TV Series The Handmaid's Tale: Season 3, Episode 11 "Liars" - Recap, Review (with...
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The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 3, Episode 11 “Liars” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

With a recent announcement of season 4, it seems marketing coordinated that with an episode that may finally be the beginning of the end.

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0 out of 5 stars (based on 0 reviews)

Network
Hulu
Director(s)Deniz Gamze Erguven
Writer(s)Yahlin Chang
Air Date7/31/2019
Introduced This Episode
BillyDaniel Jun

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Table of Contents hide

Recap

Making Feeble Plans: Serena Joy, Fred, June, Beth, Commander Lawrence, Eleanor

Serena Joy and Fred venture out to where the Econo people live, and as they enjoy the hospitality, they get a sense of nostalgia about their former lives. Back when Fred worked in marketing, Serena was a writer, and they lived over a bakery. But, the fun memories soon turn black as Serena is reminded that Fred is the reason she lost everything she loved. Yet, with Fred still trying to win and secure Serena’s love once more, so comes the idea of maybe retiring and enjoying life away from the cities.

As for June? After stopping Eleanor from killing her husband, she now feels she has all the leverage she could possibly need. Problem is, the heads of the Martha mafia want to speak with June since they feel she is inexperienced and putting many in danger. Including those they are operating with. But, with Beth vouching for June, they decide to be neutral and let June mess up on her own accord.

The Best Laid Plains Of Mice And (Wo)Men: Serena Joy, Fred, Mr. Tuello, June, Commander Lawrence, Beth

Serena Joy watching Fred be arrested.

The first sign that we might be at the beginning of the end is Commander Lawrence trying to high tail it with Eleanor. With that, June lost her only means to move 52 kids, and Beth finds herself upset that she really trusted this girl, of who only has helped Emily and one child thus far, with so much. That is, despite how her actions have done a massive amount of harm in comparison to the very little, negligible, good she has done.

But, on a more positive note, Mr. Tuello appears to help Serena and Fred negotiate. Well, at least that seemed to be the case at first. In the long run, what happens is Fred crosses the Canadian border and is arrested. Leaving us to wonder if Serena set him up or did Mr. Tuello use her to get to Fred?

The Rise, Fall, And Rise Again Of June Osborne: Commander Lawrence, June, Commander Winslow, Billy

Due to Commander Lawrence’s power waning, he isn’t able to just abandon June and her plans and head north. So, instead, he is making plans for what’s to come. First trying to make sure everyone ends up in a good home, rather than head to the colonies or end up jezebels. Which sparks an idea. For rather than making a contingency plan based off the worst-case scenario, June comes up with a plan.

You see, a bartender named Billy, who works at one of the hotels the Jezebels do their business, he has a hand in the cargo which goes in and out of Gilead. So the idea is, inspired by Beth, to use those planes to circumvent border checkpoints and get the kids, Commander Lawrence, and Beth out. As for June? Well, you know she isn’t going anywhere without her daughter. No matter how increasingly futile that idea is becoming.

Yet, what is a plan made by June without a major screw up? Such as Commander Lawrence spotting her while she talks to Billy and her not using her wits to avoid Winslow, but pushing all the wrong buttons which makes him want to have sex with her. My bad, wrong terminology, rape her. However, unlike the many times June just zoned out, she fights back this time. Oh, again I’m not using the right words, rather she doesn’t trying to fight him off but kill Commander Winslow – and she succeeds.

Making her very lucky the Martha who discovers the bloody room is one of the people June saved. Though, with Commander Winslow dead, and quite a few being able to put two and two together, even if his body was cremated and evidence destroyed, let’s not pretend it can’t come back on June and Commander Lawrence.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

Billy (Daniel Jun) talking to June.
Billy (Daniel Jun)

  1. I don’t want to be that guy but, in terms of Asian people, has Billy spoken more in one episode than any other Asian person throughout nearly 3 whole seasons – combined?
  2. How often do Marthas at the Jezebel hotel clean up murders to be so efficient?

Review

Highlights

Could This Be The Shakeup We’ve Been Waiting For?

While Commander Winslow is new, his death is major and could cause a major shakeup. Possibly beyond increased security but maybe instability? After all, if someone like Fred can rise up in the ranks, and despite his reputation, just because Winslow vouched for him, he has to be a big fish, right? Never mind he was touted as a big player in DC. So with his death, and the paranoia which comes with it, will that affect anything?

