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Tara Ariano

S01.E07: The Other Side

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Remembering her family’s treacherous escape attempt, a shocking revelation from life before Gilead provides a new perspective on Offred’s life. 

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preview /sneak peak with commercials. 

The one on the site didn't have all this extra stuff.

Edited by Umbelina
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Well.  I really missed being from June's POV.  I was hoping we would get get more background about the changes Gilead made that led to them running.  So it wasn't their marriage becoming unlawful that got them to run but when the visas came in?  Perhaps their marriage had become illegal before this point but they stayed because paperwork is important?  I'm going to assume that isn't the case because that would make them look even dumber.  Playing outside while they were waiting on that guy to come back with the passports was really reckless.  Did they not realize it was life and death at this point and not a family vacation?  I also thought Luke was amazingly mobile for someone with a gunshot wound.

I did note that June and Luke don't have the same last name.  Was this as a result of their invalid marriage or did June always keep her name.  I know this episode should endear me to Luke but I came away thinking he wasn't particularly bright.  His walk through the hall filled with pictures and flyers of those taken was a great visual.  It reminded me of the memorial wall on Battlestar Galactica.

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Tense and harrowing.  I was so sad to see that woman who saved him killed!

It's good to see some people resisted, even if they were hung for it, in every town and city. 

Luke's been an idiot, but he seems to be finally wising up, he didn't make me want to slap him silly the entire time, so that's something.  Still, if I were escaping, I would have probably already built a shelter looking down on the house provided, and tried my best to leave no footprints.  Those two obviously had no survival training at all.  I guess that would be most people though, but it was frustrating seeing them skipping stones in a lake, even though that ended up working out for them.  Sorta.

I knew that Mexican Ambassador's assistant was on the up and up.  Now we have a time frame, it's been three years.

What a shock to see people in regular clothes again, using cell phones, and carrying take out coffee.  Maybe we needed this respite from non stop Gilead oppression.

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This was a disappointing episode.  It should have set up more of the universe and Gilead, but it only showed their escape attempt.  Weakest episode by far. 

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It was weak in some ways, but I think they held the tension well, and I was glad to see what there was of Mayday, both in the beginning, and after a few years.  I'm glad they showed the rest of the escape, and that ambulance scene was really done well.

I liked the silent red tagged woman, and I really liked the woman leader, whom I assume is dead now.  I liked seeing women in power again, and not subservient to men, and I loved the regular clothes and nearly normal life glimpses in Canada.

I have a problem with Luke, but when I put that *mostly* aside, I did enjoy this one.  I still don't understand why June loved him, other than silly happiness while it lasted.  It sounds like June wanted to leave earlier, and he wouldn't. 

I'm really glad the Mexican guy was on the up and up.   So, the former USA prisoners have friends both north and south of the border...

That said, I'll be happy to get back to a June POV next week.

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I fell asleep for like the middle twenty minutes and am trying to decide if I should watch it again

Same here. I woke up to a pilot of some new show (hate Hulu's auto-forward feature).

I just can't with Luke. I want to, but him being alive drags the show down.

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I was pretty sure that this episode wouldn't gut me like the others have, and then the boat scene emerged...that damn boat scene.

My hopes were pretty high up, I guess I was being a Luke and June, foolishly thinking that a safe place had finally been found, that these good people had finally made it through and would be granted freedom and hope on the other side.

And then the shots rang out and the good Samaritans were butchered as Luke and the mute woman barely made their escape, her screams and wails as the others were gunned down ringing out in the night.

This show is so good at drawing you in but never really letting you relax. Of course we already knew Hannah and June were captured and that the escape plot failed, but seeing them as a family for those short, sweet moments, it was all almost lulling you into thinking that they would be okay, ignoring all the warnings buzzing around in every single scene like annoying flies, ruining the moment.

So many things were up against them, mostly their own ignorance, and perhaps in Luke's case his arrogance, that cost them in the end. 

The little actress who plays Hannah though is so adorable and sweet, she was a joy to watch, she's pretty good already in the acting department I thought.

I also enjoyed seeing more of the actor in the role of Luke, I felt connected to him finally as himself, not just as June's husband. He really played the scenes very well, and the ending, I will admit, he pulled a Elisabeth with the close up camera work on his face as he processed getting June's note. He was able to convey so many different emotions, he looked every part a man who had hung on for 3 years, never giving up, fighting in the only way he could to find his family, and finally he'd been given a crumb. A tiny morsel that can now feed his soul like a full course meal.

The mute woman, who I hope gets a name soon, is a interesting figure. I almost wondered if they were going to say she'd had her tongue cut out for being a "bad girl" during Handmaid training. 

I did miss seeing June, except for the very first and last shots, but I am actually glad to have a break from that wretched household she's trapped in. I had more than enough of the commander and Serena Joy last week.

