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S02.E13: The Word 2018.07.11

If June chooses to stay in Gilead then fine but it burns me up that she'd want the baby's name to be "Nicole" after all Serena put her through! This is the same woman who would smack her and anyone else around in the house when she was having a bad day, allowed her husband to rape her and who would humiliate and dehumanize her at every turn and because she showed June an ounce of humanity at the last minute she is suddenly deserving of having the baby's name remain "Nicole" instead of Holly? I'd sooner have her be named after Eden or Janine or Rita (the very person who's been watching over her and helped her escape). Ugh, burns me up!

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4 hours ago, Eri said:

If June chooses to stay in Gilead then fine but it burns me up that she'd want the baby's name to be "Nicole" after all Serena put her through!

But wasn’t Nicole a reference to Nick as her father?  That’s what I always thought.  I don’t get though, how June reconciles the fact she loves Nick with the husband she left behind?  Mind you, I think what’s-his-name is totally uncharismatic and as boring as a rock but still...  He was supposed to be the great love of her life, the guy she broke up a marriage to snare.  All that seems to have fallen by the wayside.

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On 7/11/2018 at 9:33 PM, Scarlett45 said:

Women are terribly unforgiving of other women and men somehow get a pass.

Amen sister. Amen. 🙌🏻

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6 hours ago, Earlwoode said:

But wasn’t Nicole a reference to Nick as her father?  That’s what I always thought.  I don’t get though, how June reconciles the fact she loves Nick with the husband she left behind?  Mind you, I think what’s-his-name is totally uncharismatic and as boring as a rock but still...  He was supposed to be the great love of her life, the guy she broke up a marriage to snare.  All that seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Yes, it was. But it was Serena's choice (I assume) and imo intended to needle Fred.

I have no problem with June loving both of them. We love multiple people all the time (children,friends, family, etc.), why should that be different with men, especially under the circumstances? Most of us tend to deny that and insist on monogamy (which I do), but plenty of people don't and live in polyamorous relationships (and I'm not talking about LDS fundamentalists)

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8 hours ago, Earlwoode said:

But wasn’t Nicole a reference to Nick as her father?  That’s what I always thought.  I don’t get though, how June reconciles the fact she loves Nick with the husband she left behind?  Mind you, I think what’s-his-name is totally uncharismatic and as boring as a rock but still...  He was supposed to be the great love of her life, the guy she broke up a marriage to snare.  All that seems to have fallen by the wayside.

June has been separated from her husband for years. For most of that time she didn’t know if he was alive or dead. Nick has been one of the few people she can be herself with. I have no problem with her falling for her only source of comfort in those few years.

Now, as to what would happen if all three of them ended up in a place of safety, I don’t know.  But if you’re in a place where you can be beaten or mutilated or executed on a whim, and you’ve got somebody you believe won’t hurt you, then yeah, I’d probably fall in love with them too. 

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8 hours ago, Ceindreadh said:

 But if you’re in a place where you can be beaten or mutilated or executed on a whim, and you’ve got somebody you believe won’t hurt you, then yeah, I’d probably fall in love with them too. 

I've said the same thing. Id' fall in love with anyone who gave me a kind word or a touch that didn't hurt or degrade me. In such a precarious and brutal situation, you take comfort where you can find it. Humans need this. It would give June a very empty satisfaction if she continues being systematically raped,  ends up at the bottom of the pool, hanging on the wall or sent to the Colonies to tell herself, "At least I repulsed the only person who offered me love and caring and I remained faithful to the husband I haven't seen in years and and may never see again, assuming I survive in this hellish place. Yay me." Of course, that she has no idea if that husband has remarried, is living with another woman, has another child with her or or has five girlfriends shouldn't be of a concern.

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On 7/22/2018 at 3:45 AM, Earlwoode said:

But wasn’t Nicole a reference to Nick as her father?  That’s what I always thought.  I don’t get though, how June reconciles the fact she loves Nick with the husband she left behind?  Mind you, I think what’s-his-name is totally uncharismatic and as boring as a rock but still...  He was supposed to be the great love of her life, the guy she broke up a marriage to snare.  All that seems to have fallen by the wayside.

