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ElectricBoogaloo

S02.E10: The Last Ceremony

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Holy shit, that was intense!

Heartbroken at the "gift" to June: "I raped you now I am going to give you a gift you want but just to take it away again. You need to show your gratitude to me".

How does one describe the kind of feelings June might have felt? 

 

The cruelty of the fundamentalist has no bounds. I am an atheist but they (Gilead rulers) are supposed "good Christians", and reciting passages of the bible (I think Fred was reciting the bible?) while raping someone is beyond any hint of humanity. The worst part is, I am sure it happens in certain circles in real life.

The kid yelling "mommy" as they rip her from her mothers arms... This kind of thing haunted me all day yesterday then I see that. Just saying.

And that mass hysteria, the wives, the white dress, holding the "belly", gee.

I am not sure what we are supposed to think what the objective of the rape was though. I understand that orgasm can induce labor, and that some rape victims can experience orgasm. But it doesn't look like June did. Are we supposed to read this as: they truly believe the handmaids experience orgasm every time they are raped, so they tried and failed, or they are just too ignorant and that's why it cannot work, or they are simply cruel and wanted to inflict as much pain as possible, using the excuse as a mix of despair and cruelty?

Edited by alexvillage
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28 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 like snarking on and bitching about the people on the show-not each other. 

 

Oh, I quoted that, but didn't agree with "go to hell". I say that as someone who was liking Serena, and also think that Yvonne is fantastic. I could be seen as a Serena apologist. "Fuck Serena" was the sentiment. 

I've been jumped on, on the boards before, a few times, and didn't appreciate it. It's happened several times in the last month, here and in a FB group (for Gilmore Girls). but I don't think Grace was directing that at us. 

Edited by Anela
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Also, on just being done for a while. I said that last week, after reading spoilers. I haven't watched this episode, and I'm not sure that I will. Elisabeth Moss said she thought it was important to watch, but I don't need to watch it to know that rape is horrific, and so is separating babies from their mother. I don't want to see a child wondering why her mother didn't try harder to find her (she couldn't do any more than she did!), and I definitely don't want to see the rapes. I've had enough. 

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10 hours ago, Umbelina said:

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.

Yes, that's what I thought.

Before that, a very unscientific thought crossed my mind: the baby is stillborn and Serena and Fred get blamed for it. But I don't need a dead baby in the show.

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11 minutes ago, alexvillage said:

I am not sure what we are supposed to think what the objective of the rape was though. I understand that orgasm can induce labor, and that some rape victims can experience orgasm. But it doesn't look like June did. Are we supposed to read this as: they truly believe the handmaids experience orgasm every time they are raped, so they tried and failed, or they are just too ignorant and that's why it cannot work, or they are simply cruel and wanted to inflict as much pain as possible, using the excuse as a mix of despair and cruelty?

They are stupid fundis.  First, orgasm can be achieved with other methods - not just penetration.  Second, if Freddy thinks that a 'push in, pump and pull' will get June to orgasm, he's an idiot. I imagine that Serena was truly disappointed pre-Gilead.

Finally, I hope SJ sees the baby but the baby is beyond her reach.  Freddy deserves castration. SJ deserves a slow painful death.

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3 hours ago, Becks said:

June's unabashed, ill-judged smugness with on-the-edge Serena when they were talking about the false labor

This one really, really annoyed me. You'd think that by now she would have learned that those little moments of "acting out", no matter how sweet they might feel at the time, only end up hurting her a lot more in the long run. Every. Single. Time. 

Of course she's fed up with Serena, more than understandably so. Of course there's a bunch of things she wants to say to her face. Of course making her suffer if only for a little bit must feel good. But that woman wields almost complete power over her and can make her life miserable in a multitude of ways. Which is what she ended up doing, again. 

I mean, we know June is not supposed to be perfect. But she's not an idiot either. 

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7 minutes ago, Joana said:

This one really, really annoyed me. You'd think that by now she would have learned that those little moments of "acting out", no matter how sweet they might feel at the time, only end up hurting her a lot more in the long run. Every. Single. Time. 

Of course she's fed up with Serena, more than understandably so. Of course there's a bunch of things she wants to say to her face. Of course making her suffer if only for a little bit must feel good. But that woman wields almost complete power over her and can make her life miserable in a multitude of ways. Which is what she ended up doing, again. 

I mean, we know June is not supposed to be perfect. But she's not an idiot either. 

This. This this THIS SO MUCH! This drives me crazy. Even telling off Fred like she did. She’s in a den with sadistic bears and she pokes them. 

