June's relationship with the Commander progressed in an oddly satisfying way, while it was impossible not to become even more detached as a viewer from most of the men in Gilead.
On The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 9 June made a giant leap in her status as a May Day spy and as a trusted Handmaid among the group because she single-handedly saved baby Angela from a trip off of a lonely bridge with her birth mother.
Janine discovered her fairytale ending with Commander Putnam wasn't coming true when she was sent away for a new post, and the despair she felt at the betrayal of all people, and things left her with no choice but to end her life.
Needless to say, it was a harrowing hour for viewers and a troublesome time in Gilead.
Unlike the Handmaids, we were witness to Janine saying goodbye to her baby Charlotte aka Angela. Maybe if she had the opportunity to hand her over to anyone but Mrs. Putnam, she would have felt a little bit better about what she was being forced to do.
If the time comes for June to do the same thing with the Waterfords, at the very least, she can rest assured that Serena Joy will love a baby with all her heart. There hasn't been anything to indicate otherwise, and her words and actions back up her desires to have a baby.
Even Serena Joy was getting aggravated with the actions of Mrs. Putnam, eventually bonding with Martha over a drink in the kitchen as she wondered how a woman could be so cold when she received the miracle of a child.
Martha lost her son in the war, and the thought seemed devastating to Serena Joy. Throughout, she worked on behalf of Angela and hoped to get Mrs. Putnam to see how very blessed she was given the circumstances, even in having housed and put up with a wild handmaid like Janine.
Going to a new post was terrifying for Janine because she was hiding so much of herself inside of her mind. June was worried about her fragile friend, but Aunt Lydia believed Janine to be strong.
Offred: Aunt Lydia?
Aunt Lydia: Yes, what is it?
Offred: Does she seem alright, considering?
Aunt Lydia: She's tougher than you think. Let her be an example to you. To all of you!
Janine was sent to get acclimated with her new family, David and Mrs. Monroe, but for someone in her state, becoming Ofdavid wasn't as easy as it seemed.
Mrs. Monroe, though, walked her through their first Ceremony gently, even admitting she was nervous, as well. But damn, why did they have to do it on the first night? Nervous wouldn't quite explain entering a new home with strangers and the oddity of a "Ceremony" before you even knew them well.
I don't care how nice they're supposed to be, if they don't understand the basics of human dignity, then Godliness is lost on them. They probably don't deserve a child, although they didn't lash out at Janine as she was calling out for David and wondering when he'd be there to take her away.
It was rather horrific.
Witnessing the way Janine was shuffled off was the kick in the pants June needed to get more involved with May Day. But much like the Monroes and the Ceremony, the group wanted June to go back to Jezebels for a package that night.
It gave June a good reason to turn on the charm with the Commander, and he bought into it.
It was surprising because she had much less charm when they were together at Jezebels and nearly every other time they've been together. It was obvious she had something up her sleeve.
What I didn't count on was the Commander going along with June's flattery and setting her up for something to go down at Jezebels that would not be at all expected.
It was unlikely she was going to be in too much trouble because it's too early in the series for that. But like Janine's situation being June's kick in the pants, June's behavior the last time at Jezebels gave the Commander an idea.
He called her out on something she did and went to the door, ushering in Moira. He pretended they were going to have a threesome, but it's unlikely he's even that big of an asshole.
Relax. I've done something nice for you. I'll let you two catch up while I rinse off.Commander
June laid into Moira for giving up and letting her down. Moira was supposed to be her partner in all things post-USA, and to succumb to life at Jezebels without even trying to fight back or get out isn't the Moira June knew in her previous life.
They pinky swore they'd find Hannah together. Moira was a combination of fed up, worried about June and surprised anyone called her on settling into such a shit life. All things considered, it would be easy to find something like Jezebels where you at least knew what was coming.
June didn't even know what was coming in her Handmaid duties, something that was made pretty clear after dealing with Janine.
She was awoken early by Serena Joy as the only person who might be able to save baby Angela from a distraught Janine on the edge of a bridge.
The seeds of doubt about his fidelity have been sown by the Commander due to his late nights, and Mrs. Putnam put into Serena Joys head the notion any such thing would probably be with Offred.
It's awful to see that play out even though I'm still having a hard time forgiving Serena Joy for starting all of this by writing her stupid book about making fertile women nothing more than cattle.
It's doubtful she would have made much of a difference to the way things turned out, but now that Ceremonies are in motion and she has a handle on what goes down with Handmaids, maybe her voice would have been more effective than an all male society.
I'd like to think she would have warmed to her gender's issues and not sided with the barren on principle only.
Nonetheless, when it came time to save that child, she knew Offred would be of assistance just as well as Aunt Lydia. And when June asked to speak with Janine privately after the onus of saving Angela was placed upon her, the Commander also stepped up for her.
In different circumstances, they'd be nice people. They must have been nice people at one time.
June's conversation with Janine proved Janine wasn't nuts, but holding onto the old ways and dreaming about a life with Warren, one he clearly offered if the look on his face after she jumped was any indication.
June: Janine, change is coming. There's hope. All of this, it's all going to be over one day and everything is going to go back to normal. And we are going to go out, we're going to go out drinking. You and me.
Janine: And Moira?
Janine: And Alma?
Janine: Can we do Karaoke?
June: We can do whatever you want. We can go dancing. We're gonna get hammered. We can watch the sun come up.
Janine: Who would want to go dancing with me?
What they – the guardians of Gilead, with all their profound knowledge of how things should work but the inability to do the one thing they needed and wanted more than anything, procreate – did to Janine and others like her was disgusting.
She's left with no hope because they stripped her of her dignity and self-worth. If they nurtured the ones they want to bear their children and made them proud to foster the next generation – even a generation they might not fully support – it could make all the difference. But they don't.
They pluck their eyes out, cut off their ears, mutilate their genitals and who knows what else? We probably haven't seen the half of it.
But some of them still fight, and June is one of them.
Janine: Come with me. It can't hurt very much. Just for a second. And then we'll be free.
June: I can't. I'm sorry. I can't 'cause of my daughter. Janine, listen to me. Janine, you have to do what's best for your daughter now. You have to give her the chance to grow up.
She is going to keep on keepin' on for her daughter. I loved how Janine was screaming about sucking on Warren's c*ck because it made June a c*ckblocker for her friend when she came between them. And it continued with Putnam being taken in by the Eyes. Thank you, Nick.
Mrs. Putnam was annoyed when Serena Joy talked with her because how dare she say something that might indicate Mrs. Putnam could have been responsible for what happened to Janine (who survived). But hell yes, she's responsible. And someone should take that baby away, too.
Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia becomes more likable all the time as she proves it's impossible for her to play an entirely bad character. They always start off negative and then grow a heart, sort of like the Grinch.
And who didn't cheer when Moira committed a crime so she could race off into the night and escape Jezebels? That's so wrong, and yet it feels so right. Her contact with June is cut off, but I'm sure she'll find a crafty way to secure the line of communication again.
I keep imagining what would satisfy me at the end of this series, and all the women taking up against the atrocities in Gilead together would be enough. The way the society has compartmentalized them and set them against each other makes my heart ache.
What about you? What's on your mind with regard to The Handmaid's Tale these days?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.