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Tara Ariano

S01.E05: Faithful

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On 5/11/2017 at 1:22 PM, Umbelina said:

That part of this story seems to be jiving very well with the book. 

Jibing.  Unless it was dancing with the book or speaking jive.  : )

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Now I'm going to have "Born to Hand Jive" from Grease stuck in my head!

On 5/11/2017 at 7:08 AM, feverfew said:

If Nick is basically as powerless as a Martha in that household, wanting had very little to do with what he did. Also, since we know both of them are attracted to each other (see June's "Why does this feels like I'm cheating on Luke?"), he might have justified it with "if not him, then someone else" and that he at least cared for her. I am perhaps romanticizing whatever's going on between them, but the fact that he appologized and told her the truth makes their dynamic even more complicated.

I agree that Nick doesn't have much power in this situation either. When he apologized to Offred, he told her, "I couldn't say no to the commander's wife." Even as an eye, he doesn't have much power in that particular situation. He can report her, but that's not going to endear him to anyone (the commander, anyone else as powerful as the commander, the wives, or the handmaids). I also agree that he rationalized it because he knew that if Serena was desperate enough to approach him, things were getting dangerous. If he said yes, then he could keep it a secret and not report it. If he said no, she could ask someone else who wouldn't be as discreet and would gossip about it or report it (which would most likely end up getting Offred in trouble). If he said no, Serena could make up a complaint about him and get him fired/arrested/tortured (and in his mind, that meant no one in the house would be looking out for Offred). If he said no and the commander really was sterile, then Offred would never get pregnant and she would eventually be sent to the colonies.

On 5/11/2017 at 11:16 AM, 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.

On The Mindy Project (which is the only other thing I'd seen him in), he played Danny's brother, who is an Italian-American from Long Island. To me he just looks like a dark haired white man (not any specific ethnicity) so I don't think Offred getting pregnant with his sperm would produce a baby that looks suspiciously different from the commander (who is also a dark haired white man).

On 5/11/2017 at 7:25 PM, 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.  

I think it was a combination of the two. She IS desperate because Serena reminded her that if she doesn't get pregnant soon, she could be sent to the colonies. At best she'll be sent to another Gilead officer or two but if she doesn't produce any children soon, she will not be a handmaid anymore. As oppressive as her existence is now, being sent to the colonies would be a lot worse. Right now she has clean clothes, a roof over her head, and three meals a day. It's a prison but it's a more comfortable prison than the colonies. Both the doctor and Serena have already suggested that the commander might be sterile, which makes it even worse - Offred could be punished by being sent to the colonies, not because she is infertile but because the commander is. Having sex with Nick gives her the power to potentially avoid that situation. She knows she is capable of having children because she already had one so most likely the problem isn't with her. All she needs is someone who is capable of getting her pregnant so that she can avoid being sent to the colonies where her skin will peel off her body before she dies painfully. She's making a choice that she hopes will keep her out of the colonies.

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I'm usually turned off by sex scenes, just because there's so much of it now, but I loved that last scene. That was the first time she'd had a choice in sleeping with anyone, in years. 

Alexis Bledel was amazing, once again. Emily looked alternately stunned and emboldened by what she was doing, once she'd jumped into that car. I'm glad they didn't completely kill her spirit, and was also glad to see that there was one nice wife, thinking of her, even though she was still a prisoner. 

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On 5/10/2017 at 9:18 AM, Umbelina said:

It was more than that to me, I just didn't find Luke at all interesting as a person, not with his stupid gay sex questions, not with his lying to his wife, not with his "I'll take care of you" crap.  I just don't understand why she loves him, or really, why he loves her.  Seemed a lot more like a brief affair than a marriage to me somehow.  I mean, at least show some conflicting emotions there, or a reason why his marriage isn't working.  Or why he "loves" June, that would be helpful.  That banter about sex was painfully awkward to me as they discussed how and where they would have an affair.  The grooming part was good, but that was Moss nailing a weak scene.  Well, weak if this was supposed to be tru luv that is.

Answer in book thread.

10 hours ago, nachomama said:

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.

All the Handmaids are criminals in Gilead. They are almost all women who have fallen foul (usually retroactively) of some new law. One by one, various ways norms in our society were outlawed and anyone who had participated 'before' were arrested. All intellectuals/educators, all homosexuals, all prostitutes, all known feminists, all known adulterers and fornicators, nuns etc. They were sentenced to death or the Colonies, unless they were fertile women. Then they were given a chance at redemption by serving as a Handmaid. 
This is based on the book so I've spoilered it, though it's not especially spoilery.

