Wednesday, June 5, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Handmaid's Tale' - June Learns More About the Resistance Network Created by the Marthas in 'Mary and Martha'

Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale - Episode 3.02 "Mary and Martha"

June helps Marthas with a dangerous task while navigating a relationship with her pious and untrustworthy new walking partner.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale.

"Mary and Martha" was written by Kira Snyder and directed by Mike Barker

This creative team remains intrigued by the nuances and intricacies of the Gilead society. There are aspects of this country that have not yet been explored. There is a complete portion of the city that is off limits to handmaids. As such, June is in the industrial district for the first time here. It's really just a brief glimpse though in order to better understand the network that the Marthas have created. The Marthas have also been an underutilized class in this society. June and Rita didn't have a close dynamic. June even notes here that Rita didn't allow her to really help with her responsibilities. In her new posting though, everything is much more open. However, there is still the fundamental understanding that everything is exactly the same as it has always been. There is the hope that Commander Lawrence is better than Waterford. In some sense, he absolutely is. He and his wife are completely aware of everything that is going on within their household. Commander Lawrence only seems to punish people when they repeatedly lie to him. He is open to all of June's suggestions because he knows that she likes to stir up trouble. He is willing to give her plenty of opportunities. He just expects her to deal with all of the repercussions in the aftermath. This hour encompasses a lot of melodrama simply from the fear that the network could already be exposed after a Martha is shot by one of the guardians. And yet, there is no real emotional connection to that loss of life. Nor is there any genuine concern that this could be the end of the network to the resistance. June hasn't had a solid track record when it comes to getting people out of Gilead. Emily and Moira have successfully made it to Canada. They are successes who are adjusting to their new lives which seem normal compared to everything that happened to them in Gilead. However, June failed to achieve the same fate for herself. She was always caught. Now, the show is teasing that she may have better luck actually building on the network that is fueling the resistance. There is obviously more of an effort in detailing the fragility of Gilead with more talk of war in Chicago. However, that also comes with the reminder that June thinks her walking companions are always pious pieces of shit. That's not really new. Her new companion definitely seems more devout. But she serves a purpose in providing more tactical information about what's happening in the world at large. That could be useful if limiting. Plus, June's first big mission with the resistance is a complete disaster. She forces her way onto this covert operation. It goes awry. It ends with her having to bury a body in the backyard. That's a grueling experience for her. It also plays as Commander Lawrence trying to teach her a lesson. However, it also seems like yet another instance in which this society is finding a way to abuse the most vulnerable among them. Aunt Lydia survived her close encounter with death. She is disabled and lashing out for control. June is given the opportunity to continue being of service because of that. And yet, it's already precarious for her to continue being in a seemingly stable position within this society. The show has strained credibility in order to keep that construct going for as long as possible. The Waterfords are gone for the moment. The Lawrence family is incredibly different. And yet, the pacing and the storytelling is still basically the same. That quality extends to the drama in Canada as well which mostly deals with how everyone is dealing with their new lives. Luke and Moira are now raising a kid together. Emily is baffled by how normal everything seems. She thought this kind of life was gone. She gave up hope. And so, it takes her awhile to reach out to her family to see if that connection is still there. But that does finally happen. Both Emily and her wife completely stop everything because they may have found each other. again That is so beautiful and emotional. However, the show has also trained the audience to be wary of any potential happiness because it's unlikely to last long in this world.