Think about it, if there were those who supported conspiring against someone like Joseph, likely there are other power struggles in Gilead. The kind which go beyond Fred being petty over a handmaid not giving him the time of day but instead trying to direct Gilead to be either more peaceful and diplomatic, if not more violent? So here is hoping all those commanders we rarely have seen, as this power vacuum happens, we get a more in-depth understanding of the true powers that be. Not just those like Fred and the people in Boston who often came off like middle management.

Oh, and speaking of Fred, the idea of Serena and June may be playing some kind of long game together isn’t lost on me. Why else would she not have June killed for trying to kill her? It could very well be June has had a plan all along and told Serena to be patient? Since, let’s face it, June is a parasite, and she is good at feeding off a host while making herself seem like an asset. So between Serena missing having some kind of purpose, and Nichole, June may have long planted this idea, as has Mr. Tuello, that Serena could have everything and more if she would just play her hand right.

But, even if she didn’t screw over Fred, him being tried in international court should be a hoot.

Low Point

Everyone Knowing June Is Dangerous Yet Still Working With Her

June looking devious.

Big picture: Outside of helping Emily escape with Nichole, has June done anything major for someone else? You can submit keeping Janine from killing herself and her child, but let’s think about all June has done which has made it clear most of her actions have been about bolstering her position – the aforementioned included. When pregnant, she made those women suffer on her behalf and didn’t give a damn. Lest we forget, she was a mistress and didn’t really have much sympathy for her husband’s ex-wife. With Eleanor, she uses her being mentally ill as a means to get what she wants and to manipulate Commander Lawrence.

Hell, let’s not forget how she has used Serena to advance her personal agenda and how that led to Serena losing a finger! With all that in mind, why is it Beth would vouch for June? Why would anyone support her? Yes, she has her moments, but so often her ideas backfire and lead to people being maimed, hurt, or assaulted. Is the fact she has a willingness to rebel and come up with plans really so valuable? That she is trying to be the white version of Harriet Tubman? Just with her taking far less responsibility and making more enemies, and uneasy allies than a solid network?

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Review Summary

Rating Breakdown

Could This Be The Shakeup We’ve Been Waiting For?
8
Everyone Knowing June Is Dangerous Yet Still Working With Her
6
SourceHulu

Community Rating

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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. “Do you count Nick as a person of colour?”

    When it comes to actors who pass, I generally don’t consider their characters of the same ethnic/cultural background as them unless it is explicitly said and I believe Nick’s backstory didn’t mention him being mixed.

    “Does it strike you as odd that this series went to extreme lengths to make inclusivity an option, then did very little with the concept of racial relations?”

    I’ve learned a long time ago that most shows present a shallow form of diversity which doesn’t often go past you physically seeing people who are different skin tones. As for actually addressing their different cultures, how they clash or how they are similar? Usually, unless the show is focused on a Black character, Latinx, etc., more often than not that gets ignored. It’s like how a lot of movies seem to have added that one Asian character in hopes to open in the Chinese market. I’d submit it isn’t about inclusivity as much as avoiding controversy and doing the absolute minimum.

    “Do you miss Commander Pryce?”

    Honestly, I just miss authority figures seeming competent. The way Gilead is ran, and what we’ve seen of the people who run it, it makes you wonder how did they dominate so much of the country and still hold onto it? So, more so, I missed how commanders were written in early seasons before, in order to bolster June and her allies, they dumbed them down.

    “Doesn’t it strike you as a bit odd that there’s no build up of resentment and backlash from the general male population of Gilead that The Commanders are allowed to be unfaithful on a regular basis, but horny working-class males are put to death for adultery?”

    Yes and no. In many ways, I feel like the modern version of The Handmaid’s Tale is reactionary to the current administration of the United States. So, it makes it where everyone knows those in power are hypocrites and yet things are treated with an almost indifference. A sort of, those in power will always get to do as they please so why make a big stink of it?

    “The depiction of Fred’s downfall here strikes me as less plausible than the novel… the man was never terribly bright, but how incredibly dense do you have to be, to fall for such an obvious trap?”

    To me, Fred’s downfall was less about his intelligence and more about showing how much he truly loved Serena Joy and how much power she truly did hold over him. Heck, that maybe, despite it all, he really did love her and trusted her with his life. Which, as with June, his love, lust, need to be validated, led to his downfall.

    “Canada hasn’t acted all that concerned about the possibility of military conflict with Gilead so far, something else that strikes me as bizarre.”

    The Nichole situation did cause some worry of a military conflict, so we were told during the initial negotiations. However, since then, I think the idea has been that going to war would be mutually assured destruction. Canada is Gilead’s neighbor and likely one of their main suppliers of resources. So to go to war with them, while also dealing with most of the world not recognizing them as a sovereign state, would be dangerous.