Spoiler

As time went on, the need for Handmaids increased, so the Commanders identified sections of the population with the most fertile women and found ways to make them criminals. So divorce became illegal and all married couples who had married following the divorce of one or both partners were deemed adulterers. That's what happened to June and Luke and was the thing that finally woke Luke. Rather than be arrested he finally decided to make a run for it with his family but it was far, far too late by then. By the time we meet June, laws have been enacted that only marriages carried out in the right religion are legal. So couples who had civil/Catholic/Baptist/etc marriages are reclassified as adulterers. They are being given an option to remarry in whatever religion is deemed right in Gilead but you can take an easy bet that excuses are being made to not allow that for fertile women so they can be arrested and shipped off to the centre.

Edited by AllyB
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3 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I agree that Nick doesn't have much power in this situation either. When he apologized to Offred, he told her, "I couldn't say no to the commander's wife." Even as an eye, he doesn't have much power in that particular situation. He can report her, but that's not going to endear him to anyone (the commander, anyone else as powerful as the commander, the wives, or the handmaids). I also agree that he rationalized it because he knew that if Serena was desperate enough to approach him, things were getting dangerous. If he said yes, then he could keep it a secret and not report it. If he said no, she could ask someone else who wouldn't be as discreet and would gossip about it or report it (which would most likely end up getting Offred in trouble). If he said no, Serena could make up a complaint about him and get him fired/arrested/tortured (and in his mind, that meant no one in the house would be looking out for Offred). If he said no and the commander really was sterile, then Offred would never get pregnant and she would eventually be sent to the colonies.

I think that an Eye would have plenty of power in that situation but that he's playing a long game. As an Eye, he would be gathering information to use against Fred if needed. Serena's plot to use him to impregnate Offred would be information to use against the Waterfords but the time isn't right just yet. So he chooses to play along with her and bide his time. He's extremely powerful and extremely dangerous but he's just not ready to exercise that power yet.

That is of course assuming that he really is an Eye. He could have just told June what she needed to hear in order to make her go to her room and out of immediate danger. Or he could be a disloyal Eye with another agenda. Nick is an ambiguous character and everything he says and does could have an ulterior motive.

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10 minutes ago, kieyra said:

@allyb I liked your post but I think it goes in the book spoilers thread.

True, I've edited it now.

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6 minutes ago, AllyB said:

True, I've edited it now.

(Enjoyed the stuff about Luke though because I've been wondering if that was exactly what he represented. And when TV Luke said "I'll take care of you", I thought he was joking/ being satirical, because I couldn't imagine my own significant other responding to the events in that way without being satirical.)

Spoiler

In fact, your whole breakdown of Book Luke makes TV Luke make a whole lot more sense now. He prefers to be on top, but he "lets" June be on top--and is secretly happy (apparently) when he gets to be back on top in Gilead ... for a while.

Edited by kieyra
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On May 12, 2017 at 1:59 AM, chocolatine said:

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.

So, I have a theory that, in this series, Gilead is a much more insular place than we've been led to believe. They tell us in Ep. 1 that the entire continental U.S. is either Gilead or nuclear wasteland, and only two stars (Alaska/Hawaii) are left on the U.S. flag. Gilead seems to extend across New England and as far south as Washington, but what we see of Gilead is really just this one New England town. Is June being a reliable narrator when she tells the audience what Gilead's leaders have told her? Is most of U.S. territory really a toxic waste dump? Has Gilead's government really consolidated power over all remaining territory? If so, why are they so desperately seeking foreign allies?

This is just conjecture on my part.

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I don't think Gilead is all that consolidated - there was mention of fighting in Florida easing due to the presence of oranges (so we know that the resistance is felt at least along the eastern seaboard). 

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Changing the subject a bit: did anyone find it odd that the new Ofglen wanted to preserve her position by ensuring Offred didn’t act out? Wouldn't it have been easier for her to simply report Offred's behavior to a superior?

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@Brn2bwild That occurred to me as well. In her first encounter she was angry. In the second she was controlling. In the third she was... creepy. "We'll watch out for each other" given in that light, sweet voice came off as a threat to me. Even more suffocating. On the one hand I feel like it would give her a feather to turn in a "bad Handmaid" - OTOH that would put her on the radar for others. Seems like the safest route is to keep your head down and go unnoticed. Not sure... but it struck me as odd too. 

