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S02.E12: Postpartum

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1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

So, small thing that may end up being huge...

Fred is in charge of media now? 

I'm seriously hoping that means reporters, travel, the outside world, information about the wars, all kinds of stuff that is true that Fred has to spin.  I'm all about more information.

Quoting myself since I'm the only one that mentioned this and another rather horrifying thought occurred to me.  I swear, if someone on this show says "FAKE NEWS!" about what Fred produces, I may throw something.

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The only new thing is the eccentric commander Lawrence. First impression is he's sadistic. He has a maid with a gouged eye. He shoved his troubled wife who condemned his creation of the colonies. He sure did his research on Emily though. Why would he want a woman exposed to radiation to have his baby? Why would anyone want that at all?

Then there's June. She just doesn't think things through. It was her fault for planting seeds of pursuing love in that kid's head. And because THT writers like shock and drama, they decided to drown them for the sake of love. A tribute to Romeo and Juliet. Not.

Enter Serena with so much humanity in her tears. She is distraught about Eden. How do you go from raping a pregnant woman to that? Oh but they don't stop there. We must give the woman she helped rape a bonding moment. She allows June to hold her baby while Serena looks on with joy. Seriously?

This show is all sorts of mind twisting.

Edited by watchTV · Reason: Eden and not Emily.
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29 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Babies cry.  She probably missed June.  Babies can recognize a mother's smell soon after birth, and June was alone with her for quite a while then.

Serena may be many things, but she dotes on that baby.  She changes her every ten minutes, she wasn't wet.  She just fed her.  Heck, she even knew "Nicole" wanted her mother, and let June breastfeed her.

Serena has plenty of sins, there is no real need to make more up.  I'm astonished this actress and role brings out such passion.  I really enjoy all the actresses, we hit the jackpot there.  I'm even beginning to appreciate Fred, that actor plays smarmy wanna be extremely well.

 

 I did not see her behavior as doting, it was obsessive busy work that frankly made no sense and was completely unnecessary, imo. 

The baby did not need to be changed every 10 minutes, that does not constitute a sign of good mothering to me, at all

Being a good mother, in my eyes, is knowing when your baby is crying and she wants a bottle of her mother's real milk. 

A good parent shouldn't be so selfish and self absorbed that instead they decide to dry feed her as if that is going to solve the problem.

 What I saw in that scene was that Serena wanted to prove that she did not need anything from June to comfort Holly, especially her mother's milk.

 As usual it was all about what Serena wanted and the outcome that she desired, that's just how I see it.

 I do agree with you that the baby missed June, as I also mentioned earlier. 

 But Serena's constant and pointless fussing over the baby to me was just that, she was not doing anything to improve Holly's mood or her demeanor. 

 Might a bottle have helped? I would say 9 times out of 10 absolutely.

Would it have hurt? Not a chance.

 If Holly didn't want the bottle she would have just rejected another feecing.

But offering Holly another bottle of June's milk would have been another surrender on Serena's part, that June was an undeniable key to keeping the baby calm, happy, and content. 

Whatever was wrong with the baby the very first problem she had was that she was in the hands of a woman who was not her mother, and who in general was doing a pretty shitty job of taking care of her, IMHO, ymmv. 

 Personally I'm not impressed that Serena allowed the real mother of a child that was created through rape and assault and torture by her own hand, that she now has laid  false claim to and holds captive, to see, hold, and feed her for a little bit. 

 And I don't think Serena needs me to make up any reasons why she's an awful person and apparently an even worse parent in my eyes, and I do not believe I did, I merely stated my personal take on that scene.

Edited by AnswersWanted
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Fred is really so nice to June. He’s the only one showing her any kindness and concern.  Also, he has such a nice face and Joseph Fiennes is so sexy and attractive, and Fred really does love and desire June...why, I bet if June is nicer to him , he will just do anything she wants. Really, looking back on the whole show, he is the one who has given her any glimpse of Hannah and any glimmers of help. Maybe there’s a redemption arc for him???? ( that was sarcasm btw)

does that sound ridiculous or what? I find it really interesting that in all this discussion, Fred is not once is given half the sympathy Serena gets just because he has a penis. Serena has proven herself to be the more ruthless, sadistic, cruel and intelligent of the pair, with pretty much all of the  brains and was one of main architects of this society, yet so many of the posters here feel that because she was shut out of the end result she is a victim. Fred may be a man and wield the most “power”, but in actuality, he has consistently been the only one in that household who has actually  treated June well besides Rita and Nick.Serena and Lydia  are the only ones who have abused her. The rape was instigated by Serena and done by both Fred AND Serena. So really, Fred can be considered her ally if you break it down. Yet no one has talked about “redemption “, or “character growth” or “hidden depth “ when it comes to Fred, but are happily willing to overlook a vicious , evil harpy of a woman because why??? 

Edited by GraceK
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I didn't say Serena was a good mother.  I said the baby wasn't wet or hungry, and that she's doting on her.

Fred is directly involved in the running of Gilead.  He, unlike Serena, was in on the meetings where the decisions were made to make handmaids, and helped devise the rape and birthing ceremonies, to send people to manually clean up nuclear waste, to stop women from driving, from reading, from wearing anything other than the absurd uniforms all women must wear.  He dragged June to Jezebels, another handmaid killed herself because of him.  Any kindness he shows is always manipulation. 

The actor's doing a hell of a job at it all though, and even though I find his character disgusting and rather pathetic, I'm enjoying the hell out of watching him.

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Serena just stole a new born from its mother.

Why in the world is she in the same sentence as "a good mother"?

We should start discussing how "dotting" a Fred is for bringing June to the house to provide the baby with milk. Watta man!

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16 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

I didn't say Serena was a good mother.  I said the baby wasn't wet or hungry, and that she's doting on her.

 

  The show, imo, per usual left the exact reason "why" Holly was squalling her head off up to interpretation. 

