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

Are you seriously claiming that the Germans didn’t have a long military tradition and were not considered to be among the best trained troops on Earth?

Carl von Clausewitz wasn’t an American, you know. Neither was Erwin Rommel.

My point, if you care to settle a bit, is that it’s entirely plausible for a small group to wield unwarranted power and change a culture in less time than one would think.

I’d been staying away from this thread simply because I had not had the chance to watch it yet and didn’t want to read spoilers. I missed the first two episodes the night they dropped, and by the time I got around to seeing them, the next episode was out, and I didn’t want to know spoilers for the episode. (Having read the book, I already knew the basic story from last season, so I didn’t care as much about spoilers.) But I’m caught up now, so I will comment.

The big grand opening with all the handmaids on the gallows just rang false for me. Not only was I sure they would NOT kill Offred off, but they would NOT just dispatch close to 100 handmaids given how important they have been shown to be, not just as a prize for high-level Gileaadeans, but for the economy. From the get-go, I knew this would was a fake out and that it would end with Aunt Lydia showing up to say “boo-ya!” So that kind of ruined it for me.

I thought the subsequent scenes between June/Offred and Aunt Lydia were much more effective however. Good God, Aunt Lydia is a devious monster! Sure, she’s just a glorified capo, but her psychological mindgames are so evil! I want to see something intensely, horrifically, unspeakably horrible happen to her before the series ends. But, from a strategic standpoint, it was prettty shrewd of Lydia how she managed to separate the “troublemaker” Offred from the rest of her flock. No doubt the other Handmaids haven’t forgotten how a warm, dry Offred sat there eating soup and being “blessed” by Auntie while they waited their turns to have their hands burned. Now that Offred is back with the flock, I suspect her most immediate danger will be retribution from the other Handmaids, who (thanks to Lydia’s twisting everything around) now blame Offred for what happened to them.

I would have liked to have seen a little more of Omar and his family. They seemed like interesting characters and we haven’t seen anything else of the working class of Gilead or the econo-wives so far. Perhaps June could have hung out at their apartment for one more episode, but oh well.

I loved the flashback scene betweeen June and Luke’s wife. That added a whole new dimension of complexity to June’s character, and I’m glad the show isn’t trying to sugar coat her character and make an impossibly “good girl” heroine. I couldn’t help thinking that, had this exact same scene played out on another show (“This Is Us” for example), June would instantly register to most viewers as the villain while Luke’s ex-wife would be the heroine sticking up for her family. I also thought it was a great revelation of Luke’s character when he rails at his ex-wife, calling her a coward, on his voicemail message. His ex-wife had the guts to confront June in person, while he yells at her over voicemail. Yeah, YOU’VE got guts Luke! SHE’S the coward.

As far as the debate over how likely the emergence of Gilead could be – everything seems impossible until it actually happens. Let’s face it, three years ago, the idea that Donald Trump would become President of the U.S. sounded just as plausible as Gilead does now. And anyway, we still don’t know that much about what really went down to change Massachusetts and surrounding states into Gilead. What we’ve seen so far has just been scattered flashbacks to (mostly) June’s POV and an important point that both the book and TV series has made is that June was mostly tuning out current events and only concerned with what immediately impacted her own life… until it was too late. The one episode that flashbacked to the Warringtons as a couple before the revolution indicates that it was in the planning stages for a long time in advance, though.

That said, I do feel it’s worth repeating that Margaret Atwood’s novel never meant any of this to be taken literally. She was not warning people that the Reagan administration was going to lead to a militant Christian (or Old Testament) fascist government that literally treated women like cattle. Instead it’s an allegory much the same “1984” was before it. Atwood wasn’t saying “This will happen!”, she was saying “These are examples of what have happened to women in the past. How would you (modern women) feel in these circumstances?”

Germany’s military tradition is not actually that long. Prior to the Prussian army under Frederick the Great, “Germany” was a fragmented mess of duchies and “electorates” divided between Catholics and Protestants, and had neither a cohesive national identity or military tradition. The UK and France both have a FAR longer and more prestigious military tradition. Germany had also just lost WWI, so its military was a complete mess when Hitler took over.

You’re also not taking into consideration the rest of what I said, which was that Germany’s military in the 1930s also 1. did not have weaponry capable of instantaneously killing enough people to functionally end whatever conflict was deemed worthy of deploying it for, and 2. didn’t have Jews (and other minorities) in the military with their fingers on the buttons of said weaponry, as has always been the case in America’s military.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if Rommel was somehow in command of a supersonic fighter-bomber wing or missile battery that could destroy Berlin in twenty seconds, and was also Jewish or Polish, World War II would have turned out just a little bit differently.

I actually hope they delve into Aunt Lydia’s backstory one episode like they did with Emily. Who was she pre-Gilead? Did/does she have a family? She’s about the same age as June’s mother, I could see her as an Evangelical activist. It would be reallly ironic if she turns out to have been say a professor or dean of women at bible college (presumably the academic purges wouldn’t have hit them quite the same way). Even if she had no connection with the Sons of Jacob and disagrees (privately) with how far they went she may have just been in the right place with the right background to be useful to the regime.

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Well not everyone has Hulu, for one. But I do, and am watching it, but it’s so on-the-nose about everything that I don’t really have much desire to comment on it, per se.

As long as I’m here though, here’s the song June was exercising to last week, if anyone’s interested.

Save us from ourselves Canada!

Vaguely related but i recall hearing stories about the indoctrinators during the reign of Mao (I think it was during Mao in China, can’t recall exactly) being a bit like that. Once the reforms happened and the indoctrinators didn’t have to do it anymore they openly told their victims ‘yeah we knew it was all bullshit the whole time, but what could we do’.

It’d be interesting if that is what her personality turns out to be like.

I’d be interested in seeing her backstory too. I kind of imagine her being an embittered idealist. I imagine she once did believe in feminism and social justice, but for whatever reason became cynical and jaded, blamed “the movement” for her unhappiness, and did a 180" turn.

For the record, showrunner Bruce Miller and actress Ann Dowd have said they imagine that Lydia was a school teacher in pre-Gilead times. Dowd says she has drawn on her own Catholic school upbringing, specifically some very stern nuns, as a basis for her character.

Honestly? Maybe this is a sexist or superficial take on it, but I view Aunt Lydia as just being bitter because she’s always been unattractive and frumpy and now gets to lord it over young, pretty women, the same kind of women who got all the attention from males that she wished SHE could have had when she was younger.

Is that a sexist take on it? You know what, I don’t really give a damn, because I want this thread to stay active and if the only way to do that is throw around contentious opinions, then so be it!

If the only military arm of Gilead are the goons that we’ve been shown on the show, Canada could do it easily. The Canadian Forces are no shit. The PPCLI and RCAF would make very short work of the “guardians.”

The question is, are there other Gilead troops that the show hasn’t shown us?

Thats not really sexist deep down inside because that is a real thing.

What do people think happens when a pretty woman ends up in front of an angry, ugly security officer or torturer in a third world country? All that suppressed rage from feeling invisible to women comes out.

I think you are way overestimating the chances that military personnel - who are trained to OBEY ORDERS before anything else - would automatically prevent a takeover. There are plenty of examples from history where it didn’t. Your faith in American exceptionalism is unconvincing to me.

Your argument is that (1) US military personnel would not allow a takeover because they’re all committed to human rights and social justice, so (2) they’d nuke the entire country and everyone in it to prevent that happening. And you’re not seeing a fault in that reasoning?

OK, I’m arguing on the internet, and it’s time to stop derailing the thread. In conclusion, I’ll just repeat what others here have said: nobody is claiming this is a future documentary. The story is meant to be a “what if?” that gets people thinking about POSSIBLE outcomes of current events. Claiming that it couldn’t possibly happen is missing the point. Something analogous could happen. It has happened before, and it’s happening right now in some parts of the world. Insisting “it can’t happen here” is just asking for trouble.

Nuke? No. Employ some well-placed airstrikes, targeted killings, etc. Yes.

I know many current and former military officers and NCOs, from Navy Chiefs and Army Colonels to helo and fighter pilots and even one SEAL. These are standup guys to the max and they would NOT let shit like that happen, they would NOT obey unlawful orders, and they would NOT enable a crazy cult to commit genocide.

Quasi-Christian? They quoted Matthew 19:14.

Yes, they quoted one line from the New Testament. I still say they are only “quasi”-Christian, as I have yet to hear a single word or prayer from any of the Gileadians about Christ.

Anyone up for a crossover between The Handmaid’s Tale and Sex and the City. :wink:

We’re assuming that was Omar hanging there, but we didn’t see his face. It would not at ALL be out of the question for Aunt Lydia to pretend some other guy was Omar to break June.

The vast majority of US American military leaders are still men, and the world of Gilead is one where women have absolutely no rights. The men being Jewish or black don’t enter into it.

We watched “Other Women” last night - holy shit, what a gut punch! The men played a very small role in everything that went on - the theme was women being unbelievably bad to other women. June is in a fugue state now, unable to process everything that’s happened. I guess we’ll see if June comes back, or if she truly is Offred now. I think we’ll see June again - but we have to see Offred humiliated in every possible way first. :frowning:

True, but in this particular case I think we can assume that Aunt Lydia was telling the truth since she’s describing the most plausible fate for Omar’s family.

Well Offred’s near miscarriage snapped June out of her funk. The concentration camp wedding was much lovelier than the Prayvaganza. Nick looked like he was heading to the gallows when it was time to go up for his wedding night.