Commander Lawrence’s New Bethlehem plan explained

Commander Lawrence has been brewing the ‘New Bethlehem’ plan of his that he seeks to gain redemption from, and with the pieces now all set to move favourably, his plan is starting to take shape.

The Handmaid’s Tale has had its fair share of downright hideous and evil characters, with slivers of grey found in some every now and then.

One such character is Commander Lawrence.

While a man who’s also known as the “architect of Gilead” doesn’t inspire even a charitable assumption, Lawrence has done a fair share of deeds throughout the show that earns him that grey status.

With the show fast approaching its final stretch, Lawrence has started to gear up for his ambitious redemptive plan to finally set afoot.

The New Bethlehem

Commander Lawrence seeks to create a new place for the Gilead refugees to call home.

His argument for this new region under Gilead but under a system different that Gilead’s is that the country needs to project a better image to the rest of the world.

He argues that this would also help them become a UN member and be recognised by the organisation. It will also, according to him, strengthen their relationship with Canada that’s been crumbling because of the fleeing refugees.

Lawrence urges other commanders to think of New Bethlehem as Gilead’s Hong Kong and claims it’ll be a modernized, strategically liberalized island where the refugees can come home with amnesty and reunite with their family and friends.

A better place

Commander Lawrence’s big plan banks on the hope for a better place. He always wanted to, according to himself, save humanity, a dream he claims he achieved, but at the cost of innumerable amount of human rights violations.

Lawrence never wanted things to go the way they did, for Gilead to become the gutter filled with rape, slavery, and murder that it became. The way he sees it, that dream of his got away from him and he’ll do anything to get it back.

He wants to make this new place where they can fight for a better future, even if the past can’t be changed. This is the last straw for him, to have some semblance of redemption.

lawrence the handmaid's tale
Image source: Prime Video

For Lawrence, there are two options, either go with New Bethlehem or commit suicide, as his wife did. Lawrence needs to reset Gilead to how he wished it to be in the first place.

With New Bethlehem, he seeks to introduce a new, much better system than the totalitarian patriarchal theocracy that Gilead devolved into.

He believes that once New Bethlehem gets going, it’s only a matter of time before successful reforms can transform all of Gilead into a safe haven, rid of sham trials, rape, and torture.

An ambitious lunge or a pipe dream?

Commander Lawrence’s New Bethlehem is an ambitious plan, to say the least. It’s a grandiose undertaking and so far, only he and Nick are the two prominent figures working together to realize it.

Lawrence has gained some considerable political power of late, especially after the cold punishment he greatly helped exact upon Commander Putnam.

He’s also managed to convince many other commanders to back his New Bethlehem plan, with firm resolve and authority that everyone around him feels.

However, this increase in power may come with a price, a counterforce from other factions of commanders that aren’t fond of Lawrence’s increasing power and movements.

Meanwhile, he needs June to fuel his plan, as she can play the key role of inspiring other refugees to migrate to New Bethlehem if she deems it worthy and safe enough.

However, June is at best, conflicted and unsure about this plan. Meanwhile, America’s classified militaristic raid plans and the forthcoming raid of Hannah’s school might complicate matters for him.

The biggest threat to his plans, though, remains other commanders who hold positions of power in Gilead, as the power play Lawrence needs to perform requires highly perilous bureaucratic manoeuvres.

Also Read: Commander Putnam’s death in The Handmaid’s Tale explained

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