The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Episode 4: God Bless the Child Recap

Handmaid's Tale S3Ep4 June & Natalie Square Off

Episode 4 brings the handmaids to a community baptism ceremony for all of the babies born recently, including Janine’s daughter, Angela. Nichole is notedly missing from the ceremony. Later, the handmaids are invited back to the Putnams for a reception, under the supervision of a still recovering Aunt Lydia. The baptism reminds June of her two children and her former life, while the party brings her back into contact with the Waterfords. In Toronto, Emily finally meets with her wife and son in person.

The episode continues this season’s exploration of identity, moving beyond the third episode’s focus on retaining one’s self, despite overwhelming pressure to submit to Gilead’s ideology. This week, the focus turns to Stockholm Syndrome, the psychological phenomenon that occurs when a hostage gives in to their captors’ world view out of exhaustion, despair and fear.

We saw the beginning of a sort of Stockholm Syndrome in June in episode 3, as she accepted that she couldn’t fight Gilead on its own terms and stay the same person she’d always been. Lawrence convinced her that she needed to get her hands dirty in order to be effective, and in this episode she mourns the person she used to be while beginning to explore new possibilities. She’s pulled in a few different directions.

How far is the new version of June willing to go to achieve her goals? Lawrence avidly watches her transformation. He may be helping her, but he’s also still a cat playing with mice.

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The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Episode 3: Useful Recap

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Previously on The Handmaid’s Tale- Hannah/Agnes: “Did you try to find me?” June: “I tried so hard.” Hannah/Agnes: “Why didn’t you try harder?”

This is what changed between June’s first escape attempt, when she was caught just as the plane was taking off, and her second, when she voluntarily sent Nichole to Canada with Emily. Her own child, who was also speaking for all of the little girls she’d leave behind, asked her to try harder. The H in Hannah is likely a nod to Holly, June’s mother, who is also invoked in this episode. June could hear Grandma Holly, the lifelong women’s rights activist, speaking through Hannah. She knew she had to listen to those words. They’ve become her inner mantra.

In this episode, June continues to search for ways to make a difference in Gilead. Lawrence continues to test June. Serena is bereft after the many self-inflicted changes in her life. All three reach tipping points which will affect their futures.

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Helstrom Season 1 Episode 9: Vessels Recap

Helstrom S1Ep9 Gabriella & Daimon Wake Up

In episode 9, the gang reunites to deal with some unusual circumstances. Basar’s demon mouth is still in Daimon, so he’s had a bit of a personality change. Ana, Louise and Victoria lock him up in Victoria’s old room while they work on a solution. Gabriella is held captive by Raum and Mother, with Mother is masquerading as Daimon. Chris and Derrick bond over painting a room blood red, but Keeper demon interrupts with an urgent message for Chris. Taker finally arrives in Portland and wants to whisk Louise away to Mexico. She’s busy coping with several demons and chemo.

There’s some knife play and sparks and an exorcism or two. Plus a fierce competition for cutest couple.

Recap

Gabriella wakes up half naked in a strange bed with Daimon. On the surface, it’s not the worst thing that could happen to her. Unfortunately, she doesn’t remember anything that’s happened since she got that terrible headache after kissing him. Thankfully, he’s not the type to roofie her before he got in the shower.

The really bad news is, they’re both suffering from demon possession hangovers and they were both demon raped last night.

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Helstrom Season 1 Episode 7: Scars Recap

Helstrom S1Ep6 Daimon & Louise in Office

In episode 7, Daimon and Ana deal with the realization that they sacrificed their mother to get rid of Spivey, but he wasn’t their father. As they fall into old patterns of blame and withdrawal, Ana returns to San Francisco with Chris, while Daimon sinks further into depression and isolation. Both Helstroms lash out at those closest to them. Gabriella, Chris and Louise try to talk them down. Taker is held hostage by the Blood, who blame him and the Helstroms for the attack on their hotel.

The Blood share Daimon’s talent for having terrible instincts.

Recap

Twenty years ago, Ana had just come back from her time on the run with her father. She sits in an observation room, fiddling with her butterfly bracelet, while Louise and Henry discuss her future as they watch her from behind a one-way mirror. Louise reports that a psychologist observed Ana exhibited “low affect, limited empathic response and sometimes a manner that’s just plain unnerving.”

Henry notes that what she’s been through would mess anyone up. Louise says that Daimon had night terrors for two months. She’s afraid that too much exposure to Ana would cause him to regress. And, Ana did something to one of the nurses that made her faint and feel like she was dying. Henry recognizes that Ana has a supernatural power. Louise sees it as evil.

Daimon must not have revealed his own evil powers to her yet.

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Helstrom Season 1 Episode 5: Committed Recap

Helstrom S1Ep5 Victoria Gets Committed

Now that we’ve explored the basics of the Helstrom universe, it’s time for Victoria’s episode! In episode 5, we go inside Mama Helstrom’s head. While we’re there, we meet the real Kthara and learn more about the Helstrom siblings childhood. Out in the real world, Ana and Daimon search for Chris and Keeper, with Taker refereeing the inevitable arguments. Gabriella begins counseling a new patient who’s recovering from possession, while Louise tries to keep Victoria’s physical condition stable.

Recap

In a flashback to 20 years ago, Victoria sits at a writing desk in the disheveled Helstrom family home, obsessively writing in her journal.

“Today’s the day. She’s coming back. I can feel it. Everything will be ready. But different from before. Not like last time. Nothing like last time. She’ll be safe now.”

In a giant scrawl, she’s written, “Kill Me” and “Get Out Of My Head”.

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Helstrom Season 1 Episode 4: Containment Recap

Helstrom S1Ep4 Ana & Daimon with Magoth

Episode 4 finds the dream team of Daimon, Ana, Henry, Louise and Gabriella assembling for a strategy meeting at Daimon’s house. Then Daimon and Ana go to San Francisco to pick up the Keeper skull, Henry and Gabriella get to know each other better and Louise learns some of Mother’s secrets.

Chris takes a walk in the park. And then in some underground tunnels. With his skull friend and a bottle of wine. It’s FINE.

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Helstrom Season 1 Episode 3: The One Who Got Away Recap

Helstrom S1Ep3 Daimon & Ana Question Mother

In episode 3, Victoria becomes more lucid than she’s been in years, which causes Daimon and Ana to work more closely together. With Gabriella’s help, they search for their father’s final victim, who they learn may have survived his attack. Taker and Louise spend some long overdue time together. Louise shares a secret with him that she hasn’t told anyone.

Recap

We begin with a pile of dead bodies in a college frat house. The thing that Spivey has become has been snacking. His final victim is begging to be spared, promising that his parents will pay a hefty ransom.

As if the demons couldn’t just possess his parents and take the money on their own.

When Spivey is done eating, he sits in a throne chair and waits as the lone survivor pushes his way out from under the pile. Once free, the newly possessed man says that Helstrom the Traitor has been warned that they’re coming. Spivey tells his minion that he wants a specific woman brought to him.

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Helstrom Season 1 Episode 2: Viaticum Recap

Helstrom S1Ep2 Ana in Hospital Hall

In episode 2, the Helstrom siblings begin to hash out their long standing differences, with Hastings as mediator. Ana spends some quality time with Mother while Chris and the Keeper skull get to know each other. Daimon performs an exorcism after a demon causes a fatal car accident. Gabriella and Daimon work together with new understanding. Taker meets with the leader of a mysterious group that’s hostile to the Helstroms.

Maybe we need to keep an eye on Taker.

Recap

Twenty years ago, Young Ana sat in the car listening to the Cranberries “Ode to My Family” while her father dragged the body of one of his victims from the trunk of the car to the hole he’d dug for her burial. Anna was facing the other way, but she could see what he was doing in the car’s side view mirror.

Yesterday, in San Francisco, she glimpsed a man dragging a checked blanket down an alley. It reminded her of her father and the checked blanket the body was wrapped in. She was on the phone with Yen at the time, who said the client gets to have a say in their business because he has money and now his “incredibly pretentious installation on ‘trans-generational trauma’ will be a week late…”

She hangs up on Yen because she gets a call from Taker, who asks when she last spoke to her mother. He tells her that the bodies in the crypt were from St Teresa’s Hospital. Ana is standing in front of a floral display. The flowers all instantaneously shrivel and die.

Speaking of transgenerational trauma, Ana’s triggers are coming at her fast and furious this week.

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Helstrom Season 1 Episode 1: Mother’s Little Helpers Recap

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Review of Entire Season HERE

It was a dark and stormy night…

Okay, it’s Portland, so that’s not a unique situation. We’re starting this show by staring straight up at the exterior of an imposing stone hospital during a thunderstorm, so someone’s brushed up on their horror tropes. This is the Saint Teresa Center for Mental Health, an honest to goodness mental asylum where a demon lives in a woman who lives in an empty padded cell that’s basically a vault, like it’s 1920 instead of 2020. As soon as the Trump era is over and we have some standards again, someone should report this place.

TV World does love an outdated mental ward. For the sake of telling a dramatic story, let’s pretend that isn’t offensive. To some extent, this show mirrors the look and feel of the Netflix MCU’s gritty, worn, slightly retro style, even though it takes place on the West Coast rather than NYC. Theoretically, Helstrom is not in that universe, but I caught a few visual references. Others caught newspaper references to the wider MCU.

Thematically, Helstrom also follows in the footsteps of the Netflix MCU by examining the Helstrom family’s trauma, loss, mental illness and ongoing recovery, but also, more subtly, focusing on the complicated nature of privilege. As opposed to the MCU’s broad methods, Helstrom uses subtle, quiet methods to show how characters who were born with their powers, but are passing as humans, can inadvertently use them to take advantage of others, regardless of their intentions. There are no Tony Starks here.

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Helstrom Season 1 Review

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Marvel’s Helstrom is about a dysfunctional family with certain issues that run in the family. These issues are serious and sometimes spread to those around them, so various authorities and agencies have been involved with the family for decades. Thanks to these interventions, the younger members of the family are doing better than their elders. The kids struggle with a weaker version of the same issues, though, which can become harmful to those around them if everyone involved doesn’t keep their guard up.

What are the Helstrom family issues, you ask? HIV? Or perhaps alcoholism/drug addiction leading to violent abuse?

Not exactly.

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