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S02.E01: June / S02.E02: Unwomen

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16 hours ago, Joana said:

I also don't want it to become some sort of action drama with June almost getting caught and nearly escaping time and again, as it would get old really quickly. I wouldn't even mind it if she somehow made it to Canada already in the next episode, although I realize it's not going to happen and her joining the resistance movement is more realistic. I'm fine with that too, it's just that I really feel that the story of June the Handmaid has been exhausted AND there are other stories that should be told.

I found myself almost holding my breath while watching the scenes with June, expecting her to be recaptured at any moment, and I REALLY don't want to see that.  Not only for the character' s sake, but because I don't think I could watch the level of cruelty of the consequences that they would mete out.  At a bare minimum, I would expect her to be literally chained in the house for the remainder of her pregnancy.  

What could possibly be interesting for a while is her being moved from place to place within Gilead, and through that we would get to explore what happened, the current layout of the country, and meet different people and learn more about their backgrounds (the Resistance, anti-Gilead soldiers, people from different classes who are being moved to safety via an underground railroad, etc.).  

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1 hour ago, McKinley said:

I found myself almost holding my breath while watching the scenes with June, expecting her to be recaptured at any moment, and I REALLY don't want to see that.  Not only for the character' s sake, but because I don't think I could watch the level of cruelty of the consequences that they would mete out.  At a bare minimum, I would expect her to be literally chained in the house for the remainder of her pregnancy.  

What could possibly be interesting for a while is her being moved from place to place within Gilead, and through that we would get to explore what happened, the current layout of the country, and meet different people and learn more about their backgrounds (the Resistance, anti-Gilead soldiers, people from different classes who are being moved to safety via an underground railroad, etc.).  

I thought about the idea of a Handmaid's underground railroad myself.   I did wonder how many regular ol' folk are around and able to help though.   I assume all the regular ol' folk who aren't fertile are either executed for some crime or sent to the colonies...  Is this correct or are there those who are living whatever would be considered regular lives in Gilead?  I mean, it is Boston...so someone has to still work at Dunkin' Donuts (I kid, I kid...but seriously, they never close).  

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On ‎4‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 11:22 AM, AttackTurtle said:

The scene with her daughter in bed was gut wrenching.  Every mother has been there where they’re mind is somewhere else, but the kid needs mom and only mom.  

I felt like this was a totally different kid - older, than last season.

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20 hours ago, McKinley said:

Who are the men and women who are guarding the unwomen in the colonies?  Surely they know that the radiation will be affecting them, too, even if they wear the masks.  Do they only spend a short amount of time in the colonies and then go elsewhere?  Are they aunts / cooks / maids / drivers / wives / husbands who have committed lesser offenses and are sent for brief stints in the colonies as punishment?  

 

20 hours ago, Umbelina said:

They aren't allowed to read, so how would they know?  It's not as if they can google it. 

My guess is they only know what they are told, or foolishly think those masks are all they need, or Gilead picked the stupidest people on purpose?

It's a good question though, the lowest of the low Aunts maybe?  It's this or be one of the un-women?

I haven't read the book but whomever is in charge of this series adaptation was so skillful at their task that while watching this, it's difficult to imagine that there existed/exists a life before and outside Gilead.   But, assuming Gilead is the future, in the world before it, there was Google.  Before that, there was historical context.   If you're wearing a respiratory apparatus and the person you're in charge of torturing isn't, you probably have some idea why.   I don't think they're stupid but I do think they're not in a position to exercise an alternative.  

18 hours ago, lezlers said:

Yes!  I was starting to get really aggravated by how dark some of the scenes were, to the point where you literally couldn't even see anything at all.  I even started looking for the settings on my TV to turn up the brightness.  It seemed really unnecessary.  We get it, it's dark and dreary.  We'd still like to be able to actually WATCH the show though, as opposed to merely listening to it like a freaking radio show, for crying out loud.

Lol.   My tv's wall mounted near a window, I was watching this in the daytime and still couldn't tell if this was intentional.   Then this ^ occurred to me.  If we see this as June sees this, there isn't anything except her flashlight illuminating the tunnel or anything at all in any of cavernous warehouse spaces.   We might be meant to feel as though we literally can't see what's coming at her next.   If so, how annoying I normally find on the nose doesn't bother me here.    Which brings me to a mind rewind - where'd she get the candles and matches to make the journalist m memorial along the cellar wall?

I was about to ask what Tomei's character did - but in the link Umbelina posted, article says she was adulterous.  I do remember her dreamy eyed "we were in loooooove"  - yeah so.....is it spoiler-alertish to ask whom she cheats with?  In my head it's another commander but, they do or do not have sex with their wives?  and they definitely rape the their designated handmaidens.   Why would the men need to be adulterers?   

40 minutes ago, shelley1234 said:

I thought about the idea of a Handmaid's underground railroad myself.   I did wonder how many regular ol' folk are around and able to help though.   I assume all the regular ol' folk who aren't fertile are either executed for some crime or sent to the colonies...  Is this correct or are there those who are living whatever would be considered regular lives in Gilead?  I mean, it is Boston...so someone has to still work at Dunkin' Donuts (I kid, I kid...but seriously, they never close).  

I forgot we were snarkers.  You made me giggle at a shitty alternate universe scenario lol!! 

26 minutes ago, MV713 said:

I felt like this was a totally different kid - older, than last season.

I binge watched the whole thing.   Looks like the same baby to me but maybe that's the problem.   Out of sequence filming if you're using the same child actor has to lead to continuity issues, liiiiiike, why is she taller a year ago when ya'll were still a family than she is when we see her in Gilead?   Shows getting renewed for second seasons are not a nitpicker's friend.    p.s. thinking about how long it takes for Serena to go hold a knife to Hannah's throat makes me shudder.   "as long as my baby is safe, so is yours."   My stomach.        

