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ElectricBoogaloo

S02.E08: Women's Work

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2 hours ago, Adrienne2729 said:

Absolutely! This whole series "harkens back" to American chattel slavery which - for me - makes all of the contemporary feminist commentary so incredibly fascinating and ironic.  IMO this was one of the best scenes in the entire series for this reason.  It visually brought the parallels between this dystopian nightmare and real-life not-so-distant U.S. history to the forefront. Brilliant.

I am a white woman but I prefer to see female minority physicians whenever I can. For purely selfish reasons I want to know whoever is treating me had to work harder and know more than the majority of her colleagues. On a more altruistic note, I want in some small way to acknowledge how grateful I am for the change in the paradigm since not-so-distant U.S. history.

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I agree with those who say that Nick is scared. There are four people in the household who could potentially endanger him, and the only one he has any leverage over is Eden. So he plays the "Wife, be silent and obey!" card with her. I don't think Fred will go after her. He likes women that are a bit more of a challenge; it's more gratifying to his ego to see them submit to him. 

When Eden said "Of course not!" in answer to Nick's question about reading the letters, I did expect her to add, "I can't read." She says she grew up on a farm, so if her parents didn't believe in education for girls, what would she have needed to read? Any chores she would have done, like cooking or housekeeping or tending the animals, would have been "learn by doing"--no need to read recipes or columns of household hints or manuals on animal husbandry. I'm guessing they grew their own food--no need for grocery lists.

I have some sympathy for Serena, although I share others' annoyance with conservative women who want others to play traditional gender roles but expect that they will be able to keep right on preaching or teaching or writing or running for office. She does have genuine fondness for children, unlike Naomi.

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Guys, episode threads are for discussing the episodes. If you want to speculate, please go to the spoiler thread because we all have our own preferences on knowing what’s coming up in the show. 

Additionally, please do not call out other posters in the threads—this is also off topic. If you think someone is breaking PTV rules, report the post so the mods can look it over.

Thank you!

-17WT

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42 minutes ago, GreekGeek said:

 

I agree with those who say that Nick is scared. There are four people in the household who could potentially endanger him, and the only one he has any leverage over is Eden. So he plays the "Wife, be silent and obey!" card with her. I don't think Fred will go after her. He likes women that are a bit more of a challenge; it's more gratifying to his ego to see them submit to him. 

 

Yes Nick is scared and he has every right to be. No he wasn’t kind or gentle with Eden but he didn’t scream, curse or speak to her in a degrading way. He told her not to touch this things and he meant it. 

I do believe he’s got to watch out for Eden, she’s going to be trouble for him as she’s a true believer and has unlimited access to him; but he’s not cruel or intentionally taking out his frustrations on her. 

The actresses baby face/voice and big eyes sold the scene well. She was scared too. 

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 When Nick realizes that Eden has found the letters in his trunk and they are sitting out in the open, I think that panic ensues in him and I actually don’t think he was coming from a place of just fear for himself but I also think he was coming from a place of frustration because Eden did not realize what it would have meant if she had in fact read the letters.

Because then what is he going to do? 

Eden would have inadvertently made herself a part of something way bigger and grander and far more dangerous than anything she could ever imagine.

Even if Eden mistakenly believes that telling on him is the right way to go, she very well could end her own life, she is just that naive and ignorant to how things really work in Gilead. 

Those letters were intended to be given to another May Day operative to smuggle out long before everything else happened. 

 Nick is still struggling obviously to figure out what to do with the letters, where does he take them, how does he let on to those in the resistance that he has them without potentially exposing someone or himself? 

 Nick’s sharp rebuke of Eden seemed almost like a father finding his child playing with matches or learning that they found something in a particular hiding place they were never supposed to find. 

The way that he demanded to know that she did not read them and then he fiercely rebuked her to never touch his things ever, ever again, to me it was very similar to a parent harshly scolding a child and telling them to never touch or be near something for their own safety.

The way that he suddenly backed off and goes and sits down and he’s holding the letters and touching them delicately, he looks lost and worried, and I think that too is due to him getting a reality check that again he has to take responsibility for what happens to Eden, how his choices now affect her.

What he does and how he does things now affect her and Nick is a good enough guy, I think, to care about what happens to this kid. 

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1 hour ago, AnswersWanted said:

Those letters were intended to be given to another May Day operative to smuggle out long before everything else happened. 

Were they?  I wasn't really sure what was in the letters.  I thought they might possibly be letters from his life before Gilead (BG), but still would have been considered contraband because they were from the sinful past.  It makes sense that they could be letters for May Day, but I thought since they've changed their tactics hanging on to those letters would be kind of pointless and stupid.  It is evidence to get him caught and isn't going anywhere anytime soon.  I realize they mean a lot (if that's what they were) since they may be the last communication for some of the writers.  Am I being dense to be unsure of their content?

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4 minutes ago, Normades said:

Were they?  I wasn't really sure what was in the letters.  I

My understanding is that these are the letters that June got in the "butcher shop handoff" that Moira had told her about at Jezebels. They've gotten hidden and passed around since then. 

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1 minute ago, dleighg said:

My understanding is that these are the letters that June got in the "butcher shop handoff" that Moira had told her about at Jezebels. They've gotten hidden and passed around since then. 

You know, I was thinking she burned them, but now that you say that I do remember Nick taking them from her.  Makes sense.  I guess I was being dense!!  Thanks!

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2 minutes ago, Normades said:

You know, I was thinking she burned them, but now that you say that I do remember Nick taking them from her.  Makes sense.  I guess I was being dense!!  Thanks!

She did burn some of them.  Maybe about half of them from the size differences, but Nick saved the rest.

The are letters from women all over Gilead telling their stories.  We got to hear a very few of them, and glimpse a few lines of others.

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14 hours ago, Normades said:

They showed that Serena had been shot in the abdominal area before Gilead took over, so I'm convinced she cannot conceive.  She also was pretty clear that the Commander was sterile because she went to Nick pretty quickly and then later told the Commander that he was not the father (TM Maury!).  I think Serena has been wanting a baby for a long time.  Originally it was her job and her husband's fertility problems that got in her way and later she was injured and left unable to conceive.  You could tell she had been hoping for a baby for a while when she opened up that trunk with all the baby things in it.  I forgot which episode that was. 

I think so, too -- why show her being shot there if it wasn't to imply that it may impact her conception chances? That would embitter her against the resistance and lead to her being more strident and extreme in her viewpoints about the need for a Gilead-type society. I also think that if her husband's fertility were the only barrier to pregnancy, she would have found a way to conceive without him, just as she found a way for her handmaid to conceive without him. Her desire to be a mother is the one thing Serena has been consistent about throughout the series, and it's the main barrier to her joining or assisting the resistance. Would Serena be able to give up what is likely to be her last chance to become a mother?

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On 6/6/2018 at 8:21 PM, Tarar said:

How are the Guardians not freaking out over their conversations and ignoring and ripping away from them? The Handmaids getting chirpy over Janine showing her pregnancy off got them all yelled at and now they are all chatty Cathy's and no one is saying a word? Loved seeing the old spark back in Emily's eyes! 

