This recap of Episode 7 of THE HANDMAID’S TALE is chocked full of {SPOILERS}. ***If you haven’t watched yet, go do that and then come back here. ;)***

This episode opens on the car crash we saw in the first episode. It plays out the same as we saw it before, with June and Hannah running into the woods.

Only now, we follow Luke. THIS IS VERY EXCITING!

After June and Hannah take off, Luke opens the car trunk, grabs a gun, loads it. The sirens are getting closer. He takes aim, shoots, but then he’s shot in the abdomen by a Guardian! He blacks out.

He wakes up in the back of an ambulance, strapped to a gurney, as the ambulance rolls off the road. When it comes to a stop, upside down, he unstraps himself from the gurney, finds some meds, his glasses, medical supplies, a dead Guardian’s coat and his gun, and heads off.

Except he doesn’t know where he is.

Eventually, he finds the road, starts walking.

Later, it’s cold, he’s bleeding, and he ends up back at his crashed car. He heads into the woods, where he finds Hannah’s stuffed rabbit and one of her little boots.

Of course, he’s panicking and terrified as he clutches her little boot as I cry and cry and cry (I’m watching this episode on Mother’s Day so cut me some slack, please).

At nightfall, he wanders into a town that’s abandoned. “Gender Traitor” and “Fags Die” are spray-painted on the windows of shops and homes, you know – super chill. He rests inside an abandoned restaurant, gun in hand, still bleeding from that gunshot to the gut.

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In a flashback, June, Luke and Hannah are on their way out of town – to escape. Luke glances back at Hannah, who’s asleep, and asks, “She’s alright? We didn’t give her too much?”

They drugged her to get her to sleep and probably so she’d be quiet (no judgments because who among us hasn’t). June wishes they’d left when she lost her job, instead of waiting. Moira already left, crossing the border on foot. June wishes they’d left when Moira did. Luke agrees.

Outside of town, they meet up with an old family friend of June’s, Mr. Whitford. Apparently, a long time ago, June’s mother performed a vasectomy on Mr. Whitford, even though it was illegal, so he’s now repaying the favor.

He takes their phones, crushes them. He also takes their backpack, but not before Luke removes his photo albums (awww). Mr. Whitford tells them they’ll all three have to get in the trunk while he drives their car. They argue about that a little, but then concede and climb in the trunk of their own car with their drugged daughter. THIS MAKES ME VERY NERVOUS.

How does that old saying go? Never get in the trunk of your own car even when a man your mom vasectomied tells you it’s for your own good?

As they’re well on their way, June hears sirens whizz by and she starts to panic. Luke calms her down.

But then they stop. A car door slams. No voices though, just radios. A Guardian opens the trunk, flashes his flashlight on the three of them, declares, “All good, nothing in here.”

PHEW!!

Mr. Whitford closes the trunk, just as he whispers, “You good?” They don’t answer.

They pull up to a picturesque house in the snowy woods, which I’d like to book on Airbnb for a vacation, were it not now permanently relegated to the part of my brain that houses HANDMAID’S TALE HORRORS.

The closest neighbor is 2 miles away, according to Whitford. The house has no heat, so Whitford suggests they use the fireplace instead. NOPE. DUMB IDEA. I’ve watched an inordinate number of true crime documentaries and one thing I know is – if you’re ever trying to escape and/or hide, don’t send up a signal of smoke indicating your exact position. Also, trust NO ONE.

Whitford tells Luke there are “lots of patrols between here and the border. It isn’t safe for the ladies.” He gives Luke a revolver, quickly explains how to load and shoot. Luke pretends to understand, but he’s semi-afraid of Whitford holding the gun, as am I.

Whitford declares, “I’ll be back and then we will get you all safe and sound to the magical land of the North.” Which is what Canada should call themselves now – in 2017. Magical Land of The North. Whitford leaves.

Back in the abandoned restaurant, Luke wakes up to a tiny woman shining a flashlight in his face and kicking him. Another woman points a gun at him and yells, “Where are the others? Your unit?” He explains he’s not a Guardian. He tells her he got shot, his wife and daughter were taken. She inspects his wound. “You’re going to bleed to death.” The two women and the guy who’s with them load Luke into their mini-bus.

On the bus, they clean Luke’s wound. The tiny woman has a red tag on her ear, just like the Handmaids. So we know, she’s escaped or been rescued. The woman with the gun, Zoe, seems to be in charge. So I feel better.

Zoe starts an IV of antibiotics for Luke so he doesn’t go septic. Luke asks who they are. The guy responds, “We got an army brat, two strays, a gay, and a nun.” Christine (nun), Lila (bus driver, stray), Peter (gay), and TBD (the tiny Handmaid hasn’t spoken since they picked her up so she’s TBD).

In a flashback to the safe house, June makes chocolate chip pancakes for Hannah. If we didn’t know any better, it looks like they’re on a fun family vacation in the winter woods. Instead, they’re trying to flee the country they were born and raised in because a dangerous group of religious zealots have overthrown the government and are systematically stripping citizens of their constitutional rights one after the other. Let us not forget THAT.