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2 hours ago, Brn2bwild said:

Changing the subject a bit: did anyone find it odd that the new Ofglen wanted to preserve her position by ensuring Offred didn’t act out? Wouldn't it have been easier for her to simply report Offred's behavior to a superior?

 
 
 
 

The problem with reporting someone else's bad behavior as a repeated offense is that NewOfglen would automatically come under suspicion anyway.  Just like Offred/June was questioned when Ofglen/Emily was found to be having a romantic relationship with a Martha.   Guilt by association and all that.  I think NewOfglen would also have to be aware that if she throws Offred/June to the wolves, then there's a strong chance Offred would return the favor.   Or even if she didn't, she knows what was done to OriginalOfglen/Emily. 

Despite her threatening words, I think she was warning her because ultimately, she understands what she'd be exposing Offred/June to and you'd have to be a monster vs. just a tough person, trying to cling to the only semblance of a decent life she's ever had.  She's determined, not demented.  

Another way the very subtle sisterhood vibe was being shown,  because I think NewOfglen was doing precisely that by warning June rather than going directly to her commander's wife, was the Commander's wife in Ofsteven's scene approaching her with her sympathetic "flu".  That there are still women, even in positions of power, who hesitate to wield it as a weapon against other women.  Steven's wife trying to put off the moment when Emily is very painfully raped was just a tiny moment of kindness in that incredibly brutal world.  No witnesses except Emily, who knows that Steven's wife can only spare her for so long before she is inevitably horribly mistreated again, and the dog,  was the perfect appetizer for the moment Emily takes her opportunity to thwart and punish, in her own right, the men who are complicit in this crime against all women.  

Fred is a monster, saying things like now women have respect while disregarding every common decency towards another person.  He's risking her tortuous death and practically laughed about doing so in her face.   Plus, he punishes Serena Joy for actually loving him, trying to make her notice his sexual enjoyment, knowing that he's denied her any at all.   

Strange source of humor in this show:  the number of time Nick is captioned as "*scoffs*" is both amusing and thematic.  

In terms of seeing Luke and June's backstory, I thought the show did its level best to present the ways in which a relationship that started under really unsavory circumstances (get the divorce, then move forward, not the other way around, dude)  it still contained emotional authenticity and romantic ideals for the two of them.   I think that was supposed to be what we were being invited to see but Luke is a bit of a Cardboard Kenny:  not a lot of dimension to him, they just have gone out of their way to illustrate that in a world where men were taking that self-same ickiness (implicit in the "things happen" grossness of his implication that clearly, any female friendships between a lesbian and a straight woman would have gone to "gratify my male gaze and male fantasies" land) and turning it in a direction where demeaning women went to a whole other "we've stopped objectifying women...now we just treat them as objects with holes that are of use" level; Luke was displaying patriarchal ickiness (women's sexuality as a commodity to feed his fantasties; "I'll protect you") but that he turned his own car in a completely different direction than that would suggest:  allowing June to steer the course of his life for him.  Kind of a neat contrast, even if Luke is not an interesting character.  

Also, super neat close-captioning note:  As June ascends the stairs to Nick's apartment of her own volition, making a choice, trying to take charge of her fate the captions note a dog barking in the distance.   Like she was traveling with Emily's ghost and Emily's playmate dog could tell.    

If the little girls in the red coats foreshadowing was a nice touch, I thought that having that dog barking as an undertone to the moment when June is also making a choice their entire world tells her she's not allowed to make on her own behalf was kind of brilliant.  Warning or encouragement, friend of Emily? 

Edited by stillshimpy
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On 5/10/2017 at 6:12 PM, HeySandyStrange said:

I think the scene was lovely and sexy in a real way, but I'll admit, it was more, uh, handsy then what I'm used to seeing from tv/movie sex scenes. I rarely see actors touch each other in such intimate ways, no matter how over wise graphic or intimate the scene is. 

The handsy-ness reminded me of Top of the Lake, another Elizabeth Moss show. She had quite a few intimate sex scenes in that series that were very touchy and graphic, so it may be partly a matter of actor comfort level.

On 5/10/2017 at 10:16 PM, Umbelina said:

I think I should clarify.  I don't care about the whole "sin" or "bad" part of Luke being married.  I honestly just see very little chemistry between them, let alone love.  He bores me.  He's the weakest link in the cast for me, or maybe it's just the writing, it's hard to tell.  They didn't seem in love, or even particularly in lust to me.  They seem like a hook up, not a marriage, and frankly, not a particularly compelling hook up at that.  I just feel that relationship isn't really developed here in a way that makes me think either of them love each other. 