The bottle trick remained in the baby bag as Serena decided instead to just hold her and apologize as the crying resumed. 

In my experience, when a baby is going off like that, like an emergency siren, it means you're fucking up one way or another. 

I think Serena was very aware of that as well. 

I will agree to disagree. 

Edited by AnswersWanted
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I don't think the show left why the baby was crying up to interpretation. The child is not being cared for by its mother, whom posses the necessary tools to make it stop crying. 

THAT was why the baby was crying. Don't be gas lighted by Serena speak. The bending over backwards to make her not as foul as she is is coloring the view of the show. Serena can't make the baby stop crying because she is a baby thief. Period. 

Edited by Deputy Deputy CoS
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38 minutes ago, GraceK said:

Fred is really so nice to June. He’s the only one showing her any kindness and concern.  Also, he has such a nice face and Joseph Fiennes is so sexy and attractive, and Fred really does love and desire June...why, I bet if June is nicer to him , he will just do anything she wants. Really, looking back on the whole show, he is the one who has given her any glimpse of Hannah and any glimmers of help. Maybe there’s a redemption arc for him???? ( that was sarcasm btw)

does that sound ridiculous or what? I find it really interesting that in all this discussion, Fred is not once is given half the sympathy Serena gets just because he has a penis. Serena has proven herself to be the more ruthless, sadistic, cruel and intelligent of the pair, with pretty much all of the  brains and was one of main architects of this society, yet so many of the posters here feel that because she was shut out of the end result she is a victim. Fred may be a man and wield the most “power”, but in actuality, he has consistently been the only one in that household who has actually  treated June well besides Rita and Nick.Serena and Lydia  are the only ones who have abused her. The rape was instigated by Serena and done by both Fred AND Serena. So really, Fred can be considered her ally if you break it down. Yet no one has talked about “redemption “, or “character growth” or “hidden depth “ when it comes to Fred, but are happily willing to overlook a vicious , evil harpy of a woman because why??? 

Probably because it was his penis that raped June. Manipulation does not equal kindness. He likes to play games. Make you feel special that you commit suicide. Just ask the last handmaid. And like a sick psycho, quote the holy scripture so he can beat you. For record, neither one of them deserves  redemption especially after the pregnancy rape.

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18 minutes ago, watchTV said:

Probably because it was his penis that raped June. Manipulation does not equal kindness. He likes to play games. Make you feel special that you commit suicide. Just ask the last handmaid. And like a sick psycho, quote the holy scripture so he can beat you. For record, neither one of them deserves  redemption especially after the pregnancy rape.

I agree totally. 500%. It just annoys me how much people are willing to overlook Serena’s participation and want to see her redeemed yet completely ignore Fred and vilify him. Hello  double standard. They are equally guilty.

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Inside the episode (sorry, the only version I could find of this on youtube has the S2.E13 promo at the beginning so if you don't want to be spoiled by that, skip the first 30 seconds):

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24 minutes ago, watchTV said:

So an adopted child cannot be cared for by its non-biological parent? I think there are plenty of orphaned and adopted children who would disagree. There are also plenty of children with biological parents who are failures. The baby has no idea SJ stole her from her mother.

SJ can be the architect of this dystopian mess and still care for this child. Those two are not mutually exclusive.

And she is foul. She deserves no redemption.

This is not an adoption. An adopted mother would not do to the newborn what Serena did. Attempt to feed her. An adoption and what is going here are not the same and shouldn't be compared.

Again, normalizing this fucked up situation. 

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It felt very oogy to learn that a particular handmaid who has proven to be a successful 'breeder' will be sought after by other high-ranking families, to the point of bribery. I mean, it makes perfect sense, but I never thought about it before. Just more objectification and dehumanization. With baked goods.

Even as Fred's creepery continues to ascend (getting turned on by the milk), his cognitive dissonance seems to be going off the charts - first his comment to Serena last episode about showing June kindness shortly after brutally raping her, now with talking about somebody else's 'selfish lust'. Here, Fred, have a big bowl of irony. You need it, trust me.

How did I know that we were going to get a scene at some point of Serena attempting to nurse the baby? I guess that was inevitable the minute they had her retcon her own reasoning for why she's done everything she's done. Sigh.

Loved Rita ratting out Serena to June in the kitchen (she changes the baby's outfits 10 times a day!). I like it when they show camaraderie.

4 hours ago, Souris said:

Same! I really want to know more about what's going on in Bradley Whitford's house. It's so creepy but interesting. It's almost like some effed-up Jane Eyre shit.

I think the Jane Eyre vibe was very deliberate - from Whitford's whole look (the neckwear suggesting 19th century attire) to the fact that he was somewhat reminiscent of George C. Scott (who once played Rochester), the abrupt, uncomfortable questioning of Emily, the look of the house and how it was lit, the 'crazy' wife wandering around in her nightgown...

4 hours ago, VagueDisclaimer said:

While I do think Serena is a complex character with a good actress, I don’t feel sympathy, empathy, or anything truly complex for her. When she’s chatting about mommyhood with Eden and how “its all worth it”, I just dreamed about the moments that eventually forced her to choke on those words. I want to see her hurt and have things torn from her grasp and leave her gasping at the loss. I want to see her lose and punished, full stop.

I think Yvonne Strahovski's performance is award-worthy and I agree that Serena is complex. But whatever her complexity, it doesn't make my feelings for the character complex or conflicted. When I think of the suffering she has helped to create and prop up and personally inflict, I don't care. Her bad karma is through the roof and I am Team Karma.

3 hours ago, guilfoyleatpp said:

I wish they had put more into Eden  I just can’t 100% buy into this Romeo and Juliet thing  I really need more motivation and explanation before I can feel what June and Nick feel at seeing her drowned.

