TV Series The Handmaid's Tale: Season 3, Episode 10 "Witness" - Recap, Review (with...
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The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 3, Episode 10 “Witness” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

June takes on a major sacrifice to make a breakthrough in her goal to liberate Gilead’s children. A plan which will test how competent Gilead’s security and leadership are.

Community Rating

0 out of 5 stars (based on 0 reviews)

Network
Hulu
Director(s)Daina Reid
Writer(s)Jacey Heldrich
Air Date7/24/2019

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Table of Contents hide

Recap

A Jealous Man & His Petty Ways: Fred, Commander Winslow, June, Aunt Lydia, Serena Joy, Commander Lawrence

Despite all June has done, Fred still has a thing for her. Something Serena notices but that is but many of her issues with Fred. The major one For Serena is that clearly Nichole has become a secondary objective for Fred. Meanwhile, she remains of the utmost priority for her. So Fred using his influence with Commander Winslow to coerce Commander Lawrence to commit to the ceremony as opposed to getting Nichole is noted. Yet, the power move is what Fred wants to set an example.

Well, and to punish June of course. Her not wanting to be transferred to DC is seen as a slight and considering how she has yet to have a child or get pregnant, don’t think Aunt Lydia hasn’t noticed. It’s just, with increased scrutiny, which has made her seem even more empowered than ever before, including speaking to Commander Winslow directly, what is one Handmaid who can’t get pregnant? Especially with it being the troublemaker who has birthed, at least, one child and hasn’t been complained about by her Commander – yet.

Playing The Long Game: Eleanor, Commander Lawrence, June, Fred, Serena Joy

Fred with a stunned expression.

With being coerced to have the ceremony, Eleanor is flipping out. Joseph’s promises of them being excepted from Gilead’s more harsher policies no longer applies, she doesn’t have her mood stabilizers, and they could be killed. Which, at first, Eleanor is fine with. She sees her husband as a war criminal and combine that with her guilt, dying doesn’t seem that bad. Yet, with June informing them she’d die, and the Marthas, for not reporting them, she has yet another breakdown.

However, June sees this as an opportunity. Commander Lawrence has long just put up with June since she molds well with the household and Eleanor likes her. So keeping them alive, Eleanor’s mental illness hidden and getting the others out of their business, that gives June leverage. Leading to her proposing to do the ceremony and using Commander Lawrence’s fear against him.

You see, while being nosy, June was led to all of the documents of where the Handmaids’ children are, their new names, and current status. This is something Eleanor leads June to, and she seems more than glad to help for June’s rebellious nature excites her. Thus, after the ceremony, June convinces Commander Lawrence to take note Fred, and the rest, will be back and use that likely return to make him want to escape.

Problem is, considering how integral he was in making Gilead, it would mean his wife may go free, but he’d be locked up or executed. June counters that by saying if he gave them something they’d be less likely to prosecute him. What is that thing? Children.

We should note, however, Serena Joy too is trying to use her influence to and betray Gilead. But for her, she wants Fred to contact the man who hounds Serena whenever she enters Canada so they can get Nichole. Now, as for what Fred is to trade for the child, maybe even refuge, that isn’t revealed.

Lost The Battle, Prepping For The War: June, Janine, Alma, Beth

Janine hearing about June's plans.

Getting back to June’s plan, with Commander Lawrence secured, so comes the need of other Handmaids and Marthas. Now, being that June’s reputation has soured, once again, many Handmaids don’t treat her as this beacon of hope or leadership. She is a pariah again. But, with having information on their children, she is able to recruit Alma and even Janine. Someone she has to lie to about her son, and Janine probably knows she is being fed a lie. However, when has Janine not wanted to live in a more happy state of being? So who cares if she is being told a lie if she can maybe help these kids and even get freedom?

So with them secured, June turns to Beth who, to much surprise, finds many Marthas are more than willing to help traffic children out. Leading to the question: Who goes, who stays, and when will this all go down?

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Hannah was born in 2009 and Nichole in 2017.
  • Janine’s son is dead – traffic accident.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. If the Aunts have rankings, how high up is Aunt Lydia? Considering she got to speak and conduct things when Commander Winslow arrived, is she the top? Never mind the fact she was able to speak as if she could make decisions independent of Commanders. The primary example being her altering the dress code for those like Janine, due to situations which have happened beyond their control.
  2. Does Commander Lawrence still allow June to choose who becomes a Martha, or other titles, when it comes to those captured by Gilead?

Review

Highlights

This Could Be An Epic Liberation

For a moment, let’s set aside how incompetent Gilead has to be for even 8 children being taken and ending up in Canada. Nevermind, based on the many muffin baskets we see, the idea of dozens of children being liberated. Instead, let’s focus on how epic that could come off considering how large of a network Handmaids and Marthas have, never mind Commander Lawrence’s influence.

Now, it isn’t clear if Commander Lawrence may expand past a vehicle which could have 10 or so people in it. But let’s say he gets a caravan, even a ship, while the possibility of their mothers joining them is slim, can you imagine the joy and perhaps also the shock of entering Canada? A place where there is some form of equality? Also, the conflict which comes from them being raised in a conservative religious place compared to the more liberal Canada also could be something to see. Not to forget, the reactions since, up until now, we haven’t gotten to hear any of the children’s point of view beyond Sydney Sweeney’s character’s last season. So to hear how other girls, and boys, see Gilead could be of great interest.

