Escape from Gilead with Rebecca and Chris as we conclude our conversation about The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.
If you haven’t done so yet, check out our Readers’ Guide for Margaret Atwood’s book (AKA: Don’t Panic), and our take on previous episodes. Also, read our exclusive conversation about The Handmaid’s Tale with the creator’s.
That was the bleakest most depressing thing I’ve ever seen, I don’t know why we watched the show. Life is hard enough. When the upbeat chapter break is when they cut off someone’s hand – dear god!
Whoa, wait a minute, Rebecca. Yes, it was dark and gruesome, but we watch this show because it is brilliantly made. I also watch it because it is one of my favorite books. And this episode had a tremendous amount of hope compared to rest of the season.
The entire episode was about the women taking control over their situation. Yvonne (we’re on a first name basis now) had a brilliant scene with Joseph Fiennes when she confronts him about his adulterous ways with Offred and the other Offred. When Fred blames Serena for bringing temptation back into their house and tells her to “go to her room” like a child, she lashes out.
“God would not let you father a child because you’re weak … It’s not yours.”
Whoa! I actually feared for Serena’s life in that moment because we’ve seen how disobeying power will get you destroyed. Of course, then she went and tortured June with the sight of her child, so sympathy gone, Yvonne. Sorry. Yet, another moment of Serena trying to control a situation she has little power over.
I didn’t care for that scene. It felt like a lame threat.
True. If fertility trumps all in Gilead, that would include the fertile kids. I honestly don’t think Serena could touch Hannah.
So, why did writers put it in outside of making Serena horrible? But they already had made her horrible, so it wasn’t needed.
Fair. But let’s talk about Moira. Come on. Moira seized control in the best possible way by finding that shining, red Maple leaf to the north! When she wipes away the dirt on the truck to reveal the motto “Yours To Discover” then “Ontario,” you cheered.
I did. It’s true; I was so happy she made it. It had obvious parallels with the refugees coming from Syria. I thought that whole sequence was pretty amazing, and so accurate to what that experience must be like. (Of course, to really put it in context, imagine a gang of Canadians waiting for her at the border with Canadian flags screaming, “Go home, bitch! We hate your kind here!”)
Canadians wouldn’t do that. If feel like Canada is that wonderful, warm country that has its sh*t together to the north. Warm in opening arms, not in weather. They have polar bears.
Also, Moira looked so distraught in the refugee office that I was wondering if she almost regretted her choice. She was totally overwhelmed and alone. She had no call list. Ohmigod, there’s a call list! You’d be on my call list, even if you are the worst shopping partner ever.
You shut up.
Seriously though, I teared up during the scene between Luke and Moira. She looked so shocked to see him, so relieved to have someone to call family, a familiar face in a strange world. And now we get to watch as they plot to get June and Hannah out.
OK, yeah, that scene was pretty awesome.
Even in the scene that made you shriek, Commander Putnam’s wife took control over him, requesting that the judging commanders enforce the harshest punishment – cutting off his hands. You don’t have much power as a wife in Gilead, but you can still have a man’s appendages cut off when he cheats on you.
I couldn’t with that scene. It was too much.
My favorite line of the show was “It’s their fault. They should never have given us uniforms if they didn’t want us to be an army.
So brilliant. It set the stage for the entire episode. We watched as Offred got bolder and bolder in this episode. We’ve seen it all season, but she finally couldn’t maintain the complacent child-like servant act anymore.
When she finds out she’s pregnant, she sneers at Serena and says, “You think I prayed for this. You think I prayed to bring a baby into this house?” She never would have dared this on episode 2.
Then she lashes out, rightfully, at Serena in the car calling her all sorts of names that I really hope your kids in the next room didn’t hear. Next disregard for those in power over her, she didn’t knock on Fred’s office door. She barged in.
All this defiance culminates with the Red Army in the end. June refusing to cast the stone at Jeanine. Each handmaid dropping their rock and spitting Aunt Lydia’s words back at her.
All the women resisted in their own way in this episode.
Yes, true, but they added a bunch of stuff to make for compelling TV – a tracker in her ear, her daughter on the stoop. All of that is interesting, but now that she’s running away, all those things don’t make sense.
She could go van Gogh. I also didn’t get the package. Seemed like a package of letters from kidnapped women would be better in the hands of Moira in Canada than in Offred’s or Rita’s.
Before we wrap this up and realize that I’ve traumatized Rebecca by forcing her to watch this show, we need to clear something up. Is Offred pregnant in the book?
I don’t remember that at all. I just reread it, and I don’t recall that.
She definitely is. Page 270 of Kindle version:
Dang. I cleanly latched on strong to the “This is wishful thinking,” because if she is that totally changes a lot of feelings I have. She’s pregnant in the TV show. That’s clear – little positive blue sign clear. It changes the dynamics for me. First, I didn’t remember her being pregnant in the book, so that was an “Oh sh*t” moment for me.
Second, it lessens the stakes at the end. When she steps into that black van of the Eyes, if she’s pregnant you know she will be fine. At least for the next 9 months. Gilead NEEDS that baby. She won’t be harmed.
If she isn’t pregnant, then she can be going off to her death or escaping to freedom.
It also changes Nick’s motives since it is his baby. In my mind, when she wasn’t pregnant (that’s how I read the book), he’s either taking her away to hang on the wall or he’s helping her escape because this is what he does. He’s a double agent. Now, he’s just doing it because he suddenly feels some fatherly love to her belly?
Clearly, I don’t want her pregnant in the novel. It changes my whole reading of the book, which may be why I interpreted it differently. But we can’t deny she is on the show, so I don’t understand the fear Serena has for Offred when she asks “What did you do?” because she’s gonna get her baby.
Also, now it is laughingly obvious why neither Elisabeth Moss nor Bruce Miller would give me their opinion on the ending of the novel the other week. If they had, I’d know where June is going when those black doors slam shut.
Oh, we have to mention the music! Tom Petty’s “American Girl” over June in the end was brilliant. Damn straight. And I loved the song “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone over that gorgeous shot of the handmaid’s peeling off in the streets to their respective houses.
Photos courtesy of Hulu and MGM Television.
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