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28 minutes ago, ZaldamoWilder said:

In my head it's another commander but, they do or do not have sex with their wives?  and they definitely rape the their designated handmaidens.   Why would the men need to be adulterers?   

No, they're not (supposed to be) having sex with their wives. In Gilead, you don't get to have sex unless it's for procreation, and since the wives are "barren", it's a no-no. The ceremony once a month is all the sex the commanders should be having. That's quite miserable set-up for everyone (not anyone's fault but their own, of course), so I can see why both men and women would seek the alternatives.

UNLESS, and this is something I've wondered about since the beginning, are all wives childless? I mean, logically at least some couples among the ruling class should be able to have biological children. So, what would be the status of those women? Would they be held in higher regard than the others? Would they be allowed to have sex with their husbands regularly?

3 hours ago, McKinley said:

What could possibly be interesting for a while is her being moved from place to place within Gilead, and through that we would get to explore what happened, the current layout of the country, and meet different people and learn more about their backgrounds (the Resistance, anti-Gilead soldiers, people from different classes who are being moved to safety via an underground railroad, etc.).  

Yes, this would be interesting! This way we could discover more of the previously unseen world of Gilead while keeping June's POV. I hope that's the direction the show takes, because honestly, June getting captured is a dead-end as far as storytelling is concerned. I agree that the only realistic outcome would be her getting locked up somewhere throughout the duration of her pregnancy and at this point, that no longer makes for a compelling watching experience.

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1 hour ago, ZaldamoWilder said:

Which brings me to a mind rewind - where'd she get the candles and matches to make the journalist m memorial along the cellar wall?

Well, we did see her with a box going around the various desks and putting personal things in it to make the memorial.  I'll just assume she found some candles too.  She had matches back when she was first about to make her escape, when she burned her red clothes.  Also I think she had some sort of supplies that were brought in when she first got to the Globe, in a case or backpack or something...  

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I meant to say this before, don't want to go back and look for the comment.  Someone said something about *stupid* June turning on all the lights.  The lights she turned on were in a low basement, not in the upper floors of the building.

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3 hours ago, Joana said:

No, they're not (supposed to be) having sex with their wives. In Gilead, you don't get to have sex unless it's for procreation, and since the wives are "barren", it's a no-no. The ceremony once a month is all the sex the commanders should be having. That's quite miserable set-up for everyone (not anyone's fault but their own, of course), so I can see why both men and women would seek the alternatives.

I didn't realize this was the rule until reading a thread here a day or so ago.  I thought it was the traditional idea that sex is for procreation within marriage, but that just means you are not allowed to use birth control.  You can still have sex even if conception is unlikely, because a miracle can always occur. That seemed to be supported by the little prayer between Serena and the Commander.  And I thought he said they shouldn't have sex because it was the time of the month when their handmaid was ovulating, so he was supposed to reserve all of his "seed" for her.

But this idea - that there is never any sex by anyone in this society except commanders and handmaids in the ritual - is untenable.  The only way that I can understand it is that it's another form of control.  So long as a person is fulfilling their assigned role, people will look the other way if they surreptitiously get their needs met.  But if someone steps out of line, they can be easily charged for their sexual misdeeds.  

It might be interesting to also get a glimpse into what is happening in other, less repressive, societies.  If people are infertile, is this resulting in new sexual freedom and revolutions?  Is it changing women's roles in other societies for the better, giving them more freedom?  

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1 hour ago, McKinley said:

It might be interesting to also get a glimpse into what is happening in other, less repressive, societies.  If people are infertile, is this resulting in new sexual freedom and revolutions?  Is it changing women's roles in other societies for the better, giving them more freedom?  

I’ve been thinking about that too.  I think some nations would see science as their saviour as much as Gilead embraces religion. Perhaps some nations will try human cloning. What could possibly go wrong? It’s been hinted at that the problem is male sperm rather than any problems of the female end. What would an enlightened Nation do with this information once it became known?

Edited by marinw
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1 hour ago, McKinley said:

I didn't realize this was the rule until reading a thread here a day or so ago.  I thought it was the traditional idea that sex is for procreation within marriage, but that just means you are not allowed to use birth control.  You can still have sex even if conception is unlikely, because a miracle can always occur. That seemed to be supported by the little prayer between Serena and the Commander.  And I thought he said they shouldn't have sex because it was the time of the month when their handmaid was ovulating, so he was supposed to reserve all of his "seed" for her.

 

I recall that scene between Serena and the Commander in Season 1 the same way.  I don't think sex within marriage is prohibited per se.  But it also certainly would not be discussed. 

Dunkin Donuts - I've been thinking the same thing, especially during June's flashbacks.  I wonder how the Gilead economy is supporting itself.  So many people died or fled, and women are prohibited from almost all jobs - domestic work seeming to be the only exception.  So the pool of available workers has decreased significantly.  But so many businesses were closed, so that might balance it out.  I would assume most food has to be imported, due to former farmlands being mostly in the radiated parts ("colonies").  Where did the butcher get his meat?  Is there any industry?  Are they exporting anything, is there trade between other nations?  We've seen grocery stores running (Season 1), but I don't recall the details  - were the shelves well stocked?  Were there any female employees?  Gov't services seem to be running - there are utilities, the streets that we've seen are clean, and carpenters are well employed making mass gallows in Fenway Park.   I'd assume they keep their dress making in-house (can't just buy those wings at Target).  I'd assume boys still go to school.  Certainly there have to be "normal" people/families out there, that have no direct tie to the gov't or handmaids or what we're seeing.  That would be an interesting point of view for an episode, I'd even watch it as a spin-off series.

