The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8 Review: Unfit

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We've all been wondering who Aunt Lydia was before becoming one of Gilead's brutal and ruthless Aunts, and The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8 delivered.

Well, for the most part. As interested as I was in her life before, I would like to have seen her transition under Gilead's' rule as well.

However, after getting a glimpse into her backstory, I think she probably adapted quite well.

Islands In The Stream - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

Aunt Lydia's past as a family law attorney turned fourth-grade school teacher was a bit surprising.

I expected her to have been the warden at a prison, or the very least, a correctional officer.

Aunt Lydia always had a desire to help children, and based on her conversation with the school principal, Jim, I assume her reason for becoming a teacher was to reach more children.

The Past Comes Back - The Handmaid's Tale

When we're introduced to Ryan, a little boy in Miss. Clements' fourth-grade class whose mother is running late to pick him up, we get to see a maternal side to Aunt Lydia.

She offered to take Ryan home and feed him since his mother didn't send much food for his lunch, but the boy's mother, Noelle, showed up before they could leave.

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Aunt Lydia invited them both to her house for dinner, and although she seemed bothered by the way Noelle spoke in front of the child, she befriended the young mother.

Jim: Hard to believe teaching's your second career.
Lydia: Oh.
Jim: You're a natural.
Lydia: Well, family law was good practice. I mean, the system now is better because it's all been privatized, but then it was very frustrating. 'Cause you couldn't help as many children as you wanted to. You know?
Jim: I've never seen anyone so devoted. I've always admired you.
Lydia: I'm fond of you too.

Perhaps, Aunt Lydia thought she could help Noelle better by taking her under her wing.

They appeared to all be getting along great, even spending Christmas together and exchanging gifts.

They had become so close that Ryan even referred to her as Aunt Lydia.

Feeling Like A New Woman - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

Even after Noelle divulged that she was seeing a married man, Aunt Lydia still took her advice about getting out more and decided to go out with the school principal, Jim.

Aunt Lydia was kind and soft-spoken; they shared a romantic dance and sang karaoke together.

She was having a wonderful time before they went back to her house, and things got a little out of hand.

New Year New Me  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

It was so strange to see Aunt Lydia kissing someone; groping someone.

She is tough as nails and forever dedicated to the cause, and I'll admit, my jaw dropped a little to see her being the pursuer.

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Aunt Lydia did not respond well to the rejection when Jim put a stop to things going any further.

Jim: Is there really enough here to trigger an emergency removal?
Lydia: The child is vulnerable to a corrupting influence. We are required by law to report moral weakness, Mr. Thorne.

And I think she blamed Noelle because if Noelle hadn't bought her the makeup and pushed her to search for something more, she wouldn't have been in that situation.

It is no doubt, a cowardly way to think, as she's an adult who makes her own decisions.

Regardless, Noelle and Ryan both felt the ramifications of Aunt Lydia's anger.

A Woman Rejected  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

I guess she was no longer keen on the idea of helping Noelle be a better mother; instead choosing to report her and have Ryan removed from her care.

We could assume she made the decision with Ryan's best interest at heart, but why now?

She could have reported Noelle sooner, but she chose to get close to them instead.

Feigned Innocence - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

I suppose she could have been just trying to get more information to report, but I doubt it.

Aunt Lydia was lonely. She was divorced, and seemed to have no children of her own.

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Noelle and Ryan filled a void for her; they became her family. 

Aunt Lydia: Tell your friends to cool it.
June: I'm sorry, Aunt Lydia. I don't know what you're talking about. You want to take my tongue out? Burn my arm? Better hope they don't need me on TV again for Nichole.
Aunt Lydia: Get on the bus, dear. I don't think we'll take you all home just yet.

She could have helped Noelle, or at least been a constant figure for Ryan, but she turned on them.

It was very similar to her relationship with Janine. One moment she seems to genuinely care, but then Janine steps out of line, and Aunt Lydia punishes her, ruthlessly.

It's the same with June. The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 6 showed a tender moment between June and Aunt Lydia, but "Unfit" revealed Aunt Lydia's true feelings about June.

Your Turn - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

As Aunt Lydia and two of the other aunts are gathered around a table, assigning Handmaids to households, she notes how undeserving she thinks June is for the children she has birthed.

Let's talk about our girl June for a minute. What is going on?

She was the only Handmaid not participating in the birthing ceremony and received no punishment.

Unwilling To Participate  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

She wasn't forced; just left to her own devices.

When Aunt Lydia approached her about calling the girls off with their treatment of Ofmatthew, it came across as more of a question than a demand.

I thought the Handmaids were considered the low man on the totem pole, so I'm perplexed as to how June can get away with so much.