Edit:: Please don’t jump on me, I’m not trying to victim blame. Nothing on earth takes responsibility away from those two monsters in that house.

Edited by GraceK
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I agree on the smug little looks, but if she lost her shit after being raped, then I don't blame her. I would have lost it long before her. 

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I am the only person that has to keep stopping this show during parts, pulling together and then restarting it again.  I did that a lot last night.  First Serena is the worst.  It's hard to not to feel something for her because her situation is terrible but her needless cruelty directed at everyone makes it impossible. 

Again, not sure the Commander's angle.  Why does he take June to see her daughter?  Is it a small act of kindness or does he like being the person controlling when she sees her daughter.  Either way, he's just as cruel and creepy as before.

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1 hour ago, dmc said:

Again, not sure the Commander's angle.  Why does he take June to see her daughter?  Is it a small act of kindness or does he like being the person controlling when she sees her daughter.  Either way, he's just as cruel and creepy as before.

It’s the latter. He gets off on having the control over if and when she sees her daughter, and then yanking it all away from June. She pissed him off and emasculated him by first questioning his power and then rubbing in the fact that he’s not her baby daddy. He showed his power by dominating her body via rape, then by arranging the meeting with her daughter only to also take out Nick.

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I wonder if after the rape Serena was disgusted by Fred for enjoying it herself for holding down a woman or June for not quitely taking it. She couldn't get out of the room fast enough after. 

Damn this show. It gives little nuggets where you think just maybe SJ regrets what Giliad became. Little glimpses of humanity. But damn to they sure make sure we don't forget that deep down she is a horrible monster. All episode I was thinking what can they do so that she doesn't get the one thing that she truly wants. How are they going to keep the baby from her. I don't want to baby to die but I also don't want Serena to be happy. 

I loved Rita when when Eden was saying how her mother makes her father take out the trash. This girl is in way over her head. 

Did Emily kill that commander or did her die on his own? We know she has no issues killing I just don't know how she could do it with her vagina. Do you get murder super powers when you are exposed to radioactive waste.

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"Serena Joy" is starting to become the most ironic name ever. 

I liked the theory that everything that happened at the end was a trap, but if it was, I don't think Serena was in, which could save June's life. I mean, I think she still wants that baby, even if Fred doesn't. So she won't just believe June's gone, just like that. Although I agree with you all_ ironically, June's better alone in that house than with the Waterfords. 

Every time the Wives pretend one of them is having a baby I want to mock them and throw up at the same time. Serena  looked absolutely ridiculous. 

I don't think what Serena and Fred did was legal even in Gilead. Sex is for procreation, not for inducing labor. They were risking the baby. I wonder what would happen if Aunt Lydia knew about that. Anyway, they're monsters and if they don't end up suffering the most painful punishment I'm going to be very disappointed.

June's smirk may not be the smartest idea, but it shows she's human, she's still June, she's not defeated. She often pays a high price for every smirk, but I like the fact that she has this fire inside her. Tbh, I'm surprised so many people don't, because in my opinion, this is supposed to be a good thing. To me, the simple fact that she hasn't stabbed them to death in their bed shows great restrain and grace under pressure. 

Emily kicking that pig in his nuts was clearly a thing of beauty, but I also enjoyed Aunt Lyidia shaking her head in disappointment when June was basically laughing at Serena's face. 

23 minutes ago, notcreative enough said:

 

Did Emily kill that commander or did her die on his own? We know she has no issues killing I just don't know how she could do it with her vagina. Do you get murder super powers when you are exposed to radioactive waste.

 

15 minutes ago, GraceK said:

That should be a spin off for Emily where she just goes off vigilante style , taking down Gilead one commander at a time  like a superhero . This is her origin story?

I never knew I needed this until now.

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13 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

Raping a pregnant woman should be an automatic death sentence, full stop.

 

Since it was outside the boundaries of "the ceremony" I think Gilead probably has a punishment for that - but wouldn 't call it rape.

13 hours 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.

As much as I hate the "special place in hell" phrase - it works in this case.

13 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

 

 I sometimes rag on Elizabeth but she brought in that scene and that little actress matched her, that little girl really was incredible. 

 

I'm not her biggest fan, and June hasn't really connected with me (other than intellectually) until this episode.

13 hours ago, Pachengala said:

I for one don’t think that was a routine patrol at all; I think Waterford set them up so that Nick would be taken out. I was yelling at June to get back inside and turn that house inside out looking for a compass and any kind of map or info that would let her know where she is and where to go. Because girl, it’s time to go. 

