There’s an all-out war between June and Serena, and I’m both excited and disappointed.
Excited because Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski stare in awe as their wacky characters go at each other’s throats.
The reasons for my disappointment are probably clear to anyone who has watched this series since day one. The enemy might be the state of Gilead, who stole June’s daughter and turned her into a sex slave, but the villain has long been Serena. Before that, for June, it was Aunt Lydia. Also against the background of the dystopian patriarchy The story of the maid is a relentless catfight.
Now Serena is sent back to Canada with more freedom than she could ever have within Gilead, plus the baby she’s always longed for. She was also assigned a staff, a war chest, and the diplomatic mission to show the world that even totalitarianism has a soft side. It’s a lot, but I’d argue that her opponent June has more: a group of misfits to back her up, her relentless will to free Hannah from Gilead’s clutches, and the sheer fact that she’s so clearly on the right side this battle stands .
The hunt for Hannah continues
Episode three, “Border”, ties into episode two. June, Luke and Moira try to decipher what they saw of Hannah on the big screen in Toronto’s Dundas Square. She wore purple, right? You will learn later that it is the color reserved for wives-in-training.
June is dying to speak to Nick, who she saw in the funeral coverage alongside Hannah. Moira (Samira Wiley) takes her to the border, where she knows of a group of refugees conducting suicide squads in Gilead. They were total fan girls in June – for the role they played in last season’s swap of Commander Waterford for prisoners, for the role they played in saving those planes full of children the year before. For Moira and Luke, June is like a cannon. But for these women living on the edge of no man’s land, she’s a hero. Of course they will call Nick for them.
But the trip restores more than just an open line of communication with her Gilead friend. It quietly makes June a place of hope. This is “Mayday” – a motley collection of people committed to change. It wasn’t June Looking for for Mayday as she made her way from Boston to Chicago last season. she was Mayday all the time. When she meets a freedom fighter who is on his way back to Gilead to meet his wife and child—“I can’t leave her,” he tells her—you can almost see the gears turning. she is quiet may day So what is June doing in the Toronto suburbs?
How to solve a problem like Serena
Serena Joy is too independent to play the obedient role of Gilead’s wife, but she’s also too committed to the cause to ditch her long green dress and reinvent herself as the liberal Canuck.
Still in Gilead after Fred’s funeral, she accompanies Nick (Max Minghella) and his wife Rose (Carey Cox), as well as Hannah’s adoptive parents (The Mackenzies) and Joseph (Bradley Whitford) for the grumpiest dinner party of all. They mostly talk about how important it is that someone kill June – everyone’s “mutual opponent”. However, after dessert, Serena proposes a marriage of convenience to the widow Joseph. She wants to go back to Boston, and as a man without a wife, Joseph’s days in power are numbered. But she misjudges him. Joseph’s whole thing is that he actually doesn’t believe in the project of Gilead; it just thrilled him to have the power to even make it
So Serena is wrong when she tells Mark to go back to Toronto without her. She doesn’t have the power to choose to stay. The commanders call a special meeting to remind them. She gets on the plane because they say she has to get on. She will do her nation’s bids abroad because they want to.
I suppose in better news she’ll now be free to explore the vaguely romantic subtext that’s been building with Mark, despite my best attempts to ignore it. The downside is that she’s within June’s angry reach.
Okay, maybe let Janine die already
I’ve spoken at length before about the importance of seeing June victorious before this show ends. But Janina? She’s lost a baby and an eye, and—again and again—her freedom. So maybe it’s time to let this girl out of her deadly grip. In a move that is as sentimental as it is selfish, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) interprets Esther’s poisoning of Janine (Madeline Brewer) as deliberate punishment At her. She asks Mrs. Putnam to take Janine’s daughter, Angela, to the hospital in hopes that the closeness can somehow revive her birth mother. This is Lydia doing penance and making amends. It works, but is it really a blessing to get well if it means Janine spends the rest of her life working alongside Lydia?
Nick’s intricate web of entanglements
For a man who says little, Nick certainly draws a lot of attention. He is threatened by Commander Mackenzie, who hints that Nick may have married Rose to get close to her powerful father. Mark renews America’s offer to use him as a double agent in exchange for an eventual escape to Canada, where Nick could be reunited with June and their daughter Nichole. But he’s turning down that deal…at least for now.
And late in the episode, Nick finally gets on the phone with June. He assures her that Hannah is safe, albeit in that relative Gilead way. Then he drops the bombshell that he’s married now. In a move that tells me Nick was a cad before becoming commander, he follows the admission with the sly memory, “You know how things are around here,” which feels like code for “but I’d rather be.” with you” feels! . Nick and June talk quietly like reluctant ex-boyfriends would. June wants to know if she would like Rose; Nick wants stories about Nichole. June promises to stay safe, which is usually an empty promise from June. But as a promise to Nick, the last man she knew and loved? I do not know. I kind of believed her.
I now see what was naïve. This show is really great at routinely putting on a big finish. It only took June five minutes to put herself in danger again. She intercepts Serena’s car on his return from Gilead and tells Serena to stay away from Hannah, even though Serena is hundreds of miles from Hannah – just like June.
But June threatens her because she has to keep moving. The words “I can’t leave her” buzz through her mind like a reproach or even an invitation. The only thing June wants is Hannah. The only thing that interests her besides Hannah is her hatred of Serena. Even when June is hopeless and powerless, there’s always Serena to hate.
Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale is releasing weekly episodes in the US on Hulu. A UK air date has yet to be confirmed
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