The dissolution of June and Luke's marriage took center stage on The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 5.
After agreeing to make a phone call to Luke to arrange a meeting between Serena and baby Nichole, June appears to have a revelation.
What I originally assumed was June trying to keep her emotions at bay in front of the Waterfords, may not have been the case at all.
With her rigid stance and tortured expression once she returns to her room, I expected June to crumble to the floor and sob into her red dress, but surprisingly, she did neither.
Maybe she was employing a technique she's become very good at during her time in Gilead, stifling her emotions. But as June explains to Commander Lawrence's wife, Eleanor, "it didn't go quite as I'd imagined," I began to understand her reaction more.
Perhaps, the lack of emotion is what was so troubling to June. She expected more after all this time, but things have changed; she has changed.
For so long June has held onto the memories of Luke and their life together, so maybe she hasn't considered the fact that there may not be anything to return to if she were ever to escape Gilead.
While Nick may have been absent from the last two episodes, his presence was strongly felt. It was heartbreaking as the scenes flashed back and forth between June recording her message and Luke listening to her words.
Luke. Hi. This is so weird. And I'm sorry. I'm sorry about that. But there are some things that I need to tell you that I couldn't before. I can't imagine what you thought when you met Nichole. But you were probably thinking a lot less about her journey across the border and more about her journey into the world. It's not easy to tell you this, cause I am ashamed. I had to build a life here. Of a sort. And you should too. You deserve a life, a full life, Luke. You deserve love. And you'll always have mine, but I understand if you maybe need more than that. I need you to know that Nichole, she was born out of love. Her real name's Holly. And her... Her father is a driver named Nick. You met him. He helped me to survive. I need to believe that you can forgive me. I'm not the woman you remember. She's part of me. But I'm doing what I need to, to survive. You should, too. No, you... You have to. You have to for Hannah. It's all for her, Luke. This is all for her. I promise you, I am trying to get to her. I love you.June
She wants him to live his life, not wait on standby for them to reunite because she doesn't know when or if that will ever happen.
June has fallen in love with Nick, and who can blame her? Nick has been her saving grace throughout her time in Gilead. Nick has helped her to live to fight another day and loved her through it all.
Luke is a good man, but it seems as though he is a part of her past, and regardless of how much they may want it, she will never be the same Junebug again.
I'm beginning to think I may be more conflicted about June's love life than she is. Is anyone else struggling with Team Luke versus Team Nick? Or maybe just Team June so she gets out of Gilead alive, with Hannah in tow.
Fred's grand gesture for Serena of allowing her to join his meeting goes against everything they have created. Women are beneath the men; they have no voice, no opinion.
I mean, Fred let his wife have one of her fingers cut off just for demonstrating that she could read. But who did Fred go to for advice? A woman, June. And why did he need advice? Because he is having problems in his relationship with his wife.
See, no matter what they change in their new, twisted world, no matter how much they try to fight it, women are important, women matter, women are needed.
Fred and Serena's conversation after the meeting about Nichole being safe in Canada is confusing. If they know that life in Canada is better, safer, then why did they help create Gilead in the first place?
Canada represents what America used to be, freedom, and isn't that what they were fighting against in the first place?
I've always wondered why the wives wear green and the handmaid's wear red, and seeing Serena pleading with June that she just wants to be something to Nichole brings to mind the phrases green with envy and seeing red when you're angry.
Serena in her green dress, envious because she is unable to carry a child of her own, and June in her red dress, full of anger as Serena is attempting to jeopardize the one child she managed to get to safety.
The contrast between the two women is stunning.
Fred: I thought this is what you wanted. Our daughter's safe. In Canada.
Serena: I'm grateful.
Fred: But? Help me understand. What is it that you want?
Serena: I want to be with her, but that's impossible. I just want this to be over.
Not to say Serena is free of anger, but vitriolic is a more appropriate term for her. Undoubtedly, my favorite moment of the episode is when Serena meets Luke for the first time. She attempts to exchange pleasantries, and he is having none of it.
Luke pulls no punches, and it is magnificent! Serena helped create this mess they're all in, and she needs to hear from someone directly affected, but outside of Gilead.
Serena eventually bares her teeth and Luke gets to see a glimpse of the Serena Joy we all know.
Her thinly veiled threat about having protected June in the past is enough to cause Luke to proceed with caution.
I took her statement as a threat, but it could also be taken as Serena stating that she has protected June in hopes that Luke will soften and allow her to hold Nichole.
I'm still going with a threat though, as in, 'if you don't do what I want, I won't be protecting June any longer.' My faith in Serena is obviously not very strong, and I'm certain we'll be seeing the old Serena very soon.
Serena: God bless you.
Luke: Fuck you.
Serena: I understand this wasn't an easy choice for you. I thank you for making it.
Luke: I did this for my wife.
There is no doubt that June's presence in the background of Fred and Serena's video plea to Canada was a direct threat to Luke.
Return Nichole or harm will come to June. Elisabeth Moss can convey so much without saying a word. With fists clenched, jaw tight, eyes declaring she's ready for war, her last scene in Fred and Serena's mock living room was just another instance of her stellar acting skills.
I'm still on the fence regarding Commander Lawrence. At times he seems to be a reminder of what their world once was, with his music, and quick wit, but he also played an integral part in the creation of Gilead.
His wife, Eleanor also remains a mystery. She seems weak and fragile, but then she does things like planting flowers over the body buried in the yard, possibly planting the idea for June to record a message to Luke on the tapes in their basement, and she is quite quick on her feet.
It makes you wonder if she's playing a more pivotal role behind the scenes.
The song "Cruel to be Kind" playing as June looks on at Commander Lawrence and his wife seems too perfect to be a random song chosen for that moment.
Perhaps, it carries a deeper meaning, and he is, in fact, cruel and the small doses of kindness are all part of a grand scheme to discover who is trying to unravel Gilead.
Is it really over between June and Luke? Or Nick and June?
Is Commander Lawrence one of the good guys or one of the bad guys?
Will Nichole return to Gilead?
Will Luke risk it all to try and protect June?
How far will Fred and Serena go to bring Nichole back?
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