That was my thought. He set them up - and gets rid of Nick, his unwanted kid, and the woman he blames. Officially, if June isn't found, he'll blame Nick. At first I thought "well June has a car now" but then remembered one of the guards said "get his keys" when they were hauling Nick away.

12 hours ago, whoknowswho said:

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.

Good point about what's under Waterford's control.

This episode also showed me how alike Serena and Fred are. They will warm up to you, be friendly, but if you dare ask for anything they're not willing to give, or which puts a harsh spotlight on the pretense, they will take their pound of flesh.

6 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

When Eden was crying about how Nick doesn't love her, I was really hoping that he would point out he doesn't even know her and that being married to a stranger doesn't mean you automatically love each other.

I know, right? Jesus, is he kind only to women he lusts after? On the other hand, how did super religious Eden start making out without hesitation? That seemed awfully abrupt to me.

11 minutes ago, Helena Dax said:
  37 minutes ago, notcreative enough said:

 

Did Emily kill that commander or did her die on his own? We know she has no issues killing I just don't know how she could do it with her vagina. Do you get murder super powers when you are exposed to radioactive waste.

Unfortunately, it looked like the guy just had a heart attack to me.

Edited by Clanstarling
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14 hours ago, AnswersWanted said:

I am a very terrible person because Eden’s distressed sobbing coupled with Nick utterly not giving two blessed fucks made me lol, heh, that was just great.

 

Why, hello. Let me sit right beside you. My theory is that the goons who shot Nick did so after Eden told her goon paramour about Nick's affection for June. She's a 14-year-old girl. She's petty and vicious like many a 14-year-old girl. If she had an Insta or Snapchat, she'd be making June's life hell right about now. But she doesn't—so she cut out that middleman because she had no choice—and went right to the one person who'd exact revenge on her "husband." And I don't think Nick's line to Eden that it would be "suicide" to get involved with a handmaiden was disposable. I think Eden took it an ran. It's not her fault she was a Kool-Aid drinker for Gilead—she was raised that way—but I could 100% see this as something she'd do thinking it would solve her problem of not "being loved."

I wish this series had some respite from the horror. It's harrowing to watch and sometimes I wonder why I bother at all. 

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Semen is supposedly a natural inductor for labor. Orgasm by the female may also help with contractions, but I imagine Fred was only focused on the semen, since it’s all about the men. Unless there is something wrong with the mom or baby, having sex at 9 months will not hurt the baby.  It was a horrendous scene. 

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6 hours ago, Umbelina said:

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... 

I am continually bothered at how much of the show is from the white, male gaze.  Calling that out sure isn't sexist.  I so wish the show runner was not a man.  That's not a knock on Bruce who is very talented but this show really needed to be from a women's perspective.

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14 hours ago, LittleRed84 said:

 

  Hide contents

 

 

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

It's apparently always winter in Gilead.

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18 minutes ago, laney said:

Semen is supposedly a natural inductor for labor. Orgasm by the female may also help with contractions, but I imagine Fred was only focused on the semen, since it’s all about the men. Unless there is something wrong with the mom or baby, having sex at 9 months will not hurt the baby.  It was a horrendous scene. 

It was a way of re establishing the power, Serena Joy wanted June to know they were not equals and Fred, well Fred just wanted one more go at the girl and to show her whose boss.  I did get the idea that SJ knew it was not right.

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1 hour ago, Clanstarling said:

That was my thought. He set them up - and gets rid of Nick, his unwanted kid, and the woman he blames. Officially, if June isn't found, he'll blame Nick. At first I thought "well June has a car now" but then remembered one of the guards said "get his keys" when they were hauling Nick away.

That scene made me think set up, like Nick wasn't really shot, they put on a show for June so when she runs or is found she can say she was abandoned.  It seemed random that two guards would show up at an empty house and Slick Nick could not talk his way around it.  

But the idea that Waterford set it up is a good one, not wanting to raise another man's child, his pride or ego would be hurt.  I would think Serena would go looking for June after she got the info from Fred about where she went.

Boston summers and winters are the same?  Permanent flurries.

I loved Emily kicking the Commander in his crotch.  

Now she has killed a wife and a Commander, all she needs now to complete the set is an Aunt.

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8 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

So Commander Harris was promoted because his wife got pregnant? Okay then.

If there was ever any question that Fred is a sick fuck who gets off on wielding his power, I think that moment has passed. He enjoyed violently raping his pregnant handmaid while she begged them not to do it. He loved punishing her for having the insolence to tell him the truth.

IMHO Fred was irked that a black man has what he wants--status, a fertile wife, and a baby. 

