The Handmaid's Tale (TV series)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Skipper, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. Skipper

    Skipper Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    Ok perhaps we have different definitions of "hipster"? I mean...
    [​IMG]
    =
    [​IMG]
    ?
     
    BillJ likes this.
  2. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Location:
    In many different universes, simultaneously.
    Somehow I get the impression that you didn't actually read the novel. Gilead in the novel doesn't comprise the entire continental U.S. There are places where there's still fighting. The presence of oranges in the grocery store is a clue that tells Ofglen how the fighting is going.

    The TV series has taken a lot of creative liberties with the novel. The whole Mexican trade delegation in the TV series (that's the episode that was just on tonight) was based on one small scene in the novel in which Offred and the first Ofglen encounter a group of Japanese tourists. They have trouble processing the fact that the women are wearing short skirts, fashionable hairdos, makeup, and nail polish. It's something that's become foreign to the Handmaids, but they realize that the Commanders allow tourism so Gilead's economy doesn't suffer. One of the Japanese women asks if they're happy. Mindful of spies everywhere, Offred says, "Yes, we are very happy."

    Yes, this is something that could happen. It's doable to start it and at least try to implement it. Remember, at the time of the novel's publication, the USSR still existed, and the Cold War was still a thing. There were a lot of countries that would simply have shrugged and looked after their own affairs.

    Atwood couldn't have known about some of the things that have happened since then. I agree that it's weird that no other countries have stepped in to say, "Hey, you're committing war crimes and human rights abuses all over the place"... but that's modern thinking. And (to my knowledge, as I'm an episode behind) the TV series hasn't actually stated how the whole basic situation started in the first place. Yes, we know the Gilead group (might as well call them domestic terrorists) committed mass murder of the US government and courts, so there was an immediate breakdown in the chain of authority.

    But we don't know yet what happened after that, or what caused the whole infertility issue to begin with. They've waved it away with "chemicals and pollution" but it would have to be something awfully concentrated and that would have affected most of the population. If I hadn't already read the novel, I'd speculate this was biological warfare - a sort of "sterility plague" introduced by enemies overseas. That could explain why no other countries have stepped up to help. I note that Canada serves the same purpose in this story that we do now - a haven for refugees and asylum seekers, such as the 100+ who have sneaked across the border since Trump took over.

    Or maybe Waterford just has the codes for the nukes.
     
  3. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Well, it's strongly implied in the TV show (certainly moreso than in the novel) that everything that has happened was the result of the increasing infertility in the population. The Mexican ambassador mentioned that not a single child was born in her hometown in the past seven years. So, they're basically in a situation similar to the one found in Children of Men were humanity had to deal with the very real prospect of its impending extinction.

    In the TV version, this lead to a growing Christian fundamentalist movement, which eventually took control over large portions of the United States in a bloody coup d'etat. It's not that hard to imagine that the religious fundamentalists started to argue that the widespread infertility was a punishment from God for humanity's "sins" (like homosexuality) and that society needs to purged to redeem iself and so on. During and after the coup, women were stripped of their rights and the few who were found to be fertile, were rounded up and redesignated as "birthing machines".

    It's also implied in the show that there has been armed resistance to the takeover of the country by Gilead, with some form of civil war still going on in parts of the country. Recent fighting was mentioned to have occured in Chicago and Florida. So far, we only know for sure that Gilead is in complete control of the former Northeastern United States (possibly also the entirety of the East Coast, except Florida).

    The episode with the flashbacks to the Waterfords' life before the coup also seemed to imply that the Commander and his wife were actually more "moderate" members of the fundamentialist movement. The Commander had second thoughts due to the number of people who were expected to be killed in the coup, and Mrs. Waterford originally planned to hold an active and influential position within the new government (something her husband didn't actually oppose).

    But then the coup and the civil war happened and apparently the most extreme elements of the movement quickly took charge, and the Waterford's were forced to go along with it. Keep in mind that Mrs. Waterford was an author who announced her intention "to write another book" in that episode's flashback scenes, and in the end she ended up in a society where she's forbidden to read.

