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Tara Ariano

S01.E05: Faithful

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I may have squealed delightedly when Emily's car ran over and ripped the guard into pieces. I am basically Janine. 

But better her than...

This fucking guy.jpg

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I'm not having a problem with the show because I understand it is a thinly-disguised feminist screed. I have had a problem with the reviews on this site. This, actually, is the first one I've made it through. I'll leave it at that.

IMO there is nothing "thinly disguised" about the show or the book, the story has always been very, very openly feminist. Despite being a fictional account of a fictional person/society, it is very much based in reality, present and past.

As for the sex scene... I see why not everyone gets into them, most are fairly uncomfortable (I didn't think this one was, though). However, it certainly wasn't any worse then actual porno, and people consume those plenty. It did add to the story and relationship between Offred/Nick.

Edited by HeySandyStrange
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I haven't gotten all the way through this episode yet, but for those commenting about Serena staying in the room with Nick and June, I think we shouldn't forget that she probably has to.  Otherwise her plan could easily fall apart. I think Serena knows that it might not happen right away (this is her second or third handmaid?), and that Offred and Nick having sex may have to be an ongoing occurrence.  She and Offred can enter Nick's apartment and have a reason, but Offred certainly can't be seen coming and going on her own.   Even if it is for a quick 10 minutes.

Now for a dumb mechanics question.  How does this work exactly?  I mean during both the ceremony and the scene in Nick's, you have June basically lie down and pull up her skirt.  There's no foreplay, no arousal, nothing.  How do the men just perform on command?  Even if we are to believe that the commanders get themselves going a bit before going into the ceremony, there's that time period of prayer (there's nothing better to turn you on like some twisted Gilead old testament!), and eventually they move to a bedroom (or does the ceremony take place in the bedroom?  I thought the prayers were in a different room).  But besides.  Serena and June go up to Nick and Serena says, go ahead.  And poof.  Nick is up and going?  In what is quite possibly the least arousing situation humanly possible?  I know in a prior episode we show that the commander has some trouble with performance, but I'm surprised that's not an every time kind of thing.  

 

When I saw the preview of the commander talking about wanting to make a better world, I thought it was said with an element of regret.  Clearly I couldn't have been more off-base.  There's a special place in hell for that man.  

Edited by Shangrilala
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21 hours ago, Tinfoil Hat said:

Since babies are so coveted in Giladean society, perhaps in the immediate period following the birth,no one will question the matter too deeply if June gives birth to a multiracial child. I'm sure when the situation has come up before, the Commanders and Wives would be all hush-hush about it. Since the Handmaids aren't allowed to raise their children past a period of breastfeeding and then are sent elsewhere, people will forget what they looked like--if they even noticed at all.

i think the real danger to June, if she does in fact become pregnant by Nick, would be during this immediate period after giving birth. Would the Commander play it down by saying that he or June had some multi-racial lineage? Or would he shame June by making her affair with Nick known, and set her up for horrific punishment? 

I wnder why Emily just drove around. It didn't seem like she was trying toescape. 

Am I the only one who finds the scenes with Luke boring?

It's funny--I had no idea the actor playing Nick isn't Caucasian. To me he looks Italian--big brown eyes, olive skin, swarthy, lovely lips.  I would never think of him as bi-racial at all, I just went back and looked at him again, and I still see a "white" man with dark hair and eyes.  It doesn't jump out to me at all. So if it doesn't jump out to me, perhaps it doesn't jump out to others, either? The Commander is dark haired, has dark eyes I think (haven't looked, he squicks me out too badly!) so I think a baby could pass as whatever.

Also, I hate to say it--but I hate Luke and I hate the flashbacks with him. He's boring. They have no chemistry, and that part of the story really does nothing for me, except when it showed how things changed, the police state, the loss of women's rights, etc. He really factors little into the story IMO.  I have watched all the episodes twice now except last nights, and listened to the audio book because I just can't see the printed word well enough. Truly a horrific story line, made worse by the fact there is so much truth in it, in America and of course in all other countries where women are considered chattel. 

