May 23, 2024

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The Handmaid’s Tale “Dear Offred”

Season Five, Episode Four

Somehow, I watch this episode and I think June and Serena Joy are fighting a war against each other, but only one of them gets how serious it it.

That’s because the other seems more petty than anything else.

So, to recap a bit:  June and some other escaped Handmaids killed Wimpy Fred at the end of the previous season, and June more or less signed her work so Serena Joy would know who did it.  Since then, Serena Joy has somehow gotten a position back in Gilead because plot armor on The Handmaid’s Tale is nothing to sneer at.  June can and will kill people.  That’s what this has been about.

Serena just wants to remind them she has some sort of power and try to sneer at them.  That means using Hannah on Fred’s televised funeral.  And that means sending June an invite to the grand opening of the Gilead Center for showing people how blessed that hellhole of a country is, but the invitation is addressed “Dear Offred”.

Dude, Serena, are you trying to get yourself killed?  I mean, that nearly happens in this episode since June has a gun that she brought with her to a protest, and the only thing that stops her from plugging Serena one is Serena’s pregnancy.  June doesn’t.  Instead, she and Luke go home for some Epic Sex.  Serena goes to meet her creepy, true believer hostess who I am sure will not cause problems for her later because that is totally not the sort of show that The Handmaid’s Tale is.

Oh, and when Luke–who wanted to raise a stink with the city council because he doesn’t get how these things work–tried to tell Serena to stay away from June, Serena just more or less questioned his manhood.

So, we’re in a patch of episodes where we’re supposed to hate her I suppose.

But then there was the other plotline.  Janine is back on her feet, and she seems to have finally gotten through to Aunt Lydia that the way things are are incredibly awful for the Handmaids, something Aunt Lydia only now seems to be figuring out.  Lydia has an idea, one she takes to Lawrence where the Handmaids will live in the center and only meet up for the ceremony once a month to make things better for them..

Lawrence turns it down, says they can’t change things now, something about how Gilead is one of the few nations on Earth where there’s an increase in pregnancies.

OK, let’s set aside the fact that Lawrence is not a true believer, being a huge cynic, and he may be thinking that if Gilead is looking to export its ideology and not become a world pariah that they can’t change a system that seems to be working.  That sounds kinda stupid to me, but this show stopped making sense sometime around season three or so anyway.  I mostly stick with it because it’s still so well-acted, as seen with putting Lawrence and Lydia of all people in the same scene.

Now, the reason for global sterility has never really been explained, and the closest the series has came was from Margaret Atwood’s original novel, a line about how it’s really the men who are sterile.  But that plot line hasn’t popped up too often as a global issue.  That said, I find it highly unlikely that the world of The Handmaid’s Tale would suggest God would be on Gilead’s side.  I likewise find it hard to believe that there aren’t other countries out there that might try some sort of legal rape if Gilead hadn’t set the example for them.

Regardless…what the fudge is up with this whole “well, things are working in Gilead for some reason” bit?

I’d ask if the show was going to explain this at some point, but somehow I doubt it.  That’s not really this show’s deal.  It’s about, well, suffering.