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1 minute ago, marinw said:

I’ve been thinking about that too.  I think some nations would see science as their saviour as much as Gilead embraces religion. Perhaps some nations will try human cloning. What could possibly go wrong? It’s been hinted at that the problem is male sperm rather than any problems of the female end. What would an enlightened Nation do with this information once it became known.

The Handman's Tale

 

Sorry, couldn't resist.  But, yes, it would be interesting to see how things would go in a society that recognizes that this is an issue on the male side.  And, also, I can't remember if they said that the infertility issue was global or just localized to the industrialized North America.  Heck, is Canada even having the same problem?

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9 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

 Heck, is Canada even having the same problem?

Maybe that's why they are taking refugees!  One way to get more people. Especially children. 

On the topic of Canada, I hope we see more of it this season. I find the Canadian response to Gilead very realistic. We Canadians aren’t going to take up arms and try to liberate Gilead’s women. We will instead maintain a passive-aggressive trade relationship and take in whoever can make it across the boarder.

Edited by marinw
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8 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

The Handman's Tale

 

Sorry, couldn't resist.  But, yes, it would be interesting to see how things would go in a society that recognizes that this is an issue on the male side.  And, also, I can't remember if they said that the infertility issue was global or just localized to the industrialized North America.  Heck, is Canada even having the same problem?

There was an episode in Season 1 where there were officials from another country - I want to say Mexico, but not sure if that's right - and they were also having the same fertility issue.  While they were sympathetic to the handmaids and somewhat horrified by the institution, they were willing to talk trade for fertile women.  And they hadn't abandoned science. I would think if they were willing to engage in the same system, this was a world wide issue where going to other countries for egg donors or sperm donors or surrogates wasn't an option.  (Would love to know if this is consistent with the book - read it 20+ years ago and don't remember the details.)

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3 minutes ago, chaifan said:

There was an episode in Season 1 where there were officials from another country - I want to say Mexico, but not sure if that's right - and they were also having the same fertility issue.  While they were sympathetic to the handmaids and somewhat horrified by the institution, they were willing to talk trade for fertile women.  And they hadn't abandoned science. I would think if they were willing to engage in the same system, this was a world wide issue where going to other countries for egg donors or sperm donors or surrogates wasn't an option.  (Would love to know if this is consistent with the book - read it 20+ years ago and don't remember the details.)

Yes, it was an official from Mexico.  And I kind of remember something about Europe in the book, but I can't remember what the circumstance was.  But, if it was environmental, which I think has been implied in both the book and this series, I can see how it might impact, say, just North America, but the rest of the world would either be unaffected, or experiencing less of an impact.

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17 minutes ago, marinw said:

Perhaps some nations will try human cloning. What could possibly go wrong?

I know this is most likely a rhetorical question, but if you want to see how that might play out, I recommend the superb show Orphan Black.

 

15 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

And, also, I can't remember if they said that the infertility issue was global or just localized to the industrialized North America.  Heck, is Canada even having the same problem?

We know that Mexico is. It could have been that the nuclear disasters that contributed to the infertility mostly took place in California and/or the Southwest, thus affecting Mexico but not Canada. 

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27 minutes ago, chaifan said:

I recall that scene between Serena and the Commander in Season 1 the same way.  I don't think sex within marriage is prohibited per se.  But it also certainly would not be discussed.  Any wife who has a handmaid is considered barren.  Having sex, by either that husband or wife, would be a crime/sin and punished severely if they were caught.

Dunkin Donuts - I've been thinking the same thing, especially during June's flashbacks.  I wonder how the Gilead economy is supporting itself.  So many people died or fled, and women are prohibited from almost all jobs - domestic work seeming to be the only exception.  So the pool of available workers has decreased significantly.  But so many businesses were closed, so that might balance it out.  I would assume most food has to be imported, due to former farmlands being mostly in the radiated parts ("colonies").  Where did the butcher get his meat?  Is there any industry?  Are they exporting anything, is there trade between other nations?  We've seen grocery stores running (Season 1), but I don't recall the details  - were the shelves well stocked?  Were there any female employees?  Gov't services seem to be running - there are utilities, the streets that we've seen are clean, and carpenters are well employed making mass gallows in Fenway Park.   I'd assume they keep their dress making in-house (can't just buy those wings at Target).  I'd assume boys still go to school.  Certainly there have to be "normal" people/families out there, that have no direct tie to the gov't or handmaids or what we're seeing.  That would be an interesting point of view for an episode, I'd even watch it as a spin-off series.

Sex is not for recreation, it's only for procreation.  A wife and husband having sex for any other reason would be a punishable crime.  We've already seen them talk about this on the show.  Any wife who has a handmaid is barren, so if she or her husband have sex?  They would both be sinning and breaking the law.  The punishments in Gilead for sex outside of baby making are severe.

Many of Gilead's people were murdered, all the scientists, most of the leaders, most of the doctors, teachers, writers, and of course anyone gay or who committed any of what are now considered crimes.  Some fled the country.  Some are still fighting wars against Gilead.  Most of the young men that are loyal to Gilead are still fighting on the Gilead side as well, ongoing wars.

Not all of the colonies are radioactive waste.  Some raise crops (remember the oranges in the store, and the Commander bragging about their food production in some colony improving?)

Other countries have gone as as before, except for the boycott of anything to and from Gilead. 

In the book, the birthrate was only down in the white population, people of color were still able to have children, especially those in less developed countries  (possibly because of less industrial and nuclear pollution.)  They left that out of the show (so far.)  The birthrates were down in Northern Europe as well, but they weren't Gilead, insanely blaming it on sin and recreation sex, or gay people, or science, or doctors, so I just assume they followed sensible methods to rectify it eventually.  Perhaps reducing pollution, most fertility testing, probably some baby-making help with drugs, procedures, and things sane people would try.