There’s a lot in this show that doesn’t make sense starting with the way they treat the handmaids.  They are supposed to be a rare and precious asset and, by rights, should be the most pampered members of society.  Instead, they beat them, burn them, cut off their limbs, gouge out their eyes and generally make their lives so dificult and terrifying it’s a wonder anyone of them conceive at all.  And maybe that's why none of them are pregnant apart from Janine and June. In all those very pretty military rows of handmaids, do we see any pregnant ones?  Nope, they’re as rare as hen’s teeth yet no one seems to remark on this.

Another big problem the fact that Serena just does not seem like the religious fanatic you would expect her to be.  We get no sense of her piety; she never prays; she never calls on God while on her own like you would expect a genuinely pious and religious woman to do (like Eden for example).  She just seems icy and intellectual and to pay lip service to all this Puritan, radical religion thing.  So one wonders what type of society she was trying to create?  It’s not credible her character was working towards making women submissive and very pious when she herself does not come across as anything like.

i wonder if they are now going with the idea that she will bring down Gilead now that she has realized the worm has turned (she used to berate Fred like when she spit at him that he wasn’t worthy to father a child) and she sees she’s has no more power than June?  Another confusing character is Nick. Is he working for the resistance? Is he still a spy for the overall Gilead government with the power to have the Commander arrested?  How does he feel about his child being given over to other people?  They make his character and his role very confusing.

it’s a good show (really great actors) but there are a lot of things happening which really strain credulity.

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Many already have said what I am about to say: Serena Joy is experiencing the unintended consequences of her beliefs and her support for an all male, Christian fundamentalist society. What she is going to do with that depends on how good, or not the writing is going to be. I am really enjoying the character, more than any other. It goes far beyond the book.

I also like how they are showing the relationship between Nick and Eden. She is basically doing what she was told. He is conflicted, because he sees her as a child (which she is, in anyways). And he is walking a fine line, having to be a loyalist, and not wanting to be a kind of rapist. 

As for June, I think this season the character lost a lot. I hope the writers get back to the essence of the Handmaid that tells the tale (like in the book) because, to me, she is just a bore.

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16 minutes ago, alexvillage said:

As for June, I think this season the character lost a lot. I hope the writers get back to the essence of the Handmaid that tells the tale (like in the book) because, to me, she is just a bore

Seriously. She is the least interesting out of everyone on this show. Serena is a far more complex and layered character and Yvonne is acting circles around Elizabeth Moss.

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On 6/6/2018 at 1:14 AM, rideashire said:

I think Serena has been under at least a partial illusion that she’s exempt from some of the ridiculous rules this new government has imposed on women and this was certainly a wake up call for her that just because she is who she is, doesn’t mean squat. If anything, Fred seems to take delight in showing her the rules still apply, so much so that he dug around in a musty book to find one that gave him permission to beat her.

This episode forced my hate for Serena to the background so that I was able to hate Fred even more than I already do.

 

Oh...I still have no sympathy for Serena Joy. She willed this to happen and thought that she somehow would be above it all.

This season has made the specific and perfect point of showing exactly how Serena Joy's choice and role in helping to create the laws of Gilead has put her into the subjected and submissive role that she truly never thought she would be in. I also think that she thought that Fred would never ever treat her in such a way. He finally proved her wrong, even after she thought that he would appreciate her in what she did to protect him and his place in leadership. 

On 6/6/2018 at 1:14 AM, chocolatine said:

Janine singing to a cooing Charlotte at the end was so beautiful, I don't even care how unrealistic it was that she was allowed to be anywhere near the Putnams again. I sat through the very end of the credits to listen to the two of them. I'm not in the medical field, but could it be that Charlotte got sick because of emotional neglect? I've read that babies don't thrive unless you kiss and cuddle and talk to them. We already know Naomi isn't bonded with the baby.

That scene and the closing credits were beautiful, because it was about this lovely bounding moment between a mother and child. That baby loved the sounds, touches, kisses and affection from Janine. Both will thrive from experiencing that moment.

Baby Charlotte/Angela was totally deprived of being emotionally taken care of in that horrible home. The Wife clearly doesn't actually want to be a mother, hates that she has to behave like she does want to be a mother and probably still resents that her husband used his position to have other opportunities to have sex with Janine in their home. 

On 6/6/2018 at 1:15 AM, Deputy Deputy CoS said:

Emily is still defiant. Yay!

 

 

I love that Emily is still defiant, but I fear that it will only hasten her death at the end of it all.

You can see how this world takes its toll on the women. The Martha who was terrified of being brought to the medical center and then seeing them giving her access to all the things that was stripped away from her, only because she was a woman.

Edited by vixenbynight
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I know, when Fred's death inevitably comes, and I know that it will, I will be only satisfied if we get to watch each of the women he has tormented and trapped in this life over the years will get to inflict their own pain onto him. Maybe HE can get stoned to death! 

Seriously, though, his behaviour all episode was, in my opinion, a lot of pent up rage and fury, all leading up to his actions against his own wife. He obviously feels powerless for the first time; factor in Serena finally questioning some of his decisions and truly making some progress in making her own choices without him, and that was going to lead to a blowout like this. 

I can muster up a tiny bit of sympathy for Serena, but not much. She can't be stupid enough to not know there'd be consequences on her when she silences all women the way that she did, right? Or maybe she is, and she truly believed she'd have a voice in this new world. I can believe her not planning for this to get as far as it did, but she had her hand in getting it far enough. I get that she might be seeing the light now, but it's far too late for her. She's chosen her path and right now, I'm not convinced she wouldn't take her anger out on June in a way that wouldn't harm the baby. I can see her conforming back to Gilead rules and throwing June under the bus in a heartbeat. I'm not convinced she's this newly changed woman. She may now have her eyes open, but what she does next is crucial to her awakening. In order for some kind of redemption, even not a full redemption (as her actions in creating Gilead have prevented a full redemption), there's a whole lot she'd have to do, include, for me, sacrificing herself fully. 

I do buy that she's been starting to truly realize what a horrible world she's helped to create, but I don't think she's going to change in the way that most TV shows would have a character like this change. It definitely won't be this season; it would be too easy to see Serena fully turn on what she created and her own beliefs. And once June has the baby, all bets are off. 

Nick's a frustrating character for me to watch. I think it's mostly the actor, who is fairly bland and gives no life to Nick as a character, so it's hard for me to care about his own entrapment (though I care more than Serena's woes). However, his whole situation is also kind of fascinating to analyze. I get him not wanting to be close to Eden. He sees her as a little girl, because she is a little girl. He doesn't want to participate in this child bride stuff and he's doing what he thinks is the only way to separate himself from her. However, it's clear that Eden's been so brainwashed by the system that she's very close in reporting Nick, or at least telling the wrong person about how he's not conforming. 

I think Nick wants to protect Eden, as he might care about her as an actual human being, but it might lead to consequences for him as well as her. She could be blamed for not performing well enough and her life could be in more danger with Nick's actions (as Nick, as a man, still holds more power than Eden, a woman). He can't even seem to muster a decent conversation with her, but it's hurting her more than he thinks it's probably protecting her. I worry about Eden, for sure. None of this is remotely her fault, but she might suffer the most in this situation. 

The Janine/Charlotte scene at the end was so powerful. They really drove the point home, before this, that Charlotte/Angela wasn't getting the emotional care that she needed. The Wife hated the child, so it didn't even need to be said that she was not giving the child the proper emotional care that she needed, and she likely handed the girl off to a Martha when in private. On another note, it's interesting to see all the women suffering in some way. For women who are in power positions but don't want children, they have to conform to this new society as well. Of course, it's on a lesser scale than the other women in Gilead, as they have the choice to remain in power while sacrificing their childless lives for a reputation and not being in a position of true punishment. I don't feel for the Wife, of course, because she just almost killed the child in her home. I can't even call her her child, because she's not. 

