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THE HANDMAID’S TALE SEASON 4 (Premieres 2021)

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    forwardswill
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    #1204379351

    The decision for June to rape her husband was pretty irreversibly disappointing. There’s “anti-hero” and there’s “flawed” and then there’s just plain rapist. No doubt people on here will defend the decision, which is going to be gross, but I found it to completely undermine everything that had just been well explored with Serena. June has never been a character to be actively rooted for but she should at least be someone that the audience doesn’t feel sick to be spending time with.

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    Luca
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    #1204379398

    The decision for June to rape her husband was pretty irreversibly disappointing. There’s “anti-hero” and there’s “flawed” and then there’s just plain rapist. No doubt people on here will defend the decision, which is going to be gross, but I found it to completely undermine everything that had just been well explored with Serena. June has never been a character to be actively rooted for but she should at least be someone that the audience doesn’t feel sick to be spending time with.

    The scene occasioned a lot of discussion. I always go back to the following: I absolutely denounce many of June’s decisions, including the aforementioned one and pretty much every single one she makes in the final three eps of the season. They’re awful, uncalled for and, quite often, undoubtedly selfish. At the same time, I also cannot imagine how messed up someone’s head must be after seven years of such extreme mental and physical torture. I cannot begin to imagine because I have not been through a similar experience. Again, this is neither a justification for nor my defending of any of her actions, least of all her raping Luke, but it does not seem beyond the realm of possibility to me that trauma can unfold in such an absolutely horrifying form. There’s a big and important gap between understanding what drove someone to do something and empathizing with that reason.

    I don’t root for June and haven’t in quite a while. I don’t know how you can at this point. I’m also one of the rare people who therefore does not consider the finale satisfying but finds it incredibly tragic — tragic in the sense that while an experience can be horrific, the ensuing trauma can be triple that, so much so that it can drive you to do some of the worst things possible. She’s embodying everything Gilead normalized, which is both horrific and arguably realistic, IMO. At the end of the day, though, I’m onboard with what the show is trying to explore, but I also recognize that not everyone is. But there is no way of defending June’s decision. There is a way of explaining it, but absolutely no way of defending it, which I don’t think anyone has done. As for Serena, as confirmed by Yahlin Chang, the final monologue is as much about June as it is about Serena, so the hypocrisy is seemingly intentional.

    I’m probably not properly communicating what I am trying to say. That’s probably because I am still torn about all of this myself. But I hope it makes some sense.

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    forwardswill
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    #1204379458

    June’s actions were entirely realistic for what she has been through. And indeed the delivery of that choice was as well delivered as it could have been. But that doesn’t mean it was necessary for the show to take that course and is ultimately very short sighted.

    For example, at some point, regardless of how much the show explores her flaws, the show is going to want us to be emotional about her relationship with Hannah. I can only speak for myself but I won’t feel anything for her now. Regardless of what has previously happened to you, if you rape someone then you deserve everything you get in my eyes. The show thought it was being clever by paralleling June and Serena but for me it has extinguished the way that the previously fundamental differences between them were what kept propelling the show forward.

    I dread to think what she is going to do in the final three episodes but I’m sure it will be excused for its realism.

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    Luca
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    #1204379477

    For example, at some point, regardless of how much the show explores her flaws, the show is going to want us to be emotional about her relationship with Hannah. I can only speak for myself but I won’t feel anything for her now. Regardless of what has previously happened to you, if you rape someone then you deserve everything you get in my eyes. The show thought it was being clever by paralleling June and Serena but for me it has extinguished the way that the previously fundamental differences between them were what kept propelling the show forward.

    Personally, I don’t think June and Hannah are ever going to reunite, or at least have a happy reunion. People might root for it, but I don’t think that will be the writers’ intention at all. They’re prob gonna find a way to show that the current June is not and cannot have a happy ending. It’s just not gonna happen. And the people who are hoping for it, better buckle up.

    As for what happens in the final three eps, her behavior in them is definitely grounded in realism, but it’s also gonna come to bite her, which is made very clear in the finale’s closing few minutes.

