When I watch The Handmaid's Tale, I think, why am I doing this to myself? Why am I watching a show about this dystopian misery where women are tortured and raped and gay people are killed? WHY? Then Aunt Lydia hands Serena her ass and Elisabeth Moss earns her Emmy and I remember, I watch because this is great fucking art.
This episode (alt titled, "Two Weddings and a Funeral") was the darkest of season 2 and the Atwoodian girl on girl crime continues. According to my slap stats, no one got physically assaulted during this episode entitled "Seeds." There was some light shoving at The Colonies, but to my knowledge, no one got zapped last night. Baby steps, I guess.
I'm thinking of putting up a cattle prod counter on our Twitter and Insta pages to count how many times a sadistic Aunt zaps some poor Handmaid or Unwomen each episode. Then I think to myself, am I the only one who would think that was funny? No, there's other sickos out there too who find humor in dark places like The Handmaid's Tale. Cheers to you, fellow dark humored weirdos!
This episode was devoid of June's inner voiceover. She has become Offred again and a robot version at that. A robot Handmaid doesn't have an inner voice. It just functions. Going through the day to day routines of a pregnant vessel. Responding with only a "Yes, Mrs. Waterford," and a "No, Mrs. Waterford." June's silence last night, was the creepiest thing about "Seeds." And this was an episode with child brides, so that's sayin' something.
Offred takes the Mayday letters and decides to have a BBQ in the sink. Nick is apparently all knowing and all seeing when it comes to his love (more on that later), as he is there shortly after she starts burning, to put out the fire. Nick already knew that something was wrong with Offred, but now he gets a more personal view of her broken soul.
The prize pig (county fair reference) is brought forth before Aunt Lydia and Serena where all of her measurements are taken. Big Lyd seems to be a complete annoyance to Serena and once again we see that the "benevolent" Aunt is there to ensure a full term pregnancy, but also to protect Offred from Serena's wrath and violence.
The best part about this bedroom scene, and it was my fav moment in this episode, was the power dynamic that is playing out between Serena and Lydia. Oh, you thought Serena, one of the architects of Gilead, was the big shit on turd lady island? Wrong. Aunt Lydia is allowed to write and read, which Serena jealously scoffs at. Aunt Lydia has the power to scold Serena. Aunt Lydia makes a veiled threat to take Offred from Serena's home if the "mood" doesn't improve. Aunt Lydia appears to have more power.
I'm spending a lot of time on this scene but I can't move on until I point out that this is the second time in two weeks that we have Aunt Lydia making an issue about the cleanliness of Offred's vagina. I believe Big Lyd refers to it as Offred's "musk."
I know that science and actual facts about women's health aren't a reality in this bible based world, but what is Lydia's obsession with vagina smells? Who the fuck was Aunt Lydia before Gilead and when do we get her back story, damnit! If she was a professional vagina smeller for Summer's Eve Douche, ima lose it.
Also, Aunt Lydia's hat is looking more and more Chef Boyardee-ish. It was more of a brown hanky last season and now I half expect when she barks out orders for the other Aunts in the room, that they will respond with a, "Yes chef!"
We'll get to The Colonies later, because Offred is in need of our attention. She's having some pregnancy problems. And by problems, I mean that she's bleeding into her old timey bible bloomers, and she ain't about to tell anyone. Can you blame her? An end to her pregnancy means and an end to her life. Just like the low tire pressure light on in my car, I'm sure if you ignore it long enough it will just go away.
Serena proposes a walk and Offred is seeming a little unsteady on her feet. Probs because she is bleeding out buckets of blood from her vag, but I'm not a doctor, so I don't know.
It's on this walk that we see Serena getting frustrated with robot Offred. When Offred was sassy and had hope, she posed a worthy advisory to Serena. Serena, being the extremely intelligent woman that she is, craved this opponent. She has created a world where she can't form protests, write books, have debates and seek intellectual challenges anymore. Offred's defiance was one of the only things that gave her that fiery passion back. Albeit, a sick and twisted version of what a challenge is.
Serena is miserable, bored and having a mental breakdown. We do not have sympathy for her, as this sick and twisted world is her masterpiece. She thought that she was creating a biblical utopia, but instead she created a prison. One in which no one, not even the men in charge, seem to be happy. Suck it, Serena.
After the walk, we get some Nick and Serena time where Nick voices his concern for Offred's mental health. Serena brushes him off, but he stops her and says, “She doesn’t have anyone to look out for her.” Ooooo, Nick you just sealed you fate, son.
Serena, the sick conniving chess player that she is, plants a seed in Fred's brain about Nick's concern for Offred. We will talk more about all the "Seeds" of this episode on this week's podcast. Serena's seed planting works, and the Commander at first tries to banish Nick, but then at the behest of his boss, decides to "promote" Nick instead.