It's also the best series I've seen for a long, long time. 

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4 minutes ago, Shangrilala said:

Now for a dumb mechanics question.  How does this work exactly?  I mean during both the ceremony and the scene in Nick's, you have June basically lie down and pull up her skirt.  There's no foreplay, no arousal, nothing.  How do the men just perform on command?  Even if we are to believe that the commanders get themselves going a bit before going into the ceremony, there's that time period of prayer (there's nothing better to turn you on like some twisted Gilead old testament!), and eventually they move to a bedroom (or does the ceremony take place in the bedroom?  I thought the prayers were in a different room).  But besides.  Serena and June go up to Nick and Serena says, go ahead.  And poof.  Nick is up and going?  In what is quite possibly the least arousing situation humanly possible?  I know in a prior episode we show that the commander has some trouble with performance, but I'm surprised that's not an every time kind of thing. 

According to the book, men in Nick's position

Spoiler

don't have any women "assigned" to them, and since under Gilead law recreational sex is forbidden, they pretty much never get to have sex. It must have been a long time since Nick got to touch a woman, so even with Serena in the room, the prospect of having sex again was probably enough to get him going.

As for the Commander, we've seen him struggle last episode. 

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6 minutes ago, Shangrilala said:

Now for a dumb mechanics question.  How does this work exactly?  I mean during both the ceremony and the scene in Nick's, you have June basically lie down and pull up her skirt.  There's no foreplay, no arousal, nothing.  How do the men just perform on command?  Even if we are to believe that the commanders get themselves going a bit before going into the ceremony, there's that time period of prayer (there's nothing better to turn you on like some twisted Gilead old testament!), and eventually they move to a bedroom (or does the ceremony take place in the bedroom?  I thought the prayers were in a different room).  But besides.  Serena and June go up to Nick and Serena says, go ahead.  And poof.  Nick is up and going?  In what is quite possibly the least arousing situation humanly possible?  I know in a prior episode we show that the commander has some trouble with performance, but I'm surprised that's not an every time kind of thing.  

I have thought the same thing. How on earth does he get aroused enough to stay hard and finish the job. I hope she gets some sort of pre-lubrication otherwise, OUCH. Those would be some nasty vaginal tears to deal with each month. I hope there's some underground network of Martha's letting the Handmaid's use some olive oil or something. I think too much about these weird things during the show. 

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5 hours ago, smorbie said:

Okay, when you get ready to throw things, please remember I've been quite ill recently, and be kind. Throw only really rotten food. It'll splatter more, but hurt less.

I'm not a Moss fan. I get that she's supposed to look compliant and passive, but everytime I see her, I just think she looks like a bullfrog.

I don't like to see simulated sex on television, no matter who is doing the simulation. I'm an adult; I don't have to have a map drawn for me. Similarly, I don't like to see people throw up. Yet, tv feels I have a yearning need to see both of these activities.

I'm not having a problem with the show because I understand it is a thinly-disguised feminist screed. I have had a problem with the reviews on this site. This, actually, is the first one I've made it through. I'll leave it at that.

How do you feel about graphic violence?

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I wondered the same thing about the men being ready. In Nick's case he has no wife or partner plus he has been eyeing June for a while. I think he was good to go.

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 I hope there's some underground network of Martha's letting the Handmaid's use some olive oil or something. 

In the book

Spoiler

they tell you about butter, that she uses for moisturizer, that she has stolen off the dinner table, and she carefully hides so that nobody finds it in her room.  I never considered that she might go so far as to use that as a vaginal lubricant as well, and I can't remember if that's implied.  I think maybe not because in the book she is careful not to use it near or on ceremony nights because if they smell it on her and know she has stolen it.  

We haven't seen this in the show yet, and we might not.  But I hope they do because I think it just adds to the desperation of these women and their fear of repercussion over something so trivial.