The immature comments about the lesbian sex with her friend, and then the whole "I'll take care of you" clueless and tone deaf reaction at the horror of what had just happened to June and Moira, their money, jobs, worlds gone, and that's the lame ass comment he makes, just made him look particularly stupid to me, and completely not someone to bother being in love with.  Why?  The insight, intellect, depth, caring humanity?  There is no there there.

Well, to be fair, we haven't seen much of their marriage yet-this was more the beginning hook-up part of their relationship. But I think Luke's basic lameness and low key sexism is intentional. He's not some extraordinary man; he's just a dude, like a bunch of other dudes we probably all know, thinking he's woke and feminist when in reality his casual misogyny is baked in and he doesn't even realize it. June didn't either, until the world changed and she started to see things more clearly. And she still doesn't seem to hold it against him, though her view of him is likely colored by his (probable) tragic death trying to help her and their daughter flee.

On 5/11/2017 at 10:25 PM, 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.   

I think it was supposed to be all of those things. Seeing what happened to Emily seemed to spark some defiance in her, and she decided to take some small measure of power back-the only power she really has left to wield. But also, she's in a desperate situation with a fast approaching expiration date, and she's being reckless. She is experiencing suicidal ideation, and this may have been connected to that as well. It was a very complicated moment for June, and in this cold, sterile universe it also felt like a revelation to see two people enjoying their bodies together.

On 5/12/2017 at 1:41 AM, 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 would not assume that women aren't raped in the Colonies.

18 hours ago, Bec said:

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? 

It likely does serve a plot function that the show hasn't explicitly spelled out yet, but I also think it gives some shading to June. I appreciate a flawed heroine, and it's interesting to think about June's own sexual morality in relation to her current situation and the men she's getting herself tangled up with.

Edited by stagmania
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26 minutes ago, stagmania said:

Well, to be fair, we haven't seen much of their marriage yet-this was more the beginning hook-up part of their relationship. But I think Luke's basic lameness and low key sexism is intentional. He's not some extraordinary man; he's just a dude, like a bunch of other dudes we probably all know, thinking he's woke and feminist when in reality his casual misogyny is baked in and he doesn't even realize it. June didn't either, until the world changed and she started to see things more clearly. And she still doesn't seem to hold it against him, though her view of him is likely colored by his (probable) tragic death trying to help her and their daughter flee.

Very good point. Whatever else Luke did, he seems to have died trying to get her and their daughter to safety, and that likely has an impact on June's memories of his complacence and sexism.

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I love this show, but it drives me nuts every time Offred clomps through the darkened house to the Commander's study.

Take off the boots, girlfriend.

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On 5/13/2017 at 1:10 AM, SinInTheCamp said:

The Handmaid's-jive's Tale.

So we'd have a character named Ofwayoutwillie?

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OK, OK, that v is obviously way too close to the b on my keyboard.

ETA

I think one of the things that telegraphed "freedom!" during that sex scene was when Offred let her hair down and it tumbled down her back.  It was a moving image for me somehow, as the real June emerged, if only for a little while.

Edited by Umbelina
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On 5/11/2017 at 8:24 AM, fireice13 said:

This episode was hard for me because I don't think Luke deserved to die (if that's what happened to him) and I don't think June deserved what happened to her. However, I still lost some sympathy for both of them. I think cheating is one of the worst things you can do. It is making a deliberate choice to engage in behavior that will result in someone being hurt. You can't control who you fall in love with, but you can refrain from doing anything until you get divorced. I've also never understood women who knowingly sleep with a married a man; why would you do that to another woman? That's what strikes me about this show and the book is that Gilead is taking advantage of the fact that women will turn on one another even under severe patriarchal oppression. 

To me, I don't take that as the point.  I'd rather have our free society and our laws (adultery NOT being against the law) and people having the freedom to have consensual sex with each other as long as both people are adults.  I do not think there is a parallel between June being a cheater and therefore 'deserving' this for being bad to another woman.  I think it is about how no matter what I would rather be free to have some asshole cheat on me with another woman than to live in a society like Gilead.  By the way, most if not all of us already live under patriarchal oppression, there are just degrees.  I did not lose any sympathy for them.  Cheating is cheating, but the stuff going on in Gilead is so much worse, so no I do not put cheating as 'one of the worst'.  Murder, rape, torture, genital mutilation, imprisonment, lack of privacy, slavery, all happen extremely frequently in Gilead, so I am surprised that Luke being a cheater is what people are morally horrified by.  That's just everyday shit.  I'd rather deal with that any day of the week.

