The Handmaid's Tale: Mayday
August 13, 2019 10:57 PM - Season 3, Episode 13 - Subscribe

With her plan in place, June reaches the point of no return on her bold strike against Gilead; Serena Joy and Commander Waterford attempt to find their way forward in their new lives.
posted by roolya_boolya (56 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well.

Did they think it wouldn't get renewed? Because that would have served pretty well as a series finale.
posted by litlnemo at 12:14 AM on August 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


I thought it was a great episode and bawled my way through large parts of it. It did a lot to redeem the season for me. Fred turning in Serena was so satisfying. May they tear each other to the ground. June watching the plane fly overhead and the Canada crew greeting it when it landed were lovely uplifting moments. I loved Luke's awkwardness at Rita's warm greeting as he was processing the hope and then the loss of hope of seeing Hannah walk off the plane.

I did wonder why all the children were so happy to leave. A major plot point with Hannah and June was that Hannah was happy in her new life and wanted to stay with her family. How come none of the other children felt like that? Particularly the younger ones who would have no idea about the background to their births and lives. That was inconsistent world building.

Next season needs to not have June implausibly getting away with it and stropping around Gilead free as a bird facing no consequences. My hope is that we will spend a lot more time in Canada, as characters like Moira and Emily were chronically underused this season. The back half of this season was a huge improvement on the start and I hope the show keeps moving in that direction. Would rather see one more strong final season than have it dragged out past its shelf life.
posted by roolya_boolya at 5:04 AM on August 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


Next season, in addition to seeing more of the Canada crew, I'd like to see June have to stay completely underground: constantly changing appearance, location, lots of spycraft stuff with the Marthas. With that many kids involved, there's no chance this wasn't traced back to the Lawrence household. Right now June is probably presumed dead (because if she escaped surely she'd be on Canadian tv), which is a huge advantage for her in trying to get her daughter back.

Gilead should be thrown into heavy chaos at this point. Two high-ranking commanders are gone, something like 78 children liberated, another commander is killed in the process (family of the baby), and Commander Lawrence is possibly implicated in the whole thing and/or killed/jailed. Plus, there is probably more international pressure due to information gained from the Waterfords and the media explosion the escaped children are going to cause.

So hopefully we'll spend some time in Canada as they and the US govt in exile exploit the chaos, and June covertly acts an accelerant to the fracturing process either by liberating more kids or other actions.
posted by mikepop at 10:32 AM on August 14, 2019 [7 favorites]


Does anyone know if Beth and MCAT Martha got out (sorry, blanking on the character's name)? Loved the finale, but had to suspend belief that the wild shooting by the airport guard would not have garnered a quicker and larger response. Was so heartening to see all the women joining June to distract the guards. I'm a little confused at how Janine and the rest of the handmaids were able to pull off the scene at the end though. I hope we also see Lawrence next season, as well as a ton more of the Canada folk. That final scene with Tuello and Serena was *chef's kiss*.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:20 AM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also wow at those opening scenes, the book reading scene, and the one with Luke at the end. Lots of ugly crying from me while watching.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:22 AM on August 14, 2019


Does anyone know if Beth and MCAT Martha got out (sorry, blanking on the character's name)?

I think they were throwing rocks with June at the end.
posted by roolya_boolya at 12:27 PM on August 14, 2019


I thought June's comment to Lawrence about forgetting what a strong woman looks like was quite insensitive given that it was less than a week since his very troubled wife died.
posted by roolya_boolya at 12:29 PM on August 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


They were throwing rocks with June at end.

They were there, but I was hoping that the rock throwers took advantage of June's distraction to get on the plane.
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:44 PM on August 14, 2019


I just have to say I welled up and nearly couldn’t go on after the open revealed that a cluster of the women being violently herded forward were women and girls with Down syndrome— to their own separate horrific end to be sure. Just as the current onslaught on reproductive freedom has made this series cut so quick to the bone at times (particularly during the pre-Gilead flashbacks in earlier seasons), in this particular political climate for persons with disabilities and complex medical needs that was that much more of a gut punch. Talk about the opposite of escapist (yeah I know) viewing.
posted by blue suede stockings at 5:13 PM on August 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


I think I need to watch this again but it was pretty satisfying. Imperfect, yes, but it did a good job of bringing everything together. I'm actually really impressed after how messy this season was.

And I mean, Fred sucks but I'm glad Serena was told she is an awful human being too. I loved it.

