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S02.E10: The Last Ceremony

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A frustrated Serena becomes desperate. The Commander tries to make amends with Offred. Nick pushes Eden farther away. Offred is faced with an unexpected reunion.

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Best rape ceremony ever!  Seriously, everyone in that scene made it so real and so disgusting, and then the surprise heart attack!  Woo.  That was excellent.  Kicking him afterwards was the cherry on top!

Hang in there Emily, June's right.

 

ETA EMILY'S not June's.

Edited by Umbelina
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3 minutes ago, Brn2bwild said:

Spoilers made it sound like Nick was shot dead at the end of the episode, but all I saw was that he was shot and then dragged into a vehicle that took off.  June was left all alone.  Is that what everyone else saw?

 

Yep, that was the ending I saw. 

Nick is called a liar by the others and then you hear a gunshot, his limp body is taken into one of the SUVs and then they all speed off, leaving June stuck in the middle of nowhere.

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So it was nick that was shot,  oh my. ..

1 minute ago, chocolatine said:

I hope this episode has put any speculation to rest that Serena may be redeemed. To paraphrase Madeline Albright, there's a special place in hell for women who actively participate in raping other women.

The reunion with Hannah just about killed me. "Why didn't you look harder?" Poor kid. And her new parents hit her "only twice"? I can't imagine how much it was tearing June up inside to tell Hannah to go back and do what they say so that she doesn't get in trouble again.

I didn't understand why the people who shot Nick didn't go inside to look for June. Isn't that why they came in the first place? She is the precious commodity, not him. At any rate, Fred knows where she is because he gave Nick the address, so if she and Nick don't come back within three hours, won't he just send someone else for her or go get her himself?

But they didn't know he was there with her. ..

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2 minutes ago, chocolatine said:

I hope this episode has put any speculation to rest that Serena may be redeemed. To paraphrase Madeline Albright, there's a special place in hell for women who actively participate in raping other women.

The reunion with Hannah just about killed me. "Why didn't you look harder?" Poor kid. And her new parents hit her "only twice"? I can't imagine how much it was tearing June up inside to tell Hannah to go back and do what they say so that she doesn't get in trouble again.

I didn't understand why the people who shot Nick didn't go inside to look for June. Isn't that why they came in the first place? She is the precious commodity, not him. At any rate, Fred knows where she is because he gave Nick the address, so if she and Nick don't come back within three hours, won't he just send someone else for her or go get her himself?

It seems like the may have just been on a routine patrol of a temporarily empty house, and knew Nick wasn't supposed to be there.  Then Nick fought, they took him down.

Hope his Eye friends get him out and patch him up.

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Just now, Umbelina said:

It seems like the may have just been on a routine patrol of a temporarily empty house, and knew Nick wasn't supposed to be there.  Then Nick fought, they took him down.

Hope his Eye friends get him out and patch him up.

But why would they speed away with him and his vehicle? If they were spouse to be protecting the house? What was the rush?

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5 minutes ago, rideashire said:

Somehow, even being stuck in the woods with wolves at her door seems like a better place for June to be that in the rape house.

Yeah, I thought that too. 

Also, I love the idea of June having her baby alone, without those ridiculous ceremonies.  I especially love the idea of Serena not having ANY part of the birth, no friends around, no pretend labor, NOTHING.

I still can't get over that opening scene, that was perfection.

"Chances are better if I lay on my back afterwards" and then that kick to his balls!  It was his balls right?  Please don't take that away from me!

2 minutes ago, Heart said:

But why would they speed away with him and his vehicle? If they were spouse to be protecting the house? What was the rush?

They arrested him.  Maybe they sped away to get him medical attention so they could question him.

Edited by Umbelina
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37 minutes ago, Brn2bwild said:

Spoilers made it sound like Nick was shot dead at the end of the episode, but all I saw was that he was shot and then dragged into a vehicle that took off.  June was left all alone.  Is that what everyone else saw?

I watched the ending a few times. I thought the gun was shot, but into the ground. They overpowered Nick and put him in the van. I’m not sure anyone took a bullet? You would think that Waterford can vouch for him but it’s probably too secret and he doesn’t want to admit it even happened?

But yes- why the race off squealing tires of the eyes??? What’s the rush??

