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S02.E01: June / S02.E02: Unwomen

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I loved the use of well known buildings in the first 2 episodes. Fenway Park for the Hanging and then her hiding in The Boston Globe. I feel like that gave both more impact- especially the visual of them all on the barracks in Fenway Park- I got chills. 

When I saw the shoe lying on the floor in the office- I realized immediately that they probably just rounded them all up and killed them without a second thought because they were the Free Press. My friend whom I was watching with at first thought June saw bodies/bones etc. when she first went downstairs. I thought showing of the Nooses & Bullet Holes with Blood was more impactful to the audience- at least it was to me. I think showing all the dead bodies would of been too gratuitous but seeing the aftermath years later and the things they left behind gave it more weight I thought. 

Edited by SiobhanJW
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I have no problem with the tactics used in Gilead not making reproductive sense. The whole set up is designed to control women and little else. Babies are an excuse and a bonus. That's always been clear. The problem I have with the show is that episode 6 last year showed that Gilead is a roaring success on the international baby making scene.

Edited by AllyB
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Will we ever see an Aunt in the colonies?  Surely there must be an Aunt that does something against the rules.

I feel as though, unlike with a former Wife, an Aunt understands the situation, and that she is in immediate danger from the other women if they learn she was an Aunt.  

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So the Handmaiden's Tale has turned into the Handmaidens Tale, correct? We are seeing Gilead through the eyes of not one character, June, but many. The backstory of Emily in Ep.2. Janine shows up at the end, so I'm guessing we will see her backstory in the next ep. I was wondering how they were going to move the story forward and  I am really liking how they are doing this, taking the characters from season 1, which was loyal to the book and diving into their characters. Hoping to see Serena and Moira soon. And Lydia. That will be fascinating. 

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This is hard to watch in general but growing up outside Boston is really making it hit home.  I'm not a huge Red Sox fan but I still love Fenway so that made that scene even worse for me.  On top of that, my dad worked at the Globe for 30 years so I grew up visiting him there.  Just the thought of that happening the way they implied is gut wrenching.  

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15 hours ago, Umbelina said:

 

Book Spoiler below:

  Reveal hidden contents

We know Gilead doesn't last.  This will all be over relatively soon, probably in her child's lifetime.  So abandoning hope really isn't the best plan.

 

Spoiler

Do we know how long Gilead lasted?  There are just over 200 years between when MA wrote the book and the year given in the epilogue. It's been a bit since I read it but I don't remember it saying an actual amount of time.  And I remember it saying something like "the republic of Texas" and "former state of Utah" so it may have never turned back to the US as we know it.

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Yeah I thought that it is unclear how long it lasts. The fact that there's a whole "department of Gileadean Studies" might imply it was an era.

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7 minutes ago, Freckle53 said:

 

  Hide contents

Do we know how long Gilead lasted?  There are just over 200 years between when MA wrote the book and the year given in the epilogue. It's been a bit since I read it but I don't remember it saying an actual amount of time.  And I remember it saying something like "the republic of Texas" and "former state of Utah" so it may have never turned back to the US as we know it.

 

5 minutes ago, dleighg said:
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Yeah I thought that it is unclear how long it lasts. The fact that there's a whole "department of Gileadean Studies" might imply it was an era.

Quote

 

Spoiler

 

The Early Gilead PeriodEdit

The historical source known as The Handmaid's Tale is described as coming from the "Early Gilead Period."

Later GileadEdit

It appears that Gilead existed on a scale of decades and not centuries. Several characters who were alive during the timeframe of The Handmaid's Tale are described as dying during purges which occurred in the "Middle Gilead Period." This implies that there was also a "Late Gilead Period." Gilead eventually fell from power, and is now studied in universities and schools in North America, where it is heavily implied that a new, secular, democratic government has been restored to power in the United States, with the harsh laws and regulations imposed by Gilead being overturned.  http://the-handmaids-tale.wikia.com/wiki/Republic_of_Gilead

 

 

We should probably take this to the book thread, sorry mods! 

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While I get the argument that for religious reasons they don’t use ivf or anything. If they are willing to keep a handmaid chained in the basement to “protect” the baby, why would they willingly send viable handmaids to the colonies? The could just chain them up and keep trying for more babies, right? It isn’t like anyone knows whether who actually go to the colonies or not since no one comes back. And why did they send Jeanine instead of making the handmaids stone her to prove that they had the power to make them after the torture?

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39 minutes ago, oldCJ said:

While I get the argument that for religious reasons they don’t use ivf or anything. If they are willing to keep a handmaid chained in the basement to “protect” the baby, why would they willingly send viable handmaids to the colonies? The could just chain them up and keep trying for more babies, right? It isn’t like anyone knows whether who actually go to the colonies or not since no one comes back. And why did they send Jeanine instead of making the handmaids stone her to prove that they had the power to make them after the torture?