I hope next season is more Canada and less Gilead. I think that would give a new fresh perspective to the show.

Maybe my plan to quit this show has been interrupted. We'll see how angry season 4 makes me, though.
posted by darksong at 6:18 PM on August 14, 2019


Season four has to be more Canada and ICC. Damn straight Serena got held accountable, even if as revenge from her pissed husband trying to pretend he didn't actually manage to make policy decisions.

Gilead better be fucking scared.

The gunfire and rocks scene was pretty improbable. I was a bit dissatisfied. Even for a clandestine plane and scanty coverage because of missing kid(s) .... that was shit coverage.

The sheets thing was driving me crazy. No reason to need until "oh, lets walk through the woods!"

Gilead has to be scared because they have 80+ witnesses safely across the border, reporting, even if only a handful are adults with an adult view and perspective.

Now the kids are hostage on the "wrong" side of the border. I know it takes a lot for them to kill the Handmaidens, but damn. Maybe they'll be too busy to notice both, some of them can opt to "take the vow of silence", and yeah, June's gotta be underground hard core. Shoulda kept the AK 47, or at least buried it far away from the body so the Eyes think they have it.
posted by tilde at 6:48 PM on August 14, 2019


Fucking hell, that imagery of a child being handed a foil blanket and then being *reunited* with family was too fucking poignant given real life right now. Absolutely lost it at that.

I was rooting for Hannah to walk off that plane at the end, even though I was sure we would have known if she were on it. Oh Luke.

Good finale. Should just leave it there.
posted by olinerd at 6:49 PM on August 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


I thought June's comment to Lawrence about forgetting what a strong woman looks like was quite insensitive given that it was less than a week since his very troubled wife died.

Was it? I mean, given that Lawrence built a society on the enslavement and ritual rape of women, and that society also denied his very troubled wife the treatment that could have saved her life, I think he's got get a thicker skin. I know Bradley Whitford is an excellent actor and likeable human, but good god, I do not think Commander Lawrence is a tough call. Remember when he sent hundreds of women to the colonies to die few episodes ago?

One of my favorite parts of the finale was something it lacked: Nick! Yay for Nick not coming back in this episode and either saving or ruining anything. Less Nick forever!

OT Fagbenle's expression waiting for Hannah was so perfect--not wanting to hope but hoping.

I have enjoyed this very messy season, but I would really like a final season. Show me the end of Gilead, and show it to me in an election year.
posted by gladly at 7:24 PM on August 14, 2019 [14 favorites]


Huh. With all the plot armor, June has become the least interesting person on the show. She’s a more tolerable Piper Chapman.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:29 PM on August 14, 2019 [11 favorites]


By far the best episode of the season, and I hope that doesn’t seem like damning with faint praise because this season has been kinda cuckoo.

I think next season will see June and Nick reckoning and become enemies.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:55 PM on August 14, 2019


The sheets thing was driving me crazy. No reason to need until "oh, lets walk through the woods!"

I think they were originally planning on having the sheet strips as emergency bandages.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 12:28 AM on August 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'd love if the next season was all Canada and we only heard about an underground rebellion through rumor and spy reports from Tuello.

One thing that throws me about the show (and is especially highlighted in this episode)... we see the complete brutality of Gilead in the opening scene (as we saw in the first season) and it's hard to see how the resistance can survive against that. However, the brutality is only maintained when it suits the plot.
posted by kokaku at 1:48 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


Great episode, bringing (finally) some much-needed relief and vindication without giving up on the ongoing suffering of people still in Gilead.

I really REALLY hope next season plays out as mikepop outlines above.

I did not expect Fred's turn on Serena--not that it would be beyond him, just that it never occurred to me as a possible plot development. Pure vindictiveness--it's not like he is getting anything out of it. I was also surprised (but delighted) that his move turned out to be at least temporarily effective--will be interesting to see how Serena-vs-Fred-in-Canada plays out in the next season.

But on that subject--couldn't they have come up with a more damning indictment for Serena? I mean in fact, the consummation of Nick's and June's mutual attraction was NOT rape, was it (or am I forgetting)? The way I remember it, Serena manipulated an already existing relationship and basically gave June "permission" to conceive outside of the "ceremonies" with Fred.

Serena and Fred are both monsters, but Serena is both a monster AND a victim, and I do hope their respective outcomes reflect that. Fred is just monster through and through.

