The Handmaid's Tale: season 2 (open spoilers)

Season 2 premieres today on Hulu. Pretty much all of the book was covered in season 1 so we’re now into all original material and plotlines.

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Well June was pretty fucking intense; especially the 1st 10 minutes or so. :eek: I mean I kind of figured either June would be removed from the scaffold at the last minute (once word of her pregnancy) came through, or the whole thing would turn out to be a mock execution. Aunt Lydia is fucking cunt, and that’s even taking account that she’s really just a glorified kapo and her male superiors directed her every move. Serena Joy is at her creepiest when she’s being nice & sweet.

The flashbacks to the birth of Gilead are in some ways even harder to watch than the scenes taking place in “present day” Gilead. Then again they are happening in our society and not a fictional one. So even before the Sons of Jacob staged their coup not only was child welfare polices becoming more extreme (no doubt due to falling birthrates) rules were put on placing denying married women contraception unless they had their husbands’ consent. And the petty way that bitch nurse kept calling June “Mrs Bankole” multiple times after being corrected. Which is kind of a ironic since the state later decided she wasn’t really Mrs Bankole, and then completely took any name at all away from her. I need a break before watching the next episode.

I LOVE this show - the directing, acting, cinematography, dialog, etc, are excellent. But I have to say I find the premise implausible in a number of ways.

The show implies that only the higher up men are allowed to have women, and that sex for purposes other than procreation is forbidden. The problem is, there’s no way you’re going to get an army of trained, armed men to fight for you if you don’t allow those men to ever get laid. So either there are huge brothels for all the soldiers and guards of Gilead, which we just never see, or they are allowed to have wives or mistresses, which we also never see.

If the Gilead cult promised all the men that they’d grant them concubines and sex slaves for joining, that would be one thing. But it seems like the women are all hoarded by the top tier elite males. Assuming that the human beings shown on this show are the same human beings that live in reality, this situation seems unsustainable in the long term.

Reality would see the strict religious order of Gilead quickly collapse, and various factions of armed young men going around massacring all of the “commanders” and taking whatever they wanted. Then they would start massacring each other; there would be no rule of law at all, America would be a Hobbesian nightmare, and other world powers would either destroy it or enslave it.

It’s worth mentioning that the religion of Giliad does not seem to be Christianity. They never talk about Jesus, except the one time that June prayed to Jesus in the second episode. The Gilead people never talk about Jesus, they don’t wear crosses, they don’t discuss the concept of the Trinity or anything else relating to Christianity. Their official state religion is either fundamentalist Old Testament Judaism, or some shit they made up. It sure as hell is not Christianity.

I had been looking forward to S2 with somewhat mixed feelings. Because S1 was based on such excellent source material, I wasn’t sure they could create a story of the same caliber. Now having watched the first ep, so far, so excellent.

With no disrespect meant to Jacquernagy, I was hoping no one would bring up the implausibilities / inconsistencies. I saw some things that briefly occurred to me as nonsensical, such as leaving June alone in the examining room, which leads to her escape;her cutting off the tag on her ear with regular office type scissors; the pregnant woman that was chained up down in the basement or whatever that room was. but I was able to forget about them pretty quickly. I guess I don’t understand why anyone would watch this sort of show if they can’t suspend their disbelief.

As last time, the acting is impeccable. Ann Dowd (Aunt Lydia) is just a force to be reckoned with (and really rather attractive IRL ) and really has some great moments in this ep.

The one criticism I can come up with is the casting of Max Minghella as Nick. Any dude strong enough to save June / rebel against the system needs to be fierce. In this role MM just doesn’t keep up with the others, especially Elisabeth Moss .

What you’re missing here is that the high status men are not hogging ALL of the women, they’re hogging the FERTILE women. There are plenty of women who are neither Handmaids nor high status wives. Handmaids are fertile women who have been convicted of religious offences. Which (conveniently) can be applied to just about any female the authorities wish to convict.

This is dealt with more in the book, the women who aren’t high-status wives or Handmaids are called Econowives. There’s also the Marthas, the female servant class. And that’s who the lower-status guys are schtupping; Marthas and Econowives. Some of whom may also be fertile.

The TV series hasn’t addressed this clearly, perhaps they feel it would be distracting attention from the stories they want to tell.

Obviously they can’t be truly religious people if they would do such a thing to Fenway Park :mad:

Very tense couple of episodes. Elizabeth Moss just goes all in on her character. Great start for the season.

Well they sure got that concentration camp feel down for the Unwomen’s labor colony. I liked the airport scenes in Emily’s flashbacks. They did a good job of showing the utter chaos caused by people trying to flee the country while laws and regulations were changing minute by minute. Even if she had a Canadian visa I doubt it would’ve done Emily much good; ICE would’ve just used another excuse to keep her from leaving (it sounded like they made it up on the spot that she even needed one).

