The Handmaid’s Story – Testimony – Assessment

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  The Handmaid’s Story “Testimony” was written by Kira Snyder and was directed by star Elisabeth Moss (June). As all the time, she does a beautiful job, eliciting implausible performances from her fellow actors. In fact, the present’s personal well-established visible palette can also be in full view. The episode sees virtually all of our characters experiencing transitions – they usually could not all be good. Actions have penalties, and people which were lengthy simmering discover an outlet on this episode. 

The opening tune on this episode is telling and helps to place the remainder of the episode into perspective. The tune is “Glory Box” by Portishead. The lyrics declare the singer has been a “temptress for too lengthy” and he or she’s going to “go away it to the opposite women to play.” She desires a motive to like somebody, however she simply desires to be a lady. “From this time, unchained/We’re all a distinct image” – and June has damaged free from Gilead – however has she damaged free from her emotional chains? In fact, because the music performs, June is reducing her hair – and that jogged my memory of Samson and Delila. The Handmaid’s will not be allowed to chop their hair, and it was one of many first issues June did when she first escaped and hid on the Boston Tribune. She’s made herself much less female – at the very least in line with Gilead requirements. The tune goes on to ask “transfer over, and provides us some room,” and asks males to see it from their standpoint as ladies. It’s the proper tune for this present! The scene exhibits June sensually reducing her hair and ends with an in depth up of her face and eyes – she even smiles barely, however she’s the other way up to the digital camera…

All the Handmaids are struggling, and Moira (Samira Wiley) has organized a gaggle remedy session for them within the library. I liked that they mimicked one of many final formations we are saying of Handmaids with Aunt Lydia – they sit in a circle. In fact, it’s additionally how group remedy works… A lady is speaking about reducing as a method of taking again some management. She did it excessive on her arms in order that nobody would see. She tells them that’s wasn’t painful, it was a reduction. Moira tells her it was her method of coping, however she’s there now and therapeutic. Moira factors out they’re free. Somebody – June? – says her Commander is free too.

June sits between Moira and Emily (Alexis Bledel). Moira factors out that June will get to face her Commander in courtroom – nevertheless it’s only a affirmation of costs listening to and June doesn’t should go – a written assertion is ok. Emily says June desires to face him – all of the whereas, June, the one one nonetheless in her coat, stares on the ground. Somebody means that June have to be so scared serious about confronting him – and the protection will get to ask questions. June lastly seems to be up and the digital camera is available in for an in depth up. She tells them that she’s not nervous or apprehensive or scared: She will be able to’t fucking wait!

Moira finds June within the stacks – and they’re interrupted by her safety element. June asks if she’d getting kicked out of the group. Moira tells her that she’ll discover “her groove” – clearly disapproving of how June participated. However June is clearly not about to observe the trail of acceptance that Moira appears to be taking the group down. June tells Moira that she thought that she’d have extra in frequent with them – emotions, forgiveness, and journaling? June doesn’t perceive why they aren’t extra indignant. And we’ve seen Moira undergo that stage – and have the chance to confront Fred (Joseph Fiennes) together with her true title, taking again her identification when Fred and Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) first got here to Toronto. 

The 2 are interrupted by voices as a lady (Carly Road) confronts Emily. She desires to speak to her and Emily clearly doesn’t wish to speak to her. The lady tries to present Emily her contact data, however June jumps in and tells the lady to go away. Moira asks if Emily is okay, however she gained’t inform them who the lady was and insists that she’s advantageous and leaves – with Moira in pursuit. June picks up the contact data.

Again on the home, Emily, Moira, Luke (O-T Fagbenle), and June have dinner. Moira is taking a refresher coding class, getting her life again. Luke asks Emily is she’s going to return to instructing, however she says she’s undecided that she’s prepared for that. June has seen Emily combat and is aware of that this shrinking particular person isn’t who she actually is. She interrupts to ask who Iris Baker is – the lady on the library – as she slides the contact data over (fyi? That’s an Ontario space code…). Luke asks what girl, however Emily solutions that she knew her as Aunt Irene. She knew her at her first posting. June desires to know what she desires, however Moira jumps in to say that it doesn’t matter as a result of Emily doesn’t wish to speak to her. Moira appears to be all about simply tamping down the anger and sweeping the trauma underneath the rug. 

