The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 3 Episode 3: ‘Useful’
We open on a gallows. Lots of dead folks hanging. We are told they are heretics because there is not a technically a rebellion. Looks like Gilead is purging Marthas. We learn Commander Lawrence is a pretty powerful dude. There is a big meeting with the other muckety mucks and when that happens they come to his house. There is big concern amongst the women that they are all exposed. There is a really strange moment between Commander Lawrence and June. At the big party we learn there is a new shipment of women from Chicago. We also see Fred. Fred and June have a brief discussion where he tells her Lawrence is a visionary and a survivor. After she begs him for new information about the new commander he tells her that Lawrence hates to be bored. Lawrence interrupts and the meeting breaks up. Serena is on the beach and her mother puts a cloak on her. Its obviously cool there both literally and figuratively. Her mom wants to show her off to her prayer circle. Some things don’t change in the dystopia. At the party Lawrence and the men are talking about war strategy and the conversation turns to the role of women. June is pouring wine for everyone, and he asks her about her previous job as a book editor and the books she is familiar with. He commands her to get a book by Darwin from the bookcase. Probably the origin of species. So Gilead seems to be less anti science than our status quo….neat. He makes a snide remark as she leaves the room. Some low level misogyny but it pisses June off. Serena is looking out at the coast from her cozy room and her Martha brings in a fake finger. She heads back to the prayer circle where they are praying for a wife who clearly has some sort of serious illness. The head of the prayer circle offers to pray for Serena. They sit her down and pray. She knows the verse by heart. Pretty bad ass. She is a smart cookie and I think sometimes we lose that. Fred is waxing poetic about his wife at the brothel in front of a naked prostitute. I mean thats speech 101. Find a naked prostitute to practice your speech in front of. Good for Fred (Obvi sarcasm). He is going to make a plea to keep Serena. June goes into study to bring Commander Lawrence some tea. He pretends to be seduced by her and chides her for it. Lawrence goes full Bradley Whitford by recounting June’s impact on the Waterford house. They both talk about Emily’s escape. There is some really brilliant chess moves by each during this discussion. June maybe exposes herself a bit too much and Lawrence loads her up in the car, and they take a drive. I bet they are not going to TCBY. They quickly find themselves at a warehouse where 100s of women are being held in cages. He tells June they are all bound for the colonies. Except for five. June has to pick who the five are that get to be Marthas while the rest go to the colonies to die. She refuses to pick. He tells her that they will all die then. She refuses again and sits back down in the car. Serena looks like she is out in the middle of a hurricane. She comes back in the house. Serena yells at her mother for spilling the beans about all of her situation. Her mom is a bitch. Her mother calls her spoiled and that she should stay with Fred. Nick comes to tell June he is being deployed to Chicago. Yo Shit is getting real in Chicago. She is super rude to him but rescues the moment by grabbing his hand and bringing him back into her room. The next morning June is told she has a visitor. It’s Serena. Serena asks her how to stop thinking about their daughter. There is a weird reminiscence of the baby. I don’t really get it. Babies are cute (I had two of them) but like there aren’t that many distinguishing characteristics. June asks her to think about all the other mothers who have been robbed of their children. June begs her to try harder to use her power. June tells her that maybe we are stronger than we think we are. Great music cue her. June makes her picks of who gets saved, and Serena abandons her prosthetic finger and walks into the ocean. We also learn that June has picked the Marthas who will be most helpful to the resistance. Serena stops short of killing herself, and we get a great VO from June about the upcoming role of women in the resistance its pretty awesome. Time to blow some stuff up.
Tyler has been the editor in chief of Signal Horizon since its conception. He is also the Director of Monsters 101 at Truman State University a class that pairs horror movie criticism with survival skills to help middle and high school students learn critical thinking. When he is not watching, teaching or thinking about horror he is the Director of Debate and Forensics at a high school in Kansas City, Missouri.