Maybe it's more of a situation where they are more of a pain in the ass and it isn't worth it? We are just seeing a small section of Handmaids in the Boston area- I imagine there are tons of other ones in different cities. 

I'm sure that the one that was pregnant and chained in the basement once she gives birth will be sent to the colonies? 

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On 4/25/2018 at 3:42 PM, Deputy Deputy CoS said:

When she cut herself, I wanted to throw up

I muted it.

In fact, I spent most of the show sub-consciously grinding my teeth and ended up with a headache by the end. 

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I also thought of torture porn, too. Where's the line? I have the feeling that although  this second season may have new plots and new stuff to show, like the colonies, everything that needed to be said was already said in the first season/book. The violence we saw wasn't new. It didn't teach us anything about Gilead that we didn't learn in the first season. The moment when she understands what happened with the journalist wasn't new either. We saw the hanged bodies. So it's like a repetition of the horror. And who knows? Maybe it's important to repeat the message.  (It probably is). And I'm not saying the show isn't necessary: it's amazing, with great acting, and you can never have enough of that. But I'm not sure it will be able to exceed the original text the way The Leftovers did.

My favourite part, anyway, was when Emily killed the Wife. 

Those horses in the colonies won't live for long either. 

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16 hours ago, Sbeetle said:

A few thoughts:

  • The subtle racism when The nurse asked June if Hannah was her biological child. Damn. 

I interpreted it more as a sign of the culture of prizing fertility above all else. We know that even when Hannah was born, birth rates were extremely low. By the time of this scene, families with biological children were probably quite rare.

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I don’t like either Nick or Luke. They’re both weirdly baby-faced and more than a bit wishy-washy. The best I can say for Nick is that he respected June’s agency enough to hand her a gun and let her go. Maybe he even recognized that what she needed in that moment was someone to tell her “yep, it’s dumb to drive away, but it’s your choice because I do not own you.” So points to him there.

Following that logic, I assume the sex scenes are to demonstrate that June is grabbing onto the power of choosing her sex partner. As opposed to it being about lust or love. Maybe I’m reading it wrong.

Concentration Camp Rory Gilmore is fucking killing me. Another Emmy for sure.

Someone upthread mentioned the “women on women” damage aspect. I noticed that the female student who Emily tried to help/mentor was clearly the person who ratted her out for having a picture of her wife and child on her phone.

I don’t understand why June was considering having another child when things were already so bad that she needed her husband’s permission to control her own reproductive system. And Luke was as meh as ever about that.

I swore off this show last season when I found out Elisabeth Moss is a member of a cult that itself rips apart families (Scientology), but ultimately I feel this show is too important and too timely to write off because of the unfortunate delusions of one performer. Moss may be the lead, but she’s hardly carrying the show alone.

Edited by kieyra
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7 minutes ago, secnarf said:

I interpreted it more as a sign of the culture of prizing fertility above all else. We know that even when Hannah was born, birth rates were extremely low. By the time of this scene, families with biological children were probably quite rare.

The “ummm” made me think otherwise. Also fertility rates being so low makes it even more likely that Hannah would be their biological child- if live births aren’t the norm (or becoming more rare) people are less likely to place children for adoption. 

2 hours ago, AllyB said:

It again boils down to the fact that Gilead is about power and control not about babies. The fertility crises gave Gilead a cause to rally people around, a justification for early rights infringements, a way to place their people in important positions early on. It allows them to generate a fervour in women like Aunt Lydia and to have made their wives fall into line. When their stupid system gives them a baby, it's important as the symbolism is important. Tbh, too many babies would be a problem as if there were pregnant handmaids all over Gilead and happy wives with noisy nurseries in every big house, it wouldn't feel as special. And you can bet your ass that if all the wives were mothers, a lot of them would suddenly start being less pliable, especially the "mothers" of daughters. The grief and jealousy inspired by only a few wives getting babies actually helps the Sons of Jacob cement their control. Slowly producing a baby or two a year makes much more sense.

The original story was that the fertility crises was real but not in any danger of ending the species. (It was also heavily implied that the problem lay more with male fertility than female.) But Gilead made people fear that possibility and used that fear to cement control. Less babies just increases the fear because people, like Lydia, aren't in a position to object that it makes no sense. So they go along following the rules and celebrate the handful of babies that comes out of the nonsense they can't acknowledge. But unfortunately the series writers screwed this up by having the Mexican ambassador essentially tell us that Gilead's baby production methods are so significantly better than anything they can produce with what we can naturally assume is the implementation of scientific knowledge. Mexico, with access to fertility drugs, IVF, IUI, treatment for endometriosis, sperm dna fragmentation, etc still can't produce live births and they are envious of Gilead's handful of children. It was a terrible mis-step in plotting all to service a stupid twist that the female ambassador was willing to trade in Handmaids but her male aide was actually a resistance agent in contact with Luke.