    All in all, it doesn't look like such a far-fetched scenario to me provided a earth-shattering like widespread infertility were to happen. Granted, it's certainly a worst-case scenario.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
    Skipper, The Nth Doctor and BillJ like this.
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    BillJ
    Someone hasn't actually been paying attention to what they are watching. :eek:

    Geez, it is almost like what went on when Donald Trump went and kissed the Saudi's collective ass last week.
     
    Skipper and The Nth Doctor like this.
  5. WarpFactorZ

    WarpFactorZ Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    Location:
    Configuring the Ontarian Manifold
    Any armed uprising in the US will be quickly put down by the military.

    See, this is what tipped it for me. The episode implies they, too, just went along with the extreme fundamentalism of the group. His wife's ambitions? Ehn, who cares. Well, he does, according to some badly written dialogue, but then I guess he really doesn't when you watch the rest of the show.

    An "earth-shattering event" like widespread infertility is not going to open the door to a small group of domestic terrorists to destabilize the entire US government. Killing the President and most of Congress doesn't suddenly put the command of the entire country on a first-come first-serve basis. Everyone knows either Keifer Sutherland or Mary McDonnell will step in.

    I enjoy the show from a science fiction perspective, but it's about as likely to happen as a zombie apocalypse.
     
  6. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Not if the coup happens to be supported by at least parts of the military... which hasn't been explicitly ruled out in the series. Then you'll have a civil war at your hands. In any case, the movement seemed to have supporters in almost any segment of society.


    Well, it's certainly possible that the Commander still saw the Giledean movement as the better alternative to maintaining the status quo, even if he didn't agree 100% with its goals. It's also quite possible of not likely that Gilead gradually turned out to be more extreme than he had envisioned it himself, but when this point was reached it was already too late to turn back. It's also possible that the Commander grew more and more extreme himself in the years after Gilead was formed. His younger self from 10 years ago could have been more moderate than he is now.


    We don't really know how "small" that group really was. There are hints about a larger fundamentalist movement which existed prior to the coup: The large group of people praying in front of the hospital in which June gave birth to her daughter, the barista who insulted Moira und June as "sluts" just before things got really really bad, the children who were playing in "Giledean" clothing in the background when June and Luke had their first date. And the movement already seemed to have a pretty large number of people under arms at the time when Gilead was originally formed too.

    Let's say 20% of the entire population initially supported the movement and the coup, then we have roughly 60 million people that we're dealing with. I'd envision a movement of a couple of million people who are ready to generally support a move towards some form of theocracy, and a hundred select people at the top who are in on the whole plan of toppling the government and blaming it on the Muslims.

    All what it takes then is enough good people to sit back and do nothing, because they're too complacent or too afraid. The best election result the Nazi Party ever had under fully free and fair conditions in the Germany of the early 1930s was 37%. And there was certainly no armed resistance against them when they took power and abolished democracy.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
    BillJ, Timewalker and The Nth Doctor like this.
  7. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Location:
    In many different universes, simultaneously.
    Remember how the Roman Empire worked? Starting with Claudius, in 41 AD, it was the army who had the final say over who became Emperor. After that, whoever wanted the job was either a general in the army, or had the backing of the military (and that person had to have very deep pockets to pay them, or they'd switch allegiance thisfast). Don't say that can't happen now. It's happened in other countries, and I doubt the U.S. would be immune, under the right circumstances.

    Exactly. How many politicians agree 100% with the party leadership or with their colleagues? If they did, we wouldn't have just seen the conclusion of the CPC leadership race in Canada, with 14 candidates (yeah, I know O'Leary dropped out at the last minute), whose ideas run from Red Tory (Chong) to Trump-worshiping racist Kellie Leitch, to the Harper-clone who actually won (he's anti-same sex marriage, anti-abortion, anti-CBC, anti-basically every social reform the Liberals have made in the past 50 years).

    You do realize they're just actors, right? And that life isn't always like a spy/secret agent show?