27 minutes ago, chocolatine said:

Fred knows where she is because he gave Nick the address, so if she and Nick don't come back within three hours, won't he just send someone else for her or go get her himself?

So. I thought so to. But then I watched the preview for the next episode and 

Spoiler

Serena and him talk like June’s gone forever. As if they can’t find her? So confused about that. Maybe Waterford didn’t memorize the address? 

Which commanders house was that anyway? Maybe one that died in the bombing since it’s obviously abandoned? That’s one amazing house!

 

And man, June is gonna freeze to death out there. Or get eaten by wolves. Or bleed to death in childbirth. Or starve.  This is why she didn’t run. She has no idea where she is, is about to give birth, and it’s winter. 

 

Gahhhhh!!!

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I found myself thinking at the end, “man, June was SO close - she had Hannah and Nick there and she was not in labor... it would have been a great setup (by nick) for a getaway.” So...maybe it was?  The “shooting” or “kidnapping” at the end could actually be part of it, and Hannah and the Martha should still be very close by...

Edited by julia1130
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I don't know if Nick was shot, but he's out cold, his body was limp when they put him in that van, and he wasn't fighting anymore.

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1 hour ago, Heart said:

But why would they speed away with him and his vehicle? If they were spouse to be protecting the house? What was the rush?

I thought Fred set them up, but the more i think about it, the less beneficial that would be for him, so I’m thinking no.  There was some kind of warning to Hannah’s driver, that those guys were coming. I don’t think they came out searching specifically for Nick and June, but someone tipped them off to a disturbance of some kind at this residence. I do think Nick was shot and that was part of their rush, 

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9 minutes ago, whoknowswho said:

I just had to come and see if anyone had the same thought I did. So far, no one has.

June told Waterford--he'll never know what it's like to have a child. I think HE staged this entire thing--he doesn't want another man's kid. When he said she deserved it (the drive, to see Hannah)--he meant what's going to happen to Nick.  Waterford's doesn't get stuck with a kid he didn't sire.  This is about Waterford's control.

Fuck him, fuck Serena. May they die slowly and painfully.

Nick, hope you can hang on somehow...

The completely remote location would fit with this theory. There’s no reason to go out to the actual middle of nowhere, they could have met somewhere closer to civilization and still taken precautions.

If Fred set this up to strand her out there then of course they’d be in the sticks where she could just die of exposure or childbirth, or even if she escapes maybe he doesn’t give a shit.

The only thing I’m wondering is didn’t Serena tell him already a while ago that the baby wasn’t his? So this wouldn’t be a surprise now, right? Also, it seems odd to actually have her kid there if he did plan this, rather than just having Nick drive her out unaware, then shoot Nick and leave her behind. No kid. Or, kill them both.

Hmmm.

Edited by rideashire
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1 minute ago, rideashire said:

The completely remote location would fit with this theory. There’s no reason to go out to the actual middle of nowhere, they could have met somewhere closer to civilization and still taken precautions.

If Fred set this up to strand her out there then of course they’d be in the sticks where she could just die of exposure or childbirth, or even if she escapes maybe he doesn’t give a shit.

The only thing I’m wondering is didn’t Serena tell him already a while ago that the baby wasn’t his? So this wouldn’t be a surprise now, right? Also, it seems odd to actually have her kid there if he did plan this, rather than just having Nick drive her out unaware, then shoot Nick and leave her behind. No kid.

Hmmm.

Yes, serena told him the baby wasn't his several episodes ago.

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5 minutes ago, rideashire said:

The completely remote location would fit with this theory. There’s no reason to go out to the actual middle of nowhere, they could have met somewhere closer to civilization and still taken precautions.

If Fred set this up to strand her out there then of course they’d be in the sticks where she could just die of exposure or childbirth, or even if she escapes maybe he doesn’t give a shit.

The only thing I’m wondering is didn’t Serena tell him already a while ago that the baby wasn’t his? So this wouldn’t be a surprise now, right? Also, it seems odd to actually have her kid there if he did plan this, rather than just having Nick drive her out unaware, then shoot Nick and leave her behind. No kid. Or, kill them both.

Hmmm.