June pushes on, saying Irene harm Emily. Luke desires to know why she’d say that, and June tells him “as a result of she’s an Aunt.” It’s a given. And it’s clear that Luke has additionally been shielded from a number of what went on. June tells Emily she is going to really feel higher if she will get out what she’s been feeling. Luke tries to cease June. Emily tells her that they aren’t all like her. But, it was Emily who actually first impressed June to combat again. 

Luke and June are washing the dishes. Luke feedback that Aunt Irene should have been brutal. June wonders how dangerous she could possibly be – in any case, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) set a excessive bar. Luke factors out that if Emily wished her to know, she would have stated. June isn’t happy at having it thrown in her face. However the flashback scenes confirmed us what Aunt Irene did – having Emily’s lover hanged in entrance of her – and what Aunt Lydia did – mutilated her. 

Luke then asks if June wouldn’t really feel higher if he got here together with her to courtroom. June tells him that she doesn’t need him to be harm by what she is going to say – she is defending him from the reality – when clearly, he wants to listen to it. He goes on to say that Mark (Sam Jaeger) was actually within the lake home – the place June noticed Hannah. June isn’t comfortable that Luke instructed Mark about it. Luke presses that it’s the primary new data they’ve had about Hannah – and he’s clearly determined to search out her. It’s clear that June’s try to assuage Luke and provides him some closure has backfired. He doesn’t notice how way back this was – and what June’s final assembly with Hannah was like. June tells Luke that she didn’t wish to inform Mark about it but. 

When Moira is available in from placing Nichole to mattress, June abruptly places down her tea towel and leaves the kitchen, saying she desires to go over her testimony for the morning. Each Moira and Luke look harm. Luke doesn’t have sufficient data to have any concept what she’s going by – plus he’s a person (see the opening tune once more!), however I’m shocked at Moira, who appears to have forgotten her personal anger. Luke tells Moira that June doesn’t need him to go within the morning. Moira tells him that if she wished a cheering part, she would have requested them to return – however she’s additionally clearly disillusioned. Luke doesn’t know what she desires – she’s like a stranger half the time – he references Hannah after which ‘in mattress’ – a reference to the horrific intercourse scene within the final episode. Moira admits that trauma is a bumpy street, and he doesn’t know what she’s been by – and he admits that could be a part of the issue.

Fred visits Serena to go over their testimony. She’s studying Moira’s testimony. Serena berets him for a way he acted – rolling his eyes – whereas Moira’s testimony was learn in courtroom. She tells him that he has to get it collectively. The whole lot he does in courtroom goes to affect the result – and each of them – in actual fact all of Gilead. Fred desires Serena to be in courtroom for June’s testimony, in order that the world sees they’re a household as a result of appearances matter. Fred is aware of the right way to play Serena – he asks if she desires June to assume she’s afraid of her. Serena agrees to return, and Fred tells her to “put on the teal” – that’s the colour of a Spouse. As all the time, Serena is framed by the home windows of her cell – however is it my creativeness or is her weepy tree beginning to look a bit extra upright with all of the rain it’s getting?

Again in Gilead, Aunt Lydia can also be having bother adjusting to what has develop into a brand new regular. With the entire trouble-makers both useless or fled, Handmaids are abruptly docile, accepting creatures. Lydia tries to search out fault the place there’s none. She additionally will get extra wound up when Aunt Ruth (Jeananne Goossen) and Aunt Elizabeth (Edie Inksetter) and speaking and laughing quietly in a nook, clearly suspecting them of mocking her. She takes her frustration out on a Handmaid for the “impertinence” of making an attempt to inform her there’s a stain on the ground. When Aunt Ruth tries to step in, Lydia provides her the cattle prod too! As soon as once more the scene is superbly framed. Aunt Lydia stands within the center, herself framed by an enormous stained-glass window, with an Aunt writhing on the ground on one aspect and a Handmaid writhing on the ground on the opposite. It’s a pleasant metaphor for a way Gilead has broken each in these roles. Aunt Lydia has to stroll the gauntlet out of the corridor. She is aware of she’s screwed up – nevertheless a lot we all know she’s wished to harm Aunt Ruth, she is aware of she’s overstepped…

The scene shifts to June. Ready to go in and testify. She is sitting alone in a neat, black costume and coat swimsuit. She’s instructed it’s time. Her notes are on her lap, and he or she stares straight forward on the digital camera. She too walks a gauntlet, down a corridor to doorways with two guards who open them for her. She enters the courtroom – it’s spherical. Serena is with Fred – within the teal costume and together with her hair again in its extreme bun. Serena watches June go.

