almost wants to befriend June and have somebody to chat to, I feel myself ALMOST rooting for her good side to emerge more but then bam she turns psycho again. Surely there is a wife somewhere who feels guilt for all that is going on.

During Emily's second "assignment" on the show, when she was Ofsteven, the wife seemed pretty decent. So there's at least one. I just don't think Serena ever will be one.

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On 5/16/2018 at 4:55 PM, QQQQ said:

For so many episodes I've been thinking about how much Janine reminds me of Tricia from OITNB. Never once did I put two and two together that it's the same flipping actress. I'm so dumb.

Dumb, meet Dumber. Totally missed that.

On 5/16/2018 at 6:58 PM, snowbryneich said:

With reference to lab workers - they make ovulation tests work just like pregnancy tests - you pee (obviously you have to wait to mid cycle) and get a line and they have no issue using those test as has been shown. I think the way that Gilead has been portrayed - so focused on what a resource fertile women are they wouldn't want to miss out on any fertile women they could use as a resource just because she hadn't already had a kid and there are low tech ways to check - I think it's been previously suggested that they could do something as basic as assume women with regular periods are fertile and ones without aren't and if your wife isn't fertile - no sex allowed.  

Ovulation tests only show when you ovulate, and indicate a prime time for insemination. They don't say anything about the quality of the egg - which is key for for a successful pregnancy.

 

On 5/22/2018 at 11:08 AM, AngelaHunter said:

I love how Serena now expects June to be her bestie, making jokes and sharing gossip, and this after subjecting her to assorted and ongoing brutalities and utter degradation all this time. I wouldn't say anything other than, "Yes/No, Mrs. Waterford" either. Anything else might result in a slap across the face or much worse, since Serena needs ways in which to take out her anger and frustration at her own situation, and maybe that ol' Freddie is firing blanks yet she's blamed for being "barren".

This reminds me of something that struck me another book - The Invention of Wings. It is the story of two women (starting out as girls). Sarah, a slave owner's daughter, and Hetty, a slave. Sarah is given Hetty as her handmaiden (!). To Sarah's credit, she eventually becomes an abolitionist, but though she thinks of Hetty as something like a best friend, we also see the story from Hetty's point of view, where of course, Hetty completely understands Sarah is not. That dynamic, expecting friendship when you hold the power, is an interesting one.

On 5/22/2018 at 5:42 PM, Umbelina said:

It does remain a bleak show though, because that is what it's about, what happens when you give up or allow freedoms, equality, and all the rest to be taken from you.  What happens when you don't pay attention?  We are watching things in real life now being stripped away, every single day something new happens.  First thing on my Facebook Feed this morning was about taking away the "wrong" belief in separation of church and state, second thing I saw was about evolution not being taught in a certain state anymore, another school shooting, more racism and bigotry, more insults to the press, more men taking control of women's vaginas.  I turned off Facebook and other news feeds.  Am I doing what June did?  Can't face the sickening reality, so going on with my life as best I can, blinders attached?  Not really, but it's MUCH too close.  I think that's why this show is so hard to watch at times, it's much much much too close.

This. So very much. Every f**king day. I work in an office where I'm the only woman, and the oldest person. I've taken to schooling the guys on women's issues. Never used to talk about that at work, but they are so oblivious I just have to set them straight now and again. To their credit, they do listen and even take it in somewhat. Two are pretty religious guys, but both of them willing to listen to other perspectives.

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@Clanstarling I too loved The Invention of Wings. Although we don’t have any historical evidence to support the view point of Hetty, it seemed very plausible to me. The novel followed Sarah Grimke’s (the real woman) life pretty closely. 

Edited by Scarlett45.
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18 hours ago, Clanstarling said:

Dumb, meet Dumber. Totally missed that

I missed it too!

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On 6/9/2018 at 10:47 AM, Scarlett45 said:

@Clanstarling I too loved The Invention of Wings. Although we don’t have any historical evidence to support the view point of Hetty, it seemed very plausible to me. The novel followed Sarah Grimke’s (the real woman) life pretty closely. 

 

Yes, the Grimke sisters were pretty interesting. They were women's rights advocates too - and got some flak from the abolitionists who weren't inclined to include that in their platform.

Edited by Clanstarling. Reason: used "interesting way" too many times.
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I liked the Emily/Janine stuff in the Colonies but this episode moved too slowly for me. It was another one where I ended up fast forwarding the long slow shots of depressed June. I'm glad she came back to herself at the end when she learned the baby had survived.

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On 5/16/2018 at 5:46 PM, Umbelina said:

Why do you say he's keeping them FOR JUNE?  He's keeping them for the women who wrote them.  He's a good guy.  He also can move around, and has many more safe places to keep them than June will ever have.  Obviously, he could just take them back to the Boston Globe building if he wants to (or other places) to hide them.  He could have also just burned them.  June didn't ask him for anything, or expect it.

 

I wonder about Nick being a good guy, and about his politics. His interactions with June now make it seem like he’s just a normal dude who would prefer for women to have rights and sympathizes with June being raped, but ... he got into this position somehow. Didn’t we see him working for the Commander before Gilead, in a flashback? Did he share their beliefs? Did he change his mind? He’s not a very fleshed out character. 

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Pryce was Nick's career advisor or something of that ilk. They met when Nick was unemployed, dissatisfied and short-tempered. Pryce tapped into that and recruited him for the Sons of Jacob. How much Nick may have participated in the coup we don't know. But he clearly has proven himself enough to be appointed an Eye. 

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I find the season pretty engaging overall, but this episode didn't move things forward much.

I'm fascinated by Mrs. [Putnam?]--the woman who has Janine's baby. Every glimpse of her suggests she's got a lot going on. So curious to see where that goes. It may just be that she's resentful of her cheating husband and she's not happy caring for an infant, but I feel like there's more to it.

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