Yes, she did tell him that it wasn't his child, but did he believe her?  I can see him not believing Serena, because they like to hurt each other as well as other people.  But I CAN see him totally believing June.  And having it bother him, the closer it gets to the day.  I haven't seen next week's trailer, I just had the thought while watching it.

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When Hannah asked June why she didn't fight harder, it felt like tiny little daggers. Sigh.....I wanted June to be able to see Hannah, but that scene was heartbreaking.

The whole episode was shattering.

Serena and Fred both need to die in a slow and painful manner (by June's hand) that I can relish in.

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How does Fred explain his way out of this predicament?  His driver has been arrested after being caught on another commander’s property, and his handmaid is missing (AGAIN).  I’m worried for June & Nick, but Fred’s failures (by ROG standards) have been too numerous to go unpunished.

Edited by revbfc
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I still don't think Serena had much of a part in designing what Gilead is, if any.

That's not "defending her" or twisting myself into pretzels, that's just looking at all the things she detests about Gilead, and at that door being shut in her face while the men decided on Handmaids and how to "sell it to the wives," and that reading and writing was out, and all women must be in uniforms...etc.

She has plenty of other guilt on her hands though.  This though?  Inexcusable completely, and totally HER idea, there is no coming back from that.

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Inside the episode (this was the only version I could find on youtube at the moment, so it has the promo for S2.E11 at the beginning - if you don't want to see the promo, skip the first 30 seconds of the video):

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Is anyone else kind of bothered that a man wrote this episode, and another man directed it?  I see a few female writers and directors that have credits on other episodes, but this one was all Bruce Miller at least according to IMDb.  Here, according to wikipedia are the other episodes and writers.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Handmaid's_Tale_(TV_series)

It's a pretty sickening episode, and also of course, a pretty large departure from the book.

Sorry if it's a sexist question, but I really disliked his "inside the episode" on this one, and decided to check the writers on this, and others.  2 rapes, very graphic, the most realistic I ever remember on this show.  I did appreciate the two kicks to the dead guy's balls, but still... 

ETA

Later found out that this was written by a woman, IMDb was incorrect.  Fascinating interviews with the writer in the media thread now.

Edited by Umbelina
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1 hour ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I know that things are really terrible when my first reaction to June being stranded at that house was "Well, at least she's alone instead of in Fred's house being raped again."

 

Gilead forces you to find the smallest victories over the strangest things. Just squeezing out a tiny ray of sunshine from a shit cloud.

i really hope that there ends up being a scene where the Waterford’s house of horrors get bulldozed to the ground or burned down.

That house is so tainted now, ruined by all the unspeakable acts that were committed within. 

 I want June to be there, holding Hannah’s hand and cradling her newest addition, watching as it is demolished, witnessing a physical piece of her past torment put down permanently.

And if they just so happened to have Fred and Serena chained together to that same marital bed they often utilized when raping June during said demolition, leaving them to die literally in the hell on earth they entrapped so many others in, all the better.

Edited by AnswersWanted
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Something that’s bugging me on a different topic:: how much time has supposed to have passed since the takeover? Cause Hannah has not seemed to age at all. Kids change drastically in a few years, especially toddlers and children between the ages of  3-5. How old was Hannah supposed to be when Gilead even took over? These details really infuriate me.  It looks like only months have passed age wise when really if it’s been years she should have been older and played by a different actress by now. None of this even makes sense anymore. 

Edited by GraceK
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8 minutes ago, GraceK said:

Something that’s bugging me on a different topic:: how much time has supposed to have passed since the takeover? Cause Hannah has not seemed to age at all. Kids change drastically in a few years, especially toddlers and children between the ages of  3-5. How old was Hannah supposed to be when Gilead even took over? These details really infuriate me.  It looks like only months have passed age wise when really if it’s been years she should have been older and played by a different actress by now. None of this even makes sense anymore. 

 

I believe they said that this is June's third posting, right?  That's a change from the books, so I'm not positive.  I don't know if they keep the handmaid's for a year or not before rotating them.  After the third, with no baby produced though, they are sent to the colonies.

It's always an issue with child actors. 

I think it's been 2 1/2-3 1/2 years since June was captured.  I don't know how long "training" lasts either.

Anyone else?