I know people are bothered by June; I've read some things, and I get it. It is confusing.

I hurt her, and I enjoyed it. The wives and aunts too. Grieving over Ofandys dead child. And Lawrence, they all deserve to suffer. Its an acquired taste seeing others in pain. Like that smoky scotch, Luke got as a gift once. I grew to like that.

June

June's character development hasn't been sunshine and smiles; she's angry and with very good reason.

It seems like she is becoming acclimated to the harsh environment she is in. 

Maybe her fight to get out has diminished, and she is resigned to her fate. If you can't beat them, join them.

The Commander And June Battle  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

I wish she would take advantage of her ceremony -- less living arrangements and come up with a game plan before it's too late.

Aunt Lydia informed her that she was soon to be moved to another household. One that will certainly be less lenient than Commander Lawrence's' household.

Time is wasting, and she is spending so much of it consumed by her anger.

A Thoughtful Commander  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

She tried to communicate with Commander Lawrence in an attempt to get information about Hannah but to no avail.

He was having none of it and sent her off to her room.

Did anyone else get the impression that Commander Lawrence was a little rattled by June? The way he looked after shutting the door in her face was almost like he was scared. 

Commander Lawrence: So. A boy or a girl? Mrs. Lawrence will want to know.
June: Dead.
Commander Lawrence: Oh. Well. She... She doesn't have to know that when you tell her. Maybe you could spend some time with her tomorrow. Playing Cards or something. You're... You're good with her. You're good for her. Anyway.
June: You act like you care about your wife. I mean, I... I know you don't give a shit about the rest of us. But you do realize that this world that you built here is destroying her. And that with one phone call, you could have her out. But you're keeping her hostage. You're not protecting her. You're killing her.
Commander Lawrence: I'll bet that felt good.

Maybe his creation of Gilead was born out of feelings of intimidation by women.

I'm curious to know if there was something in his past that made him feel inferior to women.

Maybe a verbally abusive mother or past relationship grew a desire in him to punish all women.

Her Fault  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

He also seemed to back down fairly quietly and quickly when June confronted him about his lack of treatment for his mentally ill wife. Another instance that makes me feel like he is extremely intimidated by women.

June and the other Handmaid's treatment of Ofmatthew resulted in significant consequences.

Janine bore the brunt of Ofmatthew's breakdown in the form of a can of lobster as she beat the girl violently.

When The Bough Breaks - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

Poor Janine was the only one trying to be nice to her and comfort her, and oh, did it backfire.

June could see Ofmatthew losing it behind Aunt Lydia and when she turned her head slightly, and all Ofmatthew could see was a devious grin that sent her right over the edge.

June looked delighted at Ofmatthew's breakdown; thrill danced in her eyes.

Ofmatthew Is A Drag - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

She didn't take cover when Ofmatthew pointed the guards gun at her but smiled and nodded.

I couldn't tell if that was her way of saying "do it, put me out of my misery," or if there was some unspoken conversation happening between them.

June has been the source of her torment lately, but she turned the gun on Aunt Lydia instead.

All Actions Have Consequences - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

Ofmatthew has played the role of good little Handmaid so far, but that moment proved that she is just as bothered by her arrangement as all of the other girls.

As Ofmatthew was dragged out, June appeared to be upset that she was shot before she could take out Aunt Lydia.

Hopefully, the good is still inside June, and she hasn't been completely destroyed by Gilead.   

   

Does Commander Lawrence have an inferiority complex? 

Is June still good or has Gilead corrupted her? 

Also, Where is Nick and when is he coming back? 

Hit the comments below and share your thoughts! 

The Handmaid's Tale airs Wednesdays on Hulu.

Unfit Review

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Tonya Myers is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8 Quotes

Jim: Hard to believe teaching's your second career.
Lydia: Oh.
Jim: You're a natural.
Lydia: Well, family law was good practice. I mean, the system now is better because it's all been privatized, but then it was very frustrating. 'Cause you couldn't help as many children as you wanted to. You know?
Jim: I've never seen anyone so devoted. I've always admired you.
Lydia: I'm fond of you too.

Commander Lawrence: So. A boy or a girl? Mrs. Lawrence will want to know.
June: Dead.
Commander Lawrence: Oh. Well. She... She doesn't have to know that when you tell her. Maybe you could spend some time with her tomorrow. Playing Cards or something. You're... You're good with her. You're good for her. Anyway.
June: You act like you care about your wife. I mean, I... I know you don't give a shit about the rest of us. But you do realize that this world that you built here is destroying her. And that with one phone call, you could have her out. But you're keeping her hostage. You're not protecting her. You're killing her.
Commander Lawrence: I'll bet that felt good.