The Handmaid's Tale 2x12 Promo "Postpartum" (HD)
The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 12 Brings More Horror and a Shaky Truce
It’s beginning to feel as though June will never make it out of the Waterfords’ house for longer than a few days at a time; wherever she goes, she just keeps ending up back at that house. And while this doesn’t yet feel repetitive, mostly thanks to June and Serena’s intriguingly shifting relationship, it is starting to feel like the June, Serena, and Fred are locked in a cycle the show doesn’t know how to get them out of. The Waterfords’ violent rape of June two episodes ago felt like a point of no return, an event that would permanently shatter whatever uneasy bond had existed between June and Serena. But judging by this week’s episode, "Postpartum," nothing much has really changed, except that Holly’s birth gives June a concrete reason for wanting to go back to the Waterford household.
Here are five things to note from "Postpartum."
1) Emily has a new commander, and he is A Little Off.
Aunt Lydia takes pains to remind Emily how lucky she is that the brilliant, important Commander Lawrence has agreed to take her when four other couples had already refused (maybe they also subscribe to my theory that Emily is magical and low-key killed her last commander with her vagina?) “I’m wondering why such a brilliant, important man would take such a shitty Handmaid,” Emily snaps, and honestly, same!
I found it initially hard to put my finger on what is so unsettling about the Lawrence house: it’s dark, sure, and filled with a lot of aggressive art and moderately creepy sculptures. Mrs. Lawrence is mysteriously “feeling ill” and is out of sight when Emily arrives, while the Martha openly swears and seems constantly on edge. And Lawrence himself is impossible to read: he seems amusingly ill at ease with Gilead greetings, muttering “Super!” after Emily gives him the standard “May God find me worthy” spiel. Is he a kindly outlier as far as commanders go?
Probably not, as it turns out. It’s not long before Lawrence is reminiscing about “the good ol’ days” when the penalty for reading was having an entire hand cut off instead of just a finger. And his fragile wife lets slip to Emily that Lawrence is not just “the architect of Gilead’s economy” but the architect of the Colonies, which puts Emily in a very unique position as his Handmaid—most people do not come back from the Colonies, as we know. Lawrence also knows a lot about Emily, and seems to take far too much pleasure in asking her a series of increasingly intrusive questions, culminating with the crushing revelation that he knows about her forced surgery. “Have you healed properly?” he asks, complete with a Hannibal Lecter-style mouth sound. NOPE. On the heels of his chilling performance inGet Out, Bradley Whitford is doing a pretty great job of ruining our collective fond memories of Josh Lyman.
2) Gilead is its own worst enemy.
For a society whose sole purpose is theoretically to create babies at all costs, these people a very, very bad at infant care! Even after the miraculous recovery of Janine’s baby, which should have proved once and for all that separating a newborn from its mother is bad, nobody in power wants to admit it, and so June is stuck pumping via machine in the hospital while Serena dotes on Holly back at home, determined not to let June anywhere near “her baby Nicole.” Even Aunt Lydia is clearly frustrated with the arrangement, and when June’s milk begins to dry up, she’s instrumental in persuading Fred to bring June back to the household so that she can at least pump in proximity to Holly, if not nurse her directly.
The sight of June’s rapist holding her baby is completely nauseating, and it’s a tribute to both June and Nick’s highly-developed poker faces that neither of them visibly shudders. Fred’s reasons for wanting June back at home are, of course, nothing to do with the baby’s wellbeing, and he wastes no time in reminding her that he made the reunion with Hannah happen. When she thanks him, he literally responds “Is that all the thanks I get?” because he has given up on any subtlety he ever had. Once again, June commendably keeps her cool, and tells him maybe they can play Scrabble again sometime. Which is all fine and good and delivered with a nice edge of snark by Elisabeth Moss, but I’m not sure how many more scenes I can stomach of June being forced to play nice with this monster?
3) Eden pays for her piety with her life.