It's entirely possible to have strong feelings for more than one person at a time.

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7 hours ago, DangerousMinds said:

It's entirely possible to have strong feelings for more than one person at a time.

I once cheated on snickerdoodles with cheesecake, I felt dirty but I got over it.  

The strong feelings June feels for Nick is her lifeline in an impossible situation, had Gilead never happened June would have never waivered on her marriage with Luke but life went sideways and she needed something to hold on to.  She also knew she needed to have a baby to survive the hell she is in.  Nick offered viable sperm and sanity.

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Maybe I read it is heard it wrong.. But wasn't season 2 gonna talk about race?...  I super enjoyed this season but I kept thinking it would come up.. And with seemingly less moira and Luke this season.. I dunno.. Maybe next season I guess

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On 7/22/2018 at 5:29 PM, Ceindreadh said:

June has been separated from her husband for years. For most of that time she didn’t know if he was alive or dead.

It's not been more than 4 years - not that long to forget a man who was the father of her child and whom she was supposed to love a lot.  And she does know he is alive after the Mexican episode which could have happened two years before now (thought the timeline in this series is very wonky -one of the irritating things about it).  Frankly, I don't find either of these two guys attractive in the least so I don't really get how she fell for either (or both) of them.  But, of course, we all find different people attractive.

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What has Luke been doing? It seems crazy to me that he isn't actively fighting to get to June and Hannah. He doesn't appear to have any other family, so why isn't he clawing, scratching, bulldozing his way to the family he does have? All he seems to do is wander around Little America with his hands in his pockets. When he's brought in to meet with the woman who gives him the note from June, he thinks he's there for a different reason. He pulls some papers out of his pockets and says something about a bunch of people found at a school or something, but she cuts him off. That's the only indication we get that he has some kind of job or is doing some kind of research into what's going on. I really hope they fill us in on what he's been doing for the last 3 or 4 years.

And...has no one debriefed Moira? She was trained at the Red Center, she survived sexual slavery at Jezebel's, she knows exactly what women are subjected to in Gilead—she could have told the outside world all about it long before Nick ever brought the letters to Canada. I get that both Luke and Moira are suffering from survivor's guilt, but for them to just wallow in it while June fights her ass off is suddenly making zero sense to me. And they know that's what she's doing! I keep thinking about when Hannah asked, "Why didn't you try harder to find me?" and wondering what question June will ask of Luke. If he can't truthfully say, "I did everything I possibly could to get you and Hannah out of there," then what kind of partner is/was he, really? 

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7 hours ago, Veronimo said:

I get that both Luke and Moira are suffering from survivor's guilt, but for them to just wallow in it while June fights her ass off is suddenly making zero sense to me. And they know that's what she's doing! 

I know! Moira was so brave and badass during her escape from Gilead. Now she seems much more passive. As for Luke, I did love it when he cornered Fred and simply stated “You raped my wife.” To be fair, Luke and Moira want to help liberate Gilead, but don't know how and feel overwhelmed and helpless. I’m not sure I wouldn’t react the same way if I were in their position.

I’m hoping Emily can inspire her American expates to action.

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3 hours ago, marinw said:

I know! Moira was so brave and badass during her escape from Gilead. Now she seems much more passive. As for Luke, I did love it when he cornered Fred and simply stated “You raped my wife.” To be fair, Luke and Moira want to help liberate Gilead, but don't know how and feel overwhelmed and helpless. I’m not sure I wouldn’t react the same way if I were in their position.

I’m hoping Emily can inspire her American expates to action.

Just remembered the traumatized Guardian who Moira helped at the refugee center—he would know a ton of stuff, too (as would many of the escapees). Maybe next season they'll get a Little America band together and storm a weak section of the border...

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5 hours ago, marinw said:

I know! Moira was so brave and badass during her escape from Gilead. Now she seems much more passive. As for Luke, I did love it when he cornered Fred and simply stated “You raped my wife.” To be fair, Luke and Moira want to help liberate Gilead, but don't know how and feel overwhelmed and helpless. I’m not sure I wouldn’t react the same way if I were in their position.

I’m hoping Emily can inspire her American expates to action.

 

1 hour ago, Veronimo said:

Just remembered the traumatized Guardian who Moira helped at the refugee center—he would know a ton of stuff, too (as would many of the escapees). Maybe next season they'll get a Little America band together and storm a weak section of the border...

I  honestly don't see how the writers can delay this, or delay bringing world reactions to this next season.  Canada is their way to do that, and they have, in my opinion, failed or not bothered because of all the rave reviews and Emmy's last season.  They want to DRAG this story out as long as possible, and creating "the rest of the story" (the story not told in detail in the book) was more work than they wanted to take on.

Instead, they relied on outstanding acting to see them through. 

Still the critics have begun to complain, the viewers are complaining.  It's a "get this show on the road" vibe, and I'm hoping it lights a fire under their asses for next season.  (See the "hate" thread and the media thread for much more about this issue.)

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On 7/12/2018 at 3:15 AM, Callaphera said:

I won't bother repeating what y'all have said so eloquently already (because fuck yes to the ridiculousness of the note on the wall and the slow-mo walk to the van and everything else), but I will say this:

Congratulations, guys. I'm raising my glass for all of us that sat through all of these tedious reset episodes. We made it through 3839860982 close-ups of June's pores. We made it through the "Will she or won't she?" Serena rebellion storyline. We made it through all the stupid decisions that the characters made. As June puts it so well at the end of every episode "Fuck 'em." We did it. 

Also, I totally expect Aunt Lydia to be standing there without a scratch on her in Season Three, Episode One and she'll have some lame Nick-like story. "There was an issue. We took care of it. Pay no attention to the steak knife in my back."

Oh my god.  Until I read your post I COMPLETELY forgot that Nick was shot and killed (!?!?!?! LOL) one episode and then magically re-appeared the next.

I admit I enjoy the show and don't find it annoying, and am always looking forward to more content, yet I find everyone's posts and grievances hilarious and totally understandable!

I think it helps that I haven't read the book so I am blissfully ignorant.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay.
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On 7/14/2018 at 11:24 PM, Lemons said:

 Serena willingly gives up her baby, the only thing that gives her a reason to live?

This wasn't believable to me, either, not in a million years.  The only plausible explanation is she was too tramautized and hopped up on painkillers?  Is that what they were trying to sell?

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I can't believe it's only been 2 seasons.  Right now it feels like it's been 4.  LOL

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Ugh... I think I'm out.  I know it was coming from the moment June pulled the picture of Hannah out.  Once Emily was there, it was sealed.  So fucking annoying.  Now EVERYONE she loves is in Canada except for Hannah, to whom she has no access and no leverage to gain access,  and Nick who 1) if he isn't on a wall after helping her escape will be once Fred figures a way to do it and 2) is also inaccessible to her while he lives.  And June turns around heads into the abyss. 

I get it.  They want a third season.  But June would have a far better chance of getting her daughter with the help of Miora and Luke from Canada than on her own in Gilead where she is not only without resources but also a fugitive who will be sent to the colonies upon capture.  No.  Just, no.

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Wow. Not sure what I expected but it wasn't that.

I've been noticing the pairs and groups of handmaids getting more chatty and less careful in general over the past few episodes, I think even before the naming-bonding episode. I guess that helps counter the complaints about unintelligible whispered conversations, but ... yeah, there's no way they'll be able to maintain this show for even three years, much less ten, if they don't get their world building straight. Those girls are four or five years into this, so it's odd to me that they're all of a sudden getting braver as a group. What's happening that's making them flaunt some of the rules now?

I hope they bring Cdr Lawrence back next season simply because I heart Josh Lyman and Bradley Whitford. Doesn't hurt that he is an interesting character, either.

I don't understand why Fred wants to keep June around. Is he really that enamored? Is it simply fascination with and lust after a woman who fights back? Is it solely a power play? Is it more about putting and keeping Serena in her place? Maybe it's all of the above.

And omg, June must hide kidnapper bait in that cloak. How many times d'ya think the other commanders will let Waterford drink from the kidnapping well? Heck, that one inspector guy didn't believe it the first time. Oh, but he's dead now, so....

I think because everything is so backward in Gilead, I'm always surprised at the modern-sounding names they give the babies. Angela? Nicole? I expected more Agneses and Charlottes or biblical names, TBH. Trying to remember ... have we heard any other child names?

I expect Emily to pull out a bottle of breast milk from Holly Nichole's swaddling any minute now.

Like someone above, I wonder if that fire was set deliberately or if the Marthas just took advantage of it. Or both. Maybe it was a distraction engineered by Cdr L for Emily, and the Marthas were able to use it for June, too. I'm not sure Cdr L expected another handmaid at the rendezvous.

I kind of can't wait to see Rita and June next season. I wonder if Rita will be livid or understanding?

And Nick. What repercussions will he face?

Also, where was Margaret Atwood these last few episodes? I feel like she would have (should have?) been able to help the writers and showrunner think through some of these things so many of us are frustrated with. Is she still consulting on the show?

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June moves heaven and earth to protect her new baby, through multiple episodes, complete with not one but two June-gives-birth scenes, during which we are treated to the trope of the screeching through delivery...and then June hands her baby off and walks away.

What a crock of shit.

And I remember now what I hated about season 1. The obsession with endless closeups of Elisabeth Moss' big goggle eyed face, over and over again. What a bore. Give us something different to tell the story, and move the story along faster.

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Meh — wasn’t feeling this episode at all. It’s veered into extreme disbelief to prolong the show and that’s bad storytelling.

No way would Serena just let June take the baby!!! She just wouldn’t based on everything we’ve learned about her character.

It’s also insane that June would not leave. No way and makes zero sense. Her baby needs milk and Emily can’t give her that. Also she could leave and reunite with Luke and fight Gilead from Canada to get Hannah back. We still have Janine and other characters in Gilead to check back in.

I might be done with this show because they’ve made plot decisions that goes against the integrity of the characters. 

Edited by SoWindsor.
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Miscellaneous end-of-season thoughts:

I hope critics or the show itself take up its notions of biology and motherhood at some point. Surely not ALL handmaids want to keep their rapists' babies? And the way those Marthas risked their lives to get a mother-child team out of the country, it all seemed rooted in a sense that the biological relationship is sacred. Otherwise, why not just smuggle the baby out to safety rather than dragging an adult woman dressed in red and white through the dark countryside (how many times did I yell "taking off your damn white hat?") I suppose, yes, baby calmer in arms of its breastfeeding mama, but there's something offensive to me about how the show (not Gilead, obviously) assumes the biological relationship is everything.

I like that Eden proved a catalyst for a lot of action, just not in ways we all expected. And although steeped in the Gilead crazy, at bottom she was just a teenager with romantic fantasies about love and family. Of course the first person who was nice to her would turn her head in a big way. (Glad that Isaac at least didn't betray her.) (And surprising to realize how young HE was, too, when you finally got a good look at him in the light of day.) I hate her father about as much as I hated anyone on this show!

Loved the Martha underground railroad--just beautiful to see. Do you think something specific triggered them to do it for June at this specific time, or was it just opportunistic with the fire (if the fire was indeed just luck, which I don't believe is the case)? Certainly, very lucky for Holly that the escape happened right after Serena's eyes were opened one more time and in a big way.

Please give me lots more of Colonel Lawrence next season. He's a loose cannon, which is just what this show needs!

While I'm wishing: big Rita backstory, please. Do we even know what she used to do?

And we must have Aunt Lydia for as long as the show runs. GREAT character, thanks to both the writing and Ann Dowd's brilliance. Not to mention that we must see Lydia's backstory.

I think the story would be better served from here on out with minimal Fred Waterford. Well drawn and well performed to this point, but I'd like to see the show move out of his little kingdom. He can come back and be vindictive now and then, but I don't think we need to see a lot more of him.

Speaking of Fred, some of the creepiest moments for me were when he beamed at June and expected to be thanked (or blown) for his swagger and/or generosity. The trips through Jezebel's, and then the "I'll arrange it so you can stay, we can try for a boy, wouldn't that be fun?" moment. Besides being inherently creepy, they took me right back to actual moments when I was dating. There are many, many guys who trade in that kind of "look what I can do for you! don't you admire me?" currency.

