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Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

Ask me about nerfing your paladin!

Also when the US agent tried to get Serena to defect during her first visit to Canada, he claimed that US scientists had found a cure to the infertility problem. (He could have been lying, of course.)

Since S1 though the series has taken a huge step from "we're critically short of babies, we have to turn every fertile woman into a broodmare for humanity to survive" into "we're just going to enslave women we don't like, lol". The only time there was ever a nod to the rest of the world's fertility crisis was when the Mexican ambassador visited the Waterfords (which was still in the first season). Canada apparently has no problem makin' babies.

Also this season is clearly leaning into retelling the Elian Gonzalez saga, which is a spoiler for how it'll end, I guess.


here's Canadian police taking baby Nicole

Lum_ fucked around with this message at 15:51 on Jun 25, 2019

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Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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I said come in! posted:

It's super frustrating to me that we've had no follow up on this. I feel that there needs to be more story points that seriously bring into question the legitimacy of Gilead and its justified existence. The leaders of Gilead should be struggling to keep the country afloat. It just comes off as massively unrealistic that the world just stands by and lets them do their own thing.

I guess we'll find out more tonight, as the Waterfords are taking their crusade to DC. (My guess is they ignore any worldbuilding/exposition of how Gilead is controlling the country and just focus on lovingly CGI destroyed national monuments)

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Looten Plunder posted:

Holy poo poo, the kids name was Nicole? This is so on the nose.

Uh, no, that was my snarky relabeling. Elian Gonzalez was a Cuban boy whose mother died in 1999 while trying to get a leaky boat to Florida, his father stayed in Cuba and was very pro-Castro government, and he and his Miami-based anti-Castro government family feuded messily until the courts ruled in the father's favor and SWAT teams had to storm the house to return him to his father in Cuba. It was very much a political circus with both wings of the family fighting in the media and Handmaid's Tale seems to be going in the same direction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli%C3%A1n_Gonz%C3%A1lez

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Well, it got addressed last night after a fashion, with High Commander Stabler's brood of 5 stolen kids being the ultimate power move in Gilead.

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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It makes no sense. They've introduced Commanders in the past as OG revolutionary leaders IN THE EPISODE WHERE NICK WAS INTRODUCED AS A MINOR HENCHMAN OF THE EYES. It's like there isn't a story bible for this series, just random "wouldn't it be cool" moments ("dude, let's take handmaiden torture UP TO ELEVEN!!1!") that don't hold up to scrutiny (such as June's near constant plot armor where she's now free to tear into Serena Joy in public at the top of her lungs)

I really don't think they have any idea where they're going with this, just playing it by ear like Battlestar Galactica did.

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Snow Cone Capone posted:

Also, the Swiss diplomat specifically mentions nobody has hosed with Gilead because they have a ton of military power. Imagine the current US military, except all the psycho fundamentalist militias have joined up with them now too. Even in today's world I think Canada would back down from an actual military conflict with the US.

The fact that Nick is being dispatched to oversee street fighting in Chicago (along with maps showing the entire West Coast and much of the southeast under rebel control) rather diminishes the narrative of a militarily powerful Gilead.

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Saucy_Rodent posted:

Did they mention the book was banned? I saw it as an oversight on the part of the writers.

It's actually a pretty savvy callout, it's not "The Origin of Species" but "The Descent of Man", which is very pro-Gilead.

https://theweek.com/articles/845444/charles-darwin-makes-chilling-cameo-handmaids-tales-third-season

Commander Lawrence in general would very comfortably fit on the Intellectual Dark Web expounding at length on how a reactionary response to the fertility crisis (the subject of Lawrence's two books seen in the same shot) is really a rational thing to do, you see (furrows brow meaningfully while stroking beard)

Lum_ fucked around with this message at 17:41 on Jul 2, 2019

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Pham Nuwen posted:

They've got a whole network of Marthas in the households of Gilead's most powerful men but I guess none of them ever looked down at their kitchen knife and thought, hmm I could put this in that dude's throat no fuckin problem. (apologies if somebody actually did that at one point, it's been a while)

Moira and Emily have both killed Commanders/wives (and even bonded over it last episode) but they also got the hell out of Gilead like a sane person. Emily also shanked Aunt Lydia in the back on her way out but all that caused was Lydia to ride a scooter while tasing handmaids for a few episodes

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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So, we're just going with June as a complete psychopath now? Cool, cool.

From Vox's review:

quote:

I will give The Handmaid’s Tale this: It is a pretty bold move to deliberately turn the text of the show into, “Yeah, the protagonist should probably be dead.”

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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The Ninth Layer posted:

I think she was justified in being angry and petty.