    Though, let’s not forget that Canada has been provoking military aggression for a long time. With being a refugee state, taking in whoever escapes Gilead, it isn’t like Canada hasn’t protected not just kids like Nichole but harbored those like Emily – people well known for assault and murder.

    “I find it implausible that the kitchens, bathrooms and staff-quarters at Jezebels wouldn’t be bugged, especially since this society isn’t concerned with concealing the behaviour of The Commanders.”

    A part of me thinks the issue is resources. With Gilead isolated as it is, they don’t have the fanciest technology in residential homes/ suburban areas. Those resources, energy and tech, are regulated to hospitals, the city, and government buildings. Hence the age of Fred’s laptop, Joseph’s phone a 90s relic, and most members of The Eye only having armor and guns. Much less, with the internet so limited, maybe they have it where the tech needed for truly monitoring as you’d think they would is avoided out of fears of espionage?

  2. I couldn’t resist reading your recap, even though I couldn’t bring myself to watch the whole episode… I guess I had this morbid curiosity to know exactly how June messed up her latest poorly-thought-out and ill-prepared plan. Even if I could do without yet another rape scene, so thanks for sparing me that by writing this recap.

    With regards to your remark about lack of Asian characters… do you count Nick as a person of colour? Max Minghella is half-Chinese, on his mother’s side, and he has some Italian and Jewish ancestry on his father’s side of the family tree. But yeah, unless you count Nick then Billy is the only character of Asian ancestry with any substantial role in three seasons.

    Does it strike you as odd that this series went to extreme lengths to make inclusivity an option, then did very little with the concept of racial relations?
    In the novel/movie, Gilead is a white-supremacist society that has committed acts of ethnic-cleansing and every single character with a speaking role is white.
    The Hulu series changed the nature of this society so that all the racist politics were removed, it made Luke and Moira black, made Nick mixed-race… and then didn’t really do much in terms of exploring the broader implications of these changes.

    Also, do you miss Commander Pryce? He seemed to be the only male authority figure we’ve seen so far who genuinely believed in the religious convictions he espoused and fully understood the emergent social structure. Killing him off meant that there was not a single Commander who whole-heartedly embodies the ideals of the regime… Winslow, Waterford and Lawrence are all two-faced.

    The depiction of Jezebels in this series is weird. The novel depicted this club as a closely guarded secret that only a small section of the ruling class even knows about – the epilogue states that once the existence of this club became known, then the majority of Gilead’s leadership (who are true believers) instigated a purge of “moral degenerates” in the ranks of officialdom and Fred was executed for his philandering (that, and he was labelled as “having liberal tendencies”)…. but in the Hulu series, Jezebels appears to be common knowledge, to the extent that people on the street have heard of it. The male rulers regularly sleeping around seems to be much more widely and casually accepted in the series, even after the existence of Jezebels has been exposed to the international media…. and doesn’t it strike you as a bit odd that there’s no build up of resentment and backlash from the general male population of Gilead that The Commanders are allowed to be unfaithful on a regular basis, but horny working-class males are put to death for adultery???

    The depiction of Fred’s downfall here strikes me as less plausible than the novel… the man was never terribly bright, but how incredibly dense do you have to be, to fall for such an obvious trap???

    Also, I wonder why Canada would risk provoking military aggression with such an obvious stunt…. more than once I’ve been wondering what happened to America’s vast military arsenal. They can’t have used it all up in the nuclear exchange that resulted in the “Colonies” being irradiated (the number of a-bombs it would take to pollute a country to the extent depicted onscreen is actually quite small)… also, I wonder what the current military capabilities of Canada are and how much they could plausibly build up in the time period depicted in this TV series…. Canada hasn’t acted all that concerned about the possibility of military conflict with Gilead so far, something else that strikes me as bizarre.

    Also, with regards to The Marthas… once again, I am reminded of the chronic lack of security cameras and bugging devices in what is supposedly a fascist police-state. The dystopia of George Orwell’s novel “1984” had surveillance devices installed in every home and public building – and that story was written in 1948… I find it implausible that the kitchens, bathrooms and staff-quarters at Jezebels wouldn’t be bugged, especially since this society isn’t concerned with concealing the behaviour of The Commanders.

    I’m reminded of my own work experience in Australia, a democratic country… in any modern hotel, there are security cameras situated in the corridor, reception, kitchen area and restaurant. Carting off a body wouldn’t be that easy – I would logically expect things to be even harder to pull off in a fascist society where the police don’t need a warrant for surveillance or raids.

Questions, Comments, or Opposing Opinion?

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