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chocolatine

S02.E09: Smart Power

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Again..I still have to reconcile the character of Serena with season one Serena. In S-1, she cried hysterical tears of joy, the first time she thought June was pregnant. That time was a false alarm, but the brilliance of her acting made me believe her intensity of “baby love/loyalty” was the same as Lydia’s. It also echoed two weeks ago, in that Serena was willing to get the once suicidal/homicial handmaiden to the sick baby. Now she says, after the maternal bond saves a babie’s life, that June has to go? Also, S-1, the scene in which she tells Fred off with disdain and verbally castrates him,  by telling him that it’s not even his baby? That powerful scene resonated with me...that her resentment may make her join the revolution. But S-2, she allows a Fred to whip her and acts like a beaten dog around him. I am not satisfied with these correlations without more of an explanation of story. 

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1 hour ago, guilfoyleatpp said:

I agree with all of this except for fan-wonk sake...they don't go to the capital or meet with higher ranking officials because it gives the Waterfords and Gilead more credibility to do that. There is definitely an argument to be made for the proximity of the US and Canada and a longstanding familiarity and relationship...but this is an uprising that usurped a legitimate government. They don't get the UK treatment, they get the unstable dictator treatment. 

Of course, that could have been explained to us in some way. Serena, Nick or Fred could have said "why not the capital?" or "what is your relationship to the Prime Minister?" So that's why I'm fank-wonking. 

FYI, I watched again to see how the Canadians identified themselves. Two are Deputy Ministers - the deputy minister is the highest-ranking civil servant in his/her ministry. The other introduces himself merely as “PMO”. That’s the Prime Minister’s Office. From what little I know of international protocol, people of similar ranks meet, which would suggest that Fred is a high-ranking bureaucrat rather than a Minister or Department Secretary or whatever they call them in Gilead. (But, then what’s the PMO doing there? I personally think the writers just thought “PMO” sounded vaguely officially Canadian, but YMMV).

I agree that it’s possible to rationalize (some of) these details away, like the Toronto/Ottawa thing.  But I also think that viewers shouldn’t have to fill in so many gaps to make sense of the details.  I thought the same thing about the Mexico visit (and its gotten worse with this episode:  why is Mexico contemplating importing handmaidens when, in Canada, life is going on happily with no discernible difference from “before”? ).  I am - in case it’s not already obvious :) - a Canadian, and we are required by federal law to revere Margaret Atwood. But, she ain’t no world builder.  This story works best when in stays in the closed world of Gilead.  Even then it has problems, but they were more or less covered by the first-person point of view of the novel.  I’m not fond of these forays out of the novel, or what could plausibly have been in the novel, and fear for the story if it goes on much longer.

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32 minutes ago, Trillian said:

From what little I know of international protocol, people of similar ranks meet, which would suggest that Fred is a high-ranking bureaucrat rather than a Minister or Department Secretary or whatever they call them in Gilead. (But, then what’s the PMO doing there? I personally think the writers just thought “PMO” sounded vaguely officially Canadian, but YMMV).

 

If Fred is considered the equivalent of a secretary of state or minister then only having him meet deputy ministers and someone from the PMO could show that while Canada is willing to listen, they're definitely not giving them the curtesy due recognized officials/nations.  No state visit, no PM, no governor-general, no meeting in Ottawa.  They probably wanted it as under the radar as possible. 

I also agree with everyone who said it makes no sense that the Canadian government would have them there in the first place considering what is public knowledge about Gilead.  Both Moira and Erin were Handmaid's, plus Moira's sex slavery, so it's not like the information in the letters would have come as a surprise.

I was rather hoping Moira was going to shout something at Waterford to show that she knew who he was, and so Serena would find out about his extra-curriculars at Jezebel's. 

It's too bad the show didn't film in the summer so that the people on the street could have been wearing brightly coloured clothes instead of mute winter greys and blacks.  That would have been such a contrast to Gilead.

Edited by Caia
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2 hours ago, Trillian said:

 

Why did they need the letters when they have actual handmaids, at least one Aunt (referred to in Season 1) and many refugees?   And why were the Canadians suddenly so shocked by what’s going on in Gilead that they threw the Waterfords out?  It reminded me of Inspector Renault in Casablanca - I’m shocked!  There’s gambling going on here!  Kinda silly, since it was obvious from their earlier rudeness that they knew what was happening and there’s all these refugees who presumably are telling their stories.

 

This was bothering me as well, and then I thought about the things that go viral on social media. Say they took pictures of all the Handmaids' letters and uploaded them to FB under one post. One person shares it and then another and another. Suddenly, 150 women have had their letters seen by half the world. The sheer volume of that, as someone else said, would be unnerving. It's possible that up until this point nobody had coordinated the escapees to do anything this public. Maybe some newspaper articles were written, maybe one or two have done interviews, etc. but we don't know how scattered and inconsistent that's been. It's like the Weinstein victims; many women were victimized but it wasn't until one expose was done and a few women stepped forward that the floodgates opened and the whole world became privy to what had been going on. Perhaps, by this point in this universe, none of the women had taken the first step yet. What we've seen so far in Canada (the pretend hangings, the signs, etc.) all seem to be situated in Little America. How far has information spread outside of this bubble?

3 minutes ago, Caia said:

 

I was rather hoping Moira was going to shout something at Waterford to show that she knew who he was, and so Serena would find out about his extra-curriculars at Jezebel's. 

 

I wanted Moira to should out something about Jezebels, just as I was hoping that Luke would shout out that his wife was literally being held captive by the Waterfords. (He did say that Fred raped her, but I wanted more.) In fact, along with the letters online, I think it would've been awesome if Moira and Luke had made You Tube videos about the specific things that FRED has done-you know, the Gilead ambassador that Canada was hosting. I mean, they have gold there. "You know this commander who we're current;y hosting? He used to rape me twice a week and he's got his wife as a prisoner in his house." I would've fried him. 

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2 hours ago, Trillian said:

Why did they need the letters when they have actual handmaids, at least one Aunt (referred to in Season 1) and many refugees?   And why were the Canadians suddenly so shocked by what’s going on in Gilead that they threw the Waterfords out?  It reminded me of Inspector Renault in Casablanca - I’m shocked!  There’s gambling going on here!  Kinda silly, since it was obvious from their earlier rudeness that they knew what was happening and there’s all these refugees who presumably are telling their stories.

I thought about this as well, but I guess it makes sense that most of the refugees are people who managed to get out before things got really, really bad, and then a lot of those who were able to escape after the system had already been established are still too traumatized to speak up, like Moira. Also, Gilead has apparently worked very hard on convincing the international community that they have established "law and order" within their borders and that the general population has accepted their rule. It is possible that a lot of people really are in the dark about just how horrible the situation is at this point. Also, the sheer number of those letters and stories told in them must have played a big role. Besides, it does look like something that happens in the real world too. There's a long-lasting conflict some place, people know "bad things" are happening there, but then there's one particular incident that truly captures the attention of the international public and forces the governments to react. 

However, I also think this visit should have realistically had a very low profile, if not kept a secret outright. If anything, it would have been a huge security risk, with so many people furious with the Gilead's regime and looking for revenge. 

Also, Canada seemed a bit too idyllic for a society that should by all accounts be facing a rather heavy economic crisis alongside the well known fertility issues. I get what dramatic effect they were going for in setting up an internal conflict within Serena, but some of the credibility was lost that way. 

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31 minutes ago, Caia said:

I also agree with everyone who said it makes no sense that the Canadian government would have them there in the first place considering what is public knowledge about Gilead.  Both Moira and Erin were Handmaid's, plus Moira's sex slavery, so it's not like the information in the letters would have come as a surprise.

I was rather hoping Moira was going to shout something at Waterford to show that she knew who he was, and so Serena would find out about his extra-curriculars at Jezebel's. 

 

 I think that having so much of a heavy volume that was coming out all at the same time is what made the difference in regards to the letters. 

 I think that is why MayDay was creating the collection, they did not just want one or two or three letters getting out, they wanted as many as they could possibly get and then have them all released so that it was a bombardment of this woman’s story and this woman’s story, etc, so many horrific accounts joined together.

It would be too overwhelming to ignore.