There's "angry and petty" and then there's giving this look when someone draws a gun on you

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Snow Cone Capone posted:

That trump card would be pretty easily trumped itself by "we can nail your mouth shut and nobody will know bc you've already appeared on TV with your mouth covered"

What was this week's "graphic shock value for no reason," the extended shot of the dead baby?

Ofmatthew's half-dead body being dragged out of Gilead's one and only store

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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screamin and creamin posted:

I thought this one today was much better than the last few.

do you know the muffin, man?

Yeah, FINALLY there's some narrative movement. And judging from the promo, next week even more goes down!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WolBcn01P8

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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whoops guess not

"get in loser we're going to the hague"

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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two episodes to go this season, and the showrunner has said it's ending in a major cliffhanger. My predictions (spoiler-tagged for those who haven't seen last night's ep):

- Canada/Europe and the US Remnant forces clash over Nicole and Fred (Canada wants to give Nicole to Serena, the US wants to prosecute them both and not take Nicole)
- In response US forces invade the Northeast and push towards the rebels besieged in Chicago, the last episode and next season is basically Gilead at war (long term spoiler Canada boots the US remnant out of Canada to maintain the peace with Gilead - note that in the books Gilead survives long enough to morph into a weird neo-pagan cult)
- The rescue of the kids is a massive clusterfuck because nothing in Gilead goes well for anyone; the kids probably make it out but Cmdr. and Mrs. Lawrence both are killed and the cliffhanger is June being shot in the final scene as the boat leaves, because the showrunners apparently believe we'll think they would kill off their star actress.

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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once june shot a man in gilead, just to watch him die

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Post-finale showrunner interview

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/handmaids-tale-season-3-finale-explained-1231582

Note: June was apparently shot in the shoulder, according to this.

On June's eventual ending:

quote:

"I don't think she has much hope that she's going to get out alive. I think she's more there to gently caress up Gilead."

On how Gilead will react to a hundred or so kids taking a Canadian vacation:

quote:

"So, I think that Gilead, from their point of view, under their set of codes, is going to be ready to go to war over this. I would. They were ready to go to war over the one child."

If the way they treat their citizens didn't already make it clear, Gilead's staggering military capabilities should punctuate the point: outright war with this nation is not advised.

"They have the exact same number — I believe it's 3,200 nuclear weapons — that we do," Miller says about Gilead's military. "They took over America. So every nasty helicopter, every fighter plane, they have all of it. They have the biggest military in the world, which is very, very important in all the discussions that people have about how to deal with them. They have this giant, powerful military that they can wield anywhere around the world. I think our country has eight aircraft carriers and no other country has more than two. So we're kind of leaps and bounds exponentially more powerful. I think that here, it's a moment of triumph, but I don't know what poo poo show it's going to lead to."

(note: this is the person actually writing the series. "What's it going to lead to? Ya got me, man!" Also, clearly Gilead does *not* have "100% of the US military" or there would be no rebellion.)

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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And the not insignificant point, reinforced repeatedly in the series (such as defectors in Canada during the Moira-centric episode) that far from all US soldiers would be down with switching over to being enforcers of Gilead.

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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The Testaments, Margaret Atwood's 15-years-later sequel to Handmaid's Tale is due out next week and speculation is the series will jump to its seemingly much more interesting story line:

- June has only a few lines, but is the personification of the resistance to Gilead and Gilead's tried and failed to kill her several times (wonder if that's Atwood's commentary on June's never-ending plot armor)
- the main characters of the novel are Aunt Lydia and June's two daughters (Nicole in Canada and Hannah/Agnes in Gilead)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/03/books/review/testaments-margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale.html

The Guardian's published an excerpt, which in true Grauniad fashion helpfully doesn't tell you the characters actually *are*

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/04/the-testaments-by-margaret-atwood-read-the-exclusive-first-extract

If the tv series *doesn't* do a time jump to this, not sure how it can continue otherwise, since most of the narrative conceits of the past couple seasons are shut down (June never leaves Gilead, Hannah grows up with her foster parents, Nicole isn't returned to Gilead). Again, preeeetty sure this is intentional on Atwood's part - she's taking back her baby.

Lum_ fucked around with this message at 18:29 on Sep 4, 2019

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Well, The Testaments is out now - not finished with it yet, but wow, if you have any interest in the series definitely pick it up. It continues the story far, far, far better than the series did.

About the only quibble I have so far is that it contradicts Aunt Lydia's origin story directly. The books' version is far better.

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Not much new footage (looks like Bradley Cooper's character got arrested, which isn't a huge shock) but Covid-19 did a number on the production for this series, that's probably all they had in the can when lockdown happened.