I also think it's funny (sickly funny) that some people are having viscerally negative reactions to the Commander now.  Like now they think of him as repugnant.  LOL. Because before he was Captain Morality or something.  He's a fucking rapist, and has been since Episode 1.  And he has always raped under the threat of death.  But NOW people seem to hate him.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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10 hours ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

I also think it's funny (sickly funny) that some people are having viscerally negative reactions to the Commander now.  Like now they think of him as repugnant.  LOL. Because before he was Captain Morality or something.  He's a fucking rapist, and has been since Episode 1.  And he has always raped under the threat of death.  But NOW people seem to hate him.

I can't speak for all, but I suspect that few thought he was Captain Morality.  If you didn't know that he was an architect of this regime, one could think that he was maybe just another person caught up in horrible situation. The way he was initially portrayed,  one could possibly stretch to find ways sympathize with him as a human.  The mask has been torn away.  The monster is revealed.

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What I really enjoy about this show is that they show that not everyone is all good or all bad. It hit me most this episode when the wife told Emily she was going to be sick again for the ceremony. She knew what had happened to Emily and was trying, in her own small way to help her. As, Emily pointed out though, the wife couldn't be sick every month.

I appreciate the way the show is making me remember that a lot of these people are just trying to survive. Who knows what the wife's story is before all this happened?

I didn't really notice the sex as all that gratuitous, I saw nothing wrong with how it was portrayed, June liked to be on top and was finally able to enjoy her self.

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Does anyone else wonder that if no children are born, the commander's wives are killed? I keep hearing that "or else I die" line over and over again every time I see Serena Joy.

This series really makes it clear that if you turn all of the disenfranchised against one another, you can rule very effectively.

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It's a direct line from the Jacob and Rachel story from the Bible they're using to justify all of this.  Rachel is portrayed as so desperate to have children that she gave Jacob her handmaid to father children on for her.  These women are all similarly desperate since as the commander says women only exist under the new regime to serve that biological function.

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7 hours ago, tvsoothesthespirit said:

Does anyone else wonder that if no children are born, the commander's wives are killed? I keep hearing that "or else I die" line over and over again every time I see Serena Joy.

This series really makes it clear that if you turn all of the disenfranchised against one another, you can rule very effectively.

I wonder what could happen if the Commander got killed and Serena Joy ended up a widow.  I doubt she would enjoy the same protections as before.

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22 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

It's a direct line from the Jacob and Rachel story from the Bible they're using to justify all of this.  Rachel is portrayed as so desperate to have children that she gave Jacob her handmaid to father children on for her.  These women are all similarly desperate since as the commander says women only exist under the new regime to serve that biological function.

Exactly. That's what got me thinking about the wives literally dying if they have no children. Since it's entirely their fault and has nothing to do with the rumored sterility of the male population.

Quote

I wonder what could happen if the Commander got killed and Serena Joy ended up a widow.  I doubt she would enjoy the same protections as before.

Married off to an available Commander? Converted to a Martha? There have to be more layers to the social strata than we've been exposed to. 

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I think she'd be given a job far away from anything and anyone, probably just shipped to the colonies.  She's an unwoman without her husband, and they wouldn't want her previous ability to sway opinion to even have a chance at disrupting anything.  No other Commander would marry a proven barren unwoman.  They didn't seem to like her or her unwomanly book writing or assumption she would participate in running the country anyway.

That's my guess anyway.  Those wives are only "privileged" because they are married to important men.  Without their powerful husbands they are completely disposable. 

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Guest

I absolutely loved June taking matters into her own hands and do something that felt a bit like freedom for once. 

Alexis as Emily has been killing it. I hope they don't kill her off.

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On Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 3:38 PM, stagmania said:

 It was a very complicated moment for June, and in this cold, sterile universe it also felt like a revelation to see two people enjoying their bodies together.

This!  It was a beautifully done scene showing what sex is supposed to be like.  

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On 5/10/2017 at 11:40 AM, dmc said:

Man that the commander is crazy....does this mean he doesn't love his wife?

He's setting off my gaydar. Am I alone in this?

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4 minutes ago, marinw said:

He's setting off my gaydar. Am I alone in this?