With you. I mean, objectively, I was horrified at such a brutal death for a young girl who was only young and lonely and foolish. But Eden/Isaac felt underdeveloped to me, and Isaac a poor choice for a sympathetic Romeo, frankly - his bashing Janine across the face pretty much precluded that for me. The whole arc was underwritten, and we have been exposed to so much brutality on this show, it didn't wreck me like I expect they intended.

I remember spoilers saying this episode would blow episode 10 out of the water in terms of devastation - for me, it wasn't even close. But I do find relief in the fact that we no longer need to speculate about who was in the pool.

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Given how gross and inappropriate Fred is, I was sure that after Eden and Isaac were killed, he would creep up on June that night for some sexy times. I was totally surprised that the show went a totally different route.

Despite that, Fred continues to be gross. When he was railing on about how HE gave Eden the opportunity to elevate herself by being associated with his grand name, I was like oh, right. This is all about Fred!

I rolled my eyes when Serena told Eden that all the patience and sacrifice was worth it to have a baby. You left INSTITUTIONAL RAPE and BABY STEALING off the list there, Serena.

I do not trust Lawrence one bit. I totally understood by Emily looked so wary during their conversation. For all she knew, he was trying to trick her into saying something wrong so he could punish her. That feeling only got stronger when he revealed that he already knew everything about her.

The tone deafness of Aunt Lydia telling June that families are sending her bakery bribes because they want June next - WTF, Aunt Lydia? Seriously, know your audience. You had to know that June wasn't going to take that as a compliment.

FINALLY, Nick realizes what a dick he's been to Eden. Too little too late, man. I do appreciate that he was trying to convince her to take the option that would allow her to live.

ETA: Let's just say for the sake of argument that Eden and Isaac had apologized for what they'd done. What would their punishment have been instead of being drowned?

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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It was disconcerting hearing Josh Lyman's voice in Gilead!  I "like" this show.  Not how I "liked" Mad Men or The West Wing, but I find the characters and story fascinating.  One more episode.  And then what?  Wait a year?  That's the only thing I hate about this show, and all the shows nowadays. If they aren't going to do a regular 23 episode series, with two months off every summer, back in the fall for 23 more, just drop all 13 at once and leave me be.  But, I'm a curious mixture of old lady and tech savvy broad.  I miss the appointment TV but love the binge watch.

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It was an odd episode. Some weird editing. 

I actually thought that the scene of Serena "breastfeeding" the baby was well done. Serena is still selfish as fuck but it was a tiny moment that shows her humanity. Her deepest desire of connection with a child (according to her), then immediately stopping that silliness and apologizing to the child. 

On the other hand, the writers are assassinating the character. I can accept Serena being conflicted about the rape, almost regretful. She is a woman, after all. I can see her rationalizing what she did, then forgiving herself, but not doing it again. I cannot accept that the same Serena that rages at the thought of June to even touch the baby would suddenly change her mind to the point of asking June to breastfeed Nichole/Holly. Serena is selfish and the child is her "win", June is pumping so food is available, the "kindness" is out of character, even with all the complexities she might have.

Nicole (or Nichole, as in the CC). Not so subtle name. I wonder who chose it.

I liked how they showed that the pool is a place where executions are not that rare, as we see all the weights at the bottom. Good directing points.

I don't trust Commander Lemon-Lyman. Not even a little bit. I am interested in the wife's story. I hope she is faking her "craziness". I want to see her being the one who will allow Emily to be the face of the resistance among the handmaids. Maybe a bond between the two? 

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I am so hopeful that Josh Lyman is part of the resistance because right now we need some power there  (okay, its been years since WW, but to me Josh is who he will always be).  Total creepy vibe from him though so maybe they are going with a sadistic tormentor - I hope not, we have enough of these on this show. 

He obviously doesn't buy into the whole "Gilead" premise and its faith gaslighting techniques, but yet he did help to architect this society.  I wonder if he's similar to those socially awkward economic philosophers (like a K. Marx) who want to see a certain type of functioning society (i.e., efficient government ! energy independence !) and didn't consider the cost of human suffering and loss of rights to get to that "utopia".  Now he sees the human consequence, and I am not sure how he is responding to that.  He obviously values intelligence and knowledge as he married a professor.

I am interested in this development because Josh may give us insight to what's going on within "the powers that be" with this f'd up society as he is blunt and, well, at least straightforward in his thinking.  I could use a little more "fight the power" going on and less torture/killing/rape - I need some hope in this show so I can root for something !

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While all the adults have been hiding their rebellious transgressions, Eden (a young lady raised to obey ROG) simply faces her death with more bravery than almost anyone on the show.  It seemed a little out of character, but I still liked her gentle “Fuck you,” to the state.

The only thing I didn’t like was Isaac hardly getting any time.  I don’t like him, but I wish we had gotten a few lines from him.

Edited by revbfc
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I was waiting for June to tell Serena that baby is too warm! So many woolen layers! No wonder she is crying.

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1 hour ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Given how gross and inappropriate Fred is, I was sure that after Eden and Isaac were killed, he would creep up on June that night for some sexy times. I was totally surprised that the show went a totally different route.

Despite that, Fred continues to be gross. When he was railing on about how HE gave Eden the opportunity to elevate herself by being associated with his grand name, I was like oh, right. This is all about Fred!

I rolled my eyes when Serena told Eden that all the patience and sacrifice was worth it to have a baby. You left INSTITUTIONAL RAPE and BABY STEALING off the list there, Serena.

I do not trust Lawrence one bit. I totally understood by Emily looked so wary during their conversation. For all she knew, he was trying to trick her into saying something wrong so he could punish her. That feeling only got stronger when he revealed that he already knew everything about her.

The tone deafness of Aunt Lydia telling June that families are sending her bakery bribes because they want June next - WTF, Aunt Lydia? Seriously, know your audience. You had to know that June wasn't going to take that as a compliment.

FINALLY, Nick realizes what a dick he's been to Eden. Too little too late, man. I do appreciate that he was trying to convince her to take the option that would allow her to live.