I am enjoying the way they're expanding on this world of Gilead also. I like that they're taking their time and feeding us information on an almost need to know basis. I don't think getting bombarded by a ton of new information crammed into a single episode that was never mentioned in the book would be beneficial.

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His walk through the hall filled with pictures and flyers of those taken was a great visual.It reminded me of the memorial wall on Battlestar Galactica.

All the "missing" flyers reminded me of the 9/11 aftermath.

I think Luke is a tool, so I really didn't care for a episode revolving around this character.  I did enjoy the break from the Waterford household though.

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Luke certainly was a tool, but it looks like he may have finally grown up a bit.

I just posted a review from the Refinery in the EYES thread, and it made me realize that we actually saw quite a bit in this episode.  Gilead before it had been completely taken over, for example, we had the guardians, but people were still wearing regular clothing. 

I'm liking it more and more upon reflection. 

However, if Luke hadn't been SUCH a fool about going back to Boston, thus delaying the little escaping group, everyone but him and the mute may not have died.  So?  Luke still sucked, but hopefully he's older and wiser now.

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1 hour ago, Shaynaa said:

Playing outside while they were waiting on that guy to come back with the passports was really reckless.

But if they hadn't been playing outside they wouldn't have run into the neighbor who told them that their friend had been caught and that they had to leave right away. If they'd stayed inside they would have been sitting ducks. Obviously they still got caught, but the run-in with the neighbor gave them a fighting chance.

I have to admit I wasn't into the episode initially since I find Luke to be one of the weaker characters on the show, but the boat scene and the scene when Luke found out that June is still alive really got me. When the nun told him that she had wasted a prayer on him - "a good one" - I had a feeling something terrible was going to happen.

I loved the small detail that there's a "Little America" in Toronto - that enough people escaped Gilead to form a community - and that the Mayday network is operating internationally. A glimmer of hope that Gilead will be overthrown before too long.

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However, if Luke hadn't been SUCH a fool about going back to Boston, thus delaying the little escaping group, everyone but him and the mute may not have died.  So?  Luke still sucked, but hopefully he's older and wiser now.

 

Secondary characters do not fare well on this show apparently. Like Game of Thrones USA edition.

I did sympathize some with Luke though, the high idiot, because he wasn't thinking rationally, he was thinking about heading back to where he figured his girls would be taken; he just didn't want to give up on them. And that scene was the standout for me in this episode, it shook me hard, so I excuse the reason why it happened because it was just that good to me.

I also liked the mention of June's mom by their, doomed, savior. It seems that she's a doctor or at least someone with medical knowledge. She was doing illegal, back alley, procedures from the sounds of it and for that I already like her heh.

 

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But if they hadn't been playing outside they wouldn't have run into the neighbor who told them that their friend had been caught and that they had to leave right away. If they'd stayed inside they would have been sitting ducks. Obviously they still got caught, but the run-in with the neighbor gave them a fighting chance.

 

It was during the beautifully shot breakfast scene, with June and Hannah making pancakes, that I realized just how long they have been waiting for their guide to come back. When Luke teased Hannah about how she had consumed all the syrup, after she mentioned they were out, because she'd had pancakes "every single morning" since their arrival I knew then the jig was up.

They had just been sitting around, not knowing what to do, obviously not realizing that their guide should have/would have returned long before if he'd been able to come back to them.

As they sat in what they thought was a safe-haven, they were allowing the government time to track them, find out what they looked like, what car they were driving, and certainly where they were headed.

I hope the good neighbor did not meet an untimely fate for his kindness to them, he seemed to be apart of the network or at least an ally to the cause.

Edited by AnswersWanted
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Luke's the same guy that he was in the book though, just more fleshed out.  The show didn't really change his portrayal, until this episode, where they expanded it, and showed that he survived, which really is a pretty good entry into Mayday or resistance actually.  We've now seen that resistance really did happen, "in every town" and what happened to them, and also the Canada some managed to escape to.

Edited by Umbelina
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4 hours ago, AgentRXS said:

All the "missing" flyers reminded me of the 9/11 aftermath.

 

They also reminded me of the walls of pictures of "Los Desaparecidos" (The Disappeared) following the Dirty War in Argentina. Something like 30k people deemed dissidents disappeared, many of the children of said dissidents were stolen and given to childless military and police couples and others favored by the regime. I see a lot of parallels.

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6 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Those two obviously had no survival training at all.  I guess that would be most people though, but it was frustrating seeing them skipping stones in a lake

Luke and June don't exactly fit the profile for those you would expect to have basic survival skills. They're not military, they've never lived in a very remote area, and they're not doomsday preppers. Usually, that requires training or experience, both of which Luke and June lack.

The wall of flyers seemed like a 9/11 thing, although I like the idea that it could be a desaparecidos reference as kallistrate suggested.