I was deeply dissatisfied with the non-resolution to the question I raised last week about the stakes for the Marthas, going into the whole rescue. It seems like it hadn't been addressed because there had not actually been a cohesive plan for how it would play out. And speaking of plans... they hadn't routed their path to the airstrip before twilight, the night of the escape? They were still batting around options (car shuttling?) at that stage? This hardly set June up as the logistical mastermind she was supposed to be.

But back to the Marthas--not only were we not given a satisfactory answer to what their role was supposed to be; we didn't even get resolution on what it actually was. I guess that they were ideally supposed to be escaping with the children, which was a possibility that I loved (escape for them, some continuity for the children, etc.). But then a bunch of them returned to have June's back in the brick-throwing battle. And some of them were hit be gunfire in that conflict, but we never saw what happened with them--we only saw that six handmaids survived in order to photogenically, in perfect symmetry, carry June off in her red shroud (an image that was painfully reminiscent, to me, of the "mhysa" scene at the end of S03 of Game of Thrones).

Okay, whoops, this little review turned out a bit more negative than I intended. There was a lot to like in the episode, from some really uplifting moments (I was glad Lawrence managed to keep his shit together, and the father-daughter reunion in Canada was wonderful. Also, though June and Hannah were not on the airplane, the meeting between Rita and Luke & Moira was really gratifying, because at least now those closest to June can receive a full debriefing on her life after several years of near-silence). I just wish the show could maybe forgo just a few of the close-ups, of the slo-mo action, of the mini-crises that interrupt the action, and give us a tiny bit of insight into characters other than June, Fred, and Serena. Oughtn't a show with the premise of THT to be acutely attuned to the need for this?
posted by torticat at 3:02 AM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


But on that subject--couldn't they have come up with a more damning indictment for Serena? I mean in fact, the consummation of Nick's and June's mutual attraction was NOT rape, was it (or am I forgetting)?

If I recall correctly she forced them to have sex in Nick's room above the garage while she was there.
posted by roolya_boolya at 3:56 AM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Some other thoughts - Fred’s vindictiveness did the worst possible thing to serena, which was he completely severed any claim they had to Nicole. If he’s corroborating June’s story that the baby’s not his, then in addition to being tried for war crimes, Serena has totally lost any right the Canadians would have given her to have a relationship with Nicole.

Also, how does the recording of June saying Nicole was the product of a loving relationship play out with Fred saying she was a product of rape? Isn’t that a giant red flag for prosecuting her?
posted by olinerd at 5:32 AM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yes, the first time Serena stood and watched to make sure the deed was done. After that the sex was consensual. Given the time elapsed (clearly that first time didn't result in Holly's conception), both Fred and June are correct.

(And can I say how much I love that forcing someone to have sex under duress is a chargeable offense in this world? Serena committed sexual assault against both Nick and June even though she didn't so much as touch either of them.)

Random thoughts:

Also wondering what the Marthas' Mayday plan was, why June's was simultaneously a well-oiled machine and by the seat of the pants (I guess the answer is "one great plan with no ideas for contingency or plan B"), and what happened to the Marthas shot during the siege. Let's headcanon that while the handmaids were finding June, the other Marthas got their fallen comrades to medical care or a decent burial.

Kiki/Rebecca's grace was sweeter and more compassionate than I expected from a Gilead prayer. And given she would have been around five when Gilead started, that she doesn't remember what day-to-day life was like but does recognize her dad checks out.

I'm glad all the children got out no matter how farfetched it was, especially the baby - I was so sure that was going to be a MASH-style scenario where it starts fussing and is sacrificed to save the rest of the group.

+1 to the idea of centering next season in Canada with occasional "TV news on in the background" type glimpses of what's happening in Gilead.

The handmaids carrying June simultaneously evoked pallbearers and (from June's smile) triumphant crowdsurfing. I liked it. Many of the "look at our clever visual framing filled with symbolism!!1!" shots this season have left me rolling my eyes, but this one worked.
posted by Flannery Culp at 5:54 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


...on rereading comments above, did Fred specifically say the baby was conceived through rape, or just that Serena forced June and Nick to have sex with that as her stated goal? Either way, both "Serena committed sexual violence" and "Holly was made from love" can be true.
posted by Flannery Culp at 6:24 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


This show continues to be way too obsessed with its protagonist and star, obsessed with telling (not showing) the audience how impressed we should be with her, while she continues to implausibly bumble her way into acts of resistance against an amazingly incompetent totalitarian state.