Edited by Umbelina
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8 minutes ago, GraceK said:

Something that’s bugging me on a different topic:: how much time has supposed to have passed since the takeover? Cause Hannah has not seemed to age at all. Kids change drastically in a few years, especially toddlers and children between the ages of  3-5. How old was Hannah supposed to be when Gilead even took over? These details really infuriate me.  It looks like only months have passed age wise when really if it’s been years she should have been older and played by a different actress by now. None of this even makes sense anymore. 

Yeah, it's been 3 years. That kid should be a lot taller at the very least.

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Good gravy, I think that episode wins the award for most brutal yet. Kinda wish I could unsee it, but on the other hand it does eliminate some grey area, which is probably necessary moving forward (for instance whatever terrible thing they hopefully have in store for Serena).

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She's a very good little actress, maybe they kept her because of that, rather than re-casting.

Here she is when they tried to escape:

b8d3007b-4d0d-487c-8cd0-4c13ddd5acf9-han

I can't find a photo of them meeting in this episode, but since it's the same child, and it's only a year later in real time (about) she probably looks about a year older.

She held her own in those scenes though, so it's worth it, she's also adorable.

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4 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

he held her own in those scenes though, so it's worth it, she's also adorable.

Agree on all counts that she’s a beautiful little actress and very talented. It’s just extremely unrealistic in an already pushing the limits of reality that she hasn’t aged at all in three years. ? little things like that really bug me. It would have made it that much more gut wrenching and believable to me that the daughter June has been dreaming about and remembering has changed and grown up so much . 

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2 minutes ago, GraceK said:

Agree on all counts that she’s a beautiful little actress and very talented. It’s just extremely unrealistic in an already pushing the limits of reality that she hasn’t aged at all in three years. ? little things like that really bug me. It would have made it that much more gut wrenching and believable to me that the daughter June has been dreaming about and remembering has changed and grown up so much . 

 

 I think the intensity of the scene would have greatly increased had they made Hannah older. 

 Would she be like a little Eden in the making? Would she be like June still fighting the life forced upon her instead of showing full acceptance?

I also think an older Hannah would have asked about Luke, pressing June to find out what happened to him, remembering the gun shot that she heard when they were running away from the car, demanding information about him, her Auntie Moira, or where is her Grandma? 

I think the show wanted to keep an innocence about her by keeping her so small and young, calling for “Mommy” and showing a very young, unaware, perspective of th world, but I agree that caused them to miss out on a great opportunity to grow this character and develop her more. 

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11 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Best rape ceremony ever!  Seriously, everyone in that scene made it so real and so disgusting, and then the surprise heart attack!  Woo.  That was excellent.  Kicking him afterwards was the cherry on top!

Hang in there Emily, June's right.

I was hoping it was Fred, you were talking about, but Emily takes someone down as she's being raped? 

10 hours ago, GraceK said:

Yeah fuck Serena. That was her idea after all. I think I’m done for a while. I may just read the recaps . I don’t need this. Real life is shaping up to be horrific enough ?

I know. Kids, babies, being separated from their mothers, HERE, where things are supposed to be better. Nope. 

Edited by Anela
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41 minutes ago, AnswersWanted said:

also think an older Hannah would have asked about Luke, pressing June to find out what happened to him, remembering the gun shot that she heard when they were running away from the car, demanding information about him, her Auntie Moira, or where is her Grandma

You don’t think it’s more likely an older Hannah would have forgotten all that or purposely tried to block it out? If it’s been three years of being away from June and Luke, I think it’s more likely she would have more indoctrinated into this culture. Just having to survive for three years and growing up with new parents would have had her adapting to new surroundings and probably blocking out traumatic memories. She was so little when she taken away and three years is long time at that age. I get they were going for a heart wrenching reunion with “baby Hannah “ and everything, but to gloss over the fact that three years is supposed to have passed and this girl hasn’t seemed to have grown at all is a little ridiculous IMO. 

Edited by GraceK
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2 hours ago, Umbelina said:

I still don't think Serena had much of a part in designing what Gilead is, if any.

That's not "defending her" or twisting myself into pretzels, that's just looking at all the things she detests about Gilead, and at that door being shut in her face while the men decided on Handmaids and how to "sell it to the wives," and that reading and writing was out, and all women must be in uniforms...etc.