 

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I loved the small detail that there's a "Little America" in Toronto

Hey, there's a Little India, a Little Italy, and a Little Portugal in Toronto already, so why not a Little America?

It seems like Toronto has its issues as well three years on, judging from Luke's mention of "rationing" and them putting the power back on in the apartment.

Edited by Eyes High
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8 hours ago, Shaynaa said:

 

I did note that June and Luke don't have the same last name.  Was this as a result of their invalid marriage or did June always keep her name.  

I haven't watched yet but I didn't change my name and this summer will be our 20th anniversary. My only point being if the series is saying "before" was circa 2015 then I am not surprised at all that she kept her name, especially in the Boston area. We lived in that area when we got married and even back then, it was a very common choice among professional women to not take your husband's name. I live south of the Mason-Dixon line now and it's much less common here.

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27 minutes ago, PreviouslyTV said:

Ladies: take a break. In Episode 7, a man is talking.

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Hee. Well done. And yes, the "But what about the meeeeeeen?" angle of this episode was not lost on me. 

I'm guessing that AnswersWanted is correct and that the mute rescued Handmaid got her tongue cut out for talking shit, although that's never been mentioned before as a Gilead punishment.

I live in a jurisdiction where it's actually illegal to take your husband's last name, so June and Luke having different last names--Osborn and Bankole (a nod to the actor's Nigerian heritage, I guess)--didn't even really register with me. As Aunt Lydia said, normal is only what you're used to, heh.

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This wasn't the strongest episode of the bunch, no, but I didn't think it was terrible or entirely without value either.   At least it gets us out of that claustrophobic house of horror for a week.

While I would have liked more detail, I like that it did try to answer the question of what did the world look like as Gilead came into place?  They didn't just all wake up one day in bonnets and red dresses and everyone thinking nothing of it, and I thought including the obviously traumatized mute woman with the red tag and everyone else being left to speculate on what was actually happening to the identified fertile woman was nicely handled.  I mean, what are they telling the general population?  People have obviously noticed some women being taken away, and the fact that they're quick to shoot or hang anyone who questions or resists is only going to raise more speculation.  Seeing that some people are fighting back or still willing to risk helping, or even just acknowledge that what's happening seriously isn't right, is almost a palate cleanser after weeks of unrelenting cruelty.  One of the most chilling visuals of the entire episode wasn't about the women at all but that almost none of the anti-gay graffiti was anything you can't find NOW in public spaces.

Show Luke isn't really all that different from book Luke.  He's just a guy, not a hero.  Even at the point things have obviously gone to shit and they should have been long gone, he's one to argue about not wanting to dump stuff he packed, not wanting to ride in the trunk, wanting to wait for proper paperwork or their guide to return as if any of this is normal or still follows normal rules.  Because so much of what has already happened isn't targeted at him, he's not getting how truly unsafe it already is.  

I kind of loved how much of an awkward urbanite he is, fiddling with the gun.  It's something that comes up a lot in discussions of series about survival like The Walking Dead franchise, how most of us in modern society are not survivalists or doomsday preppers who might reasonably be expected to immediately know what to do.  Yet viewers almost expect that out of characters right out of the gate.

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1 hour ago, PreviouslyTV said:

Ladies: take a break. In Episode 7, a man is talking.

View the full article

 

I know it's satire and all but I really didn't see the episode in this light at all. If anything, I thought this episode yet again highlighted what is so great about women. Well, not only women but just people in general. How, despite the worst circumstances, the most evil situations, the most heartbreaking of personal trials, there is good still to be found in people, just ordinary people.

There is nothing very special about them, nothing very stand out or mind blowing, but they are givers, they help, they assist, they save, and that is what I saw.  

Zoey didn't make it out, unfortunately, but it's obvious that she was one amazing, hardcore, kickass from the get go. She had saved who knows how many people, risking her own life time and time again to help those who needed it. The way she took control when they discovered Luke in the cafe, delirious and bleeding out, she would not leave him even though she had to know he was going to slow them down, potentially cost them time one way or another (as we found out that happened at the worst time possible). But she still saw a person who would die if she didn't step in, so she did.

I loved that. Maybe it's cheesy and all but she was rocking the girl power of awesome, and so was the nun for that matter who was really witty and I was sad to see her taken out by those bastards as well.

Overall my takeaway from this episode was how it displayed a high level of selflessness that at this point it is basically nonexistent in Gilead.

It is so rare, almost a foreign idea now that the Regime has been so busy turning nearly everyone against each other. No one is really looking out for anyone else aside from themselves.

Generosity and goodwill have fallen by the wayside and all that's left are people trying to merely survive any way that they can and they are more than willing, often encouraged, to destroy other lives to last just one more day.

I actually thought that they had Luke continue to display this trait, giving of himself to help someone else, which he definitely owed to the group since they likely lost their lives helping him.

