The Handmaid’s Tale S2, E3 “Baggage”

“Blessed be the Froot Loops!”

Running! It’s a metaphor! And not an especially subtle one. I was reminded of June and Moira’s run in S1, set to the great “Fuck the Pain Away” by Peaches. And really proud of myself that when I realized Moira would likely return this episode. “You can’t outjog the past,” writes Allison Shoemaker on the AV Club.

https://tv.avclub.com/the-handmaids-tale-cant-outjog-the-past-1825694986 – my weekly plug, I like her coverage of this show.

OF COURSE, I’m glad to see Moira again, and curious about life for the refugees in Canada. But I felt her scenes were just sort of shoved into the episode.  It’s about 2 months after the end of the last episode, Moira has been living in Canada with Luke and another refugee Handmaid. She’s working at the refugee center, and suffering from her own PTSD.  She has some non reciprocal sex in the bathroom at a club. Moira refuses the offer of her partner taking care of her. Being a victim of state- sanctioned rape will do that.  (I was also reminded of the episode of Broad City where Ilana confesses she hasn’t been able to have an orgasm since Trump was elected. )

Help me workshop Moira’s arc this episode in the comments, please.

“Baggage” introduces June’s mom, who the closed captioning tells me is named Holly. (Other Beloved Character Actress Cherry Jones – this show has a deep bench!) Holly’s a feminist activist, who is disapointed that June has not followed in her footsteps.  “MOIRA’S designing a website for a women’s queer collective!” she brags to her friends. I am very curious about whether or not the show will explore Moira and Holly and June’s dynamic – note the tears in Moira’s eyes when she and June discuss Holly being sent to the Colonies.  In the book, there were hints at this dynamic.

You know, I’m having a hard time writing this. I liked the episode, but the more I try to write, the more disjointed it seems to me.  I think I’ll just bullet point stuff, and ask you all to help me make sense of it.

 

  • June really, really lets go of Hannah this episode. I’m a parent myself and this was heartbreaking to me. But June is Holly’s daughter and a fighter, so she steels herself.
  • We get some more world building and are introduced to Econopeople this episode. Everyone wears gray. June gets a glimpse of what  life in Gilead would look like if she had not adulterated with Luke.  It’s oppressive, but she’d be able to be with her daughter. Would she and Luke be brave / stupid and harbor a runaway Handmaid?
  • Omar’s family are secret Muslims, June discovers while hiding under the bed. Her spiritual journey continues apace and she uses the prayer rug to pray. This ties in nicely with the growing shrine she made in the Globe offices.  I feel like June’s spirituality is about honoring her past and the dead. I’m sure we’ll get some sort of prayer scene involving Hannah by the end of the season that will be a tear- jerker
  • Speaking of Omar’s family – they must have ‘ fessed up somehow. My theory is that Omar recognized that June would probably make a break for it after she defiantly stood in front of his bread truck, so it was easy enough to tell The Eyes the plan. They Eyes also would have liked the information about the black market pilot.
  • They threaten the Econowives with becoming Handmaids if they don’t tow the line. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Omar’s wife as a Handmaid in the future. And they may have taken Adam to live with a Commander and his Wife.
  • We get some backstory of the revolution that resulted in Gilead while June is going through the Globe offices. Just a couple of hints.
  • June is clearly luxuriatnig in being able to read while at the Globe offices and at the place where all the old signs with words on them. She touches the letters, it’s a sensory experience for her.  Contrast that with the map of the train, all pictures. In the book there was a line about how the architects of Gilead thought that teaching women to read was pretty much the end of civilization. I’m sure Serena LOVES that!
  • Hey – what’s going on with Fred and Serena? I’m sure they’re rather upset at june’s escape with “their” baby in utero. I wonder if Serena will make good on her promise to harm Hannah?

And now it’s time for:

When are you going to address race, show?

The infertile upper echelon Commander families don’t seem to mind if their children are biracial – as evidenced by Hannah’s adoption and the number of Handmaids of color. I’ve noticed there are no men of color in the top levels of society- most of them are laborers. I’m rather confused about Gilead’s dogma. Which is probably on purpose.

Nick

Very little  Nick this week, I have some issues with his character and / or the actor that plays him – still there seems to be no chemistry between him and June.

One more stray observation-

  • Poor Commander What’s -His -Name’s -driver! My backstory is that he and the Commander were sexually involved and were about to be discovered, so Commander WHN got him out

 

Help me figure this episode out!