I love this entire post. 

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Since Emily is the biological mother of Oliver, I’m surprised they let HIM leave the country. I figured they would claim him as a property of Gilead (like they did Hannah). I always thought her wife was the bio-Mom and that’s why she was able to escape with him as two Canadian citizens.

 

Did anyone else have that impression?

Edited by Scarlett45
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1 minute ago, Scarlett45 said:

Since Emily is the biological mother of Oliver, I’m surprised they let HIM leave the country. I figured they would claim him as a property of Gilead (like they did Hannah). I always thought her wife was the bio-Mom and that’s why she was able to escape with him as two Canadian citizens.

 

Did anyone else have that impression?

She mentioned last season that her wife and son both had Canadian citizenship. My understanding is that the Gilead TPTB didn't want to risk an international incident until they had a firm hold on what used to be the US.

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14 minutes ago, chocolatine said:

She mentioned last season that her wife and son both had Canadian citizenship. My understanding is that the Gilead TPTB didn't want to risk an international incident until they had a firm hold on what used to be the US.

That makes sense thank you. 

A healthy 2yrs old was evidence that Emily had working ovaries and why they wanted her trapped in the country. Fuck. Echoing what the brilliant posters said upthread that motherhood is something used against women. 

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42 minutes ago, Scarlett45 said:

That makes sense thank you. 

A healthy 2yrs old was evidence that Emily had working ovaries and why they wanted her trapped in the country. Fuck. Echoing what the brilliant posters said upthread that motherhood is something used against women. 

Yes, the tragedy is if she hadn't been fertile she *may* have been able to escape. We know that eventually she was classified as a criminal both for being a lesbian and a STEM professor, but in those early days of chaos I think TPTB were primarily focused on rounding up fertile women, so if she hadn't been one, she may have been able to slip through the cracks.

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Does anyone else think of the Taliban and boko harem when watching?  Their takeovers of small towns are as horrific as this massive religious takeover.  I keep thinking to myself that people are living this life right now.  

2 hours ago, Scarlett45 said:

Since Emily is the biological mother of Oliver, I’m surprised they let HIM leave the country. I figured they would claim him as a property of Gilead (like they did Hannah). I always thought her wife was the bio-Mom and that’s why she was able to escape with him as two Canadian citizens.

 

Did anyone else have that impression?

Why didn’t they show her answering the question about whether it was her egg?  I’m thinking maybe it was her wife’s egg and that’s why the child could leave.  

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13 hours ago, poeticlicensed said:

So the Handmaiden's Tale has turned into the Handmaidens Tale, correct? We are seeing Gilead through the eyes of not one character, June, but many. The backstory of Emily in Ep.2. Janine shows up at the end, so I'm guessing we will see her backstory in the next ep. I was wondering how they were going to move the story forward and  I am really liking how they are doing this, taking the characters from season 1, which was loyal to the book and diving into their characters. Hoping to see Serena and Moira soon. And Lydia. That will be fascinating. 

In this regard, the series seems to be following the model of Orange Is the New Black, using the various characters as opportunities to pad the episodes and tell different parts of the backstory.   Which is fine by me.   Emily's story, though limited to this single episode, was by far more interesting than an entire season of June.

I don't like June.  And it may be because I have never had much admiration for Elisabeth Moss' acting.   I realize this is an unpopular opinion, but there is nothing very likable about June.   Her defiance, the cornerstone of her character, comes across as mere petulance (and again, I blame this on Moss).

The first episode of this season was tedious -- lukewarm storylines of last season punctuated by occasional scenes of gratuitous cruelty and violence.  June's escape was much too easy.   The disbelief is ratcheted up in the second episode when June decides fuck caution and switches on the lights in a facility that is supposed to be abandoned (but of course she's not detected).

I find myself wishing the series was more focused on the fall of the United States and the rise of Gilead.   It seems more relevant to our current reality.    Hopefully we will see much more of that in coming episodes since the story of the Handmaids is more or less told by now, varying only in regard to the individual experiences of the different women.

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2 hours ago, chocolatine said:

Yes, the tragedy is if she hadn't been fertile she *may* have been able to escape. We know that eventually she was classified as a criminal both for being a lesbian and a STEM professor, but in those early days of chaos I think TPTB were primarily focused on rounding up fertile women, so if she hadn't been one, she may have been able to slip through the cracks.

If she’d had time to think about it, she could have lied that they’d used a donated egg because hers weren’t viable. 

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49 minutes ago, ruby24 said:

Thought it was a good premiere, but this show's refusal to deal with racism is something that is always going to bother me, I think. This is a fundamentalist, religious regime in America (or the former America) that is aggressively anti-women's rights, anti-LGBT, anti-sex and yet somehow...not racist? An oppressive regime that is oppressive in all ways but that one, even though we are a multicultural society and the history of oppression here has always been rooted in racism, which Atwood did acknowledge in the book. 