ETA: Let's just say for the sake of argument that Eden and Isaac had apologized for what they'd done. What would their punishment have been instead of being drowned?

Oh yes they would have take a swim with a heavy weight but their "sins" would have been forgiven by God but not Gilead, they are above God or anyone and they have to always be sending a message to the masses, atoning and punishment go hand in hand. 

I thought it was interesting Eden, who came off as a naive child leaves us with her being a most mature woman, she loved Isaac, did not apologize for it and knew the only way they could be together was in death and that option was better than living without love. 

I think if Whoopie Goldberg was in HMT, she would be telling Emily that "she in trouble, girl."  Seriously, Emily will be playing mental leapfrog/ chess living with her new Commander, he will break her all the while he wants an intellectual equal then punish her for her brain power, then reach for the intellect, punish her again and so on.  The Martha lost an eye (assuming it was an offense in that household) and still sasses the Commander, I think this is the pattern in his house.  The wife reminds me of the wife in Jane Eyre, locked away and crazy (in this case realistic about Gilead and not compliant). 

Are we supposed to believe the Gilead has eased up on first offense punishments?  Commander Lyman referred to the first offense of a woman reading was to loose a hand, "back in the good old days" and now it's just a finger...like he was disappointed about how soft Gilead has gotten.

My question is about the Commanders and wives, none of them seem to have children, did any come in to Gilead with children, if so where are they?  

We have not seen any disabled people, no blind or deaf or wheelchair bound people.  What happens if a high ranking Commander becomes disabled?  Especially from the bombing, someone must have sustained injuries from that.

I think June is finally parlaying what power she has and will string Fred along, first with Scrabble, Fred remembers how it played out the first time so he may be willing to mix up the tiles for a bit till he triple word scores.

11 minutes ago, Maire said:

I was waiting for June to tell Serena that baby is too warm! So many woolen layers! No wonder she is crying.

That was my first thought.  All that wool, so scratchy!

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I really liked the new weirdo commander....that house brings a whole new tone to the show.....I was all “ok, he’s  clearly vetting Emily...” but then the awkward “have you healed down there” question....yep, I would have taken a huge swig of booze at that point too! 

Even so I am confident he’s a good guy and I really, really hope the wife is faking it! 

The agressive reaction from Fred regarding Eden made me hate him even more! What a vile human.... if he even qualifies as “human” at this point! Pious, self righteous pig!

Edited by BellyLaughter
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Serena's epiphany at the end was RIDICULOUS. Ridiculous. I believe she liked Eden and is genuinely upset over her horrible fate. I don't think she ever personally argued for death penalty for the adulterers. I'm also sure that on some level, she's fully aware that it's not her baby, no matter how hard she tries to convince herself otherwise. I can see how all of those things happening at the same time can leave her shaken. But to go from not allowing June to be in the same room with the baby to letting her breastfeed, just like that... That's just not believable. And it does reek of a last minute, half-assed attempt to redeem Serena. That character deserved better writing here.

Eden's and Isaac's tragic love story would have had a way bigger impact had we actually got to see any of it.

Aunt Lydia's reaction to all the craziness in Emily's new household was priceless. Her facial expressions were hilarious. However, I get a feeling that for most of the season she's been used as a comic relief, basically. That's not how I wanted her character to develop. Speaking of Emily's new commander, I didn't get a feeling he was one of the good guys at all. Their conversation and his questions came across to me as more sadistic than anything even Serena would pull off.

And why is Fred being increasingly written as some infatuated idiot? I fear some major retconning is underway for a lot characters/situations.

Edited by Joana
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3 minutes ago, Joana said:

Eden's and Isaac's tragic love story would have had a way bigger impact had we actually got to see any of it.

Yes. It was barely a story, really.

 

3 minutes ago, Joana said:

Aunt Lydia's reaction to all the crazyiness in Emily's new household was priceless. Her facial expressions were hilarious. However, I get a feeling that for most of the season she's been used as a comic relief, basically. That's not how I wanted her character to develop. Speaking of Emily's new commander, I didn't get a feeling he was one of the good guys at all. Their conversation and his questions came across to me as more sadistic than anything even Serena would pull off.

Yes and yes. I like the book version of Aunt Lydia. Not comic at all, somewhat scary. 

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When another woman, who've stolen a baby, shoves her dry breast into the child's mouth to appease it is not a show of humanity. It as as inhuman as an act could be.

And no. Serena is not being character assassinated by the show. She is and has always been a monster.

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34 minutes ago, Baltimore Betty said:

Oh yes they would have take a swim with a heavy weight but their "sins" would have been forgiven by God but not Gilead, they are above God or anyone and they have to always be sending a message to the masses, atoning and punishment go hand in hand. 

I thought it was interesting Eden, who came off as a naive child leaves us with her being a most mature woman, she loved Isaac, did not apologize for it and knew the only way they could be together was in death and that option was better than living without love. 

I think if Whoopie Goldberg was in HMT, she would be telling Emily that "she in trouble, girl."  Seriously, Emily will be playing mental leapfrog/ chess living with her new Commander, he will break her all the while he wants an intellectual equal then punish her for her brain power, then reach for the intellect, punish her again and so on.  The Martha lost an eye (assuming it was an offense in that household) and still sasses the Commander, I think this is the pattern in his house.  The wife reminds me of the wife in Jane Eyre, locked away and crazy (in this case realistic about Gilead and not compliant). 

Are we supposed to believe the Gilead has eased up on first offense punishments?  Commander Lyman referred to the first offense of a woman reading was to loose a hand, "back in the good old days" and now it's just a finger...like he was disappointed about how soft Gilead has gotten.

My question is about the Commanders and wives, none of them seem to have children, did any come in to Gilead with children, if so where are they?  

We have not seen any disabled people, no blind or deaf or wheelchair bound people.  What happens if a high ranking Commander becomes disabled?  Especially from the bombing, someone must have sustained injuries from that.