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I think we did see it on the show.  Didn't Offred ask the commander for lotion, and he asked her what they used and she mentioned butter or margarine.  She was worried Serena Joy would smell the lotion on her, or find it, so he keeps it in that room, and she doesn't use it on ceremony nights.  For hands though, no mention of vaginal lubricant in book or show that I remember, other than at the doctor's office.

Edited by Umbelina
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I know Nick told Offred he is an "Eye" but the way he delivered it...I just don't know if I believe him.

Parr of me thinks he might have just told her that thinking it would put him in a more advantageous position with her. Would she be more likely to let him be around her freely? Knowing he can "rat her out" at any moment. But also he would be a spy on the whole household, including the Commander and Serena Joy, so would Offred see him as a protector in a way, since he obviously likes her. If a black SUV came by again would he be able to help her? Would she want to hedge her bets getting closer to him than she might have otherwise?

The way the book involves Nick at the end of Offred's story makes me curious about the direction the show will take with them now. I could certainly see them expanding on Nick and fleshing him out more than the book was able to.

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Nick was a huge character in the book as well though.  That part of this story seems to be jiving very well with the book. 

Anything else could be spoilerish, so maybe in the book thread?

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2 hours ago, Shangrilala said:

Now for a dumb mechanics question.  How does this work exactly?  I mean during both the ceremony and the scene in Nick's, you have June basically lie down and pull up her skirt.  There's no foreplay, no arousal, nothing.  How do the men just perform on command?  Even if we are to believe that the commanders get themselves going a bit before going into the ceremony, there's that time period of prayer (there's nothing better to turn you on like some twisted Gilead old testament!), and eventually they move to a bedroom (or does the ceremony take place in the bedroom?  I thought the prayers were in a different room).  But besides.  Serena and June go up to Nick and Serena says, go ahead.  And poof.  Nick is up and going?  In what is quite possibly the least arousing situation humanly possible?  I know in a prior episode we show that the commander has some trouble with performance, but I'm surprised that's not an every time kind of thing.  

Atwood may very well not get how men's sexuality works, just as many male writers don't get female sexuality. We are not "on" all the time, even at our peak.....BUT Atwood did not foresee Viagra and the many knockoffs coming along in the future as they did, and anyone familiar with how porn actors manage "gay for pay" knows that those little pills make up for a lack of interest. I am sure there is some way that Gilead could allow for the use of pharmaceuticals if they were going to help the "ceremony" along.

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I was wondering about the scene with Ofsteven and the wife...the commanders wife was trying to get out of the ceremony that night, was it due to the wife not being able to fathom her husband having sex with someone else in front of her or was she trying to be kind to Ofsteven knowing about the operation or that it is a form of rape? 

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4 minutes ago, Baltimore Betty said:

I was wondering about the scene with Ofsteven and the wife...the commanders wife was trying to get out of the ceremony that night, was it due to the wife not being able to fathom her husband having sex with someone else in front of her or was she trying to be kind to Ofsteven knowing about the operation or that it is a form of rape? 

Seemed like both to me.  The women are all trapped like rats in this system.  I loved her portrayal.

I took it to the book thread @AnswersWanted.  ;)

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14 hours ago, Baltimore Betty said:

I was wondering about the scene with Ofsteven and the wife...the commanders wife was trying to get out of the ceremony that night, was it due to the wife not being able to fathom her husband having sex with someone else in front of her or was she trying to be kind to Ofsteven knowing about the operation or that it is a form of rape? 

I assumed the wife was attempting to be kind, whether or not she specifically knew about the operation, given Emily's poor mental state.

Edited by cometcupid
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1 minute ago, cometcupid said:

I assumed the wife was attempting to be kind, whether or not she specifically knew about the operation or not, given Emily's poor mental state.

Yes, this. Then Emily acknowledged that the wife couldn't keep covering for her ("you can't be sick every month"), or that was how I read it.

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5 minutes ago, Baltimore Betty said:

I was wondering about the scene with Ofsteven and the wife...the commanders wife was trying to get out of the ceremony that night, was it due to the wife not being able to fathom her husband having sex with someone else in front of her or was she trying to be kind to Ofsteven knowing about the operation or that it is a form of rape? 