On the bus, the Handmaid is freaking out, yelling and crying. Zoe (the army brat and the one with the gun) was stationed at a base in South Carolina when they heard rumors about the “Centers.” They raided an old high school and found about fifty women there. Zoe rescued just this one.

Flashback to the safe house, Luke, June, and Hannah, are skipping rocks on a half frozen lake. A hunter and his dog spot them, surprised. “Hi there, I’m Joe,” he says. He looks friendly enough, but all I can think is “great, now you’ve been spotted by a dude with a hunting rifle, you dummies.” He goes about his business, seemingly uninterested in them, and they head back to the house.

On the bus, Luke holds Hannah’s stuffed bunny. He realizes they’re headed to Canada but he wants to get out, head back to Boston. “Stop the bus!” he yells. Zoe tells him to sit down, and cocks the gun at her side.

Peter tells him he might be able to catch a boat back down once they get to the border. The rescued Handmaid gives him a drink, one freaked out passenger to another.

Safe house flashback: Luke realizes they’ve blown their cover. He grabs the gun, teaches Offred how to load it. Guess he was listening to Whitford’s instructions after all.

The hunter from before, Joe, comes IN the front door. June points the gun at him!

He says he’s a friend and that he heard on his scanner that “they’re looking for you.” He tells them to stay off the main road because they know their car. He tells them Whitford’s dead, they caught him and hung him. June puts the gun down.

Joe tells them that he has a friend who can meet them at the border.

Luke’s rescue bus stops near the Canadian border. The nun prays with Luke before he heads off. Zoe tells him that their dock is a half a mile down the river, if he decides to stay with them, instead of heading back to Boston.

Then she takes him inside a church where there are a bunch of bodies hanging from the ceiling. Zoe tells him, “There’s one of these in every town. This is what they do to people who fight back.”She warns him that if he goes back, he’s going to die.

He decides to stay with them (duhhhhhhh). They have to hurry because Gilead’s using drones to patrol.

The guy with the boat who’s going to take them to New Brunswick says he won’t take 6 people, he only got paid for 5. Luke gives him a stash of meds he stole from the ambulance. Then he gives the guy his wedding ring. Payment accepted (note to self: stock up on gold).

As they get on the boat, they’re shot at! Zoe is killed! Only Luke and the Handmaid make it onto the boat, which speeds off!

And then this happened…

TITLE CARD: 3 YEARS LATER, LITTLE AMERICA, TORONTO, CANADA.

Pause. Reread. Sigh. Continue.

Luke and the Handmaid are hanging out, under the American flag, the CN Tower in the background. Just another day in Little America. Drinking tea (because the American grocery store was out of coffee), staring at the flag, wishing they hadn’t let the b*stards grind them down.

Luke takes a call on his cell phone, next thing you know, we see him enter what must be the Canadian headquarters for the “Gilead Resistance and Lost Loved Ones” organization. The walls are papered with photos and missing persons posters. It’s like post 9/11 Manhattan but MORE.

A bureaucrat, Rachel (I see your bible-y name, Miss R), meets with Luke in a conference room lined with American flags and portraits of America’s founding fathers, including Alexander Hamilton (an immigrant – who got the job done).

Rachel asks, “Luke, do you know a woman named June Osborne? She’s 31, blonde hair, blue eyes, from Boston?”

“Yeah, that’s my wife.” He’s a hell of a lot calmer than I am. I’m somehow standing up. Don’t know how that happened.

“That’s what we thought,” she says.

THEN SHE HANDS HIM THE NOTE THAT OFFRED WROTE IN THE LAST EPISODE.

He takes out his glasses, puts them on, unfolds the note, moving entirely too slow for me. HURRY UP!!!! OPEN IT! FASTER!!!!

“Where did you get this?” He asks her.

She tells him it’s from their contact in the Mexican delegation. Then he asks, “When?”

Three weeks ago!

“So she’s alive?” Oh God, I’m dying. He’s holding it together, he must be in total shock.

“We believe so, yes.”

“Can I have a moment?” he asks.

Rachel leaves.

He cries and smiles and cries and smiles. And cries. Such a beautiful scene and such lovely acting from O-T Fagbenle.

We see Offred in her room, thinking, “I love you so much. Save Hannah.”

WHICH IS WHAT SHE WROTE IN HER NOTE!

We wrap up this episode with him re-reading it and what else… crying.

My fave moments:

  • Luke escaping on the boat, alive.
  • That room full of American flags and paintings of America’s founding fathers (I’m a patriotic sap).
  • THE NOTE!
  • Luke realizing June’s alive.

What I hope we see in the next episode:

  •  WHERE IS HANNAH?! We’ve seen Luke now show us Hannah!
  • Also, where is Moira? I don’t think she’s in Toronto’s Little America or she’d surely be hanging out with Luke.
  • Max Minghella, shirtless, washing a limo or GETTING JUNE THE HELL OUT OF THE WATERFORD HOUSE.

Something I learned:

  • Vasectomies were illegal, and June’s mother performed at least one, illegally, so #resistance runs in the maternal line.
  • Canada and Mexico. Boy, oh boy. They’re taking the lead to end this bullsh*t – on the down-low and out in the open.

 

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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