Edited by Umbelina
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I didn’t quite understand the airport scene, horrible as it was. If Gilead hates Lesbians so much, why not make it easy for them to leave the country?

Not that logic has anything to do with it.

Edited by marinw
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4 minutes ago, marinw said:

I didn’t quite understand the airport scene, horrible as it was. If Gilead hates Lesbians so much, why not make it easy for them to leave the country?

Not that logic has anything to do with it..

Because she said the egg was hers.  They reassigned lesbians, divorcees, nuns, etc. to become handmaids.  They weren't letting anyone with an active uterus go, or even a potentially active uterus, like nuns.

It's the same thing the religious right says today, something like "as long as you don't act on it (being gay) then it's not a sin."

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1 minute ago, Umbelina said:

They weren't letting anyone with an active uterus go

Except to the Colonies to die of radiation sickness. Great job Gilead!

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A general comment: I almost bailed after the first twenty minutes. My favourite show of all time is 24, so I am certainly not above wallowing in a little torture porn. But the first acts of “June” get gratuitous. I’m glad I stuck with it, I am so glad June escaped, at least for now. That scene of her at the end, watching an old tv show (It must have been a DVD as Gilead would not have streaming!) while chilling out was very affecting.

Edited by marinw
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5 minutes ago, marinw said:

Except to the Colonies to die of radiation sickness. Great job Gilead!

That was pretty rare to send a Handmaid to the radiation colonies.  They only got sent after, what did June say?  3 rotations to different commanders and none of those producing a baby.  Of course, killing a soldier is what got Emily sent there, and the "endangering a child" thing for old one eye.  I'd think there would be more than one handmaid chained up in a basement if they believed in artificial insemination, or that a man's sperm could be the problem.

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41 minutes ago, chaifan said:

I would assume most food has to be imported, due to former farmlands being mostly in the radiated parts ("colonies").  Where did the butcher get his meat?  Is there any industry?  Are they exporting anything, is there trade between other nations?  We've seen grocery stores running (Season 1), but I don't recall the details  - were the shelves well stocked?  Were there any female employees?  Gov't services seem to be running - there are utilities, the streets that we've seen are clean, and carpenters are well employed making mass gallows in Fenway Park.   I'd assume they keep their dress making in-house (can't just buy those wings at Target).  I'd assume boys still go to school.  Certainly there have to be "normal" people/families out there, that have no direct tie to the gov't or handmaids or what we're seeing.  That would be an interesting point of view for an episode, I'd even watch it as a spin-off series.

My recollection is that the grocery stores were decently stocked, but only with simple items.  I do remember that the simplicity and repetition of the labels looked pretty, until you realize that there are no words written on them because the handmaids were not to be reading.  It also seemed odd to me that the handmaids did the shopping, and not the Marthas who have to do the cooking.  How does the Martha give the shopping list if she can't write it down?  Seems likely that the handmaid would forget items or get wrong ones.  Maybe that's part of the point, exacerbating the resentment and division between the Marthas and handmaids.

Another thing that seems to be missing in Gilead are small vegetable gardens.  Especially with the loss of farmland in the colonies, you would think that small Victory Gardens would be encouraged or mandated.  But perhaps there are not enough seeds to distribute.

19 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Sex is not for recreation, it's only for procreation.  A wife and husband having sex for any other reason would be a punishable crime.  We've already seen them talk about this on the show.  Any wife who has a handmaid is barren, so if she or her husband have sex?  They would both be sinning and breaking the law.  The punishments in Gilead for sex outside of baby making are severe.

So many things about Gilead are ridiculous, but I just can't wrap my head around the purpose of this rule.  This is insanely extreme - an entire population that is either celibate or forced to participate in sex rituals.   It has nothing to do with baby-making, because it doesn't affect baby-making for infertile people to have sex.  If it is a power thing, I would think that the rule would be something like only the male head of household can initiate sex, and the wife needs to "submit" as part of her wifely duties.  Don't at least some of the commanders want to be able to have loving intimacy with their wives? 

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The Martha's give the Handmaid colored coupons, which I assume are charged to the Commander's house, since the women have no money.  So if she gets a blue with a drawing of a milk bottle, get the milk with the blue cap.  On and on.

That's Gilead's "rule" though.  All sexual activity other than for making babies is one of the multitudes of sin that caused infertility.

Then we see some of the leaders at the sex club, so obviously, at least some of them don't believe this shit. 

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1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

That was pretty rare to send a Handmaid to the radiation colonies.  They only got sent after, what did June say?  3 rotations to different commanders and none of those producing a baby.  Of course, killing a soldier is what got Emily sent there, and the "endangering a child" thing for old one eye.  I'd think there would be more than one handmaid chained up in a basement if they believed in artificial insemination, or that a man's sperm could be the problem.

I paid close attention to the recap at the beginning of the episode, and it looked like Emily did *not* kill the soldier, she just ran over his legs. I think that's why she's still alive; had she killed him, I think she would have been killed too, in front of the other handmaids to be made an example of. 

Now that we know that Gilead is not above chaining women down, I wonder why they didn't try that option with Emily and Janine, or trade them to Mexico as part of the deal that was brokered last season, instead of sending them to the colonies. I'm sure there's no shortage of people they can charge with "crimes" and use as disposable labor instead of wasting precious functional uteri.  

1 hour ago, McKinley said:

It also seemed odd to me that the handmaids did the shopping, and not the Marthas who have to do the cooking.

I think it's a way to keep them from going crazy being cooped up inside all day, have them get some fresh air and exercise, and also have them monitored by people outside of their respective households. They're only allowed to go in pairs to keep each other in check - remember how Ofglen 2.0 reacted last season when she thought June was up to something? - and the streets and stores are teeming with Eyes. Plus, their route takes them past the Wall - a constant visual reminder of what can happen to them if they step out of line.