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Cooper, Whitford, they all run together in the great chain of Bradleys

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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socialsecurity posted:

It's still torture porn, but things happen and its much faster pace.

episode 3 is literally all the torture porn you could ever want for the rest of your life. it's not good.
also apparently elizabeth moss directed it herself, perhaps this is her way of achieving Thetan 5 Clear or whatever
anyway, spoilered just in case but it's in the previews and the critics have literally been spoiling it to tell people that it's NOT ALL AS BAD AS EP 3 DEAR loving GOD
in mid season it looks like June FINALLY gets to Canada and testifies in the Big Fat Waterford Trial

almost as bad as the torture porn: june's husband being very :smith: as he realizes she gave him up for a life of madcap guerilla warfare

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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flashy_mcflash posted:

Haven't watched E03 yet but I assume the endgame is all out war on Gilead. The epilogue of the book will likely be the last episode or scene.

They’ve said they are doing “The Testaments”, Margaret Atwood’s recent sequel to Handmaidens Tale which is FAR superior to the recent TV seasons. It takes place about 15 years later, makes key assumptions about the status of June and other major characters, and Aunt Lydia plays a key role who is very different from how the TV show portrayed her - instead of a ex schoolteacher who is a true believer, she’s an ex-family court judge who has far more complicated motives. How the TV show will handle that, no one knows badly

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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to be fair though, Moira's speech to June was basically every viewer watching screaming at the TV screen.

It's also not the worst depiction of someone with serious PTSD.

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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The fighting in Chicago was a throwaway line in Atwood's first book, that's why it's still there.

As for why Gilead would let NGOs ship aid to a besieged city, there was a scene in the previous episode briefly explaining that (Commander Bradley Whitford engineered it to try to get everyone to loosen the sanctions on Gilead which are crippling its economy).

The entire storyline makes no military sense whatsoever, there is no chance an insurgent force would somehow take control of America's nuclear arsenal unless there was so much betrayal in the military that it essentially switched sides (which would also make it a military coup, not a pitched nuclear-armed civil war). It's a story, the details require some significant suspension of disbelief.

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Remy Marathe posted:

Now, in the "hard to imagine" category, they keep mentioning Texas as part of the ongoing resistance. Talk about a plot point that has not aged well.

The book made it quite clear that the Sons of Jacob were not mainline evangelicals and in fact Baptists were some of the first shot/fled to the hills to resist, so an angry revolting Texas is easy to imagine.

(ignoring as always the urban areas in Texas which are as blue as California, just vote-suppressed)

Lum_ fucked around with this message at 14:04 on Jun 7, 2021

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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DasNeonLicht posted:

The twisted theology of Gilead has always been one of the most interesting aspects of The Handmaid's Tale for me — if the Sons of Jacob we're not mainline Protestants or Baptists — what real-world equivalent were they?

There is none; Atwood made it clear it was a splinter of Christianity that was spawned from the fertility crisis. "Sons of Jacob" and "Rachel And Leah Center" come from the biblical story of Rachel, Leah and Jacob in Genesis which is the theological justification for Handmaidens. Other new syncretic religions were referred to as well, the "libertheos" were a militant liberation theology Catholic sect that had taken over Central America.

Out of all the difficult-to-believe things in this series, a fertility collapse creating hosed up cults is probably the least difficult to believe. If anything, the latest season doesn't hammer home exactly how much of a blow June's spiriting away a plane full of kids really was - that may well have been all the children for a given state. But the series has kind of devolved from "fertility has collapsed, women are now chattel in a post-apocalyptic reaction" to a more general girlboss June saves the world every week and gets everyone around her killed in the process narrative.

Lum_ fucked around with this message at 05:59 on Jun 8, 2021

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Owlspiracy posted:

yea but when the waterfords did it was a Big Deal and was part of normalizing relations as part of a specific diplomatic trip - and then later as soon as Waterford crossed into Canada not on that trip he was arrested. now rando commanders are popping in for... reasons?

One would assume a Commander being on trial with the ICC would be a big deal that would prompt visiting dignitaries to be allowed to visit the prisoners.

(One would also assume a Commander being on trial with the ICC wouldn't loving be let off the hook for promises of spilling info that may or may not be relevant but that would require better writing)

In retrospect, the series really should have ended with Waterford's capture. It's been downhill ever since.

Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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Supposedly next season is the last, which makes sense because there's really nothing left to tell, especially since "The Testaments" is going to be another series and (not really a spoiler) Gilead is still around 15 years later.

Some assorted observations:

- Canada has the fastest overnight delivery known to man

- June's ability and willingness to manipulate literally everyone she comes across really should be addressed

- The whole Waterford storyline is nonsensical. Gilead would *never* release 22 resistance operatives, especially for a Commander they detested. "He knows all of Gilead's secrets!" yeah, uh huh. Imagine Louie Gohmert being captured and interrogated for tactical intelligence on troop movements in Afghanistan. Throughout the series, Waterford was never depicted as especially *good* at doing anything. He was a mid-level bureaucrat outside the center of power. Anything he knew about Gilead's functioning could have been supplied more reliably by the constant stream of refugees escaping the place.