Meanwhile, Offred is soaking in a tub of her own blood, so she's totes fine guys. Totes fine. She heads downstairs to drink a Rita grass smoothie and Serena is like, hey you wanna go to the Prayvaganza? Offred's like, "beep, beep, boop...error, error!" Like robot Offred has a choice.
The Prayvaganza, which is basically church on acid after you've drank a 12 pack and haven't slept in 3 days, is a fucking nightmare. So, hell basically. The 14th circle of hell, in fact.
We see all the Wives and Handmaid's sitting in neat rows, all appropriately divided up by their color patterns. The head Commander dude comes out and throws down some serious bible talk with the favorite passage of purity ceremonies and baptist weddings everywhere, 1 Corinthians chapter 13 or as Trump calls bible verses, "two Corinthians."
The Prayvaganza starts out as an honoring ceremony for Gilead's most valiant Guardians, but then the small, white dress figures are marched out and placed in front of each individual man. Oh shit, this is a mass wedding straight out of the book.
As each man pulls up the veil of their stranger bride, and one by one we are shown the face of a very young girl, the audience collectively gasps. I can't be the only one who was instantly nauseous at this FLDS style, child marriage scene. I was mostly angry at Serena as she glowed with approval of this perverse practice and as she took the last ounce of joy from Offred, her relationship with Nick.
Nick's new child bride is named Eden, because of course she is. They head back to the Waterfords where Nick reads some bible shit and Serena banishes Offred to her room because the 15 year old is gonna drink alcohol with the adults. Veryyyyyy bibley.
Offred heads up to her room and Rita pulls her aside to offer some gossip about the new child bride as well as some cinnamon milk. As Offred has become more of a robot this season, Rita has become less of one. She seems like she genuinely cares for Offred and I hope we get more character development and back story on Rita.
Meanwhile, Offred gets up to her room, pulls down her bible bloomers and we see a scene straight out of my 8th grade nightmares. You know, that dream you have about going to school and having a period blowout? Just me? Ok.
Nick is emo smoking and walking back to his above the garage bungalow when his Spidey senses kick in and he dashes into the bushes to find a near death Offred covered in blood. I have SOOOO many questions about this. Did Nick hear her moans? How did he know she was there? Did June walk down there? Jump out the window? What is the secret to love? How are babies made? Who shot JR? Why did they cancel Sense8? WHAT DOES BE BEST MEAN!!!
Offred wakes up in the hospital and the baby is still alive. This is where June begins to come back to us. She makes the baby a promise. “I will not let you grow up in this place. I won’t do it. Do you hear me? They do not own you. And they do not own what you will become.” That's the fighting spirit I want to see! Welcome back June Osborne. Welcome back.
I wanted to save The Colonies for last because I found those scenes to be the least compelling. I found the chemistry between Emily and Janine, really lacking. There was no real dynamic there, and I'm not sure that we learned anything new by heading out to that toxic death camp. Do The Colonies still suck? Check. Are women still dying there? Check. Is Janine still naive? Check. I didn't gain any fresh insight nor did I feel that it moved the plot along. It was nice to check in with one of my most favorite characters, Emily, but I felt this was a bit of filler for the episode.
What we do learn at The Colonies is that Janine likes to quote Aunt Lydia and she thinks that somehow God will save them from this place. You can't help but just be in awe of Janine's child like qualities.
Emily spends a lot of time reminding Janine that God isn't going to help them. They came to this toxic dump to work and then to die. She let's Janine know that this place is the real hell and fuck your God.
I like the part where Janine and Emily duck behind a hill momentarily to breath for minute. Janine finds an old flower and she blows the seeds. Once again, more seed planting.
Emily eventually pulls out a tooth that fell out. She's starting to rot away just like all the other Unwomen who have come before her. It won't be long before she will be buried in the hillside cemetery with all the others.
Janine arranges for Kit and Fiona to get married. Kit dies and they bury her the next day. Perhaps Emily was mad at Janine not so much that she's worried about the Aunts seeing, as much as she is upset about her holding pattern in life at The Colonies. She's going to die. She's going to be buried in a shallow grave after her insides rot.
I think I would have been more satisfied with The Colonies if we were shown Emily starting to plot her escape. Instead, we were shown things we already knew and it definitely felt pointless.
All in all it wasn't my favorite episode of the season, but since Handmaid's Tale is one of the best shows on television, it was still extremely good entertainment. We did get a nod to the What Fruit Or Vegatable Is My Baby scale that we've been using, so papayas for everyone!
What did you think? Am I being too harsh on The Colonies parts? Will we get any escapes anytime soon? Is Aunt Lydia a wee bit obsessed with vaginas?
Blessed be, bitches.
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