Raping June was the best sex Serena and Fred have ever had. Her loss of power was a potent aphrodisiac for them. I agree with someone upthread that said she made a catastrophic mistake when she asked Fred if something was in his power (not that the rape was in any way her fault--it absolutely wasn't). 

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my immediate thought also was it was a set up.  and I don't believe his letting her visit Hannah was kind.  Seeing her from a distance would have been a kindness but after all this time, it doesn't take a genius to know that 10 minutes is only enough time to open wounds. Given what June told him,  who else could be the father?  I think taking Nick out was intentional.  Hearing about the guy who was promoted for impregnating his wife, then finding out for sure June's child isn't his must have been a blow to his ego.  he may still think he's capable of fathering a child, or he doesn't want to give up having a handmaiden...he seemed uneasy when the other commander was asking about June.  Fred is a worm of a man, someone whose wife would have shined brighter than he in their past life.  

It was chilling seeing the mind meld of Fred and Serena in their decision to induce "naturally'.  their casual way of deciding what to do with another person.  

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3 hours ago, rubinia said:

It’s the latter. He gets off on having the control over if and when she sees her daughter, and then yanking it all away from June. She pissed him off and emasculated him by first questioning his power and then rubbing in the fact that he’s not her baby daddy. He showed his power by dominating her body via rape, then by arranging the meeting with her daughter only to also take out Nick.

Omg I totally missed him being responsible for taking out nick 

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2 hours ago, Clanstarling said:
15 hours ago, Pachengala said:

I for one don’t think that was a routine patrol at all; I think Waterford set them up so that Nick would be taken out. I was yelling at June to get back inside and turn that house inside out looking for a compass and any kind of map or info that would let her know where she is and where to go. Because girl, it’s time to go. 

That was my thought. He set them up - and gets rid of Nick, his unwanted kid, and the woman he blames. Officially, if June isn't found, he'll blame Nick. At first I thought "well June has a car now" but then remembered one of the guards said "get his keys" when they were hauling Nick away.

Ugh. Now I'm rethinking my "Eden set this plot in motion" theory. Either way, it was totally a set up. And either way, it doesn't bode well for Nick. Fred doesn't want the father of "his" baby in his house. 

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I still suspect Eden and Issac. At least Isaac anyway. He seems impulsive, young  and mean enough to do something like that. Fred is a monster, but this doesn’t help him. This hurts his bottom line. This baby brings prestige to his household, he has had way to many fuck ups to afford another one.  To lose his handmaid again, and his baby, and his driver ( who is in fact an eye) will do nothing but bring ruin to his household. He gains nothing and loses everything. 

 

Isaac gets a chance to marry a weeping widow this way . And not get turned in as adulterers and killed.

the way I see it, Isaac and Eden both have  the motive and Isaac being a guardian himself might have a few resources to pull it off.

Edited by GraceK
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4 hours ago, Anela said:

I agree on the smug little looks, but if she lost her shit after being raped, then I don't blame her. I would have lost it long before her. 

That was before they raped her, it was right after the false labor. Serena was already feeling humiliated that she called in all the other wives and handmaids for nothing, which is why I didn't think it was wise of June to pour salt on the wound in that moment. Then later that night June went to Fred and asked him that for her next posting he move her to the same district where Hannah is, "if that's within [his] power". Fred got really angry at that and kicked her out of his study, but June went back to tell him that he'll never understand what it's like to have his own flesh and blood. The next day Fred and Serena had a pow-wow in the greenhouse, Fred saying that June has "forgotten her place" and Serena saying they have to do something to speed up the birth. Then June was summoned to their bedroom and they raped her.

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I just found out that the actress playing Eden was also Emaline on Everything Sucks and I'm having so much cognitive dissonance right now!

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1 minute ago, Joana said:

I still don't think Fred was behind it. If his sole intention was to take them out to some remote place only to have Nick arrested and June left to her fate, it would have been much easier to pull off without going through the trouble of actually arranging a meeting with Hannah. That sort of thing cannot be legal and for someone whose reputation is already called unto question after the fiasco in Canada (although, seeing how there seemingly are no consequences for whatever people do on this show...) it must have been quite a risk. I absolutely agree however that it was a punishment disguised as a gift. He knew that a short meeting with her daughter would only break June's heart, but it would still be something he could parade as a selfless act done out of goodness of his soul.

Also, we've seen again just how important pregnancy is for the ruling class in Gilead, with a commander being promoted because of it. I imagine the fact that his pergant handmaid went missing twice would reflect extremely poorly on Fred, and considering the circumstances, I really doubt he'd willingly allow it to happen. 

Those are valid points. I'll have to think on that a while.

