The Handmaid’s Tale (S02E09) “Smart Power”

In this week’s episode of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ two worlds collide!

Well, that’s a bit melodramatic. They didn’t quite collide, but they did have a rather unpleasant fender bender. Up until now, the Gilead storyline and the Canada one have been running on parallel tracks. Finally, they meet.

Waterford tells the household that he will be going on a diplomstic mission to Canada, accompanied by S.J. and Nick. He is leaving another Guardian named Isaac in charge and hopes they – June, Rita, and Eden – behave themselves. S.J. isn’t happy. She tells Fred that she doesn’t want to go, but of course she really doesn’t have any choice. Neither does June, when S.J. tells her that as soon as the baby is born, she, June, will have to go.

Moira, Luke, and Erin watch theagilead delegation arrive. Moira is shocked to see Waterford, and she and alike go to the refugee center the next day asking for him to be arrested. The woman is sympathetic, but can’t do anything. There are a lot of people protesting where the Waterfords are to meet with the Canadians. Things inside the building aren’t much friendlier. One of the Canadians assigned to meet with the Gilead group doesn’t even bother hiding his hostility, while a woman assigned to be S.J.’s handler clearly regards her with a mixture of pity and contempt. The itinerary she gives to S.J. is in the form of pictures.

June and Janine are on their way to the market, accompanied by Isaac. Janine gets agitated, and Isaac tells her to stop talking. He gets angry when she doesn’t, and Words Are Exchanged. It ends when Isaac hits her in the head with the butt of his rifle, then drags June away and back home. Charming.

S.J. sees a lot of people doing things she can’t, and ends up ordering a glass of wine at a bar, where a gorgeous guy named Mark chats her up with an offer to help her escape. This is interesting as it’s the first glimpse we’ve had of what remains of the American government. She turns him down, but is clearly tempted. He leaves his cigarettes and matches behind. S.J. takes them.

Isaac seems to approve of Eden and her jam making in the Waterfords’ kitchen. Interesting.

When the Waterfords arrive at their hotel that evening, there’s another protest, and this time, Luke is part of it. He actually confronts Fred. Nick sees the picture in Luke’s hand of Luke, June, and Hannah, and decides he’s the person to give the letters to. When he he does,,later that night, when he tracks Luke to a bar. They have a conversation, which is about as awkward as you would expect. Nick tells Luke that June’s pregnant, but doesn’t tell him who the baby’s father is. Seriously, Emily Post just doesn’t cover this kind of etiquette problem. He gives him the packet of letters.

Aunt Lydia is examining June. June, who is trying to set up as many allies for her child as possible before she gives birth and has to leave, asks her if she was ever a godmother. It seems Aunt Lydia was godmother to her sister’s child, who only lived 4 days.

The following morning, the Waterfords are informed that the negotiations had been canceled and they were to proceed immediately to the airport. The letters were posted online and the result was the expulsion of the Gilead group. They posed off Canada, for God’s sake! A few days ago, I’d have said that was impossible! I bet S.J. wishes she’d taken super hot Mark up on his offer. On the way to the airport, moving slowly through the protesting crowds, Moira makes it to the car and locks eyes with Fred. She’s holding a sign that says ‘My name is Moira.’

Luke and Moira are at some kind of refugee meeting. When Moira announced that the Waterfords has left Canadian air space, there was applause, and someone begins singing ‘America, the Beautiful.’ Moira starts to cry. Me too.

When S.J. unpacks her luggage, and finds the matchbox, which is from a tiki bar in Hawaii. She tosses them into the fire.

Nick visits June, and tells her what happened. He tells her that Moira got out and is living with Luke. He tells her that Luke loves her and always will, which clearly cost him a lot to say. He then tells June that he, Nick, also loves her.

Okay, after a couple of slowish episodes, this had some payoff. S.J. is turning into easily the most interesting character on the show, and I’ve been remiss in not mentioning Yvonne Strahovski’s incredible work this season. I still find Luke uninteresting, I’m not sure why. It’s hard for me to pick him over Nick as the guy June should end up with, but I don’t see Nick and June having much of a chance at happily ever after either.

Other things:
– What is the point of the table and chair in June’s room. It’s clearly designed to be a writing table.

– Thoughts on Aunt Lydia’s godchild’s death. There’s got to be a story. Did the sister shake the child? Did Aunt Lydia? Did the baby drown accidentally? On purpose? Thoughts?

– Isaac was cloth nasty and creepy, and he seemed way too interested in Eden. I predict something is going to happen with those two. I think he’s going to rape her.

Quotes:
“My circumstances have been reduced. I suppose I’m one of the lucky ones. I still have circumstances.”

“I was very fond of visiting the States before. With my husband.”

“So far all you’ve offered me is treason and coconuts.”