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1 hour ago, chocolatine said:

 

Now that we know that Gilead is not above chaining women down, I wonder why they didn't try that option with Emily and Janine, or trade them to Mexico as part of the deal that was brokered last season, instead of sending them to the colonies. I'm sure there's no shortage of people they can charge with "crimes" and use as disposable labor instead of wasting precious functional uteri.  

 

I thought about that too.  IF either had been pregnant, that would have happened I think.  But, how would the wives like having a "religious ceremony" with a girl in chains laying inside her legs while her husband fucked her?  It's pretty hard to spout religion and pretend the woman is willing while she's in shackles. 

So, they cut their losses.  Janine is also full out delusional now, and she was supposed to be executed, on the other hand, she's proven she's still fertile.  Emily is a troublemaker, so I get it there, and it's not as if she could have been a regular Handmaid anymore, associating with other Handmaids.

If they believed in artificial insemination I think they'd probably both be chained in a basement for the rest of their lives.  At least that other Handmaid would have someone to talk to...

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4 hours ago, chaifan said:

I recall that scene between Serena and the Commander in Season 1 the same way.  I don't think sex within marriage is prohibited per se.  But it also certainly would not be discussed. 

Dunkin Donuts - I've been thinking the same thing, especially during June's flashbacks.  I wonder how the Gilead economy is supporting itself.  So many people died or fled, and women are prohibited from almost all jobs - domestic work seeming to be the only exception.  So the pool of available workers has decreased significantly.  But so many businesses were closed, so that might balance it out.  I would assume most food has to be imported, due to former farmlands being mostly in the radiated parts ("colonies").  Where did the butcher get his meat?  Is there any industry?  Are they exporting anything, is there trade between other nations?  We've seen grocery stores running (Season 1), but I don't recall the details  - were the shelves well stocked?  Were there any female employees?  Gov't services seem to be running - there are utilities, the streets that we've seen are clean, and carpenters are well employed making mass gallows in Fenway Park.   I'd assume they keep their dress making in-house (can't just buy those wings at Target).  I'd assume boys still go to school.  Certainly there have to be "normal" people/families out there, that have no direct tie to the gov't or handmaids or what we're seeing.  That would be an interesting point of view for an episode, I'd even watch it as a spin-off series.

It struck me that The Handmaid's Tale and Children of Men could exist in the same universe.

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On 2018-04-29 at 2:45 PM, lezlers said:

I'm with you on the pills.  I remember a scene from the Walking Dead where there was a family of walkers that clearly all poisoned themselves at the beginning of the apocalypse.  I turned to my husband and said "that would definitely be us."  I don't understand why anyone would WANT to survive in a world like that.  For what?  To live in horror every day for the rest of your (probably) very short life?  Call me a quitter, I don't care.  I'd rather be in charge of the way I leave this world. 

You might be surprised. While suicide probably is common in Gilead, history suggests most people will keep going no matter how bleak it gets. As long is there is some sliver of hope most people hang on believing they might escape or that the someone will save them. In this case I supect its the first. Although I wonder if they might be closer to the front lines at this camp.

I definitely think the blowback on Handmaid's rebellion went on for too long. It served little purpose and I actually think if June had simply been taken away earlier it could be just as effective.

The barking German Shepherds were a nice touch to reinforce the Holocaust imagery in the intro. I also liked the use of Fenway park I suspect actual hangings are probably what passes as entertainment in Gilead. I wonder if the actual site used for the shoot was Christie Pitts(it was too small to be the Blue Jays stadium). It would be a twisted irony if it was since it was the site of of a fascist riot in 1933.

Given all the Holocaust imagery used in the first half I half expected Emily's colony to have 3 tiered wooden bunks and gray striped uniforms. As some who grew up in Canadian farm country it was actually a little disturbing how familar it was. I agree with others though that Emily's story is almost more interesting than June's right now. I have a feeling we are not just following her to just watch her die or at least not to see her go down without a fight.

I do think June in the resistance has potential.  It will give a bigger perspective on Gilead and how it works. I do think she will end up reunited with Luke at some point. There's to much drama not to.

Especially since I don't think she really loves Nick yet. She might think she does but its just the extreme situation. I do think rescuing Hannah is the next order of business. Its too much of a risk otherwise. Serena or Aunt Lydia could use her to bring June in.

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Random observation: Nobody stares down a camera like Elizabeth Moss.

Edited by marinw
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11 hours ago, chocolatine said:
11 hours ago, marinw said:

Perhaps some nations will try human cloning. What could possibly go wrong?

 

I know this is most likely a rhetorical question, but if you want to see how that might play out, I recommend the superb show Orphan Black.

Touche! That was a great show.

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Gilead's economy (such as it is) relies heavily on free/slave labor. I wonder if some of the colonies are populated by men, such as men who were caught helping handmaids escape or men who were outed as gay.

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53 minutes ago, marinw said:

Gilead's economy (such as it is) relies heavily on free/slave labor. I wonder if some of the colonies are populated by men, such as men who were caught helping handmaids escape or men who were outed as gay.

Yes, Gilead has a supply of free/slave labor, but they still have to make/grow/produce something to contribute to the economy.  The women clearing the field aren't contributing to the economy (yet).  They're really just doing busy work, as a few people with the right machinery/equipment could clear that field in a few days.  Housing them, feeding them, employing guards and others to be there is just costing the gov't money.

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28 minutes ago, chaifan said:

Yes, Gilead has a supply of free/slave labor, but they still have to make/grow/produce something to contribute to the economy.  The women clearing the field aren't contributing to the economy (yet).  They're really just doing busy work, as a few people with the right machinery/equipment could clear that field in a few days.  Housing them, feeding them, employing guards and others to be there is just costing the gov't money.

