Saturday, June 5, 2021

What I’m Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 4, Episode 8 “Testimony” (B+)

I knew the title of this episode and had seen an image of June in a courtroom that indicated the significance of what it was that she was going to do in this episode. It seems impossible that the horrors that occur regularly in Gilead could be allowed to persist without the international community stepping in to do something, yet that happens all the time in our world in countries without free governments and even in those we’d like to think are more civilized than they actually are. What June can do here is to affirm what she endured and try to get justice to be executed on Fred. His female lawyer attacking June as unfaithful and having chosen to be a handmaid was despicable, and Fred was chillingly calm when he spoke out and argued that God’s will had been served due to Serena’s miracle pregnancy. It was horrifying to see the show of support for the Waterfords outside the courtroom by people who are using their right to protest for a world that would strip them of any such liberties, and we all know that’s too reminiscent of the real world today. That final scene was also unnerving as June managed to turn a support group into an outlet for revenge fantasies that, given the determination she has exhibited in the past, may lead to concrete action. Back in Gilead, Lydia remains a complex and well-crafted character, so dedicated to what she believes to be holy work but devastated to be so casually diagnosed by an uncaring Lawrence as a lover of violence. Janine begging not to be a handmaid again was difficult to watch given that it’s likely, as June would argue, the brightest option she has in a horrific and truly inescapable situation.

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