(Like, there was a supposedly-secret cargo plane fired up and ready to take off, you're searching for missing children, and you're not going there first, to search the plane, and at least temporarily detain the pilot? She even tried that strategy before!)

"Inconsistent worldbuilding" is putting it mildly. I'd say more "whatever obstacles it's possible for June to barrel through half-cocked that seem impressive unless you think about it too hard".
posted by supercres at 7:20 AM on August 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


I don't understand why paintings weren't be lugged to the plane. Thought everyone would be turned away without the art acting as a ticket to ride.
posted by 6ATR at 7:46 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


This season was terrible. The plot armor became so improbable as to be laughable... and not just around June! You’re telling me that 80 kids (including at least one baby) walked quietly through the woods without making a peep? None of them were crying or scared or missing the only parents they had ever known? And what happens to all the Marthas now that stayed behind? Why didn’t they go to Canada too? Please don’t tell me that no one figures out that they were involved or i’ll just have to be done with this show. If they don’t all end up on the wall then Gilead isn’t what we’re meant to believe it is.

I get that they were giving us a victory. But make it at least sort of realistic.
posted by amro at 7:49 AM on August 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


Couple various responses...

If I recall correctly she forced them to have sex in Nick's room above the garage while she was there.

Oh, right. Definitely rape. And notable because it was one thing she did on her own, against the rules of Gilead, as they mentioned. Interesting that her immunity seems to have been based on the understanding that she committed her crimes under duress, rather than the sole fact that she turned Fred in. (What, then, about the fact that she was one of the primary proponents/architects of Gilead culture to begin with?)

With that many kids involved, there's no chance this wasn't traced back to the Lawrence household.

That, and the fact that there is a trail of cloth tree ties leading straight to his back door. :-D

Some other thoughts - Fred’s vindictiveness did the worst possible thing to serena, which was he completely severed any claim they had to Nicole.

Whoa, good point. I was kinda assuming that her arrest would achieve that end, but yeah, Fred put the lie to her whole premise/motivation for fleeing to Canada.

The plot armor became so improbable as to be laughable.

Yeah, it really is. I feel like the show kinda doubled down on the message of the Kate Bush lyrics at the end of ep11, "I just know that something good is gonna make it happen... Just saying it could even make it happen." Because June's plan (such as it was) didn't succeed through meticulous planning, or realistic plot development, it succeeded because she willed it to. Cf her conversation with Lawrence in which she declared she was in charge. Her saying that was so didn't actually make it so... until it did. Lawrence basically bowed to the force of her will. Obviously he still had the ability to derail the plan, if he had chosen to do so.

Other random question... what about the other Marthas' plot that June's plan was not supposed to interfere with? I guess that was just a regular smuggling operation they had going? Guess that's probably been blown to smithereens.
posted by torticat at 8:39 AM on August 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


The original plan was to take a bus to the airport but that got scrapped because of the search prompted by the Martha that backed out. They realized they could walk a shorter route through the woods, then marked the path. Later they followed the marked path.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:40 AM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


I liked the women coming back to join June in throwing rocks, but I wanted her to use the distraction of the rocks to loop around and shoot the Eye with her handgun.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:46 AM on August 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


You can also see them untying the cloths marking the path as they went along. But everything still gets tied to the Lawrence household through the Lexington Martha who ran off, if nothing else. Probably there is lots of other physical evidence.
posted by mikepop at 9:18 AM on August 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


I don't understand why paintings weren't be lugged to the plane. Thought everyone would be turned away without the art acting as a ticket to ride.


The art goes to Jezebels I thought ... he sells some in Giles’s and some out.
posted by tilde at 9:27 AM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


But on that subject--couldn't they have come up with a more damning indictment for Serena? I mean in fact, the consummation of Nick's and June's mutual attraction was NOT rape, was it (or am I forgetting)?

Since June was a prisoner, she didn't have much choice, hence rape.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:37 AM on August 15, 2019


I've seen numbers bandied about saying the children rescued numbered around 78 or 80 (this thread), "probably over 100," (elsewhere) and the oddly specific 168. Are people looking at screencaps and counting, or is there some other basis for these guesses? No way that was as many at 168, right?
posted by torticat at 10:02 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


So that manic, crazy-eyes vibe that June has had for the last few episodes... I'm glad they kept it in. I'm glad she's still got it. This is character development and evolution. Ya girl's a stone cold killer who can shove a gun into a 10 yr old's face.

