The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 3 Review: Baggage

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Can anyone in Gilead find happiness after the mess the Commanders of the Faithful have done to what was once known as the United States of America?

After watching The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 3, it seems even escaping the terrors of Gilead don't do much to make right the things that happened while someone was there.

Your psyche gets beaten down so far by multiple escape attempts before you're met with success it makes day-to-day survival in the face of freedom all the more difficult.

Another Survivor - The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 3

The way it all played out during the aptly titled "Baggage" was by visiting with the already freed Moira in Canada as June spent months navigating across Gilead trying to gain her freedom.

Moira has a job, but it's one that reminds her every day of what she suffered while in Gilead. 

So far, we only know of Luke and Moira in Canada, and both of them are working in the embassy welcoming new survivors who have crossed the border looking for asylum. That could be their only option for employment, or it could be their choice so they never give up the fight helping their loved ones.

Related: The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Premiere Review: June and the Unwomen

It seems the fight goes on for them both. Luke has been there longer and is a man. He lost his family, of course, but never had to suffer any of the indignities as the women did. He was always free even if his life changed a bit because he had added responsibilities due to the things June was no longer allowed to do.

Moira, though, saw more of the atrocities after Luke escaped. She knew about the work the new asylum-speaker talked about when he arrived with the unique view of a former Army soldier suddenly lassoed into killing his friends and loved ones, hanging them on walls for things like being gender traitors, a crime he was guilty of, too.

Moira's New Life - The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 3

Moira tried to get out at night and be a normal woman like she once was before the floor fell out from under them, but she's not that person any longer. 

It's never been addressed that Jezebels had to have surgery similar to what Emily went through, but Moira's reaction to her experience with Caitlyn made me wonder. 

Is she denying herself because if everyone isn't free then she won't allow herself pleasure such as what she gave Caitlyn or was it because she can no longer have that kind of pleasure? 

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We haven't had the full story behind Moira's journey yet, and with much left to learn, it wouldn't be a surprise to discover the irony of Gilead allowing only women who can't experience sexual pleasure becoming prostitutes instead of going to the colonies.

Men and idiotic women of Gilead would be stupid enough to think all women would line up for the gig because prostitution is such a joy. Isn't that part of the reason Gilead got to where it was in the first place? The inability of the Christian Right to understand anything about women?

Arriving home after her night and lashing out at the silent blonde (does she have a name?) at least provided them all a little levity.

Silent Blonde Girl: Blessed be the Fruit Loops.
Moira [laughing]: How long you been holding onto that one?
Blonde Girl: A long time.

Being in Moira's sad but free position is much better than the undetermined fate of June.

Months inside the Boston Globe allowed her to become obsessed over what happened after she was taken from her life and to better focus on the things that were happening around her when she was thinking more about her family instead of politics.

As a result of that introspection, June also thought a lot about her mother, Holly, who raised her early on to be a feminist by taking her to rallies to protest rape and other crimes against women.

Raise your daughter to be a feminist. She spends all her time waiting to be rescued by men.


Holly wanted her daughter to be more like her, clued into societal issues and worried about what would happen if they failed to set things straight. June was excited about job promotions and marrying Luke.

June and Holly Discuss Marriage - The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 3

Marrying anybody, in Holly's mind, was time wasted that could be better used to fight causes that needed smart minds like June to defend them. 

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Now it's June's turn to understand where her mother was coming from and to better understand her fight as she relies on men to save her and whisk her away from place to place with no other alternatives if she wants to stay alive long enough to someday save her daughter.

June Navigates Gilead - The Handmaid's Tale

Everyone who is helping her along the way, though, seems to have their own reasons for resisting Gilead. June will never know why everyone who helps does it, so she takes her time to thank them along the way.

Some die, some she'll never see again. She never knows why. She just moves. Omar and his family were exactly the same as her own with a son instead of a daughter. 

June and a Child - The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 3

Once upon a time, June thought she'd die rather than give up her baby. Now she knows that those families like hers that are still left living in the world are threatened with becoming what June already was -- a handmaid. They use the red dress and the wings to keep the fruitful in line.

Was June only captured and made a handmaid because she ran? Was it a form of punishment that she was dealt because she and Luke wanted to keep their family together and make their choices their own? 

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Living a lie, acting robotic as you move through the day with your family wouldn't be any easier, I wouldn't think, than it would be trying to escape with them and getting caught. 

Once a government like Gilead is created, there are no good choices. Only the Commanders are happy because they make the rules. Everyone else is left to suffer in the wake of their crazed grasp for power.

Here, The Handmaid's Tale reminds you to be cognizant enough of the world around you so you are never caught unaware of what's coming, but don't put yourself too far out in the headlights so you're the first to go, either. Even the best-laid plans can be torn asunder when madmen take control.

But it wouldn't hurt anyone to understand those who are about to take over. Knowledge is power, not oppression. Surely, it will win in the end.

Baggage Review

Editor Rating: 4.35 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (23 Votes)

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.

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The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 3 Quotes

June: What does the bell do?
Adam: It watch people so they can come and help.

Nick: You didn't wake me up.
June: 'Cause if I wake you, then you leave. How's that a win for me?