June is sworn in. She asks if there’s a Bible – there isn’t on this courtroom. Luke arrives with Mark. June exchanges a glance with him and doesn’t smile. I’ve to marvel if she amended something that she had meant to say. 

June begins by telling the courtroom that Fred Waterford and Serena Pleasure Waterford imprisoned, beat, and raped her. She then goes on to inform of her arrival in 2017 – and reminds us that this was her second posting. She tells them concerning the ceremony – the legally sanctioned rapes. She then tells them of Serena’s desperation for a child and her forcing June to have intercourse with Nick. She factors out that this was a violation of Gilead regulation – that she was unable to refuse. She tells the courtroom that Serena watched. She tells of her escape whereas pregnant and her recapture – however actually doesn’t go into element of all of the abuse that she suffered upon her return. She does inform them concerning the rape after the false labor. 

June even tells them that Serena did attempt to enhance circumstances, which result in her having her finger minimize off for studying – from the Bible. She tells them about confronting Fred and his hitting her and threatening to chop out her tongue. She’s clearly nonetheless happy with the truth that she hit him again, although it may imply execution. June tells the courtroom that she had a possibility to flee with Nichole, however she stayed to attempt to save her different daughter – Hannah – to carry her house to her father.

June then tells the courtroom about being posted to the Lawrences. She tells them of the rape that Fred pressured Joseph (Bradley Whitford) to commit on her and the way that deeply affected Mrs Lawrence. June has a tough time speaking about Eleanor. This was the incident that made her so unstable that she grew to become a hazard to June’s mission and result in June’s permitting her to die. June clearly nonetheless feels responsible about this. 

We then get an in depth up of June’s face as she tells the courtroom that she’s grateful to be speaking to them, however she’s just one voice. Numerous others can’t be heard – and he or she’s clearly considering of all the chums she’s misplaced – and her half in that. She asks of their title that the courtroom verify the costs and ship the utmost attainable sentence. She asks for justice. We then get a closeup of Luke, who’s clearly struggling to take all of it in. Fred seems to be contemplative. 

Daybreak (Alexandra Castillo) then will get to ask questions for the defence. She begins by asking if June had an affair with a married man for months – Luke. Her level is that June has a historical past of deceitfulness and infidelity! She calls adultery her sin. She additionally asks if June selected to develop into a Handmaid. June factors out it was that or the colonies. However Daybreak insists – she knowingly agreed to the ceremony. She says that she didn’t signal as much as get raped when she was 9 months pregnant. 

Fred interrupts at that time to say it was one other holy ceremony. The prosecutor asks the courtroom to silence Fred, and the Presiding Choose (Jane Luk) tries and fails. Fred goes on to say that everybody made sacrifices in Gilead – as he rises to his ft – and asks the place else is the beginning price rising? He insists that the selected God’s path and it really works – and he makes use of Serena’s stomach right here as a prop. Did he plan this from the very starting? 

June will get out of the witness field and confronts Fred straight, demanding to understand how she was rewarded for her struggling. She bore Nichole and he let her see Hannah – a kindness! June declares that she is completed, and something extra can watch for his trial. She holds her head excessive as she leaves the courtroom, trying neither left nor proper. 

In Gilead, Aunt Lydia goes to see Joseph. Lydia spins a narrative about Aunt Ruth getting in her method and sometimes being clumsy – and Joseph believes none of it. Curiously, he’s extra within the Handmaid. He factors out that the entire Handmaids as of late are compliant and obedient as a result of they’ve identified no different life. He brings up June – that it have to be killing Lydia that June is free as a hen – and singing like one too. Joseph tells her that June gained as a result of she is aware of the right way to make folks like her – and folks don’t like Aunt Lydia. She seems to be harm, however Joseph says he sympathizes as a result of folks don’t like him both. 

