The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale 2×05 – Seeds

"God's watching over us? Shit job He's doing."

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This might be my least favorite episode of the show thus far.

That’s not to say Seeds was a weak hour; it’s gorgeously filmed and impeccably acted. But it’s so darn depressing and gloomy that I genuinely felt miserable watching it.

June Hits Rock Bottom

As Other Women ended with a broken June succumbing to her Offred persona, Seeds sees our heroine completely lifeless and unresponsive. The fact that she doesn’t react to her bleeding speaks volumes, and after Nick is married off to a child bride (we’ll get to that in a moment) by the Commander and Serena, she’s pretty much lost everything. All these developments do not make for “fun” TV, but they are admittedly effective in further isolating June and drenching her in even more despair. Quick question though: how does Elizabeth Moss do it? She can’t possibly maintain her sanity in real life when balancing such dark material.

The climax of the hour, Nick finding an unresponsive June in the dirt, is thus a fitting conclusion to such a bleak hour. Interestingly, the show sidesteps a pretty convenient way to have June lose her baby, and instead has her near-death experience act as a wake-up call to save her unborn child. Although it’s a bit rushed to see June reclaim her agency one episode after losing all hope, I don’t think I could have handled any more misery.

Colony Chaos 

Thankfully, we have The Colonies to brighten the mood. If you thought this world couldn’t get any more depressing, meet Fiona, a sweet and caring soul who marries her one true love Kit as she slowly withers away on her deathbed. Their wedding scene is upsetting to watch, but it’s also shockingly beautiful to see so much love in such a dark world. It also culminates in Emily and Janine’s powerful exchange (read below) over the nature of their new reality. I think I’m about to ready for the women of the Colonies to stage a big ‘ol revolution.  Perhaps Mama June can help out too?

Prayers And More 

Then there’s the “Prayvaganza”. Everything about this scene is masterful in its horrifying beauty. The way everybody is seated depending on their status (Commanders, Wives, Marthas, and Handmaids), the way the child brides are revealed beneath those spooky veils, and of course Waterford and Serena’s pure glee at taking Nick away from June. This is the second week in a row we witness a Gillead ritual in detail, and as traumatizing as they are, they do a great job of making the show’s world feel painfully realistic.

Bits & Fruit

– June tries to burn the letters, but Nick salvages some of them. Hmm..

– As if she couldn’t be humiliated enough, June is told by Aunt Lydia that she needs to take “two baths” a day. The cherry on top? Serena knows about her bowel movements.

– Serena is jealous of Lydia and her pencil, seeing as how she’s a former best-selling author who is prohibited from writing anymore. #FirstWorldProblems

– What was the purpose of the scene featuring Waterford walking Aunt Lydia out? I enjoyed it but I’m not sure that it was entirely necessary.

– The bathrub of blood. Enough said.

– Notice that June is drinking Lydia’s infamous smoothie this week. And she doesn’t throw it up this time!

– The inaudible clap at the wedding was a stunning stylistic touch.

– So how did June find herself outside? Was she trying to escape? Did she try to commit suicide? Or did she just lose so much blood and fall out the window?

– Emily spits out a tooth and it’s as gross as it sounds.

– Is Serena trying to be maternal when she gives the poor child bride some sex tips? Yuck.

Eye Chatter

Serena: She may be God’s chosen vessel, but I’m surprised He wants to pass along that nose of hers.

Janine: That’s up to God. He holds me in the palm of His hand.
Emily: He couldn’t hold you in His palm someplace else? Like Bora-Bora?

Emily: We come here, we work, we die.

Emily: Gilead took your eye. They took my clit. Now we’re cows being worked to death, and you’re dressing up the slaughterhouse for them.
Janine: Cows don’t get married.

Conclusion

It doesn’t make for enjoyable viewing, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t yet another haunting and unforgettable hour from The Handmaid’s Tale.

Nad Rating
B+

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