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Perhaps the happiest day of June’s life in a long time also meets yet another where she ends up getting someone killed.
Trigger Warnings: At 2 minutes In and 28 Minutes in There Are Rape Scenes
False Labor: June, Serena Joy, Fred
It’s time! Well, at least it seemed like it. Thus leading to Serena Joy going into a tizzy, all the commanders, wives, and handmaids coming over, and of course Aunt Lydia as well. But, despite June having contractions, she is told she isn’t to give birth for another week or two. Something she relishes. If just because, with knowing she is soon to be forced out of the home, and Serena Joy even talking about put in another district, it gives her the ability to get real sassy. I’m talking about, even in front of Aunt Lydia, she is giving Serena Joy a lot of lip.
However, taking note Serena Joy wants June in another district, June decides to see if she has any pull left with Fred. Just to check if maybe that district can be the same one Hannah is in. Something that gets denied because June helping Serena Joy undermine Fred has not been forgotten. On top of that, her questioning his power is also a bit of a blow. Though, to make things worse, while she may have given Serena Joy snide comments, she decides to outright insult Fred by alluding to how he’ll never be a father.
Something you may think he would ask Serena Joy about but considering the audacity of June, he seemingly wants her out as much as Serena Joy at this point. Never mind questions of paternity. So, to push a natural birth to come, it is agreed between them to do the ceremony again – meaning Fred rapes June. One which is quite violent in a way for Serena Joy is really pressing down to keep June from moving and Fred thumps up against her pelvis in a way to make it seem they both are punishing her and reminding her of her place.
Well, any sympathy I had for Serena went right out the window. For that scene of her holding down June, while she called out for her, there isn’t really any coming back from that. And while, yes, it isn’t June’s first rape scene, this is one of the few I can recall that were violent – That included fighting back. And while I get both Serena Joy and Fred were frustrated with June and the situation, the rape pushed them far away from being complicated people trying to make the best, or in Fred’s case take advantage, of a peculiar situation.
Yet, and I hate to sound like I’m victim blaming but you have to look at June’s role in this. June has used that baby as a shield over and over to protect her against Aunt Lydia and so she could give attitude to anyone and everyone without much fear of consequence. At some point, it was not going to be enough to protect her.
Which isn’t to say at all she deserved to be raped, more so that she knew what kind of people she was dealing with. Serena Joy has shown she is capable of being cruel and either giving or participating in unusual punishments – especially when you embarrass her. Same goes with Fred. He just beat his wife in front of you. Doing something you know was meant to humble her and have you as a witness to also put you on notice. Why in the world, in front of so many people, would you antagonize them? Serena Joy in particular since you know she is very hot and cold and wants you out of the house!
In The Lonely Hour: Eden, Nick, Isaac
While she grew up in Gilead and may not have been raised on Disney princesses and YA novels about star-crossed lovers, she did grow up in a loving home. So, naturally, Eden has certain expectations. All of which Nick fails to live up to. He doesn’t really talk to her, look at her, certainly doesn’t kiss her and sex? It is an obligation. Hence why she ends up kissing Isaac and experiencing what can only be seen as a moment of weakness.
Yet, for Nick, it gives him leverage in a way. She cheated on him and in the world of Gilead? Imagine what that would mean for her life and safety. That might be an offense which could force her into becoming a handmaid. Luckily for her though, Nick is rather indifferent about it. Something which only upsets her more for his wife just cheated on him and he doesn’t care. Leading her to assume it is because of June for she has peeped the way they interact but it seems him taking note of how that would be suicide calms that idea.
Either way, this marriage is in shambles with no signs it may ever be fixed.
Eden is perhaps the only pure one left on this show. Well, her and Hannah. So them interacting with these corrupt adults who could only steer them in terrible directions is hard to watch at times. Which might just be why, on top of her being young and him preferring June, Nick doesn’t interact with her much. He knows he is tainted by his work and actions, and rather not be the one who corrupted this child.
Yet, there is this constant need to remind ourselves that Eden is isolated. Who knows if she may ever see her family and who she grew up with again. They live in a completely different district and it isn’t like women traveling alone is something Gilead encourages. Never mind, with Nick being an Eye, who knows whether, if he wanted to be so kind, he’d have the time off needed for them to go visit her folks and return. Plus, he has June to look out for. Someone who clearly needs some sort of presence to keep Serena Joy and Fred in line. Otherwise, well, you saw what happened!
Mommy Loves You: Hannah, Nick, June, Fred
Be it a show of power, guilt, or whichever way you want to describe it, Fred has a surprise for June. One which has to be handled while Serena Joy is away. What is said surprise? Well, Fred arranged June to see Hannah.
Now, how exactly did this happen? Especially considering there is a guardian present, not just Nick and Hannah’s Martha? That isn’t stated at all. Which leaves a lot of questions. However, what is stated is Hannah felt a bit abandoned by June and seemingly was beginning to accept that she may never see her parents again. So the reunion doesn’t lead to waterworks that quickly on her part. However, as time goes on and Hannah gets reacquainted, she becomes attached to June all over again. Naturally making their need to separate hard on her.
But, this blissful moment turns sour for once Hannah is long gone some guardians, not associated with Nick or Hannah’s parents, arrive and kill Nick. Leaving June stranded in some isolated mansion which does have a garage, so maybe she can drive off somewhere, but right now her focus is being within 2 weeks of delivery, the father and sole ally of hers being dead, and just seeing her child for the first time in over a year.
There is a serious need to question if Fred set Nick up. Not only because of what he may or may not know but June going off on him surely got some wheels turning right? Plus, maybe Fred wanted to show the full strength of his power. How he could, within a day or so, connect June with her child but also have someone killed. I mean, we’ve seen Fred’s ego. He rather prefer his ego stroked than the foundation of his ego tested.
But, following June seeing Hannah comes the question of whether, knowing Hannah has good step-parents, may just let her go and try to bring this new kid into a better life. For let’s be real, kidnapping a baby who isn’t born yet is enough of a challenge. Kidnapping a full grown child? How could June pull that off? Between checkpoints and more, even if she had a vehicle from the mansion, she’ll end up having the vehicle shot up and thus either Hannah could be killed, the baby, or her.
But, one thing at a time because June has to figure out how to get away from that abandoned mansion.
Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments
- With the introduction of Commander Horace, we learn there are Black commanders and also that Black people can be promoted to commanders.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Whose mansion was that?
- How much does Hannah know about Handmaids? Heck, how are kids taught about Handmaids in general?
- Could the title of the episode hint at the idea that June may find freedom after this?
- Hannah and June seeing each other again!
- Rita saying she’d tell the baby about June.
- Maybe Eden getting assigned to Isaac and finding happiness.
- Emily kicking her dead commander a few good times.
- June being raped.
On The Fence
- What may happen to June considering she is 2 weeks from giving birth and stranded.