Ignoring that altogether on the show just doesn't ring true to me. It's a huge blind spot.

I agree, and had the very same objection in Season One:

http://forums.previously.tv/topic/57145-beyond-the-wall-race-culture-and-diversity-in-the-handmaids-tale/?tab=comments#comment-3257247

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3 hours ago, Ceindreadh said:

If she’d had time to think about it, she could have lied that they’d used a donated egg because hers weren’t viable. 

She might have not realized they wanted fertile women. She probably just wanted to stay with her son, so she told the truth. 

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6 hours ago, millennium said:

I don't like June.  And it may be because I have never had much admiration for Elisabeth Moss' acting.   I realize this is an unpopular opinion, but there is nothing very likable about June.   Her defiance, the cornerstone of her character, comes across as mere petulance (and again, I blame this on Moss).

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I loved Mad Men, but I never cared for Elizabeth Moss or her character Peggy. I get what Peggy symbolized in the show and I liked that, I just didn't like the character or her very much. 

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So, I recently binge watched the first season earlier this year, so I was excited for this season to start. And so far, so good, I'd say. I do agree that there seems to be some torture porn involved. 

I like the idea of diving into everyone's backstories a little more. I didn't mind the June flashbacks last season, but I appreciated when they allowed themselves to glance into the other characters' previous lives. I was very interested in seeing Emily's backstory, so I'm glad we got her story in this second episode. 

There are so many what-ifs with these characters. In particular, with Emily, it's going to be a question of what if she had lied about the parentage of her son? But I think that's what happens when horrific situations like this transpire; there's always questions involved in what could have happened, if one little change could have made the difference. 

I was so fine with Emily poisoning the Wife, if only to see those smiles on the other women's faces when it happened. It was almost satisfying, even if it didn't make a difference in the long run.  

I don't really like Nick, and I'm not really sure I like Luke either. They're very bland, though I like the comparison on the first page of this thread that their only purpose is to service June. I just really couldn't care less about June/Nick, as their relationship was only formed because of the dire situations and the assumption that Luke was dead for June. Nick may not be like the other awful guys in Gilead,  but it doesn't mean that he hasn't been complicit and played his role during it. The fact that he also told that it was his first time smuggling a woman out of Gilead does say more about him and that his goal is to get June out due to his feelings for her. I'm not sure of Nick's true intentions, which doesn't make him very appealing to me at all. Is he really wanting to fight against the system? Has he really been a true double agent? Or did he only really take a more active role because of June?

As for June, I do like her and I do hope she stays free, but if this season is going to be a lot of torture porn...well, I guess I'm more surprised that she wasn't caught once she got a mere whiff of freedom. I can't imagine her freedom is going to last long, which is going to make it even harder to watch. 

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The Friends episode and Fenway Park scene made me wonder where the celebrities and famous people are in this near future dystopian world. I’m assuming “liberal” politicians have been murdered already, but are people like Jennifer Anniston and David Ortiz in Canada? 

Seeing Rory also immediately made me think back to her Mad Men character, having her brain fried undergoing electroshock therapy.

Edited by charmed1
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First, for the PTV moderators - please make each episode a separate thread.  Since this is a purely streaming show, people are just as likely to watch one episode at a time, then any/all that become available at once.

Second, does anyone other than me have trouble sleeping on nights they watch this?  My mind just can't stop racing through all the situations.  I think I have to save these for weekends when I don't have to get up in the morning.

My only nitpick with these episodes, is that in Ep 2, I would think that someone would have had a much closer eye on Nick once June went missing.  Yes, I know Serena is the only person who knows about him and June, but I'd think that everyone in that household would be under very close scrutiny, just in case they were the one helping her.  I still think Serena could point a finger at Nick without giving herself up, just a "I saw them talking a few times, I think he likes her..."  Also, what was the point of her cutting her hair?  I would think the best way of smuggling someone out of the area would be to disguise them as a man with a fake ID.  I thought maybe that's where they were going with that, but it doesn't seem so.

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This show is gut wrenching to watch, but I have to watch every single second.  

Jane free and trying to stay that way.   Some women still handmaids and some women in the colonies.   Everything is brutal and horrible and mesmerizing.  The visual nature of the torture, the pain and the death is something that is spectacular, spectacularly horrible.   Part of me wishes that like Netflix, the whole season could be dropped at the same time, but other times I am glad I have to take a break since I'm not sure I could handle all the episodes back to back.   

I also felt extra affected as someone who lives in the heart of Boston.   My old apartment overlooked the Boston Globe and my current one overlooks Fenway.   I am basically living and walking around what is torture in the show.   