Also, that poor doctor Martha. I really, really felt for her. I hope we do see a bit more of her, but seeing as it seems she's from another place, it might not be happening. I'm glad for the little stories like this.

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On 6/7/2018 at 9:56 AM, charmed1 said:

ITA. For me, it harkened back to enslaved African women being forced to serve as wet nurses and midwives for the children of plantation owners. Especially seeing her dressed in that get up.  Wonderful piece of acting. Her scene was the very first and only time I shed a tear during this entire series. Every one of my doctors is a black woman — from dermatologist to therapist. It definitely resonated with me.

Most of mine are too: therapist, dentist, dermatologist, and OB/GYN. (My GP is white.) The two favorite doctors I've ever had are my childhood pediatrician (a white Jewish woman) and my current OB/GYN. While I don't necessarily enjoy my annual gyn visit, I'm always like "HI DR.S!" when I have it because she's wonderful.

As I said, when she said "I am the best. Or was," I almost cried. She became the top in her field in a tough specialty AS a Black woman, so you KNOW she had to wade through rivers of shit to rise to the top, and they brought her down in this regime. As someone else said, how many other babies died because she wasn't allowed to help them? UGH. Watching her fingering the white coat with such longing was really hard.

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18 hours ago, dleighg said:

My understanding is that these are the letters that June got in the "butcher shop handoff" that Moira had told her about at Jezebels. They've gotten hidden and passed around since then. 

 

  Yep.

Rita held onto them for June during the time she had left and escaped. June had hoped that Rita would take action and somehow pass them along to whomever would come looking for them but Rita was far too terrified to take the risk. 

 Then June lost her marbles there for a second and decided to just burn them all but thankfully Nick rescued her and the letters, and they have been in his possession from that point because he is still figuring out what to do about them. 

  Whether Eden actually read the letters or not, Nick now has to act based on what he knows would be best, just the fact that Eden knows those letters exist puts her life in danger, especially since May Day made such a bold move against the regime with the suicide bombing, if anyone comes out with information regarding the resistance that person is more than likely going to be marked themselves.

Gilead is not going to try to figure out who is a true follower or not, as we saw last week with the Martha getting shot down in the street because she couldn’t open her day pass fast enough, they are on high alert and triggering an investigation into such matters would be a huge mistake. 

Nick is more than aware of that but Eden isn’t and that is the real danger in her knowing now, IMO. 

This next part I’m going to spoiler tag because it is information in a promo for episode nine and it is not just the US promo but it is the Israeli promo which is actually far more detailed about certain parts of the episode to come. 

 

Spoiler

Thanks to the promo sneak peek we see that apparently Nick has been pushed into action, I’m going to guess because of what Eden did specifically and he knows that he needs to get those letters out of Gilead and the sooner the better so he passes them to Luke when he travels with Waterford to Canada. And the promo also lets us know what Luke does with them which is upload them to the Internet, confirmation that it is still up and running well, and pandemonium ensues as it should because of the contents of those precious documents.

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3 hours ago, GraceK said:

Seriously. She is the least interesting out of everyone on this show. Serena is a far more complex and layered character and Yvonne is acting circles around Elizabeth Moss.

Couldn’t agree more.  Serena is such a fascinating character and the actress is doing a stupendous job with the role.  I really hope she has some kind of happy ending.  E Moss seems to have two expressions for everything one of them being an annoying smirk. 

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Maybe it's my personality, but I am living for Serena's redemption.. She is getting to her breaking point, something is gona give, more so than ever before. 

But then a part of me feels they will flip this next week after her humiliation and instead of it spurring on her rebellion she will merely go back to being a psycho b**ch and take out all of her frustrations on June. So I'm not holding my breath. Even if Serena and June did team up, they will still have different goals and veryyyy different plans for the baby, so there is no way their partnership would ever last. 

I actually thought Fred was gona force Serena or June or both women into a sex act when he took off his belt, I didn't see the lashing coming. 

I don't fully understand June pimping herself out to be in Fred's good books and maybe I am missing something here. If she's doing it for better treatment from him or even some form of assistance, or just for an easier life, surely conforming to the rules to keep in Serena's good books would have the same effect, even though Fred has more power than Serena. It just struck me that if she has the wherewithall to play the game and pimp herself out to Fred, she could have also found it in herself to play the game with Serena and conform to her requirements. Maybe she picked what she thought was the lesser of two evils. 

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On 6/6/2018 at 8:35 AM, nodorothyparker said:

I don't think it even matters what we personally think of Serena, how complicit she's been up until now, or how her ideas may or may not have led to consequences far beyond what she intended.  She still doesn't deserve to be beaten by her husband droning a very paraphrased version of Ephesians while the woman he forces himself on on the regular looks on.  There was no reason for that other than to put her in her place and make sure all three of them knew it.  Serena continues to fascinate because she has her spots where you can so clearly see that she sees full well how messed up all this is, like her non direct answer to June's question of whether she misses working (and by implication her life before) or the way she was so intently watching the Janine/Lydia/Putnams drama over the baby play out, how she kept meeting June's eyes and asking her opinion almost like an equal and then pulling back.  But she is still complicit in the system that's causing all this cruelty and unhappiness and she has lorded the limited power it's allowed her over those with even less.  So while she's not an innocent, it's hurting her too.  There were themes running throughout between this and even Nick's scenes with Eden of what having unlimited power over other people does to you and how those at the top use the divisions it causes to prevent otherwise natural alliances against it.  There's been something so interesting in June and Serena's detente building across these past three episodes that made both of their lives at least a little less awful, and of course Commander Fred couldn't have that.

 

On 6/5/2018 at 11:53 PM, LittleRed84 said:

1) There is so much in this episode to consider! But first I have to play Devil's advocate here for a second regarding Serena Joy. Hear me out. (I just watched an interview with Yvonne Strahovski and she shed light on what makes Serena tick)... Here's something to ponder:

Many people make statements about Serena like- too bad so sad this is "the world she created" etc etc. I really do NOT believe that this is the Republic she had in mind and the ideas she wanted to share that day she was turned away in the courthouse. In flashbacks we saw her speaking out publicly regarding declining birth rates and how women should return to a more "domestic" lifestyle and concentrate on raising families in the midst of a world that had become overrun by drugs, lust, greed, etc. I believe her intentions were pure. Correct me if I'm forgetting something, but I don't remember her advocating for women's enslavement or rape or being stripped of their rights when planning Gilead? Nor do I remember her saying women should be banned from writing, reading, etc. She basically admitted that to the Ambassador Castillo from Mexico in the office meeting- that she never envisioned a world in which women could not read her book. Yes, Serena was for the overthrow of the government. But she was shut out of the planning stages very very early on for Gilead. Remember the first conversation about Handmaid's in the car between Commanders Waterford, Pryce, and one other commander regarding "rounding up the fertile women and impregnating them"? That was after Serena had been shut out. By that point she had no input. Just like in this episode... we like to say "fight back!" or "don't go along with it!", but what can she really do? They could execute her or send her to the Colonies for going against the law, just like all those dead bodies hanging after the bombing. She can't bear children, so if the Commander doesn't want her, she is of no use.

