The Handmaid’s Tale headed down a path of devastation and emotional torment. The sixth episode at times was tough to watch, but in reality, the events were a necessary evil. For June to ultimately become what she needs to be, then there are no half measures. She has to become even more ruthless and cunning than her captors. Instead of putting your trust in others, June must create change on her own. More than likely people she loves will have to die for the great good to be achieved.
First and foremost, let’s address Nick and June. The Waterford’s and June (Elisabeth Moss) are brought into for questioning by a neutral third party from Sweden relating to the disappearance of their “daughter.” June manages to convince the delegates that the only way she’ll talk is if the guards from Gilead are dismissed.
When she is then free to speak, June professes her desire for her daughter Nichole to stay in Canada. The delegates can’t assure this will happen with 100% certainty, so she asks what they want. They seem only interested in getting intel on Gilead which leads to offering up Nick played by Max Minghella (who is now a commander and the child’s actual father). During a secret meetup, he seemingly agrees to help June.
We think all is well, but we quickly realize that Nick didn’t live up to his end of the bargain. During questioning the delegation realized that Nick was much more than he ever said he was to June. He’s considered one of the heroes of Gilead and a big reason why they were able to take over the United States. Because of this, the delegates don’t trust his intel, and the safety of her daughter might very well be in jeopardy.
Fred (Joseph Fiennes) continues to try and make amends with Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) while staying at Commander Winslow’s (Christopher Meloni) home in Washington. The introduction of Meloni’s character is going to have quite an impact on the Waterford’s and potentially open up some storylines that have yet to be examined in Gilead. We are starting to see a return to the more selfish Serena that we are used to. At one point it seemed she might be the one who helps June start this revolution, but all she’s focused on is how she can get Nichole back.
There’s undoubtedly some powerful imagery just as we have some devastating moments. Seeing the contrast of the handmaidens kneeling with what now looks to be a cross (formally the Washington monument) indeed spoke to the mix government and politics (a debate which rages to this day). Serena and June mostly lay out their intentions in front of the Lincoln Memorial, which leads to explosive repercussions.
The fact that most handmaidens had to be silent in Washington was undoubtedly stunning to see and also likely wasn’t an accident when they constructed the narrative for this and future episodes. What did catch me off guard is how we are starting to see a different side of Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd).
For someone who has been so stringent about the ways of Gilead, we are starting to hear some dissent in her voice. The scene which stood out to me was just before she put the shall over June’s mouth.
Overall, this episode could have easily been called “the breaking point”. June realizes what needs to be done, and I can’t shake the feeling that fireworks are just around the corner.