Solidarity is what causes and maintains revolutions. But for solidarity to sprout there needs to be one voice. One refusal to the oppressor. Which is what we get in The Handmaid’s Tale finale: “Night.”
Trigger Warning(s): Cutting open of flesh
Family: Luke, Moira
Moira makes it. She makes it to Ontario, Canada. However, with being free from Gilead comes the realization she is alone. Yes, the Canadian government provides some social services, but none of it will last forever. None of it undoes what Gilead took or did to her.
But, whatever worries she has disappear upon sight of Luke. Especially when he reveals that he placed her on his family list[note] A list that asks of the government that if this person arrives, alert me. [/note]. Something which she wasn’t expecting for she figured she’d be roughing it out there alone. Yet, with his kind gesture, she realizes she may not only have a home but family again.
It’s going to be interesting to see how refugee life is after you pass the government support phase. For, and I think Moira realized this as she was given a paid cell phone and all that, that you are returning to normalcy. Sort of like when you get out of prison, you have to think for yourself again, get a job, and eventually pay bills. On top of that, you have to deal with all Gilead took from you. Be it your former status or your dignity.
Then, to make matters worse, while you are a refugee you are also a foreigner. So while there will be empathy, of course, it will only last until you become a burden. Which, considering all that refugees are given, you have to wonder how locals feel about that?
That all aside, I must admit it was so touching that Luke had Moira on his family list. Especially considering she thought she was going to be on her own when it came to getting acclimated. But now comes the question on how that quiet woman will react? For it isn’t clear what her and Luke’s relationship is, much less how the dynamic may change with Moira in the picture?
I think the only thing which may be clear now, when it comes to Moira’s story, will be guilt. Here she is, an escapee, and she has access to Luke. June’s Luke. So here is hoping we see them take part in some resistance movement in season 2.
Insurance Policy: June, Serena Joy, Fred
With Serena learning Fred is repeating past mistakes, she takes it out on him as well as June. However, with learning June is pregnant she backs down. But only for a little bit. For what started with a physical slap becomes an emotional one. For she decides, as an insurance policy, especially after the Janine incident, to show June that Hannah is alive.
This has mixed results. On one hand, it gives June something to live for. On the other, Serena Joy is using her to keep June from harming herself in more ways than one. Not just as a means of giving June hope but also threatening June that if her baby, Serena Joy’s, is hurt, so will Hannah.
Though I would be remiss to not bring up the threat that Fred sees from Serena Joy as well. Not as direct as she presents to June, but one which still could alter his life. For, you see, with Serena Joy knowing of Fred’s proclivities, and what happens to Commander Putnam (Stephen Kunken) [note]He is tried for his relationship with Janine and loses an arm[/note], it puts him on the defense. Something he doesn’t like to be, especially with Serena Joy. Thus making him act a little nasty and try to guilt her for his sins. Something which doesn’t stick, but we been knew Fred was a dweeb.
I liked that there was some attempt to make Serena Joy’s decision complicated. For if there is one thing this show lacks, which truly keeps it from being great, is complicated people. Fred seems very straight forward, Nick lost his sense of ambiguity ages ago, and while Aunt Lydia is arguably a complicated character, she isn’t a big enough focus, most of the time, to take note of. So with Serena Joy playing on June’s emotions to keep her alive, it helps foster the idea Serena Joy isn’t a character to sleep on. For while she is as selfish, and self-righteous, as everyone else, she can’t be pinned down as a villain nor, at the very least, a sympathizer.
With that said, I wonder if the trial of Commander Putnam was foreshadowing? Much less, if Fred’s attempt to not have him severely punished was to gain support for his eventual trial? Because with Mrs. Putnam being the one pushing for the worse punishment possible, it shows what little power and influence the wife has. She can either be the savior or executioner, if she chooses to. Which, considering how Fred’s relationship is with Serena Joy, it’d be best to not give her power over him keeping his limbs.
But, before we move on, with seeing Hannah I find the need to ask how long this show may last? I say that because, with seeing her, Moira getting to Canada, and what comes next, clearly this show is aiming for a happy ending. The question is, how long will it drag out this story before we, nee June, gets it?
Solidarity: June, Aunt Lydia, Janine
Solidarity. After living so long worrying who might have been part of the eye, who might snitch, who can’t be trusted, June finds solidarity. She does through the letters Alma (Nina Kiri), had her risk her life to get, and also during Aunt Lydia’s stoning ceremony. For, you see, rather than the stoning focusing on a rapist or someone like that, it’s Janine. Thanks to her endangering a child she is subject to be stoned to death.
However, no one feels capable. In fact, Ofglen 2, of all people, is the first to speak out. Leading to her getting hit with the butt of a gun. But, following her, June drops the stone she was meant to throw. Alma follows, and as this happens we see Aunt Lydia in shock. After all, these are her girls. She believes she has domain over them and that her training is what keeps them in line. Yet, here they all are disobeying her. Granted, for someone Aunt Lydia cares about, but the fact remains: This is an open rebellion.
One which June is singled out and seemingly will be punished for. Now, as for what punishments can be dealt to a pregnant woman? Well, it isn’t like she needs more than a functioning uterus to give birth. So who knows whether the act may be worth it, long term.
Though backstories on this show have turned nearly every Goliath into a David, I crave Aunt Lydia’s backstory. One which I hope is done right because she is the last person capable of making Gilead anything beyond the typical villains. For, as noted, there are no complicated or even formidable characters anymore. In the pursuit of showing how tough June is and empowering her, they have made her opposition demure. She plays Nick and Fred to a certain degree, clearly gets under Serena Joy’s skin to the point she feels the need to work with her, and that leaves just Aunt Lydia. She is the only one left who hasn’t bent to June’s charm or position. Making her the last hope of having an honest and true villain or someone to truly overcome on this show.
But I feel the need to ask: What will happen to Janine now? She was sentenced to be stone but her executioners refused. So what is to be done? Much less, with Ofglen 2 and June, what will be done with them? Granted, in the long run, we know June will be fine, but it is nice to pretend that maybe not the case.
Especially considering how evil and oppressive Gilead is supposed to be, but it is slowly becoming easy to forget that. For while, I haven’t forgotten, hundred of women are being raped on a regular basis, I feel like the show has shied away from the evils of Gilead a bit. Like they didn’t want them to remain and seem so formidable that June couldn’t start a movement against them. Even if, in front of every door, there is a man with a machine gun ready and trained to shoot.
But, overall, while the show did start to feel like a drag toward the end, I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I’d still recommend it, but its subject matter helps it stand out. However, I hope they don’t try to make this a 3, 4, 5 and beyond season show. The premise is not that interesting.
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