Anyway, I don't think this is the world she wanted. And of course I'm TeamJune all the way. But if you really think deep, if you were banned from having sex with your own husband, not allowed to think for yourself or read or write or own anything... and had to watch him have sex with another woman because you took a bullet for the cause that created this Republic... would you not also be hateful and bitter? June is the only person Serena has control over and unfortunately she takes out all her anger and frustration on her... everything else must stay pent up. Totally not saying all of Serena's actions are justified at ALL... just that she's human and people crack and become other people under this type of stress and dehumanizing. She's imprisoned in this world she rallied for... but I don't think this is the world she thought was going to happen. I don't think this is what was on those little note cards she wrote up pre-Gilead... 

All the Serena/June stuff has been so good. I was annoyed, but not surprised when I found out they were making the Waterford's younger on the show than they were in the books, but (at least with Serena) I think it makes the relationship on the show really fascinating. June's line about the possibility of them being colleagues in another life felt right-on to me. There were just enough hints in S1 where I vividly remember thinking this was not the kind of society she envisioned. Again, not to excuse her awful behavior, but I'm curious to see where her arc goes. 

Outside of this show, I've only seen Yvonne Strahovski in CHUCK and DEXTER. CHUCK was very frothy and fun with a sprinkling of serious stuff on occasion. Most of the press about her was about how good-looking she was, but she fucking brought it on that show. DEXTER was a goddamn shitshow by the time she got there, but she was good in spite of what she was given. I thought she was really under appreciated last Season and she's killing it this time around. Whenever this show ends, I hope she gets more quality stuff to do. 

I still don't trust Nick, but I think that's mostly my complete and total distrust of him in the book creeping in. Also, my response to him snapping at Eden wasn't "Oh, no!" but "Of course!" Hey, dummy? Maybe find a better spot to hide your resistance messages now that you have a wife who is going to be tidying up your place every damn day. Idiot. I know Eden is a pain-in-the-ass, but she's fifteen, was gifted to a strange man and has been groomed by her family and the laws of Gilead to be a subservient piece of property. I just......can't get mad at her too much.   

That end scene was gorgeous. I kept waiting for Asshole Mrs Putnam to walk into frame and take Charlotte and turn my happy tears into sad ones, but I'm glad they went out with the singing and cooing. 

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I rewatched the office scene and something new occurred to me: I believe that Fred and Serena have had a similar altercation, or perhaps altercations, in the past.

The ritual seems far too rehearsed and well known to them both, I think the only thing that is new is the inclusion of June as an additional embarrassment and humiliation factor for Serena.

But she knew exactly what was going to happen to her, when she offered up that small plea of “Fred please”, quietly, it was heavily tainted with resignation. 

It makes me wonder if there is an official mandate or ordinance about a husband’s ability to physically discipline his wife, that her body belongs to him and if he decides that she has earned punishment in the home he can do as he pleases, within some semblance of “Gilead reasoning” I guess, no brutality as befitting a handmaid for starters, and she has no recourse.

 Or perhaps Serena has always known that this could happen to her but Fred had never taken the steps before.

Maybe he’d always promised her that he would never do that, that she would always be safe from those sort of rules in their home because he would never treat her like a “lesser vessel”, as the Bible put it, and she would remain his equal in private. 

 I could definitely see that adding to her breakdown in the bedroom.

The all too real realization of now knowing that Fred has fully acclimated himself to Gilead society, that the man she married has changed for good. 

She has lost the ability to reason with him or to argue her way out of a marital bind because he now fully expects total obedience and nothing less. 

 

2 hours ago, BARISTA said:

I don't fully understand June pimping herself out to be in Fred's good books and maybe I am missing something here. If she's doing it for better treatment from him or even some form of assistance, or just for an easier life, surely conforming to the rules to keep in Serena's good books would have the same effect, even though Fred has more power than Serena. It just struck me that if she has the wherewithall to play the game and pimp herself out to Fred, she could have also found it in herself to play the game with Serena and conform to her requirements. Maybe she picked what she thought was the lesser of two evils. 

 

I think the simple answer has to do with who has more power. Not just over her but in general. 

Seeing Serena flattened as she was in the office just convinced June that she has to align herself with the “real boss” in the home.

Sticking with Serena can only get her so much, take her so far. June probably feels she has more to offer Fred to get something in return as well.

A simple relationship with Serena where twinges of hope and understanding rear their heads from time to time is one thing, but she can offer Fred her body and right now that gets her more in the long run. 

June already played that card when she was brought back into the Waterford’s home and Serena wanted her taken back to the center, fed up with her.

Serena didn’t have a change of mind or heart certainly, it was a lustful Fred staring at June on her knees before him, asking “please” in his favorite breathy way, who made the final decision. 

June first approached Serena after the beating, offering herself to her as well, to serve as a comfort, as a help, as a friend, just as another woman who knew all too well the shame and agony of having all dignity stripped away and having to let a man do whatever he wants to your body without resisting. 

Serena did not open that door, or herself, up to June.

When June went back to Fred’s office the door was opened to her, she took the only way out that was offered. 

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8 hours ago, vixenbynight said:

I love that Emily is still defiant, but I fear that it will only hasten her death at the end of it all.

You can see how this world takes its toll on the women. The Martha who was terrified of being brought to the medical center and then seeing them giving her access to all the things that was stripped away from her, only because she was a woman.

Maybe.

I think that what we are seeing is showing that women are beginning to RESIST and to change the status quo in Gilead.  It could go either way here, it may actually begin to change, OR the Commanders of Gilead could begin to crack down even more

Think of what we've seen lately though, it's all pretty amazing, showing the cracks in Gilead, and women, risking death and punishment, as have all enslaved people who ever stood up to power, are now at least trying to change things.  True, some seem like small things, but generally, that's how things eventually change.  A few black children are allowed into an all white school, a woman refuses to give up her seat on a bus, people risk death on the underground railroad, students burn their draft cards or protest and are gunned down at their colleges, people are shot down trying to get past the Berlin wall, families are murdered because they harbored Jewish people.  Change is never easy, and once a totalitarian government gains power, it's even more dangerous.

On the show the first real stirrings of a different kind of resistance are happening, will it make things worse or better for individual characters on the show?  Maybe both, maybe one or the other, we will have to see.

  • The bomb
  • June's escape
  • Calling each other by their real names
  • Serena trying to get back some of her previous "privileges" and saving them all from death by taking that risk
  • The Martha examining the baby
  • Bringing back Handmaids from the colonies showing their desperation

These are all HUGE things, signs of change, or the beginnings of it?  Will it cause MORE crackdowns and harsher conditions, or will it eventually work, if not now, then for other women to come?

3 hours ago, BARISTA said:

I don't fully understand June pimping herself out to be in Fred's good books

What is hard to get?  She's trying to stay alive.  You can't fight if you are dead.  June made a promise to her unborn child to get her/him out of Gilead.

1 hour ago, AnswersWanted said:

I rewatched the office scene and something new occurred to me: I believe that Fred and Serena have had a similar altercation, or perhaps altercations, in the past.

The ritual seems far too rehearsed and well known to them both, I think the only thing that is new is the inclusion of June as an additional embarrassment and humiliation factor for Serena.

I thought of that at the time, but completely forgot to mention it!  Yes, this wasn't the first time, she knew what that chair was for.  I bet she wishes she'd never said "BE A MAN~!" to Fred, because his ideas of what "being a man" entails are not good. 