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    forwardswill
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    #1204379487

    I didn’t say I expected a happy ending, I said I expected the writers to want to try and make us emotional about it again sometime soon just like they did at the beginning of this episode. They will inevitably do this, and I’ll sadly feel nothing.

    I look forward to the final three episodes regardless.

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    Luca
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    #1204379495

    I didn’t say I expected a happy ending, I said I expected the writers to want to try and make us emotional about it again sometime soon just like they did at the beginning of this episode. They will inevitably do this, and I’ll sadly feel nothing. I look forward to the final three episodes regardless.

    Oh OK, got it. I completely understand and relate to what you’re saying. I hope it’s not annoying that I always respond! I just genuinely appreciate that you thoroughly spell out your thoughts and always look forward to reading them!

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    forwardswill
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    #1204379502

    Of course it’s not annoying! And thank you

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    kaziz
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    #1204379552

    Re: June raping Luke, logically of course it makes sense for somebody who has experienced that much trauma to do something that horrifying. In a way it’s hardly revelatory about June because she’s been horrific in so many ways—in another I don’t know why it had to happen because she was often very dom with Nick and they could’ve been more ambiguous, but…nope.

    Ultimately though, it’s not what happened so much as how. I have such immense trouble with this show—and for some reason I didn’t stop season 3 and just continued—because it genuinely makes trauma-torture porn while dressing it up as gritty consequences exploring the patriarchy. Sure, June is an anti-hero but we as audiences are constantly manipulated to sympathize for her. And there’s some very troubling consequences about communicating a message with June’s rape of Luke—the way it’s done makes me think the logic is “when you rape & enslave people, part of their revenge will be to rape & enslave other people”—which is…very offensively broad! Especially with regards to how much this show has begun to steal from Black history, I’m deeply, deeply uncomfortable with those implications. Obviously it’s incredibly well-acted, no one can deny that, I guess that’s why I keep going, but I feel like a total masochist for doing so lol

    And the problem is that when every season begins, it’s almost like the creators want us to reset June as a character. She’s a messiah—oh, no she’s not. She’s a messiah again. Oh, no she’s not. The show wants her to be both the emblem and the flawed exception who is different to the “good” characters: Janine, Moira, Emily. And anyway when it comes down to it, all the good characters follow June’s lead anyway so: what does it matter?

    Part of it’s…boring because I don’t know why I waited 3 seasons to be told that Lydia/June/Serena are all similar sides of the same coin, I already knew that. The other part is this weird attempt by the show to keep one-upping its own atrocities (yes, that is 100% what they’re doing, let’s not pretend otherwise please). It’s really disturbing.

    FYC:
    Picture: The Power of the Dog, Passing, The Lost Daughter
    Director: Jane Campion, Rebecca Hall
    Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch
    Actress: Tessa Thompson, Olivia Colman
    Supporting Actress: Kirsten Dunst, Ruth Negga, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley
    Supporting Actor: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jesse Plemons

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    kaziz
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    #1204379558

    For example, at some point, regardless of how much the show explores her flaws, the show is going to want us to be emotional about her relationship with Hannah. I can only speak for myself but I won’t feel anything for her now.

    This, basically, is what I’m trying to say. I said this to myself…last season as well tbh. And then I had to wind up watching the first half of a season that felt like it had retconned June (and Serena! The conclusions she comes to in any given season seem to vanish at the beginning of the next) and now going into next season, I strongly suspect…yeah, they’re gonna try the same shtick.

    FYC:
    Picture: The Power of the Dog, Passing, The Lost Daughter
    Director: Jane Campion, Rebecca Hall
    Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch
    Actress: Tessa Thompson, Olivia Colman
    Supporting Actress: Kirsten Dunst, Ruth Negga, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley
    Supporting Actor: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jesse Plemons

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    Reis
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    #1204379572

    The thing is The Handmaid’s Tale shouldn’t be a series that have many seasons.

    When I readed the book months ago I was schocked that the story covers just a few days in June journey and there were just one cerimony scene and it was described in a way that was almost subtle. The presence of the violence in the book lives in the opression these womens live, in the little (and big) details that are taken from them. So the show after season 1 could have done a much better job in the development of this world.

