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

There are tiers of rights in Gilead. The higher ranking women have “no rights” compared to a typical woman living in real life America, but certainly more rights than the lower-ranking women, and possibly also more rights than the lower ranking men. (If one of the teal-clad high-up wives accused a lower ranking guy like a ‘guardian’ of doing something wrong, I suspect her word would be believed over his.) But of course it would ultimately be men making the final judgment against anyone.

Compared to the world of real life America, the men in Gilead don’t have many rights either. They don’t have the right to live their lives the way they want to, which is the most basic right that Americans are supposed to have. They’re forced to be part of a weird religious cult that seemingly has NO sense of humor; this alone would be unbearable for most people and would trigger rebellions. I’m also pretty sure most American male military leaders are not down with their daughters being treated like second-class citizens. I’m sure most Air Force pilots and Naval Aviators whose job it is to operate virtually-unstoppable death machinery, are not down with a society where they’re forced to perpetually speak in solemn religious incantations and scantily-clad women no longer exist except in weird underground brothels. Yeah, I don’t think they’d be down with that, and all it would take is ONE pissed off pilot to seriously fuck up Gilead because, again, they seemingly have no military except for a bunch of goons with black vans.

Or a cutting-edge, highly-educated Air Force with officers who graduated from Colorado Springs, right? :smack:

Yeah, there’s some religious bullshit at the Air Force Academy, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard about it, and it won’t be the last. “Mikey” Weinstein is also generally thought to be a professional shit-stirrer and pain in the ass by a lot of military people. Regardless, there is no shortage of Naval Aviators, nuclear bubbleheads, Army officers with the keys to massive multimillion-dollar death helicopters, and other such individuals, who were not inculcated with religious fundementalism and either don’t give a fuck about religion at all, or believe in keeping it to themselves. There are also Air Force personnel who did not attend the Air Force Academy, or attended it before the fundies started pushing their bullshit there.

Something tells me that the number of active and reserve military aviators, Navy officers and chiefs, Army cavalry or helo drivers or artillerymen, Air Force missileers, and other individuals otherwise responsible for the application of massive deadly force, who would ever conceivably buy into anything resembling the “Sons of Jacob” - and I don’t mean “over the course of decades of gradual cultural changes”, either, because the show presents this scenario as occurring almost instantaneously only the most cursory transition between “normal life” and “Gilead” - something tells me that the number of those guys who would be down with that craziness, is dwarfed by the number of guys who would rather just continue living in the same America we have now.

Even if there were a small rogue cell of crazy lunatics who appropriated military armaments and ordnance to wreak massive destruction, there’s still the whole rest of the US Military, plus the people to the North of us who are far more militarily capable than most people realize.

If “fighting the hypothetical” of this show’s premise will keep people debating in this thread and keep the thread active, then have at it!

I’m assuming that the remainder of the season will be her planning and executing her 2nd escape. I think cook-Martha will play a role in that. Maybe she’ll poison Fred and Serena. I’m wondering if the writers are trying to show that Serena is a bit sympathetic to June’s predicament and will ultimately assist in her escape. She’s clearly unhappy with Fred and her boring one-dimensional life.

Serena Joy is clearly unhappy with how her life in Gilead turned out, but I don’t see her turning around and helping June/Offred escape. The hope of having a child to raise is the only thing keeping her together; she won’t do anything that could jeopardize that (at least not on purpose). I could imagine a scenario where she turns on Fred though. In the book it was implied he ended up getting purged. Granted she’s 100% dependent on home economically, legally, and socially, but I could see Cmdr Pryce offering her financial security or an exit visa in exchange for her cooperation setting up her husband.

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The descent into Gilead is quite quick, but it does appear to have happened over the course of a couple of years. A not-completely-unrelated real life scenario is the constant and rapid chipping away of women’s reproductive rights in the US that is happening right now, and I don’t see the US military doing a damned thing about it.

Now that is an interesting question - a small part of the US military goes rogue? I don’t think that would be allowed for very long at all.

Aside from having kicked your asses once already, we aren’t crazy enough to interfere with the US with boots on the ground. Your military is, I don’t know, a billion trained soldiers, and ours is about 43,000 soldiers. Even trade sanctions are not likely; you’re our biggest customer for everything.

Regarding the chipping aware of women’s reproductive rights; in the show’s alternate universe it was already happening at an even faster pace than in real life before the Sons of Jacob took over. A rule had just been put in place requiring married women to have their husbands’ permission to get birth control pills shortly before Congress was massacred. Also remember the man who was helping June & Luke escape to Canada in the flashbacks last season? The one who ended up being hanged? He told June he was returning the favor because June’s mother did his vasectomy a few years ago after it became illegal. That suggests that even men’s reproductive rights were coming under attack pre-Gilead.

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But the point I’m trying to make again and again here is that the post-Gilead military, whatever exists of it other than these ‘guardian’ goons who seem to possess nothing but small arms and SUVs, ISN’T going to be a billion trained soldiers. It’s going to be the small crazy rogue element that somehow (it’s never explained how) managed to eliminate the whole rest of the American military. Yeah, there’s chipping away at rights going on in America, not gonna deny it. What there is not, is an armed rebellion and takeover by a hostile religious cult which makes even the craziest American militias look like reasonable people. You think a guy like James Mattis is gonna go along with that? He’s not. So what happened to him and the guys like him? Were they killed? If so, what happened to all their intensely loyal subordinate officers and NCOs? Were they all killed too? How? What happened to the West Point and Annapolis trained flag and staff officers who are politically-moderate, very patriotic, and probably not interested in having to say shit like “blessed be the fruit” every 5 minutes…what happened to the fighter and bomber wings and the nuclear submarines that these individuals commanded? What happened to it all? The show never explains it, and I find this absurd. They should at least offer some explanation, even if it’s far-fetched.