 

To this one, because for some reason I can't type under it.

I also got this completely, I know women and men like this, hell, sometimes I AM this woman.  It's sometimes hard to take "help" when you are devastated.  In Serena's case though?  She's a very smart women, she knew exactly what Fred was doing, so why risk another beating by continuing her forbidden alliance with June?

1 hour ago, AnswersWanted said:

June first approached Serena after the beating, offering herself to her as well, to serve as a comfort, as a help, as a friend, just as another woman who knew all too well the shame and agony of having all dignity stripped away and having to let a man do whatever he wants to your body without resisting. 

Serena did not open that door, or herself, up to June.

Edited by Umbelina
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I don't fully understand June pimping herself out to be in Fred's good books and maybe I am missing something here. If she's doing it for better treatment from him or even some form of assistance, or just for an easier life, surely conforming to the rules to keep in Serena's good books would have the same effect, even though Fred has more power than Serena.

Staying in Fred's good graces might get her better treatment, such as when he let her out of solitary confinement in season 1, let her stay at their home instead of returning to the Red Center after she ran away, and got her the picture of her daughter.  When he wanted sex from her this season, he accepted her excuse of not wanting to hurt the baby and didn't force her to have any sexual contact with him aside from the kiss.  She may figure that as long as she doesn't have to sleep with him, it's probably for the best for him to think of her as the submissive doll he likes so much. 

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I also had the impression that this was not the first time it had happened. The way Serena repeated "amends" after Fred very much indicated that she knew exactly what was coming.

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2 hours ago, Umbelina said:

I thought of that at the time, but completely forgot to mention it!  Yes, this wasn't the first time, she knew what that chair was for.  I bet she wishes she'd never said "BE A MAN~!" to Fred, because his ideas of what "being a man" entails are not good. 

 

I believe Fred carries resentment for those moments in their marriage from "before", when Serena was free to snap such belittling statements at him. 

I think there was a very cold darkness growing in Fred over time and Serena, blinded by her own personal ambition, drive, and success, did not realize it.

Perhaps she still doesn't know how deep down it runs, but just like her garden she helped it to grow, to blossom and bloom and thrive. 

Serena, I think, wanted to push Fred's ideas of true manhood and dominance and she unleashed a monster in the process. 

 

Quote

 

To this one, because for some reason I can't type under it.

I also got this completely, I know women and men like this, hell, sometimes I AM this woman.  It's sometimes hard to take "help" when you are devastated.  In Serena's case though?  She's a very smart women, she knew exactly what Fred was doing, so why risk another beating by continuing her forbidden alliance with June?

 

 

I hate when that happens to me too. Blessed be for cut and paste. 

 I got that as well, I was using June's POV of that moment to make a point about her attempts to do damage control with both Serena and Fred and only one really responded to her. 

  But from Serena's perspective absolutely, she had just literally gotten her bottom beaten ecause she pissed off Fred, the last person that she was going to open her door to, especially after all that, was June, even though in June's mind it was a moment where they could come together after so many weeks of connecting. 

 For her own self preservation Serena turned inward, she saw that just trying to have something beyond the typical "wife tolerating handmaid" relationship with June could mentally and physically cost her a great deal, she wasn't going to put herself through that again.

On June's side of the equation I think that sne had hoped that, as she had reformed a female connection with many of the other handmaids, she was doing the same with h Serena, slowly but surely. 

But when she realized that avenue of hope was a dead end she went back to Fred,  after all a "happy husband makes a happy home".

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On 6/7/2018 at 3:31 PM, The Mighty Peanut said:

Aren’t women’s religious crimes always seeking knowledge? I think she read them. I wonder if Nick could sneak on a black market condom.

At first glance, I thought you said he should sneak on a black light condom so I was picturing him wearing neon body paint at a rave with a glow in the dark condom!

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He could easily use a condom and I doubt she'd know the difference.  BUT, if she gets pregnant, he will no longer have to fuck a child. 

He'll just have two babies.

 

Which is worse?  Poor Nick, his choices suck.

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19 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

But she knew exactly what was going to happen to her, when she offered up that small plea of “Fred please”, quietly, it was heavily tainted with resignation.

You know, I thought the exact opposite - that she was shocked and incredulous when she reslized what he meant to do.  Serena hasn’t been exactly a submissive wife up to now.  She stands up to her husband and berates him when their first handmaiden killed herself and hissed that he wasn't worthy to father children when she vindictively informed him he wasn’t the father of June’s baby.  So I find it hard to believe this had happened before.  Thus, her tears and grief when she undresses to assess the damage and realizes the husband she probably loved and admired before is capable of this brutality against her.  I think Fred is slowly realizing he does have the upper hand and that the law will uphold him in anything he does to his wife (as in no prosecution for domestic violence).  I think we saw this one episode further back (can’t remember which) where he tells her to go to her room.  I think he now decided to take things one step further with the corporal punishment.  Mind you, if I were Sabrina I would have resisted physically and would have brained him with the first object that came to hand, lol.

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19 minutes ago, Earlwoode said:

You know, I thought the exact opposite - that she was shocked and incredulous when she reslized what he meant to do.  Serena hasn’t been exactly a submissive wife up to now.  She stands up to her husband and berates him when their first handmaiden killed herself and hissed that he wasn't worthy to father children when she vindictively informed him he wasn’t the father of June’s baby.  So I find it hard to believe this had happened before.  Thus, her tears and grief when she undresses to assess the damage and realizes the husband she probably loved and admired before is capable of this brutality against her.  I think Fred is slowly realizing he does have the upper hand and that the law will uphold him in anything he does to his wife (as in no prosecution for domestic violence).  I think we saw this one episode further back (can’t remember which) where he tells her to go to her room.  I think he now decided to take things one step further with the corporal punishment.  Mind you, if I were Sabrina I would have resisted physically and would have brained him with the first object that came to hand, lol.

 

 As I mentioned, I saw two possible outcomes, one was that it had happened before and I still think that it could have.  

Forced submission is not the same as open submission. Serena getting away with verbal digs at Fred and getting in his face sometimes does not mean that he has not shown her far stricter control then we’ve been privy to before now. 

If Serena had already been through this type of “ritual”, Gilead’s replacement word for abuse it seems, before that does not mean her reaction would be any less filled with trepidation and horror, shock and fear, not to mention the fact that on this occasion Fred decided to force an audience and have June witness it which, for a normally proud woman especially as Serena is, that certainly would have elicited the same response. 

 I don’t think that It is something which happens on a weekly basis, perhaps it only happened once or twice before and that was during the beginning of the regime’s takeover, but I would not say that Serena’s reaction was solely that of a woman who had never gone through it, but more so a woman who realized that it was going to happen again indicating how far pressed Fred felt,  that she’d crossed that not so invisible line which exists now between wives and husbands in Gilead and she had no way back over it and had to accept what he was going to do or else. 

 The idea of resisting could not even cross her mind in this sort of situation, Gilead is not a place to resist a higher power, not even Serena would fool herself into thinking that could ever end well for her. At least while she’s still under Fred and the regime’s rule. 

 I don’t think Fred is now slowly realizing anything, he already knows, very well, what his privileges are as a man and a high ranking commander. 

What is happening now, I believe, is that we are finally getting to see just how far he is willing to take things for ourselves, but even in season one we saw a man that would take his captive rape victim to to a sex club for “fun”.