I think June is finally parlaying what power she has and will string Fred along, first with Scrabble, Fred remembers how it played out the first time so he may be willing to mix up the tiles for a bit till he triple word scores.

That was my first thought.  All that wool, so scratchy!

I have the impression that Lawrence got her with the eye already missing. The way he bickered with the martha over her moving his stuff around could have been anyone. She cussed loud enough for everyone to hear and dared him to try to beat her because she knew he wouldn't do it. All of the others keep their heads down and quietly go about their business.  This martha is not afraid of him the way other marthas and handmaids are afraid of their commanders.

On commanders and wives with children, I don't think they would have an opportunity to show handmaids much in a household that already had kids. That doesn't mean there aren't any. It's something else they can't address because they waste too much time needlessly dragging out some of these scenes.

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1 hour ago, Deputy Deputy CoS said:

When another woman, who've stolen a baby, shoves her dry breast into the child's mouth to appease it is not a show of humanity. It as as inhuman as an act could be.

And no. Serena is not being character assassinated by the show. She is and has always been a monster.

I don't know if you referring to my post. I did say that the scene showed her humanity as in she has real feelings, flawed, complicated. To me, the fact that it lasted just a few moments and she apologized to an infant, shows that she can feel remorse. She is still selfish, and generally awful, but not a sociopath. 

I didn't see that as an attempt to appease the baby either. It was more about Serena than the crying baby.

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Don't know why but I cried like a baby for the very first time watching this show  in Eden's scenes with Nick when she said that at least in Heaven she'll be with her love and when she started to recite the Bible :(

 

Again June's  storyline for me was the weakest part of the episode, but I loved everything in the storyline with Emily, the new Commander, his Wife, Aunt Lydia.....

And when Fred said that Eden was a slut, that made me hate him more then anyone in this show, they way he talked about a child like Eden was disgusting.

 

Feel's like that with Serena they are going  into victim territory in the next episode and the next season which is not something I like because of the reasons why and who will punish her.

 

And also is there an end to Fred, he's got some strong plot-armor for sure.

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10 hours ago, LittleRed84 said:

 

3- IMO Holly should have had more olive skin and black hair. As a nurse I see all the time how strong those dark hair/skin genes are. She’s very fair. I wanted a baby that was obviously and blatantly Nicks...

 

I just want to say that I have a friend with dark hair, brown eyes, and olive complexion. She is married to a blond-haired, blue-eyed, fair skinned man. All 3 of their kids look like him....light blond hair, fair skin, and 2 out of 3 with blue eyes. It can happen!

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“Have you healed after your surgery” Knowing what the surgery is, new guy is a sadistic creep.  He’s just the kind of person that likes toying with them first before the hammer falls.

 

Eden’s death made me cry.  She finally figured out Gilead is fake Christianity a la Paul Ryan. 

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17 minutes ago, guilfoyleatpp said:

With Janine’s baby, it felt like there were other things going on. I cannot buy into a mythology where newborns somehow intuit that their primary care providers are terrible people who have orchestrated a dystopian feminist nightmare and are rebelling en masse by being fussy. 

If the writers are smart, little Holly-Nicole's fussiness could be related to medical/biological reasons.  We saw that June was almost an automaton when she was pumping in the Red Center and that her milk production was low.  It's not too much of a stretch to consider that her mental state was not only affecting the quantity of milk she was producing, but also the quality.

June was still depressed and beaten down when she moved back to the Waterford's house, so, the quality of her milk could still be affected. 

Also, they could posit that there is an issue with lactating mothers which contributed to the dropping birth rates.  We saw that they have a special ambulance for babies (why would you need one, when a regular one would do the same job?), and Aunt Lydia said something about "these things happen" when they were all sure baby Charlotte was going to die, which makes me think that along with the fertility issue, there might also be an infant mortality issue. Fertility rates dropping and infant mortality rising would make for a pretty worrying situation regarding the future of the human race.  Serious enough for some people to back the crazy Gilead idea.

One underlying biological reason they could give is that breast milk is not as nutritious as it used to be, so babies need more of it than they did before and mothers don't produce enough if they are not with their child.  A bit of a stretch, I know, but the premise of fertility rates dropping so low as to cause a major worldwide issue is also a bit of a stretch, so, they could do it.

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11 hours ago, rideashire said:

Commander Lawrence's household is the viewpoint I feel like we've been missing out on til now. We get shown all the true believers, but never the ones that just aren't feeling it.

No one in that place is happy with the system and I'm enjoying the snarky Martha and the Commander being sort of jerk but in a...different way? I like him. Even the crazy wife is okay, she doesn't seem nuts so much as haunted by what her husband has done. I hope he's haunted by it too, maybe that's why he's got such an attitude about the whole thing. I dunno about him literally tossing his wife into the room, but I'm reserving judgement til we know more. My 'what if he's a good one' radar is pinging for him.

I feel like next week Emily is going to find out Lawrence is on her side. I really hope I'm right. She deserves to be somewhere safe and I think if the Martha in that house can tell the commander to "try it old man" then maybe this is Emily's best option right now. I wonder if he's part of the resistance. Working to bring down what he helped create from the inside. That's a storyline I'd be happy to watch, I was already wishing we'd go back there every time they cut away.

But watch me hope for this and then the show is gonna open with him raping her next week and I'll have to flip a fucking table. :/

Right! ...and maybe the reason he is willing to, as Emily said, "take such a shitty handmaid."

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11 hours ago, rideashire said:

Maybe, or maybe it's an attempt at redemption to find the ones most brutalized by the system that he now regrets creating? I don't know yet, he's a weird one and I'm not sure. But I get the feeling he's not happy with the outcome of his choices.

This is what I interpreted it as. Remember how he asks Emily if she thinks the penalty for reading is fair? I think he’s haunted by what he’s done but it’s too late to change it.

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On 6/27/2018 at 1:43 PM, graefin said:

I can't quite make out what that wife is saying about Emily. Can someone provide a transcript?