It really underlines the parallel storylines in Canada with both Emily wondering whether she can easily integrate back into her family, and Fred telling Luke outright that June has changed, it's never going to be the same as before. I like this development.
posted by MiraK at 10:14 AM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


mean in fact, the consummation of Nick's and June's mutual attraction was NOT rape

It was absolutely rape the first time. It was weirdly a rape of both Nick and June, since both were being ordered by Serena to do it. Serena even stood there and watched that first time! It was gross, gross, gross on so many levels.

That, and the fact that there is a trail of cloth tree ties leading straight to his back door. :-D

I'm hoping the handmaids who carried June off managed to take those down. Either they or the other marthas who were around her the night before, throwing stones.

The gunfire and rocks scene was pretty improbable.

I thought it was a poignant allusion to Israel/Palestine.
posted by MiraK at 10:15 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


So yes, it can of course be true that Nick/June was consensual AND that that first time was sexual assault for which Serena is responsible. My point though is that if I'm Serena's defense attorney and I know June's tape confessing to Nicole being "conceived out of love" exists, I put the burden on the ICC to prove that this was actually an assault driven by Serena, not something that was going to happen anyway.

I guess it depends how broad/consistent the assault laws are for the ICC. Of course assault should include forcing anyone, even a couple in an existing consensual relationship, to have sex in front of you for your purposes, but my point is there seems to be some room for a defense lawyer to stir shit up and make everyone's lives really hard here.
posted by olinerd at 10:18 AM on August 15, 2019


I had wondered if forcing the Handmaids to take part in stonings as punishment had made them more deadly with thrown rocks.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:30 AM on August 15, 2019 [15 favorites]


Hey so did they ever explain what all that soap was for? There was like ONE gate to un-squeak... why did they need to boil up 50 bars?
posted by MiraK at 10:41 AM on August 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


They also had to soap up all the windows in the house.
posted by mikepop at 11:05 AM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


And speaking of windows--I liked how the signal, the lamp with a handmaid's cloth thrown over it, evoked a red light district. With the inversion that it was a signal to women and girls who were taking themselves OFF the market. Was it a little on the nose? I don't know, I liked it and didn't expect it.
posted by torticat at 5:29 PM on August 15, 2019


You can also see them untying the cloths marking the path as they went along.

Oh, I totally missed that. Smart!
posted by torticat at 5:31 PM on August 15, 2019


I thought that was a satisfying end to a season with a rocky start. June's plot armor finally pays off; she's Moses. She has to lead her people to freedom and the promised land. Which sort of justifies all the crazily close calls with searchlights and guns and soldiers and silliness. It's standard mediocre action TV plotting and I'm OK with it given so much else that goes into the Handmaid's Tale is way more interesting.

Lawrence continues to be a good character and I'm glad they've kept him for another season. His decision to call it off was the right one, in some sense, and it gave a great foil for June to take control and assert she was going to do it anyway. I like that he's chosen to stay behind "to clean up his mess"; with so many other Commanders weakened maybe he has a chance. OTOH I still think it's a little weird to have a man be such a good character in the show. Maybe next season will feature Big Boss Martha who runs the real show. Maybe Kathy Bates vs. Ann Dowd. I'd love that.

I'm with roolya_boolya wondering about how the children who were rescued feel about all this. Most of them are young, privileged. How many if asked would have chosen to leave like that? They are going to miss their parents. Also they were all so well behaved and silent. Maybe because most were with their Marthas but surely there'd be at least one little bratty kid whining "I'm tired!". I'm OK with letting that kind of detail go except it really does undermine one of the hideous aspects of Gilead, the indoctrination.
posted by Nelson at 8:41 PM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


I am wondering what kind of claim Canada has to keep these children in Canada? For Nicole, you at least had June as the mother saying what she wanted. For these other children, there's essentially no biological parent to make that call. Does Gilead own the children? How does this work in our world now, if say a bunch of children were rescued from North Korea and there were no relatives to claim them?

I thought Lawrence reading to the children was pretty cute, especially because that seemed like a book that was way over their heads.

Everyone keeps saying children, but that was all girls, right? I don't think I saw a single boy.