Fred already feels far invincible and above the law and has for a long time, maybe even since Gilead first took charge. 

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On 6/6/2018 at 3:02 PM, LaChavalina said:

Did anyone else get a sense of foreshadowing from the interaction between Eden and the Commander? Wondering if his disgust with the other women in the household is going to lead him to try something with her. She seems to fit his perfect, submissive womanly mold.

I don't know about future interactions with Eden but I don't think the commander wants a submissive woman.  His interactions with SJ and June indicate that he wants an independent strong willed woman.  The problem is that goes against his ideology so he's stuck in this cycle of being fiercely drawn to a strong woman while also trying to force her into being submissive.  Unfortunately this occurs too often in real life.  Men will pursue a strong willed woman then try to "tame" her and then discard her when she will not submit.  In this world the commander has way more avenues to try to get the strong willed woman to submit such as physical violence and all of society to back them up.  In lesser ways this is also part of our own society which I think is what the show is trying to demonstrate.  Ironically if a man does get a strong willed woman to submit he often times becomes bored with her and seeks out a new strong willed woman to continue the cycle, which was probably part of the reason he is attracted to June.

On 6/6/2018 at 3:02 PM, LaChavalina said:

Did anyone else get a sense of foreshadowing from the interaction between Eden and the Commander? Wondering if his disgust with the other women in the household is going to lead him to try something with her. She seems to fit his perfect, submissive womanly mold.

I don't know about future interactions with Eden but I don't think the commander wants a submissive woman.  His interactions with SJ and June indicate that he wants an independent strong willed woman.  The problem is that goes against his ideology so he's stuck in this cycle of being fiercely drawn to a strong woman while also trying to force her into being submissive.  Unfortunately this occurs too often in real life.  Men will pursue a strong willed woman then try to "tame" her and then discard her when she will not submit.  In this world the commander has way more avenues to try to get the strong willed woman to submit such as physical violence and all of society to back them up.  In lesser ways this is also part of our own society which I think is what the show is trying to demonstrate.  Ironically if a man does get a strong willed woman to submit he often times becomes bored with her and seeks out a new strong willed woman to continue the cycle, which was probably part of the reason he is attracted to June.

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3 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

Forced submission is not the same as open submission. Serena getting away with verbal digs at Fred and getting in his face sometimes does not mean that he has not shown her far stricter control then we’ve been privy to before now. 

Perhaps, but I don’t get that vibe from what we’ve seen up to now now.  If Fred was so sure of his upper hand, why would he have waited until Serena goes to visit her mother to take June to the nightclub?  Why wouldn’t he have just said “I’m your husband and I can do whatever the fuck I want and you just shut up”?  But it didn’t work that way - she was livid when she found the dress and she sure as hell let him know it.  That doesn’t sound like a woman who accepted her husband  beating her with a belt.  Also, these women have some power.  Witness the wife who absolutely wanted her husband’s arm cut off.  Sure, she masked it under the notion she was frightened for his immortal soul (yeah, right!) but basically, she got back at him for having unlawful sex with the handmaid.  This means these people live under the fear their every peccadillo will be denounced by anyone near them.  Basically, the same rule of fear countries like Cuba and North Korea use to keep citizens in line. And that includes the  Commanders as we saw before.

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1 hour ago, Earlwoode said:

Perhaps, but I don’t get that vibe from what we’ve seen up to now now.  If Fred was so sure of his upper hand, why would he have waited until Serena goes to visit her mother to take June to the nightclub?  Why wouldn’t he have just said “I’m your husband and I can do whatever the fuck I want and you just shut up”?  But it didn’t work that way - she was livid when she found the dress and she sure as hell let him know it.  That doesn’t sound like a woman who accepted her husband  beating her with a belt.  Also, these women have some power.  Witness the wife who absolutely wanted her husband’s arm cut off.  Sure, she masked it under the notion she was frightened for his immortal soul (yeah, right!) but basically, she got back at him for having unlawful sex with the handmaid.  This means these people live under the fear their every peccadillo will be denounced by anyone near them.  Basically, the same rule of fear countries like Cuba and North Korea use to keep citizens in line. And that includes the  Commanders as we saw before.

 

 When Serena found the outfit she knew exactly what Fred had been up to because he had done it before.

June was not their first handmaid he had taken out like that, so in reverse why didn't she report him the very first time it happened?

 Why would strong, confident Serena be complacent with her husband doing that even once, let alone letting it get to the point where he would eventually drive the handmaid to commit suicide, therefore opening their door to another posting, which is the only reason June came to them in the first place.

 Fred plays games, he likes things a certain way, perhaps he likes to cut down on drama and the screaming and the screeching of a hapless wife because frankly Serena can't do anything so it's annoying and he prefers to avoid it if he can. 

 It's clear Serena knows plenty of Fred's dirty dark secrets, yet what has come of that?

She has taken no steps to report him, to expose him or try and get him punished somehow.

 One could argue that in and of itself is an act of submission, an act of acceptance of something that cannot or will not change.

To me, absolutely that is a woman that would allow herself to be physically beaten, because in reality she already has been.

 But honestly it's not even allowing, I do not believe Serena has allowed any of it, that's the point, she has no choice but to submit because what else is there?

What could be her out, where are her options?

What goes on between another commander and his wife seems to have no bearings whatsoever in the Waterford home.

 Serena is a woman of intelligence, if she could see a way out then she would have taken it already, but instead she bent over that chair without much hesitation or protest.

Even in today's world there are plenty of proud, professional women who live in domestic abuse situations and no one would ever guess from a demeanor or attitude standpoint that any of them would permit or submit herself to be forcibly hurt or harmed, but it happens all the time, sadly.

 And what is Gilead, partly, but a huge domestic abuse case study. 

In my eyes a good bit about that belting felt rehearsed and practiced. 

Of course ymmv. 

Edited by AnswersWanted
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6 hours ago, Earlwoode said:

You know, I thought the exact opposite - that she was shocked and incredulous when she reslized what he meant to do.  Serena hasn’t been exactly a submissive wife up to now.  She stands up to her husband and berates him when their first handmaiden killed herself and hissed that he wasn't worthy to father children when she vindictively informed him he wasn’t the father of June’s baby.  So I find it hard to believe this had happened before.  Thus, her tears and grief when she undresses to assess the damage and realizes the husband she probably loved and admired before is capable of this brutality against her.  I think Fred is slowly realizing he does have the upper hand and that the law will uphold him in anything he does to his wife (as in no prosecution for domestic violence).  I think we saw this one episode further back (can’t remember which) where he tells her to go to her room.  I think he now decided to take things one step further with the corporal punishment.  Mind you, if I were Sabrina I would have resisted physically and would have brained him with the first object that came to hand, lol.

I felt the opposite, too. When he got the chair and started taking off his belt, to me the look on her face was a scared and hesitated one-like she knew he was going to do something, but didn't know what it was. 

From my perspective, I don't think Fred had ever beaten his wife before and he only did so now because things are escalating. Fred is falling apart-he's seen the kind of power that wives can have over husbands (the other commander getting his hand chopped off), he's seen that his wife and handmaid can work together, he realizes that his wife can pretty much do his job (and do it better), his handmaid is having a baby and he knows it's probably not his, his attempts at playing with the power have faltered a little (not remembering the Bible verse, asking to go to Canada, etc), and his handmaid running away. He had allusions of control in the past, but now he knows that things are falling apart. I think he beat Serena Joy because it made him feel in control and literally being physical with her was a way to regain it. He's no match for her intellect and passion but, by God, he can beat her. 