EDIT: Ah, nevermind. On fourth rewatch, it appears she's saying, "You're disgusting; I hate you!" Which is interesting if they've just met. And why would they send someone who's been exposed to toxic chemicals for an extended length of time to birth babies unless they are looking for "shredders"? Is this show supposed to make sense?

 

I thought she was railing against the husband because she had said that right after she outed him for creating the colonies. 

On 6/27/2018 at 4:08 AM, AnswersWanted said:

Ack...Emily stay strong! 

Just what this show needed, another awful wife I hope dies in a fire or burns at the stake.

How sad for you lady, your rape victim of the month just barely escaped a toxic waste death camp, it’s gotta suck to be you, huh?

I think she’s mad at her husband. Otherwise, why would she be asking Emily her name, confiding in her that her husband doesn’t like her to talk to “the girls” etc?  She got upset when she was saying her husband was involved in creating the colonies. My thought was that she was never for any of this and it caused her to lose her mind. 

 

12 hours ago, rideashire said:

Commander Lawrence's household is the viewpoint I feel like we've been missing out on til now. We get shown all the true believers, but never the ones that just aren't feeling it.

No one in that place is happy with the system and I'm enjoying the snarky Martha and the Commander being sort of jerk but in a...different way? I like him. Even the crazy wife is okay, she doesn't seem nuts so much as haunted by what her husband has done. I hope he's haunted by it too, maybe that's why he's got such an attitude about the whole thing. I dunno about him literally tossing his wife into the room, but I'm reserving judgement til we know more. My 'what if he's a good one' radar is pinging for him.

I feel like next week Emily is going to find out Lawrence is on her side. I really hope I'm right. She deserves to be somewhere safe and I think if the Martha in that house can tell the commander to "try it old man" then maybe this is Emily's best option right now. I wonder if he's part of the resistance. Working to bring down what he helped create from the inside. That's a storyline I'd be happy to watch, I was already wishing we'd go back there every time they cut away.

I agree with all of this. Once we met the Martha, saw all the art, his almost casual entrance into the room and then the obvious dismissal of Aunt Lydia I thought that was telegraphing pretty loudly that he wasn’t really about any of this. 

11 hours ago, chocolatine said:

Commander Lawrence is one sick bastard. He was the one who came with up with the colonies and other inhumane punishments, and now he "collects" the people who were subjected to said punishments like it's all just a social experiment to him. Notice that his Martha was missing an eye, that's why she kept bumping into things.

See, I didn’t get this impression at all. Yes, his wife said he created the Colonies, but we don’t know the whole story yet since she was railing, not having a calm discussion. For all we know, he said something sarcastic and off-the-cuff about sending people to clean the toxic waste but not actually meaning it and everyone else in the room was like “Yeah! Fabulous idea!” Obviously, I don’t know and this could be far off what happened, there’s just so much other stuff that makes me really think he’s not really into Gilead. Maybe he once was and has come around. I also don’t think he’s “collecting” people as experiments. I think he’s gathering those he can who’ve had the worst of it, but each household is only allowed one Martha and one Handmaid so there’s only so much he can do. I think he’s giving them respite and I wouldn’t be surprised if he never has sex with Emily. 

11 hours ago, rideashire said:

Maybe, or maybe it's an attempt at redemption to find the ones most brutalized by the system that he now regrets creating? I don't know yet, he's a weird one and I'm not sure. But I get the feeling he's not happy with the outcome of his choices.

 

Or, this. 

9 hours ago, watchTV said:

The only new thing is the eccentric commander Lawrence. First impression is he's sadistic. He has a maid with a gouged eye. He shoved his troubled wife who condemned his creation of the colonies. He sure did his research on Emily though. Why would he want a woman exposed to radiation to have his baby? Why would anyone want that at all?

I think he was thoroughly vetting Emily before bringing her in because if he is what I think he is, he would be on that wall if he brought the wrong person in and they ratted him out. 

5 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I do not trust Lawrence one bit. I totally understood by Emily looked so wary during their conversation. For all she knew, he was trying to trick her into saying something wrong so he could punish her. That feeling only got stronger when he revealed that he already knew everything about her. 

 

I totally get Emily’s unease, but I still think he was feeling her out before he let her know the lay of the land there. He said the household valued discretion (or words to that affect), and I think it’s because he lets his “staff” be themselves behind closed doors. The Martha being so casual, swearing and not giving two shits about Aunt Lydia made me think that, in addition to the conversation she and Commander Lawrence had. If he was truly cruel and beat the Martha, there’s no way she would talk like that. She would be meek and afraid. The Martha is really what made me think there’s way more to this household than meets the eye. 

2 hours ago, LordOfLotion said:

I have the impression that Lawrence got her with the eye already missing. The way he bickered with the martha over her moving his stuff around could have been anyone. She cussed loud enough for everyone to hear and dared him to try to beat her because she knew he wouldn't do it. All of the others keep their heads down and quietly go about their business.  This martha is not afraid of him the way other marthas and handmaids are afraid of their commanders.

Exactly. 

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Lawrence obviously knew Emily's entire backstory and he made sure she relived every single horrid detail of her life in Gilead in front of him - being separated from her wife, losing her child, having her lover executed, her "surgery" and so on. But, I didn't sense an ounce of compassion or understanding from him; instead, I picked up a pretty clear sadistic vibe, like he enjoyed making her go through all those awful events in her mind all over again.

Sure, from what we've seen in his house, it's clear he's not a true believer. But it doesn't have to mean he doesn't have an agenda of his own in Gilead's regime or that he's, quite simply, a good human being.

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11 hours ago, LittleRed84 said:

Yes! I stand by the complexity of the character and the skill of the actress. Her tendency to be all over the map is one of the things I like.   I People are messy and complicated. It’s a reprieve from the close up shots of Elisabeth’s facial pores and sweat glands ??‍♀️

Same! I was strangely moved to tears during Serena's breast-feeding scene with Holly.