Edited by Clanstarling
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3 minutes ago, Joana said:

I still don't think Fred was behind it. If his sole intention was to take them out to some remote place only to have Nick arrested and June left to her fate, it would have been much easier to pull off without going through the trouble of actually arranging a meeting with Hannah. That sort of thing cannot be legal and for someone whose reputation is already called unto question after the fiasco in Canada (although, seeing how there seemingly are no consequences for whatever people do on this show...) it must have been quite a risk. I absolutely agree however that it was a punishment disguised as a gift. He knew that a short meeting with her daughter would only break June's heart, but it would still be something he could parade as a selfless act done out of goodness of his soul.

Also, we've seen again just how important pregnancy is for the ruling class in Gilead, with a commander being promoted because of it. I imagine the fact that his pregnant handmaid went missing twice would reflect extremely poorly on Fred, and considering the circumstances, I really doubt he'd willingly allow it to happen. 

I agree.  This is what I said earlier, but you said it better.

Anything is possible but Fred's already in a precarious position himself.  If nothing else, he wouldn't help put the noose on his own neck.

I really think it was random, foreshadowed by the Guardians with the Martha and Hannah saying "WE have to leave, RIGHT NOW."

It seemed like the got word over their radios that someone was coming, although, why they couldn't just TELL Nick and June that is beyond me.

Unless Issac's daddy is a super big shot, there is no way he could have arranged this.  Eden's parents are nothing, from the boondocks, her father isn't a Commander.  She's 15.  She didn't arrange this one, IMO.

It will be interesting to see where the show goes with this, nothing is completely off the table, but the most logical is "random patrol checking the empty house of an obvious Commander--dead or alive."

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Yeah, I don't think Eden and Isaac were responsible, either. Nick outranks them both and they have no proof, so I don't see why their word would automatically be taken over his, especially since there wasn't a public scandal like with Janine and her commander. Besides, having just been caught in adultery, one would assume they'd rather try to lay low instead of acting out.

I too think it was random, or perhaps some of the commanders found out what Fred was doing and was setting him up. 

But honestly, what I find the most puzzling was that those other guardians never bothered to inspect the house and just left in such a hurry. I really have no idea how to explain that.

Edited by Joana
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3 hours ago, notcreative enough said:

I wonder if after the rape Serena was disgusted by Fred for enjoying it herself for holding down a woman or June for not quitely taking it. She couldn't get out of the room fast enough after. 

Damn this show. It gives little nuggets where you think just maybe SJ regrets what Giliad became. Little glimpses of humanity. But damn to they sure make sure we don't forget that deep down she is a horrible monster. All episode I was thinking what can they do so that she doesn't get the one thing that she truly wants. How are they going to keep the baby from her. I don't want to baby to die but I also don't want Serena to be happy. 

 

She literally hit rock bottom.

 

But the strange thing was she was then who started "let's rape the baby out" and when the rape started she was holding her down and crying.

Maybe she realised that her loving husband was enjoying himself a little too much.

 

 

And love how Aunt Lydia lowkey hates Serena.

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10 minutes ago, Joana said:

Yeah, I don't think Eden and Isaac were responsible, either. He outranks them both and they have no proof, so I don't see why their word would automatically be taken over his, especially since there wasn't a public scandal like with Janine and her commander. Besides, having just been caught in adultery, one would assume they'd rather try to lay low instead of acting out.

I too think it was random, or perhaps some of the commanders found out what Fred was doing and was setting him up. 

But honestly, what I find the most puzzling was that those other guardians never bothered to inspect the house and just left in such a hurry. I really have no idea how to explain that.

There seemed to be some sense of urgency from the guardian with Hanna and her Martha - he kept saying they needed to go, and they were literally running to the car and got out in time. So there was some reason those guardians were coming - and some reason for at least Hanna's to know something was imminent. I did find that intriguing, but haven't come up with a scenario for it.

I don't see Eden and Isaac being responsible either - but I can see Eden testifying against Nick.

1 minute ago, Stephanie23 said:

But the strange thing was she was then who started "let's rape the baby out" and when the rape started she was holding her down and crying.

Maybe she realised that her loving husband was enjoying himself a little too much.

I think that was a very strong element, plus, you know, missing sex with her husband. Creepy.

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14 minutes ago, Clanstarling said:

There seemed to be some sense of urgency from the guardian with Hanna and her Martha - he kept saying they needed to go, and they were literally running to the car and got out in time. So there was some reason those guardians were coming - and some reason for at least Hanna's to know something was imminent. I did find that intriguing, but haven't come up with a scenario for it.