I don't think Gilead believes in machinery very much.  Even cars are extremely limited around there.  They are supposedly taking it back to a purer, and simpler time, before all those machines and science and intellectuals destroyed their world with pollution and nuclear power plants and birth control pills, etc.

Aside from that That kind of clean up actually happened in the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011

Quote

Production built a road to access the quarry. For the muddy pit, Williams and producers researched environmental disasters, particularly the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011. “In that tragedy in Japan, they cleared the waste and put it in bags and stockpiled the bags into these huge mounds,” said director of photography Colin Watkinson. “That’s how we got the idea for the mounds. Because we needed some kind of texture, we buried pipes [along the sides of the quarry] and had steam coming out of the ground to make pits of toxicity, which the girls broke into with their shovels. It broke up like a crust.”

set-2.w710.h473.2x.jpg

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17 hours ago, McKinley said:

My recollection is that the grocery stores were decently stocked, but only with simple items.  I do remember that the simplicity and repetition of the labels looked pretty, until you realize that there are no words written on them because the handmaids were not to be reading.  It also seemed odd to me that the handmaids did the shopping, and not the Marthas who have to do the cooking.  How does the Martha give the shopping list if she can't write it down?  Seems likely that the handmaid would forget items or get wrong ones.  Maybe that's part of the point, exacerbating the resentment and division between the Marthas and handmaids.

Another thing that seems to be missing in Gilead are small vegetable gardens.  Especially with the loss of farmland in the colonies, you would think that small Victory Gardens would be encouraged or mandated.  But perhaps there are not enough seeds to distribute.

So many things about Gilead are ridiculous, but I just can't wrap my head around the purpose of this rule.  This is insanely extreme - an entire population that is either celibate or forced to participate in sex rituals.   It has nothing to do with baby-making, because it doesn't affect baby-making for infertile people to have sex.  If it is a power thing, I would think that the rule would be something like only the male head of household can initiate sex, and the wife needs to "submit" as part of her wifely duties.  Don't at least some of the commanders want to be able to have loving intimacy with their wives? 

I'm guessing they see it as "sinful" to have sex for any other reason than procreation.  Remember, they're extreme religious zealots.  Religious zealots' rules are often extreme.

17 hours ago, Umbelina said:

The Martha's give the Handmaid colored coupons, which I assume are charged to the Commander's house, since the women have no money.  So if she gets a blue with a drawing of a milk bottle, get the milk with the blue cap.  On and on.

That's Gilead's "rule" though.  All sexual activity other than for making babies is one of the multitudes of sin that caused infertility.

Then we see some of the leaders at the sex club, so obviously, at least some of them don't believe this shit. 

Religious zealots being giant hypocrites?  Well I've never heard of such a thing!  LOL. 

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One minor nitpick.  If you're going to set a story around Boston, pronounce the city names correctly.  

 

Quincy is pronounced Quin-zee. 

June also mispronounced that city she was from, Brookline, MA, as Brooklyn.  I even checked the closed captioning, they transcribed it as Brooklyn, it's pronounced Brook-LINE;  It rhymes with strychnine.

Edited by beartrash
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4 hours ago, beartrash said:

One minor nitpick.  If you're going to set a story around Boston, pronounce the city names correctly.  

 

Quincy is pronounced Quin-zee. 

June also mispronounced that city she was from, Brookline, MA, as Brooklyn.  I even checked the closed captioning, they transcribed it as Brooklyn), it's pronounced Brook-LINE;  It rhymes with strychnine.

I caught that too, and I found it strange.  I mean, I can understand mispronouncing, say, Leominster or Worcester or whatever (because when I lived in Boston, I did mispronounce those and was quickly corrected).  However, Brookline?  I mean, it is pronounced *exactly* as it is spelled.

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3 hours ago, marinw said:

Gilead's economy (such as it is) relies heavily on free/slave labor. I wonder if some of the colonies are populated by men, such as men who were caught helping handmaids escape or men who were outed as gay.

I'm not positive, but I think most of the young men were drafted into the army and sent off to war with the Resistance forces.  I would be shocked if there are not men's camps though, and nuclear waste is not the only type of camp under Gilead's control.  There are crop raising camps, for example.  Gilead desperately needs those goods since the rest of the world has boycotted them.  That's why they were so excited that Mexico would trade with them. 

In the books about crop raising etc:

Quote
Spoiler

Most crop raising was done by African-Americans, it was a very racist world, and they were all shipped off to the Midwest raise crops.  They are called "The Children of Ham."  There were no African-Americans in Gilead proper.  They were either killed or sent to camps.

 

Show rumor/spoiler about the above:

Spoiler

It's rumored that we may finally see The Children of Ham story in some fashion this season.

 

2 hours ago, chaifan said:

Yes, Gilead has a supply of free/slave labor, but they still have to make/grow/produce something to contribute to the economy.  The women clearing the field aren't contributing to the economy (yet).  They're really just doing busy work, as a few people with the right machinery/equipment could clear that field in a few days.  Housing them, feeding them, employing guards and others to be there is just costing the gov't money.

They are contributing though, until they clean up that nuclear waste, the land is not usable.  As far as machinery, I mentioned that part in a previous reply.  That article I posted above also said that they just took over previous buildings, barns, whatever to "house" the prisoners.  They leak, they're contaminated, I don't think they even had electricity did they?  That part isn't costing them money, and while the (skimpy, terrible) food and guards do cost?  It's minimal considering the vast amounts of land they eventually want to reclaim.

Edited by Umbelina
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I think the Commanders are allowed to have sex with their wives.

In Season1, when Janine is standing on the Bridge, she shouts something at her Commander like: "I did all the fucked-up shit she didn't do!" It sounds like he is having sex with his wife but not dirty sex - this is what he is having with Janine.

