The Handmaid's Tale: "First Blood"
May 23, 2018 8:45 AM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Offred finds unexpected allies and obstacles in her search for a way to protect Hannah; The Commander prepares for the dedication of a new Red Center; Nick struggles with his new assignment.
posted by Bibliogeek (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Quick first thoughts....

-Stunning mis-en-scene of June's conversation with Commander Waterford. Terrifying, but beautiful, the way that knife sits in frame, pointing directly at her belly, glinting in the light, always a threat. That, people, is how you show some friggin' subtext!

-Worst. Brunch. Ever.

-The Holey Sheet.....ugh. Some woman somewhere, probably a Martha, spent a lot of time embroidering that dick hole. I wonder how she felt about that. That's a lot of time and effort to try and make something monstrous seem beautiful. There's something especially harrowing about woman's creative work being used as gilding for another's rape.

-I do not love Nick drawing attention to June from the high command....that can't bode well.

That ending though....I'm going to need to think on that for a while. About all the displays of protest in the episode....
posted by Bibliogeek at 8:46 AM on May 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

On second thought...perhaps June needn't worry about the high command, maybe there isn't a high command anymore?
posted by Bibliogeek at 8:55 AM on May 23, 2018

The final scene certainly brought to mind the old Apple 1984 commercial.
posted by mikepop at 11:28 AM on May 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

I can't keep all the Of[name] straight in my head, but that was Alma with the bomb right? That was an amazing scene.

The tension in that house though, is so thick. I'm so intrigued by how each person really feels about everyone else. Like, Rita probably got the least screentime but you know she's about to just stab everybody.
posted by numaner at 5:26 PM on May 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

I have all these weird feelings about Serena that I can't reconcile. Strahovski's performance is a big part of it, but it's also that she's so utterly the architect of her own unhappiness. The flashbacks with her getting shouted down at the university were a little too current, but it actually helped me to think of her as Richard Spencer or Milo. And, oh the gall of Fred crying that they won't be silent, this is America! I'm not sure it's in the writing, but it's definitely in the performance: Strahovski plays Serena as aware that Gilead is built on monstrous acts. Yet, she resents having to face the horror of it.

I did not think Joseph Fiennes could make my skin crawl more than he did last season, but I was wrong!

I can't keep all the Of[name] straight in my head, but that was Alma with the bomb right?

We've spent so little time with the rest of the Handmaids this season that I can't really tell any of them apart or remember them from last season.
posted by gladly at 7:38 PM on May 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes that was Alma; she was all-in on the Gilead lifestyle, but she clearly changed her mind post-tongue.
My question: was the new Red Center the same university where Serena was speaking when she was shot? It looked very similar.
posted by maryrussell at 8:30 PM on May 24, 2018

I particularly loved the scene at brunch when everyone was talking about their favorite restaurant from 'before'. Talk about tension!
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 9:50 AM on May 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

So I really want to turn the last scene into a 'blowing up the patriarchy' gif for REPEAL, but I think it might be a bit spoilerier...

But I think we just peacefully blew up Irish Gilead. Fingers crossed.
posted by roolya_boolya at 5:15 PM on May 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

The flashbacks with her getting shouted down at the university were a little too current...

That part was hard to watch. The rejection of Serena Joy and her ideas was so strong and emotional and then those people LOST. It really scared me. Locally my friends and I are working so hard for so many things: women's health, immigration, social justice. The entire Jordan Peterson thread. And in this fictional account all those people who fought those fights lost and Gilead is what was created afterward.
posted by dog food sugar at 11:09 AM on May 26, 2018 [6 favorites]

Since this is all mostly filmed in Toronto, it was lovely to see Elise Bauman have a small role in this episode. I'd been wondering if I'd see other familiar faces from Canadian TV. (Previously, the wife of the driver who took June back to their home was played by Joanna Douglas, who played Samantha Strange on Being Erica.)
posted by juliebug at 7:43 PM on May 27, 2018

-I do not love Nick drawing attention to June from the high command....that can't bode well.

For somebody who's ostensibly part of the secret police, that meeting seemed like a remarkably shitty way to stay secret and be discrete. But maybe Nick is really just a young dumb informant.
posted by entropone at 8:35 AM on May 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

So we were mistaken, as the latest episode revealed. The bomber was Ofglen 2, real name Lillie Fuller, who was also the one that got her tongue cut out because she spoke up about not wanting to stone Janine last season. (I had forgotten that scene, because the previously at the beginning of this season only show June/Offred saying "I'm sorry Aunt Lydia" and dropping the stone and the rest of the handmaids followed her).

Alma is Ofrobert, the third one to drop the stone after Lillie and June. She's also the one that told June to get a package at Jezebel's, so presumably she's part of Mayday, but she confided to June at the baby shower that Mayday was done with helping Handmaids.
posted by numaner at 5:24 PM on May 30, 2018

Is anyone else disappointed that we didn't seen any Commander pink mist after the explosion?

Um, just me?
posted by Aquifer at 8:05 PM on May 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

And what a perfect song to use in the closing credits. Good old Poly Styrene!
posted by Paul Slade at 2:25 PM on June 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

I can't decide if Rita is an ally. She certainly has compassion for June but it's also a woman-eat-women world by design, where any chance to rat someone out might mean the difference between you losing a body part or not.

I've been meh-neutral about Nick during the show's run but I'm starting to get why so many Mefites hate him. When he tells June he loves her I was just all... gag. (Also, he reminds me of Billie Joe Armstrong.)
posted by Brittanie at 3:30 PM on June 30, 2018

Rita is a great character. She reminds me a bit of the 70s/80s sitcom cliche, the sassy Black maid who lives with the crazy white family and knows everyone's business and is the stable emotional rock. Except this is Gilead so she's not sassy and there are no zany hijinks, only misery. But Rita clearly knows all and sees all. And doesn't seem to be allied to anyone in particular, just trying to get by and make life less miserable for herself and the people around her. I like how she quietly helps June in various ways without betraying her secrets. And never seems to participate in the subjugation of June, she's always busy somewhere else when Serena is being terrible.

Nick is so awful and gross. I think at this point we're supposed to think so, the writing and the directing and the acting all conspiring to show us what a useless man-baby he is. I almost feel bad for the actor Max Minghella; I suspect it's hard to use your talent to act the limp fish. (Here's a clip of him from The Social Network showing more range.)

I was surprised they said Eden's age out loud, 15. I'd thought they'd just imply the child bride thing. June's crack about "when is her bedtime" was pretty sharp, too.
posted by Nelson at 7:26 AM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

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