'The Handmaid's Tale' season 3 episode 4 contrasts life in and outside Gilead through Emily and Janine
'The Handmaid's Tale' season 3 episode 4 also saw Janine try to get a look at her baby, Charlotte, when she along with other handmaids get invited to Putnam's party
This article contains spoilers for 'The Handmaid's Tale' season 3 episode 4
The faith that June Osborne (Elizabeth Moss) once chose willingly, despite her family and friends not believing in it is now being stuffed down her throat when she is Ofjoseph, and it is a rather monstrous version of it. As Handmaids, commanders, wives and Marthas gather for the dedication (Gilead's version of Baptism) of newborn babies in the dystopian country, we see how the lack of choice in the current scenario in Gilead only makes the life Ofjoseph lived as June seem more utopic than it actually is.
We still see problems in the United States that June thrived in. The problems of men in power abusing their power to sexually assault children, as pointed out by June's mother Holly Maddox (Cherry Jones ). Also, Moira (Samira Wiley) making an observation about how uneasy the white people looked at the thought of a black woman being June's newborn daughter's (Hannah) godmother.
It is all served to us as a commentary. The idea of a baptism that June wanted for Hannah in comparison to the one that she saw unfold in Gilead is stark, and these scenes are the lens through which we see how different perspectives on the same faith can be problematic. Perhaps, problematic is an understatement. While the dedication draws parallels between the past and present, the celebration at Commander Putnam's residence draws one between life in Gilead and life outside it.
After escaping from Gilead and going to Canada, Emily (Alexis Bledel) was successful in getting in touch with her wife. After that heartbreaking phone call in episode 3, we see her reunite with her son in episode 4 and it is the most beautiful scene in the episode. Especially when Emily sees a caricature of herself as a superhero drawn by her son in his room. We only melt further when the little boy asks Emily if she would read him his bedtime story. Just the fact that all of this is real and was made possible seems to dawn on Emily suddenly and she breaks down.
Be it episode 3 titled 'Useful' or the one that aired June 12, Emily's reunion has been constructed beautifully. Especially in the face what Janine (Madeline Brewer) is going through in Gilead. Even as Emily has her awkward moment with her family, Janine is struggling to even get one good look at her baby Charlotte.
When she finally does get the permission of Commander Warren and Naomi Putnam (Stephen Kunken and Ever Carradine) to hold her daughter, just when you see a glimpse of hope, a possible change in how Gilead could be reformed, Janine, in an attempt to be with her daughter suggests something that could possibly result in a punishment worse than her eyes being gouged. Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), who had just praised Janine a few minutes ago uses her walking stick in a rage and lashes out at Janine.
Aunt Lydia, who is known for having more control in the presence of High Commanders just went bat**** crazy, further stressing how little control anyone, and that includes the Eye of the Handmaids, has over what unfolds in Gilead.