Summary: Flashbacks show Luke and June preparing to escape Gilead. They are taken to a cabin where they stay off the radar but they run into a problem when the person who was supposed to help them leave gets hung for treason. Later, Luke survives being shot and the ambulance he was in crashes. Luke escapes and meets a group of people and they take him to Little America though most of them die. Luke gets June's message.
The Good: I usually enjoy episodes which are centred around a specific character. The format makes it easier to care about them and it makes the episode easier to follow, giving it a better chance of being powerful and memorable. While I don't think this episode was successful in that regard (see: The Bad), I at least do appreciate the effort. Luke's character got some exploration and we learned more about his want to protect his family and how much he cares for June and Hannah.
There were 2 standout parts of this episode. The first was the early section after the ambulance crash when Luke wandered around shocked and disoriented in a desperate attempt to find June or Hannah or both. The scene was pretty powerful and the silence allowed us to properly sympathize with Luke as he stumbles around looking for any kind of help. The second part was the church which featured the disturbing image of all the bodies hung from the ceiling. It was a signature "Handmaid's Tale" shot which emphasized the darkness in the world again.
The Bad: The focus on Luke was sort of a double-edged sword though because so far he has been by far the most boring character on the show. Because of this his journey was very dull and I don't feel that his conflict was interesting enough to justify a full episode revolving around him. Had there been some more depth to explore about him, this would have been at least good, but since there was nothing worthwhile, this felt like a total waste of our time, sort of like "The Lost Sister" from Stranger Things season 2.
On top of that, the new characters we met weren't good either. They nearly all died, making them feel like a waste as well, and none of them really added on anything to our understanding of the show. We could literally remove them from the show and nothing changes, which is never a good thing for a show. Erin was the only character who stayed, but I find her hard to believe. I don't know much about her other than the fact that she doesn't talk. I wish the show could have a least clarified if she hasn't talked or if she can't talk because her tongue was cut out or something because I honestly have no idea. It is implied that she has chosen not to talk, but that seems really weak since Erin was only at the Red Center. We have seen how rough a handmaid's life is, but the Red Center is nowhere near the worst part, so it's hard to buy into the fact that Erin was so traumatized after her time there.
This episode felt like the perfect opportunity to give us more answers about how Gilead works, yet once more the writers take the cheap way out by providing absolutely nothing. When I realized we were getting flashbacks again I was hopeful for answers, but once more the writers walked circles around an answer which only continues to frustrate me beyond belief. Most dystopian stories need to develop their world and explain how it works so that we can understand the stakes, but oddly enough this show just ignores that aspect of dystopian stories. It's a crucial aspect and the show perplexingly seems to not care for it which is severely detracting from the show. We NEED answers about how Gilead functions, the government's motives, the soldiers, why people cooperate with Gilead, etc. I've gone over it all before, and I don't feel like ranting about it again.
And to add salt to the wounds, The Handmaid's Tale introduced another society, yet they spent precious little time there and fleshed out NOTHING about the world. It's beginning to get frustrating now and while I do enjoy the character stories that are at work in this show, the world the show is set in is shallow and disappointing so when there isn't a great character story going on in an episode, the flaws feel even more glaring than they already were.
How did they know who Luke's wife was? It seems like he never told them who June was, so how did the assistant know June was Luke's wife? It's sloppy writing and detracts from that final scene. Furthermore, June and Luke's relationship is underdeveloped and I don't care about it yet so the ending had little to offer for emotional value.
The Unknown: Okay seriously, how does the world work in this show? We need an explanation fast for both Gilead and Little America.
Best Moment: The sequence early on when Luke wandered around was probably the best part of the episode.
Character of the Episode: Luke.
Conclusion: This was disappointingly poor. This show has a serious problem with world-building and needs to address the problem because it's the only thing preventing this show from being at least very good. This episode had little going for it and felt like filler, so hopefully when we resume with the main story, we will get some actual plot progression to wash this episode out of my mouth.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.