There was a scene in season one where Fred was discussing how they were going to have to deal with an escaped woman, I believe she was an aunt actually, telling her story to the media, and how they would have to figure out a way of twisting public opinion against her, paining her in a bad light.

Gilead had been working hard to do damage control whenever the truth gets out, but when you have such a numerous amount of people saying the same exact things, so many similar stories, so much information that can be proven and detailed by all of the meticulous recordkeeping that is going on in Little America, it was just too much to continue to turn a blind eye, which I do believe was happening, it does today sadly far too much. 

 It can take something on a grand scale to finally bring the necessary attention to a humanitarian crisis. 

I think Luke trying to attack Waterford was taking as big a risk as he dared to, I think he lost control in the moment to even try understandably, but at the same time he and Moira have to be well aware that whatever action they might take against the Waterford’s could hurt June. 

 June is still very much trapped in Gilead, she is still very much in danger from these people, if Luke and Moira actively piss them off, Fred mainly, then what is to stop them from taking it out on June, she has no protection right now, 

They also have baby girl Hannah to think about for that same reason, IMO it would be foolish of them to really take a lot of their anger out on Fred when he still has a very convenient upper hand on them: their loved ones are still in his possession. 

Edited by AnswersWanted
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3 hours ago, ScaredWoman said:

Again..I still have to reconcile the character of Serena with season one Serena. In S-1, she cried hysterical tears of joy, the first time she thought June was pregnant. That time was a false alarm, but the brilliance of her acting made me believe her intensity of “baby love/loyalty” was the same as Lydia’s. It also echoed two weeks ago, in that Serena was willing to get the once suicidal/homicial handmaiden to the sick baby. Now she says, after the maternal bond saves a babie’s life, that June has to go?

You know, after we saw Serena witness Janine's reaction to Charlotte's seeming illness last week, I wondered if that could backfire for June in terms of leading Serena to fear the birth mother/baby bond more than she may have already. Not sure that's the direct cause of her lashing out now, versus just fallout from Fred's abuse, but it could have planted a seed, so to speak.

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6 minutes ago, lavenderblue said:

You know, after we saw Serena witness Janine's reaction to Charlotte's seeming illness last week, I wondered if that could backfire for June in terms of leading Serena to fear the birth mother/baby bond more than she may have already. Not sure that's the direct cause of her lashing out now, versus just fallout from Fred's abuse, but it could have planted a seed, so to speak.

I agree 100%, and that's something that made me uncomfortable throughout the last episode. I was wondering if June would realize that championing so hard for the rights of a biological mother would end up working against her. As much as she genuinely wanted to help Janine out (and I truly think she did), she also had an agenda of her own, and while Serena was too caught up in the moment to notice it immediately, when everything was settled, she probably would - and most likely has. And now that she's been thoroughly humiliated and disillusioned on every possible level, and the thought of having that baby is literally the only thing she can cling on to... it's hardly surprising she wants June out of her life ASAP.

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I loved all the subtle digs by the Canadians: the woman telling SJ that she enjoyed reading and was a workaholic (knowing that SJ could do neither), the American guy mentioning that he'd read a lot about SJ, the Canadian man telling Fred that he was a married gay man, the woman telling SJ that she'd take the next elevator. 

Concerned about the "chocolate tokens" that Eden referenced. She said she'd never seen one before-does that mean that Gilead is now trading with Mexico or someone in South America? That's a little nerve-wracking on the Handmaid front. 

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3 minutes ago, mamadrama said:

Concerned about the "chocolate tokens" that Eden referenced. She said she'd never seen one before-does that mean that Gilead is now trading with Mexico or someone in South America? That's a little nerve-wracking on the Handmaid front. 

When Eden said it I thought it was just something that the top brass gets to have that the rest of the population doesn't. Kind of like in the Soviet Union, the top party members were living in luxury while most people stood in line for hours to buy their food rations. But your theory about trade with Mexico/South America makes sense too.

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8 minutes ago, Joana said:

I agree 100%, and that's something that made me uncomfortable throughout the last episode. I was wondering if June would realize that championing so hard for the rights of a biological mother would end up working against her. As much as she genuinely wanted to help Janine out (and I truly think she did), she also had an agenda of her own, and while Serena was too caught up in the moment to notice it immediately, when everything was settled, she probably would - and most likely has. And now that she's been thoroughly humiliated and disillusioned on every possible level, and the thought of having that baby is literally the only thing she can cling on to... it's hardly surprising she wants June out of her life ASAP.

 

Any child unfortunate enough to be raised in a household by Serena Joy and Fred is one shit out of luck kid. 

Since Nick is basically the physical and facial opposite to Fred, I have this idea in my head of the kid looking like Nick’s twin, complete with bushy eyebrows, and basically everyone in the household, Serena, Fred, Rita, Nick, and outside of it such as the other commanders and wives and guards, etc, all having to pretend that’s totally normal.

The kid just got different genes from somewhere else, somehow...amen, it’s the lord’s will, the end.

 Now that I think back on it, I believe that is why Fred wanted Nick moved.  

It came right after Lydia told him just how big the baby was getting and that it wouldn’t be long before the child was born.

Fred of course knows the child is Nick’s, it might be a little less embarrassing for him to raise the baby if Nick at the very least is not in his house and obviously hanging around. 

If so it would be a very King David from the bible move of him.

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53 minutes ago, Joana said:
1 hour ago, lavenderblue said:

You know, after we saw Serena witness Janine's reaction to Charlotte's seeming illness last week, I wondered if that could backfire for June in terms of leading Serena to fear the birth mother/baby bond more than she may have already. Not sure that's the direct cause of her lashing out now, versus just fallout from Fred's abuse, but it could have planted a seed, so to speak.

I agree 100%, and that's something that made me uncomfortable throughout the last episode. I was wondering if June would realize that championing so hard for the rights of a biological mother would end up working against her. As much as she genuinely wanted to help Janine out (and I truly think she did), she also had an agenda of her own, and while Serena was too caught up in the moment to notice it immediately, when everything was settled, she probably would - and most likely has. And now that she's been thoroughly humiliated and disillusioned on every possible level, and the thought of having that baby is literally the only thing she can cling on to... it's hardly surprising she wants June out of her life ASAP.

I wondered about all of this too.  I also think with Gilead's unique ability to twist things that Serena and Lydia probably saw the whole "mother love saved baby Angela/Charlotte" thing very differently than we did.  They probably chalked the whole thing up to the power of their prayers and God's will and Janine's role in it as just some kind of happy coincidence.  You know they're not going to acknowledge the Putnams' likely neglect as the culprit for what was making that child ill, let alone that being caressed and engaged by her birth mother however briefly could have made her better.  That would endanger the fiction they've based the entire handmaid setup on, that the wives are the mothers of these children.

June probably never realized it, but in their current situation where Serena already bristles at any suggestion that she's not the mother of the contents of June's womb, June was coming off fairly strident that as Angela/Charlotte's birth mother Janine still mattered and deserved some kind of consideration where the baby was concerned.  Serena wouldn't miss the parallels even if June did.  Now that the birth is nearing and not a largely abstract thing to worry about later, Serena isn't as willing to be (relatively) generous in acknowledging June's role at all or risk letting her develop the same presumption Janine had.

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20 hours ago, mamadrama said:

Called it once, but I'll call it again-that's Eden and Issac in the season 2 trailer. Shit's going to go down for them and I think June and Nick will have a hand in it, just like Emily did with the former Wife in the Colonies. 

I'm with you. Eden is way too thirsty for male approval. We also saw this last week (I think it was last week) in her weird interaction with Waterford.

Two cheers for Luke, finally doing something useful when someone actually puts letters in his hand and says "you could do something with these." Still not terribly impressed with his character as it's being written.

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No way a kid is looking at some weirdo dressed like Holly Hobby Duggar in stilettos and mistaking her for a princess. Yeah right, show.

It’s so weird for me to see anyone smoking indoors. It’s such a foreign smell to me nowadays, because it’s been banned for so long.

Wow, Eden’s annoying. I can feel all of Gilead simultaneously rolling their eyes with Nick whenever she pops up. Maybe she can begin a new “friendship” with the punk kid she was feeding strawberries to.

