Saturday, July 27, 2019

What I’m Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 3, Episode 10 “Bear Witness” (B+)

This is the redemptive moment that we’ve been waiting for all season, with June so worn down by the way she’s been used all season and her physical and mental deterioration last week. Watching her stagger back to Joseph’s didn’t indicate the strength and excitement she would exude at the notion of getting kids out of Gilead, an extraordinarily risky endeavor. She’s become quite skilled at realizing who her best allies are and how to convince them to help her. Eleanor was more than happy to show her precisely where the files on the children of the handmaids were kept by her husband, and that’s what’s going to get everyone on board. She’s using the information smartly, especially with Janine, whose son was tragically killed in a car accident and who would be completely destroyed by learning about it. All of the muffins on the table at the end of the episode were extremely affirming, and Joseph’s help should mean that June might actually be able to conduct this operation with some degree of success. The rest of this episode was downright miserable, with Fred and George showing up to inspect the handmaids, including Janine and her anti-regulation eyepatch, and then to put Joseph to the ultimate test. Bradley Whitford is likely to win an Emmy for his work at the end of season two, but his performance this season has been even better as Joseph grapples with how his handiwork is now resulting in his own suffering. He knew that he couldn’t simply play cards with June when they were supposed to be carrying out the ceremony, and she’s come to accept what has to be done in order to continue to exist. The act of “bearing witness” is one of the more manipulative things that happens in this world, and evidently no one is safe from being suspected of insufficient devotion. June got in her snide remark to Fred about it not being him, and I’m curious to see if he begins to consider Serena’s mention of her American contact. Though he mistreats her, he loves Serena too much to turn her in, but I’m still worried about what he might do in the name of his quest for power.

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