It occurred to me as I was getting ready to watch this…I am watching a lot of miserable television lately. True, some of it is miserable and well-done, like The Handmaid’s Tale and The Night Of. Deadwood isn’t too bad all told as it seems to stick more to historic accuracy for a Wild West town, but House of Cards lost me as a fan ages ago, and we’re on late season episodes of The Simpsons right now. Thank God for the joy of Gravity Falls right about now.
But we’re here for The Handmaid’s Tale and it’s well-crafted misery today.
So, let’s talk about sex.
Sort of. We see Offred having a lot of it both as June and as Offred.
Besides the Ceremony with the state-sanctioned rape, we see how June met her husband Luke. He was married at the time, so that explains why Aunt Lydia called June an adulteress. But hey, what a difference mutual affection and consent makes, eh?
Plus, well, Serena Joy figures her husband is probably sterile. So, she’s suggesting Offred get it on with Nick the driver (who may be an Eye). Because, you know, if Offred doesn’t get pregnant soon, it’s off to the Colonies for her, and whatever those are, they sound terrible.
That idea comes out when the pair are gardening. Offred notes the pruning sheers are right there.
It’s on the way to Nick’s that Offred considers she finally feels like she’s cheating on Luke.
And, you know, after confronting her Scrabble partner the Commander over his touching her during the Ceremony, we find out he doesn’t think love is worth much, and everything about the society he helped create was to make everything better. June’s voice-over then reminds us making things “better” is never better for everybody no matter what that Commander dumbass says.
But then Offred sees the original Ofglen again, only she’s Ofsteven now. New Ofglen wants Offred not to talk to her former shopping companion because her current life as a Handmaid is actually better for the new Ofglen than her old life was when she was mostly homeless with a drug habit. Old Ofglen, call her Emily, doesn’t want to talk about what happened to her. She doesn’t want to say she knows anything, and sure, the new Wife at her home seems about as accommodating as this society can make it, but when Emily decides, screw it, just steal a car and go for a joyride, we see there are many ways of expressing free will in an oppressive society.
That leads Offred to get her June on with the hottest sex in the show, a bit where she’s on top to boot. It’s with Nick. He did confess to being an Eye, but I don’t think either of them cared right then and there.
But hey, Serena Joy was almost concerned for Offred after the car incident. Offred can say she’s fine. But she makes another mental note.
Once again, the pruning sheers are right there.
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The X-Files “The Erlenmeyer Flask”