Joseph tells her the experiences (about her) will cease – and he or she’s afraid he’s going to terminate her. He tells her that he doesn’t wish to – he desires her again in kind. The work they’re doing, the way forward for Gilead is all that issues to him. After which Joseph springs a bombshell. They’ve captured Janine (Madeline Brewer). Her defiance is a whole blemish on Aunt Lydia’s coaching – however Aunt Lydia is thrilled. Aunt Lydia insists that Janine was merely lead astray. He tells her that it’s fortuitous that they’ve Janine in custody as Aunt Lydia enjoys inflicting ache – she denies it. I liked how this dovetailed again to the dialogue between Luke and June over the dishes… Joseph tells her that he doesn’t decide – everybody wants a interest. He doesn’t decide, however he information issues away about folks as a result of he’s an astute decide of character and makes use of them later to his benefit. He provides Janine to Aunt Lydia.

Again in group that evening, Moira is speaking about Fred spinning issues – lipstick on a pig. The opposite ladies touch upon him being a loser and the Web going loopy over it. June arrives, they usually applaud her. She’s introduced Irene together with her, nevertheless, and in a really acquainted sample, she locations her on a chair on the middle of the circle. This is rather like the shaming circle used on the Pink Middle, nevertheless it additionally mimics the courtroom she’s simply come from. She positions Irene proper in entrance of Emily in order that she will be able to confront her. The others wish to know who Irene is or why she’s there. She’d been ready exterior.

Moira tells June it’s not the time or place. June asks why. It’s their group. Danielle (Natasha Mumba) asks who desires her to remain – and fingers go up slowly. June tells Emily that she’s making an attempt to assist her, nevertheless it’s as much as her if Irene stays. Emily says advantageous. June tells Irene that it’s okay. She got here to speak, so speak.

Irene begins by confessing that she’s achieved some horrible issues. They had been educated to present “the corrections” – and June interrupts to make clear – you imply the beatings, the torture. Aunt Irene goes on to say “bodily punishment” nonetheless softening the language – after which excusing it by saying it was meant to assist preserve them alive. Even Moira snorts at that. Irene confesses that she by no means touched Emily, however what she did was worse. June presses to know what she did. Irene tells them that she realized Emily had a lover – a Martha – and when the affair continued after Emily grew to become Ofglen, she knowledgeable the Eyes. 

June clarifies once more. She is the explanation the lady was hanged and why Emily was mutilated. Emily asks what she desires. Irene tells her that she hasn’t had a second’s peace since she realized that Emily was there and he or she desires forgiveness! Presumably, she may have carried on simply advantageous if Emily had been nonetheless in Gilead or useless! June factors out that Irene is there after mendacity about who she is and what she did, making an attempt to only go away every part she did behind – why does she deserve forgiveness?

Irene seems to be confused. Clearly her brainwashing didn’t fairly cowl this. She tells June that they’re all God’s kids. June tells her “bull shit.” They cover behind God each time it serves them. Irene will get on her knees and asks Emily what she will be able to do to make issues higher, and Emily tells her nothing earlier than getting up and leaving the circle. 

June and Luke have one other uncomfortable dinner. He asks how group was, and he or she smiles and says good. He then apologizes for displaying up in courtroom. He thinks he is aware of every part and now possibly they will simply transfer on! Oh Luke. So sweetly naïve… He tells her if she desires to speak to him about something, about Hannah, he’s there. She says no. She’s clearly not comfortable that she has to consolation him. She goes to him, however the one factor she will be able to actually assume to do is bodily. However he doesn’t need that – he desires her to speak. And that is the precise results of the trauma that she’s endured. Intercourse was all she was good for, and speaking would get your tongue minimize out or worse.

Aunt Lydia goes to Janine who’s in the identical jail that June was earlier within the season. She tells Janine that she seems to be horrible, nevertheless it was Gilead who saved her by rescuing her from Chicago. Janine asks the place June is. Lydia tells her that June is in Canada. Janine is comfortable that June made it, however Lydia tells her that June left her behind as a result of she was simply too tough. 

Janine makes the identical plea that June made. She doesn’t care if she dies, however she asks Lydia to not make her a Handmaid once more. Lydia blames June for corrupting her. She calls her a poor factor, having misplaced everybody she’s ever liked. Janine asks once more – she’d somewhat die than return to service. Lydia tells her that there’s no use in being theatrical. Lydia hugs her, crying. Janine submits, however her eyes stay dry.

Moira and Emily sit in a park. Moira is indignant at June. Emily says she thought it might assist. Moira is shocked and asks if it did. Emily tells her that it wasn’t sufficient. Moira is shocked – does she wish to see her once more? Emily says she’s stated all she has to. Moira factors out that they’re all simply in search of a method ahead – away from what occurred to them in Gilead. Emily isn’t positive it will probably occur. Moira desires to get Irene to testify – and encourages Emily to speak to her once more.