I had to stop watching the show because it was making me depressed and slightly paranoid in RL (thanks 2017), but when I was still watching, no. He seems a little ... man-childish. Like a bored, overgroomed kid. But I think that's to get our guard down so we forget the deadly threat he represents. 

Edited by kieyra
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10 hours ago, marinw said:

He's setting off my gaydar. Am I alone in this?

Honestly I always feel that way about that actor...He always plays things with kind of repressed sexual vibe...which can definitely be depicted as gay but I don't think he's supposed to be

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True, Joseph Fienns has always struck me as “Metro.” But if Fred is gay, that could explain a lot. The Commander is still a horrible person. But being a closeted gay man in Gilead would be awful, even in the Commander is partially the architect of his own misery.

Another observation: in the flashback Luke mentioned that “We may not get any snow this year,” or something like that. This shows that the climate change  that caused or contributed to the fertilty crises was already in play. Another thing that makes this sow so uncomfortably close to reality.

Edited by marinw

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On 2017-05-12 at 0:59 AM, chocolatine said:

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..

All things considered I wonder if the colonies are really as bad as they are made out to be. The only information about them comes from the Aunts and the Commanders which makes it suspect to me. It could be just propaganda for all we actually know. Like how District 13 was supposed to be irradiated rubble in the Hunger Games. Perhaps will see that in the next season.

On 2017-05-12 at 6:53 PM, Shangrilala said:

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.

Yeah I suspect if Fred could easily arrange a tragic "accident" for Serena Joy and get a new wife if he truly wanted to. Divorce might not be legal but I suspect a widower would be encouraged to move on.

The other thing to remember about using Nick as a sperm donor is that June is quite fair. I can someone who doesn't pay much attention to biology might think that their child might pass as the commanders. Also that is an advantage of not knowing anything about June as well. Serena Joy could easily blame any Asian traits on June's background. She could say June had a Japanese grandmother or something like that and Fred would have a hard time arguing with her. 

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What really bothers me is the way that women are treated as animals – cattle or horses for breeding livestock.  The Commander states that the world is better now.  Better for whom? The Handmaids? No. The Commanders? He doesn’t look too happy if he is still clinging to things from the “past” (boardgames, magazines, books, liquor). The Wives?  Nope. Serena Joy looks like she has a pickle up her butt the whole time, clings to smoking as a sign of defiance. Wants to assist her husband as a partner and he shoots her down every chance he gets.  The other wife we have seen doesn’t want to do the ceremony for Emily’s sake.  Crazy Janine’s wife was only half happy due to the baby but I could see her complaining how the baby keeps her up and is having issues with Janine herself.  The Marthas? Again – stressed out because they have to do everything by hand.  So really WHO IS this brave new world benefitting?  Who is actually happy?  No one.

In regards to the Luke/June having an affair.  We have no context on what Luke’s marriage was like.  Was there tension? Were they just going through the motions of a marriage for the sake of fear of change (i.e. divorce)?  Since there is no context, I am going to go with the fact that maybe Luke was unhappy and they were at the point that their marriage was on paper.  A lot of people stay in a paper marriage for years due to fear of change.  I am thinking that was Luke’s deal until I see otherwise. 

The end scene between Nick and June didn’t bother me.  I wish he would have asked her what her real name was.

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20 hours ago, Emily Thrace said:

All things considered I wonder if the colonies are really as bad as they are made out to be. The only information about them comes from the Aunts and the Commanders which makes it suspect to me. It could be just propaganda for all we actually know. Like how District 13 was supposed to be irradiated rubble in the Hunger Games. Perhaps will see that in the next season.

The only reason I'm willing to give it validity is everything else seems to support it. In every other way things really are as hellish as they appear. The aftereffects of what is presumably the site(s) of a nuclear accident are widespread and felt in at least one other geographical location (Mexico). 

I would love more details to the extent and specifics of the disasters that brought our characters to the lives they are in. 

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I have also always wondered if "the Colonies" were really a place, or more a scare tactic to keep people from trying to escape. I have no doubt that anyone sent to "the Colonies" meets an unfortunate end, but I'm not quite as convinced that it's from the harsh conditions there, rather than that they just get executed.

As for the rest of this episode... Oof. I remember someone posting somewhere either before the show started or very early on, that they worried that the casting of a fairly young hot dude as the Commander meant that we were going to get a more sympathetic portrayal. Guess not. I think the book does leave it ambiguous how he feels about the whole situation, but this show seems to have decided to make a choice on the subject, and it's pretty icky. The line "Better doesn't mean better for everyone" was brilliant, I thought, because it's so very true, and that made it beautiful and ugly all at once.

