Wednesday, July 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Handmaid's Tale' - Emily and Serena Hold to Their Convictions in the Fight for Nichole in 'Under His Eye'

Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale - Episode 3.07 "Under His Eye"

June escalates her risky efforts to find Hannah. Emily must face her past crimes as the ongoing international diplomatic crisis becomes more complicated. Serena and Fred contemplate their future.

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.

"Under His Eye" was written by Nina Fiore & John Herrera and directed by Mike Barker

Gilead is a country with a singular focus. It was created in order for the human race to survive. That's what its leaders believe. This was their response to the infertility crisis that endangered the entire species. They didn't scientifically examine the issues in order to find the root cause of the problem. Instead, they are people who hold firm to the beliefs and the ideas that they are superior to the rest of the world for such steadfast devotion. They see that as what will save them in the end. And yet, it's impossible to kill all voices of dissension. The leaders of Gilead have long hanged people who committed crimes. That's such a low bar as well. There is nothing worse in the eyes of Gilead than endangering the life of a child. A person only has to be accused of that in order to receive the death penalty. That's the justice found in this world. It's not a society built to rehabilitate people in order to create a thriving world order. Instead, its response to attacks is to eliminate the entire threat completely. Despite existing for years though, there are still people in Gilead who cause problems because they wish to escape these horrific abuses. They aren't believers. They are simply trapped by their circumstances. It's impossible to kill everyone who speaks out against the foundations of Gilead. But there is forever the sense that Gilead is much more expansive than anyone would like to believe as well. There are a ton of loyal believers who see that as the proper way forward. They believe in the power of prayer being able to bring Nichole back home. They are unified around that message or are willing to be used as a prop to deliver that powerful image. Gilead does project strength through fear and violence. And then, it aims to discredit those who stand opposed by mentioning all the crimes they have committed. Gilead believes that Canada should return Nichole because Emily is a criminal with a long record that should immediately question her credibility. They are antagonizing her so that the Canada government and the negotiators are also unsure if her opinion actually matters. It does though. And yet, Canada isn't a country governed by a singular principle. They welcome in refugees from Gilead every day. It's a huge portion of the government now. But they also want a good relationship with the country they border. They don't wish to antagonize them because that could only further disrupt the region. That's what Canada is trying to do. Nichole means so much to Gilead as a country. In Canada though, she only means something to a small group of people who were abused by Gilead. That's a fascinating conversation. And yet, the show mostly talks about it through Emily and Moira being arrested while protesting. They are speaking up to ensure their leaders understand that this isn't right. Canada can't allow the human rights abuses of Gilead to be normalized. But that's what is seemingly happening. The Waterfords enter Gilead high society and find a life that could even reignite the spark between them as a couple. They are gaining more power and influence in this world once more. As such, they too see the value that Gilead is a better place for Nichole. Serena is being swayed by that argument. Meanwhile, June is trapped in a horrific cycle of death. The handmaids are tasked with hanging the criminals of Gilead. That's how this hour opens and ends. It's a gut punch to June when she realizes the Martha tasked with protecting Hannah is on the stage. She was betrayed by Ofmatthew, who wanted her walking companion to stop being distracted in the pursuit of her daughter. But that too represents repetitive storytelling from the show itself. June once again feels so close to reuniting with her daughter only for her to be thwarted at the last minute. The story once more ends with a sense of doom over the improbability of June getting out with Hannah. That was compelling once upon a time. It's just a note the show has hit way too many times to still be effective now. And yet, that's what the bulk of this episode focuses on. That's very lackluster and is the latest evidence that the show is running out of interesting things to say about this particular world. June would perhaps be better served escaping to Canada and asserting her maternal rights to Nichole. That would effectively shut down the negotiations Gilead is trying to have with Canada. But that's not what is happening at the moment. Instead, June is just causing havoc once more in the house where she is stationed.