With a recent announcement of season 4, it seems marketing coordinated that with an episode that may finally be the beginning of the end.
Deniz Gamze Erguven
Introduced This Episode
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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
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
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?
How often do Marthas at the Jezebel hotel clean up murders to be so efficient?
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.
Everyone Knowing June Is Dangerous Yet Still Working With Her
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?
It’s easy to get desensitized. Both in terms of what the show offers and in general. Thus making the job of an actor harder for they have to give more of themselves over to you – the audience. Now, up to this point, I shed no tears, felt no significant shock, and only admired Moss and Dowd’s performance. But in this episode, one of those things changed.
The Things Asked of Us: Janine, June, Moira
The Soul, It Cries for Freedom: Janine, June, Moira
Would it be wrong, if not odd, to say I was a bit bored by “Jezebel?” Granted, we got another character’s background story and saw someone from June’s past, but I found it difficult to be excited or engaged. To help understand why, look below.
Being that Young Adult novels have come to dominate visual media dealing with a post-war period, it is a bit refreshing that those under 25 play little to no role in the series. Women who have experienced life instead are the focus and how they are dealing with a world which sent back women’s right at least a century.