Count me in with everyone who hates June's final decision in the season finale. So many good arguments already stated above for why it makes no human or narrative sense for June to stay. And frankly, I'd love the writers to make a big leap and have to tell whole different kind of stories next year. I think they've done a great job mixing it up within the small world we've been able to see, but now they've kind of promised more of the same. 

Shocked how much I like Alexis Bledel in this show! Other MVPs: Yvonne Strahovski, of course; Max Minghella; Samira Wiley.

Edited by rejnel.
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I can't believe June kept that baby's name as Nichole. What if she makes it to Canada and Luke gives her his last name? Then she'll be Nichole Bankole. Wtf.

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I knew going into this finale that it was considered polarizing by many in the audience, and I completely understand why, since I had the same reaction. If season three isn't focused on the resistance and is just more of the same, I may have to stop watching this series entirely. I can only watch so much repetitive torture and rape before my brain shuts down. I am with those who want to see more world building and macro level Gilead. I completely understand what life is like on the micro level, but I want to see more of the resistance, the politics, the strategy and the like. Because of the claustrophobic point of view, we only have a minimal understanding of the larger Gilead outside of this one district.

From a story perspective, I am relieved to see Emily get a break for freedom, but I would have loved to have seen a deeper understanding of the Lawrence household (I can only hope we get that next season, because I find him the most fascinating male character on the show). There is something very off about him, and I want to know more. We know he is one of the key architects of Gilead, but he definitely had a change of heart at some point. I would like to see that he is working from the inside to weaken it, but we don't know that. We do know he is willing to smuggle out of a rebellious handmaid who might have murdered an Aunt (or at least grievously injured her), so he seems to pretty over Gilead's BS rules. Hell, I don't even think he is religious in any way. I can see him as the Gilead version of Oppenheimer in the sense that he helped create this terrible world (for whatever reason, but I don't think it was because he was a true believer in God- or if he was, he has completely lost that), and now rues the day he did so. While I am glad Emily will make it to Canada and be free, I don't understand why she would attack Lydia at that point. I mean, I completely understand her hatred of Lydia, but as far as handmaiden's situations goes, she had it fairly easy, so I don't necessarily think she would snap just then. I know she is rebellious, but she is usually smarter than this. It seems like it was a plot device to get her freedom, but I think it would have been more fascinating for her to weaken the system from within. Of course who knows what the writers have in store for her next season (assuming she makes an appearance), but I would have liked to see a deepening of the story we had for her in the last two episodes.

On a motherly level, I understand why June doesn't want to abandon Hannah, but I also think it is a mistake not to get freedom, get her daughter situated and then link up with some resistance from within to get her back (because the only way she is likely to get her back is if Gilead falls or if she attacks the Mackenzies and forcibly takes Hannah back- rather hard to do in this oppressive society). Again, this goes back to this season needing to progress to a wider tale of resistance, because mainly focusing on the plight of the handmaidens just doesn't make sense with the storytelling choices they have made so far. 

I find a lot to detest about Serena (mainly how she was perfectly happy to help build Gilead as long as she didn't face the consequences of it), but I would love to see all the Wives rise up, kill their oppressive husbands, and burn Gilead to the ground. Because short of an external military invasion, that is the only way this nightmare hellscape will end. At this point, Serena has no f's to give. She is married to a weak willed man, who allowed his wife to get her finger chopped off. She has no power, no ability to work or have an outlet, no freedom, no love, no sex, and now no baby (her last hope for any sort of escape from this). At this point, Fred's standing has to be diminished, and she is trapped. Serena doesn't seem like the type who will completely knuckle under, so I can only hope she shows some level of resistance next season. 

Edited by ForeverAlone.
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I agree with most of your post, but I don't think I'd ever really get over having my clitoris cut off, so I'm with Emily on that.

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On 11/14/2018 at 5:13 PM, Umbelina said:

I agree with most of your post, but I don't think I'd ever really get over having my clitoris cut off, so I'm with Emily on that.

And have the perpetuator throw it in my face as she calls her less than. It would be inhuman to not snap and SAB at that point. 

Wasting time on the Waterfords instead of exploring the Lawrence household was one of the many missteps the show made in S2. 

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