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That scene with June and Fred in the kitchen made me murderous with rage. Like, I was hoping June would grab a knife from the counter and slash his throat. "Is that all I get?" "Motherfucker, here's what you get!" [slash]

Yet again I wonder about the logic of "giving" every commander and wife a handmaid and ostensibly a child. Bradley Whitford is what, 60 years old? And his wife is "insane" (I say she's the only wife we've seen with sense but Gilead thinks she's insane) and hates him. Why bring a kid into that house? 

Gilead is a society in which it's socially acceptable to a) execute a 15-year-old that you forced into marriage, and b) bring a newborn to witness said execution. "Praise fucking be."

1 hour ago, pinky33 said:

I just want to say that I have a friend with dark hair, brown eyes, and olive complexion. She is married to a blond-haired, blue-eyed, fair skinned man. All 3 of their kids look like him....light blond hair, fair skin, and 2 out of 3 with blue eyes. It can happen!

Yeah, I have a family friend who is white with black hair and brown eyes and who was married to a white man with light brown hair and blue eyes, and all three of their kids take after him. One of them has more of her body shape than his dad's (I used to babysit them and he grew up to be tall and heavy like her; her ex-husband is average height and weight), but they all have their dad's coloring.

13 minutes ago, Whimsy said:

I thought she was railing against the husband because she had said that right after she outed him for creating the colonies. 

I th8nk she’s mad at her husband. Otherwise, why would she be asking Emily her name, confiding in her that her husband doesn’t like her to talk to “the girls” etc?  She got upset,. It thatnwas when she was saying her husband was involved in creating the colonies. My thought was that she was never for any of this and it caused her to lose her mind. 

 

I agree with all of this. Once we met the Martha, saw all the art, his almost casual entrance into the room and then the obvious dismissal of Aunt Lydia I thought that was telegraphing pretty loudly that he wasn’t really about any of this. 

See, I didn’t get this impression at all. Yes, his wife said he created the Colonies, but we don’t know the whole story yet since she was railing, not having a calm discussion. For all we know, he said something sarcastic and off-the-cuff about sending people to clean the toxic waste but not actually meaning it and everyone else in the room was like “Yeah! Fabulous idea!” Obviously, I don’t know and this could be far off what happened, there’s just so much other stuff that makes me really think he’s not really into Gilead. Maybe he once was and has come around. I also don’t thin’ he’s “collecting” people as experiments. I think he’s gathering those he can who’ve had the worst of it, but each household is only allowed one Martha and one Handmaid so there’s only so much he can do. I think he’s giving them respite and I wouldn’t be surprised if he never has sex with Emily. 

Or, this. 

 Think he was thoroughly betting Emily before bringing her in because if he is what I thin’ he is, he would be on that wall if he brought the wrong person in and they ratted him out. 

I totally get Emily’s unease, but I still think he was feeling her out before he let her know the lay of the land there. He said the household valued discretion (or words to that affect), and I think it’s because he lets his “staff” be themselves behind closed doors. The Martha being so casual, swearing and not giving two shits about Aunt Lydia made me think that, in addition to the conversation she and Commander Lawrence had. If he was truly cruel and beat the !artha, there’s no way she would talk like that. She would be meek and afraid. The Martha is really what made me think there’s way more to this household than meets the eye. 

Exactly. 

Spoiler

I read spoilers about the finale before I watched the episode, and if you take them into account when watching this one, his actions make a lot of sense. I think he took in a "shitty handmaid" because he knows that she's not here for ANY of this, has been through the ringer in Gilead, and has fought it as much as she can, and if he's a resister, he can trust her to flee and not turn him in for treason. If someone like Eden were his handmaid, he'd end up on the wall.

The fact that Cora was "acting out in front of company" and talking back is significant, IMO. I LOVED seeing her not give a fuck about Aunt Lydia. She was almost like "Bitch, what do you want?"

I'm only calling the baby Holly.

Edited by Empress1
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Instead of those of religious platitudes, he says "Super"

Right off the butt, I knew this guys is not fully of Gilead and that is a good thing for Emily. But she is wise to be wary of him. She has absolutely not reason to let her guard down.

I want to take time to commend the acting in their scenes. I love the subtleness and sauced performance by both Bradley and Alexis. Emily's fumbling the ritual greetings was awesome and fit the character to a T. This is someone who is NOT having any of this bullshit and getting those words out of her is killing her. She has to say it but don't expect her to make it easy!  I am really really digging Alexis Bledel in this role. 

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5 minutes ago, Deputy Deputy CoS said:

Instead of those of religious platitudes, he says "Super"

Right off the butt, I knew this guys is not fully of Gilead and that is a good thing for Emily. But she is wise to be wary of him. She has absolutely not reason to let her guard down.

I want to take time to commend the acting in their scenes. I love the subtleness and sauced performance by both Bradley and Alexis. Emily's fumbling the ritual greetings was awesome and fit the character to a T. This is someone who is NOT having any of this bullshit and getting those words out of her is killing her. She has to say it but don't expect her to make it easy!  I am really really digging Alexis Bledel in this role. 

Yeah, I never paid much attention to Alexis Bledel before (was never into Gilmore Girls) but I think she's excellent here.

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4 minutes ago, Whimsy said:

I th8nk she’s mad at her husband. Otherwise, why would she be asking Emily her name, confiding in her that her husband doesn’t like her to talk to “the girls” etc?  She got upset,. It thatnwas when she was saying her husband was involved in creating the colonies. My thought was that she was never for any of this and it caused her to lose her mind. 

 

I wtote that initial post last week, before the episode aired today. 

I got that first impression from the promo, but the show threw in a bit of a curve ball, heh, she just might be the most self aware wife of the bunch. 

To me she is greatly suffering because of her husband’s direct link to the creation of Gilead. She knows so much of the terrors which were enforced came, at least partly, from him. 