I'm interested to see if June can flee without making an attempt to bring her daughter.  She has to know and it looks like in Episode 2 she realized that she can't take her and not get caught, but how as a mother can she save herself and leave her child behind.   

Seeing Emily's backstory just broke me.   It's so topical now and is downright scary.  

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I watched these last night, holding my hand over my iPad during the ear scene. I can handle all manner of movie gore, but that was too much.  Not understanding why they insisted she cut off part of her hair—she was still recognizable.

When June found the Globe employee’s second shoe, all bunged-up and bloody, I almost lost it. 

This morning, reading this thread brings back the same feeling of horror and dread, as if this is really happening somewhere. And it is, in places. And it doesn’t seem that far removed from the direction the U.S. is now taking. 

I expect I’ll watch the second episode again tonight. 

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1 hour ago, charmed1 said:

The Friends episode and Fenway Park scene made me wonder where the celebrities and famous people are in this near future dystopian world. I’m assuming “liberal” politicians have been murdered already, but are people like Jennifer Anniston and David Ortiz in Canada? 

Seeing Rory also immediately made me think back to her Mad Men character, having her brain fried undergoing electroshock therapy.

I’d assume wealthy celebrities hightailed it out of the USA when they could. I could see an Angelina Jolie type funding Mayday efforts from the outside, supporting refugees etc. But she and other similarly situated people probably would’ve left the USA before the restrictions were a thought. 

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What gets you stoned and what gets you sent to the colonies?  Is it just arbitrary?

 

Also since the Handmaid's are being used to have children, at any time they could be pregnant...they don't consider that when they are standing outside in the rain?

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I didn’t mention this in my previous post, but when June made the memorial for the murdered Boston Globe employees....at first I had no clue what she was doing, and when it became clear it reminded me of the scene in season 1 after she tried to escape and was starved the other Handmaids saved scraps of their dinner for her. In the depth of her fear and terror she’s remembering the lives of others. 

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On 4/25/2018 at 2:29 AM, SiobhanJW said:

I had to look away and cover my ears. Because I am a squirmy child of 33. Haha. 

 

Ditto that but squirmy child of 58. Since we saw her being tagged in the pastiche at the beginning I figured out what was coming and I knew why she had to do it but I'm glad I ALSO knew to cover my eyes. She did, however, manage to give herself a faboo haircut with one chop of the scissors. Wish I could do that (without the ear cartilage part).

Quick couple of thoughts ... I think I may have to rewatch (painful as it may be) these two eps again to get the full "understanding" (and for that matter, since I'm retired and have no life, and more specifically have some profound memory retention/loss issues that are medical, as much as I loved S1 and read the book three times before it, I am considering re-bingewatching S1 just to help fill in some blanks. I'm guessing 1-2 eps a day I can get 'er done.

The first five minutes of S2 E1 was among the most intense show opens -- or scenes, for that matter -- that I can recall. I have to give some SERIOUS SERIOUS props to the unnamed unknown and possibly uncredited handmaids in that scene who just wrenched my heart. And as a longtime baseball writer, having it set at Fenway was an amazing touch. 

I find myself really on edge of my seat (figuratively, since I watch lying in bed) ... LOVED S1 but I had also read the book three times before it aired (and passed on my dog-eared copy to my daughter a few years ago) so I had a basic idea of where it was going and my main comments and thoughts were more about things like "hmmmm, I didn't picture Serena or the Commander that young," etc. 

Now all bets are off, and I'm just hooked (no pun intended). 

So two questions here ... the Commander's Wife (Marisa Tomei? I knew she looked familiar but, again, memory) in the Colonies ... have we seen her before in S1 or is she a new character?

And one of the women in the Colonies that we see quite a bit in shots ... older, blondish short hair ... is that June's mom?

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3 minutes ago, PamelaMaeSnap said:

I had a basic idea of where it was going and my main comments and thoughts were more about things like "hmmmm, I didn't picture Serena or the Commander that young," etc.

Same. The book alludes to the commander and Serena Joy being older than the series depicts them. Didn't Serena walk with a cane in the book?

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22 minutes ago, poeticlicensed said:

Same. The book alludes to the commander and Serena Joy being older than the series depicts them. Didn't Serena walk with a cane in the book?

Yes. I always pictured her in the book as a middle-aged-not-quite-old-yet Shelley Winters. And the Commander is described as being in his 60s, I believe, with gray hair and that kind of "soft" face and paunch. Definitely a quibble that would not be an issue for those who hadn't read the book, just a mental adjustment I had to make!