He stuck by the mute woman after they got to Canada, as he should have but obviously didn't have to. He could have handed her off to the Mayday group or whomever runs "Little America", or he could have just left her to her own devices and decided to focus solely on finding June and Hannah, since taking care of someone mute and traumatized on his own wasn't what Luke signed up for.

But I was glad to see that he did the right thing, he did what Zoey had done for him, returning the favor and in turn retaining his humanity.

 

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I'm guessing that AnswersWanted is correct and that the mute rescued Handmaid got her tongue cut out for talking shit, although that's never been mentioned before as a Gilead punishment.

 

I thought that they might explain her muteness with that answer when Luke asked about her when they were on the van and she was having a breakdown, but it seemed that they were implying she couldn't speak due to whatever happened at the center. Her inability to communicate with words was a result of the emotional and mental anguish she'd been through. So from that I don't think that those crazy whack-jobs actually did take out her tongue, but then again I would not put anything past those monsters.

Frankly I truly could see that happening, because who needs a Handmaid to talk? She has no rights to any opinions or thoughts that have anything to do outside of being fertile and "birthin' a baby". Just as they can lose a hand or foot or an eye, why not the tongue as well?

A mute Handmaid can still lay back and let her commander hump away, she's supposed to go through the ceremony in silence anyway.

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Ehh I didn't care for this episode...I prefer the present tense with the occasional flashbacks but this whole episode answered questions that I wasn't really curious about honestly

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I liked this episode, and found it as haunting as the other episodes.  Luke seemed to wise up a great deal at the end.  I  do think its hard to grasp "just how bad can it get really?" and he obviously didn't see just how bad, until the church scene, which is when he lost his hope of surviving in the former US. 

I read this book about 20 years ago, and it haunted me so much that I replayed/thought out my own escape should something like this ever happen, and thought about what would be my breaking point to put the plan into action.   It was interesting to compare June/Luke's scenario, with what I had thought out.

I do think the mute girl had her tongue cut out because in Little America she did seem to communicate in other ways to Luke --so I don't think it was a fear thing to keep silent anymore.

Well, loving the series, as scary as it is.

Edited by burghgal
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I do think the mute girl had her tongue cut out because in Little America she did seem to communicate in other ways to Luke --so I don't think it was a fear thing to keep silent anymore.

 

I think in the scenes where she's screaming/crying, it appears that her tongue is whole, or they just didn't have the budget to CGI an injury.

If the center did mute her on purpose, now that I think about it, as it'd just be a far easier way to do it without having to actually have her show what happened in a physical way, they could have removed her larynx (voice box).

It would still render her mute but it'd be an unseen "blemish", and we have already seen that the Regime is still willing to use modern medicine and surgery to punish people (women).

I also wondered if perhaps she tried to hang herself and commit suicide and she could have done damage to her throat, vocal chords, etc, that way and the effects proved permanent.

I guess regardless of why she is now mute, it's just more proof of the horrific aspects of being in Gilead, there seems to be no limit to what inhuman suffering they are willing to put women, especially fertile women, through.

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41 minutes ago, burghgal said:

I read this book about 20 years ago, and it haunted me so much that I replayed/thought out my own escape should something like this ever happen, and thought about what would be my breaking point to put the plan into action.   It was interesting to compare June/Luke's scenario, with what I had thought out.

It's closer to 30 years for me, but I had the same reaction when I was of the age to imagine being trapped as a handmaid.  Of course now I'm old enough that I'd probably be lucky to end up as a Martha or an Aunt if I was only more prone to zealotry.   

The one thing I thought they got right was either June or Luke saying how much tougher and slower it is to try to run with a child.  That's something I've pondered a lot in recent months.  It's a hassle to travel with kids under the best of circumstances when you didn't forget any of 412 things they just have to have and you're going someplace they actually want to go.  To try to run without looking like you're running and frightening the kid so she cries or asks too many questions or just draw attention to herself would considerably up the difficulty factor. They drugged Hannah up with Benadryl so she'd sleep for the initial leg of the journey, which wasn't a terrible idea, but if they'd unexpectedly had to make a run for it on foot she would have been dead weight which would have slowed them even more.

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4 hours ago, PreviouslyTV said:

Ladies: take a break. In Episode 7, a man is talking.

View the full article

Loved it!  You captured him perfectly.

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Dear Man,

If, God forbid, I ever find myself in a refugee situation like you were, what would you say is the best way to comport myself?