The state religion of Gilead is an extremely warped version of Christianity that the Sons of Jacob use to provide window dressing for their rule; it appears most of the ruling class only pay lip service to it (much like Communism in the USSR). And we did see a cross in episode 2.2 albeit with a dead (former) Wife tied to it (I’m guessing the Aunts took her for a suicide).

Supposedly season 2 is going to explore more of what life is like in Gilead for the non-elite folks. Maybe June ends up hiding out with a Quaker family on the Underground Femaleroad.

The Handmaid’s Tale show creators put forth a valiant effort, but sadly, the intro to that first episode will still perpetually be only the second bleakest use of Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work. It will go over the head of most other non-Brits, but Gervais and Merchant beat them to the punch more than 10 years ago with the UTTERLY SOUL-CRUSHING Extras Christmas special. If you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not…well, you might be better off not even watching it. That show, as hilarious as it is, is full of brutal gut-punches.

I am not sure the Gilead religion has any connection to Christianity at all. The “Sons of Jacob” is very Old Testament sounding. I cannot remember hearing a single reference to Jesus by any Gilead person on the show. They don’t talk about Jesus in the context of salvation; they don’t talk about Jesus in the context of mercy; they don’t talk about Jesus in the context of obedience; they just don’t talk about Jesus, ever. You really can’t say a religion is a form of Christianity if there is not the slightest trace of Christ in it. Whatever the Gilead religion is, it is not a warped form of Christianity, it simply is not Christianity, full stop.

The society they’re trying to create seems to be based on Old Testament rules like Leviticus. Actually, it seems to consist of nothing but obeying a series of rules. Which leads me to another problem with the premise (and it doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of the show at all, but I still feel compelled to point it out.) The idea of any kind of social order that is as strict as the one depicted in the show, religious or not, catching on in an America that only a few years prior was essentially the same country as the one we live in today, is beyond ridiculous. Americans do not go in for that shit. The ragged remnants of a society completely obliterated by some kind of plague or disaster, in which food, shelter, water, electricity, transportation, etc, was completely wiped out and people were back to living like cavemen - yeah, possibly. But that’s not the society we see in the show.

The majority of Americans - including gun-owning, Trump voting, conservative Americans - would have no patience for all those hokey religious trappings and insanely prohibitive rules about heterosexual relationships. The “Commanders” might have some true believers, but they are no match for the general public, which, in the wake of any turmoil short of the total Hobbesian nightmare described above, would be much more interested in drinking, partying, and fucking than a bunch of solemn religious rituals. Try to get between people and their vices, and it will not end well.

Also, the same question I have with regards to most dystopian story settings: where is the military in all of this? What happened to them?

Guys who went to Annapolis and West Point and the Air Force Academy and had to go through years of being screamed at, scrutinized, PT-ed to within inches of their lives…all the inspections, all the formations, all the classes…learning all the physics and engineering and procedures involved in the operation of insanely complex and powerful death machinery…and then all the insane bureaucratic maneuvering they had to do once they actually began advancing their military careers…these guys are not just going to sit back and allow shit like Gilead to happen. Unless every single American fighter and bomber pilot, missileer, Naval captain, commander, chief warrant officer, etc, all simultaneously dropped dead, that would not happen. I know a lot of American military officers and they enjoy having fun way too much to participate in shit like Gilead, and they’re the ones with the capability to annihilate millions of people.

I hope there are others who want to discuss this amazing show…is it really that obscure? I’m surprised this thread hasn’t gotten more traction.

I don’t know if it was makeup or lighting, but I didn’t even recognize Marisa Tomei. Too bad they killed her off so quickly.

Well Gilead’s laws about not allowing remarriage after divorce are based on Luke 16:18; which is in the New Testament, not the Old Testament. As to what happened to the military; we know there was a pretty brutal* civil war during the transition from the United States to the Republic of Gilead, and fighting actually never stopped. Large parts of the country are a toxic waste land. We know for a fact Gilead doesn’t control all of the former US; there’s a rump state with 2 stars on the flag operating consulates in Canada, and their might be more breakaway states that are neither aligned with Gilead or claiming to be the successor of the USA. It wouldn’t surprise me if Gilead doesn’t actually control much territory outside the Northeast and most of the South. Texas and California seem like they’d both be independent countries. The latter being in some kind of federation with neighboring states.

*Especially with the implication that multiple factions secured bits of the nuclear arsenal.

Well I was on pins and needs all this week’s episode waiting for everything to go to shit; which of course it did. I loved the backstory with June’s mother and that shot of her in the Colonies. I loved the little details like the Econofamily being Crypto-Muslims, the traumatized gay Guardian, or the reminders that even the most benign writing cannot be displayed in public (though numbers are still allowed out of sheer necessity). Also it was kinda weird that the pilot was summarily executed instead of being taken away for interrogation. :smack:

I really with there were more people here following the show. There’s Reddit, but the people here are cooler.

Yeah, I knew she wouldn’t get out, if only because there are too many episodes left. :wink: But the whole episode was tense throughout every scene in which she appeared. It was almost a relief whenever they went to a backstory scene.