Besides that, I really loved the two first episodes of Season 2. Especially because they're not based on the novel and completely new for me. And the flashbacks, especially Emily's story, give me chills because they're so realistic and scary.

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11 minutes ago, littlesue said:

I think the Commanders are allowed to have sex with their wives.

In Season1, when Janine is standing on the Bridge, she shouts something at her Commander like: "I did all the fucked-up shit she didn't do!" It sounds like he is having sex with his wife but not dirty sex - this is what he is having with Janine.

Besides that, I really loved the two first episodes of Season 2. Especially because they're not based on the novel and completely new for me. And the flashbacks, especially Emily's story, give me chills because they're so realistic and scary.

http://academic.depauw.edu/aevans_web/HONR101-02/WebPages/Fall 2007/Sarah/Handmaid's Tale/basics.html

Quote

2. Wives-Wives are high-society, infertile women. Though they are forbidden from actual sexual relations with their husbands, they must complete all sexual and childbearing rituals beside the handmaids--they must lie underneath them while they have sex and sit in the birthing chair while the handmaid gives birth. Wives receive all credit for what a handmaid achieves. They wear blue.

Sex outside of procreation is a sin.  It's punishable, and we've all seen how civilized the punishments are.

I bet the econowives have recreational sex though, mostly because if they are quiet about it, who would know?  If they aren't?  Someone might report them for having sex more than during their fertility cycle, and in Gilead, they seem to believe that only happens one day a month.

Edited by Umbelina
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On 4/28/2018 at 3:00 PM, Umbelina said:

I don't think most people choose to die when there is a chance at life.  Some would, of course.  Historically though, people have been imprisoned in places where they will probably die, but they fought to survive, pushed themselves to make it another day.  Gulags in the USSR, Concentration Camps in Germany, those are probably the closest recent comparisons to the camp we just saw in Gilead.

In addition, many of these women know there is a resistance out there, some were part of that.  While realizing they will probably die there, there is always a chance they will not.  Humans tend to hold on to those hopes.

It reminds me of the Hunger Games when President Snow said they could just round up a kid from each district and shoot them once a year, but the one survivor of the Games gives them hope. "Hope is stronger than fear," I think is the quote.

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On 4/25/2018 at 4:35 AM, mamadrama said:

I'm not gay but the scenes with Emily and her partner, being told their marriage was no longer valid, and the scenes with her boss hit me like a ton of bricks. I was angry FOR them, to the point where I had to keep reminding myself that it was TV.

This a million times.  I was at the gym on the elliptical watching and I kept fighting tears and the lump in my throat.  I too had to remind myself it wasn't real and it was just a tv show.  I guess it just hits too close to the crazy world we are now living.

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So far of the three episodes, episode two truly touched me and that was thanks to none other than Rory, heh, aka Emily. Her presence and passion dominated the episode and all her scenes left me hurt and deep in thought.

As a queer woman myself her life in Gilead really resonates the most. Being labeled a gender traitor and given an even shorter leash than the average fertile woman. All handmaids are raped by their commanders but to be gay and perhaps not even having ever been with a man in any sort of consensual relationship, and so to be forced onto one’s back, helpless and violated in a way that can’t be put into words, it breaks my heart to even think about it.

Finally getting a glimpse of the colonies...hell on earth. Absolute hell on earth, nothing but suffering and turmoil and agony and death. This may sound a bit random but I hope the makeup team get some recognition for their work in this episode, especially in regards to the “unwomen”. Those ladies truly looked like people working, unprotected, with toxic waste. The way they aged Emily was superbly done. 

The airport scenes were soul crushing. I kept tearing up thinking that they had waited too late, just a little too late. To be so close, a plane ride away from freedom and keeping their family together.

I also hated that the reason they waited was because Emily refused to give in to the pressure that she was facing at the school, that they were starting to target the LGBTQ individuals and she wanted to take a stand for what was right, but it wasn’t going to matter anyway. Her fight was always going to prove insufficient and by the time she realized that too it was too late to escape. 

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Was I supposed to buy that all the handmaids would be hanged? That was clearly a scare tactic. Some of them including June are pregnant. The regime would never do anything to hurt the babies. Even if they aren't pregnant, they are Gillead's most valuable resource. I almost can't believe that they bought it. I get that it must have been a really stressfull situation, but still.

What I noticed is that they use the completely overbread show-dog german sheppards that nobody would use for actual work, because they are pretty much useless for that. I'm not sure if this was deliberate or just a production error. If it was deliberate it's genius. Saying that Gillead is either so inept that they don't know or just can't get their hands on actually usefull dogs, because they are so isolated.

It's a bit distracting how much older Hannah is than she is supposed to be in those flashbacks.

"Don't get upset Serena, it's bad for the baby" Daaaaaaaammmn girl.

Did June not ask about her daughter even once during her escape or did I just miss it? If she didn't; Boooo.

 

Oh a look at the colonies. Neat. I wonder how long till we see June's mother. If she's even there and not with the resistance somewhere.

Finally June asks for Hannah. At the half way point of the second episode. About time.

Yeah still hard to see what they did to gay people and kinda hard to believe that they could amass that much power without all out civil war. But we'll go with it.

Emily killing the wife seems a bit dumb. Wouldn't it be better to let her suffer for months and slowly getting irradiated.

 

On 25.4.2018 at 10:13 AM, Umbelina said:

They are supposedly removing radioactive waste...how deep would you have to dig, and where do they think those flimsy bags will go?

It's not radioactive waste, it's contaminated soil. From the fallout of the nuclear power plants that exploded. So you only have to remove the top layer. The same thing is being done around Fukushima. The dirt goes to dumpsites. What else are you going to do with it?

