There’s a part of me that gets where the Serena Joy storyline is probably supposed to be going. I mean, I don’t know yet, but I can hazard a good, solid guess.
I just hope it doesn’t involve connecting her to Commander Lawrence.
See, there were a few moments in this episode where I thought maybe, just maybe, the show was trying to set up Lawrence and Serena Joy as a couple. Serena Joy is a character the show sometimes forgets has been made almost completely unsympathetic due to past events, and she hasn’t really had any sort of moment that might redeem her in the eyes of, well, me for one. She’s not self-aware enough to realize what she did in the service of creating Gilead was wrong, even as she suffers along with every other women. True, as a Wife, she held a higher status than many others, but she was still forbidden to do things like own property or read. Just because most of the time she was happy to go along with that doesn’t matter. She was involved in the rape of women, particularly June, and she was involved in the kidnapping of other women’s children to give to various other Wives. She still considered Nick and June’s infant daughter hers when, you know, she wasn’t.
Lawrence, meanwhile, is if not sympathetic as a reluctant Commander, at least something of a potential ally. He, at the least, isn’t going to turn on June anytime soon. He genuinely loved his wife and only pretended to go through the rape/ceremony rather than actually do it. He’s hanging around the people in power here, and there’s a lot of talk from them about why he doesn’t go and take a second wife.
So, seeing Lawrence and Serena, both of them now single in Gilead following the deaths of their spouses, seeming to hit it off was throwing me off. Would Gilead force the two together? Lawrence won’t be much of an ally if he’s married to Serena, even if he doesn’t want to to marry her. And the two actors did show some chemistry.
But no, the Powers That Be, including the Commander who took Hannah as his own–yet another character who has appeared so infrequently that I didn’t realize who he was right away, if he ever appeared at all and it wasn’t just his Wife–want Serena to be the world ambassador to go out and show how civilized Gilead is. It’s a plan that makes a certain amount of sense: if Gilead is being accused of being awful to women, send a woman to say it isn’t true.
I mean, it is totally true that Gilead is awful to women, and this is Gilead, and while part of the point of this plot is to almost certainly put June and Serena back in the same city, there is the part of me that suspects it’s also to get Serena out of Gilead, watch her like the proverbial hawk, and then swat her hard when she does something they don’t like.
I’ll take that over a marriage to Lawrence.
Meanwhile, June finally gets through to Nick using Mayday (they’re real!) and learns what the color of Hannah’s dress symbolizes since every woman in Gilead is color-coded. Hannah’s outfit was plum instead of pink, meaning she would be sent off to Wife School very soon.
Oh, that is so…wrong. And not in the sense that Aunt Lydia, seeing comatose Janine, may have finally figured out she was wrong.
But that does give June even more reason to go after Serena, starting with the end of this very episode.
Well, The Handmaid’s Tale’s plot is nothing if not convenient.