'The Handmaid's Tale 3' episode 7 excelled in its portrayal of life after Gilead but failed its protagonist June Osborne
While June using her position as the handmaid of Commander Lawrence is not very agreeable, one of the two things the episode did right was the portrayal of Emily's life in Canada after the escape with Nichole
This article contains spoilers for 'The Handmaid's Tale' season 3 episode 7.
With every new episode of 'The Handmaid's Tale', it feels like the storyline is moving further away from the righteous rebellion we were promised and the tangents that are being drawn are not something we want for June Osborne. In season 3 episode 7 of the Hulu show, the proceedings are problematic and that is putting it politely. While June using her position as the handmaid of Commander Lawrence is not very agreeable, one of the two things the episode did right was the portrayal of Emily's life in Canada after the escape with Nichole.
The second thing was the portrayal of Serena's need for a home that included children even if it meant said home was built on the foundation of the destruction of happy families. This deserves a separate discussion altogether! Let's talk about Emily for now and run parallels with June in Gilead. She is back in Canada and reunited with her family - her wife and her son - but she has not really escaped Gilead and this is clear when we see her being questioned by a Canadian official about things she did in Gilead, which could be considered criminal.
This is Canadian authorities trying to find context of Nichole staying in their country as a refugee. With Fred Waterford and his wife Serena Joy calling the escape a kidnapping by a criminal, it is in Canada's best interest to get their facts right. Despite the conditions Emily lived in, there is no accountability that can be sought from Gilead about what they put the women through.
When Moira meets Emily at a coffee shop, we understand the complexity of the situation further. Moira is all for Canada telling "Gilead to go f*** itself" but that is not as simple as it sounds. At least, not diplomatically as Emily very rightly pointed out. And keeping in mind Fred and George Winslow, two commanders of Gilead playing their political game, things just got sticky not just for Nichole but Emily as well.
It is at this moment that we realize, Moira and Emily's fight is a lot more potent than that of June with each passing day. When Moira heads to hound a minister to ask him why Canada is yet to announce that all of the refugees from Gilead are safe from deportation, we see a lot more of the rebellion in that scene than when June repeatedly tries to get a look at her daughter Hannah, now Commander Mackenzie's daughter, Agnes.
Her attempts at getting a look at her daughter results in the loss of life of a Martha at the hands of June. This loss was unnecessary and June doesn't seem to be able to grasp this. She blames Ofmatthew (Ashleigh LaThrop) for informing Aunt Lydia about her meeting the Commander Mackenzie's Martha at a Loaves and Fishes.
What she doesn't understand is the way others are affected because of how she uses her privileges. She is not forced to serve her master in Gilead, her commander even turns a blind eye to some outlandish stunts she pulls but none of them have so far, in even the tiniest bit, helped the resistance.
At this time, Moira and Emily are arrested for protesting and in jail when they begin to confess the things they did in Gilead. It begins with Emily recalling how she killed a wife in the colonies, and she reiterates that she is not apologetic about what she did. This is followed by Moira confessing about killing a commander, who was asleep. She also says she is not sorry about what she did.
The two find peace in the fact that leaving Gilead and living a life with freedom has brought them closer to who they were before being forced to live as handmaids, or unwomen or at Jezebel's. The turning point in the series also comes at an unexpected time when the minister that Moira and Emily are protesting against, tells them Nichole's birth mother has surrendered her rights. We quite clearly remember how, in the previous season, June categorically said she wanted Nichole to stay in Canada. So, does this hint at Canada's position in the future political talks with Gilead?
The next episode of 'The Handmaid's Tale' season 3 will air on July 10 on Hulu.