This recap of Episode 9 of The Handmaid’s Tale  is chocked full of {SPOILERS}. ***If you haven’t watched yet, go do that and then come back here. ;)***

For clarity’s sake, I’ll refer to Elisabeth Moss’s character as June when she’s not wearing the red robe and white bonnet, and as Offred when she is wearing the red robe and white bonnet.

This episode opens on the Handmaids filing into the driveway of a home, which turns out to be Ofwarren’s (Commander Warren Putnam’s) home. Inside the house, Ofwarren says goodbye to baby Angela as she hands the baby to Warren’s barren wife. All the while the Commander is reciting some scripture out loud. Ofwarren is not at all into turning the baby over. Aunt Lydia is there, of course, supervising.

Finally, Ofwarren hands the baby over.

She leaves the house, with her suitcase, walking through the gauntlet of handmaids who say “Blessed be,” and “Praise be,” as she passes. She hugs Offred and tells her, “Don’t be sad. He’s coming for me.” This child-woman still believes her Commander is in love with her. It’s really sad.

As Aunt Lydia passes, Offred asks her, “Does she seem all right, considering?” Aunt Lydia says, “She’s tougher than you think.” Uh, not so sure about that Aunt L. From the back of the red van, Ofwarren waves like a child and yells “Bye!”

After the van pulls away, Offred approaches Alma (I don’t know her Of-name) and says she wants to help with Mayday. Alma says she doesn’t know what Offred’s even talking about.

Aunt Lydia and Ofwarren get out of the van and approach a house. Is this her happy retirement house where she can live out her days in peace, having fulfilled her duty as a Handmaid to Commander Warren? Nope. Sure isn’t.

Aunt Lydia tells her, “You are Ofdaniel now.” Commander Daniel and Mrs. Monroe are her new hosts/kidnappers. She tells her, “I am very proud of you, Ofdaniel.” And I think she is, but I think she’s also terrified for her, and worried. As are we all.

Mrs. Putnam and Serena Joy walk baby Angela in a stroller. A Martha approaches them and says hello to the baby. A Guardian behind them encourages the Martha to move on. Serena Joy asks if Angela is eating okay and Mrs. Putnam says she devoured her bottle, then to the baby, she says, “Who needs that horrid girl, right?” You do, lady. You do. You’re not cut out for this.

Serena Joy tells her she should be thankful. Mrs. Putnam tells her she should be grateful she has such an “obedient Handmaid.” Serena Joy looks disturbed at that comment, and I get the sense she’s getting fed up with this whole Handmaid thing. Please tell me she’s getting woke, finally.

New Ofglen and Offred walk to the store. Alma (I don’t know her Of-name) pulls Offred aside and tells her, “They need you to go back to Jezebels.” So she’s working with Mayday. Cool.

Alma goes on, “We’ve been trying to get a package out of there. Find Rachel, at the bar.” Offred’s on her own to figure out how to get back to Jezebels. Alma asks, “Can they count on you or not?” Offred says, “Okay. I’ll try.” A slightly unenthusiastic response to joining the #resistance, but we’ll take it.

As she walks away Alma mumbles, “Tonight would be a good time to go.” No pressure, Offred. Just make it happen right now.

READ OUR OTHER THE HANDMAID’S TALE RECAPS HERE.

Back at the Waterford House, Fred finds Offred in the hallway outside his office. She flirts her way inside. She talks up how much she loved dressing up for him and sneaking into Jezebels. He eats it up because of course he does. He is THE WORST.

She says she just wanted to thank him. He says, “Maybe we could go back there sometime.” Right on cue, dummy.

“When?” she asks, innocently.

She dials the flirting up a notch, which works. He suggests they go tonight and she’s like, what a great idea you and your XY chromosomes just had, you genius man, you. Outside his office in the hallway, she stops acting and goes back to being terrified.

Later, Nick drives them back to Jezebels (AKA THE WHOREHOUSE OF ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN). June really lays it on thick in the limo, clutching Fred’s arm, leaning into him, flirting. It’s gross, but boy does Freddy just soak it all up. Nick is NOT happy about any of it.

At  the WHOREHOUSE OF ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN), Nick warns Fred, “Sir, this trip was so last minute, we don’t know who might be here tonight. Just want you to be careful.” What does that mean? Who could be here that would make it dangerous for Fred?

At home, Serena Joy is awake, sewing a baby blanket. She puts it her her hope chest and then makes her way to the kitchen. Rita finds her there, rifling through a cupboard. She says, “Sorry, I thought the Commander came home hungry.” To which Serena Joy replies, “He’s in his office.” Oh, girl. So dumb.

Rita offers to help her find the chamomile. She proceeds to make her some tea. Serena Joy asks if Offred has “asked for her napkins this month.” Nope. She has not. But chill because Rita reminds her “It’s not quite her time yet.” Then Rita offers Serena Joy “something with a bit more flavor, to settle the soul.” She knows Serena Joy needs a stiff drink.