On The Fence

If June Succeeds or Commander Waterford Betrays Gilead, The Show Has To End The Next Season

With that said, if June succeeds, even to get some kids out, the show will need to end. There are only so many instances of incompetence Gilead can have before they become too much of a joke. For even with us seeing things stricter in the more southern districts, and Canada’s fears of war, something has to give right? It isn’t like the show has given Gilead any sort of nuance to make it seem like it is destined to be a permanent fixture and recognized government. So either they begin end game, or else they’ll make it difficult to take anyone of power serious unless they kill off some major heroes. Not villains, since that won’t fix the issue. They’ll have to kill off Emily, if they refuse to touch June.

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Review Summary

Rating Breakdown

This Could Be An Epic Liberation
85 %
If June Succeeds or Commander Waterford Betrays Gilead, The Show Has To End The Next Season
70 %

Community Rating

0
0.0 rating
0 out of 5 stars (based on 0 reviews)
Recommended0%
Positive0%
On The Fence0%
Divisive0%
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Questions, Comments, or Opposing Opinion?

  1. “There are only so many instances of incompetence Gilead can have before they become too much of a joke.” – you say… and I say it has already become too much of a joke, so I’m not watching after this episode – to see if June becomes a futuristic Pied Piper Of Hamelin… or if she just bungles it like every other time she’s come up with some hare-brained resistance scheme, and afterwards receives some trifling punishment that seems overly light in comparison to supporting characters who received harsher penalties for lesser offences.

    How is June NOT in prison already???? She is obviously guilty of attempted murder, incitement to violence, assault… actions which are considered criminal even in a democratic society. She wasn’t very discreet in going about these things, I find it incredible that there was no security camera footage from the supermarket or hospital that caught her red handed…. and no witnesses coming forward to report some of her other blatantly public violations of orthodoxy… Gilead is supposedly a futuristic, totalitarian police-state. But they can’t deal with a criminal whose actions would’ve easily been spotted in any contemporary Australian shopping mall.
    (or a contemporary American one for that matter. I don’t know what contemporary US Police Surveillance technology is like, but here in Adelaide, there are security cameras in practically every single public street, restaurant, business and community facility… and if you’re found guilty of attempted murder, assault or incitement to violence, you’ll be imprisoned for years. I assume it’s much the same in the US today?)
    June’s fertility in the midst of a sterility-epidemic doesn’t strike me as enough of an excuse for her to be allowed all these second chances from the authorities… she doesn’t have to be free to get pregnant… and again, I’m reminded that in present-day, democratic Australia, pregnant criminals are still incarcerated in prison for most of the time they are with child. I presume it’s like that in contemporary America too???
    So yeah, in short, none of the things June did in this episode should’ve happened. It makes no friggin’ sense and it really diminishes the setting’s credibility if the protagonist, in some ways, is doing better than you’d expect someone who committed the same crimes today in a more liberal society.

    As for Lydia…. I got the impression that in the novel, The Aunts were each in charge of a specific district and their roles were limited to a specific sphere – just being wardens, guards, teachers and mouthpieces for religious-sermons/state-propaganda…. but at this point, the series has thrown so many details of Atwood’s world away, that its kind of pointless to look to the book in order to fill the gaps in the series world building.

    Did you also find it stupid that Fred was pushing for the government to put pressure on The Commanders to abide by the scriptural doctrine they impose on others??? Doesn’t he realises that he risks putting his own head in the noose if his DC buddies ever find out he’s been regularly sleeping with prostitutes???
    And that brings up another implausibility – how has Fred’s involvement with the illicit brothel not been found out yet??? A whole lot of letters from various sex-slaves have been smuggled out to Canada and put on the internet… and if none of those mentioned Fred by name then surely Moira would’ve said something to her activist associates by now and made it common knowledge.
    How is it that the top-brass are taking this buffoon seriously??? Why is he even still in this show???

    Whatever, I’m done. Life is too short to keep watching a show where I spend the majority of the running time either disgusted by the gratuitous violence, infuriated by the stupidity of the main characters or baffled by the illogical world-building.

    Thankyou for blogging about it anyway, I don’t think I would’ve made it this far if it wasn’t for your witty commentary. Maybe I’ll check into your blog again when you’ve done the end of season wrap up and see if any of my predictions turned out, but I don’t think I can stomach the thought of actually watching another episode again.

    • In America we’re very weird about a sense of “Big Brother” watching so while there are cameras around, there aren’t so many, never mind in high definition, to solve notable crimes. In my area, they are more useful for cops who want to issue speeding tickets or vehicular violations more than anything else.

      And, yup, we incarcerate pregnant women and if family members can’t take care of the baby, they are put into the foster care system.

      Let’s be honest here when it comes to Fred, he has been looked down upon for years and this taste of power from Commander Winslow has gone to his head. Especially considering he isn’t able to have June and all this power as well. So between what he has done to Commander Lawrence and those who won’t be happy the architect was put under such surveillance, karma is going to bit him in the ass eventually. But, when it comes to the letters, I don’t think that will affect Fred due to the society being patriarchal. Likely, they see him spreading his seed and satiating his desires as something a man can’t help but do. Hence many members who are Eyes, or other sects, not saying much – like Nick for example.

      And I thank you for sticking along this far. It’s always nice to hear a different perspective and get some context. But I do understand your frustration has come to a point this likely feels like undue torture.

Questions, Comments, or Opposing Opinion?

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