The second episode of The Handmaid’s Tale was such a laugh fest. Those crazy New Yorkers and all their adventures! Every time Chandler was making fun of Ross at the Central Perk, I peed my pants. . . Wait wrong show. Unlike the Friends DVD that June was watching, episode 2 of season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale, was not so funny. Sidenote: When I watched Friends as a kid, I always wanted Monica and Rachel to make out. I thought there was something deeply wrong with me for wanting this. Nah girl. You was just gay.
June Hides Out at the Globe and Takes Control
Let’s get June’s story out of the way first. We start off with some crusty old New Englander, whom I’m sure is just back from catching lobsters that he sells at his Jesus themed chowder house, driving June to a building he says is safe.
The old man is pretty short with June about where they are and how long she’ll be there. “Don’t forget to close the dahr when I leave. Ya don’t want those leaf peepahs gettin’ in! After a while, crocodile.” Or something New Englandy like that.
We quickly learn (or not so quickly, if you’re Erin) that this was once home to the Boston Globe Newspaper. The building tells a story of violent chaos. Not a slow departure from normal pre-Gilead life, but a sudden raid that forced personal items and shoes left behind against their will.
I thought this was a nice call back to season 1 when June was told she and the rest of the women in her office had to pack their shit and go. The women were removed by men with guns, but they were at least allowed to grab their personal items. Thank you, benevolent authoritarian leaders!
After June’s tour of the blood covered and bullet ridden death house, Nick arrives. He almost got a hammer in his face, so word to the wise, Nick. Next time you decide to enter a safe house where a woman who has been kidnapped, raped, beaten, and traumatized is staying, you might want to announce your arrival. Maybe with a “Hey June! It’s me! Nick! Not someone who’s here to harm you!” Just a thought.
After Nick tells June that they aren’t leaving yet, and that it could be weeks before they could leave, June has an understandable meltdown. After Nick gives her the keys to the car, she gets behind the wheel and reality sinks in. She’s fucking stuck and maybe for a while.
June has some serious trauma that she is dealing with. I can’t imagine how a brain can even begin to process this. I think her dominating Nick when they have sex is a completely normal reaction to have and one that seems completely appropriate considering the circumstances. That sweaty back though.
June dives into an episode of Friends on a Boston Globe laptop. I paused the Roku, and I think it’s a Friends episode from season 7, based on the maroonish colored dusty DVD box that June holds up. We go the extra mile here at Three Busy Ladies Podcast.
June’s story ends with her taking some of the personal items left behind at the desks, and building those people a memorial down at the site of their deaths. RIP, brave journalists.
Emily Goes to the Colonies and Becomes Dr. Quinn
Now, let’s get into the main character of episode 2, Emily. Alexis is back and I have decided that I am going to officially retire Rory. Rory is dead, y’all. She was poisoned to death near a toilet at the end of this episode. Long live Emily!
Lookin’ like some dry-ass New Mexico desert community, The Colonies are worse than I had actually imagined. Watched every second my menacing men on horses and aunts wielding their favorite fetish toy, cattle prods, the “Unwomen” are being worked to death as they clear toxic waste.
Emily has become the local Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She doles out Tylenol and antibiotics as she helps patch up wounds that aren’t going to get better. These women are literally rotting to death. Sidenote: Is this season brought to us by Tylenol? This is the second episode in a row that it gets mentioned. Tylenol: the official medicine of the dystopian future!
A bus pulls up and some new women get dropped off at the world’s worst summer camp. One of the women is dressed in blue, indicating that she is, or was, a wife. She is played by the amazing Marisa Tomei. I kept waiting for Tomei to blow my socks off with her acting here, but she kept getting overshadowed by Alexis Bledel, who needs a God damn Oscar for her performance this episode.
In a scene straight outta Forest Gump, the Wife goes from bunk to bunk as the Unwomen tell her, “Seat’s taken.” Eventually, the Wife finds a bunk in the corner and she immediately kneels down and prays. “Dear God, thank you for your good and generous blessings.” What a kind and loving God, to send her to Camp Nail-fall-off.
After a hard day of half ass shoveling and getting cattle prodded, the Wife tries to clean all the toxic dirt off her skin with the water from the sink. Emily lets her know that her efforts are blessed be the fruitless. The water is tainted too.
Emily continues to give out kind and free advice to the naïve Wife. They continue to talk and Emily tells her that she was once a professor. The Wife says that she was against the university purges. She was sent to The Colonies because she committed a “sin of the flesh. And my husband was so busy with the Handmaid, he didn’t even notice.” Oh Marisa Tomei Wife lady, you don’t even know what’s about to happen to you! Like a highly trained SEAL Team, Emily has set her trap.
Emily offers the Wife a bottle of expired antibiotics to help deal with the E. coli that is in the water. The desperate woman takes the bottle and seals her fate for her toilet death later on.
The flashbacks for Emily were exhaustingly heartbreaking. One of the major questions I have after watching the opening of the flashback was, which one of the butt munches in her classroom was the NARC? Who ratted on her about the picture of her family on her phone?
My initial thought was that it was that douchey bro from the front row of her class, but then I thought, it might be the girl who she was helping as well. I think that is what’s interesting about that scene. As a viewer, we are left to wonder which one of these little shits reported her.
After her boss tells her that she won’t be teaching next semester and to lay low, we learn that her boss is also gay. In a fast forward moment, we see Emily leave the building to find a horrified crowd looking up at her boss hanging from a walkway. The word “Faggot” is spray painted below. I still have Emily’s horrified face etched into my brain.
Emily and her wife, played by every lesbian’s first crush, Clea DuVall, are waiting in lines at the airport to get the hell outta of Jesus Town. Surprise! They aren’t real people anymore, nor is their marriage recognized by THEE LAW.
Clea DuVall and Oliver get to cross the line and leave on their flight, while Emily has to stay and clear up some newly implemented bureaucratic paperwork with the new government. I’ll admit, the airport goodbye scene had me crying. As a gay woman, married to another gay woman, living in a world in which Donald Trump is being controlled by alt-right Christian extremists, watching this gave me more than a little anxiety.
Alexis Bledel’s performance for this entire episode was magnificent. I never thought she would ever leave behind the shadow of Rory Gilmore, but the last scene where she watches her son and wife leave, had me close the coffin on that shadow. The nail in that coffin, was when her character poisoned the Wife.
The entire time that Emily was being kind to the Wife, I was like, yeah, I’m ok with this. It’s the decent and kind thing to do for this crazy, brainwashed cult Wife. Then, immediately after realizing that Emily had poisoned the Wife, I was like, yeah, I’m ok with this too. Is that wrong? Not in the world of Gilead. I feel that Aunt Lydia’s words sum up this new cruel world. “This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.”
Blessed be, bitches.
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