Her crying in the bedroom, I think, was partly from embarassment and shame and partly because that WAS the first time he'd done it to her and therefore it was the last nail in that coffin. 

I mean, it's all conjecture. Who knows. Fred needs to be taken down either way. 

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On 6/9/2018 at 8:08 AM, Lady Calypso said:

Seriously, though, his behaviour all episode was, in my opinion, a lot of pent up rage and fury, all leading up to his actions against his own wife. He obviously feels powerless for the first time; factor in Serena finally questioning some of his decisions and truly making some progress in making her own choices without him, and that was going to lead to a blowout like this. 

 

My thinking is that Fred wanted to separate the two women more than anything.

 It’s like the old saying, there’s strength in numbers, and I don’t think Fred ever thought in his own house that he could see his wife and his handmaid getting along so well and that just could not stand. 

 Fred doesn’t mind a threesome when it involves his wife holding his handmaid down so he can rape her, but it’s when the wife and handmaid start interacting with each other alone and potentially bonding and even more so potentially working together towards a common goal, he sees that as the beginning of the end.

From the get go, especially from a lot of his behavior in season one, I have never doubted that Fred truly believes that women should not be in control, in general or of themselves, there is something in him that makes it okay in his head to think that men are meant to rule and for women to submit and be ruled over.

He managed in the world before Gilead by having no other choice, but now that he has the opportunity to indulge himself he does openly and freely. 

 As the season goes on I think what we’re seeing is the real Fred emerging more and more, he is casting off his old self of timidness and uncertainty, and apparently the real Fred is a real sick fucker without a conscience. 

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How did Serena know to bend over the chair then?

When he pulled that chair out, that was the last thing I expected, perhaps I thought, he will sit and have her lay over his lap like a child for the beating?  Honestly, she didn't hesitate, just grabbed the chair and bent over that.

Maybe it was the first time, but if it was?  It was oddly staged.

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7 minutes ago, AnswersWanted said:

As the season goes on I think what we’re seeing is the real Fred emerging more and more, he is casting off his old self of timidness and uncertainty, and apparently the real Fred is a real sick fucker without a conscience. 

and the scary thing is, how many men who outwardly are "good" have this inside them. Like the famous quote that appeared in this (I think) episode. Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them. 

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Okay, I just caught up on a few episodes, and read the threads for each, so I'm going to comment here on my thoughts.

1. If there is a pool of willing, ostensibly fertile teenaged girls, why are they being "gifted" to men who rank lower in the Gilead hierarchy instead of becoming Handmaids?

2. It is ridiculous that Emily and Janine would be brought back as Handmaids after being exposed to radiation (Emily's teeth were falling out) that would certainly render them sterile.

3. Serena reveled in the power she was able to wield while Fred was incapacitated and believes that she can make Gilead a better place. She's not going down easily. I see her and June collaborating, not to kill Fred, but to make him unable to function so that Serena can rule in his place. It actually reminds me of the classic movie "9 to 5"

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying this season, but there are timeline issues and other problems that keep taking me out of my suspension of disbelief.

Edited by Ashforth
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41 minutes ago, dleighg said:

and the scary thing is, how many men who outwardly are "good" have this inside them. Like the famous quote that appeared in this (I think) episode. Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them. 

 

 It’s true and very fitting,  and it’s something that I don’t think is brought up enough or brought to light enough. 

 True Fred is being unmasked and Serena’s shock is real because he keeps upping the ante, he keeps going after her in a way that just seems too inhumane and cruel to be the man that she once pledged her love and devotion to. 

I think throughout it all, as Gilead took form and shape, she kept finding reasons to excuse him and to forgive him and to not take his behavior personally.

But it’s awfully hard to do that if you have a husband that would have you bend over and get brutally whipped in front of your handmaid like a wayward child of the ye old days just to drive the lesson home.

When Serena walked into the office with June, she had assured her in the kitchen that she “would handle Fred”. 

The next thing she knew she literally had her ass handed to her. 

 

23 minutes ago, Ashforth said:

1. If there is a pool of willing, ostensibly fertile teenaged girls, why are they being "gifted" to men who rank lower in the Gilead hierarchy instead of becoming Handmaids?

 

 Handmaids are not just assigned due to fertility, it’s about them being able to have women of a lowered social status that they can argue it’s okay, righteous and just even, for them to serve as handmaids. 

 Gilead is trying to spin a certain narrative and make it seem as if the handmaids are all fully grown women in control and they are willing to basically donate their services, aka body and womb, to the great cause of producing healthy babies for others. 

 If the commanders were keeping underage girls under their roofs to systematically rape every single month, the narrative would definitely have to change and would not nearly be as friendly to other nations that Gilead are attempting to do business with.

Also, I don’t think that any of them want virginal little girls, not for this purpose anyway.  

They want grown women that they know have been sexually active, I think for them, the Commanders, it’s a more comfortable situation If they can basically fantasize that these women were once whores or dirty lesbians that need to be taught a good lesson.

Edited by AnswersWanted
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A woman can't be a handmaid unless she's sinned or broken Gilead's laws, even if that happened BEFORE they were Gilead's laws such as divorce, use of birth control, having an abortion, gender traitors, etc.

If Eden steps out of line, she could indeed be a handmaid, but not until then.

Edited by Umbelina
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11 minutes ago, AnswersWanted said:

Gilead is trying to spin a certain narrative and make it seem as if the handmaids are all fully grown women in control and they are willing to basically donate their services, aka body and womb, to the great cause of producing healthy babies for others. 

I see your POV, but it's patently obvious in Gilead that the conscripted Handmaids are anything but willing. See: Moira escaping, Emily taking the vehicle and running over people, Janine jumping off the bridge, June escaping, Ofglen becoming a terrorist who blew herself up along with a lot of other people.

It would seem that a young girl like Eden would be infinitely preferable to a woman who has to be tortured and mutilated to fill the role. 

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I thought Handmaids were the "fallen women" who were known to be fertile.  June was an "adultress"  Moira and Emily, "Gender traitors".

 

Eden is essentially, an econowife.  She was "gifted" to Nick to create a "proper" family unit.

 

Sorry for all the ""s.  Gilead is a strange world.

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53 minutes ago, Ashforth said:

I see your POV, but it's patently obvious in Gilead that the conscripted Handmaids are anything but willing. See: Moira escaping, Emily taking the vehicle and running over people, Janine jumping off the bridge, June escaping, Ofglen becoming a terrorist who blew herself up along with a lot of other people.

It would seem that a young girl like Eden would be infinitely preferable to a woman who has to be tortured and mutilated to fill the role. 

 

Oh no, heh, I wasn’t saying that as myself but as how Gilead labels them to the outside world.

In season one when they have that special ceremony where they paraded around all of the babies had by handmaids, or at least that’s what they claimed, and June ended up questioned about her quality of life by the Mexican government and whether she was happy and if she was pleased with the system, and she had it made abundantly clear to her by the Waterford’s that she was to lie her ass off or else.

There is no doubt of the true reality of the situation: these women are trapped, tortured rape victims. 

 I agree that it makes absolutely no sense how Gilead picks handmaids or how they especially treat them, but Gilead itself makes no sense.

