Photo: Sophie Giroud/Hulu
After “Ballet” ends on multiple slopes (June sees Hannah on TV! Janine and Esther were poisoned and probably dead!), “Border” is mostly an introductory setup for the rest of the season. I don’t find anything fundamentally wrong with the presentation, for what it’s worth. The chess boards had to be reset, plot points created, etc., but it made TV a rather slow hour, save for some amazing action from Ann Dodd and a juicy June moment at the end.
In addition to checking on Janine and Esther (comatose but alive) and John’s (visibly disturbed) mental state, “Boundaries” introduces new Chekhovian characters, motivations, and guns to both Gilead and the small Mayday outpost on the Canadian border where Moira is reluctantly taken in June. This is an episode full of information you’ll want to remember later, so here’s what we all learned.
In the debrief watching Hannah in the living room in Toronto, where the episode begins, we learned that the purple (not pink!) of Hannah’s dress is an important detail due to June’s fixation on it. (“What was that color?” “This color? What is it?” We call it “purple,” June.) We also learn that John spotted Nick in the background of the televised funeral, but doesn’t have an official channel to get in touch with him because Twilo, a reserve officer Fed, is currently in Gilead himself. I don’t know why Tuello doesn’t have co-workers who can handle calling when he’s out of the office, but whatever. It may be the only Federal Reserve left in America. It goes to the Fed in the whole country. moving forward.
The last major revelation of this scene is that Moira was concealing her knowledge of a small group of resistance fighters on the frontier who had some luck communicating with the people in Gilead. Why was this group hiding from June? According to her: “They are a traumatized group of refugees, and they are the last people you should be around right now.” And all of you, I’m officially sick of how Moira has been writing for the past season and a half. Where’s Moira “Keep You Fucking Together” From? Moira was once a staple for June, Luke, and the show in general. These days, Moira is more of a plot tool than a character and exists primarily to provide contradictory guidance about the trauma and conflict with June.
Anyway, she gives up and decides to take June to this mysterious group “for Hannah’s sake”, but Luke, a man, is not allowed to attend. They drive to a parking lot where they meet Lily, who turns out to be one of the political prisoners who have been replaced by Fred. Cute – good! John and Moira follow Lily to a remote cabin in the woods guarded by women with long guns and suspicious behavior. This is where we learn that this small operation is part of a larger Mayday Network. It’s real!
“Everyone who works with Mayday knows the risks,” Lily said, shocking June and leading to a conversation like:
John learned that Mayday wasn’t something she and the other maids had just made out of a painful need, and we got an insight into actual Mayday tactics. This includes sewing arsenic into the belts of Martha’s dresses, enlisting the help of Friendly Eyes using a password system, and a sophisticated method of communicating with the citizens of Gilead using signals and data. And I suppose some kind of wiring I still don’t really understand. In any case, Jun’s contact with her captain would take some time.
South of the border, Serena is still dismayed to learn that Gilead is not a hospitable place for women. She wants to continue to own the lib as she did with the fascist funeral, but her plans to resume her position as First Lady for human rights abuses end in failure. second.
She remains unaware of her impending humiliation throughout the bizarre candlelit dinner at Commander Mackenzie’s home, which was also attended by Mrs. Mackenzie, Lawrence, Nick and Nick’s wife, Nick Rose – but not Officer Twilo, who has to wait outside. night in the cold. But we, the viewers, learned many things, including:
- The MacKenzie family are Hannah’s adoptive parents.
- Commander Mackenzie knows that John Osborne killed Fred, and he’s not happy about it.
- Perhaps MacKenzie is plotting to kill June in a poetic and/or hideous way.
- Rose’s father is a friend of the MacKenzie family.
- Rose and Nick fell in love at “the third joint concert” in the capital
- Mackenzie is deeply suspicious of Nick, who catches him in the middle of a brief secret encounter with Twilo – who is still waiting outside in the cold.
- Other leaders are not comfortable with Lawrence remaining celibate.
- Lawrence knows the term “toxic masculinity” and his wife Eleanor hated Serena.
But let’s go back to Serena’s ineffective scheme. She thinks her best bet is not to be a single mother, so she tries to propose to Lawrence with plenty of winks about political marriages. She even strongly suggests to Tuello that the wedding date has already been set, so she won’t be returning with him to Canada, thank you very much. But the next day, Lawrence hit her up by saying, “You didn’t really think last night meant anything, did you?” Womp, womp. As it turns out, the big leaders don’t really know what to do with Serena, so they sent her back to Canada anyway. It’s asking for a big staff and budget, and they’re all like, Yes, sure, whatever you want, lol.
More interesting than a group of steak-eating religious fanatics in the dark is Aunt Lydia’s visit to Esther and Janine in the hospital. Lydia has been feeling things for some time, especially for Janine, who treats her like a very lovable and mistreated puppy. All of those buried feelings are turbocharged and go off in this episode, allowing Dowd to show off how much more shabby she can really deliver. Do you think Elisabeth Moss has cornered the market against acting? Have you seen Anne Dodd switch from one sentimental side to the other with just one look? At first she was angry and slapped Esther, who was still unconscious, in the face. Then she was filled with despair on the side of Janine’s bed, falling to her knees, crying, and begging God. Is this… Is this a regret? Read the words “You don’t deserve this!” Don’t punish her for teaching me a lesson ‘on the page. It’s another thing to hear them in Aunt Lydia’s sobbing and weeping.
Although it’s a slow episode overall, “Border” ends with a jump scare. Serena returned to Canada, and her car stopped on a bridge. She stares out the window, contemplating her life as a free woman, when June looks like a bad dream and explodes on her window. I just learned that Serena has been allowed to leave Gilead, and out of her anger and frustration (her call to Nick was basically a bust), she clicks any rage-inspired icon in Season 4 of “Do you understand me!” line delivery. “Never touch my daughter again!”
Sleep well, Serena.
• Regarding the color purple: This means that Hana is now ready to be sent to the Wife’s School because she is 12 years old and therefore ‘ready’.
• Nick thinks June is interested in his wife, Rose. Think.
• Lydia maintains enough tension that she can get Mrs. Putnam to bring Angela to visit Janine at the hospital. This is where we learn that Mrs. Putnam may have a little soul after all.
• After a visit from her daughter, Janine wakes up and the last thing we see is her wheelchair outside. I hope this doesn’t take us down the path of the Sufi Mothers League, which would be somewhat contradictory to the entire project of this show.
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