    The mantra of the Reform Party in Alberta was "grass-roots support." It's not unreasonable that the Gilead movement could also have had grass-roots support. In real life, in Canada, that expanded over the course of years to the point where (under the Canadian Alliance name, headed by a fundamentalist, anti-science pastor named Stockwell Day), they elected enough MPs to become the Official Opposition (after seesawing with the Bloc). And then came the "Unite the Right" movement which culminated in the hijacking of the Progressive Conservatives when Peter MacKay backstabbed David Orchard (he'd promised not to hand the party over to the Alliance, but he went back on his word... in return for a succession of cabinet posts under Stephen Harper). Harper and cronies tried to take over the Progressive Conservative name, along with the party, but the remaining PCs stood up and said "No." That resulted in my doing a 180 turn, by the way. I never used to have much respect for Joe Clark. But now? I might even vote for him, if he were to come back to politics. I know he wouldn't be running for the Reformacons.

    2006-2015 is known by many left-wing people in Canada as "the Dark Decade", when Stephen Harper gradually made the PMO more powerful, more secretive, he became more controlling of his own MPs to the point where dozens of them weren't allowed to attend the all-candidates' election forums in 2011 (unscripted questions from an unvetted audience meant he couldn't control what made it out to the public, y'know), and then the scientists were muzzled and whole science libraries were literally trashed. Electoral irregularities were a constant under the Reformacons, and thank goodness the ABC (Anyone But Conservatives) movement worked in 2015. I'd hate to see the Canada that would have resulted if Harper hadn't been got rid of. And now his replacement is just like him. I do know that a lot of his people wouldn't mind at all if a society like Gilead were to come about, as they're the ones ranting that Trudeau's wife should "stay home with the kids" instead of accompanying him to diplomatic events and doing her own public speaking and charity work.

    Remember the Tea Party Republicans who were saying that women shouldn't have the right to vote? Margaret Atwood didn't put anything in that novel that hasn't either already happened somewhere in the world in past history, or that wasn't already going on when she wrote it in the '80s. There have always been some backward people who don't think anyone but taxpaying white male citizens should be allowed to vote.

    And at times it did seem to me as though some politicians were using it as a how-to manual, or at least a list of suggestions in how to set up a theocracy in the U.S.
     
    BillJ likes this.
  8. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Scarecrow Keeper Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Location:
    Scratchman's Land
    As soon as Waterford started talking about all of the Jezebels' past careers, I knew Moira would be there among them. I'm both happy and sad I was right. Happy because Janine was lying and Moira was alive and was able to reunite with June. Sad because Moira is subjugated to state-sponsored prostitution. Worse, it seems like she's okay with her current state of life because the alternative is death.

    How pathetically disgusting that Gilead is all high and mighty about scripture and ensuring a wholesome lifestyle, but also "unofficially" allows the means for sexual release beyond their homes. I honestly can't decide what is worse: Ceremonial raping of Handmaids or enforced prostitution of the Jezebels, complete with the scripture acknowledgement of what they're doing.

    I was surprised, however, to see that Marthas were at the nightclub, making sure the Jezebels are behaving themselves.

    One thing I thought was weird: While it was interesting to see Nick's perspective prior to Gilead and certain small steps leading to the uprising, what are the odds of someone who works at a career development office becoming a high-ranking commander in the new world order?
     
  9. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Location:
    In many different universes, simultaneously.
    Yay, I don't have to keep quiet about this anymore! I've known for weeks that Janine lied about Moira being dead.

    The Marthas were there? Why - they're domestic servants. In the book and movie, the Aunts are in charge of the Jezebels.

    As for how someone who works in an office can become a Commander, just look at Canada's previous Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. He used to work in a mail room. All it takes is contacts and being willing to do dirty work until you eventually grab your own power.
     
  10. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Scarecrow Keeper Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Location:
    Scratchman's Land
    Er, you're right, it was the Aunts I saw, not the Marthas. Brain fart on my part. Still, I found it strange they were involved with that considering how "unofficial" it was suppose to be.

    Yeah, true. That and it being an uprising. Still, I thought it was a weird path.
     
  11. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Location:
    In many different universes, simultaneously.
    It's so frustrating, being behind like this. I won't be able to see the previous episode you discussed until this coming Sunday. The one you're talking about now is still a week and a half away for me.

    Of course the Commanders would set up their own little "playground" - that's basically what any authoritarian group does. They indulge in pleasures and privileges that are denied to everyone else.