She takes her up on it. Serena Joy invites Rita to join her in the drink, which she does. They’re just a couple of girlfriends sharing a drink, chatting about this crazy world.

Rita tells Serena Joy she lost a son, Matthew. He was 19. He was in the war. So thanks, Serena Joy for helping set off the war that killed Rita’s son. Can you imagine? Everywhere S.J. turns, she’s confronted with the horrible results of the thing SHE helped set in motion. And she remains baby-less, to top it all off.

At her new home, Ofdaniel (Janine) joins Mrs. Monroe in the bedroom, for her rape, I mean ceremony. Ofdaniel starts to cry and panic as she lays on the bed between Mrs. Monroe’s legs. Madeline Brewer is brilliant, as always, and her performance is heart-wrenching. I just want to scoop Janine up and carry her out of this house forever.

Commander Monroe comes in, proceeds to rape Ofdaniel as she says “No, I don’t want it!” and cries. He smiles at his wife, and she smiles at him. It’s horrific. I actually had to stop watching for a few minutes and go do something else (cleaning is cathartic, if you’re in the same boat).

Finally, Ofdaniel has had enough, she yells, “Get the f*ck off me!” and jumps to her feet. “Don’t you f*cking touch me!” She runs to the corner, goes fetal, and rocks back and forth, muttering “He’s coming for me, he’s coming for me.” He = Warren.

Back at the WHOREHOUSE OF ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN, Fred does what he does as June pretends to enjoy it. She wants to go have that drink at the bar. And he asks her why she’s so keen on the bar. She says, “I like the way people treat you. They’re all so impressed.” LOL.

He says, “I’m not dumb. I know why you wanted to come back here. To meet someone.” Oh sh*t. WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT?!

He tells her he made “the arrangements.” He opens the door AND MOIRA COMES IN! He says, “I know you know Ruby,” as he puts his arm around Moira’s shoulder, “I know her too.” DISGUSTING. THIS IS A PIG OF A MAN.

Clearly, he wants them to get together, in the way that pervs always want women friends to get together. June makes it clear nope, you’re out of your depth, dude. He insists that he be thanked for arranging their meeting and for being so nice. They both say “thank you” and he heads to the bathroom. Hope he slips in the shower, breaks his neck, and dies in there.

Moira wants to know, “What the f*ck are you doing back here?”

In the kitchen of the WHOREHOUSE OF ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN, Nick and the James Beard Award Nominated Martha chat about any info she has. He wants to know if anybody has said anything to her about “Waterford’s Handmaid.” Nope. She warns him that asking questions like this is dangerous.

The Martha realizes Nick is crushing on Offred/June. She warns him about that too. He deflects.

Back in the room, Moira freaks out over June being there to pick up a secret package. June says, “Moira, you could get it for me.” Moira’s like no way, not gonna happen.

Then she tells June, “It’s Ruby now.” Which is awful. She goes on, “Go home and just do what they say!” They broke Moira. Her fighting spirit is gone.

June says, “I thought they strung you up somewhere to rot. It tore me apart. I didn’t give up like a coward.” She pleads with Moira, “You said we would find Hannah.”

June says, “Do NOT let them grind you down. You keep your f*cking sh*t together! You fight!” Moira says, “I was doing alright until I saw you again.” She leaves.

June breaks down, sobbing. Fred exits the bathroom, “She left?” June nods. And then this POS says,  “Good, she’s a degenerate.”

KARATE CHOP TO FRED’S JUNK. That didn’t happen, except in my imagination.

As she sobs at the door, irritated Fred tells her, “Pull yourself together. We’re going.”

At home, Serena Joy hears Fred walking upstairs.

She stands at the top of stairs, says, “It’s late.” Which means, where the f were you?

He says, “You should get some sleep.” Which means, I’m not telling you and stop asking me.

She says, “Goodnight then.” Which mean, I don’t feel like fighting.

He says, “Goodnight, dear. I’ll see you in the morning.” Which means, don’t ask me tomorrow either because I also won’t tell you then.

She says, “Yes.” Which means, I won’t ask tomorrow because I already know where you were and what you were doing so good luck trying to figure out exactly when this is going to come back and bite you in the ass, but rest assured, it WILL do exactly that.

And she goes to bed.

June climbs in her bed, dreams of sharing good times with Moira, with Luke, and with Hannah.

She’s shaken awake by Serena Joy urging her, “Wake up, get dressed, hurry up!”

Nick drives Fred, Serena Joy, and Offred to a blocked off bridge. As they get out of the car, Aunt Lydia runs over to Offred, “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!”

Brace yourselves.

Janine (I’m. Using. Her. Real. F’ing. Name.) holds baby Angela, as she stands on top of this bridge, overlooking the icy cold water below.