One thing that strikes me as strange about the Waterfords is that they’ve both used the word “luck” or “lucky” to describe something. Serena told the woman at the elevator that she was “lucky” to have that kid. My experience with the very religious is that they abhor the use of the word luck, and admonish all who use it. They instead say they’re “blessed.” It also seemed strange that Serena was unaccompanied and at a bar of all places.

And because it can’t be said enough, Nick, can’t you like, train a carrier pigeon or something to communicate with June? I kept expecting Fred or Eden to be on the other side of the bedroom door when he opened it.

Aunt Lydia sounded totally guilty about her nephew’s death. And my first thought was that she took the rap for her sister, like the morbidly obese lady who lied about accidentally sitting on her nephew. 

Edited by charmed1
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11 minutes ago, charmed1 said:

nd my first thought was that she took the rap for her sister, like the morbidly obese lady who lied about accidentally sitting on her nephew. 

I have to be the worst person in the world and I have no idea what your talking about  and it’s completely off topic but now I’m in a fit of giggles at this ?????

Edited by GraceK
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17 minutes ago, charmed1 said:

Wow, Eden’s annoying. I can feel all of Gilead simultaneously rolling their eyes with Nick whenever she pops up. Maybe she can begin a new “friendship” with the punk kid she was feeding strawberries to.

And this is why I was saying that it would help things ALOT if Nick just showed her some attention and was nice. She may be a nut for Gilead but she’s a still human being. She needs human kindness just like anyone else. She’s doing everything she knows to make him happy and I really think a simple gesture of affection she would respond to gladly. He treats her like a houseplant.He’s foolish to do that and to dismiss her. That’s whats going to cause the trouble.

Edited by GraceK
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21 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

"I wont betray my country.”

"I thought you already did."

Oh snap!

 

Loved that moment.

21 hours ago, mamadrama said:

I started crying when they started singing "America the Beautiful". It's the first time I've cried in the series. It was so hopeful. It was like the time I stepped off the plane in JFK after a year abroad and saw the American flag. Didn't realize I was patriotic or that I'd even missed my country until that moment.

 

I did too, though I didn't perceive it as hopeful - for me it was more like singing "Danny Boy," a dirge about someone/something you love but is now gone.

 

19 hours ago, Umbelina said:

So Aunt Lydia was Godmother to her sister's baby and it died four days later.  Wonder what "It was not my fault" means?

A lot of theories - which seem more plausible than mine. Which was that Lydia was blamed, but wasn't responsible.  And this made her dedicate her life to children (and religion).

12 hours ago, revbfc said:

Did anyone get the impression that the Canadian rep the Commander called a coward was a Gilead sympathizer (and/or agent)?  I got the distinct impression that there was a bigger plan afoot for Gilead to annex Canada, and that guy was a part of it.

Nah, I just saw it as the usual tactic of bullies when someone does or says something they don't like. We're hearing that expression a lot in the public arena these days.

10 hours ago, Stiggs said:

Joseph Fiennes used to be so hot, and I'm sure he's still a handsome man, but he's doing his job way too well because he makes me want to freaking puke. I gagged over his beard. I had to look away. His beard? He just makes me THAT sick. Ugh.

 

I know, right?

9 hours ago, dmc said:

This show is like watching the Nazi perspective of daily life.  They are a lot of parallels there.  Any time we usually discuss Nazi Germany it's from the POV of their many victims.  But Germans were living daily under their rule and I imagine it was similar to this.  

From what my mother's told me (she came of age in Austria - under Nazi rule), yeah, pretty much.

2 hours ago, chocolatine said:

When Eden said it I thought it was just something that the top brass gets to have that the rest of the population doesn't. Kind of like in the Soviet Union, the top party members were living in luxury while most people stood in line for hours to buy their food rations. But your theory about trade with Mexico/South America makes sense too.

That's what I thought too, but the Mexico thing does make a lot of sense.

13 minutes ago, GraceK said:

And this is why I was saying that it would help things ALOT if Nick just showed her some attention and was nice. She may be a nut for Gilead but she’s a still human being. She needs human kindness just like anyone else. She’s doing everything she knows to make him happy and I really think a simple gesture of affection she would respond to gladly. He’s foolish not to do that and to dismiss her. That’s whats going to cause the trouble.

 

Totally agree. He has a role he needs to play, and it's not like she's a terrible person. She seems pretty sweet, if horribly brainwashed. But she won't keep sweet for long.

Edited by Clanstarling
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20 hours ago, Umbelina said:

So Aunt Lydia was Godmother to her sister's baby and it died four days later.  Wonder what "It was not my fault" means?

me TOO!

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21 hours ago, Brn2bwild said:

Moira needs more to do, and Samira Wiley needs her own show already.  I didn't get that last moment where they were singing "America the Beautiful" and Moira started sobbing when she saw Luke walk away.  What tragedy was she realizing that she didn't realize before?

 

I thought she was just overcome with emotion given the "America the Beautiful" singalong. 

21 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

"I wont betray my country.”

"I thought you already did."

Oh snap!

 

I loved that line so much! Burn!! I actually "Ohhhhhhh"ed out loud. Also cheered the Canadian guy who talked about visiting the U.S. -- with his husband. 

14 hours ago, Maire said:

Hot smoker guy in the free (lol) bar was a welcome respite. I agree with the other posters, I'd jump at that chance. Not a spoiler because it's based on nothing but I feel like Nick is not going to make it through this season alive. Sad because 1. I love the character and 2. This show is sad enough.

Sadly, I agree with this. He does have the feel of a character who isn't long for this world.

11 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

Yeah, Lydia's bit about the baby dying at four days old and that it wasn't her fault was a very odd non sequitur.  There's obviously a lot more to that story than she was telling but June really wasn't in a position to ask.

Yes, that seemed like a crumb dropped that will (I hope) be picked up later. Perhaps something happened to the baby while she was caring for him. Or I liked the suggestion above that maybe she was a midwife who delivered her nephew, and her sister blamed her for his death.

7 hours ago, Trillian said:

Why did they need the letters when they have actual handmaids, at least one Aunt (referred to in Season 1) and many refugees?   And why were the Canadians suddenly so shocked by what’s going on in Gilead that they threw the Waterfords out?  It reminded me of Inspector Renault in Casablanca - I’m shocked!  There’s gambling going on here!  Kinda silly, since it was obvious from their earlier rudeness that they knew what was happening and there’s all these refugees who presumably are telling their stories.

No one has legally smoked in a  bar in Toronto for at least 15 years and almost that long anywhere in the province.   American guy would’ve known that unless he just arrived for the first time from Alaska  and if he didn’t know it, the bartender would’ve.  It’s not the bar’s policy - it’s the law.

Oh, American Guy knew. That lighting up the cigarette was 100% deliberate on his part to tempt Serena. He knew she smoked, because he'd read all about her. It was the first overture and a way to capture her interest.

As for the Canadians, it seemed to me that the government totally knew what was happening in Gilead, but the general populace probably didn't know, or only knew vague things. It's easy not to pay attention to unpleasant things that aren't right in your face. Then the letters hit the Internet with all their details and BOOM. I think the government may have actually been hoping to get some trade going again, but the public outcry about the letters revealing the truth about Gilead made that possibility untenable because it would be too unpopular.

There was a lot to like in that episode. I was yelling at Nick at the end to tell June about Moira already! I loved how happy it made June that Moira got out, and how she laughed at the concept of her and Luke living together and how they'd kill each other.

Edited by Souris
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40 minutes ago, charmed1 said:

Wow, Eden’s annoying.

 

Ah youth, such a time of annoying most everyone around you because reasons. 

I think Nick just does not know what to do with her, he is not attracted to her at all, he is not comfortable being married to her at all, he does not want to share his home with her at all, and at the end of the day he can do nothing about any of it. 

 Nick is not at a point where he can really fake his feelings all that well.

He is trapped in Gilead, he is at least for one side a double agent because he’s an Eye, he also seems to be working pretty closely with MayDay, that has to be a incredibly stressful juggling act, and then he knows that he’s the father of June’s baby and he has those two to worry about on a regular basis, and now Eden is all over him to play Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind.