Emily takes the drive to go and see Irene. It’s clearly Canadian winter! When she will get there, she’s too late. Police and ambulance are there – and Irene is hanging from a tree. Her pajamas are Martha gray, however her slippers are pink. There’s a phenomenal shot of the solar shining by her fingers. Bledel is superb on this scene. There is no such thing as a dialogue or sound besides some choral singing – which is ideal for ‘all God’s kids.’ Her face which has been pinched for just about the final two seasons, appears to chill out as she seems to be on the physique. She doesn’t get out of the automotive – she simply turns round and leaves. She is considerate as she drives away and appears to be on the verge of smiling. Lets not overlook that her first act of defiance was working down a Guardian with a stolen automotive!

Fred and Serena put together for one more day in courtroom. Fred remarks that there’s a greater crowd than regular ready exterior the jail. Serena asks if he believed what he stated the day earlier than in courtroom. He tells her sure, and he or she’s happy. The exit the jail, and it’s clear that the group is there to CHEER for them! Fred tells her, “They heard us, Mrs Waterford.” She reaches down and takes his hand and smiles as they head to the automotive. They maintain indicators praising them and God. It’s terrifying. They’re each happy to be again within the highlight.

We’re again in group. Moira says she is aware of that they’re all fairly shocked about Irene. Emily, nevertheless, has a distinct look on her face. Her hair is free, not pulled again right into a ponytail, and he or she doesn’t have the nervous, not sure look on her face. June is Emily – she sees the distinction. Vicky (Amanda Zhou) says it’s unhappy. One other Handmaid (Jasmin Husain) says a trial and jail would have been higher. Danielle says “the bitch took the coward’s method out.” Danielle asks Moira what she thinks. Moira hedges by saying that she thinks that they’re all higher than the worst factor they’ve achieved. 

Then sympathy shifts to Emily, telling her that she shouldn’t really feel responsible. June says that they need to let Emily inform them how she feels – if she desires to. June clearly already is aware of the reply. Emily hesitates after which says that she feels superb. She glad that Irene is useless, and he or she hopes that she had one thing to do with it. June is happy – and Moira isn’t. After which the opposite ladies take part with what they’d love to do. Moira tries to take management again – and tamp the anger down. She acknowledges that anger is a legitimate emotion and is vital to therapeutic, however they will’t dwell there. June asks why not. Why does therapeutic should be the one purpose? Have they got the suitable to be as livid as they really feel? And I liked this query – and the way their roles have been reversed. June is pushing towards boundaries which were imposed on ladies because the daybreak of time. 

Moira tries to chop issues off – and take again management. Their time is up. They will decide it up once more subsequent week. June says she’ll keep longer if anybody else desires to. Danielle is the primary to say that she’ll keep – after which the remaining do too. June is gathering a brand new military.

June arrives house and walks by the darkened home. She pauses on the backside of the steps, and it looks like so many occasions that we watched her stroll up the steps alone on the Waterford’s. Luke sits alone on their mattress – mimicking how we’ve seen June sitting as a Handmaid. Ready. He’s clearly uncomfortable when she comes within the room, anticipating the identical tough, undesirable intercourse. As an alternative, she hugs his head, and tells him she wants to inform him one thing. She’s going to inform him concerning the final time she noticed Hannah. 

The ultimate tune is “Hell Is Around the Nook” by Tough and can also be the proper alternative. The lyrics embrace “Say cut back me, seduce me” – and that’s precisely what occurs to the Handmaids, and can also be what June has been doing to maintain Luke at a distance. The lyrics go on to incorporate “Passing the ignorance ensures the battle for my household.” To ensure that them to heal, June has to tug Luke into her Hell (title of the tune!) and inform him every part. 

As soon as once more, I discovered myself not considering a number of this episode after the primary watch. Nevertheless, as all the time with this present, on re-watching and actually digging into it, the episode is wealthy in nuance. Everybody heals otherwise and has to search out their very own path by their trauma. Nice performances as soon as once more from your complete forged, however Bledel, Fagbenle, and Moss actually stood out for me. What did you consider the episode? Is June beginning to discover her new objective or spinning uncontrolled? Are Fred and Serena going to claw their method out of this? Let me know your ideas within the feedback under! 

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