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Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

Ardennes posted:

I think the issue is that the Sons of Jacob were able to get a hold of the traditional power structure of the US and use it against the populace. Most of them were probably from more rural areas, but they got in through essentially a coup and once they got control over the US military that is it. It wouldn't be the first time that local governments just completely buckle under a new regime that has a monopoly of force.

Granted, I wouldn't say it is a very realistic scenario, I would say that I could see most our traditional elite buckling under such a scenario especially if they felt they still had a place in the new regime.

I think we can infer the general timeline of what happened.

1) Fertility rates begin dropping, society attempts to find a cause and solution
2) Society is unable to find a cause/solution to the fertility question, people begin to despair/grasp at any solution
3) The Sons of Jacob group begins organizing/recruiting based on their religious solution, capitalizing on people's despair.
4) An attack on Congress occurs, either a legitimate terrorist attack or a secret Sons of Jacob attack. This event triggers a Patriot Act-like response which the Sons of Jacob take advantage of (either directly or indirectly)
5) Sons of Jacob continue to push more "reforms" through under the pretense of security and the recent terror attack.
6) The real societal changes start as women are expelled from the workforce, banned from owning property, etc. Sons of Jacob seize almost complete control over the political sphere.
7) It's probably here that real fighting breaks out, Gilead is formed, the US government retreats to Alaska/Hawaii
8) Society is fully reorganized into what we see in the "present day".


I like that the show hasn't laid all of this out but the pieces are all there. We've seen "ordinary" people reacting to the ongoing fertility issues, how people are already despairing at the time June gives birth to Hannah, mentions of an attack that wiped out Congress, people being caught off guard by how quickly changes are taking place, and then protests being violently broken up.

The one thing that catches me on the portrayal of how things changed was the reactions during June's run. That seemed like a bit of a quick switch to flip on societal norms, given that we hadn't seen much of that kind of misogyny prior to the run scene. Or maybe that's the point (this is the normal, real misogyny women face in today's actual society, it's just indistinguishable from an oncoming theocracy).

Thwomp fucked around with this message at May 2, 2017 around 13:23

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Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

Honestly, I didn't mind the end music but my opinion may shift depending on the tone of the next few episodes.

It does seem oddly triumphant given her (only slightly altered) circumstances but if this marks the beginning of her revolt against the system, then it's perfectly fine. But if it's just continuing misery without progression towards her liberation, then the music choice stands out a bit more as an outlier.


I will say the needle scratch at the end of episode 2 is a better way to use discordant music.

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

Pocket Billiards posted:

Was Ofglens trial and fgm explicitly after her replacement? I thought it was a flashback.

Wait what? I don't see how you can view it as anything but chronological.

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

The Commander has a laptop and regular reports from the outside so it's not like everything has reverted to 17th century tech. The state just controls everything so only the privileged get some niceties.

It's like North Korea: US edition.

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

I don't quite get that impression in the flashbacks. I think she's portraying her as someone who fully believes in this revolution and religion but who also chafed under it.

It's not quite a regret and not even a "maybe I didn't think this through". But something where she's hitting a very low glass ceiling, likely lower than she initially thought it would be.

Maybe now, after it's proceeded this far and Offred is with them now, she's questioning it all. But in the beginning, she was glad it started.

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

It definitely seems that they have limits to the leeway they give fertile women.

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

There Bias Two posted:

Ofglen hadn't actually assaulted anyone. Her crimes were nonviolent.

Then again, Moria and June both assaulted that one Aunt in their escape attempt. They both received punishment once they were caught.

It's just weird that Moria wasn't sent back to the Red Center. Somehow, she was branded as a bad apple. It just isn't clear where Gilead's lines are regarding rebellious Handmaids.

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

Maybe I'm not remembering it correctly. Was it only Moira who assaulted the Aunt? I thought June did as well.


Maybe it's more that Moira escaped, found the Underground, and was then captured. Joining/having knowledge of the Underground may be a step too far for the authorities.

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

In a future where 90-95% of the population becomes infertile, you're pretty much looking at end times. What's the point of listening to the government if the government won't be there in a generation? Same for the economy. It's total societal collapse.

Edit: even if the government took extraordinary measures to ensure the survival of the nation, you're still looking at gigantic economic shifts as workers age out of the workforce and there's only 1 worker to replace every 10. The global trade system contracts to a tiny fraction of a percentage of what it was.

And who's to say children born in this era fertile like their parents? Then you're looking at the end of mankind within a few generations.

Thwomp fucked around with this message at Jun 1, 2017 around 19:09

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

I'd say the Children of Men case is actually a bit worse. Both settings use infertility as the cause for the end times but Children of Men specifies that no new children are being born. I don't think something like Gilead would even arise if everyone is infertile.

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

Equeen posted:

Is it weird that I wanted Janine to die? I don't dislike her character at all, but I wanted her suffering to end

Must've been a real downer to see they saved her.


Hyrax Attack! posted:

I don't think their policy has been stated on screen, but it seems that part of the Handmaid ritual is that while a Handmaid is in the house they are the surrogate for the wife. So when the husband has sex with the Handmaid while the wife sits there, he is "having sex" with his wife, and everyone is supposed to pretend this is normal.

So if the husband has sex with his wife without a Handmaid present (as Waterford did a few episodes ago), it breaks the narrative that they've figured out God's will and solution to the infertility issue as it shows the situation is set up for the husband's pleasure and benefit instead of being "good for everyone."

Related to this, I liked the scene in Nick's flashback where the entire Handmaid set-up was brainstormed in the back of an SUV to show it never had any female input or consideration.

Well I think the SUV scene you mention is to point out that the ritual is a joke and cover for the Commanders to have all the sex with the fertile women. There are some true believers for sure but the men at the top of the Sons of Jacob believe controlling the fertile women is the key to power and aren't about to let anyone other than a senior member have sex with a fertile woman.

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

precision posted:

It's a testament to the writing and acting on offer that they've managed to humanize Aunt Lydia so much. And Janine is best handmaid, god drat her whole side plot has been amazing.

Agreed. Dowd is amazing in the role as a true believer who also recognizes the hardships/sacrifices the Handmaids go through.

It'd be easy to just hate her as a torturer/representation of the evil of the Gilead system. But to make her this true believer who sees it all as necessary and also as a voice for fairness within the Gilead system on the side of the Handmaids is just great. Really nuanced performance.

(Still hate her character and hope she hangs for her part)

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

I think Serena Joy also mentions/threatens Offred with going to the colonies if she doesn't conceive so there's definitely a path for non-productive Handmaids.

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

Pleasing Shape posted:

I don't understand why June was given the notes from other handmaids asking for help. If the resistance is trying to get the notes out of Gilead, isn't the house of a high ranking commander the last place you'd want to hide them in? How is June supposed to smuggle them out anyway? Did I miss something?

June was just supposed to pick up the package. Wasn't she also not supposed to look in it either?

We never got to see the next phase of what to do with it though. She never spoke again to the Handmaid who told her to get it.

Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

Todd VanDerWerff at Vox surmises the score is meant to reflect Offred's internal feelings/emotions, not the overall situation.

That would make more sense of the ending of Episode 4 with the power walk, the power walk near the end of the finale, and her walk out of the house at the very end. She's just made a tiny stand in an oppressive climate which doesn't tolerate defiance of any kind so it feels triumphant even though the actual act is so minor.

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Thwomp
Apr 9, 2003

BA-DUHHH

Grimey Drawer

Speaking of, Ann Dowd did an interview on the I Think You're Interesting podcast which was really great.

Does contain spoilers for The Leftovers though.

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