He’s just tapped out mentally and emotionally and Eden, because she’s a dumb young kid, is not reading him and she keeps pressing him to be a good husband because she’s been such a great wife, after all she baked him cookies!

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I think Nick is struggling with his husband duties with Eden is just because he has so much going on, he just cant handle her right now. He has being an Eye, working with MayDay, his boss being probably blown up, and being in love with his employers breeding slave. Thats a lot for anyone, even someone already not living in a creepy oppressive regime that kills people for looking at the wrong person funny, so I can see why he is struggling with being a good husband to his forced upon him, eager to please child bride. I hope he throws her a bone soon though. He isnt cruel to her or anything (except for when he freaked out about the letters) but he isnt keeping up with being a husband to his very young, needy wife, and despite how emotionally drained he clearly is, he needs to keep her happy. She could be very dangerous for him. 

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4 hours ago, Caia said:

If Fred is considered the equivalent of a secretary of state or minister then only having him meet deputy ministers and someone from the PMO could show that while Canada is willing to listen, they're definitely not giving them the curtesy due recognized officials/nations.  No state visit, no PM, no governor-general, no meeting in Ottawa.  They probably wanted it as under the radar as possible. 

I also agree with everyone who said it makes no sense that the Canadian government would have them there in the first place considering what is public knowledge about Gilead

Yes, they didn't even know Fred's name in the newscast.  He was definitely not given any honors at all, no meeting at the capital, an unnamed Gilead official is arriving, it wasn't a big state visit.  While I also wonder what Canada's intentions were here, I think the show deliberately implied this was, if anything, a toe in the water by Canada.  Again, in the newscast, they mention that "no agenda for this meeting has been announced or shared."  Canada seemed most interested in "border problems" and they may have dangled the "trade" issue as a carrot stick lure only.  Get someone from Gilead there, maybe give them a few tiny perks, and be able to build on that to discussions of human rights, or at least news about the children stolen.

It all worked for me, but it actually works better because @Trillian pointed out exactly how "different" this meeting was for me.  Thanks!

4 hours ago, mamadrama said:
6 hours ago, Trillian said:

 

Why did they need the letters when they have actual handmaids, at least one Aunt (referred to in Season 1) and many refugees?  

I thought about that as well.  I think it's volume as said below, but ALSO it's that the women who wrote those letters are still living in that hell, still prisoners, slaves, being raped.  It can have more impact when people think "This is STILL HAPPENING" instead of "This happened to me" from refugees that are now safe from it.

4 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

I think that having so much of a heavy volume that was coming out all at the same time is what made the difference in regards to the letters. 

 I think that is why MayDay was creating the collection, they did not just want one or two or three letters getting out, they wanted as many as they could possibly get and then have them all released so that it was a bombardment of this woman’s story and this woman’s story, etc, so many horrific accounts joined together.

It would be too overwhelming to ignore.

Definitely.  Also, as I said just above, the public was reading letters from women who were still trapped.  What's even better about that is that the entire world will be reading them now.

3 hours ago, mamadrama said:

Concerned about the "chocolate tokens" that Eden referenced. She said she'd never seen one before-does that mean that Gilead is now trading with Mexico or someone in South America? That's a little nerve-wracking on the Handmaid front. 

Mexico finally paid off, they got a tiny bit of chocolate.  The show made it very clear that only Mexico is trading with Gilead, everyone else has boycotted them.

2 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

I also think with Gilead's unique ability to twist things that Serena and Lydia probably saw the whole "mother love saved baby Angela/Charlotte" thing very differently than we did. 

That could be true.  Serena wants a child so much and she wants it to be HERS, not shared.  I do think Serena detested that Putnam woman though, and knew she hated her baby, she commented on it a few times.  Serena actually wants a child, and to her credit, she fought to save little Charlotte with all she had, even took a beating to save her.

A child of Serena's isn't going to suffer from lack of physical attention the way poor Charlotte did.  Serena can't even keep her hands off June's fetus.  She will, I think, be an extremely affectionate mother.  In some ways, having June leave makes sense, without June there, she will be able to love and treat that baby as her own even more.  

I'm sure they still have breast pumps somewhere in Gilead, or Nick can get one from his black market, so the baby could still have June's breast milk, just while Serena feeds it.

1 hour ago, LaChavalina said:

Two cheers for Luke, finally doing something useful when someone actually puts letters in his hand and says "you could do something with these." Still not terribly impressed with his character as it's being written.

Only it was Erin who had the brains to realize what they had, not Luke, and not Moira.

1 hour ago, charmed1 said:

No way a kid is looking at some weirdo dressed like Holly Hobby Duggar in stilettos and mistaking her for a princess. Yeah right, show.

The cape!  The crown like hate!  Ha.

6 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

Governments now don't meet in official capitals or send the president or prime minister or other top officials when they're trying to either avoid an international dispute (think most countries long keeping their embassies in Tel Aviv rather than Israel's official capital of Jerusalem) or when they're sending a message that this is not an official endorsement of that country.  Someone earlier posted transcripts of the TV news playing when Moira and Luke first spotted Waterford in the airport coverage and it mentioned then that the American government was protesting what it called Canada normalizing the Gilead regime.  As far as what Canada honestly hopes to trade with Gilead?  Who knows.  Maybe they were sending in a handful of junior bureaucrats just to feel the Gilead leadership out and find out what they want.  They still share a border and are hosting a not inconsiderable number of refugees from that country, so maybe they just deem it best to at least appear to be willing to hear Gilead out.  It didn't really bother me but I can also see where it would have been helpful to throw in a line here or there laying that out.  

 

The more I think about it though, the show kind of did spell out that this wasn't a big honorary thing for Gilead, it met the bare minimums of state diplomacy, and Canada very quickly decided "Fuck this shit, kick that bastard out."  Was that the best idea?  Maybe not, if they were really after trying to get information about the children and wives and people left behind in Gilead.

I don't care though, because it was emotionally SO satisfying!  We finally got to see some of what the rest of the world is thinking about these creeps, and better?  So did Fred, Serena, and Nick!

6 hours ago, ScaredWoman said:

Again..I still have to reconcile the character of Serena with season one Serena. In S-1, she cried hysterical tears of joy, the first time she thought June was pregnant. That time was a false alarm, but the brilliance of her acting made me believe her intensity of “baby love/loyalty” was the same as Lydia’s. It also echoed two weeks ago, in that Serena was willing to get the once suicidal/homicial handmaiden to the sick baby. Now she says, after the maternal bond saves a babie’s life, that June has to go? Also, S-1, the scene in which she tells Fred off with disdain and verbally castrates him,  by telling him that it’s not even his baby? That powerful scene resonated with me...that her resentment may make her join the revolution. But S-2, she allows a Fred to whip her and acts like a beaten dog around him. I am not satisfied with these correlations without more of an explanation of story. 

For me, both can be true.  I hope they let us know if Serena really can no longer have children because of that gunshot wound.  That would explain her not taking the USA up on their offer to come where they are making strides with fertility, and specifically mentioning low sperm counts.

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Free drinks in Canada! 

Clearly the bar guy was either a member of a resistance group or a journalist who was following Serena. I don't give a crap about her. Lest we forget, she was quite the propagandist during the rise of Gilead. I think they purposefully made her look uncomfortable and out of place and she deserves it.

Eden and the baby faced guardian sure were flirty. Wondering where that is going. 

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I saw Serena tossing the matches in the fire as a fearful act. She was afraid of them and what she might betray if Fred found them. 

They could also represent a road she opted to not take, but I did feel like there was fear behind it. 

Both she and Fred are scared. It permeates everything they do. 

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5 minutes ago, poeticlicensed said:

Free drinks in Canada! 

Clearly the bar guy was either a member of a resistance group or a journalist who was following Serena. I don't give a crap about her. Lest we forget, she was quite the propagandist during the rise of Gilead. I think they purposefully made her look uncomfortable and out of place and she deserves it.

Eden and the baby faced guardian sure were flirty. Wondering where that is going. 

Or an Intelligence Officer.  What's left of the USA CIA? 

He made it clear he'd been briefed, read her dossier.  He lit the cigarette to tempt her and start a conversation.  He was sent to recruit her after all, and who do we use to do that kind of thing well?  He almost succeeded too, if he'd had a few more days?  Maybe he would have.