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I don't think I realized before how much elements of Gilead had already infiltrated "normal" society.  We saw parts of it in season 1 - like the nurse saying "praise be" when Hannah was born.  However from a political standpoint, June needing her husband's signature on her birth control refill is clearly an example of those rights slowly being stripped away.  But it also indicates that somewhere along the line, that became a legal requirement and that the future leaders of Gilead were already in positions of governmental power.  And then let's go to the woman from child services.  Not only were her questions outright patronizing, but I assumed her asking if Hannah was her biological child wasn't simply about her being mixed race, but also one other example of collecting information about fertile women.  Granted, they would have June's medical records, but given that we also saw Emily questioned about similar information, I'm kind of assuming that even that encounter, even before the coup, served as an example of how Gilead was already in existence, in the shadows and background of American society.  Which bothers me immensely for some reason. 

I've read a lot of articles talking about the first episode as torture porn.  I mean, I get it.  I really do.  I'm just not sure I agree with it.  It was horrific to watch.  But, we certainly can't say they didn't warn us.  Aunt Lydia said "there will be consequences and they will be significant."  Or some such thing.  And we've always seen Gilead create a brutal punishment that fits the crime.  When June tried to run last season, they whipped her feet so she can't run.  When the handmaids tried to save a life, they created a punishment that showed that GILEAD controls their lives, not anybody else.  They refused to throw a stone, so they had to hold up stone and burned the hand that refused to throw.  I didn't expect what I watched, however in hindsight I'm not sure that I would have expected less.  The only scene that felt "out of character" for the show was the scene of the pregnant handmaid chained up - that pushed that boundary too far for Gilead.  And I have a hard time believing that Aunt Lydia would have treated one of her girls that way when pregnant.  I know that's a bizarre statement to say, but it doesn't feel in line with the character.    

 

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And one of the women in the Colonies that we see quite a bit in shots ... older, blondish short hair ... is that June's mom?

I assumed it was her mother.  Which would mean that you don't die as quickly in the colonies as they lead you to believe.  

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30 minutes ago, Shangrilala said:

And then let's go to the woman from child services.  Not only were her questions outright patronizing, but I assumed her asking if Hannah was her biological child wasn't simply about her being mixed race, but also one other example of collecting information about fertile women. 

That scene was hit very close to home for working moms . I worked full time while my kids were growing up and I can't tell you how many times I felt judged or outright criticized for being a working mom. And most of the criticism came from other women, like our concerned, smiling  social services worker. Who hasn't given their kid tylenol one time so they can  not  miss a day of school? Yes, I realize that it is much more sinister in Gilead, but when when the school told June she had to go to the hospital to pick  up her kid, I was like, here we go.  

BTW, I am hoping we get to see some Econowives this season. 

Edited by poeticlicensed
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10 hours ago, Lemons said:

Why didn’t they show her answering the question about whether it was her egg?  I’m thinking maybe it was her wife’s egg and that’s why the child could leave.  

 

23 minutes ago, Shangrilala said:

And then let's go to the woman from child services.  Not only were her questions outright patronizing, but I assumed her asking if Hannah was her biological child wasn't simply about her being mixed race, but also one other example of collecting information about fertile women.  Granted, they would have June's medical records, but given that we also saw Emily questioned about similar information, I'm kind of assuming that even that encounter, even before the coup, served as an example of how Gilead was already in existence, in the shadows and background of American society.  Which bothers me immensely for some reason. 

These were both interesting insights into "data collection." If we were to extend Gilead from our time, when we have HIPAA and other legislation that protects individuals from having their personal information sorted through by the government, there are always work-arounds.

The pre-Gileadian government doesn't have to force health care organizations and individual physicians to turn over their patient records when they can simply ask. The implication is that the information is shared voluntarily, even though the incidents we saw clearly involved pressure to compel a response.

The airport incident immediately made me wonder what I would do. Should she answer in the affirmative to "prove" her biological tie to her child (as @Scarlett45 said) or would I have an inkling that they might force me to stay and bear children for Gilead and then lie? I don't know. I would probably affirm my biological tie to my child as an impulse without consciously considering that I might be held hostage.

And the CPS thing, under the pressure of being asked whether or not a child they were investigating was my biological child, I would immediately think that a non-biological relationship would put us at more risk of being separated. And I totally got the racial component as the older mother of a child who is not the same color as I am. And that impulse response is "f*ck you."

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1 hour ago, dmc said:

What gets you stoned and what gets you sent to the colonies?  Is it just arbitrary?

 

From what we saw in the first episode, being stoned is a "humane" execution and being sent to the colonies is designed to make women (are they only women?  I can't remember if I saw men there) suffer a painful death.  I'm still not clear how Emily is alive AND how she has medical supplies in the colonies, but hopefully that will be explained.

As for the colonies, it just looks like they are shoveling dirt, so I can't quite buy the idea that the people sent there are of any real use to TPTB in the colonies.  I mean, if everything there is radioactive, they can't possibly be growing food for Gilead (which makes me wonder where Gilead is getting their food...).