I saw her as attempting to be kind. The way she briefly touched her shoulder was a gentle gesture to me, offering her the chance to "sit one out", knowing what she'd already gone through. That wife was also older, so her perspective about having a child might also be different than someone younger, such as Serena Joy.

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1 hour ago, AnswersWanted said:

I saw her as attempting to be kind. The way she briefly touched her shoulder was a gentle gesture to me, offering her the chance to "sit one out", knowing what she'd already gone through. That wife was also older, so her perspective about having a child might also be different than someone younger, such as Serena Joy.

Thank you ... I wondered about this in the book vs novel thread but now it makes more sense. I took the "you can't pretend to be sick every month" as a worry by Ofsteve that if she didn't get pregnant during this posting she'd be sent to the Colonies (though she seems so sad and suicidal it might be a welcome next posting for her), but now I can see it being inferred as "I appreciate what you're doing BUT you can't pretend to be sick every month." Thanks!

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7 hours ago, whoknowswho said:

It's funny--I had no idea the actor playing Nick isn't Caucasian. To me he looks Italian--big brown eyes, olive skin, swarthy, lovely lips.  I would never think of him as bi-racial at all, I just went back and looked at him again, and I still see a "white" man with dark hair and eyes.  It doesn't jump out to me at all. So if it doesn't jump out to me, perhaps it doesn't jump out to others, either? The Commander is dark haired, has dark eyes I think (haven't looked, he squicks me out too badly!) so I think a baby could pass as whatever. 

He *is* Italian. (Well, English by birth but Italian by heritage) He (Max Minghella) is the son of the late director Anthony Minghella (English Patient-love that movie!). I just looked at IMDb and Max looks more "swarthy" than his dad and sister, both of whom look very white to me.

Edited by Eureka
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22 minutes ago, Eureka said:

He *is* Italian. (Well, English by birth but Italian by heritage) He (Max Minghella) is the son of the late director Anthony Minghella (English Patient-love that movie!). I just looked at IMDb and Max looks more "swarthy" than his dad and sister, both of whom look very white to me.

He's also Chinese and Indian on his mother's side.

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8 hours ago, whoknowswho said:

It's funny--I had no idea the actor playing Nick isn't Caucasian. To me he looks Italian--big brown eyes, olive skin, swarthy, lovely lips.  I would never think of him as bi-racial at all, I just went back and looked at him again, and I still see a "white" man with dark hair and eyes.  It doesn't jump out to me at all. So if it doesn't jump out to me, perhaps it doesn't jump out to others, either? The Commander is dark haired, has dark eyes I think (haven't looked, he squicks me out too badly!) so I think a baby could pass as whatever.

Also, I hate to say it--but I hate Luke and I hate the flashbacks with him. He's boring. They have no chemistry, and that part of the story really does nothing for me, except when it showed how things changed, the police state, the loss of women's rights, etc. He really factors little into the story IMO.  I have watched all the episodes twice now except last nights, and listened to the audio book because I just can't see the printed word well enough. Truly a horrific story line, made worse by the fact there is so much truth in it, in America and of course in all other countries where women are considered chattel. 

It's also the best series I've seen for a long, long time. 

Interesting. As a woman of color I see Nick as a man of color, but with genetics being the funny things they are he could certainly have a baby with a woman with June's phenotypes and said child could resemble June more than him. Max Minghella (the actor playing Nick), can read "ethnically ambiguous" which is a great thing for a screen actor. He can read Latino/Middle eastern/Italian (as you mentioned). I'm handwaving away concern that a child with Nick wouldn't obviously not be the Commanders child.

Edited by Scarlett45
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I had real issues with that sex scene at the end.  I didn't consider it to be pornographic, that's not what I found offensive.  And I can't say I was offended by it.  It was just so deeply desperate and sad.  Was it supposed to be empowering?  I suppose that's what they were going for but it didn't come across that way to me.  It made me think that Offred has a death wish.  Maybe her making that choice and decision, knowing the potential end result, is what makes it empowering, but it didn't go that far for me.  It was just depressing, desperate, and broken to the point that I could barely watch it.  Granted, there's a lot of this show I can barely watch, but if this was supposed to make me feel that Offred had somehow found some strength, it was lost on me.   