Unless of course, Serena had a hysterectomy via gunshot.  If that's true, June's baby is the only one she has a chance at having.

3 minutes ago, guilfoyleatpp said:

I saw Serena tossing the matches in the fire as a fearful act. She was afraid of them and what she might betray if Fred found them. 

They could also represent a road she opted to not take, but I did feel like there was fear behind it. 

Both she and Fred are scared. It permeates everything they do. 

Oh, so did I!  How would she explain them? 

In Canada she could have cigarettes and matches, but back in Gilead?  Danger Danger Will Robinson!

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I know they're trying to make the audience feel sympathy for Serena Joy and make her a complicated character in the, "she was complicit in creating this world, but she's found herself stymied in her role because of her gender and she's resentful", and the actress is selling the hell out of it, but I can't feel anything for Serena Joy. She doesn't give a shit about other women and how they've suffered under the Gilead regime, she's just pissed that she's not getting a better part in it, and even if she suddenly sees the light in how she helped this situation come about, fuck her still for her role in it. Quite frankly if I get to see Peggy Olson and Rory Gilmore murder the hell out of her before this season is out, it'll be some great television. She'd honestly have to start rescuing handmaids and getting them to Canada before she even gets so much as a "maybe she's not completely terrible".   

I also really really wish that instead of Luke just yelling, "Fuck You" at Waterford during their confrontation when he was preaching at Luke to remember his scriptures, that Luke would have thrown some scriptures back at him and reminded Waterford that there's maybe quite a few that he's not following or conveniently forgetting altogether. Although I completely understand that he was pissed as hell and not in the mood to have a theological debate with a gross hypocrite that is keeping his wife as hostage and performing gross ceremonial rapes.  

I'm really tired of watching Janine getting abused. The scenes with her baby last week were a really nice respite, but a lot of times it just seems like, "Hey, we haven't had enough violence against women this week in this show that's about violence against women, let's have someone headbutt Janine with a gun for no reason whatsoever".    

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5 minutes ago, sashabear21 said:

'm really tired of watching Janine getting abused. The scenes with her baby last week were a really nice respite, but a lot of times it just seems like, "Hey, we haven't had enough violence against women this week in this show that's about violence against women, let's have someone headbutt Janine with a gun for no reason whatsoever".    

I agree. I really wish they would show us more good men instead of all these assholes. Every single male in Gilead cant be a sadist. Nick is the only decent one? Really? Every single male left is totally ok with abusing woman and letting this go on? Not one guardian is secretly working for the other side besides Nick? What message does that send to viewers? That all men are inherently rotten if given the power? It’s a little irritating really.

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17 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Unless of course, Serena had a hysterectomy via gunshot.  If that's true, June's baby is the only one she has a chance at having.

IIRC, the gunshot wound was on her right side, so it probably didn't hit her uterus. She may have lost an ovary, but as long as the other one still works, she could still have a baby of her own. The shooting must have been well-publicized when it happened, so if it had rendered her infertile, I'm sure Joel would have known about it.

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9 minutes ago, GraceK said:

I agree. I really wish they would show us more good men instead of all these assholes. Every single male in Gilead cant be a sadist. Nick is the only decent one? Really? Every single male left is totally ok with abusing woman and letting this go on? Not one guardian is secretly working for the other side besides Nick? What message does that send to viewers? That all men are inherently rotten if given the power? It’s a little irritating really.

And with Eden last week she seemed to be surprised that Nick wouldn't punch her straight in the face for getting into his things, like Gilead has trained women for abuse, and granted there is history to draw on where if people are given certain parameters that they thought they couldn't cross before, but will cross the hell out of them once it's suddenly okay (Fred Waterford would probably have never hit a non-Gilead Serena Joy for example), but there are also people who are horrified by the parameters and will never cross them. Let's see more of that Gilead. 

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2 minutes ago, sashabear21 said:

I know they're trying to make the audience feel sympathy for Serena Joy and make her a complicated character in the, "she was complicit in creating this world, but she's found herself stymied in her role because of her gender and she's resentful", and the actress is selling the hell out of it, but I can't feel anything for Serena Joy. She doesn't give a shit about other women and how they've suffered under the Gilead regime, she's just pissed that she's not getting a better part in it, and even if she suddenly sees the light in how she helped this situation come about, fuck her still for her role in it.

I'm not sure I feel sympathy for Serena, or that it what they are trying to have us feel.  I do think her character shows us that even the "top of the heap" women in Gilead have completely miserable lives. 

Am I interested in watching a character be "hoisted by her own petard?"  Or, at least, interested in her realizing that all of her dreams of a peaceful, ecologically sound, God fearing, polite society without vulgarity have turned into a complete nightmare?  Yes, that's something I would love to watch, that realization, and in many ways, those realizations were made crystal clear in Canada.  Her day to day life is miserable, but she honestly didn't know how hated she was, or how completely hateful her life is.

She moped about herself, but not really about other women, no real sympathy for June, or for Rita, for Eden, or the Unwomen at all.  She's been completely self-centered, and only concerned about her own pain.  Canada MAY have opened her baby-wanting-blinded eyes a bit.  That's a story I'm interested in watching.  It's kind of like Walt in BB really, face up to what you have created, which he did a bit here and there, and finally did completely at the end.

While I don't think Serena designed Gilead as it's become, I think that was all men, she's still complicit in the day to day support of this hell.  She's accepted it and promoted it.  She's lashed out at other women because she's so powerless and frustrated herself, twisting herself into knots to try to "believe" that any of this is OK. 

She knows it's not OK, so now, what does she do with that?  Especially after everything in Canada?

3 minutes ago, sashabear21 said:

I also really really wish that instead of Luke just yelling, "Fuck You" at Waterford during their confrontation when he was preaching at Luke to remember his scriptures, that Luke would have thrown some scriptures back at him and reminded Waterford that there's maybe quite a few that he's not following or conveniently forgetting altogether.

I've seen no indication Luke is at all religious or ever even read the bible, let alone had handy memorize passages to spout at Fred.  I was good with "You raped my wife!" and threats of retaliation when Fred's corrupt society collapses, and telling him it will.

3 minutes ago, sashabear21 said:

I'm really tired of watching Janine getting abused. The scenes with her baby last week were a really nice respite, but a lot of times it just seems like, "Hey, we haven't had enough violence against women this week in this show that's about violence against women, let's have someone headbutt Janine with a gun for no reason whatsoever".    

Poor Janine.

Still, last week, people were complaining that the Handmaids were getting pretty mouthy all of a sudden with no punishment.  That just stopped.

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11 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

've seen no indication Luke is at all religious or ever even read the bible, let alone had handy memorize passages to spout at Fred.  I was good with "You raped my wife!" and threats of retaliation when Fred's corrupt society collapses, and telling him it will.

26 minutes ago, sashabear21 said:

I've honestly never pegged Luke for being terribly smart, this week was the first one that I liked him to be honest.  I grew up in a terrible small town with a lot of small minded religious folk and my brother and I figured out at a really young age that they really only knew about 5 Bible verses that they would shout out loudly, so we learned all the other ones that contradicted their chosen versions and it pissed them off to no end. We'd debate on which passage got to get thrown out and whether or not water balloons would be involved. I kinda wish people would use these tactics against the Waterfords more.  But more to the point, I think Luke did really good with what he had, and it did get Nick to go to him and while he didn't tell the whole truth, Luke knows June is alive, and her circumstances, and June knows Luke is alive and looking for her.  

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12 hours ago, rubinia said:

Seriously, I feel like every episode ends with June saying some variation of "fuck that."

 

It's getting a little old hat. We get it, June likes the word fuck. So do I. But can we not pick a different one once in awhile? Just for variety sake? 

10 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Another minor maybe-quibble about the new Guard.

Why did he call Janine an "unwoman?"  Is he so young that he's just stupid and doesn't know the designations, or was it supposed to refer to her time in the radioactive Colony, or was it just an insult?
 

It kind of threw me.

This. It's probably no secret that they brought back some Handmaids and they're probably looked at like worse than shit on the bottom of a shoe. They're most likely only temporary placings, to be replaced with a brand new shiny Handmaid once they can crank some out from the burning wreckage of the new Rachel and Leah Training Center, and Janine's name and description has probably gotten around the barracks as the one that's crazier than a bag of cats. The guard on his temporary placement to the Waterford house while the Waterfords were gone might have also been informed as to past behavior involving June and what to look out for (like talking when she isn't supposed to, which she has done with Janine three episodes in a row).

10 hours ago, Baltimore Betty said:

Who is just a little creeped out and worried about Aunt Lydia?  She says her nephew was four days old when he died then follows it up with, "It wasn't my fault."  Geeze, what is she hiding?

My take on June asking if Aunt Lydia was ever a godmother was she was trying to soften her up or feed her ego so AL would be more inclined to help June.

I really have no doubt that Serena Joy would be a good mother, I think Fred will be checked out as a father unless it is a public thing and he needs to appear the doting father.  

You've never heard of someone who lost someone in their life and they blame themselves? Even if they weren't there, there was nothing they could do, they still blame themselves? She sounds like someone who keeps repeating that she isn't too blame for her nephew's death because she does feel responsible (maybe she thinks she should have spoken up about something, maybe she should have pushed the doctor harder on her sister's behalf, maybe she thought it was her fault because prior to this she was sinful and she thought God was judging the baby instead of her). I wouldn't automatically jump to the thought that she killed a child. That's... not really something that fits with Aunt Lydia's characterization.

ETA2, son of ETA: Also, I think it's been lost that June says "I'm sorry" and Aunt Lydia follows immediately with "It wasn't my fault." I've had a variation on that conversation myself. "I'm sorry to hear about your dad." "You didn't kill him... but thanks?" Not everyone takes sympathy the same way.

ETA: Speaking of characterization, it's nice to see that they continue to write June as dumb and stubborn. You don't think all that God parent talk is going to backfire on you, June? Rita was a decent choice, but the scene with Aunt Lydia was just sloppy. I get what she was attempting but she should know by now how Aunt Lydia thinks and operates. It's just like constantly asking Mrs. Waterford for info/a picture/to spend five minutes with Hannah. June is horrible at picking her targets properly and working them right. But hey, again! Consistent! 

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I've decided that Aunt Lydia was doing something "sinful" when she was supposed to be watching her sister's newborn.  Now, just what could that have been?

  • Lydia was masturbating with the baby asleep on the bed next to her, and actually, during her massive orgasm, her body's giant shudders pushed the baby off the bed and it fell on hardwood floors, head first.
  • Lydia was having wild, loud sex with the milkman's assistant instead of minding her God child, so she didn't hear the baby's cries when a rather large rat crawled into the crib in the room next door and bit the infant on a few critical veins/arteries causing massive blood loss.
  • The exhausted mother was finally getting some sleep, and Lydia was supposed to be watching the baby, so she brought the cradle into her bedroom.  Lydia had been having an affair with her sister's husband, who was horny and young, and missed having sex, he came in to continue his affair with his sexy sister-in-law.   The baby turned over into thick blankets and smothered itself while they fucked.

It would explain so much, about how passionately Lydia is against sin, especially sexual sin, and how devoted she is to doing whatever it takes for babies to be born. 

Also, I'm enjoying picturing Ann Dowd having shattering orgasms.  ;~)

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25 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

I've decided that Aunt Lydia was doing something "sinful" when she was supposed to be watching her sister's newborn.  Now, just what could that have been?

  • Lydia was masturbating with the baby asleep on the bed next to her, and actually, during her massive orgasm, her body's giant shudders pushed the baby off the bed and it fell on hardwood floors, head first.
  • Lydia was having wild, loud sex with the milkman's assistant instead of minding her God child, so she didn't hear the baby's cries when a rather large rat crawled into the crib in the room next door and bit the infant on a few critical veins/arteries causing massive blood loss.
  • The exhausted mother was finally getting some sleep, and Lydia was supposed to be watching the baby, so she brought the cradle into her bedroom.  Lydia had been having an affair with her sister's husband, who was horny and young, and missed having sex, he came in to continue his affair with his sexy sister-in-law.   The baby turned over into thick blankets and smothered itself while they fucked.

It would explain so much, about how passionately Lydia is against sin, especially sexual sin, and how devoted she is to doing whatever it takes for babies to be born. 

Also, I'm enjoying picturing Ann Dowd having shattering orgasms.  ;~)

Hahaha!  And I'm enjoying your take on it all.

Damn that's funny.

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3 hours ago, Souris said:

Oh, American Guy knew. That lighting up the cigarette was 100% deliberate on his part to tempt Serena. He knew she smoked, because he'd read all about her. It was the first overture and a way to capture her interest.

3 hours ago, Umbelina said:

He made it clear he'd been briefed, read her dossier.  He lit the cigarette to tempt her and start a conversation.  He was sent to recruit her after all, and who do we use to do that kind of thing well?  He almost succeeded too, if he'd had a few more days?  Maybe he would have.

I kept waiting for Serena to pull out those cigarettes that he left behind once she got home. I'm sure there's a business card or phone number hidden inside.

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17 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Gilead blames all infertility on the women, and as we heard in this episode, on their sins.

Gilead has never blamed the men for anything.

It quite possible that Fred's infertility was the real cause of Serena not having a baby, but because she was a woman, she was blamed instead of him.  Now though?  It's also possible that that low abdomen gunshot did make her unable to have a child.  If true, and I hope the show spells it out for us, all the more reason to turn down living in Hawaii.  Their scientists work with infertility and sperm counting won't help someone without a Uterus.

The show has been purposely vague about whether that gunshot left her unable to have children. It's plausible, but we never saw a doctor tell her so, or her to announce it herself. When Mark promised her a baby of her own, she did seem to be thinking over his offer. I hope he comes back and they have an affair which leaves her pregnant.

Speaking of affairs, I think Eden and Isaac will have one. He's closer to her age, and if Nick keeps freezing her out, a few kind words from Isaac is all it will take. I hope Nick told her he liked her chocolate chip cookies, at least!

Someone commented above that Fred was always walking right behind Serena. Ironic, since in a patriarchal society it's generally the wife who walks behind the husband. Years ago I heard an awful joke about that, where the punchline is "Minefield!"

I don't think Aunt Lydia deliberately abused her nephew/godson. More likely something happened when Lydia was supposed to be watching him, like crib death, and she blamed herself. I think it makes total sense that June would reach out to her as an advocate for her baby. Babies bring out what's left of Lydia's humanity like nothing else.

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6 hours ago, Callaphera said:

It's getting a little old hat. We get it, June likes the word fuck. So do I. But can we not pick a different one once in awhile? Just for variety sake? 

This. It's probably no secret that they brought back some Handmaids and they're probably looked at like worse than shit on the bottom of a shoe. They're most likely only temporary placings, to be replaced with a brand new shiny Handmaid once they can crank some out from the burning wreckage of the new Rachel and Leah Training Center, and Janine's name and description has probably gotten around the barracks as the one that's crazier than a bag of cats. The guard on his temporary placement to the Waterford house while the Waterfords were gone might have also been informed as to past behavior involving June and what to look out for (like talking when she isn't supposed to, which she has done with Janine three episodes in a row).

You've never heard of someone who lost someone in their life and they blame themselves? Even if they weren't there, there was nothing they could do, they still blame themselves? She sounds like someone who keeps repeating that she isn't too blame for her nephew's death because she does feel responsible (maybe she thinks she should have spoken up about something, maybe she should have pushed the doctor harder on her sister's behalf, maybe she thought it was her fault because prior to this she was sinful and she thought God was judging the baby instead of her). I wouldn't automatically jump to the thought that she killed a child. That's... not really something that fits with Aunt Lydia's characterization.

ETA2, son of ETA: Also, I think it's been lost that June says "I'm sorry" and Aunt Lydia follows immediately with "It wasn't my fault." I've had a variation on that conversation myself. "I'm sorry to hear about your dad." "You didn't kill him... but thanks?" Not everyone takes sympathy the same way.

ETA: Speaking of characterization, it's nice to see that they continue to write June as dumb and stubborn. You don't think all that God parent talk is going to backfire on you, June? Rita was a decent choice, but the scene with Aunt Lydia was just sloppy. I get what she was attempting but she should know by now how Aunt Lydia thinks and operates. It's just like constantly asking Mrs. Waterford for info/a picture/to spend five minutes with Hannah. June is horrible at picking her targets properly and working them right. But hey, again! Consistent! 

Agreed. You may be on target with ETA2 but with this show nothing is as it seems.

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11 hours ago, Joana said:

I thought about this as well, but I guess it makes sense that most of the refugees are people who managed to get out before things got really, really bad, and then a lot of those who were able to escape after the system had already been established are still too traumatized to speak up, like Moira. ...

However, I also think this visit should have realistically had a very low profile, if not kept a secret outright. If anything, it would have been a huge security risk, with so many people furious with the Gilead's regime and looking for revenge. 

Also, Canada seemed a bit too idyllic for a society that should by all accounts be facing a rather heavy economic crisis alongside the well known fertility issues. I get what dramatic effect they were going for in setting up an internal conflict within Serena, but some of the credibility was lost that way. 

Except that we’ve seen that female American official at, what I always assumed was the Consulate for the remaining U.S. gov’t, has binders of pictures of dead women, filing cabinets of stolen children and intelligence good enough to get pictures of the bombing victims and know their names. And this is not happening around the world but right next door.  

The meeting doesn’t make sense.  I enjoyed it immensely - I loved seeing the Waterfords taken down a peg or three - but it doesn’t make sense. 

Re: Canada seemed too idyllic - that part was true.  Come visit.

Fun local fact:  the first time Serena’s eyes bugged out in their drive from the airport, they were passing by the very chic and very very expensive haut couture shops of Yorkville.  They didn’t show the shops, but that was clearly where they were. 

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22 hours ago, Empress1 said:

Joel from Parenthood very subtly read Serena for filth and I am here for it.

I snorted at the pictogram agenda. Yet and still: Serena played herself. I know I was supposed to feel sorry for her when she was looking out the window with longing at women reading, wearing what they wanted, and kissing people ... at all, let alone out in the open, but I didn't. I didn't feel sorry for her when the woman refused to share an elevator with her either. And I loved the immigration guy subtly calling Fred a homophobe.

"You and your wife are no longer welcome in Canada" was very satisfying to hear. As was "We believe the women." Methinks a Canadian invasion is coming.

I do not foresee any sort of "redemption" for Serena Joy at all. She continues to accept what she had a role in creating, even when it smacks her in the face. The diplomatic trip to Canada showed just how much she had betrayed her country AND the women from it. I think it is too late for her and now June has got Aunt Lydia to be fully conscious of something "just not being right" with both of the Waterfords.

The trip to Canada was another major fail for the Commander. Now everything is out there online about how life is really like for the women in Gilead. 

Nick, Nick, Nick....I am glad that he was able to come face to face with Luke, June's husband. I have never shipped June with Nick, because she does care for him, but she is not in love with him. He protects her, he provides as much comfort that he can, but I do believe that he knows that June isn't in love with him. 

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1 hour ago, GreekGeek said:

The show has been purposely vague about whether that gunshot left her unable to have children. It's plausible, but we never saw a doctor tell her so, or her to announce it herself. When Mark promised her a baby of her own, she did seem to be thinking over his offer. I hope he comes back and they have an affair which leaves her pregnant.

Speaking of affairs, I think Eden and Isaac will have one. He's closer to her age, and if Nick keeps freezing her out, a few kind words from Isaac is all it will take. I hope Nick told her he liked her chocolate chip cookies, at least!

Someone commented above that Fred was always walking right behind Serena. Ironic, since in a patriarchal society it's generally the wife who walks behind the husband. Years ago I heard an awful joke about that, where the punchline is "Minefield!"

I don't think Aunt Lydia deliberately abused her nephew/godson. More likely something happened when Lydia was supposed to be watching him, like crib death, and she blamed herself. I think it makes total sense that June would reach out to her as an advocate for her baby. Babies bring out what's left of Lydia's humanity like nothing else.

I hope to see him again but I don’t want them to have an affair. He’s too good for her, and I don’t want her to be happy.

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On 6/13/2018 at 1:45 AM, rideashire said:

Aunt Lydia is such a mystery to me. She obviously has the capacity for kindness and compassion, but she does such horrible things. I have no doubt that she would protect that baby if she was ever in a situation that called for it, yet she will have a woman's eye removed like it's no big deal.

How?! I just...the mind...it boggles. I want to know more about her and how she got where she is.

Extreme “pro-life” people are okay with the mom dying, as long as the baby lives. I am also curious about her past life, but much of the belief system behind the anti-abortion movement is that the woman should get punished. I don’t find Aunt Lydia all that unusual.

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My one nitpick is the total convenience of Serena making a last minute decision to go into the bar and Mark being there ready and waiting to bait her with cigarettes.  First, I can't believe she wouldn't have some sort of minder with her, or at least nearby her, at all times.  They were with her during the tour through the garden.  Second, did they have multiple people waiting for similar opportunities?  What if she went on the elevator instead?  But I liked that they played her smart enough to know from the start it wasn't an innocent conversation from just a random stranger. 

I'm also surprised she didn't have a female minder with her.  I would think the better opportunity to have the conversation like Mark did would be in a ladies' room.

As a previous poster said, I totally buy the "princess" comment from the little girl.  I also thought she looked like Elsa with the cape and gloves. 

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Two little moments stood out to me:

1. When Fred touches Serena’s arm in the greenhouse and as she flinches, the camera does a quick pan to her other hand clenching the pruning shears.  To me it showed the unbalanced power she wields.  

2. Moira holding her ‘My Name is’ sign and scream whispering ‘I’m not Ruby’ after the limo left.  I clapped in happiness.

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18 hours ago, VagueDisclaimer said:

I understand the argument in defense of Luke, that this is a realistic way people would act and while i’m sure that’s true, this is TV and I want interesting and Luke just isn’t, in the past or present versions. I mean, granted, the way the show has handled the Canadian scenes has been boring, wasting Samira Wiley, and just showing us sad and withdrawn Luke and Moira instead of what is actually happening in the world outside Gilead. Even Luke confronting Waterford felt underwhelming and while i felt for him in the scene with Nick, it just felt like more soggy Luke.

Meanwhile, Nick could be really interesting, but Max Minghella lacks the ability to show nuance. He had so many scenes this episode that could be great, but were left so flat because of the stoicism. It’s disappointing. He got something else across in that last scene with June, but it’s like he’s always on the cusp without ever getting into the pulp of it. 

I agree that the writers are just as jumbled, especially going into this season. Without the source material, I don’t think the writers are as careful. The characters are much sloppier, considering the amount of secrets they’re all simultaneously trying to conceal, and the power structures are all over the place depending on what story they're focused on. I think as the show progresses, like with it is with a lot of shows, it might be necessary to disregard a lot of lore from the first season as being established fact. 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was underwhelmed by Luke's confrontation with Fred. It should have been epic and it just wasn't. I like the actor who plays Luke but the character himself is just such a blah to me compared to his more vivid wife. The show seems to increasingly be pushing the idea that Luke and June are TruLuv4Eva and that their reunion is everything, and I just can't get invested. I find Nick and June more interesting together simply because of their circumstances, but I think that possibility has died with this episode. It would be more interesting, and more realistic to me if June and Luke reunited and she found she couldn't return to the relationship because she has changed too much, been through too much. The only way I can really get behind the two of them is that it's something June wants, and because I care about her character I want her to have it if that's how she feels. But for its own sake, I don't care.

I don't know whether to blame some of Nick's issues on Max Minghella's acting or the direction that he's receiving. But I agree that the choice to have him present near-relentless stoicism seems to have kept many in the audience at arm's length from the character, and it's too bad. He conveyed genuine sorrow, tenderness and resignation in that scene with June, but it sorta got buried underneath her reactions.