They are not trying to do things because they think it will enrich everyone else, the leaders are all about themselves first and foremost and lie a lot.

We see that in this episode with Fred throwing up his hands and telling Serena to pray the sickness away instead of seeking the best medical care still available to them. 

The men who run Gilead are selfish bastards. 

 

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I thought Handmaids were the "fallen women" who were known to be fertile.  June was an "adultress"  Moira and Emily, "Gender traitors".

 

Eden is essentially, an econowife.  She was "gifted" to Nick to create a "proper" family unit.

 

Sorry for all the ""s.  Gilead is a strange world.

 

 

That is all correct. 

 The role of a handmaid was created as a way for the leaders to claim that fallen, sinful, women could redeem themselves somehow in their new godly society, to atone for all their many, many sins which they committed in the time before. 

 Basically being a handmaid is like being an inmate, these women are prisoners.

The role is not one to cherish or want, it is a role for a female that is just barely escaping either being killed straight off or sent to the colonies.

It’s basically a life sentence, there is no real upside to it aside from not dying as fast as one might if labeled as an “unwoman”. 

Edited by AnswersWanted
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1 hour ago, Ashforth said:

t would seem that a young girl like Eden would be infinitely preferable to a woman who has to be tortured and mutilated to fill the role.

I agree.  That’s why most of this world makes no sense.  What about the family that sheltered June? They had a kid -why was that woman not a handmaid?  She was fertile and had a child to prove it.  Torturing women who are supposed to get pregnant is just nonsensical.  If getting pregmant is so difficult in this world, them you need a good, safe environment for pregnancy to occur because everyon knows psychological factors play a big role in it, especially when there are difficulties in doing so.  Maybe that’s why so few handmaid’s are pregnant?  And, as you say, they seem to have a supply of young girls ready and willing to bear children for men they don’t know.  For a society that hangs and kills people without due process of law, I hardly think them impregnating underage girls would be a problem.  If they can find quotes in the Bible to justify wife beating and the handmaid crap, they cam also find some quote that justifies making underage girls pregnant. Besides, underage is a 20th century concept.  Other centuries had no problem marrying off kids as young as 12.

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Well, that’s another thing. They haven’t really explained or gone into enough detail about this “infertility “ crisis. How are there even enough fertile women to be child brides or Econowives? I thought pregnancy was supposed to be some sort of rare, precious jewel but they seemed to have dropped that plot line or not expanded on it Enough. It doesn’t seem like there has been enough of a dystopian apocalypse of infertility to justify a society like Gilead being able to take place to begin with. 

Edited by GraceK
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2 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

and the scary thing is, how many men who outwardly are "good" have this inside them.

Let’s not be hypocritical here: men and women.  This is what happens when constraints and consequences on how we treat others are removed.  I remember an article I read by journalist covering the Bosnian war way back when.  He said:  if you put half the population of any small town in a stadium and then tell the other half they could go in and do anything they wanted to them with no consequences, what do you think would happen?  It’s a very disturbing question and I don’t believe only men would take advantage of a situation like that.  Women are just as capable of unspeakable cruelties.

I also think Fred has been “evolving” as the situation goes along.  I don’t think he was this much of a bastard (especially towards Serena) as he is now.  He came across as a bit of a milquetoast in the beginning, quite willing to let her fight the battles but probably resenting her at the same time.  Now he realizes the power has indeed swung over to him and he is taking advantage of it.  This is why I don’t believe he’d ever hit her physically before.  The ironic thing was that the guy Serena had arrested under Fted’s supposed orders was trying to take him down by making a power grab for his position.  Serena stopped it with Nick and June’s help.  Fred is an ungrateful bastard on top of everything else.

BTW, something that occurred to me was to wonder what happens to wives who become widows?  Do they get to keep their comfy house and servants?  What if they have a child by a handmaid?  Do they keep them too or are they ushered out somewhere to make room for a new Commander and family?

Edited by Earlwoode
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31 minutes ago, Earlwoode said:

That’s why most of this world makes no sense.  What about the family that sheltered June? They had a kid -why was that woman not a handmaid?

Because that woman had not broke any of Gilead’s laws (before it was established). Women who had committed adultery, had abortions, gotten divorced, were in same sex relationships etc who were also deemed to be fertile are serving as handmaids as PUNISHMENT for their sinful lives. That’s why the Eco-Wife stated that being a Handmaid was what her peer group was threatened with if the stepped out of line/rebelled/broke laws. 

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1 minute ago, Scarlett45 said:

Women who had committed adultery, had abortions, gotten divorced, were in same sex relationships etc who were also deemed to be fertile are serving as handmaids as PUNISHMENT for their sinful lives.

Well if that’s true then that would encompass 99 percent of the fertile female population lol.  I mean the divorce rate is sky high, I believe that there are now more people living together than people marrying and who the heck doesn’t use birth control (apart from reckless teens)?  However, back when Fed and the other commanders were concocting the handmaid acheme in the car, I don’t recall them saying anything about only “fallen” women being taken as handmaids. But maybe my memory is faulty.

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On 6/6/2018 at 11:30 AM, AnswersWanted said:

Serena could be a woman that shows kindness or understanding, especially if she also realizes that she too is trapped in this world.  But instead she is bitter, she is conniving, resentful, and she is cruel whenever she feels like it, and I believe that is due to the fact that she is frustrated: she played herself. 

 

Your statement above reminded me of the wife that said she had a headache and to forgo the ceremony to Emily.  She got it that they were all trapped and could only deal the only way she knew how.

If June didn't have the rose in her room, I don't think that Fred would have came down as hard on SJ.  BTW - where the hell did he get that amount of strength to beat the shit out of SJ but looks like he will topple over any second when he's walking.

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General thought ...

I’ve noticed that both here and on Reddit, the analysis of the world-building flaws seems to overtake every single thread. I understand some of them, although a HUGE proportion (especially among younger posters) clearly come from a place of ignorance regarding current and historical atrocities. (I can’t tell you how many times I saw threads on Reddit along the lines of “but the colonies make no sense, why not use a bulldozer”. People are losing awareness of the “extermination through labor” camps during the Holocaust, for example.) I think some of the rest of it is a natural outcome of a huge glut of dystopian fiction, plus other shows with incredibly complex world building (like GoT). It seems like it might be worth remembering that this book was written decades ago, before there was, for example, a whole internet full of people ready to pick apart every stupid mistake the survivors make in your average zombie dystopia. 

(I also think there’s a strong undercurrent of denial. “The Gilead approach to the fertility crisis makes no sense.” But that assumes that Gilead is about the fertility crisis, rather than the crisis itself having been merely a convenient opportunity for a fascist, radical group to take control. Which of course no one wants to believe could happen in This Day and Age, Or At Least Not In My Country.)

Anyway, I wonder if a dedicated thread for this subject might help people work out their frustrations. 

Edited by kieyra
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17 minutes ago, Earlwoode said:

Well if that’s true then that would encompass 99 percent of the fertile female population lol. I mean the divorce rate is sky high, I believe that there are now more people living together than people marrying and who the heck doesn’t use birth control (apart from reckless teens)?  However, back when Fed and the other commanders were concocting the handmaid acheme in the car, I don’t recall them saying anything about only “fallen” women being taken as handmaids. But maybe my memory is faulty.

That’s why it’s totally asinine- I agree. 

For further details I’d recommend the Book vs Show thread. 

Edited by Scarlett45
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