    One thing about reading: In the novel (I think) and definitely in the movie, the Aunts were allowed to read. I guess the TV series decided to make it so none of the women could read.
     
  12. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Wanna know a weird connection I just came across?

    Nick is played by Max Minghella. Max Minghella's father was Anthony Minghella who won the Academy Award for Best Director in 1997 for his film The English Patient. The main star in The English Patient was Ralph Fiennes whose brother happens to be Joseph Fiennes (Commander Fred Waterford).
     
    Shaka Zulu likes this.
  13. UncleRogi

    UncleRogi Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Location:
    Hanover NH, catspaw of Atoning Unifex
    Ridiculous? Wait 36 months and remind me.

    America has shown the world what happens when idiots elect idiots. Hang on to your flutes folk,
    When they come for the guns, and they will, they will be Republicans
     
    BillJ and The Nth Doctor like this.
  14. UncleRogi

    UncleRogi Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Location:
    Hanover NH, catspaw of Atoning Unifex
    As a side note, for some reason, I think her name was Jennifer.

    Looking through the novel, I find no evidence.
    I like to think of Offredd as Guenevere reborn,
    Arthur's wife, companion, and betrayer.

    And she is not happy.
     
  15. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Location:
    In many different universes, simultaneously.
    Offred's name is never explicitly stated in the novel. Some people have made the case that when some of the women at the Red Centre exchange names, "June" is the only one who doesn't show up later as someone Offred encounters or hears about - so her real name must be "June."

    That's obviously the reasoning taken by the TV series producers, but Atwood's take on it is that her name might be June, or something else - it is never stated.

    The 1990 movie has her real name being "Kate" - which suits Natasha Richardson's portrayal. I knew someone named "June" in RL, but she was at least 20 years older than me. It's an old-fashioned name that not many people use anymore, or would impose on a kid.
     
  16. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Garth of Algar Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2001
    Location:
    Wayne Campbell's basement
    Until now. Though I've a feeling we'll see more "Offreds" than "Junes". ;)
     
  17. Skipper

    Skipper Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    I Grew Up In a Fundamentalist Cult  Like the One in  “The Handmaid’s Tale”
    But yes, please continue saying that something like this it's possible only in the Middle East...
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  18. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Scarecrow Keeper Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Location:
    Scratchman's Land
    My heart ripped apart while June and Moira fought. It ripped even harder when Moira yelled "I'm a whore now!" as the horribleness of her situation truly sunk in. These women's lives have been completely and utterly destroyed by Gilead and it's only now do I fully feel it.

    And then we see Janine snap. Not just as she was being raped by Daniel Monroe, but on the bridge, with her daughter, Charlotte. As painful as it was to hear June slowly negotiate Janine off the bridge from death back to hell, I knew she save her daughter but still try to kill herself. Hell, I thought she would actually die. What a monstrous fate to survive the attempt. I fear her life will be even worse now if and when she regains consciousness. The direness of her situation reminds me of what cruel existence Emily must be in now, whatever it might be.

    Every time Daniel's wife, Emma, spoke kindly to Janine, leading to her next round of raping, I wanted to scream at her. Every time Emma tried to comfort Janine that they were in this together, I wanted to scream "You're not the getting raped!" Every time, Naomi Putnam complained about Janine, I wanted to scream "You stole her baby!" Every time Naomi complained about the baby, I wanted to scream "She's not your baby!" Every episode, I want to scream, but I wanted to scream so much more in this episode.

    But at least we got one small ounce of hope: June got through to Moira and Moira both got the package to June and escaped. The smile on Moira's face brought some joy to my own.
     
  19. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Location:
    In many different universes, simultaneously.
    Most of this is not in the book, and I'm not going to be able to see it until next Sunday.

    One thing I noticed in the last episode I did see (the Luke-centric episode) is that not only is the TV series lifting whole conversations of dialogue directly from the movie, it's also lifting some of the music directly from the movie (although using them in different places).
     
  20. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Location:
    Bulawayo Military Krral
    And the rebellion doesn't really succeed, as implied at the end of the novel, since all that's left seems to be Nunavuit, where the confrence is heald that discussing the writings of Offred.