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'The Handmaid's Story' Season 3, Episode 9 Recap: They're Making an attempt to Torture Us – jj
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'The Handmaid's Story' Season 3, Episode 9 Recap: They're Making an attempt to Torture Us

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[Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale season 3, episodes 9,”Heroics,” ahead.]

I’ll never listen to “Heaven Is a Place On Earth” the same way again. The most recent episode of Handmaid’s Tale opens with a pretty maniacle June hearing the poppy Belinda Carlisle song in the pings of Ofmatthew’s heart-rate monitor. It’s safe to say in the month (or is it months) she’s been forced to sit in the hospital room as her brain-dead walking partner is kept breathing to cook Gilead’s baby, June has gone a little nutty.

While you might think not a lot happened in “Heroics,” June—and therefore our story—goes through a significant metamorphosis. Midway through Aunt Lydia’s psychotic punishment, June is still all about June. By the end, she’s ready to put herself—and her daughter Hannah—on hold in favor of saving the children of Gilead. But I want to talk about how she gets there.

Heroic

Sophie Giraud

With her sanity frayed, she becomes more and more erratic. She picks scalpels out of waste-bins (sticking herself with used needles in the process) and contemplates various ways to put Ofmatthew out of her misery. As a gentle doctor points out, if she were to murder the baby growing in Ofmatthew’s stomach, she’d be on the wall. June knows this.

We feel how trapped she is. Don’t lie: you were starting to feel a little sick, right? I was. The pacing was slow, hardly anything changed, and the white of those walls began to close in. Two weeks ago, I explained the term “filler episode.” This one is what we in the biz call a “bottle episode,” where an entire hour of television takes place in one room. Friends did them all the time. The best bottle episodes make you feel like a part of the show. Think “The One Where No One’s Ready.” I’ve never felt Ross’ pain more than this episode where he’s trying to get everyone out the apartment for a night out, and they just can’t get their shit together.

Handmaid’s Tale nailed it. To be honest, when Serena Joy comes in to visit, I thought June might be hallucinating. When I realized she was real, I let out a deep breath as if I was the one in isolation. Thank god, someone I know who’s not insane. June at this point is breaking. She calls Serena forward and attempts to stab her with a scalpel, hurting herself in the process. But Serena still must feel something for June and doesn’t report it. Instead, she gets June stitched up.

Heroic

Sophie Giraud

It’s not until the baby is born and June is allowed to step outside (for just a moment) that the fog clears. On her way out, she runs into a young girl who is coming of age to have children. When she’s finally able to breath, June has an epiphany. It’s up to her to get these kids, the future generation, out of Gilead. Though resistant to Ofmatthew throughout the entire season, June decides to head back into the hospital room to sit with her before she dies. She tells Ofmatthew about her son, and promises to rescue him. Before the credits role, June sings “Heaven Is a Place On Earth.”

The episode may have been torture to watch, but at least now there’s hope, TG.

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