She has plenty of other guilt on her hands though.  This though?  Inexcusable completely, and totally HER idea, there is no coming back from that.

I agree. I don't think her vision of Gilead ever included the image of her forcibly restraining a kicking and screaming woman while her husband is brutally raping her. And for what it's worth, I think that for her it was yet another example of the end justifying the means rather than something she enjoyed doing. Of course, ultimately it doesn't matter because she did it, and unlike the other horrors of the daily life in Gilead, this was all created by her. So yeah, there's no redemption from this and if she gets to hold that baby even for 10 seconds, I'm gonna flip out.

I was totally unspoiled going into this episode, so this was felt like a true punch in the gut. The episode title and all that talk about speeding up the childbirth process (damn that "Friends" episode!) hinted towards the rape scene very clearly, but it didn't make it any easier to watch and stomach. And as for her meeting with Hannah, it was heartbreaking to watch, but their conversation (or rather the things Hannah was saying) felt a little... artificial. How much would she even remember of June after all this time. Also, "Why didn't you try harder to find me" doesn't seem (to me, at least), like something a child of that age would say. Unless she was instructed or manipulated to do so, which is of course a real possibility.

In general, as brutal as this episode was, it was just as confusing. June and Nick might as well have made out in front of Eden. WTH was that? Why can't he at least try to talk to her like an actual human being and explain his POV? Also, the whole forbidden love story between Eden and whathisname would have been a lot more effective had it not been as telegraphed or if it included characters people actually cared about. Just a thought. It crossed my mind too that Fred was setting them up, but then again, I agree that he cannot possibly explain how his handmaid went missing AGAIN. And if he was trying to get rid of them by luring her away with the promise of seeing her daughter, it would have been very easy to do it without actually delivering on the promise, which seemed like quite a logistical hassle and certainly included breaking like half a dozen rules. I really don't know.

And I really don't think we needed to see the birthing ceremony again. Without the novelty factor it had the first time around it didn't just seem bizarre like it did back then, it was simply revolting. 

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4 minutes ago, mamadrama said:

I'm a little stunned at the way this episode thread is going. I haven't seen anyone actually defending her, just trying to understand motivation. I join these boards so that I can have in-depth discussions about plot points, acting abilities, and even to snark on the crazy things that happen. I haven't seen any "Serena apologists" but, as someone who has frequently commented on the complexity of her character and the greatness of Yvonne's acting, I feel kind of taken aback at being told to "go to hell" (as was said upthread). 

I apologize deeply if you think that was in anyway directed at you. It actually wasn’t directed at anyone personally, more at the universe in general . I myself have praised Yvonne for her acting and have posted about Serena’s motivation. This episode hit me especially hard and was very upsetting so If I came across as aggressive i certainly didn’t mean to be. 

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5 minutes ago, GraceK said:

You don’t think it’s more likely an older Hannah would have forgotten all that or purposely tried to block it out? If it’s been three years of being away from June and Luke, I think it’s more likely she would have more indoctrinated into this culture. Just having to survive for three years and growing up with new parents would have had her adapting to new surroundings and probably blocking out traumatic memories. She was so little when she taken away and three years is long time at that age. I get they were going for a heart wrenching reunion with “baby Hannah “ and everything, but to gloss over the fact that three years is supposed to have passed and this girl hasn’t seemed to have grown at all is a little ridiculous IMO. 

 

I think it would depend on her personality and how it has developed in Gilead. 

The thing for me has been that Hannah was not so little during the escape, heh. 

I know she should have been of course, it was laid out in the book, but the show obviously cast this precious girl who was older. 

I forgave the show for it but clearly she was not an actual toddler during the escape attempt. Easily she was four or five, so add three years and she’s elementary age. 

It could be that she actively would try to forget or put the past out of her mind, I could see that, but for drama’s sake I would have enjoyed a conversation between them talking about their family.

It would have been June’s first chance to in Gilead to talk about such matters with someone who is just as connected to her past as she is.

I was also thinking that an older Hannah would have had a much strong reaction to seeing June pregnant, especially knowing her new baby brother or sister would be taken away, 

Just imaging her asking about who the baby would go to, who are Fred and Serena, are they nice?

For June to face such innocent questions after being brutally attached and raped by them? Gosh. 

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