Carl In Canberra

 

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A Dear Carl,

Funny you should ask, because that actually happened to me: I was adopted by a group of people including an army officer named Zoey, a nun, a gay man, and a woman who was so traumatized by something that had happened to her in some kind of weird training center in Gilead -- the rest of her group thought maybe fertile women were being snatched up, or something? -- that she'd stopped talking entirely. It took a while, but eventually I figured out that I should shut up and do what this bunch of much more capable people were telling me to. Being a big enough drain on their limited resources with my freaking out and crazy plans that Zoey had to threaten to shoot me definitely helped get my mind right, ha ha! But yeah, I did think it was important to try to derail their plan by pretty much just saying what came to mind without thinking anything through, so I made sure to do that before accepting Zoey's authority as a leader. Might I have been more respectful if she'd been a man? Honestly, there's just no way of knowing.

cheers,
A Man

 

My guess?  Yes, he would have been more respectful to a man.  Luke was a tool, but I'm hoping he's gone through some personal growth by this time. 

So many people dead, just to get Luke out...

Edited by Umbelina
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Maybe he would have quicker to listen to a man.  I mostly chalked the irrationality of thinking he was getting out and going back Right Now to the fact that he'd just lost his wife and child earlier that same day and had since then been shot and stumbled away from a pretty nasty wreck.  All of that and slowly bleeding out tends to not leave you thinking so clearly.

But yeah, the rescue squad did have a bit of helping a newbie on their last tour of 'Nam vibe.  You knew when you met them there was no way they were surviving that trip.

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I liked it, and I have no problem with Luke. 

Their daughter is beyond adorable!! I hope they do save her. It was jarring, seeing Luke and the mute woman in a pretty place, free to do as they pleased. But a good jarring. The wall also reminded me of the 9/11 "missing" flyers. 

So she did write something, and the ambassador's assistant is on the up-and-up. Good!! They aren't just sitting and twiddling their thumbs, thankful it isn't their country, in Canada, and hopefully that man is working to stop it from happening in his. 

I can't remember how old their little girl is. It seems like it's been about nine or ten years since the coffee shop incident? Three years since he escaped to Canada, so many years before, when their baby was born - I don't recall seeing her, or any mention of her, when they lost their bank accounts and jobs. 

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I believe June told Emily that she had working part time as an editor (?) since Hannah was born.  The little actress is seriously adorable.  I also hope we see more of her.

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Having a Luke-centered episode made sense though.  It wasn't really about him, it was world-building and showing more of Mayday, and how it all happened.

It was better to use a known character than create a whole new character navigating through that world.

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Maybe.  I think Luke would have run a LOT faster if it was men, or POC who had their money taken from them, their jobs gone, and they started disappearing. 

He didn't run because it didn't bother him, or disrupt his life the way it did for women and for gays.  It was happening to "someone else" and that "someone else" included his wife and daughter.  Hey, no biggie!  "I'll take care of you."  Asshat.

Also, he wasn't joking about June and Moira having lesbian sex, it was something to turn him on.  It's all about Luke.

Edited by Umbelina
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1 hour ago, Anela said:

I can't remember how old their little girl is. It seems like it's been about nine or ten years since the coffee shop incident? Three years since he escaped to Canada, so many years before, when their baby was born - I don't recall seeing her, or any mention of her, when they lost their bank accounts and jobs. 

June told Emily that Hannah is eight. Since that was three years (give or take) after they were captured and separated, it would have made Hannah five at the time. The child actress seems a bit older, but that's not uncommon in movies/TV shows.

The timeline with the job loss/coffee shop incident/deadly protest does seem a bit wonky - June did say she'd worked part time after Hannah's birth, yet there was no mention of her when she was talking with Moira and Luke, like you said. One thing I noticed that in the third episode flashbacks June had shoulder-length hair, and when they were trying to flee her hair was long down her back. I know everyone's hair grows at a different rate, but it must have taken at least a year for it to grow that much. 

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I don't like Luke and I don't want to watch him so I watched the episode while answering emails. Very lackluster episode and I'm annoyed that he's still alive. I guess it's maybe good for June (I'm not sure about this, actually, since Luke doesn't seem all that capable) so there's that. Best part of the episode was that they played Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby by Cigarettes After Sex.

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Hee. Well done. And yes, the "But what about the meeeeeeen?" angle of this episode was not lost on me. 

But, seriously:  What about the goddamned men?  I'm one of the faggots who'd end up hanging in that fucking church.  And what about my relation to the women in my family?  Do you really think I'd allow a bunch of religious weirdos to kill my reproductively inefficient parents, and then separate my reproductively efficient sisters from their husbands simply because their husbands espoused a different religion, or no religion at all?

I'm also wondering a bit about the basic day-to-day running of Gilead:  There are 70 million Catholics in the United States.  How has Gilead gotten rid of all of them?  According to the book, even Baptists were targeted for elimination, and there are 30 million of them, as well (at least).

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I gotta say, as a native New Englander, I love hearing them call all the towns by name - and what they're saying makes sense - Jackman really is a border town in Maine, Somerville MA (I used to live there!) is near Cambridge and Boston, Marblehead (I have relatives there!) is on the north shore of MA. I haven't lived up there in years but it makes me a little homesick.