Unrelated note: my continual complaint about this show is that it is just too DARK.  And I'm not talking about subject matter...some of the scenes from the colonies felt like I was just watching a powered off TV.

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4 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

From what we saw in the first episode, being stoned is a "humane" execution and being sent to the colonies is designed to make women (are they only women?  I can't remember if I saw men there) suffer a painful death.  I'm still not clear how Emily is alive AND how she has medical supplies in the colonies, but hopefully that will be explained.

As for the colonies, it just looks like they are shoveling dirt, so I can't quite buy the idea that the people sent there are of any real use to TPTB in the colonies.  I mean, if everything there is radioactive, they can't possibly be growing food for Gilead (which makes me wonder where Gilead is getting their food...).

Unrelated note: my continual complaint about this show is that it is just too DARK.  And I'm not talking about subject matter...some of the scenes from the colonies felt like I was just watching a powered off TV.

Unwomen are sent to the colonies. That includes lesbians, feminists, widows, nuns, sterile women, political dissidents, which I guess could be anyone who doesn't follow the rules in Gilead.

Edited by poeticlicensed
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5 minutes ago, poeticlicensed said:

Unwomen are sent to the colonies. That includes lesbians, feminists, widows, nuns, sterile women, political dissidents, which I guess could be anyone who doesn't follow the rules in Gilead.

 

Unless, of course, they're fertile.  And, yeah, I think the real criteria is anyone that Gilead just doesn't want to exist.

As for the stoning, I'd like to revisit my comment about it being the more "humane" execution.  That is the reason that Aunt Lydia gave and she might actually even believe it is so, but I think the only reason Janine was going to be stoned was for the optics.  Then, when the optics turned on Gilead, they just sent her away.

ETA: I'm almost afraid to ask this because I had to look away when it happened, but what exactly was Aunt Lydia doing to the other Handmaid's as June watched/ate.  It looked (okay, sounded) like she was giving them electric shocks?

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34 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

Unless, of course, they're fertile.  And, yeah, I think the real criteria is anyone that Gilead just doesn't want to exist.

As for the stoning, I'd like to revisit my comment about it being the more "humane" execution.  That is the reason that Aunt Lydia gave and she might actually even believe it is so, but I think the only reason Janine was going to be stoned was for the optics.  Then, when the optics turned on Gilead, they just sent her away.

ETA: I'm almost afraid to ask this because I had to look away when it happened, but what exactly was Aunt Lydia doing to the other Handmaid's as June watched/ate.  It looked (okay, sounded) like she was giving them electric shocks?

You mean when she brought the handmaid into the kitchen and cuffed her to the stove?  She turned the burner on over her hand and it was left there to painfully burn her hand.  I'm assuming that every handmaid after her was to follow.  

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I think the one thing that makes me sad about Emily's storyline- is that after she stole the car and then was put into the back of the truck I felt like okay well she's now dead. And even though, I really liked her character and wanted to know more about her- I was hoping she would now finally be at peace because they probably killed her. But now with her back- and I do think Alexis Bledel is playing Emily so wonderfully- and I am happy to get to know more about her and see her story- I'm just conflicted- because I will be SHOCKED if she survives to the end of the show and the longer her potential death drags out the sadder I will be when it inevitably happens. Maybe she won't die- but I dunno- I feel like that her character is just the one destined to eventually die. 

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Just now, SiobhanJW said:

I think the one thing that makes me sad about Emily's storyline- is that after she stole the car and then was put into the back of the truck I felt like okay well she's now dead. And even though, I really liked her character and wanted to know more about her- I was hoping she would now finally be at peace because they probably killed her. But now with her back- and I do think Alexis Bledel is playing Emily so wonderfully- and I am happy to get to know more about her and see her story- I'm just conflicted- because I will be SHOCKED if she survives to the end of the show and the longer her potential death drags out the sadder I will be when it inevitably happens. Maybe she won't die- but I dunno- I feel like that her character is just the one destined to eventually die. 

I'm hopeful that Emily will be the one to start a resistance in the colonies.   

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8 minutes ago, shelley1234 said:

I'm hopeful that Emily will be the one to start a resistance in the colonies.   

Oooo yes. I didn't think of this! I hope this happens! 

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3 hours ago, Shangrilala said:

I don't think I realized before how much elements of Gilead had already infiltrated "normal" society.  We saw parts of it in season 1 - like the nurse saying "praise be" when Hannah was born.  However from a political standpoint, June needing her husband's signature on her birth control refill is clearly an example of those rights slowly being stripped away.  But it also indicates that somewhere along the line, that became a legal requirement and that the future leaders of Gilead were already in positions of governmental power.  And then let's go to the woman from child services.  Not only were her questions outright patronizing, but I assumed her asking if Hannah was her biological child wasn't simply about her being mixed race, but also one other example of collecting information about fertile women.  Granted, they would have June's medical records, but given that we also saw Emily questioned about similar information, I'm kind of assuming that even that encounter, even before the coup, served as an example of how Gilead was already in existence, in the shadows and background of American society.  Which bothers me immensely for some reason. 

