June Trains For A Marathon & Moira Sells Maple Syrup.
This episode shouldn't be called "Baggage." No. It should be called "Get Away From The God Damn Window, June." I feel like that title better captures the essence of episode 3 of The Handmaid's Tale.
This frustrating episode begins with a killer Santigold song and our June running the corridors of the Boston Globe Newspaper. The Gilead Half Marathon is coming up and she has GOT to get into shape if she’s going to beat her time from last year.
As June places more personal items and pictures on the memorial, she reveals that it has been two months since she arrived. That would put her at around 13 weeks pregnant. If you look at the What Fruit or Vegetable Is My Baby website, 13 weeks is the pea pod stage. Next week is lemon!
June is busy creating a roadmap to Gilead. Clipping out newspaper articles and posting them on the wall under categories with titles like Militarization and Curtailment of Civil Rights. Her timeline straight up looks like that Charlie meme from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In order to understand, or maybe just to stay busy, she is piecing together the events that led to the Sons of Jacob running the government.
We see flashbacks of June’s activist-minded mother, Holly. She’s out there attending take back the night rallies where women are burning their rapist’s names in a bonfire. She’s working at abortion clinics and takin’ bottles to the face by violent anti-choicers. She’s surrounded herself with like-minded, woke women.
As June proudly announces her promotion to assistant editor, Holly publicly shrugs off June’s accomplishment and praises Moira for creating a queer website. Holly’s woke lady friends all nod in agreement. Holly also tells June that she shouldn’t marry Luke and this seems to be the barb that stings June the most. Her mother is not very impressed with her plain old, regular-ass daughter.
I think the most important part of this flashback was listening to Holly tell June “come on, this country is going down the fucking tubes. It’s time to get out in the street and fight, not play house.” Is Holly really good at recognizing the incoming theocracy or is she that person who has been saying “this country is going down the fucking tubes” since the 1960’s? Asking for a friend…or for me, since I have been saying this same line ever since Al Gore lost the election in 2000.
Question. What’s the timeline with the mom flashbacks? I assume this is before Hannah was born? Which means shit didn’t get really bad until a few years later. I hope we get more mom flashbacks to get a fuller picture of how Gilead came to be, as well as more opportunities to view June's complicated mommy baggage.
We next see June at the Red Center. She sits next to Moira as Aunt Lydia gives the world’s worst PowerPoint presentation about pollution. “Girls! Plastic six pack holders will choke dolphins. Cut the rings with scissors. So sayith, the Lord.”
For the first time in a long time, Big Lyd doesn’t cattle prod someone and I can sense her sadness about that. One of the slides from the PowerPoint shows a picture of June’s mom laboring over toxic tomatoes at the Colonies. Moira says that she probably died quickly. June’s like, nah. Not that tough old bird. She’ll fight until the very end.
Back from the flashbacks and the crusty old New Englander guy is back to pick up June. He probably just finished making his famous lobster rolls at his Jesus themed chowder house, and now he’s off to work his night shift with the Resistance.
Mr. Hawvad Yawd drops June off at some dank ass barn. Her next point of contact is Omar, who gets a phone call and wigs out. Something went wrong at the next safe house, and he’s got to go. June stands in front of his van and refuses to leave. Omar reluctantly gives in and brings June home with him.
This is our first look at where all the laborers of Gilead live. The econo wives and the men who own them, live in modest housing. The presence of armed guards with their scratchy radios constantly blaring, are stationed everywhere. How would you like to be known as the “econo people?” The Toyota Corolla’s of Gilead.
Inside the apartment, Omar tells June to be quiet and stay low. Omar’s wife is pretty unhappy about June’s presence and understandably so. This couple has a child and if they get caught housing an escaped handmaid, I don’t even want to think about what kind of sick torture Christian ISIS would do to these folks.
An interesting reveal here is when Heather, the econo wife, and June are talking about her being a handmaid. Heather says, “I don’t know how you could give your kid up to somebody else. I would die first.” Gilead exists on propaganda, lies, and brainwashing. Heather has been led to believe that handmaids are cold-hearted child abandoners. The best way the patriarchy can keep Gilead’s women divided and obedient is to create division, mistrust and different classes of women. Dat girl on girl crime is brutal.
Now onto the most frustrating part of the whole show. Omar, Heather, and their son head out to church. They said they’d be back by 2 o’clock. They emphasized once again to keep quiet because all their neighbors are listening. So, what does our girl June do? She decides to strut around the apartment, fidget with knick-knacks and toys, and prance around in front of the windows. She was killing me. I kept yelling at the tv, “Get away from the window!”
Her nervousness is understandable, but her cavalier attitude about looking out the window didn’t seem genuine. I don’t feel like a woman in her position would do that. I’ll stop my rant and move on but if it comes out that the reason June was caught was because she was seen in the window, I’m gonna be even more pissed than I am right now.
June waits until 5 pm. She decides that she is sick of waiting around for men to save her and she decides to dip. She swipes some of Heather’s Toyota Corolla wife clothes which are straight outta The Gap’s color palette from the late 90’s, and she’s out the door.
June blends in nicely with all the plain Janes. She even gets cocky at the train stop and strikes up a convo with a fellow econo wife passenger. “Blessed be the fruit loops,” June says. “What lovely weather we are having,” says the 2004 Ford Focus. “Praise fuckin…er, I mean, praise be, " says June.
On the train, she takes out her map in the most unsubtle way possible, and I’m apoplectic on my couch as I foam at the mouth because June is killing me. After getting off the train, she then resumes her half marathon training and runs through the woods. She’s coming to terms with leaving Hannah and making her escape.
After June arrives at the airfield, she convinces the pilot of the plane that she is June Osborne, handmaid extraordinaire. After a driver for one of the Commanders pops up out of nowhere, they all board the plane and take off to sweet freedom.
Not so fast, June Osborne! The Eyes roll up in their black SUV’s, start shooting the plane and eventually force Flight 731 non-stop to Toronto, to a halt. June gets dragged out in a brutal fashion and once again we all collectively wonder, how much more of this show can my soul take?
Moira, Luke and Blessed Be The Fruit Loops
The Canada scenes paint a picture of stagnation for our recovering Gilead trauma victims. Moira, Luke and the lady who doesn’t speak, are all living together in an apartment. Luke helplessly and obsessively is reading the news and keeping up to date on troop movements.
Moria has a job at the same relocation center that helped her during her adjustment to life in Canada. She is taking around a recent arrival from Gilead and it turns out he used to be an Eye. We get several examples in this episode of men who are also caught up in Gilead's web. It's a good reminder that while it is awful to be a woman in Gilead, it's also pretty shitty for men too.
After a long day of greeting new arrivals with maple syrup, Moira likes to swing on by the local gay bar and have some authentic lesbian sex in the downstairs bathroom. Question for the gays, was Moira packin' or just going traditional hand style? Either way, I appreciate the scene, especially since it gives us a depressing insight into Moira's psyche. I mean, she tells the girl her name is Ruby, her name given to her when she was a slave at Jezebels. Damn, girl.
This episode was filled with baggage and a butt load of questions. Where are they taking June? Back to the Waterfords? What will be her punishment? Will they chain her to a bed like Ofwyatt? Are oranges still in season at Loaves and Fishes? Stay tuned, fam.
Blessed be, bitches.
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