And Alexis Bledel lost me during that car scene.  She didn't look invincible.  She looked like Rory Gilmore had run into a garbage can because her boyfriend had distracted her while driving.  

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21 minutes ago, Scarlett45 said:

Interesting. As a woman of color I see Nick as a man of color, but with genetics being the funny things they are he could certainly have a baby with a woman with June's phenotypes and said child could resemble June more than him.

Hopefully any child produced by them will have a chin, which, sadly, Nick lacks.

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1 minute ago, NorthstarATL said:

Hopefully any child produced by them will have a chin, which, sadly, Nick lacks.

Hahahaha that was golden. 

The rounder baby face is sweet to me though. 

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12 minutes ago, Shangrilala said:

I had real issues with that sex scene at the end.  I didn't consider it to be pornographic, that's not what I found offensive.  And I can't say I was offended by it.  It was just so deeply desperate and sad.  Was it supposed to be empowering?  I suppose that's what they were going for but it didn't come across that way to me.  It made me think that Offred has a death wish.  Maybe her making that choice and decision, knowing the potential end result, is what makes it empowering, but it didn't go that far for me.  It was just depressing, desperate, and broken to the point that I could barely watch it.  Granted, there's a lot of this show I can barely watch, but if this was supposed to make me feel that Offred had somehow found some strength, it was lost on me.   

And Alexis Bledel lost me during that car scene.  She didn't look invincible.  She looked like Rory Gilmore had run into a garbage can because her boyfriend had distracted her while driving.  

It was reckless, and desperate, and dangerous, and sad, but I also found it empowering and hopeful because she became HERSELF again, if only there, if only for a few minutes, she became June, the woman she was before all of this happened to her.   Confident, in charge though only for a moment, and making her own decisions for the first time in at least 2+ years.   It was life affirming and life snubbed in the nose at the same time.  It was FAR less disturbing to me than the previous sex scene with the Commander playing "chicken" with her life and what's left of his own wife's self esteem.  That one felt vile and evil.

I'm glad I never watched Gilmore Girls because I just love Alexis is this role, and loved her in Madmen too.  It was impulsive, it was hopeless, it was a moment of freedom, and being who she really was inside as well.  For a moment, before her likely torture and possible death she got to be something other than a robot, she got to be herself.  Smart?  No.  Brave?  Yes, foolishly maybe, but she's already lost so much, and those little bits of hope resonate, even with the robots of this world.  Just like scratching a message in a bathroom stall or the bottom of a closet...it's resistance.  It may not work for them personally, but every bit of it is a chink in the armor of that corrupt state.

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On 5/10/2017 at 4:34 PM, Tinfoil Hat said:

I wnder why Emily just drove around. It didn't seem like she was trying toescape.

I  thought it was an impulse thing, but once she was in the car, she realized there was really nowhere to go. At that point, maybe she was trying to drive home the point to June to join Mayday or even inspire the other handmaids. Emily realized there was really nothing left for her to give for the cause, so she did something radical that would make the handmaids stop and remember that they could drive and do what they pleased a few short years ago. I think it would've been effective on me and I think it was on June as well.

Did anyone else see the little girls in red during the restaurant scene with June and Luke? They looked like  they had two matronly childminders with them, maybe the precursors to handmaids and the aunts? 

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At this point I'm thinking how terrible could the colonies possibly be??? If it's kinda like the Wild West then at least it's kind of an even playing field. It can be all war so every day you might die but less rapey. 

If the handmaids stay through breast feeding but then move on they get another? How many kids do they aim for? And all new baby mamas? Is anyone keeping track of the DNA? Seems like you'd hang onto a successful breeder. 

How does OfJanines (no idea who her dude is) get it up? That's a bag of crazy with a missing eyeball. 

Edited by nachomama
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19 minutes ago, nachomama said:

At this point I'm thinking how terrible could the colonies possibly be???

If "colonies" always refers to sites of past nuclear disasters, then really, really, bad. Like Moira said to Janine in Ep2, "your skin will peel off in sheets and then you'll die". Death by hanging sounds more humane in comparison.

Quote

If the handmaids stay through breast feeding but then move on they get another? How many kids do they aim for? And all new baby mamas? Is anyone keeping track of the DNA? Seems like you'd hang onto a successful breeder. 

My understanding is they get reassigned so that other Commanders get to have the opportunity to have a child. A "successful" Handmaid will be made to have as many children as she can. Gilead doesn't seem to care about DNA much. Weren't there precedents of incest in the Old Testament? If so, that's A-OK with them.

Edited by chocolatine
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9 hours ago, Scarlett45 said:

Hahahaha that was golden. 

The rounder baby face is sweet to me though. 

I think this must be why neither Nick nor Luke do anything for me. Facially, they look like little boys. 

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15 hours ago, Umbelina said:

It was impulsive, it was hopeless, it was a moment of freedom, and being who she really was inside as well. 

I never watched Gilmore Girls, but I have to tell you you that young woman broke my heart.  There were a thousand expressions on her face when she was driving that car, and none of them was good.  That's the scene that will stay with me from this episode.

Edited by smorbie
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7 hours ago, nachomama said:

At this point I'm thinking how terrible could the colonies possibly be??? If it's kinda like the Wild West then at least it's kind of an even playing field. It can be all war so every day you might die but less rapey. 

I'm trying to think.  I haven't read the book in a while, so I don't remember, but I think the show, maybe, alluded to toxins or maybe fallout in the colonies.  Wasn't skin peeling off mentioned?

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17 minutes ago, kieyra said:

I think this must be why neither Nick nor Luke do anything for me. Facially, they look like little boys. 

Luke is a big cypher to me.  Just 0.  Nothing.  And I felt that way about him in the book, too.  As far as the TV version of Nick, YUCK, just OMG gross.  I wouldn't want him even if I were in her circumstances.  The gigantic caterpillars over his eyes are very distracting.  And he has a mouth-breather quality that makes me wonder about his intellect.

As far as Old Testament incest, I believe incest has been around since Cain and Able married their sisters.  They had to. They were literally the only girls in the world.  But, by the time of the Exodus, there were enough people that God instituted rules regarding taking one's sister, mother, aunt...to wife.  They were big no noes.

Edited by smorbie
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7 hours ago, SpaghettiTuesdays said:

I  thought it was an impulse thing, but once she was in the car, she realized there was really nowhere to go. At that point, maybe she was trying to drive home the point to June to join Mayday or even inspire the other handmaids. Emily realized there was really nothing left for her to give for the cause, so she did something radical that would make the handmaids stop and remember that they could drive and do what they pleased a few short years ago. I think it would've been effective on me and I think it was on June as well.

Did anyone else see the little girls in red during the restaurant scene with June and Luke? They looked like  they had two matronly childminders with them, maybe the precursors to handmaids and the aunts? 

I saw that too!  It took a second for me to realize it was a flashback scene, very clever fore telling.

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Did anyone else see the little girls in red during the restaurant scene with June and Luke? They looked like  they had two matronly childminders with them, maybe the precursors to handmaids and the aunts? 

YES!! I saw that too. It could have just been some artistic shading with the colors of the girls dresses.  But I could very likely imagine there would have been precursors to the Gilead system, probably dismissed or ignored by June, Moira, Luke as nut-jobs and cults.

Related to this a bit was how this episode drove home that fashion magazines (as well as cosmetics, make-up, even lotion) are banned items now. June thinks how outrageous those photo-shopped and highly sexuality images look post-Gilead. During the breakdown there was a feeling that shallow, secular society's focus on vanity and the superficial was partly to blame for God's punishment of infertility. I could totally see "early adapters" that hadn't taken it to the rape/possession extreme yet but who were dressing themselves and their daughters in unrevealing, long, solid-color dresses.

