As The Handmaid’s Tale leaves the source material further behind, we are seeing a wider range of Gilead. Episode 5, Seeds, brought us back to the colonies and revealed Gilead’s orchestrated arranged marriages.
Despite not knowing why they relentless dig up the steaming earth, I’m glad to get back to the colonies. There’s an energy with Emily and Janine that’s missing in the stuffy Waterford house. Emily hasn’t stopped revolting against the system, and Janine’s quirky acceptance of the system leads her to oddly rebellious acts like arranging a lesbian marriage over a deathbed. I want more colonies. I want Jeanine to infuse everyone with twisted hope. I want Emily to start an uprising. I want to know why they dig up the earth!
But the heart of Seeds was June and Nick’s baby. Offred’s blood loss increased from spotting (perhaps just placenta previa) to full on bathtub of red water (ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage?). Clearly, this wasn’t a cause of concern for Offred, who buried June inside but still understands she doesn’t want her child raised in this dystopia.
Most of the episode was watching Offred not react to her miscarriage. Instead, we saw more emotion from her when Nick got married in a sterile, bureaucratic, mass wedding. In my opinion, it wasn’t Offred shedding a tear for watching the man she loves marry. It was the shards of June stabbing up from the dark depths inside Offred and accepting escape is now more complicated than ever.
And it was June, not Offred, who spoke to the baby under the covers – both proud and disappointed at the baby’s strength. This baby is a fighter. But being a fighter means a hard life in Gilead.
Like the colonies, I want to see a revolt from an unlikely place. My eyes are on Serena Joy. I don’t expect her to overturn Gilead, but she has already stepped out of line as the commander’s wife, arranged copulation to secure herself a baby, and planted the seed of jealousy in her husband regarding Nick. Fred knows the baby is Nick’s. Serena confessed in a fit of rage as much to him last season. So when Serena mentioned how sweet it was that Nick watches over Offred, her comment was more a strike at his manhood and a revelation of the threat Nick is to the commander and his desire for Offred, or whoever the next handmaid is.
But things never go the way Serena intends. They have a way of getting muddled even when she gets what she wants. Perhaps that’s why she looks so concerned.
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