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Ok, so for some reason the episodes that go really off book don't seem to bother me as much as the stuff that they've rearranged and left out from the book. Does that make sense? I'm not sure I really want them to keep focusing on Luke but I did like seeing more of the escape attempt. And they even mentioned her mom.

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2 hours ago, Demian said:

But, seriously:  What about the goddamned men?  I'm one of the faggots who'd end up hanging in that fucking church.  And what about my relation to the women in my family?  Do you really think I'd allow a bunch of religious weirdos to kill my reproductively inefficient parents, and then separate my reproductively efficient sisters from their husbands simply because their husbands espoused a different religion, or no religion at all?

Because the story isn't about you or any other man, gay or otherwise. It's not about your feelings, or men's feelings. Who cares about men's feelings about women in this story? Men's feelings about women are what got women into this dystopian Handmaid world mess in the first place, and Luke from what we've seen of him with his boring lesbian fixation and complacent attitude towards his wife losing his ability to work is definitely part of the problem, as is any man who sees a misogynist dystopia where women are stripped of all rights and forced into institutionalized rape en masse and immediately fixates first and foremost on how it affects him and how it makes him feel

This story is about women's perspectives, women's lives and women's feelings under a misogynist dystopia, and it's supposed to be about women, not about how the men are coping with all of the terrible things happening to women and how the men feel about all the awful things happening to women, because frankly who gives a shit? An adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale needs a male POV like a fish needs a bicycle.

Edited by Eyes High
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3 hours ago, chocolatine said:

June told Emily that Hannah is eight. Since that was three years (give or take) after they were captured and separated, it would have made Hannah five at the time. The child actress seems a bit older, but that's not uncommon in movies/TV shows.

The timeline with the job loss/coffee shop incident/deadly protest does seem a bit wonky - June did say she'd worked part time after Hannah's birth, yet there was no mention of her when she was talking with Moira and Luke, like you said. One thing I noticed that in the third episode flashbacks June had shoulder-length hair, and when they were trying to flee her hair was long down her back. I know everyone's hair grows at a different rate, but it must have taken at least a year for it to grow that much. 

 

5 hours ago, Shaynaa said:

I believe June told Emily that she had working part time as an editor (?) since Hannah was born.  The little actress is seriously adorable.  I also hope we see more of her.

Thank you. I don't remember her mentioning Hannah when she was with Moira, I appreciate your responses. I thought she was five or six when they were taken. 

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Yes, Luke was the frog that got boiled to death as the water incrementally got warmer.  No one said Luke had to be perfect, or that anyone had to "be perfect."  Yes, June should have run on her own, and let him decide to stay or trail behind her, bitching all the way about Visas or things not being that bad, and how he could "take care of her."

Luke couldn't "take care of" a pet, he certainly didn't "take care of" his commitment to his first marriage.  He didn't care that June had lost her money, and her job.  He was beyond obnoxious.  He was ineffectual and I agree that was in the book to show how casual misogyny exists, etc. said well by others already.  He became the decision maker in a society that gave him that validation.  June, to her detriment, let that happen.

I loved Tara's recap because it was humorous while really capturing something about the adaptation, and about Luke.  However, I still liked this episode because, as I stated, it made sense to have Luke lead us through the earlier and present days of Mayday.  Using an already established character to do that, for me anyway, was better than creating a new character to navigate and learn about that world.

However, every time the show goes off book, I do think the story is suffering somewhat, so far anyway.  At the same time, it's good to see the rest of the world, and presumably Atwood gave them some information about it, since in the adapted book on tape, with the added 10 Q & A,

Spoiler

she's now strongly implied she is writing a sequel.  Honestly, they've almost used up most of the book so far, and there is another season to go.

I think the "Luke" we've seen on the show is very much like the Luke in the book.  I never really understood why June loved him in the book either.  The show has expanded Luke, but I don't think they've been untrue to his nature.  Of course, in the book, Luke

Spoiler

being black would have put him in as much or more jeopardy as June so if he didn't run he'd already be dead or in the Children of Ham colony, but that ship has sailed.  We have to accept because of the whole "color blind" thing that Luke wasn't in danger simply because of his race.  Which frankly is just weird since jeopardy from that was chilling in the book.

I thought the cinematography was off in this episode too.  I especially noticed it in the present day scenes in Canada.  The focus and out of focus stuff as he walked through that center didn't make that much story sense to me, it ended up feeling sloppy for a show that has mostly blown me away with it' visuals.  When Luke had his breakdown tears scene the camera was in and out of focus too.  It looked like the actor moved forward and back too much and the camera operator was in a very tight focus but the actor blew it with the excess movement.  They've zoomed way in with short focus to great effect on the handmaid's faces and the focus was able to show every pore without blurring.  Maybe it's just that Alexis and Elizabeth know how to emote while hitting their marks and staying in place for the camera?

