The Handmaid's Tale: Witness

"You helped to create this world. How long did you think it would be before it came for you?"

Let's play Canasta!

While June was being punished at the hospital, the Lawrences redecorated. Because apparently, everyone in rebellious Boston must now conform to DC standards. Joseph Lawrence even has to go to Commander meetings now because they won't come to him anymore.

And why? As it turned out, Fred Waterford wants to take Lawrence down so that he can reacquire June. At that handmaid "inspection" thing with the bleachers, Fred immediately went to June and started chatting her up. He was practically flirting, calling her a "Boston girl, born and bred," and he suggested transferring her to DC. To his own house, I assume?

And then, even worse, the Waterfords, George Winslow, Aunt Lydia and a stray gynecologist stopped by on Ceremony night to make certain Lawrence was schtupping June. Like, wow. And yet, I could see it coming, no pun intended. It's been clear for awhile that the nonconformist Lawrences are in serious danger.

June, who hadn't been expecting ritual rape that night, held the lives of Joseph and Eleanor Lawrence in her hands. She did not let them down. There had clearly never been a Ceremony in the Lawrence house; June even had to show the Marthas where to stand. When the three of them retired to the bedroom and Lawrence was talking about twenty minutes of Canasta instead, June knew they had to go through with it and she actually talked Lawrence into having sex with her. "You just treat it like a job... you're not you, I'm not me. This is a transaction." The doctor was there afterward to make certain Lawrence had done his duty. June kept her face expressionless when the doctor examined her, but Elisabeth Moss is such a good actress that we could see how she really felt.

And then there was this.

Fred: "Are you all right?"
June: "Mm hmm. I mean, at least it wasn't you."

That blow landed, big time. The look on Fred's face was priceless. That probably wasn't the smartest thing June has ever done, but I cheered out loud for her. I'd much prefer Joseph Lawrence, too. He so desperately didn't want to do it, and June knew it. I also loved his gift of birth control pills later, even though Lawrence and June risked being torn apart by dogs.

June may have been partially motivated by using Lawrence to get the kids out, but still – I'd want to protect the Lawrences, too. Lawrence may not admit it, but it's clear that he regrets helping create the nightmare that is Gilead. His deep love for his mentally ill wife Eleanor is so endearing too. Eleanor knew enough to keep silent during the recitation in the study, but started screaming when they went to the bedroom, poor thing. Eleanor has no medication now and nearly no filter anymore. June told Lawrence that Eleanor wasn't safe in Gilead. June is right.

So Lawrence agreed to the truck idea. Eleanor gets out. Kids get out, and June, please take the girls first. Lawrence could escape execution by bringing something valuable to Canada. Like kids. Is it even possible that all of this won't end in tragedy? Couldn't they surprise us and end this season with a win?



Scones mean no. But muffins mean yes. A kitchen full of baskets of muffins from the Marthas, overwhelmingly responding "yes" to June's plan to get children out of Gilead. That was just wonderful. June's smile was bit creepy, though. Or was that just me?

As I've mentioned before, I always enjoy the scenes at Loaves and Fishes. The first time, Alma didn't even want to talk to June ("You're like a nightmare right now"). But the way June gave Alma and Janine the news about their lost children was so sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. Especially the news about Janine's son, who had died years before in a car accident. June told Janine her son had moved to California with his new parents and his mom was "super nice." It was the kindest thing June could have done.

Not to mention that if she'd told Janine the truth, Janine would have probably started screaming right there in the market. But still.

Bits:

— The mouth rings and veils are coming. Aunt Lydia still seems to believe it's voluntary, like anyone would choose to do that to herself. What world is Lydia living in? Okay, I know what world she's living in, but come on. Wake up, Aunt Lydia.

— Fred's face was all fake pious as he talked about bearing witness to the Ceremony. What a hypocrite he is.

— Eleanor reads, of course, which is against the law. She was looking for the Taschen Gauguin. About Paul Gauguin, of course; Taschen publishes art books. (I'm an art librarian.)

— This week's interesting musical cues: Beethoven's ninth as June staggered home with her bruised knees and new outlook on life in Gilead, and the delightful operatic music at the end with all those muffins. What are they going to do with so many muffins? Freeze them? I'm too practical.

— Janine's eyepatch isn't regulation; Aunt Lydia defended it. Please don't take away Janine's eyepatch, people.

— Were June and Janine looking at baby sharks in an aquarium? Do they eat baby sharks in Gilead?

— So disappointing that Serena gave that lifeline of a sat phone to Fred to talk him into another attempt to retrieve Nicole from Canada. What does she think Tuello will do?

— Gold acting stars for Bradley Whitford and Julie Dretzin as the Lawrences.

The Handmaid's Tale was just renewed. We're getting a fourth season.

— What exactly is Canasta? Apparently, it's like rummy.

Quotes:

Lawrence: "What do you know about how much someone can take?"
June: "Everything."

June: "Another walking partner dead. They must think I'm cursed. Or a terrorist. I'm not, though. Not yet."

Eleanor: "Joseph is a war criminal. He can't cross the border. He would be jailed for the rest of his life, or killed. And he would deserve it."

June: "It's been five years since we had our children torn away from us. An eternity. They were one; now they're six. They were seven; now they're twelve. We've missed everything. The steps, the smiles. The tragedies. Children still die. Even in Gilead."

June: "They used to do this in the first months of Gilead to the households that resisted the Ceremony. They declared it unnecessary. Things change."

Aunt Lydia: "Bearing witness ensures that every member of the family is performing their role. Any deviation could tip the scales to failure."
Lawrence: "Are you gonna sit in the bed with us, too? Because that would definitely make things more interesting."

June: "I have a plan."
Alma: "You're like a nightmare right now."
I had to laugh.

Janine: "I can help. (June and Alma look at her) What? I'm brave."

I liked this one more than the last few. Three out of four… what would it be? Muffins, books about Gauguin, or games of Canasta?

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

1 comment:

From Here to Maine said...

Muffins, definitely! I liked this one a lot too. Gonna get interesting now. That comment to Fred was priceless.