Did anyone else get the sense Luke--at least partially--was hoping Moira and June were a couple? To feel a smidge less guilty if they were both "cheating" with these lunch dates? Or maybe he was just using that as his segue to admit he was a married.

Edited by JasonCC
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1 hour ago, smorbie said:

As far as Old Testament incest, I believe incest has been around since Cain and Able married their sisters.  They had to. They were literally the only girls in the world.  But, by the time of the Exodus, there were enough people that God instituted rules regarding taking one's sister, mother, aunt...to wife.  They were big no noes.

Depends upon the version you read. Lilith was Adam's first wife in at least one version. Though misogynistic tellers turn her into a demon historically, if she were still around after Cain and Abel were born, she wouldn't be biologically related to them.

  But, you're right, of course, that incest rules have a lot to do with the fact that inbreeding goes horribly wrong after awhile.

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According to canon Lilith didn't exist.  I'm Catholic, so I'm pretty old school.

1 hour ago, JasonCC said:

Did anyone else get the sense Luke--at least partially--was hoping Moira and June were a couple? To feel a smidge less guilty if they were both "cheating" with these lunch dates? Or maybe he was just using that as his segue to admit he was a married.

She knew he was married before they started having their lunches together.  

As for his questions, there's kind of a long-standing tradition in television anyway that men are fascinated with lesbians and secretly think all women engage in lesbian activity when they're together.  I thought it was a stupid question and if I hadn't already rejected him for dating another woman while married, or just being the most uninteresting man on the planet, I would have crossed him off the list for asking such an idiotic question.

Not a big Luke fan.

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1 hour ago, smorbie said:

According to canon Lilith didn't exist.  I'm Catholic, so I'm pretty old school.

Catholic here as well. They gave us more Mary, but they took away Lilith and Judith.

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I think the sex scene between Nick and June was important as a negative mirror for the "ceremony". This showed sensuality vs. absence of. Desire, vs. absence of. And most importantly, willingness, rather than passiveness. It was needed as a counterpoint to all the rape scenes we have seen so far.

Also this makes the Gilead powers look so dumb - how can erasing all forms of pleasure be expected to lead to more babies?  

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Eh, It's part of Jewish tradition and not much gets more "old school" than that. Certainly not where Abrahamic religions are concerned anyway. 

Still, Gilead functions as a strict, literal interpreting *Christian* nation so that is moot anyway. And like many previous Christian nations there is a "right" set of scriptures and anything else remembered will get you a cattle prod to the throat (or equivalent). I suspect that the Gilead bible both exists and is heavily edited upon its predecessors (although that begs and interesting question: which version of the Christian bible is Gilead reliant upon and how much editing did they do?)

We know from this episode that at the very least the entire story of Rachel exists and Serena Joy likely has the story of Job memorized. At least enough to use it against June when she (rightly) points out that you don't feel pregnant right after a man cums. She could have pointed out that she isn't god either as the passage Serena quotes is one given by the biblical god to Job and not indicative to any insight women have when they conceive. 

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On 2017-05-10 at 9:58 PM, rollacoaster said:

A question, then: Do they just keep offering up Handmaids to the Commander couples even if no child is ever produced? Handmaid after Handmaid? Is there no limit to the sacrifice of women on the altar of masculine ego?

I was wondering that too. I would like to know more about how their system is set up so I can know how valuable June is and therefore how much in danger. Could the wife just send her away on a whim and get another one?

On 2017-05-10 at 10:33 PM, Umbelina said:

It was lovely to see June again with the driver, see the real woman come out, if only for a while.  Hell, why not?  She's dangling by all of their threads now, in for a penny, in for a pound.  Why not sleep with an Eye too?  He already knows every single rule you have been breaking.  The danger was palpable and her bravery was as well, inspired by Emily and years of this crap.

I seem to be the only one that thinks the reason she went there was that she wanted to use him somehow. She's decided to join the resistance and has to start somewhere to try to get some clue about where she could find them. She noticed Nick's pistol when she was in there the first time. Is that a checkhows gun I wonder.