Actor?  Camera operator?  Design or error?  It didn't' work for me, it took me out of the moment rather and rather than moving me I kept wondering if the actor just over did it, and if he was using drops to cry.  Anyone else feel that way?

Edited by Umbelina
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I give a shit too about the male perspective. It's important to view this dystopia from every possible angle. As a lifelong loud-and-proud feminist, I've known an awful lot of misogynists and sexist a-holes...but I also know many men who are true feminists and allies. Is Luke a perfect representation of this? No, but none of us are. We always strive to do better, to BE better, and I think the trajectory of this episode led Luke to that place as well. 

I was actually shocked at how hard this episode hit me. I must have been a refugee and/or dealt with a missing loved one in a past life. I was physically shaking throughout the episode, and I broke down crying in three scenes (and I'm so not a crier): when June and Luke could see the flashing police lights while in the car trunk, when Zoey takes Luke to see the bodies hanging in the church, and when Luke walks down the hallway papered in hundreds of missing person flyers. I end every episode with a shudder of revulsion (as I feel the very real possibility of the U.S. going down the Gilead road of horrors), but not since episode two has this all personally felt so real to me. It managed to be suspenseful despite us knowing what happens with the failed escape, and then there was that glimmer of hope on Luke's face at the end.

I loved, loved, loved Zoey and her crew; their fate was devastating, but they were true heroes. Their brief presence emphasized the importance of retaining our humanity in such an inhuman situation. 

Also, I got such a Walter-White-hiding-out-in-New-Hampshire-in-"Granite State" vibe when I saw June, Luke, and Hannah's arrival at their snowy, isolated cabin. I was initially as frightened as they were by the appearance of the guy at the lake (burly white guy in camo? Not taking a single chance with that one) but was gratified when I saw that he had good advice for them. Sucks about their guide, though. Another life snuffed out for trying to help others obtain freedom.

I really loved this one, and it will continue to haunt me. I didn't have any problems with Luke either. That said, I adored Tara's recap; I laughed aloud. #notallmen

Edited by SinInTheCamp · Reason: punctuation
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20 hours ago, Eureka said:

I haven't watched yet but I didn't change my name and this summer will be our 20th anniversary.

yeah, 27 years for me, and tons of my friends from that "epoch." 

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While Luke was not my favorite character*, I thought this episode was first of all a well deserved break from the non-stop oppression and hopelessness of Gilead. But it also showed us what things were like during the transition into Gilead when people definitely knew things were bad (as opposed to being shocked at the WTFness of the new rules). It shows the fear and the paranoia of living under the new laws. I mean, when you panic because a neighbor saw you, you are living in a really shitty situation. This is like living in communist era Russia level paranoia that someone is going to turn you in just for simply existing. We saw in Gilead that Ofred is wary of everyone as well, and with good reason, but this was when the Gilead people were being a little stealthier (hanging people in church, as opposed to hanging them on a public wall, no uniforms yet, the "training centers" were established but still a rumor as opposed to known by all).

This episode also showed us the desperation, that people were willing to get fake passports and get smuggled into Canada to escape government persecution. And we got to see the roots of the resistance group, and what life is like outside of Gilead. Sure, Luke said they had run out of coffee so they had to drink tea and there was an issue with the electricity, but hey, no monthly rape sessions! Women wearing whatever they wanted! Women with jobs! So I guess if I had to watch a Luke-centric episode, it was still worth it for all the other things that it showed us.

* I agree that Luke seems like an average guy who isn't perfect and I'm okay with that. Not every guy is awesome yet so many of them seem to find women who love them. Haven't you ever had a friend whose boyfriend or husband was just kind of meh to you and whose flaws were obvious to you, but she seemed perfectly happy with him? When it comes to relationships, I think that there is no Most Perfect Person in the World, but there are people who you will be compatible with, who will get your sense of humor, and who accept you the way you are. For June, that was Luke. I think it would be less realistic if he were portrayed as a perfect fairy tale kind of guy. For me, he represents the average well-intentioned but sometimes clueless guy who exists A LOT in real life. He's not outright misogynistic. He just doesn't always get it because he's a guy so he doesn't have to. I'm not defending him because everyone can make an effort to understand what it's like for someone who's different. He isn't one of those Gilead men who believes his wife shouldn't work and that she should do this or that, but he also wasn't one of the men who was willing to stand up with his wife when she went to protest for her rights.

22 hours ago, Eureka said:

I haven't watched yet but I didn't change my name and this summer will be our 20th anniversary. My only point being if the series is saying "before" was circa 2015 then I am not surprised at all that she kept her name, especially in the Boston area. We lived in that area when we got married and even back then, it was a very common choice among professional women to not take your husband's name. I live south of the Mason-Dixon line now and it's much less common here.

