Hi there and welcome to our seventh installment of The Handmaid's Tale or as I like to call it: What's Totally Happening Right Now. We got some shocking news (actually shocking, not in "quotation marks" as we're seeing right now *coughWeinsteincough*) at the end of last episode, here's hoping it was true and GOOD. Rolling S1:E07 The Other Side after the break.
We start with a reminder that Offred / June (Elisabeth Moss) has just found out that her husband Luke Bankole (O-T Fagbenle) is alive and able to receive a note from her, let's see where he's been all this time.
See, we were pretty sure he was dead, what with the gunshots June and I heard as she and Hannah (Jordana Blake) were running away in the woods when we first met this family.
But no, after he crashed their 90's Volvo (I swear my mom has this exact car and I LOVED it) and ran June and Hannah into the woods, he dug out a gun and sat to wait. He loaded that gun as well as I would have, bullets everywhere, safety catch on I fink, but he did get a couple of shots off before he was taken down with a bullet in the belly.
Things faded to black, then got really trippy when the ambulance he was in rolled over a bunch of times and ended up in a river.
So. Why did they try and save his life? Is there a movement to save fertile men as well? That's...pretty important, from what I remember about babymaking. Also: a sturdy bedroom lock.
Luke gets down from the ceiling of the upside down ambulance the hard way, then grabs whatever drugs he can, bandages himself up and heads towards the road. He stops to take the gun and jacket off a dying Guardian who is totally not gonna need them anymore.
Luke is a tough adorable bastage.
Luke gets to the road and starts walking in a delirious lurch-stumble, passing his car and heading into the woods to look for June and Hannah. He finds Hannah's bunny and June's boot, which he cradles to his chest as he looks around to no avail. His wife and daughter have been taken and Liam Neeson doesn't really exist in a way that would be useful.
I kid, but when he cradled that boot to his chest...
He limps into an abandoned town, finding food and shelter in a wrecked house, still locked even with all the glass broken out. He sleeps and dreams of leaving town with June and a drugged Hannah (just Benadryl, calm down!) back when they finally made a run for it. He was waiting for Visas, not knowing that they won't do anything for them now. June is on edge and worried about the lateness of their departure, they should have left when Moira (Samira Wiley) did, she's headed on foot to the border.
I still hold out hope that we'll see Moira again, I don't care what Janine said about her being sent to the Colonies.
Wait: isn't America the Colonies? I may have mis-remembered.
They meet Whitford (Tim Ransom) who knows June through her mom, who did his illegal vasectomy a few years back. Yay, June's mom being a rebel doctor makes me happy for reasons I can't explain. He scoots his reluctant travelers into the trunk of their Volvo and they're off.
The trunk is almost scarier because besides the claustrophobic aspect, there is also the constant sound of unseen sirens. They take turns reassuring one another while Hannah sleeps (thank you Benadryl) until they are pulled over. The Guardian who pulls them over doesn't "see" the three people in the trunk, good thing Whitford took that guy's sister to prom a million years ago.
They make it to their own "little slice of heaven" which looks like a deluxe version of cabins I have lived in/was born in. They even have electricity, which weirds me out so I stared at that the whole time Whitford explained how to use a gun to Luke. It was too quick, no way Luke understood and that's why he looked like he had fingers he's never used before when he was trying to load it.
Whitford tells Luke they'll have to wait until he gets them papers, the Visas don't mean anything (thought so, unfortunately) because a "US passport doesn't mean anything." "Smile, you're safe" because soon, they'll be in the "Magical land of the north."
In the present, Luke comes to being kicked by a woman who's pretty sure his jacket has made him a Guardian. He explains as best he can and guess who has a new stray? This is Zoe (Rosa Gilmore) and she's former Army. With her is Erin (Erin Way) who doesn't talk but watches everything. Another dude Peter (Ben Lewis) rounds up the gang and helps drag Luke to their bus.
Zoe staples Luke's stomach wound and starts an IV; I'm sure I can think of worse things than having a dirty IV put in while in transit on a dirty bus by a stranger, but I can't think of any offhand. Maybe dying on said bus?
We meet a bunch more people, as Peter explains: an Army brat (Zoe), two strays (?), a gay (Peter) and a nun, Christine (Kim Roberts). Luke apologizes for his language, but Christine figures God might have his mind on something else right now.
Erin still hasn't spoken.
Luke drifts off, thinking about their gorgeous family life in that cabin, making pancakes and teasing daddy while "Sweet Baby Jane" plays inexplicably in the background.
He comes to with Erin screaming, is she having a seizure? Maybe a PTSD flashback, Christine tells us that Zoe found Erin at a Training Centre, so we know what all the "fertile women" went through. She's the only one who made it out of that Centre.
Back in dreamland, we see the beginning of the end of the little slice of heaven, with a trip to the lake interrupted by an armed neighbour Joe (Shane Daly) and his dog. I think Joe was hunting (says his Mossy Oak camouflage jacket) but the sight of him is enough to make our gang very nervous.
Luke wakes up and tries to get off the bus, he wants to go back to Boston and find June and Hannah. Zoe stands him down brutally, pulling a gun even. Huh.
Luke is back in the past and they're packing and trying to sort out the gun when neighbour Joe appears again, this time at their cottage. June holds a gun on him as he explains that he heard about them on the police scanner, they gotta go. Whitford is dead, there's no point in waiting for him and I'd like to trust everything a complete stranger says when he shows up at my door in the middle of the night, but I do not.
So how come this bus of Zoe's is never stopped? We see Guardians and Eyes kicking around, but we just cruise on through.
They pull over near the border and prepare for the trip; Luke is going one way and the rest are going to Canada so Christine gives him a little religious assurance as a goodbye.
Zoe hasn't given up on our Luke, however, she takes him into a church to show what happens to people who help the resistance. It was used to shelter fertile women, all that is there now is long-dead people hanging from the rafters, stinking up the joint. Zoe finally gets through to Luke: if he goes back, "you'll die and leave them all alone. Is that what you want?"
Luke joins the group about to board a boat to cross into Canada, paying his way with drugs and his wedding ring but suddenly there is a volley of shots ringing out across the water and it's just Erin and him on the boat and getting away.
We catch up with them three years later in Little America in Toronto, Canada.
It's been THREE years??
Luke and Erin are still together and she's still not talking, but they share an apartment and Luke is doing the talking for both of them. He gets a call..
It's Rachel Tapping (Krista Morin) and she will meet with him to discuss his case. He goes to a building where the hallways are papered with pictures of missing women and children, it's overwhelming.
Rachel must be some kind of American Embassy helper? Because she has the note from Offred/June! She freaks Luke out first by asking if he knows a 31-year-old June Osborne with blonde hair and blue eyes but follows it with the note so we forgive her.
Now he knows June is alive as of three weeks ago, she still loves him and wants him to "save Hannah." Yay!!! We're out to him crying and smiling and wondering at his fate.
Y'all know I love O-T Fagbenle, even when he's working with subpar material, which very much was not the case this week. He carried this whole episode with nary a stumble and I was very glad to see there was a little bitta happiness before everything went so terribly wrong out in the woods.
Just, um, THREE YEARS, dude. What were you doing while your wife was being pimped out to THREE different dudes? Hit me back in comments.
Until next time!