    Don’t get me wrong but when I read the showrunner saying the show could survive for more seasons I think it’s ‘disgusting’. The Handmaid’s Tale shouldn’t be a long-running show. IMO It isn’t more a revolutionary or relevant show like it was in the first season, it became a dystopic blockbuster with big production and a great cast. And it is ok to be ‘just’ that but you need to ground your show in more than women suffering.

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    Victor
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    #1204379577

    I have some thoughts about the whole rape thing, but it’s better to wait everybody catch on with the last episodes.
    But I’m just saying that they are still very much trying to make us empathize, sometimes, with June, and after that i just can’t.

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    kaziz
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    #1204379611

    But I’m just saying that they are still very much trying to make us empathize, sometimes, with June, and after that i just can’t.

    Right. Yes. And this has very much been a persistent problem with the show. In its desire to continue no matter what, it makes some very amoral decisions. It’s baked into the writing, and on some level I feel like they blithely assume their audiences will follow & sympathize with Elisabeth Moss everywhere no matter what, so…”here, let’s throw more spaghetti against the wall & see if it sticks.”

    FYC:
    Picture: The Power of the Dog, Passing, The Lost Daughter
    Director: Jane Campion, Rebecca Hall
    Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch
    Actress: Tessa Thompson, Olivia Colman
    Supporting Actress: Kirsten Dunst, Ruth Negga, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley
    Supporting Actor: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jesse Plemons

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    alittle03
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    Sep 16th, 2020
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    #1204380164

    I’m glad we’re all talking about this currently because I just finished S4 and I’ve been so conflicted about the rape scene and this conversation is helping me navigate how I feel, especially as a victim of SA myself.

    I don’t really know what to add that hasn’t already been said and even if I did have something on my mind, I really couldn’t properly articulate it. I guess I just want to express how surprising the scene was to me and how I kinda feel betrayed by June in a way that her decision was, as forwardswill excellently put into words, irreversibly disappointing. And, in the same manner, I feel rather foolish for not catching onto the fact that June was descending into irreparable malevolence a while before she raped Luke, but I suppose I couldn’t catch onto it because of how cathartic and powerful I found her as a character. I also feel really terrible for Luke and the whole thing has really just left me with an icky feeling.

    I’ve since read up on some articles about the episode and I just hope they revisit this scene one day because it’s such a demonstrably significant plot point for June, but I fear it could potentially go under-discussed as the show continues to explore other events in its storyline, such as Serena’s baby and the prolonging contrast between life in Gilead and Canada (both of which I’m excited to see explored further in S5, I just hope they don’t forget about what happened with Luke and June too much). I also would love to know how Luke feels after what happened and how the show plans to deal with that. I guess I just hope it’s not later made out to be a moment of strength for June or anything that would undermine the significance behind Luke’s lack of consent. I’m excited for S5 and I hope they do right by portraying the aftermath of this, but I’m somewhat unconfident and the whole situation just feels gross.

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    Labyrinth
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    Feb 21st, 2021
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    #1204380192

    I’ve since read up on some articles about the episode and I just hope they revisit this scene one day because it’s such a demonstrably significant plot point for June,

    SPOILER!!!

    That’s what I hated about it. They just didn’t talk about it afterwards. And what’s worse even in the next episode she forces herself on to Luke again and he had to angrily rebuff her. I understand the trauma she has endured but this scene was just completely unnecessary.

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    wolfali
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    #1204380286

    I have a few thoughts I’d like to contribute to this discussion but I’ll hold off on them for now primarily because I haven’t seen the final three episodes of the season but can I just say that I absolutely loved reading this debate?

    These type of intellectual discussions (as opposed to the snarky discussions that annually occur on the Oscar threads) are what make forum boards great and execute their purpose. It’s boring when we all agree/have the same thoughts on television!

    Oscars FYC:
    "Shiva Baby" – in all categories especially Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Score
    "Together" – in all categories especially Actress (Sharon Horgan), Actor (James McAvoy), Original Screenplay
    "CODA" – in all categories especially Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur)
    "Everybody's Talking About Jamie" – Supporting Actor (Richard E. Grant), Supporting Actress (Sarah Lancashire)
    "I'm Your Man" – International Feature
    "Summer of Soul" – Documentary Feature

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