The Handmaid’s Tale (S02E01) “June”

Praise be!  The Handmaid’s Tale is back, to creep us out, infuriate us, terrify us, and warn us.  Last season ended in in the same way the book did, in that vaguely the Lady or the Tiger-ish way.  Offred steps into the van, unsure if it will take her to her freedom or her destruction.

Neither, it turns out.  Offred, who I really need to start calling June, is taken along with all the other Handmaids who defied Aunt Lydia to Fenway Park.  But no, sadly, they are not there to see the Red Sox lose to the Yankees.  Instead, they are greeted by rows of nooses.  This is definitely a case where ‘no noose is good noose.’  (Don’t bother booing me, I’ve already booed myself.)  The Handmaid’s are dragged to the scaffolds and their heads forced into the nooses.  The floor drops…about two inches.  None of them are going to be hanged, the loss of that many viable ovaries would be too damaging to Gilead‘s future.  But don’t worry, suffering is absolutely going to happen, just not in any way that would damage their reproductive plumbing.

Flashback: June’s and Luke’s life together with Hannah.  It turns out that Luke needs to sign a permission slip for June to pick up her birth control.  Hmm.

The Handmaid’s are being brutally punished.  Standing in the rain holding a rock is bad, but what follows is nothing less than barbaric.  But June, who is pregnant, is exempt from punishment.  She is given dry clothes and hot soup, which she at first refuses.  She is taken to where a Handmaid called Ofwyatt is, well, living, for want of a better word.  She is heavily pregnant, but she drank drain cleaner, and now is chained up in a small area with a bed and a chair and nothing else.  She also seems to have gone a little crazy.  Being pregnant is not a total Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card, it seems.  June eats the soup.  While she’s eating her soup, the Handmaids are brought in, and part two of their punishment begins.  One of the Handmaids is dragged into a kitchen and as soon as she sees it, it’s clear that she knows what’s going to happen, so this is not a new thing.  She is handcuffed to a burner on the gas stove, and the burner is turned on.  She is screaming in pain as her hand is being burned.  June continues to eat soup, though I’m not sure she could be enjoying it any less if it were drain cleaner.

Flashback: June gets a call that Hannah became ill, and since they couldn’t reach her right away, she was taken to the hospital.  June goes there, and is pointedly questioned by someone who insists on calling her Mrs. Bankole.  Eventually she is allowed (and I use that word advisedly) to go home with Hannah.  June tucks her into bed while Luke tells her that there has been a massacre at the Capitol and an explosion at the White House.  This is definitely June’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

June is at the gynocologist, and while he is examining her, Serena Joy and the Commander are looking at the sonogram screen at the fetus.  When it was over, June is left alone to dress, and finds a key in her boot.  Left by the medical tech, who mysteriously knew her name was June?  Who knows?  Who cares?  June takes her chance, and finds herself in the back of a refrigerated meat truck for a journey that ends with Nick!  Escape is at hand!  She changes out of her Handmaid uniform and burns it.  She takes scissors and cuts off her hair.  Then she cuts the tag out of her ear.  It’s grim and there is a lot of blood, but in the end, the tag is gone for good.  And so is Offred.

Other things:
– Did you notice that the sonogram screen was angled so that there was no way for June to see her own fetus?   SMDH…
– Did you watch the Audi commercial set in the future and wonder if it was a commentary?
– Am I the only one who thought Hannah was younger?

“Our Father, who art in Heaven.  Seriously, what the actual f**k?”
“Friends don’t stone their friends to death.”
“Try to relax, honey.  You’ll feel a little pressure.”  Indeed.