My big complaint is that apparently after the Lexington Martha spilled the beans, the eyes were going door to door looking for Kiki. If someone came to my door and said a child was missing, my first thought would be to go to check on my own child, which means all those families would slowly be starting to realize their daughters are gone. There's no fucking way that plane takes off without being inspected. Super annoyed at the incompetence thats required to make the plot work. Booo.

I'm so over June, but I'll keep watching. I think a much better series (and this idea has come up before on here I think) would be to follow just one handmaid or Martha for a season. Maybe some rebel, maybe some go along, some die, some escape, some are stuck where they are. But that would have been much more interesting and also probably a little more freeing plot-wise since they wont have to come up with ways that June keeps not getting sent to the colonies or on the wall.

Luke is pretty much just adopting all June's friends in Canada at this point.
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:27 AM on August 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I do think there were boys on the plane, as well - they panned over kids in both pink and blue bonnets.
posted by mosst at 7:05 AM on August 16, 2019


I am wondering what kind of claim Canada has to keep these children in Canada...

I was wondering that this morning too. If the kid was stolen from their biological parents by Gilead and that parent (or close family member?) is in Canada obviously the case is iron clad. Which is what they showed us with the airplane hangar reunion, it's wonderful.

But what about kids whose biological families are dead? What about kids who were born in Gilead? Kids with wonderful Commander families who treat them well? Some of the handmaids are shown to be true believers, (mostly) glad to help give birth so the Commander and his Wife can have a child; what about their children? Those kids are born and raised entirely in Gilead, have loving parents there, taking them away is problematic. It's monstrous to consider, but maybe some of those kids would be OK growing up in Gilead.

Comparing to the real world, nations don't just kidnap children from other countries and call it a human rights success. No matter how awful the country is. I think in the world of Handmaid's Tale we sort of saw this exact story play out with Nicole and the Waterford's diplomatic efforts to get her back. And it's a bit touch-and-go legally, I like to imagine it's only that June's story and personal heroism in getting Nicole out of Gilead is why Canada would try to keep her. Not just because Gilead is monstrous.

I think the way to reconcile this problem is imagining the Marthas only chose children they knew would have some connection to Canada, would be personally better off there. Kids with clear asylum cases. Canada didn't kidnap them; people inside Gilead who knew these kids risked their lives to get them out because they knew how awful it would be for the children inside.

a bunch of children were rescued from North Korea and there were no relatives to claim them

Ooof, that's a problematic example; what does "rescuing from North Korea" imply? DPRK is an awful place but I think even the most aggressive real world aid agencies, resistance groups, etc wouldn't consider kidnapping children from their North Korean parents a good idea.

The example I thought of is girls in Saudi Arabia, particularly Rahaf Mohammed who fled Saudi at the age of 19 and ended up getting asylum in Canada. But she fled herself, and was a (young) adult, and has a personal story of abuse and fear of execution. So it's not a very good analogy.
posted by Nelson at 8:15 AM on August 16, 2019


They do mention “The Americans” as a form of weak attempted governance in rights in exile. So presumably most of these kids are American citizens (even the baby as birthed by an American in captivity) and they are rescuing Americans from a war zone.

And I’m using Americans as loosely as they do in the show as shorthand for “Citizens of the former United States in exile” as everyone on both continents are ‘Americans’.

And yes, I saw at least 10 boys on the plane.

Given what I’ve seen of harsh evangelical and or fundamental Christians, yeah, no kid was going to cry out. They may not see the hangings and shootings but it’s not the same as not being aware.
posted by tilde at 9:34 AM on August 16, 2019


There were definitely some boys. A lot of the establishings shots appeared to only show girls, but I did see boys on the plane.

Most of the kids rescued were of an age that appeared to be post-Handmaid paradigm so there's a good chance their real parents are dead, in Canada as asylum seekers, or still Handmaids. Hannah still appears to be under 10 and she was late preschool/kindergartenish when it all went down, right? So any of the kids over age 4 or 5 were likely stolen from their parents. The question is that baby whose Martha ended up poisoning the "parents." Wonder who that Handmaid was and what the claim on that baby is.
posted by olinerd at 11:49 AM on August 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


June stated that her goal was to rescue children of handmaids, so all the kids have some claim to asylum since their mothers are technically prisoners and slaves. I assume the Marthas explained to all the children what life should really be like and that this is their chance to be free. They showed us as much with Kiki/Rebecca. That "Is this the place where I can wear what I want?" line damn near broke me.

