The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 1/ Episode 7 “The Other Side” – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Rather than drag out what may have happened to Luke, as I want to believe they are doing with Moira, we get an episode dedicated to him.

Before The Car Accident: Luke, June, Hannah

Before the accident happened, it seems June and Luke were planning to cross the border similar to how some cross the Mexican/US border. But rather than their coyote [note]Which I solely know the name of thanks to watching Weeds back in the day.[/note] being some sketchy guy, it is someone June seems to know. A man known as Whitford (Tim Ransom) [note]Who got a vasectomy from June’s mom.[/note].

However, their coyote isn’t able to complete his task to get them across the border thanks to getting caught and supposedly hanged. At least, that is what a man named Joe [Shane Daly] says. Someone who could have very well been part of The Eye.

Commentary

It is sort of interesting to think about the idea that this small terrorist group took over such a huge part of the nation. Then, on top of that, all the other countries, the US’ so-called allies, they just sat back and watched. At most made some kind of trade embargo, but there was no effort to help restore the US government. A part of me finds that hilarious, even setting aside the idea of killing fertile women who seem to be worth more than oil. If only because, who is to say that once the Gilead people get stable they won’t try to spread?

After The Car Accident: Luke, Zoe [Rosa Gilmore], Peter [Ben Lewis], Christine [Kim Roberts], TBD (Erin Way)

While June was taken, thinking her husband was shot to death, he was only shot once. In fact, after being shot, he was bandage and was being taken somewhere. That is, until the driver skid and ended up near some river. Perhaps less than a mile from the accident. From there, after getting some supplies and a gun, Luke trekked to a nearby town.

One in which he gets discovered with the jacket of The Eye and almost killed by Zoe, a soldier who has made her way up from the south. She, seemingly like Whitford, is some kind of coyote. She is trying to transport a gay man named Peter, Christine, a nun, and a woman known as TBD because she won’t talk. Mostly because she is the sole survivor of some roundup for Handmaids and the only survivor after that place was raided.

Yet, when all is said and done, only TBD and Luke make it to Canada’s Little America. For, while getting on the boat, everyone else gets shot up by The Eye.

Commentary

Seeing some kind of resistance movement was cool, especially since there have been so many names and supposed organizations out there. Yet, outside of some remnants of Ofglen’s group, they have only existed in whispers. Yet, as you can tell, whatever resistance movement exists, it isn’t well funded nor organized at the level the creators of Gilead were. So to expect some large scale battle in this show’s future should be killed off.

However, there may be hope for June. For while the soldiers can’t raid and really take the fight to Gilead, they seem capable of at least creating some Underground Railroad type of network. Part of which is sponsored by the exiled American government.

3 Years Later: Luke, TBD

Three years after narrowly escaping the US coast, Luke is in an area of Toronto called “Little America.” There, it seems he and TBD are close, though I can’t say they are romantically involved. However, he does seem to be looking out for her and maybe living with her. As for work? Well, no mention of that for either of them. What is known though is that, after 3 weeks, Luke gets June’s message. Something which is rather simple: She loves him and save Hannah.

Commentary

Would it be wrong to say I hope Luke doesn’t make so gallant and romantic effort to get June back? Not because I want her stuck as a handmaiden, but because of how corny and eye-roll inducing that storyline would be. I mean, just imagine him either undercover, as a Canadian rep, or maybe a soldier, infiltrating the town and trying to rescue her. Can you imagine anything besides him being shot and killed happening?

To me, and this is partly because of B.M. Orchard’s commentary which helps fill in the gaps with this show, there isn’t going to be a happy ending with this show. Heck, even now there are thoughts leading me to wonder if some characters may even be real. Like, who knows if Moira was real and if Luke ever did marry June and they had Hannah. After all, these beliefs or background stories, could all be coping mechanisms! If not, similar to what we saw in Mr. Robot, false narratives meant to throw us off.

All of which I realize may not make sense. However, there is this rising suspicion that a monkey wrench is about to be thrown. Something is going to happen, beyond revealing Luke is alive, which would be considered a jaw drop worthy moment. It is just hard to really fathom what.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. With regards to your comment about the rest of the world doing nothing about the rise of a fascist government in America… the novel hints that these events occur in the aftermath of a nuclear war. Some of America’s allies have been blasted away, others have their hands full dealing with the resultant fallout and the vaguely described pollution that is partly responsible for the fertility crisis. It would seem most nations are trying to stay on the good side of whoever holds the reigns of power in America (or “Gilead”), simply because they have even fewer natural resources themselves and are dependent on trade with these fascists in order to survive… and because this “Gileadian” government still has the largest supply of nuclear weapons in the world, even after the war.

    To be fair, I think Margaret Atwood was partly trying to satirise the way in which the US has gotten cosy with certain dictators in the past, ignoring their human rights abuses, because they wanted to maintain profitable trade relations…. but the nuclear paranoia is one thing that hasn’t exactly aged well about “The Handmaid’s Tale”, marking it as a book that was written in the 1980s
    (back when some people took the even more laughably paranoid movie, “Red Dawn” seriously, as a plausible vision of the future)

    Luke is never heard of again in the book after June is arrested and taken to be re-educated. The reader never finds out if he’s alive or dead…. in the 90s movie version, the viewer sees Luke get killed in the first 10 minutes… neither the book or the movie go into detail about what life is like in Canada. Pretty much everything in this episode was made up for the series.

    I found it amusing when you said that a happy ending seems unlikely… though the novel ends ambiguously, a happy ending is strongly hinted at, and the reader is free to imagine that June escaped Gilead alive – the possibility that June may have eventually been reunited with Luke and Hannah is also a possibility…. the novel does make it explicitly clear that eventually the Gilead regime came to an end, through a combination of incompetent leadership and external pressures.
    The 1990 movie version gives the story an unambiguously happy ending – our heroine is shown escaping Gilead with the help of the resistance, and although Luke is dead, she is hopeful of eventually being reunited with her daughter, and being able to start a new life in a restored USA with Nick (whose child she is carrying)
    Given the history of this story, I’d be kind of disappointed if it didn’t have an ending that offered some measure of hope to the audience.

    As for the “jaw dropping” moment…

    The “jaw dropper” for me, when reading the novel for the first time…. I won’t spoil it for you.

    Just remember these words:
    “The Club”
    and
    “Jezebels”
    Perhaps they will refer to this scene by a different name in the TV series, but the show has held on to a lot of the novel’s titles so far (“Aunt”, “Martha” etc), so maybe it will still be “Jezebels”…
    … this scene, and all its shocking revelations, all its emotionally devastating irony, is such an IMPORTANT part of the story, and so crucial to understanding the characters of Fred, Moira and June that I can’t imagine them leaving it out of the series.

    • You are getting me so giddy right now about these jezebels. The title alone, in their society, seems like something to drop your jaw about.

      I can’t fathom what the club would be, outside of a resistance movement. If not the name the founders of Gilead gave themselves.

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