And Luke. Luke is an interesting case. We don't got to learn much about him in the book. We see flashes, but mostly what we know about him and who he is is that he's the man June loved. Which I think was an interesting choice on Atwood's part, because by allowing the reader to fill in all the blanks about him, she's leaving the door open for readers to — consciously or otherwise — use their own experiences to fill those blanks in. So Luke becomes a fictional stand-in for the men they love, which is another way to drive home the nearness of all of this. Obviously, that's not a universal experience with the character, but I think it's interesting. For the show, however, they couldn't leave him as blank, and it's interesting to see what they decided to do with him. I don't think I dislike him as strongly as some of you do, but he's certainly not a romanticized, idealized version of love lost. And in a way, I actually love what they've done with him, because they've placed him in that subtle grey area, where he's not wildly sexist, but he's also clearly part of the problem. Through him and some of his behaviour, we see some of the misogyny that society has baked into even more or less decent men. I'd like to say it might even help open the eyes of some people to their own bits of baked-in misogyny, but it probably won't. But still, it's interesting to watch.

And Emily... Oh my goodness. I thought that scene was going to end with her flooring it into a wall or something, and in a way, I wish it had. The fact that she left that scene alive was good in that it leaves us the possibility that we'll see her again, but I also can't imagine that there's anything good in store for her wherever they'll take her this time. Fertile womb or not, surely there comes a point when the Gileadean authorities figure they just can't work with someone anymore. Certainly not without making damn sure that they've well and truly broken her spirit. And... I have no desire to see her like that. So unless the rest of her story involves escaping somehow, I think the next best outcome for her is a quick death.

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Serena arranging June and Nick to get together makes me wonder if she knows about Dr. Donnie “Helping” his patients, which is why she sent June to him. She is desperate for a child and she down’t care where it comes from.

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I think the show has made it quite clear that the colonies are real places.

The references to conflict and on-going war, from knitting useless scarves to the talk of the Angels (fighters/soldiers) the talk of the ongoing war in Chicago, the oranges, the nuclear accidents and sabotage.

In the book they are much clearer about the various kinds of colonies, but I think they show has shown most of it.

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9 hours ago, marinw said:

Serena arranging June and Nick to get together makes me wonder if she knows about Dr. Donnie “Helping” his patients, which is why she sent June to him. She is desperate for a child and she down’t care where it comes from.

Spoiler

In the book she does. So I'm assuming she does in the show too.

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1 minute ago, Eureka said:
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In the book she does. So I'm assuming she does in the show too.

Series June mentions it in Faithful, and SJ nods.

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In the Tinder scene with Luke, when he asks about the picture with the cats, Offred/June says their names are Lucy and Ethel --  and I just saw a picture of Elizabeth Moss with her actual cats, who are named Lucy and Ethel.  I'm guessing that was an actual picture (in the Tinder scene) of Moss with her cats.  (Just posted a link in the Media thread about Moss and "The Square," which just won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.) 

Edited by jjj
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16 hours ago, Umbelina said:

I think the show has made it quite clear that the colonies are real places.

The references to conflict and on-going war, from knitting useless scarves to the talk of the Angels (fighters/soldiers) the talk of the ongoing war in Chicago, the oranges, the nuclear accidents and sabotage.

In the book they are much clearer about the various kinds of colonies, but I think they show has shown most of it.

I'm still not so sure. I mean, obviously there's something beyond the borders of Gilead, and there's probably some conflict, because the rest of the world wouldn't likely be down with what happened and is happening in there. But I'd hardly consider the Gileadean authorities reliable narrators as to exactly what is out there. Even the notion of the conflict may not be real, or it could be wildly exaggerated, because creating that opposition to the outside Other is Propaganda 101 (see 1984).

So until they actually show us what's on the other side, I'm taking anything said or implied about it with a hefty grain of salt.

An additional note, book-related:

Spoiler

I just re-read it, and I don't remember anything in there really solidifying what's outside, either. I think there were some tidbits in the coda — a more reliable source than anything from the rest of the book, on this particular topic — that provided some detail, but not that much. On the other hand, I may have glossed over some stuff in there. I can be shockingly bad at retaining details from books I read.

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19 minutes ago, kingshearte said:

because the rest of the world wouldn't likely be down with what happened and is happening in there.