I think there was only that one patrol car near the airstrip, they didn't show any others, and the search for children didn't reach there yet. June and others managed to distract that patrol from reaching the path to the plane and probably searching it. The gate that they showed the soldier opening was to enter the airstrip and the soldiers had just gotten on foot to start searching when the rocks were being thrown. That gave the pilot cover to fly away.

It's not a huge stretch to assume these things, and suspend your disbelief a little. The real problem with this show lies in the fact that they have a Handmaid who's got plot armor and her character development involve her redeeming herself from some very selfish decisions. While that's great for drama, it creates a character that's hard to keep alive without jumping some hoops. However, on this path she can be better in next season if they keep her underground.
posted by numaner at 12:01 PM on August 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


> Kids with wonderful Commander families who treat them well? ... Those kids are born and raised entirely in Gilead, have loving parents there, taking them away is problematic. It's monstrous to consider, but maybe some of those kids would be OK growing up in Gilead.

No child is ever OK when they are being raped. You're right, it is monstrous to think they might be OK! Taking a child away from loving parents may be generally problematic, yes, but it is entirely unproblematic to take children away from parents who want their child to be raped. Entirely.

There's cultural relativism and then there's children being raped, you know? Gilead is a rape cult. These children are rescues. Forgive me for my vehemence but I'm having something of a reaction to a serious comment that argues that these children - in a show that I can hardly stomach even though it's fiction - might be just fine.
posted by MiraK at 6:29 PM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Whelp I meant to link to this comment by Nelson above, not the other comment by Nelson I accidentally linked.
posted by MiraK at 6:35 PM on August 20, 2019


I would never mean to suggest a child at risk of rape was going to be OK, and I apologise for my bad writing if you thought that was what I was saying.

What I had in mind were the boy children of Gilead, the ones going to grow up to be Commanders or Eyes. And the non-fertile girl children, to become Wives or Marthas. They are not at risk of rape, although they are growing up in an evil society based on rape. Gilead society is hideous and awful and indefensible. But imagine a real Gilead in the real world today. Would any country be willing to be asylum for kidnapped children from it? Our world regularly overlooks great injustices committed against boys and girls. Canada, in this show, seems almost willing to return Nicole to her rapist fake parents. I'm a little worried for this planeload of kids.
posted by Nelson at 10:26 PM on August 20, 2019


So I know they were checking the daughters to see if they were menstruating and thus presumably they are essentially forced to bear children if they are able.... But, how would that work exactly? Would a commander really be ok with his daughter becoming a handmaid, when a handmaid is essentially a lowly servant? Or would these privileged daughters simply be married off to young commanders and get pregnant the usual way, without the ceremony? The couples with handmaids have them because the wives can’t bear children. I guess what I’m saying is that while I fully understand the desire to get these kids out of oppressive Gilead, and while I do believe the girls would be under extreme pressure to have babies early and often, I do not think their futures are as handmaids.
posted by amro at 5:52 AM on August 21, 2019


I also don’t think the infertile daughters of commanders will be Marthas. They will likely be wives with handmaids.
posted by amro at 6:02 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Sorry, Nelson, for misreading you. Yeah, you're right, this is an example of Atwoodian "It has already happened and it is still happening," isn't it?

My own home country, India, has recently decided to keep marital rape 100% legal as of ~3 years ago; as recently as 2008, 49% of India's brides were under the age of 18; and considering that almost all marriages are arranged and that almost all brides are expected to live in the husband's parents' home to serve as family cooks, cleaners, and eldercare providers, almost all Indian wives are basically a cross between handmaids and marthas, with mothers-in-law standing in for Wives. My own mother lived this way for the first 10 years of her marriage. She had no sex ed and was still expected to have sex on her wedding night. What is that if not rape? ... No wonder this show hits me hard.
posted by MiraK at 6:51 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Hugs, MiraK.
posted by Nelson at 9:15 AM on August 21, 2019


I’m reading the sequel to Handmaids Tale (our today) and it’s def spolieriffic for upcoming seasons if you’re avoiding that kind golf thing.
posted by tilde at 7:20 AM on September 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


June's plot armor finally pays off; she's Moses. She has to lead her people to freedom and the promised land.

Perhaps significantly, Moses did not reach the promised land.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:03 AM on October 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


« Older Six Feet Under: You Never Know...   |  Succession: The Summer Palace... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster