Friday, May 25, 2018

What I’m Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 2, Episode 4 “Other Women” (B+)

This episode addressed one of the most important things about how Gilead has managed to stay in power and quell those who wish to resist. We saw protesters being gunned down in a flashback during season one, and Aunt Lydia made it completely clear to June that she would stay locked up in a room until the baby was born, but Offred could go out into the world. June is fully aware of what compliance can get her, and she saw what it was like to be free of all this. There’s a true delusion to be found in the rituals of the women of Gilead, who celebrate the impending birth of the child as if it really is Serena having it. She got so angry with Offred for daring to comment about what she did after her own baby shower, unable to accept the idea that Offred could ever have had a life of her own. Saying that she was kidnapped rather than that she tried to escape makes the Waterfords seem like heroes, rescuing those less fortunate and returning them to this wonderful life of servitude, and it was especially difficult for her to have to apologize to and thank them in front of Nick. Flashing back to the beginnings of her relationship with Luke, when his ex was tormenting her for breaking up their marriage, made the notion of this new world order seem all the more absurd, since the handmaids are barely even thought of as people. Seeing the body of the driver who saved her hanging and learning that the wife will be forced to be a handmaid was a horrifying confirmation of the omniscience of this totalitarian empire, almost as terrifying as seeing how subservient Offred is now planning to be in order to survive.