The updated TV series adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel “Interview with the Vampire” and its many sequels is finally here. I’m trying to find ways to sound like a grown up about it, but I first read the novel when I was 16 and that girl needs to gush and scream for a minute: Aaaaahh!!! It’s so good!!! I love it!!! Louis and Lestat are perfect! They are the people I’ve always imagined and interact in the ways I envisioned when I read the books over and over. They have so much chemistry. And it’s gorgeous, so lush and beautiful to listen to and watch. ❤️❤️❤️
Episode 7 continues Mark’s meeting with Reghabi, the Lumon employee who helped Petey reintegrate. The meeting spirals out of control and Mark leaves in a hurry, with an upgraded Lumon key card in his pocket. The next morning, Harmony helps Devon with her breastfeeding issues, then sticks around to chat over tea. Helly earns a Music Dance Experience reward for the progress she’s made in refining her current file. When Milchick attempts to get the entire team involved in the party, Dylan’s emotions from the night before become an issue.
This episode is the set up for the finale, which takes place over episodes 8 and 9. As such, the pace and the reveals pick up even more. In past recaps, I’ve talked about the Johnstown flood in relation to Kier City’s geography and Lumon’s potential corporate history. The season is also paced, both in action and reveals, like a dam slowly losing its structural integrity, until it bursts and the reservoir behind it inundates the city below.
Episode 4 finds Serena setting up camp in the newly renovated Gilead Information Center, while June (Elisabeth Moss), Moira (Samira Wiley) and Luke (O-T Fagbengle) continue to deal with the fall out from Hannah’s appearance on TV. Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) opens a dialogue with Janine (Madeline Brewer) and Joseph (Bradley Whitford) about how she can improve working conditions for the handmaids. Neither is initially receptive to her change of heart.
June distractedly pushes Nichole in a toddler swing at a public playground while Nichole busies herself with being adorable. June’s reverie is interrupted by a woman (Imogen Haworth) standing in front of them who complements the baby and asks her age (14 months). She turns out to know exactly who she’s speaking with, calling both June and Nichole by name.
As June calmly retrieves Nichole from the swing, the stalker woman tells June about her own lost pregnancies, both boys. She thinks June was lucky to have been in Gilead, apparently giving them credit for Nichole’s healthy birth. She and the other pro-Gilead nuts must not know about Hannah (Jordana Blake)- probably for the best that it stays that way.
In episode 6, “Borders”, Moira (Samira Wiley) and June (Elisabeth Moss) visit a rebel camp on the Canadian border with the hope of getting more information about Hannah (Jordana Blake). Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) works to secure her future in Gilead. Hannah’s adoptive parents, the MacKenzies, worry that June is a threat to their family. As Janine (Madeline Brewer) lingers in a coma, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) stays by her bedside the way she once had June sit with Natalie/Ofmatthew (S3Ep9).
The episode picks up later in the evening after the end of the funeral in episode 2. June sits in her living room, going over the funeral broadcast in her mind and staring at a photo of Hannah from the before times. She asks Luke (OT Fagbenle) what Hannah was wearing, but he can’t remember. Moira, who’s been trying to get through to the refugee center on the phone, was watching at home and remembers the outfit. June asks if she noticed the color. Moira is upset that the broadcast revealed Tuello is in Gilead with Serena. But she recalls Hannah was wearing purple rather than pink, the color little girls wear.
They all look at each other with dread when this ominous sign that Hannah is growing up sinks in. June remembers seeing Nick (Max Minghella) there as well and decides to contact him. Luke reminds her that they have to use Tuello’s (Sam Jaeger) sat phone to do that. Moira tells them she knows of a group of rebels at the border who are able to get messages into Gilead.
In episode 2, June (Elisabeth Moss) returns to normal life with her family in Toronto while Serena returns to Gilead for Fred’s (Joseph Fiennes) funeral. Both have some difficulty achieving what they want and clash with their allies in the process. At the Red Center, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) prepares the latest crop of handmaids for placement, including Esther (Mckenna Grace) and Janine (Madeline Brewer).
This is a triggering episode for all of the women, whether they’re in Gilead or Canada, no matter their social station. The episode studies how each woman handles the crisis she faces, especially comparing June and Serena (Yvonne Strahovski), now that their positions have reversed. Serena is pregnant, alone and in danger of losing her child and her freedom, as June was at the beginning of S2, while June is married, in a safe place, with a home of her own and among friends, as Serena was for the first 2 seasons. But the threats that Gilead and the war pose to women and to the citizens of the US are always in the background for every character, whether they choose to acknowledge those threats or not.
As in episode 1, the Everly Brothers get the opening voiceover with All I Have to Do Is Dream, while June lies awake in bed running her reel of Serena memories on a loop. Among Serena’s greatest worst hits are the many times she violently manhandled Offred; the way, as the Wife, she (and Fred) took credit for June’s pregnancy (with Nick’s (Max Minghella) baby); and of course, her worst offenses- when she dangled her access to Hannah in front of June without letting June near her own daughter. Serena abused June/Offred just as much as Fred did, and in some ways the pain she caused was more insidious.
It’s time to return to the world of Gilead for season 5 of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. When we left June (Elisabeth Moss) at the end of season 4, she and a group of former handmaids had just finished salvaging former Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) in the No Man’s Land between Canada and Gilead, after Mark Tuello (Sam Jaeger) and the US made a deal for a prisoner swap between the US and Gilead, then Nick Blaine (Max Minghella) and Joseph Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) handed off Fred to June after the swap. According to the terms of the deal, Fred was to be disposed of via Gilead’s justice system. According to Gilead’s justice system, the punishment for a rapist is death by salvaging, with the salvagings carried out by the handmaids of the district. Since the Eyes control the border, Nick had the authority to dispense the appropriate form of justice and to turn Fred over to the local handmaids to carry it out.
The terms of the deal with the US were met, 22 Marthas who were part of the resistance were saved and Fred got the ending he deserved according to the system he devised.
May the rest of the Commanders also find the same justice at their ends. Under His eye.
Season 5 picks up moments after season 4 ends. The enormity of what she’s done starts to hit June.
Made for Love, HBO Max’s story of a woman who impulsively marries a dysfunctional billionaire (is there any other kind?) is back for season 2. Season 1 began when Hazel Green, wife, hostage and muse to tech giant Byron Gogol, escaped him after ten years of living a life of luxurious imprisonment in his secretive high tech work-home-play environment, the Hub. Unfortunately, Byron had already done home brain surgery on Hazel to place a Made for Love chip in her head, which allowed him to track her movements and emotions and to literally see through her eyes at all times.
Hazel struggled to break free from Byron’s control, but then reluctantly returned to the Hub when Byron promised to cure her father, Herbert, of his fatal pancreatic cancer in exchange for a chance to rekindle their relationship. Unbeknownst to Herbert, she and Byron brought him, his synthetic partner, Diane, and their entire home to a cube in the Hub where they’ll stay while he receives cutting edge cancer treatments developed by Byron’s company. Hazel’s plan is that Herbert will never know about the sacrifice she made for love him.
Season 2 picks up with Hazel (Cristin Milioti), Herbert (Ray Romano) and Diane (as herself) adjusting to their new routine back at the Hub. Hazel has to push Byron (Billy Magnussen) to keep the promises he made that she would have more freedom to move around the Hub, control over her own life and access to information. Byron reluctantly gives in and also provides Herbert with the promised state of the art medical care, but he still has many layers of secrets that Hazel knows nothing about. Herbert is drugged to sleep whenever it’s time for a treatment, then his clocks and the sun in his cube are reset as if no time has passed. He begins to question reality when he senses time passing differently from what his clocks show.
In episode 6, Graner and Cobel close in on the person who helped Petey with reintegration. Cobel punishes Ms Casey for letting Helly out of her sight the day before and warns Mark to keep MDR in their own office. Mark rebels against her orders and takes the team to O&D instead, where they meet the rest of the department. Outie Mark goes on another date with Alexa. While out on a walk, Devon runs into Gabby, the other expectant mother from the birthing center, but Gabby doesn’t remember her. Later, Devon learns that Gabby’s husband is a pro-severance state senator.
Dressed for bed in a homespun cotton nightgown and braids, Harmony (Patricia Arquette) finishes turning Petey’s (Yul Vazquez) implant into a pendant and clasps its chain around her neck. She’s made her bedroom in the basement, enclosed on two sides by the basement’s cinderblock walls, painted an institutional white, with only partially framed walls on the other sides, almost suggesting bars. Her bed has an old cast iron bed frame. The room is lit by a single fluorescent light, mounted on the wall over the head of bed, and candles the size and shape of Gemma’s candle, but Harmony’s are white.
It looks as though she’s recreated her childhood bedroom from a mid 20th century orphanage or school. Or she’s a survivalist who’s very worried about natural and manmade disasters, so she sleeps in her basement bunker.
In episode 5, Helly continues to work through her issues with the help of Mark and Ms Casey. Irving and Dylan find a disturbing painting which shows O&D attacking MDR. When they confront Burt about the painting and his lie about the size of his department, he tells them that the rest of the O&D department believes false rumors about MDR. Ms Cobel asks Milchick to have Petey’s implant analyzed. In the outside world, Devon goes into labor and Outie Mark joins her support team at the nature retreat birthing center.
Trigger warning for self-harm. And more about goats than anyone wants to know. There are some things you can’t unsee. Metamaiden was traumatized by flying goats, so I promised her that I will finally analyze Petey’s map in episode 6. Somehow this one got long, even for me. I didn’t even talk about the kelp. 💦
The episode begins moments after the end of episode 4, continuing Helly’s (Britt Lower) suicide attempt. The elevator reaches its destination and the doors open, revealing Outie Helly hanging from the ceiling and struggling to breathe. Judd (Mark Kenneth Smaltz) is missing from his desk once again. We’re briefly shown the view from one of the surveillance cameras, which is recording the scene. The elevator doors close again and Helly rides back down to the severed floor, still struggling.
The jeopardy ramps up in episode 4, as Helly’s desperation to resign keeps her in the break room and then leads to increasingly dangerous attempts to get through to her outie. The loss of Petey triggers outie Mark’s grief for his wife, while innie Mark ponders what to do about the map Petey left him. Burt visits MDR and makes Irving an offer he can’t refuse. Dylan continues to offer sage advice that nobody takes.
This would be a very different show if people listened to Dylan’s common sense more often.
Self-harming trigger warning for this episode.
It’s late afternoon and Helly (Britt Lower) is still in the Break Room. She’s been there for hours, since before lunch of this workday that started in episode 3. Even Milchick (Tramell Tillman) looks droopy around the edges, but he dutifully informs her that she’s still not sincere enough in her reading of the mandatory Lumon confession of Original Sin, ever after reading it 259 times. However, when the clock on the wall clicks over to 5:15, their shift is over, so Milchick’s mood lightens, he methodically organizes his space and puts the recording of Helly’s confessions in his shirt pocket.