Well the Waterfords finally get to waive their pregnant Handmaid is everyone’s faces as per tradition. The sickest thing is Aunt Lydia is sorta right about June being to blame for what happened to the Omar and his family (the green crescent on his hood was a nice touch). Of course there’s no way to know if she’d have been better off waiting in that storage shed for Mayday to come up with a backup plan; now Mayday won’t touch Handmaids. I can’t decide which was more unsettling; the baby shower or Aunt Lydia supervising bath time :eek: (interesting that even a Commander’s house is effected by power cuts).

And as if June/Offred hasn’t been through enough judging by the preview next week she’s going to have to attend Nick’s arranged wedding to a teenage girl.

God, I really wish this thread was more active. I am almost positive that we are the only three people on this board watching the show, and why is that? It’s an amazing, gripping show. Are people staying clear of Elizabeth Moss because of the Scientology connection or something? Or is the show too bleak for people to stick with it? Or is it something else? What am I missing here?

They finally had some quasi-Christian references (the talk about the “little children”), but you still never hear the words Jesus or Christ, nor any talk of being saved through grace, nor any crosses or any other Christian symbols. I stand by my belief that Gilead is not a Christian society in any way, shape, or form. If anything, it’s like a form of fundamentalist Judaism.

(It’s not addressed on the show, but I’m aware that in the book, they kill all the Jews. The notion of this occurring in real life is particularly ridiculous…especially since the military of Gilead seems to be comprised of a few goons in vans and Suburbans with assault rifles. I don’t think American Jews, including the ones in the military with keys to F-16s, would allow that to happen. Also, if Israel intervened, something tells me Gilead wouldn’t fare so well against them. Margaret Atwood wrote the novel in 1985, so presumably she was aware that the single Jewish country in the world possesses the capability to incinerate the entire armed forces of Gilead, and just ignored that with creative license.)

On that same topic, as I’ve said before, to accept the idea that the Gilead cult took over, we have to basically accept the premise that every single fighter and bomber pilot, naval captain, and missileer in the United States Military simultaneously dropped dead. I know a lot of military officers and they enjoy having fun way too much to go along with a big sourpuss stick-up-its-ass religious cult like Gilead…and they are the ones who have the ability to kill millions of people. Yeah, there are some fundementalists in the military, but not enough to pull off something like this, and something tells me the rank-and-file wouldn’t exactly be down with a society that only allows sex for procreation, punishes you with mutilation for extramarital affairs, and forces you to perpetually speak in solemn religious incantations. Have Atwood or the show creators ever met a Navy Warrant Officer or an infantry NCO? All of these people must have dropped dead or else this shit would not be happening, so how did they die? It’d be nice if the show at least hinted at how the most powerful military on earth somehow was usurped by a cult of weird nerds.

No one says the entire USA switched to being Gilead**. In fact it’s been repeatedly said that Gilead is only a part of the former USA. Maybe a third, maybe a fifth, whatever. Not all of it. It’s also been repeatedly said that there are large areas - the colonies - that are basically wastelands because of nuke/chemo/bio weapons. That seems to be what the unwomen are doing in the colonies; removing contaminated topsoil.

So the non-fundie military did that. And the fundies did it too, presumably affecting a large part of non-Gilead. Dealing with the effects of which is no doubt taking up a lot of the resources that you think should be used to wipe out Gilead.

In the real world, there a plenty of examples of relatively small groups of fucking psychos taking over surprisingly large countries. The Bolsheviks hijacked the Russian Revolution and that led to many decades of Communist Totalitarianism for millions of people who really weren’t into it at all. Iran isn’t a modern survival of a medieval state; before the Islamic Revolution it was actually a modern state which was pretty westernised and which wasn’t particularly religious.

Bad shit happens and can happen where you least expect it and at shockingly high speed. The bad guys do indeed win far more often than fiction would have you believe. You think that’s impossible in the USA? Which already has a level of national religious nutbaggery that’s deeply troubling to pretty much everyone in the developed world outside the USA? Well, good luck with that. Seriously.

You’re correct. I hate to bring up Hitler, but he and his personal cadre of brown shirts ended up running the country before anyone really grasped what was happening. Once they got the lawmakers in their pockets, things went to shit in hurry. Reading the laws that were passed in the 30s is truly shocking and educational. Things such as “Jewish cows may not be impregnated by the village bull” seem too outlandish to be true, but it’s a matter of historical record. This series does not seem at all outside the realm of possibility to me.

Hitler didn’t rise to power in an era or a country where the military possessed weapons capable of incinerating the entire population and being deployed instantaneously, overseen by officers who graduated from places like West Point and Annapolis with rigorous education both military and non-military, and strict honor codes. 1930s Germany also didn’t have Jewish officers overseeing all of this. They didn’t have black officers overseeing it. Here in America, for instance, both the current Air Force Chief of Staff and his predecessor, are Jewish. Four out of the last five of the Sergeants Major of the Marine Corps, including the current one, are black. You think these guys would become Nazis? You think they’d let Nazis take over? I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Nazis.