Friday, May 14, 2021

What I’m Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 4, Episode 5 “Chicago” (B+)

It was a startling sight to see Lydia walking on a treadmill surrounded by the other aunts. It’s an existence we don’t usually get to see, and presumably what passes for liberty and relaxation for one of the groups of women in this society that is arguably treated best because of their authority over others. Lydia was devastated to find out that she wasn’t going to be able to work with the handmaids anymore because she, almost more than any of the men who purport to serve their god, is a true believer. Fortunately for her, she’s learned from them and realized how the game is played, and she was smart to go to Joseph’s home to blackmail him into getting her back to the work she loves doing. That line “From this day forward, none of you will ever walk alone again” was so haunting because she really does think it’s a good thing and not a horrible sentence that there will never again be privacy or independence for these women who have been forced into sexual slavery. For however sympathetic Joseph has seemed in the past, he showed his true colors here, proving that he’ll always take the deal that benefits him most, even if it means bombing vulnerable territories moments before a ceasefire. Nick was particularly concerned about potentially harming June, but luckily that seems to have worked out okay. There was something strange about June walking around in that bright yellow sweatshirt, trying not to be noticed, transformed into an unexpectedly powerful ending, the latest in a series of those for this show, with Moira shocked to see her startling among the rubble. I recognized the theme music from “The Leftovers” earlier on in the episode, and then “Fix You” by Coldplay was a strong choice to anchor a major turn in the story that will finally see June escape Gilead and presumably work on revolutionary efforts from beyond enemy lines.

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