I live in California and it's about 50/50 based on the women I know. Although not changing your last name after marriage seems to be much more common among women who have professional/advanced degrees, there are a few women I know who legally changed their last names but kept using their original names professionally because they'd already been published under that name before getting married. I also know someone who did the opposite. She goes by her husband's last name but she never legally changed it (and she's an attorney which makes it hilarious to me).

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I think if this episode was from the POV of Commander Fred or any of the other men actually complicit in the new order, I would come down more in agreement with some of the complaints about this episode being about male perspective.  I mean, I do get where they're coming from.  But haven't we almost from the beginning been asking questions about what Gilead looks like from the outside?  What about the ordinary residents of the former U.S. who are not part of their claustrophobic little neighborhood?  What did they know or think was happening as it was all going down?  I know I've seen it asked here what happened to the men who aren't part of the Eyes or Guardians standing around with guns.  The most unsettling thing about this episode was all of these people still looked like us.  They hadn't donned their obvious color-coded dystopian costumes yet.  Their world was still recognizable.

If this was a one-shot series and out, yeah, I would have felt like this was a wasted tangent.  But as the show has already been picked up for a second season and they've already burned through so much of the book material, we knew the show universe would likely have to expand beyond just June's or the other handmaids' very limited POVs.  I don't need whole episodes devoted to the neighbor who warned our little family and shook his head about how terrible this all is or the random townspeople who tried to resist and ended up hanging from the rafters for it.  They're just nice bits of world building to let us know that not all Americans shrugged as this was happening and said "Okay, so we're doing this now.  So sorry."

Maybe it's because I can well imagine my own husband initially reacting the same way Luke did about the money that I don't see it as this huge evil indicator of anything.  When the realization happens the phones are jammed and the news is scrolling across the TV.  What at that exact moment can he say or do?  Sure, it comes across as a patronizing "don't worry your pretty little head about it" sort of thing but I can also see how at the time he probably thought he was being reassuring.   The kind of we'll be all right, we'll get through sort of thing you say to someone when you want them to remain calm so you can figure out where you go from there.

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9 hours ago, trif said:

I give a shit. I mean, I didn't particularly think we got an hour's worth of character development for Luke out of the actual episode, but men's reactions can also be interesting and complicated and relevant.

The tone of this episode was really different than the other episodes. The previous episodes were much more in line with what I remember from the book, and I'm glad they started that way. The shift was kind of jarring and not entirely successful for me, and it makes me wonder how they will execute other thematic departures from the book. But a story can be about more than one thing (and you pretty much have to expect this with a TV show). Even if you are right about the original story being only about women's perspectives, lives and feelings, it is at least possible for the adaptation to include men's perspectives, lives, and feelings without caring less about women's. 

Swap the genders and you've described 90% of entertainment/news media, politics and life in general. Of course for that 90% nobody is asking "what about the women's perspective" because we are so conditioned to see the male perspective as the default for everything.  It's so unusual to see a story by, for and about women that we immediately think something is missing. But when you look at the lack of women's voices being included in everyday life- seen in the low percentage of women writers, directors, political leaders, CEOs, etc, ask yourself "what about women's perspectives, lives and feelings?"

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The MOST annoying part to me was the scene where they had to give up the backpack. It get that it was meant to focus on the seriousness of the run, and also to allow for the camera shot of the photo album, but then they ALL got into the TRUNK OF A CAR! How is THAT not supposed to signal that you are running? And June rationally pointed out that people NOT on the run also carry backpacks, but didn't follow up the idiot coyote's argument with the fact that people with a CHILD carry them out of necessity. Not ONLY that, but, given the low childbirth at that time, no one would be able to offer a counter, because there would be almost no examples to refute it.

  The actor playing Luke has a chin, so I was fine spending time with him. Still do NOT buy that the Mexican guy made the connection between GileadJune and Luke's wife. It's a stretch.

 Also, would have appreciated more of the rest of the world having changed. But I had to go downtown yesterday for the first time in years, and rode my bike through my old stomping grounds, and noted hijabs there where there had been none before, and realized that we really were not THAT far away from what the show/book predicted. Scared the heck out of me. Kind of like the last scene in Cabaret.

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But, seriously:  What about the goddamned men?  I'm one of the faggots who'd end up hanging in that fucking church.  And what about my relation to the women in my family?  Do you really think I'd allow a bunch of religious weirdos to kill my reproductively inefficient parents, and then separate my reproductively efficient sisters from their husbands simply because their husbands espoused a different religion, or no religion at all?

I 'jokingly' asked some coworkers in office chat whose attic I'd be hiding in if Handmaid's Tale happened. I admit I was curious to see reactions of typical 30-something men.

Across the board, the reaction was 'Honestly, this seems like the least likely possible dystopia ...'

No one offered to let me hide in their attic. 

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