I've been thinking that another commander must have been involved in the coordination of the Hannah/June meeting. The Martha and guards would have hardly agreed to it of their own accord, because they'd certainly be killed if their boss found out. So either Fred coordinated with Hannah's new "father" directly, or a third commander served as facilitator. It may very well be that whoever else was involved used this meeting to try and take down Fred, by having his pregnant handmaid escape yet again. Or maybe it's Cushing from a few episodes ago. Perhaps he managed to get out of the trumped-up charges Fred brought against him and is now spying on him to get revenge. He already seemed to have a creepy obsession with June to begin with, so it wouldn't surprise me if he tried to take down Fred via June.

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25 minutes ago, Stephanie23 said:

And love how Aunt Lydia lowkey hates Serena.

I definitely thought there was a hint of schadenfreude on Aunt Lydia's part when the labour turned out to be false!

Also, I really hope this doesn't get me labelled as a Serena's apologist as it's really not what I'm trying to do and I cannot emphasize enough that there's no excuse for what she did. But, I think the reason she looked so uncomfortable during the rape was that she was uncomfortable. I believe the idea to have June raped was brought out of her desire to punish June and her desperation to finally have that baby, and while it is most definitely something she came up with, I don't think it's something she rationally thought through. She most likely didn't expect it would be so messy, on every level - June trying to fight back, her having to physically restrain her while listening to her desperate pleas, all the while her husband is obviously enjoying himself and she's not allowed to experience the physical pleasure of sex ever again. Again, I'm not defending her, but the way she acted after the fact, I can see how she'd feel repulsed by herself for what she's done, while trying to rationalize it away as some sort of "necessary evil".  

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I am definitely of the opinion that what happened to Nick was an ambush/set up, but I can see valid points in both arguments of whether it was Fred or Issac/Eden who were responsible.  I don't think Fred cares about being a father.  In fact, once he becomes a father that is probably the end of having a young pretty handmaid to rape on a monthly basis.  So I can see him being infuriated enough by June's confirmation that the baby isn't at all his to do something like this.  Though I'm not sure if the plan was to have them both discovered or just to remove Nick and leave June to die in labor alone or something like that.  That part doesn't make sense.  As far as Issac is concerned, sure, he may have no rank, but remember that just an accusation in Gilead is enough to do someone in.  So he could have gone to a higher ranking official and said hey, something is up with Nick, I think you should have him followed.  That makes a little more sense because it would explain why the guys who got to the house seemed to have no clue that anyone else was there.  Eden may or may not have been a part of it.

Here's what I want to see in the next 2 (or is it 3?) episodes...  Remember the final long shot of the house with the 4 car garage?  Well, June has a look around and what do you know?  There's another car in there, with keys.  Or maybe a snowmobile.  And a handy map.  Or maybe a door leading to a tunnel that heads straight to Canada.  With a stash of Twinkies.  Who knows, maybe this is a female underground safehouse and Fred really is part of the resistance and sent June there to aid in her escape but had to take out Nick to make it look real.  (OK, I realize that is a real longshot, but I'm just spitballing here.) 

Final thought - I was surprised at June's behavior towards Serena and Fred after the false labor (pre-rape).  While she had good reason to believe they wouldn't harm her while pregnant, I would think she would be afraid of what they would do as soon as the baby was born.  It's not past them to put a pillow over her face and claim she died in childbirth or have an "accident" and fall down the stairs or drown in the bathtub or whatever. 

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1 hour ago, Joana said:

Yeah, I don't think Eden and Isaac were responsible, either. Nick outranks them both and they have no proof, so I don't see why their word would automatically be taken over his, especially since there wasn't a public scandal like with Janine and her commander. Besides, having just been caught in adultery, one would assume they'd rather try to lay low instead of acting out.

I too think it was random, or perhaps some of the commanders found out what Fred was doing and was setting him up. 

But honestly, what I find the most puzzling was that those other guardians never bothered to inspect the house and just left in such a hurry. I really have no idea how to explain that.

I can let them not inspecting the house go.  I can even assume that Nick is injured and they want to question him, so they had to leave immediately.  OR, maybe their orders were simply to arrest Nick?

It's the Fred involvement that's confusing, because Fred is obviously not connected to MayDay.  If Nick had arranged it, I'd suspect a MayDay plan, with the other guardians and the Martha also being in MayDay,

But, Nick didn't have a clue, so that's out.

Fred may know the other Commander, Hannah's "father" from Jezebel's though, there was some pretty unholy talk going on earlier in the episode about the handmaids, June being a "looker" etc.  So he may have been able to say "So, let's do this, I want a good blow job before June goes."

