The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 2/ Episode 5 “Seeds” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

June laying on the ground, seemingly having a miscarriage.

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Just as it seemed the world broke and killed June and she has assumed the role of Offred, she gets two serious wake-up calls.


Network
Hulu
Director(s) Mike Barker
Writer(s) Kira Snyder
Air Date 5/16/2018
Actors Introduced
Eden Sydney Sweeney

Meanwhile, Out West: Janine, Emily

With avoiding death twice now, Janine has renewed and strengthened faith. Something which bothers the hell out of Emily for with her knowing Janine’s eye was taken because of someone’s faith, and also her clit, she calls BS. However, unlike Emily, Janine hasn’t resigned herself to the idea that she is to just suffer until she dies. It seems she feels she has a purpose and one way she shows that is by passing on the idea for a couple to marry before one of them dies.

An idea Emily wasn’t on board for, when it happened but, afterwards, seems to appreciate.

Commentary

Emily out in the colonies.

I guess Janine is going to be a little bit of sunshine over in the colonies. Perhaps what wakes Emily up from her stupor of random acts of revenge, being a low-grade medicine woman, and just waiting to die. Though, with Emily maybe thinking about living more than simply surviving, so comes the question of what is next for her?

When it comes to the colonies, there are no signs of rebellion, not even in conversation. So, even if Emily seems to be a bit more alive, should that mean anything to us really? Heck, outside of seeing the colonies exist and what they’re like, what will ultimately come of us watching them move about episode after episode? What’s the end game for the colonies arc of the show?

A Slow Death: Nick, June, Serena Joy, Rita, Aunt Lydia

June seems truly broken. She gives no lip, no side eye, and is just a vessel. Something which Aunt Lydia seems fine with but it bothers everyone else in the house. Rita checks on her, Nick seems very concerned and Serena Joy, even she is a bit alarmed. Heck, in a way, you almost wonder if she enjoyed, to a certain degree, June’s rebellious and sarcastic nature. Perhaps made her feel the world hasn’t changed to her detriment like it has. Partly due to her own hand.

Yet, none of their concern brings June back to the forefront as Offred wanders the world. And once June starts spotting, and then she sees she is bleeding profusely, so begins the true death. After all, one of the main things that have kept June from harm is that baby so losing it means, between an eye, finger, a burn mark or more, her protection would be gone. Hence why, maybe, she was looking in the closet and checking that bar. Maybe tempted to hang herself like the last handmaid of the Waterford household.

Commentary

Aunt Lydia, noticing Serena Joy's attitude, asking if she has become bothersome?
“Have I let myself become a bother?”

A part of me sort of wonders if part of the reason June became so obedient wasn’t just because of being the reason another person died or was maimed, but because her safety net was about to let her fall through. As said, pregnancy is the sole reason June probably is still alive and though the baby would be taken from her, at the same time the child gave her hope. She’d have one more chance to do something before Aunt Lydia would just lock her up in a room because of the baby.

And speaking of Aunt Lydia, can we talk about her and Serena Joy’s dynamic? The way Serena Joy looked at her just because she had a writing utensil, felt she was less than since Aunt Lydia made it sound she was being reported on, it makes you wonder who really has the power? I mean, it was established in season one that, in public, if not for most matters, the wives are of a higher social class. However, Aunt Lydia is a formidable woman who walks with confidence and an air of authority. Something which Serena Joy has to a point, but because of her husband. Aunt Lydia’s authority, arguably, is because of her own title and possibly because of her reputation for results.

Leading me to wonder if there was a bit of jealousy. For clearly, not working, being a housewife, it is not that fulfilling for Serena Joy. She hates listening to her neighbor complain about her baby, Fred basically ignore her and now with June not providing any sort of excitement? Honestly, I was surprised she wasn’t beating Rita to keep from going insane. But I guess her striking her before was just because she couldn’t strike June. Not because she developed a habit so that she could feel in control, like she commands her own power, and ultimately feel alive.

Since, in many ways, like Emily and Janine to a point, she is at another’s mercy and while little things may bring a silver lining, ultimately she is as miserable as most women in Gilead.

The Dead Shall Rise: June, Nick, Serena Joy, Fred

With Serena Joy pushing the idea of how Nick looks at June, something clicks in Fred. It’s not clear if it may deal with him still having residual feelings for June, Serena Joy’s hint making him realize the kid isn’t his, or maybe wanting Nick out of his life and home but done in a tasteful way. Either way, he arranges it for Nick to be married.

Leading to the question of how are brides even chosen in Gilead? After all, you can’t really date since those establishments where you’d meet people don’t exist. There are no clubs, malls, meeting places like Starbucks anymore. So, instead, you are assigned a wife. One who probably is barely 16.

This is wake up call number one for June realizes, within a few years, this means Hannah, would be married off to a grown man despite her probably just getting her period. And, in a way, it seems even Serena Joy is a little bit uncomfortable with the idea of Eden, Nick’s wife, being in the situation she is in. However, being that Serena Joy was part of what built the system, it seems she doesn’t have it in her to be part of dismantling it. She just wishes the girl the best.

Leading to wake up call number two. As June bleeds more and more, thoughts of suicide come into play but what ends up happening is she strangely just lies on the ground outside. Perhaps just wanting to bleed to death, maybe hoping the baby would give her a mercy killing, and she’d be found once they’re finished.

However, Nick finds her and they go to the hospital. On top of that, June learns the baby is still alive and so, with that in mind, she figures if the baby is a fighter then so should her momma be. Meaning, June probably is going to attempt something again.

Commentary

June telling her baby, who survived whatever June was going through, she is going to get them out of there. She is not going to let them grow up in Gilead.
“I’m gonna get us out of here.”

That seemed like a fast turnaround. Especially considering, unlike season 1, there will be 13 episodes so it isn’t like they don’t have the episode count to let June wallow in a depression. But, I guess doing so wouldn’t be exciting enough? If June isn’t a fighter, if Emily isn’t part of something, maybe someone felt the show loses its edge. Yet, the quick turnaround also makes this show feel a bit unreal in a way.

After all, considering the lengths June has gone to escape and to fail just as the plane was going to take off? Not to mention how many likely died because of her? For her to snap out of it so soon seemed like a waste. Granted, seeing a child bride and thinking you’re having a miscarriage, but finding out you’re not, that could renew your need and passion to get the hell out of dodge. However, now comes the question if she may keep up that persona, to have people off guard, or return to her normal self?

Leading also to the question of how Eden will play into June’s future plans? With her around, it makes manipulating Nick far harder since he has a child to take care of. One who knows no one around, but Serena Joy, and being that she is from some small town farm, you think she is going to let June, a Handmaid, take away her chance for a happy life in the suburbs?! HA! Watch this child, who looks so innocent, probably bring about a persona similar to Serena Joy’s dark side.

Though, with that said, in case she doesn’t become a demon child, she will help us understand what it is like for teens in Gilead. Much less life outside the suburbs. So, either way, Eden is a welcome ingredient to the mix.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Anyone else thought, during the walk Serena Joy went on with June, she might have wanted June to run into Hannah to maybe lighten up and snap out of her funk?

Highlights

  1. The arrival of Eden means some new energy and perspective to the show.
  2. Seeing a bit of animosity towards Aunt Lydia from Serena Joy.

On The Fence

  1. It not being clear what, if anything, may come of us seeing what is going on in the colonies.
  2. June’s recovery from a lull or depression seeming rather quick.

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About Amari Sali 2987 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

2 Comments

  1. I’m trying to imagine how this show would handle the fall and rebuild. If it goes down that path. And, I will say, I do like the world building but I must admit I just wish the characters involved in it had that something to invest in. Besides familiarity.

  2. Surprised by some of the commentary on this episode… personally, I’ve found the “colonies” and “econopeople” diversions the most interesting parts of Season 2 so far… what is gained by them? I’d say that they offer some insight into what this world is like for the lower orders, whereas Season 1, like the novel, was largely confined to the white picket fenced suburbs of the elite ruling class… what I predict (or at least what I hope) comes from the colonies section are an insight into what it means to live with dignity when death is staring you in the face. It could be rather like a distaff sci-fi version of the Gulag novel “One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich”

    So far, Season 2 has not gone the way I expected it to. I expected that it would focus more on resistance groups, our heroine’s heroic escape and the overthrow of Gilead that is alluded to at the end of the novel… perhaps because the 1990 movie ended with Offred assasinating Commander Fred and then (over the course of a single night) escaping to Canada to live happily ever after with Nick… the approach of Season 2 has been much more somber and focused on showing the nitty gritty inner workings of the society that were only fleetingly.

    The “prayvaganza” or group-wedding is in the book. The novel alludes to the fact that marriages are arranged by the state in Gilead but is vague as to the specific processes… Nick isn’t married off this way in the book, and it’s implied that as a lowly household staffer he wouldn’t have been eligible anyway, since in the book such brides are reserved for soldiers who have distinguished themselves in battle and high ranking government officials.

    The book explains that the teen-brides in white are the product of the first generation of Handmaid’s, or possibly-fertile females who were only children when the regime came to power…. I wondered why this scene was left out of Season 1, I thought perhaps showing barely legal teens getting married onscreen was something the producers were afraid would be too controversial, so I was surprised to see it now.

    Nick is younger in the TV series than he is the novel. Perhaps one reason they made him younger was so they could use his character to depict the new model of Gileadan marriage and it’d feel slightly less creepy if the age gap was smaller.

    Certainly I’m looking forward to seeing how Eden’s emotional arc develops… she has no memory of the world before and just takes the social fabric of this world for granted… for now, anyway… if they get round to showing the fall of Gilead, it’ll be interesting to see how she copes if she survives.

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