I hate that this family just got introduced to us with only one episode left.

If they had been apart of this season from the jump-off things might have been very different, a hell of a lot better, st least when it comes to plot development.

 

15 minutes ago, StevieRocks said:

Right! ...and maybe the reason he is willing to, as Emily said, "take such a shitty handmaid."

 

13 minutes ago, rubinia said:

This is what I interpreted it as. Remember how he asks Emily if she thinks the penalty for reading is fair? I think he’s haunted by what he’s done but it’s too late to change it.

 

It is my belief as well that Lawrence has a perspective now of Gilead that burdens him, now that it’s gone from being merely ideas and “what if’s” to knock around, to actual laws and actual punishments.

His handiwork is on continued display in his own house: a blinded Martha who lost her eye, a wife living in a state of constant bereavement over his involvement and perhaps her own complicity by not fighting harder in the beginning, trying to do more to stop what was to come, and now he has Emily, a Handmaid that not only ended up with genitalia mutilation but she also was sent to the toxic waste colonies, another one of his apparent “genius” ideas to clean up Gilead, even as his wife said she told him it was poisoned land, unfit to be worked. 

To me, the disorganized state of his home was an external display that indicates what is going on internally for him. ~

His own mind is cluttered now, scrambled and jumbled up, messy and disorderly, as he tries to make sense of how everything ended up like “this”.

His master plans made sense before, they worked out on paper, they would keep things regulated and orderly, they would fix so many problems. 

But now he can no longer say with confidence any of that shit works, that any of it is fair or just. 

I believe he was one of the overly confident commanders who relished the chance to take over and make Gilead a functioning, susscessful, society, but now he’s left with the cold reality that they have somehow managed to make things even worse. 

However, unlike those like a Fred, he is not fighting so hard to embrace what Gilead has become, which gives me, slight, hope. 

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Add me to the list of those more interested in Commander Lawrence and his family than in June’s story at this point. According to the subtitles, his Martha is named Cora and his wife is Eleanor. A couple of other things seemed different about him: all those paintings everywhere, for example. Did Eleanor paint them? They looked like the sort of work a place like Gilead would find decadent. And he has lots of books in plain sight too. Fred kept his books in his private man cave.

He certainly knew a lot about Emily. I liked his little bit of hesitation when he said, “You have a...wife and a son.” He didn’t add “in Canada,” though, so he either doesn’t know everything or he isn’t telling everything he knows.

When Serena tried to breastfeed Holly/ Nicole, my take was that she thought milk would somehow come. I think she’s doing her best but doesn’t have many parenting skills. Changing the baby every ten minutes was her way of using all those beautiful clothes she’d looked forward to using for so long. I kept wondering if Gilead has a backup supply of canned formula in case mother’s milk fails. Probably not, why make feeding Baby easier for anyone?

Poor Eden. So much for all those “she’s going to rat out Nick” theories. There was one woman among the spectators who looked especially distressed. Was that her mother? I was so annoyed by June’s “get love where you can” speech. Didn’t she know that following her heart wouldn’t end well for Eden?

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6 minutes ago, GreekGeek said:

June’s “get love where you can” speech. Didn’t she know that following her heart wouldn’t end well for Eden?

June literally doesn’t care about anyone but  herself and hers. She’s had her head up her ass for 2 seasons .

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41 minutes ago, Joana said:

Serena's epiphany at the end was RIDICULOUS. Ridiculous. I believe she liked Eden and is genuinely upset over her horrible fate. I don't think she ever personally argued for death penalty for the adulterers. I'm also sure that on some level, she's fully aware that it's not her baby, no matter how hard she tries to convince herself otherwise. I can see how all of those things happening at the same time can leave her shaken. But to go from not allowing June to be in the same room with the baby to letting her breastfeed, just like that... That's just not believable. And it does reek of a last minute, half-assed attempt to redeem Serena. That character deserved better writing here.

Eden's and Isaac's tragic love story would have had a way bigger impact had we actually got to see any of it.

Aunt Lydia's reaction to all the craziness in Emily's new household was priceless. Her facial expressions were hilarious. However, I get a feeling that for most of the season she's been used as a comic relief, basically. That's not how I wanted her character to develop. Speaking of Emily's new commander, I didn't get a feeling he was one of the good guys at all. Their conversation and his questions came across to me as more sadistic than anything even Serena would pull off.

And why is Fred being increasingly written as some infatuated idiot? I fear some major retconning is underway for a lot characters/situations.

Yes. Like how Fred was hurt that June would’ve rather hid in that attic than go “home” with him. It very much echoed that conversation Serena and Fred had last week where he was saying how grateful and loyal June and Nick are. I agree that they are playing this infatuation angle too hard. They’re making it about emotion and not power and that is not fitting.

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Very strange editing in this episode. Like many have posted, I wish we could have seen more from Eden and Isaac before this. The contrast of “pure love” vs. “Gilead sinning” wasn’t as compelling as I thought it would be. The tears of Serena could have felt more tragic, given that she does not have pure love anymore. Yet, she was contemptuous towards Eden all season. Would of been interesting of they explored a mentor/protege with a mother/daughter edge to the relationship between Eden and Serena. Also, with Nick...his character still doesn’t interest me enough to root for him. Maybe this is intentional, so he is not to be completely trusted? I just have felt underwhelmed with any internal struggle he’s experiencing. Directing or casting? 

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I love Serena Joy. There, I said it and I mean it. For me, she is by far the most interesting and well-portrayed character on the show. 

And, news flash, y'all: babies cry. 

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1 minute ago, Ashforth said:

I love Serena Joy. There, I said it and I mean it. For me, she is by far the most interesting and well-portrayed character on the show. 

And, news flash, y'all: babies cry. 

I agree! I am seriously girl crushing on Serena Joy. Even when she is nasty. I don’t like the preview for the finale next week...hoping my prediction instincts are off kilter. 

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