 

On 2017-05-11 at 3:33 PM, Eyes High said:

Why did Nick agree to go along with it? Because he wanted to rape Offred (because he's smart enough to know that Offred was coerced into agreeing to the arrangement by Serena)? Or because he thought that if he tattled on Serena Offred would wind up being the one blamed?

Maybe in some strange way the men would allow it to be done as long as it's done discretely. So if Nick went to Fred he would just be mad at him for bringing it up and embarrassing him.

On 2017-05-11 at 8:27 PM, Maire said:

I wondered the same thing about the men being ready. In Nick's case he has no wife or partner plus he has been eyeing June for a while. I think he was good to go.

Not good for the baby making chances then. At least from what I'm reading right now (Sex at Dawn) which cites a lot of sex studies. According to it the likeliness of sperm damage is higher if the man does not ejaculate regularly.

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Maybe in some strange way the men would allow it to be done as long as it's done discretely. So if Nick went to Fred he would just be mad at him for bringing it up and embarrassing him.

I don't think any reaction would be outright directed at Nick but rather his wife for suggesting that he is incapable of impregnating June and I don't think it would be just be mad.  Remember...men aren't infertile in Gilead.  Women are barren.  And it was the Commander who played a major role in making creating this world.  And considering what a sick fuck that bastard is, how he thinks genital mutilation of a woman is a "very small" problem to take care of, his look while he was raping and violating June, I don't think it ends at mad.  There are myriad reasons why Serena had that conversation, whispered in the garden.  She may be a wife, but essentially doesn't have any rights either.  Not that I have much sympathy or her.  She's vile.   

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Did anyone else see the little girls in red during the restaurant scene with June and Luke? They looked like  they had two matronly childminders with them, maybe the precursors to handmaids and the aunts? 

I know it was meant as symbolism but I wondered if there were elements of "gilead" underground lifestyle that existed at that point in time and they were just getting bolder.  

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Wait, is June a handmaid because of the adultery? That’s news to me. I thought Gilead just made all the fertile women into handmaids, and it made absolutely no difference what they have done in the past. We are supposed to believe that there are precious few fertile women left in the world of this story, right?

And are we supposed to take the flashback adultery in a "people make mistakes" kind of way? The characters sure seemed far too pleased with themselves if that's what the show was going for.

I can understand having affairs as part of the plot on TV shows that need it for the drama. Not sure what purpose it serves on this show. Does the story really lose much if it was just an "uncomplicated" relationship with no adultery involved? We already know how their affair turns out. It was apparently all "happily ever after" until the new regime came along. It's as if Luke's wife is a total non-entity. Luke himself is barely a character.

Is the part of the audience that disapproves of the cheating supposed to feel ashamed that they're being "puritanical" like the leaders of Gilead? Except mere disapproval is not really comparable with actual tyranny. Are people supposed to be all "hey, if it feels good, do it! It doesn't matter that it hurts other people!" Would that be better? There has to be some middle ground between a free-for-all and a tightly controlled regime. Neither extreme is exactly ideal.

Luke's stupid assumption about women in college was worth it for June's response, though. "In your experience? In your experience as a lesbian?"

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I don't think it's "because" but I think they use whatever for the brainwashing. They'll call you whores or if you're a lesbian or former drug addict, whatever it is. They pound it into your soul that you're unclean, unworthy etc this is your duty etc. I do wonder why they just didn't go polygamy route. The wives can't object. They're still status positions. Dudes can do anything they want. 

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Dudes can't do anything they want.  Only a very select few can, and even then?  Someone could turn them in if they break too many rules.  Most dudes are slaves here too, just a different kind.

Anyone who marries someone who has been divorced, or who divorced and remarried in the previous USA, now, in Gilead, is considered an adulterer.  Divorce isn't allowed.  All kinds of things aren't allowed, and any one of those things could make you a handmaiden, if you are fertile.

Edited by Umbelina
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