I've read a lot of articles talking about the first episode as torture porn.  I mean, I get it.  I really do.  I'm just not sure I agree with it.  It was horrific to watch.  But, we certainly can't say they didn't warn us.  Aunt Lydia said "there will be consequences and they will be significant."  Or some such thing.  And we've always seen Gilead create a brutal punishment that fits the crime.  When June tried to run last season, they whipped her feet so she can't run.  When the handmaids tried to save a life, they created a punishment that showed that GILEAD controls their lives, not anybody else.  They refused to throw a stone, so they had to hold up stone and burned the hand that refused to throw.  I didn't expect what I watched, however in hindsight I'm not sure that I would have expected less.  The only scene that felt "out of character" for the show was the scene of the pregnant handmaid chained up - that pushed that boundary too far for Gilead.  And I have a hard time believing that Aunt Lydia would have treated one of her girls that way when pregnant.  I know that's a bizarre statement to say, but it doesn't feel in line with the character.    

 

I assumed it was her mother.  Which would mean that you don't die as quickly in the colonies as they lead you to believe.  

June's mother would probably already be dead, they don't live long in the radioactive colonies.  Although, with the Mexican story we heard about other colonies where they do raise crops, so it's remotely possible she's in one of those.  Doubtful, she was very political, she'd be sent to nuclear waste.

The pregnant handmaid tried to kill herself, the scars around her mouth were from drinking drain cleaner or something.  They created a little room for her in that basement, but with nothing that can be used to harm herself.  They want that baby born.

2 hours ago, OtterMommy said:

From what we saw in the first episode, being stoned is a "humane" execution and being sent to the colonies is designed to make women (are they only women?  I can't remember if I saw men there) suffer a painful death.  I'm still not clear how Emily is alive AND how she has medical supplies in the colonies, but hopefully that will be explained.

As for the colonies, it just looks like they are shoveling dirt, so I can't quite buy the idea that the people sent there are of any real use to TPTB in the colonies.  I mean, if everything there is radioactive, they can't possibly be growing food for Gilead (which makes me wonder where Gilead is getting their food...).

Unrelated note: my continual complaint about this show is that it is just too DARK.  And I'm not talking about subject matter...some of the scenes from the colonies felt like I was just watching a powered off TV.

There is a link upthread that says this, digging off the top layer and bagging it, was actually done in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster.  Or maybe it's in the media thread, an article about production of the show.

This was a nuclear waste colony.  There are other colonies, (remember the show with the Mexican ambassador?) where things are not contaminated, and they are now growing some crops.  There are even more colonies where "resisters" and wars are still taking place, that's why the wives are knitting the scarves, to send to the soldiers.   These aren't book spoilers, because we've seen all of this referenced on the show, here and there.  Gilead doesn't control the entire continental USA, pockets of rebellion are all over the place, and of course Alaska and Hawaii are the new USA.  I get the idea that it's just part of the Eastern USA is the  Gilead that is at all similar to where June lives.  The rest?  Wasteland, Rebel land, barely controlled with military areas to grow crops, etc.

I think there are other colonies for men, it's not just women.  Of course, given the Sons of Jacob's phony piety?  They would keep the men and women in separate camps.

Edited by Umbelina
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1 hour ago, shelley1234 said:

You mean when she brought the handmaid into the kitchen and cuffed her to the stove?  She turned the burner on over her hand and it was left there to painfully burn her hand.  I'm assuming that every handmaid after her was to follow.  

Ugh, yeah.  Thanks...now I'm glad I didn't watch it.  That clearly wasn't the worst thing that happened in that episode, but it apparently was enough to make me turn away (to be fair, I listened to, instead of watched, large chunks of the show...)

1 minute ago, Umbelina said:

This was a nuclear waste colony.  There are other colonies, (remember the show with the Mexican ambassador?) where things are not contaminated, and they are now growing some crops.  There are even more colonies where "resisters" and wars are still taking place, that's why the wives are knitting the scarves, to send to the soldiers.   This isn't book spoilers, because we've seen all of this referenced on the show, here and there.  Gilead doesn't control the entire continental USA, pockets of rebellion are all over the place, and of course Alaska and Hawaii are the new USA.

I think there are other colonies for men, it's not just women.  Of course, given the Sons of Jacob's phony piety?  They would keep the men and women in separate camps.

Okay, that makes sense. I considered doing a re-watch of season 1 before this season dropped, which would have refreshed my memory on a lot of this (but then I thought, why put myself through that when new tortures await?).

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