I think this is a pretty normal line of reasoning, but I don't think it's actually true. Atrocities that you and I aren't down with are happening everywhere - and we aren't really doing anything about that. Hell, the people of North Korea are living generations in a world not too dissimilar from what we see in this show (granted they worship a human and not a deity, but the oppression and danger is widespread and severe). People aren't "down" with a lot of the awful things that happen, but that in and of itself isn't sufficient to expend lives and resources to actually make a meaningful change. We'd like to think that someone would save us from ourselves, but frankly? I suspect a good bit of the world wouldn't mind watching us burn a bit. And most would take the same approach we do - do nothing unless it impacts *our* bottom line.

No. If all things are otherwise true and the self-reporting of the leadership of Gilead can likely be taken at face value. Given the narrative presented I don't think much would be served by intentionally presenting a far more violent response when there isn't one. 
 

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On 2017-5-11 at 3:28 AM, Zima said:

Ugh, it disgusts me that people were upset by that sex scene. They weren't upset by the rape scenes prior, but a steamy scene between two consenting adults during which the woman is experiencing pleasure is too much for them?  Seems about right. 

I agree - and it's also interesting to note the debate in the Episode 4 thread about the doctor. Whilst that was a different circumstance, there was the view that any sex with women in this society must be rape. Yet when presented with the scene in this episode, no one seems to have expressed this view.

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If I was June, I would worry that Serena Joy was trying to entrap her with the affair. And does she know Nick is (probably) an Eye? If so, both the women are running a huge risk. And I don't understand why Serena Joy is so concerned with there being a child (maybe this will come up further on?) - even in Gilead, they couldn't possibly blame her for that. Perhaps Commanders with children are higher status than those without? Does she just want her husband to be happy? Would having a child mean June would move on to another man and so away from what (to SJ) might seem an uncomfortably close relationship with Fred? I'd be interested in knowing the answers to all those (but don't spoil me)!

I suppose it's realistic to show that just because Gilead is terrible doesn't make the world of "before" perfect. Her marriage to Luke was portrayed as between two flawed people. But I do believe they loved each other, particularly in the opening scene of the Season.

On ‎10‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 7:50 AM, chocolatine said:

It was interesting to hear the perspective of Ofglen 2.0, because it's a more extreme version of what I've heard several times about former drug addicts who have become very religious - they feel like religion "saved" them.

It's sad to think that - as Fred pointed out - this world might actually be better for some women. Ofglen (Mk 2) probably is correct in seeing her current situation is an improvement - as somebody who was turning tricks, she undoubtedly regularly had to deal with unwanted sex, probable violence and at least she gets a roof over her head. No matter how bad thing are for the vast majority, some will be doing better.

On ‎10‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 8:58 PM, rollacoaster said:

Fred, you cold, selfish bastard. You seemed unable to comprehend June's anguish and fear when she begged you not to touch her that way in front of your wife. You seemed annoyed, like she was ruining your good fun.

This was definitely the first time I've seen him as really evil. Previously, you could see him as somebody who, while clearly benefitting from his status, was at least a fair ruler. But, as Lord Acton said, power corrupts and he thinks nothing of having an unsanctioned relationship with June, whatever anyone else feels. Who can over rule him?

On ‎11‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 2:52 PM, nodorothyparker said:

Who would be considered more at fault, Serena for orchestrating it or Nick for actually doing the deed?

...except, possibly, Nick. We don't know the relative power between the Eyes and the Commanders - I suspect they are competing power structures (like the SS and the Wehrmacht in World War II) so maybe he could have been a threat - although Nick is risking a lot with his "affair". Still, given this is Gilead, I'm betting Serena Joy would suffer more for her "treachery".

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3 hours ago, John Potts said:

Still, given this is Gilead, I'm betting Serena Joy would suffer more for her "treachery".

Given this is Gilead, the person who would be suffering the most would be June, even though she had no say in anything.

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1 hour ago, chocolatine said:

Given this is Gilead, the person who would be suffering the most would be June

I 100% agree that June would suffer most, I was offering my opinion on "Who would be considered more at fault, Serena for orchestrating it or Nick for actually doing the deed?" As Rule of Thumb*, I doubt the Elders' legal judgements go beyond "The woman did it".

* An apt term, given its (supposed) derivation

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@John Potts I think Serena Joy is concerned with there being a child because SHE wants one, for the same reasons people want children in 2017. I'm sure there is an elevated status for Commanders who have children (they are a precious commodity), but I think she intrinsically wants a child for herself. 

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