Warren and Mrs. Putnam are there, pleading with Janine to give them Angela. Janine yells, “Her name is Charlotte, you lying f*ck! You said we would be a family!”

Warren tells his wife, “She’s not well.”

Janine retorts, “I was well enough to suck your c*ck.”

Janine, bless her, goes on, “I did every f*cked up thing you wanted, all the freaky shit she’d never do because you, you promised me we would run off and we would be a family!”

Aunt Lydia is beside herself, she implores Offred to talk to Janine. Offred tells the Putnams, “I need you to move back.” Commander Putnam refuses to move. Mrs. Putnam moves back. Fred tells him, “Give her a chance.” He finally moves, the dumb*ss.

Offred approaches her. “They all think I’m crazy, but I’m not.” Offred tells her, “Janine, change is coming. There’s hope. All of this, it’s all gonna be over one day. Everything is gonna go back to normal. We are gonna go out. We’re gonna go out drinking. You and me.”

Janine says, “And Moira? And Alma? Can we do karaoke?”

Offred says, “We’re gonna go dancing. We’re gonna watch the sun come up.”

Janine says, “Come with me. It can’t hurt very much. Just for a second. And then we’ll be free.”

Okay, pausing again to go clean. And cry.

June tells her, “I can’t cause of my daughter.”

She says, “You have to do what’s best for your daughter now. You have to give her the chance to grow up.”

Janine tells Angela/Charlotte, “Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you, Charlotte. Mommy loves you so much.” She kisses her, hands her to Offred, “Make sure she knows that, please.”

Offred promises, holds Charlotte. Janine kisses Offred, quickly says, “bye” and f*cking jumps off the bridge into the water. In slow motion, Aunt Lydia freaks out, Offred is frozen in terror. Mrs. Putnam takes Charlotte from Offred.

Later, in a brightly lit, stark white hospital room, Aunt Lydia stands next to an unconscious Janine. WTF?!? Is she being kept alive by machines?! What is happening!??

As she brushes aside Janine’s hair, Aunt Lydia says, “May the Lord keep you in his mercy, you stupid girl.” As I yell, “PULL THE PLUG! HAVE SOME COMPASSION, YOU B*TCH!” Instead, Aunt Lydia sits down next to Janine’s bed.

At the Putnam home, Commander Warren is taken away in a black van by some Guardians. Serena Joy tells Mrs. P, “Hopefully, he’ll only receive an admonishment. Let’s pray that you won’t bear any of the consequences.” Ugh. Really, Serena Joy? Is now the time for this b.s?

Mrs. P is like, none of this is my fault. She’s WAY too rough with Charlotte, bouncing her like a basketball.

Mrs. P snaps, “Why don’t you worry about your own husband? We all know what happened with your first Handmaid. Men don’t change.” S.J. is stunned. But it’s not undeserved. She’s super judge-y. Barren wives in glass houses…

At home, S.J. goes into Fred’s office. He’s not home. Clearly, she’s going to turn the place upside down.

Meanwhile, at the store, the butcher tells Offred, “I’ve got a fine cut of meat for Commander Waterford.” Only this isn’t just a cut of meat. It’s more.

He says, “I saved it for you, special.” It’s the package she was supposed to get from Rachel at the WHOREHOUSE OF ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN.

Offred takes it, walks out of the store, looks at the package.

Yay! Moira got her fighting spirit back!

Meanwhile, Moira is in the bathroom of one of the rooms at the WHOREHOUSE OF ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN, a man offscreen asks her, “What’s taking so long?” She grabs a metal piece of equipment from inside the upper tank of the toilet (just like she used to threaten Aunt Liz at the Red Centre) and says “Be right there.”

Cut to: Moira disguised as a delivery driver outside the WHOREHOUSE, starting a van, her hand bloodied. She drives away!!!!

My fave moments:

  • Serena Joy and Fred’s stairway conversation – which was chocked full of subtext.
  • Janine outing Warren’s sexual misdeeds in front of everyone.
  • Offred reading Moira’s note on the smuggled package.
  • Moira driving away in that truck.

What I hope we see next week, in the LAST episode:

  • Is it totally unrealistic to hope Janine wakes up?
  • What is Serena Joy looking for in Fred’s office? And what will she actually find?
  • Where is Moira going in that van?
  • HANNAH! HANNAH! HANNAH!
  • Max Minghella HELPING JUNE GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WATERFORD HOUSE.

Something I learned:

  • Everybody knows Fred drove the original Offred to suicide.

 

This incredible show is most definitely not meant to be watched in a vacuum. It should be discussed, and at great length. What’d you think of this episode?

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Kim Bowman

In addition to recaps, Kim writes witty ensemble TV comedies with strong female leads, none of which have been produced *insert sad trombone sound here.*

Nevertheless, she persists.
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