The sloppiness in the writing is becoming an increasingly prevalent, and troubling, issue - it's definitely getting worse over time. If you're a writer who is telling a story set in a fantasy or speculative world, you're asking your audience to suspend an extra level of disbelief than is needed for a story set in this modern world. You have to be VERY organized with world-building for stories like this, because little things that don't make sense or need explanation stand out more, breaking the wall, and dragging the viewer out of the story. It can't be done by the seat of your pants as they currently seem to be doing. You don't want people missing important interactions, scenes, details, etc  because they're stuck on 'But I thought...' and 'How did they...?' . And there really is no excuse for this kind of crap from the writers, because as we've been told, they'd been hoping and planning to go beyond the novel even before the second season was a sure thing. They are literally getting paid to sort this stuff out, and a lot of it should have long since been delineated and made clear in their own minds so that they can convey it to us viewers. If we reach a point where we can't rely upon most of the canon from the first season, I'm out.

12 hours ago, AllyB said:

I really feel like Nick was confirmed as being a genuine good person in this episode. When he told June about the letters I thought, at first, that he was just going to leave it at that. To take the kudos for getting them out and not tell her the rest. It would have been a horrible thing to do but almost understandable from his perspective. But instead he told her everything. He made her as happy as he could and had to know that he'd lost even the remote chance he had for the life he wanted with her. It was a truly selfless act from Nick that must have cost him dearly. But he did it anyway because he knew she deserved to know everything.

And the saddest thing to me is that in the moment, she was completely - and understandably - oblivious to what was going on with him. He was bleeding inwardly, and it was pretty well invisible to her.

9 hours ago, charmed1 said:

No way a kid is looking at some weirdo dressed like Holly Hobby Duggar in stilettos and mistaking her for a princess. Yeah right, show.

'Holly Hobby Duggar' - YES!!! To me, though, what put it over the top for the kid was Serena's headgear and long gloves. Disney princesses got their headgear and gloves - so beautiful, regal blonde lady + cape + HEADGEAR + GLOVES = princess. She was putting it in the only context she had, I guess...?

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9 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Or an Intelligence Officer.  What's left of the USA CIA?

That was the sense I got from him.

9 hours ago, sashabear21 said:

I've honestly never pegged Luke for being terribly smart, this week was the first one that I liked him to be honest.  I grew up in a terrible small town with a lot of small minded religious folk and my brother and I figured out at a really young age that they really only knew about 5 Bible verses that they would shout out loudly, so we learned all the other ones that contradicted their chosen versions and it pissed them off to no end. We'd debate on which passage got to get thrown out and whether or not water balloons would be involved. I kinda wish people would use these tactics against the Waterfords more.  But more to the point, I think Luke did really good with what he had, and it did get Nick to go to him and while he didn't tell the whole truth, Luke knows June is alive, and her circumstances, and June knows Luke is alive and looking for her.  

I think we would have gotten along as kids - I was a smartass too.

8 hours ago, Umbelina said:

I've decided that Aunt Lydia was doing something "sinful" when she was supposed to be watching her sister's newborn.  Now, just what could that have been?

  • Lydia was masturbating with the baby asleep on the bed next to her, and actually, during her massive orgasm, her body's giant shudders pushed the baby off the bed and it fell on hardwood floors, head first.
  • Lydia was having wild, loud sex with the milkman's assistant instead of minding her God child, so she didn't hear the baby's cries when a rather large rat crawled into the crib in the room next door and bit the infant on a few critical veins/arteries causing massive blood loss.
  • The exhausted mother was finally getting some sleep, and Lydia was supposed to be watching the baby, so she brought the cradle into her bedroom.  Lydia had been having an affair with her sister's husband, who was horny and young, and missed having sex, he came in to continue his affair with his sexy sister-in-law.   The baby turned over into thick blankets and smothered itself while they fucked.

It would explain so much, about how passionately Lydia is against sin, especially sexual sin, and how devoted she is to doing whatever it takes for babies to be born. 

Also, I'm enjoying picturing Ann Dowd having shattering orgasms.  ;~)

No, no, no. Love Dowd, but man, I didn't want that picture in my head. Thanks. <grin>

3 hours ago, GreekGeek said:

Someone commented above that Fred was always walking right behind Serena. Ironic, since in a patriarchal society it's generally the wife who walks behind the husband. Years ago I heard an awful joke about that, where the punchline is "Minefield!"

I haven't noticed - does she do that in Gilead? If not, then it was probably an optics decision.

2 hours ago, Trillian said:

Re: Canada seemed too idyllic - that part was true.  Come visit.

That's very kind of you, considering... (have been, did love it).

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53 minutes ago, Becks said:

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was underwhelmed by Luke's confrontation with Fred. It should have been epic and it just wasn't. I like the actor who plays Luke but the character himself is just such a blah to me compared to his more vivid wife. The show seems to increasingly be pushing the idea that Luke and June are TruLuv4Eva and that their reunion is everything, and I just can't get invested. I find Nick and June more interesting together simply because of their circumstances, but I think that possibility has died with this episode. It would be more interesting, and more realistic to me if June and Luke reunited and she found she couldn't return to the relationship because she has changed too much, been through too much. The only way I can really get behind the two of them is that it's something June wants, and because I care about her character I want her to have it if that's how she feels. But for its own sake, I don't care.

I don't know whether to blame some of Nick's issues on Max Minghella's acting or the direction that he's receiving. But I agree that the choice to have him present near-relentless stoicism seems to have kept many in the audience at arm's length from the character, and it's too bad. He conveyed genuine sorrow, tenderness and resignation in that scene with June, but it sorta got buried underneath her reactions.

The sloppiness in the writing is becoming an increasingly prevalent, and troubling, issue - it's definitely getting worse over time. If you're a writer who is telling a story set in a fantasy or speculative world, you're asking your audience to suspend an extra level of disbelief than is needed for a story set in this modern world. You have to be VERY organized with world-building for stories like this, because little things that don't make sense or need explanation stand out more, breaking the wall, and dragging the viewer out of the story. It can't be done by the seat of your pants as they currently seem to be doing. You don't want people missing important interactions, scenes, details, etc  because they're stuck on 'But I thought...' and 'How did they...?' . And there really is no excuse for this kind of crap from the writers, because as we've been told, they'd been hoping and planning to go beyond the novel even before the second season was a sure thing. They are literally getting paid to sort this stuff out, and a lot of it should have long since been delineated and made clear in their own minds so that they can convey it to us viewers. If we reach a point where we can't rely upon most of the canon from the first season, I'm out.

 

These things are all really bothering me as well and the more I think about each episode, the more disjointed I feel about them. 

Someone upthread mentioned that that ending the episodes with June's various variations of "fuck that" is starting to lose its luster. I agree with that sentiment as well. Ending the episode with her taking a climactic symbolic, internal stand-only to have her beaten down in the next episode-feels less like realism and more like poor writing. Although interesting things are happening when you look at these episodes individually, I don't feel like the story itself is really progressing. It kind of feels like we're going around and around in circles. Emily did something bad she was punished via surgery; Emily did something bad, she was sent to the Colonies; Emily gets sent back to Gilead Main., etc. Unless they actually DO something with Alexis Bledel I would have literally rather seen her life unfold in the Colonies, even if it meant death or some botched escape plan, than to see her wilt away under more depressing things as a Handmaid. I hope more is coming for her.

June's decisions don't always make sense to me and I feel, again, that it's less realism and more wonky writing. And I LIKE the writers, I do! I think that, as a microcosm, the show is fantastic. The characterizations of Serena and Aunt Lydia are great, for instance. When i stand back and start looking at the show as a whole, though, I find a lot of problems. The same thing happened to me with The Walking Dead: group finds new settlement that seems to be existing on its own okay, group becomes incorporated into the settlement, group spearheads a fight against another group, original settlement is almost completely wiped out. Repeat. I guess this is one of the reasons that I wouldn't mind a redemption arc for SJ or Aunt Lydia. At this point I'm kind of feeling like they should either begin progressing them towards redemption or start setting them up for some epic fall. I don't need more scenes showing me how sociopathic and bi-polar SJ is, though. I'm ready for something new. 

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I will not feel sorry for Serena Joy....no matter how much Bruce Miller wants me to... fuck off! 

She’s going to the hell so often referenced in her precious scriptures!  Don’t get me started on the hypocrisy  of many religious people....Fred preaching the Luke made me wanna rip my head off and throw it at the TV...

This show does my head in.... I am irrationally mad and hateful at fictional people...

Edited by BellyLaughter
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