I have to say, I didn’t see Eden and Isaac’s tragic love story coming, if only because Isaac seems like bland garbage from the very little we’ve seen of him. But given Eden’s upbringing, this is probably her first experience of a man being interested in her, and in contrast to Nick’s total disinterest, it’s easy to see how their relationship would feel like love to her. Both Nick and June are indirectly to blame for what happens here, because it’s June who unwittingly encourages Eden to run away with Isaac, telling her “in this place, you have to grab love wherever you can find it.” Which is a lovely and important sentiment, but also an incredibly dangerous one if you’re not willing to lie.
Lying is what’s allowed Nick and June to survive for this long, but Eden’s piety makes it impossible for her to do the same, no matter how hard Nick tries to persuade her. If she just tells the authorities that Isaac forced her to run away with him—just like June “was kidnapped” rather than escaping earlier this season— she’ll be let off, but Eden insists God knows what’s in her heart, and she’s willing to accept her fate in exchange for telling the truth. A Gilead leader gives Eden and Isaac a chance to renounce their sins and plead for God's mercy, but they remain silent and are publicly drowned in a pool complex. Eden's mother screams next to a stunned Nick, while Serena and June are visibly devastated. Between the baseball stadium in Episode 1 and this swimming pool, Gilead really knows how to turn formerly fun venues into horrifying execution chambers!
4) Should we be worried about June and Nick?
As he’s trying desperately to persuade Eden to save herself, Nick is forced to come to terms with how he’s treated her, realizing his inability to be kind to her drove her to seek love elsewhere. He was understandably too preoccupied with June and their baby to give Eden much thought, and that remains true even through most of this episode. Now that Holly has been born, both June and Nick allow themselves to fantasize about running away to be a real family, but Eden’s brutal fate puts a serious damper on that dream, adding a very real human cost to their ongoing affair. When June tries to comfort Nick after Eden’s death, he brushes her off, and it’s not clear whether that’s a momentary impulse or a harbinger of things to come.
5) Though June and Serena’s relationship is still compelling, it makes far less sense in the wake of that rape scene.
I’m so conflicted about this, because June and Serena’s evolving dynamic has been my favorite element of Season 2, and any time they share the screen is fascinating. But June’s feelings toward both Waterfords appear to be unchanged—she’s still subtly manipulating Fred and still seems quietly sympathetic to Serena, but the latter is a tougher pill for me to swallow after the way Serena held her down during the rape.
There are definitely moments in which it’s hard not to sympathize with Serena in this episode; her trying in vain to breastfeed Holly is so sad and raw. But she’s truly cruel in her efforts to obliterate June’s role in the child’s life, forbidding her from having any contact at all with the baby, and it’s only the trauma of what happens to Eden that makes her reconsider. It’s a little frustrating to me that this external event is what prompts June and Serena to come back together—it makes sense on Serena’s side, but not June’s. Serena clearly felt somewhat maternal towards Eden, and seeing her killed so viciously makes her afraid for her baby, which in turns softens her towards June, who’s able to care for the baby in a way that Serena can’t. But June coming to Serena—the woman who, once again, held her down as she was raped weeks ago—and asking “Are you all right?” felt strange. June developing a form of Stockholm Syndrome with Serena in particular could make sense, but I'd like to see her motivations explored a little more in next week's season finale.
Video: The Handmaid's Tale || June sees baby Holly || Season 2 Episode 12
How to Pay Your Mortgage With a Credit Card
How to Dress Like Khloe Kardashian
How to Style Jeans for Fall Like Mary-Kate, Lily Aldridge, and More
How to Become a Trustworthy Person
Psoriasis Vs Dandruff: What Do You Have
Bershka Start Moving SpringSummer 2014 Sportswear Collection
How to Style Curly Hair the Right Way
Could Your Medication Be Causing Dry Eye
Raspberry Angel Food Cake with Raspberry Amaretto Sauce
The secret life of salesgirls
6 Best Exercises To Improve Neck Posture
Breastfeeding Mom Responds to Shamer