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It couldn’t be more apropos that The Handmaid’s Tale returned this month…you know…because the leading lady, actress Elizabeth Moss, is named June (when she’s not OffRed or OffSomeOtherAsswholeCommander). Well, The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 is full of death—spoiler!—and some not-so-dead people as well. AKA Aunt. Lydia. WTF?! Who thought it was a good idea to bring her back? We understand it builds tension in the show, and it makes things far more interesting (and also tragic) that Emily wasn’t able to actually kill Aunt Lydia, but still. She sucks. But there’s so much else to unpack in the first three episodes—and shoutout to the show for treating us to not one, not two but THREE episodes on the same day. TG. Blessed day, indeed. Let’s dive into episode one because it helped answer a lot of the questions we had after the cliffhanger of Season 2.
Girl, we’re sorry and we love you, but WHY didn’t you get in the car with Emily? We’d be lying if we said we didn’t leap off the couch and throw things at the end of the Season 2 finale. It was just mind-boggling that June would willingly choose to stay in Gilead. Of course, she needed to because the show needs her there in order to work. And we understand she’s proving that a mother’s love is more powerful than anything. A mother is willing to sacrifice herself in order to protect her children. It would’ve been selfish for her to escape the awful world she was in and leave her daughter behind. We get that. At the same time, you could argue she would have far more resources, and arguably more power, had she left and then returned with…we don’t know…a team of spies? People skilled at helping someone escape? (OK clearly not the solution but you understand what we’re getting at).
Instead, she chose to stay. Ok, fine. Good! Plan the perfect escape then…oh, no? You’re going to rush to find your daughter, break into her home and take her instead? With no plan whatsoever? Definitely ‘A Bad Idea’. One thing we will say about the writers—it’s very cool how they make June brilliant and emotional. She’s cunning and resourceful, the recipe for the perfect person to lead a regime. However, her emotions often get the best of her and cloud her judgement. You could say that’s her weakness. Pride goeth before the fall? More like love goeth before the fall. She loves so fiercely and deeply, she’s often unable to make the correct, thoughtful decisions. And that makes for remarkable TV. So good job guys.
Emily & Nicole
Emily is a hero, plain and simple. She barely makes it out alive with baby Nicole, but she follows though on her word to June and gets her baby to safety. The scene where the Canadian Law Enforcement find Emily was truly heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. A remarkable acting job from Alexis Bledel. Another time we cried during the episode?
When she carries little Nicole through the hospital. Everyone is gawking at her, she looks terrified and won’t let go of the baby, and then suddenly all the onlookers show her the most welcome response—they applaud her. Her bravery, her struggle, her strength. We full on sobbed, it’s fine.
Burn, baby burn! Serena is going through a tough time. After giving up her daughter and sending her with June, only to find out June gave her to a “murderer,” the usually calm cool and collected Serena attempts to burn down her house.
Of course, she starts with the bed, because it’s basically the root of all evil, in her eyes at least. The ceremonial bed, the scrabble board, and the entire Waterford home is burned. And it’s incredible.
Luke & Moira
Though free in Canada, Luke and Moira are still struggling. And the arrival of little baby Nicole, though encouraging, is also hard for Luke to deal with. He welcomes his wife’s baby with another man (by rape, in Luke’s mind) into his home. Of course, we know he’s a good man but we also understand why he’s having such a difficult time and acting out as a result.
Luke gets a small glimmer of hope when he receives that Polaroid of little Hannah. We don’t know how he didn’t completely fall apart. Absolutely wrenching.
The scene in the season 2 finale when Commander Lawrence blasts “Walking On Broken Glass” as he drives a helpless and extremely volatile Emily to her escape pretty much sums up the Commander. He doesn’t like liars and he doesn’t like to be bored. Perhaps that’s why he asked for June to be his new handmaid…
Twitter is trying to figure out Commander Lawrence like: