Title Photo Credit: George Kraychyk, courtesy of Hulu

Here we are, at Episode 2 of the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale already! Seems like only 5 minutes ago we finished watching Episode 1 (because it was literally 5 minutes ago, for most of us)!

RELATED: Season 2, Episode 1 recap of The Handmaid’s Tale

{SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS} from here on out . . .

And here…

we…

go.

June’s (Elisabeth Moss) in the back of another moving vehicle. In voice over, she says.

“We get so comfortable with walls, doesn’t even take that long. Wear the red dress. Wear the wings. Shut your mouth. Be a good girl. Roll over and spread your legs. Yes ma’am. May the Lord open.”

The driver drops June off at a loading dock for some huge building he says hasn’t been used since the war. As he’s leaving, June mutters “under His eye.” His response makes me happy, “After a while, crocodile.” YES! THAT IS THE CORRECT RESPONSE NOW AND FOREVER.

He pulls away, she shuts the door and we see that it’s THE BOSTON GLOBE. GASP. First Fenway and now The Boston Globe? Bostonians watching this show must get straight-up chilled to the bone. It’s bad enough for me all the way over here in Los Angeles.

Gilead shut down baseball and newspapers! Democracy dies in the darkness! That’s not the Globe’s slogan but it is The Washington Post’s. I don’t care because it works in this instance! 

June wanders around the building, which is dust-ridden and Armageddon-ish.

And then, we get our first look at the colonies! Which 100% lives up to its reputation of a dystopian hellscape. It’s bad. And I know this because the Aunts that guard the Unwomen are wearing gas masks.

We see Emily (Alexis Bledel), with other Unwomen, digging up I don’t quite know what. Mud? They’re harvesting mud, guys, let’s just go with it.

Flashback to Emily teaching college, remember when she did that? Before Gilead made it illegal? So she’s teaching college and we get a mansplaining moment.

A female student, Jenna, makes a comment and some guy in class “well, actuallys” her. Emily lets him know he’s wrong and Jenna is right. And this is how Gilead started. Bros “well, actually” us and we just sit there and say “I’m sorry.” Don’t do this, ladies! Every time you let a man do this, you’re Handmaiding (Handmaiding: not calling a guy out when he mansplains)!

After class, Emily’s boss (John Carroll Lynch) tells her she won’t be teaching next semester, because of Gilead’s bogus burgeoning grip (say that three times fast) on the culture. The Board of Regents thinks Emily isn’t maintaining “a healthy learning environment.” But then the TRUTH comes out. It’s because she’s a lesbian. She has a picture of her wife and son on her phone. AS it turns out, her boss is gay, so he understands, but he thinks they can just lay low and ride this out.

Back in the present at the colonies, the bus arrives with a new Unwoman. What’s this now? She’s a Commander’s wife!

The Unwomen don’t take kindly to her – do you blame them? She finds a bunk, begins to pray and we finally see her face, Marisa Tomei.

Over that The Boston Globe, June wanders around looking at all the worker’s desks, the printing press, etc. She picks up coffee mugs, kids’ drawings, a Friends DVD.

She runs across a blood covered wall where it’s clear the paper’s employees were executed, as one does. Just then, Nick shows up to check on her. And June is READY TO GO. Like a caged animal, she wants to get the f out of there.

Nick can’t move her yet but June’s like, “nah, kid, I’m out.”  He gives her his keys and she starts up his car to leave. I really thought she was gonna leave Nick! But she decides against it. Instead, she and Nick engage in a sexual encounter that screams of June trying to take back her power from not just Nick, but all men.

At the colonies, the Commander’s Wife is having trouble adjusting, what with the working and digging and toxic air and water, and not helping her husband rape other women. Emily befriends her and gives her tips on how to take care of her cuts and such.

Mrs. Commander got sent to the colonies because she “fell in love” with someone other than her husband. Emily gives her antibiotics to take every four hours that help with the contaminated water she’s ingested. Mrs. Commander asks her why she’s helping her and Emily says, “A mistress was kind to me. . . once.”

In the flashback at Emily’s college, we’re unfortunately faced with the murder of Emily’s boss. He is hung by a noose with the word “faggot” spray painted on the ground beneath him. Cut to: Emily, her wife (Clea Duvall) and their two-year old son trying to fly to Montreal – FOR GOOD. It’s no problem for the son and Emily’s wife to go, because she’s Canadian. But Emily – is not.

The customs guy sends her to a back room to be interviewed. You can see guess how is going to go. New rules have been passed (just that very morning) on who can leave and why. Mirror current American culture much, Handmaid’s Tale?

The backroom customs guy is nowhere near as nice. He asks all kinds of rude as h*ll personal and highly inappropriate questions, tells them their marriage isn’t legal, asks if her son was born from her egg. I mean, someone stab this guy in the junk, ASAP. And pass me a fresh box of Kleenex, mine’s empty.

They let Emily’s wife and son leave, but not Emily. Just want to let you know Alexis Bledel is going to sweep the supporting actress awards for what she’s done so far in this season. SWEEP EM.

At the colony, Emily gets up from bed to check on Mrs. Commander – who’s puking in the toilet. We find out that EMILY GAVE HER SOMETHING TO KILL HER. SLOOOOWLY and PAINFULLY. Emily tells her she deserves to die alone because,

“Every month you held a woman down while your husband raped her. Some things can’t be forgiven.”

And she does.

When they get up in the morning, Marisa Tomei is draped over a cross outside – dead.

The bus shows up with new Unwomen to deliver to the colony and guess who gets off the bus?

JANINE (Madeline Brewer)!!!!!! Yes, that Janine!!!! I assumed Aunt Lydia had her killed after Offred and the girls wouldn’t stone her to death. Happy to be wrong!

Over at The Globe, June is watching that Friends DVD she found. Just so happens to be the perfect episode, Season 4, Episode 11, “The One with Phoebe’s Uterus.” It’s the one where Monica draws a woman and teaches Chandler about women’s 7 erogenous zones. Suck on that, Gilead.

June decides to collect memorabilia from all the murdered workers’ desks and turn that bloody execution wall into a memorial. She hangs their kids’ drawings on it, places their coffee mugs before it. She lights some candles and she prays. Not Gilead style though – old fashioned style, she says, “through Christ, our Lord, Amen.”

Chills!


What’d you think about this episode? Let me know in the comments below or contact me on Twitter! Looking forward to next week, episode 3!

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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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