The Handmaid's Tale: Under his eye
July 3, 2019 12:21 PM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

June escalates her risky efforts to find Hannah; Emily must face her past crimes; Serena and Fred contemplate their future in Washington.
posted by roolya_boolya (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh for fuck's sake, how many times are we going to see people hanged for alleged crimes that are minor compared to June's? It is ludicrous that she continues to walk around with both eyes, a tongue, and her life.

It is also ludicrous that Canada would consider June to have given up her parental rights by Canada's laws (WTF does that even mean for a handmaid in Gilead) without factoring in Emily's account of the escape.

A core compelling aspect of The Handmaid's Take was Atwood's grounding the story in historic realities.

I cannot even with the sexy Waterford dancing, nor the prime location house with all of its owners' belongings. Also, it has been winter for at least six months now, did Gilead get crossed with Game of Thrones?
posted by desuetude at 8:01 PM on July 3, 2019 [11 favorites]

Since they're way off book anyway, why DIDN'T they just kill June and pick up the threads of the story from another handmaid? Speaking of GOT, c'mon, people love that "shocking death of a main character" thing! This insistence that June is a special handmaid makes zero sense and contradicts the whole goddamn premise. Okay, okay, they don't want to lose Elisabeth Moss. So show her in flashbacks. It would be interesting to look through Alma's eyes, since she has been pivotal in June's story without ever being at the center of the show's story.
posted by desuetude at 8:35 PM on July 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

I liked the Canada stuff. I think Emily trying to rebuild her life after all that trauma would be a really interesting story to tell and I want to see more of that.

I am tired of June's recklessness and selfishness. Clearly, Commander Lawrence was keeping his wife inside because she's mentally ill and would probably be killed if people found out. Good job there, June. And with everything else you do.

I think this episode made me decide I am done with this show. Unless I read that some really cool things happen, this is probably the last episode I'm watching. It's still gorgeous to look at and the performances are good but it just can't overcome the rest of it.
posted by darksong at 9:04 PM on July 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

The plot armor seems thick, but the Gilead leadership would be reluctant to punish her physically in a visible way as they need her for the Nichole negotiations. The lack of non-visible physical punishment is inconsistent though, unless Lawrence is protecting her. Following the refugees stories is more interesting to me than June's right now, in any case.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:07 AM on July 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

The show has lost the narrative tension that made the first season compelling. It's completely dissolved into tiresome repetitions of June as a powerless, yet fiercely scowling, slave. I am frankly very bored and the only reason I keep watching is a.) hoping it will finally pick up and b.) they haven't quite gone the way of Alias yet.
posted by Crystal Fox at 8:15 AM on July 4, 2019 [5 favorites]

I can't defend this episode either, it was not a very good one. I was most confounded by how June gets away with her little excursion with Mrs. Lawrence with no consequences. Commander Lawrence just sort of looks resigned and takes care of his wife, then doesn't even talk back when June says something implicitly critical to him about his wife came alive when she was outside. Lawrence's motives in this show are still a cipher, but he's been shown to be fiercely protective of his wife. And mostly authoritarian. I would have expected a swift, angry, violent punishment for June. Instead he's just like "oh whatever, June and her crazy hijinks". Totally made no sense to me.
posted by Nelson at 8:26 AM on July 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

Sexy dancing Waterfords is the worst. But did it seem like there was a strong sense that they shouldn't be doing that? I mean, they got applause at the end, but it all seemed awfully risque. It's not clear that sexuality without procreation is permissible in Gilead-- actually it seemed like it was definitely not allowed.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 10:32 AM on July 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

Agreed, it felt like the Waterfords overstepped with that dance.

I completely agree with June having some absurd plot armor, but when I'm watching the show, I'm totally engaged. It's just not as coherent as it used to be, but I'm still pretty happy for a series to be about women's civil rights. I'd like to know more about Ofmatthew to understand why she's such a true believer though.

I'm so glad Emily told Moira about the wife she poisoned. It doesn't have to be immediate, but I want to see Emily happy and reunited with her family.
posted by gladly at 11:14 AM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh good, I'm not the only one who thinks June's plot armor is completely ridiculous.

Is this the last season? It has to be right, if they're going to insist on keeping Elizabeth Moss?

I just here for to see June burn everything down at this point. Her scowl promises that and if there's one thing I know for sure, tv series keep their promise.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:38 AM on July 4, 2019

At some point Emily will have to admit that she had an affair which led to her Martha partner being hanged and her being genitally mutilated. I assumed that's what the look on her face was about when asked "have you done anything else that Gilead would consider a crime?"
posted by Flannery Culp at 7:53 PM on July 4, 2019

Did anyone else get the sense that Mrs. Lawrence had managed to get pregnant pre-Gilead and was talked (or forced) into getting an abortion due to her mental instability?
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:02 PM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

About all that's keeping me going with this show is the hope that we'll see exactly what's happening in Chicago and that Nick immediately gets his head blown off and we don't have to spend any more time with him ever.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:03 PM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Since they're way off book anyway, why DIDN'T they just kill June and pick up the threads of the story from another handmaid?
well Elisabeth Moss is a producer of the show, so...
posted by aielen at 12:58 AM on July 5, 2019

The Nichole "negotiations" are also ludicrous because the intelligence agencies of all involved countries now know that Nichole is not Commander Waterford's biological child. (Well, I presume Gilead knows? The Swiss and the Canadians definitely do.)

It is unclear as to whether Fred knows. I thought that June had intimated to him at one point that he was not the father? Of course, it doesn't matter from a custody sense in Gilead, as they consider children to be property. But it would matter to Fred personally, and it would diminish Fred's claim in the eyes of other countries.
posted by desuetude at 8:57 AM on July 5, 2019

The Nichole "negotiations" aren't terrible IMO, everyone knows the truth, they just can't act on it. Gilead is powerful force, according to the show, so Canada doesn't want to go to war with them. On a political level I can see them "sacrificing" Nicole to keep the peace.

I find it hard to believe that Luke and Moria aren't on the run, in preparation for that possibility.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:26 AM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'd love to see this show talk more about the political situation in Canada. It was interesting seeing Moira join a protest group so actively harassing the minister; she clearly feels pretty safe in Canada. She doesn't even seem particularly worried about being in jail.

But are things really so secure? Surely there's Canadians who sympathize with Gilead? And maybe they're tired of hosting refugees? With just a bit of work the show could tell a story that's an allegory with the current situation with the US and its asylum seekers coming from Mexico and Central America.
posted by Nelson at 10:43 AM on July 5, 2019 [7 favorites]

At this point I’m still watching in desperate hope of a pre-Gilead Aunt Lydia origin story. Why have we not gotten any of these about anyone this season?
posted by blue suede stockings at 5:15 PM on July 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

I thought the sexy dancing was a) Fred signalling in skywriting his heterosexuality and fidelity to his wife to possibly homosexual Winslow, or probably, b) a total rapprochement between the multi-episode-estranged Fred and Serena Joy. Whatever, it was crap.

Imagine the society fashion pages trying to talk up all the amazing on-trend ways to wear peacock green, or whatever the hell that cack green is, and the boringly demure updos. Ugh.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:29 AM on July 9, 2019

The worst part of that stupid sexy dancing scene is that they start off doing a Viennese waltz, which is in triple time, and then suddenly they’re doing a tango, which is either in 2:4 or 4:4 so who the hell choreographed this nonsense? Totally broke my suspension of disbelief.

posted by BuddhaInABucket at 8:18 AM on July 9, 2019 [12 favorites]

> The worst part of that stupid sexy dancing scene is that they start off doing a Viennese waltz, which is in triple time, and then suddenly they’re doing a tango, which is either in 2:4 or 4:4 so who the hell choreographed this nonsense? Totally broke my suspension of disbelief.

Ha, this irritated me too! Worse, they started out waltzing in time to the actual waltz music as it played, but then the visual transitioned into a slight slow-mo with the music at regular speed, so their steps were mismatched to the sound. THEN, Fred and Serena transitioned into tango steps and I muttered "for fuck's sake!" while blinking rapidly.
posted by desuetude at 8:29 AM on July 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

So the Commander Dance turns into an orgy later, right?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:34 AM on July 10, 2019

Clearly, Commander Lawrence was keeping his wife inside because she's mentally ill and would probably be killed if people found out.

Surely Gilead knows about her medical condition though, since she was being treated for it pre-Gilead?

But on that theme, anyone else noticed what feels like an absence of anyone noticeably elderly (except for Commanders and their wives) or with significant physical disabilities? Is that a deliberate casting choice do you think, or just the usual tv bias in favour of the young and able-bodied? I need to pay more attention to the crowd-shots in Canada to see if the population is more representative there.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 12:44 PM on July 18, 2019

I agree with what everyone's said about June's plot-armour reaching ridiculous proportions. More and more, this show seems to be asking not "How can we build a coherent, convincing world?" but "What would make a cool TV moment?" Every TV show has to struggle with that balance, of course, but here it's gone seriously out of whack.

Case in point: the early scene with June and the Martha at the freezer cabinets. If you wish to be inconspicuous, why would you keep leap-frogging each other to alternate cabinets like that? Let alone slam the doors as loudly as possible without ever buying anything? Nothing suspicious going on there, no Sir!

I'll stick with it till the end of this series, but beyond that, I dunno. Will next episode's promised glimpse at Aunt Lydia's backstory be a let-down too? I hope not, but I can't say I'm confident.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:41 PM on July 21, 2019

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