Anyway, Canada could not take on the current US Military. But as I said before, the RCAF and PPCLI vs “Guardians,” I know who my loonies are on.

It’s possible we’ll get that explanation (or bigger bits of it) eventually. The show is giving us the story as seen (or remembered) by a small number of point-of-view characters. (I’d like to see more of the backstory, too – the flashbacks are often the stronger parts of the show, I think.)
The wikia article on the Republic of Gilead, specifically this subsection, has some details I’d forgotten, and some informed speculation on what we haven’t seen:

Finally, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the Gileadean government is playing the nuclear blackmail/human shield game. They wouldn’t need control of many nukes to have a deterrent against a nuclear first strike.

Here’s a link to the fan wiki I think snoe is referencing. I agreed Gilead probably has enough nukes to hold large populations hostage. It looks like they may even used one or two to make it clear they aren’t bluffing.

Interestingly while the group wedding referenced the New Testament there were bits that were borrowed from Orthodox Judaism. Separate seating for men & women (albeit w/o a divider) and instead of saying vows the brides silently signified their “consent” by accepting a ring. Also the preview for the next episode…

…appears to reference the myth about the wedding sheet with a hole in it. So it looks like even married couples have weird rituals they’re supposed to follow to take the fun out of sex.

Thanks – I muffed that link! More specifically:
As to whether these guys “are Christian” or not: the theology of Gilead is as roughly sketched as most of the big-picture stuff about it. IMHO, they’re clearly intended to be an extrapolation from familiar examples of American reactionaries, for whom fundamentalist Christianity is just one part of a complex worldview. (This is a bit less obvious than in the novel because the showrunners eliminated Gilead’s foundational racism.)

The details of their theology might be interesting, but it’s part of a bigger picture. So, since Gilead used to be the modern US, it doesn’t make sense for these guys to be anything but Christian – well, at least as Christian as Christian Identity types or Reconstructionists are. (Which arguably is “not at all,” but my point is they’re not Jewish or anything.)

You could set this show in other parts of the world and root the theocracy in many other religious traditions. The desire for strict hierarchy and control isn’t unique to any religion, and lots of the new alt-right guys just seem to treat religion or atheism as an intellectual flag of convenience. We could see a reimagining of THT in ten years where Gilead isn’t religiously based at all, and the commanders are all former incels.

And they wonder why fertility is dropping…

We don’t know that they weren’t already - Gilead sort of looks like an incel wet dream.

Yeah, I imagine incels would be pretty easy to recruit as long as they were assigned an Econowife, fertile or not.

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Can someone refresh my memory: Serena is the one behind the plan of Nick impregnating June, right? Does the Commander know? I have a vague memory of Serena screaming it at him about it but I must have imagined that(?)

Could Nick have looked any more disgusted when he was faced with his new wife? His character is a good soul but I just cannot warm up to Max Minghella. Possibly the only miscast part on the show.

Elisabeth Moss’s physical transformation from the episodes when she was on the run to now is amazing. I’m sure it’s partly makeup but she looks wretched from the inside out. Even more to her credit. EM does not shy away from looking unattractive.

I don’t…think so? I did notice that the Commander was giving Nick the side-eye a lot this season - he’s not stupid, apparently.

Agreed. They needed to cast someone who could look like a hardened tough guy, but surprise us with his acting like a human being. Max Minghella is not that guy, unfortunately. :frowning:

All other actresses on tv are watching her and thinking, “That bitch has stolen my Emmy for as long as this show runs!” :smiley:

The last scene with June having a heart-to-heart with her fetus under the covers was interesting - she’s not going to depend on anyone else to get her out in the future. She’s come to the realization that it really is all up to her to save herself. ETA: And her baby. I think she’s finally started bonding with it.

I thought the whole point of Nick is that he’s a pathetic sad-sack guy who lucked into a good job. Maybe in the book he’s a different kind of character? I can’t imagine that a tough guy who’s less submissive and deferential would be wanted by Commander Fred (I laugh every time I hear his actual last name, “Waterford”, on the show, because I have a friend with that surname, and he couldn’t be less like the character.)

He’s also an Eye, though, which is basically the Gilead equivalent of the Russian spies who spied on their own citizens constantly. Nick acts deferential to the Commander, but I think he’s actually higher up in the hierarchy than the Commander.

Is this actually true? It may be the case that Nick has a certain form of power over Fred because Nick could snitch him out for something, either something real or something he made up, and end his career or his life, but he can’t possibly be officially higher up in the actual governmental structure, can he? It’s not clear to me how the Gilead “commanders” are organized. Is there one super-commander who outranks all the others? Do they share power democratically or something?

If Nick were officially higher up in the power structure, he wouldn’t need to be doing undercover spy operations. Undercover spy operations are the grunt work of the intelligence world. The equivalent of highly-trained commandos, but still grunt work compared to the senior officers and defense leaders who oversee them.

Is there some kind of “deep state” within the Gilead state? Are there guys who are secretly wielding power over the “commanders” behind the scenes? I’m very confused.

All good questions. They haven’t really addressed these issues in the tv show, but if I’m recalling correctly from the book, the Eyes have a lot of power because they do indeed snitch on everyone. I believe Nick is in the Commander’s house to keep an eye on him and report back to someone.