I don't quite buy that you'd use human labor to do it. Even if you want to get rid of these people. A hundret can maybe do the work of one mechanical digger and keeping all of them fed and supervised doesn't seem worth it. But oh well.

 

On 25.4.2018 at 5:59 PM, nodorothyparker said:

The flashbacks were particularly effective in showing us the frog in the boiling pot analogy. 

That only works if the brain of the frog has been removed. If the frog still has its brain, it will jump out, even you crank up the heat slowly.

Edited by Miles
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On 4/30/2018 at 7:45 AM, Pondlass1 said:

Would  we really give up an enlightened civilization earned over hundreds of years so quickly and easily. 

It's hard for me to argue that we wouldn't, when I read the news these days. That's all I'll say.

 

On 5/1/2018 at 11:25 AM, lezlers said:

I used to think the same way until a couple of years ago.  So much ugliness has shown itself here in the U.S. in the past couple of years it's genuinely terrifying.  There is so much the general public doesn't even know about on top of that (like the fact that immigrants are being separated from their children by ICE and ICE has been detaining CHILDREN, alone, in actual holding facilities for indeterminate amounts of time.)   And a frightening number of people are okay with this because they seem to genuinely think that if a person isn't a US citizen, they're not deserving of basic human rights.  It's sickening.  I've definitely become disillusioned by my fellow countrymen lately.

As a Latina (and a human), those airport scenes simultaneously broke my heart and enraged me. There's a lot that does not make the nightly news about ICE's actions in recent months, but even if it did, I suspect a lot of people simply wouldn't care - not only because of citizenship, but because of skin color. The realism there was almost too much to handle. Alexis Bledel is simply owning all over the place so far this season.

 

On 4/26/2018 at 5:43 PM, Helena Dax said:

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.

Well said. I was really struck by the musical score in the premiere - in several places it was pure horror movie. With that kind of embellishment, it's hard to argue against the idea that there's something almost OTT sadistic about the violent/horrific scenes so far this season. It feels weirdly redundant - we KNOW they do stuff like that. 

 

On 4/26/2018 at 7:26 PM, kieyra said:

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 really didn't get June and Luke's consideration of further kids either - I mean, I suppose it was to show how normalized everything had gotten, but there's plenty of evidence that when things are shaky or uncertain, people are more inclined NOT to have children. It did not make much sense.

 

On 4/27/2018 at 6:58 AM, chaifan said:

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. 

Nick clearly has some autonomy within certain situations, like the Commander's visits to Jezebel's, but yeah, I can't see it going unnoticed if he just doesn't come home at night.

 

On 4/29/2018 at 3:41 PM, Joana said:

I thought she tipped more towards the latter in this episode and I found it slightly out of character for her. I mean, obviously she's a heinous person doing heinous things, but it the first season she totally sold it as a true believer convinced she's doing God's work, no matter how unpleasant it might be. In this episode she seemed sadistic more than anything else, but it could well be her being unnerved by June challenging her authority.

I adore Ann Dowd and have for years, but I too found Aunt Lydia a touch OOC in the premiere - or maybe it's just that she was over the top, for the first time in the series. The writing, and Dowd, have always held back from going over that line, until now. It bothered me.

My big takeaway from these two episodes was Emily - - she's the best argument the show has for expanding beyond the novel. Seriously powerful stuff.

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On 5/2/2018 at 6:01 AM, littlesue said:

I think the Commanders are allowed to have sex with their wives.

I don’t think they’re supposed to, which is just sad. There’s gotta be a perk to being highly ranked (him) and stripped of all your rights (her). At the end of A Woman’s Place when Serena and Waterford did, one of them said “we shouldn’t be doing this” or something like that.  And then went right ahead and did ;).

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I am a journalist and work in a newsroom.

 

i recognized the clutter on a cubicle as a journalists almost at once and long before the reveal (well done props people).

 

turned to mom and said “it’s a newsroom” and began to cry. 

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Also

 

i can’t hewr “this woman’s work” without tearing up- it is such a beautiful song about the terror of a husband while a woman gives birth, written for the movie “she’s having a baby,” and while it plays the montage is of the wife in danger, husband being hustled out of delivery room, and every scene we’ve seen of his complaining is recalled (silently) but with the sweet moments we DIDNT see: so in the movie there was a scene of the couple bickering, now we see the moment after where they splashed paint on each other and laughed.

 

and all of a sudden we realize as the voiceover does how much he loves her and she loves him and he’s spent the movie kicking at marriage and suburbia. And now she might die and Kate bush is singing “I know you have a little strength left.” 

 

And Kevin bacon in the delivery room remembering all this and weeping while his father in law with whom he’s always had an uneasy relationship pats him on the shoulder.

 

even trying to explain this to my mother I cried.

the 1988 movie is worth it for this alone  brilliant brilliant editing. I was young when I saw it and never forgot it: the lesson on HOW WE FORGET until it’s almost too late those moments. 

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13 hours ago, Miles said:

Was I supposed to buy that all the handmaids would be hanged? That was clearly a scare tactic. Some of them including June are pregnant. The regime would never do anything to hurt the babies. Even if they aren't pregnant, they are Gillead's most valuable resource. I almost can't believe that they bought it. I get that it must have been a really stressfull situation, but still.

 

I don't care how much I am pretty pretty pretty sure that they are not going to go through with it because they NEED me....if someone brings me up to a gallows and puts a noose around my neck, I'm gonna freak the fuck out.   Sorry, not sorry.  

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3 hours ago, lucindabelle said:

i recognized the clutter on a cubicle as a journalists almost at once and long before the reveal (well done props people).

Actually, it was revealed earlier that it was a newsroom. When the driver who brought June there says "after a while, crocodile" and leaves, June pulls down the loading dock door, and we see "The Boston Globe" printed on the inside.

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