Under the Eye: “Seeds”

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Maybe June’s lost what’s left of her mind, I don’t know, but it’s the middle of the night, she wakes up, grabs the pile of clandestine letters she received in the package from Mayday and starts burning them in the sink. When Nick confronts her, she tells him she’s not supposed to leave her room in the middle of the night. She could be putting herself into a trance-like state so that she can cope with all these ridiculous rules. It could be an act to make the Man think she’s finally been broken. With the burning of the letters, the show has officially been given a hard reset, or so we’re supposed to believe. This makes the previous season’s subplot of the package and the letters completely pointless. The next day, Lydia and Serena have a brief exchange about smoking and the baby’s health. Fred wants to know the sex of the baby. Lydia tells him they’ll have to wait until the baby is born to find out. Meanwhile, in the “Colonies,” the “unwomen” are singing the Cat Stevens song, “Morning Has Broken,” which is bizarre to me. You would think the “unwomen” would not be permitted to sing, let alone a Cat Stevens song, but the Aunts working there don’t seem to care. Janine and Emily catch up. Emily gives her the low-down on the “Colonies.” Poor, broken one-eyed batshit-crazy Janine cannot negotiate this madness, even as she staggers across irradiated fields with dying women. There only seem to be a handful of Guardians and Aunts, and if the “Colonies” is not a place where an incredibly violent uprising must occur, then these women, frankly, deserve their fate. This is when we place women (all women) into the “victim” column.  Explain that idea to the first women to join the Green Berets Special Forces recently.

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These “unwomen” are the intellectuals who can’t be taken to Jezebel’s to serve out the remainder of their existence as prostitutes. While using the toilet, Offred notices a bloody discharge from her vagina. This can’t be good. Aunt Lydia keeps assuring everyone the baby is healthy, but she’s not an OB/GYN, so how the hell would she know? Serena takes a “forced walk” with Offred so they can make small-talk, but Serena is dissatisfied with Offred’s intercourse. She doesn’t want to do all the talking, but if I remember correctly, she flew into a rage the last time Offred spoke, so you can understand her trepidation. Nick expresses his worries about Offred’s mental state to Serena, who doesn’t seem to care. She tells Nick that Offred is not his concern. We also must remember that in the before-time, Serena was an intellectual, and that if she wasn’t a “Commander’s wife,” she’d be hauled off to the “Colonies” or forced to work at Jezebel’s. Nick attends a “graduation ceremony” of sorts with others of his station where they are given medals and wives. Wives? Yes, wives. Their faces are covered until they are given wedding rings. Nick’s bride is a beautiful, young (very young) woman named Eden. I had a crush on a girl named Eden in high school. She was a gorgeous redhead, kind of looked like the actress Alicia Witt. I bring it up because I’ll never forget that name. Anyway… We move on from excessive creepiness to excessive cruelty in the “Colonies.” An “unwoman” collapses while trying to dig, and she is carried away. This finally angers one-eyed batshit-crazy Janine. Offred begins to bleed heavily from her crotch, and she doesn’t know if she can hide it. Remember that her worth is solely dictated by her fertility, and even then, she’s still pretty much worthless, and since the women are blamed for the lack of healthy babies in the Great Society, she fears her days are numbered. In the “Colonies,” Emily washes her face with brown water and tries to clean her teeth, but one of them falls out of her mouth.

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A female rabbi conducts a wedding ceremony for two “unwomen.” This was Janine’s idea. Emily takes her aside and tries to tell her this place is Hell, reminds her of her one-eyed status and Emily’s lack of a clitoris — all because of Aunt Lydia and Gilead. I don’t know why these women, all these women, do not rise up as one and kill or be killed. Can the fear of death override all rationality? Yes, it can, but what of the fear of a prolonged death? Serena gives Eden a primer on what to expect in sexual congress with Nick. She also commits a no-no by telling her she can also enjoy sex, to which Eden mentions the sin of lust. See? Serena chooses what she wants to believe, as do we all, but that kind of talk will only result in getting her tongue removed. Before Nick can make his way up to his Fonzie-style apartment to do the deed, he sees June outside in the rain, bleeding profusely. How did no one notice this? He calls out for help as he cradles her in his arms. The “unwomen” wedding turns into an “unwomen” funeral, officiated by the rabbi. Offred wakes up the hospital. The baby is fine. Offred speaks to the baby, promises to not let this baby grow up in this place, and that no one will “own” this baby. Read into that what you will. It does sound mighty cryptic until she promises she will get them both of out Gilead. So, in the end, Offred/June has not lost her mind. How comforting.

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