BUT, then how do you explain Hannah's guards and Martha being in on this?  Why would THEY allow it?  Or risk their lives being involved with it for that matter?

I do think they got a warning call, and that area was very isolated so all it would take is someone watching the highway a few miles away, if they turned on that last road?  Get out of there.  Again though, that would involve even MORE people.  All for a Handmaid to illegal talk with her birth child?  Huh?

Write your way out of this one writers, and don't skimp on the details again.

30 minutes ago, chocolatine said:

I've been thinking that another commander must have been involved in the coordination of the Hannah/June meeting. The Martha and guards would have hardly agreed to it of their own accord, because they'd certainly be killed if their boss found out. So either Fred coordinated with Hannah's new "father" directly, or a third commander served as facilitator. It may very well be that whoever else was involved used this meeting to try and take down Fred, by having his pregnant handmaid escape yet again. Or maybe it's Cushing from a few episodes ago. Perhaps he managed to get out of the trumped-up charges Fred brought against him and is now spying on him to get revenge. He already seemed to have a creepy obsession with June to begin with, so it wouldn't surprise me if he tried to take down Fred via June.

Maybe a rival for power? 

Other than that, WHY would they risk their own necks, as I said above.

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11 minutes ago, chaifan said:

  While she had good reason to believe they wouldn't harm her while pregnant, I would think she would be afraid of what they would do as soon as the baby was born. 

Or what Fred would do to the baby once he was born. She seemed to give no thought to how Fred would treat that child once she was gone. She has no way of knowing what’s going to happen to her baby, and there’s a extremely good chance her baby is going to be raised in that household. Telling the man who has complete power in this society and who is going to be raising your baby that not only isn’t it his, but then also basically emasculating him as well was not exactly the best idea. She knows him to be a monster who hurts women . How she can mock him to his face and throw her babies paternity at him with the full knowledge that her baby could very well be in his full power at any moment is beyond me.

Edited by GraceK
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She's got hormones rushing through her body like crazy, she's not exactly in the most logical frame of mind right now.

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4 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

She's got hormones rushing through her body like crazy, she's not exactly in the most logical frame of mind right now.

Good point.

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1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

Fred may know the other Commander, Hannah's "father" from Jezebel's though, there was some pretty unholy talk going on earlier in the episode about the handmaids, June being a "looker" etc.  So he may have been able to say "So, let's do this, I want a good blow job before June goes."

BUT, then how do you explain Hannah's guards and Martha being in on this?  Why would THEY allow it?  Or risk their lives being involved with it for that matter?

I do think they got a warning call, and that area was very isolated so all it would take is someone watching the highway a few miles away, if they turned on that last road?  Get out of there.  Again though, that would involve even MORE people.  All for a Handmaid to illegal talk with her birth child? 

We've seen Fred instruct Nick not to let himself be seen by anyone, and I assume Hannah's guardian and Martha were told the same. So, as soon as they noticed someone was approaching, they fled the scene. I can buy that. As for why Hannah's "father" was in on it, maybe he owes Fred a favour, or Fred promised to help him get a promotion or something if agreed to arrange a meeting between June and Hannah. I'd let that one slide too.

What bothers me about the guardians not inspecting the house is that would suggest against the random patrol theory. If they just happened to drive by and thought he was doing something suspicious, I'd think they'd want to check the house to see what he was up to. And if Fred was being set up, I think whoever was behind it would want to get June as well.

This way it does look like Nick was being targeted, but I can't imagine by whom. Like I said, I don't think Isaac and Eden are influential enough to start an investigation about him literally overnight. It crossed my mind that perhaps Fred organized it so he could get Nick out of the way, while he could easily retrieve June later. But it would also be too risky to leave her unattended for whatever amount of time and in any case it all seems like way too much of a hassle for something that could have been done in a much more simple way.

Argh, there better be a GOOD explanation for all of this!

Edited by Joana
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When I first watched the episode, I thought it was riveting but now that I sit and think about it, I have a problem with the idea that Fred would let June meet with Hannah.

 

While I understand the mind-fuck that Fred was trying to pull, I don’t know if I necessarily believe (due to his precarious position detailed by another poster) that he’d go through the trouble of setting up a meeting for his high-risk pregnant handmaid to see her daughter in a remote location. It’s too high risk just to... hurt June even more than he did by raping her? I blame the writing for this though. 

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1 hour ago, Joana said:

I definitely thought there was a hint of schadenfreude on Aunt Lydia's part when the labour turned out to be false!