- Nick is such a superhero secret policeman he can make Commanders disappear from openly-negotiated prisoner exchanges. (The writers, in an interview, explained that away by saying "Gilead didn't care as long as he was gone.")

- June's scene with Waterford in the prison was utterly gratuitous. Apparently the writers thought it was out of her need to get closure, which is hilarious since she already screamed in Serena Joy's face, but no, we have to make nicey to the oily rapist for no apparent reason.

- Pretty obvious they were calling back to the Salvaging in season 1 but did a poor job of it, it looked more just like "Handmaid's Tale does the ending of the "This is America video".

- The ending was REALLY clumsy. June, still with Waterford parts all over her, hugs her baby and tells Luke, who's really suffered enough, "I must return to my home planet now." And again, from an interview the writers gave, they don't even know where they're going with it! It's just... dumb writing. Which describes this show when it departs from Atwood in general.

The next season is going to be all about Serena Joy's baby and June trying to get Hannah from her Rocky Mountain paradise and I really don't think any one cares. This episode would have been as appropriate a place to end as any. Fred's dead, baby. Let's go.

Interviews :
https://deadline.com/2021/06/handmaids-tale-spoilers-season-finale-recap-joe-fiennes-bruce-miller-death-elisabeth-moss-hulu-1234774835/
https://variety.com/2021/tv/features/liz-garbus-directing-parallels-handmaids-tale-season-4-finale-ill-be-gone-in-the-dark-1234994412/
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-features/handmaids-tale-season-finale-elisabeth-moss-june-fred-1234968048/

Lum_ fucked around with this message at 07:59 on Jun 17, 2021

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Lum_
Jun 5, 2006

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In case anyone is curious about where season 5 went (it's almost over, one episode left) they essentially torpedoed most of their world building in an effort to make Serena/June mirrors of each other


- Serena ends up a pseudo-handmaid (complete with being dragooned into wet-nursing her child for another Wife), realizes gosh, Gilead isn't very fair to women, and makes a run for it
- June goes ape-poo poo about rescuing Hannah, eventually getting her and Mr. June captured trying to re-enter Gilead. She escapes, because plot armor, but not before Mr. June is violently tortured, because this show.
- Commander Lawrence is basically the prime villain now. Seeing himself as a Gorbachev making a kinder, gentler Gilead, he tries to sell June and Mr. June on defecting back by creating "New Bethlehem", a "Hong Kong-like" enclave (I wonder if anyone told the showrunners what happened in Hong Kong recently) where women get radical civil rights like the ability to read and not be raped repeatedly. He explains in a bit of a plot dump how Gilead was all his idea because he's a secret communist who realized that America's unchecked growth was killing the planet, so really the best thing for everyone was to destroy it and replace it with a medieval theocracy. See, he meant well! June turns him down because he wouldn't budge on Hannah being pimped out to a Commander.
- June returns to Canada, demands someone rescue her daughter, or she's going to take Lawrence's offer and give Gilead a propaganda win. To keep June from re-defecting to Gilead the US remnants send 3 planes full of elite gung-ho paratroopers, who presumably were off drinking in Thailand while Gilead took over America, deep into Gilead on a bad-rear end take-no-prisoners gently caress-yeah raid into Colorado to rescue everyone at Hannah's Wife School. They immediately get shot down after crossing the border, which explains a bit about how America lost the war, I guess. Russia, China and North Korea send their regards to Gilead over this victory (and no, I'm not kidding).
- Lawrence essentially takes over Gilead after having Nick shoot his competition in the head and marrying his dead competition's wife, in the most awkward marriage proposal ever made. "You uh wanna move in together and stuff?" Aunt Lydia has to translate for him, and also remind everyone Aunt Lydia is about star in the next series.
- June begs Nick to come to Canada. Nick begs June to come to Gilead. Everyone cries. It's very sad, y'all. Lawrence asks June to come back to Gilead because it's not really that bad, pinky swear they won't torture her any more. June tells Lawrence to go gently caress himself. Lawrence is very sad.
- Canada is sick of hosting American refugees because literally every plot point this season is an attempt to beat you over the head with LOOK EVERYTHING IS BAD AND JUST LIKE TODAY IF YOU OPEN YOUR EYES SHEEPLE, and the last episode ended with a memorial service for the dead paratroopers shot up by who knows. June is there and protects a kid who sang the Pledge of Allegiance with her plot armor.


There, I saved you a few hours.

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