The Handmaid's Tale: God bless the child
June 12, 2019 9:03 PM - Season 3, Episode 4 - Subscribe

June negotiates a truce in the Waterfords' fractured relationship; Janine oversteps with the Putnam family; A still-healing Aunt Lydia offers a brutal public punishment.
posted by roolya_boolya (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Aunt Lydia forgot one of the key rules for enablers of the oppressing class: never force them to look head on at the brutality of their system. Chrissakes, at least not at a dinner party.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:47 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


Emily's scenes broke me. I couldn't stop tearing up every time.
posted by numaner at 11:35 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


This whole episode broke me. After two full seasons they know how to push the emotional buttons just right. It's masterful TV and I'm OK even if it feels a little manipulative. Particularly since the plot is going such interesting directions, June assembling her chess pieces.

As much as I love Lawrence, it's refreshing having a whole episode without him. Bradley Whitford is acting the shit out of this show but he sort of takes up all the air when he's on-screen. June's gonna end up having to stab scissors through his eyeball, I'm pretty sure.

One factual thing I was unclear of; are we to understand that Emily's wife Sylvia has a new spouse? I couldn't tell, watching. I don't think so, but at least one post-show review suggested that was part of the story.

I appreciated them showing a comforting role for religion outside of Gilead's monstrosity. The hilarious christening of poopy Hannah bookended with the tragic ceremony for Nicole. Both offering the parents / guardians solace while a bewildered priest just kind of muddles through because it seems right for the family. The idea of washing the sin of Gilead from Nicole, I'm still broken up just thinking about that.

Also love how the title "God Bless the Child" serves several purposes. The primary theme of the episode: all the babies in Gilead, the memory of Hannah, the glimpse of Nicole. Also the secondary theme of Janine being so childlike, undisciplined and impulsive and cared for indulgently right until she reaches out and touches the hot stove.

But then a third meaning, the original Billie Holiday song. The lyrics are quite complex and ambiguous but are anything but a simple homily for a Christian blessing of an innocent child.
Rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But don’t take too much

Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own
posted by Nelson at 6:42 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


One factual thing I was unclear of; are we to understand that Emily's wife Sylvia has a new spouse?

I missed that entirely if that's true. I thought it was more that Emily isn't ready to be normal yet, like when her son says, "I'm not supposed to hug you until you're ready." Emily isn't prepared to be normal yet. Is Emily the first full handmaid to make it out of Gilead? Moira ran before she was posted to a house or not, although she knew plenty of commanders as Ruby.

Something that grated on me slightly was doubling Serena with Emily, especially as Serena looks at the video with Luke and Nichole and says, "She's so big," echoing Emily with her son. I'm actually for Serena's impossible redemption arc, but she and Emily aren't comparable.

I love the political stuff with Gilead/Canada, so I'm curious to see what happens to Nichole now that Gilead knows where she is. I still remember the commanders talking last season about retrieving refugees from Canada.

As much as I love Lawrence, it's refreshing having a whole episode without him. Bradley Whitford is acting the shit out of this show but he sort of takes up all the air when he's on-screen. June's gonna end up having to stab scissors through his eyeball, I'm pretty sure.

I think the character of Lawrence gets a lot of leeway out of Whitford's general likability. He's such a monster, and I'm hoping that Mrs. Lawrence eventually murders him.
posted by gladly at 9:50 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Vox: "What happened to The Handmaid’s Tale’s all-encompassing sense of dread?
It’s becoming harder to ignore just how protected June is by her plot armor."
posted by Flannery Culp at 7:06 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


Flannery Culp, exactly. This show is losing me because of everything she gets away with now. Even her ability to wander where she wants at the dinner party, and stick around after the rest of the Handmaids leave.
posted by amro at 9:00 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I think June gets away with more because she's Oflawrence now.
posted by luckynerd at 3:10 PM on June 16


That might be what the writers are going for, lucky nerd but it feels unearned at this point. I was surprised Aunt Lydia didn’t taser both June and Janine - it wouldn’t have changed the overall plot and would have addressed the plot armor problem.

The Emily scenes were fantastic. I also wondered what the framed pictures showed - some were clearly Of Emily but there was maybe one with sylvia and some third adult, possibly male or masculine-presenting? It would be the more interesting narrative choice for her to have found a new partner, new co-parent for her son vs just waiting forever without unfounded hope.
posted by janell at 12:21 PM on June 18


There are some close-ups of Sylvia fiddling with a wedding band. I took it at first that it was from a subsequent marriage and then was less sure. It could also have been her trying to reconcile the Emily she married with the woman who came back to her.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:13 AM on June 24


I have a very bad feeling about Gilead security confirming the location and caretakers of Nichole in Canada.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:08 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


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