Also, I really hope this doesn't get me labelled as a Serena's apologist as it's really not what I'm trying to do and I cannot emphasize enough that there's no excuse for what she did. But, I think the reason she looked so uncomfortable during the rape was that she was uncomfortable. I believe the idea to have June raped was brought out of her desire to punish June and her desperation to finally have that baby, and while it is most definitely something she came up with, I don't think it's something she rationally thought through. She most likely didn't expect it would be so messy, on every level - June trying to fight back, her having to physically restrain her while listening to her desperate pleas, all the while her husband is obviously enjoying himself and she's not allowed to experience the physical pleasure of sex ever again. Again, I'm not defending her, but the way she acted after the fact, I can see how she'd feel repulsed by herself for what she's done, while trying to rationalize it away as some sort of "necessary evil".  

It bothers me that anyone should feel the need to qualify that they're not a Serena apologist on this forum. (making it general since you're not the only one whose said something like that).

We're discussing complex characters, and her motivations and reactions are part of that complexity. I didn't have quite the same reaction to that scene, but I did have similar thoughts about parts of it. 

1 hour ago, chaifan said:

Here's what I want to see in the next 2 (or is it 3?) episodes...  Remember the final long shot of the house with the 4 car garage?  Well, June has a look around and what do you know?  There's another car in there, with keys.  Or maybe a snowmobile.  And a handy map.  Or maybe a door leading to a tunnel that heads straight to Canada.  With a stash of Twinkies.  Who knows, maybe this is a female underground safehouse and Fred really is part of the resistance and sent June there to aid in her escape but had to take out Nick to make it look real.  (OK, I realize that is a real longshot, but I'm just spitballing here.)

I was looking at those garages too. I was disappointed she went back into the house instead of checking them out.

42 minutes ago, LittleRed84 said:

As a nurse: It’s not the orgasm that induces labor, it’s the prostaglandins in the semen that helps soften and dilate the cervix. I don’t think they cared about her climax. 

I did not know that, thank you.  I always thought the "having sex to induce labor" bit was pretty much a myth.

Edited by Clanstarling
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So I feel like this show has changed from smart commentary to a bloody soap opera. The melodrama and over the top ridiculousness of the last half of the episode was eye-rolling. From the moment June spat at the Commander that he would never know what it was like to have his own child, it took a sharp turn into Days of our Lives territory. The melodrama of a slam! bang! Eden cheating on Nick while he... doesn't care and she sobs like the fourteen year old she is. June getting to see Hannah (in what fucking world where Gilead is a thing would that happen? It wouldn't, that's the problem). The three fucking times June retied Hannah's cape while crying and hugging her. The ending with Nick getting dragged off and June left in the wilderness. Hey, who wants to bet she's going to go into labour there? Anyone? No? Yeah, thought it was a sucker bet.

I know that episodes before season finales are there to set up the pieces for the big bang finish to the season. But this was... stupid and not in the realm of possibility and because of that, this show has lost all of its impact. But hey, lots of close-ups of June's face and pointless long shots where people are just breathing so yay?

Edited by Callaphera
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10 hours 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 like snarking on and bitching about the people on the show-not each other. 

Word. 

I can appreciate a character and the writing of a character without championing that same character. It's disappointing that it's difficult to speak your mind when the masses automatically jump up and call you out for it. Serena Waterford is hands down my favourite character because of how well she's written compared to June. That doesn't mean that I want to be Serena or even that I like her, but I appreciate what the writers and the actor has done with the role. 

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6 minutes ago, Callaphera said:

So I feel like this show has changed from smart commentary to a bloody soap opera. The melodrama and over the top ridiculousness of the last half of the episode was eye-rolling. From the moment June spat at the Commander that he would never know what it was like to have his own child, it took a sharp turn into Days of our Lives territory. The melodrama of a slam! bang! Eden cheating on Nick while he... doesn't care and she sobs like the fourteen year old she is. June getting to see Hannah (in what fucking world where Gilead is a thing would that happen? It wouldn't, that's the problem). The three fucking times June retied Hannah's cape while crying and hugging her. The ending with Nick getting dragged off and June left in the wilderness. Hey, who wants to bet she's going to go into labour there? Anyone? No? Yeah, thought it was a sucker bet.

I know that episodes before season finales are there to set up the pieces for the big bang finish to the season. But this was... stupid and not in the realm of possibility and because of that, this show has lost all of its impact. But hey, lots of close-ups of June's face and pointless long shots where people are just breathing so yay?

I’m glad someone else said it. This is how I have been feeling lately, that this show is starting to spiral into soap opera territory. This rape scene just about did me in. Rape for drama sake. All we needed was Serena and Fred to tie June to the train tracks with a stick of dynamite and the cartoon villainy would have been complete.

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