Welcome to Episode 4 of season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale! If you haven’t watched the episode yet, please do so and then come back here.

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

And here…

 

we…

 

go.

 

This week’s episode opens with June getting her ear re-tagged at the Red Center. Then we see her chained near a bed but, hey, at least it’s not in the basement!

Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) returns with the red dress and hangs it within June’s reach.

When she calls her Offred, June says, “It’s June. You know my f*cking name.” Which is why I yelled, “YOU KNOW HER F*CKING NAME, YOU COW” so loud that my husband texted me from upstairs to ask which Real Housewives show I was yelling it (because that’s when I do most of my TV yelling). Incidentally, what I yelled DOES work for any of the shows in that franchise.

Back to June . . .

Aunt Lydia lets her know that the Waterfords will let Offred return for a trial run, but they don’t want June. Wow, such great options. Stay chained up in the Red Center or return to her rapist’s house.

Cut to: She puts on the red dress and returns to the Waterford house.

So I guess I have to go back to doing what I did in the recaps for last season – when June is wearing the red dress of a Handmaid, I’ll refer to her as Offred. When she’s being her normal non-Handmaid self, I’ll call her June.

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Fred (Joseph Fiennes) strolls in all smug and trite with his nasty little smile, “Welcome home, Offred.” He starts talking about how it was so hard to rescue her from her “kidnappers.” Which is a lie he’s telling himself and everyone else. No one wants to openly admit June ran away in an effort to escape to Canada.

Offred is wearing the dress and the wings but we all know she is NOT Offred anymore. She’s not playing. She has what they want and they all know it. She has the baby, yes, but she also has some of her dignity back. PRAISE BE.

Offred goes to her room. In a few minutes, Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) marches in and wraps her hands around Offred’s throat, choking her. The LOOK Offred gives her is everything. YASSS KWEEEN.

Offred reminds her,

“As long as my baby is safe, so is yours.”

I am living for this new and improved Offred. LIVING.

Later, Offred is taking a bath when Aunt Lydia interrupts. She tells her to wash “everywhere.” So June stares right into her eyes, spreads her legs as far as she can in the tub, and washes herself “down there” all while having a staring contest with Aunt L. LOL. Aunt Lydia pretends this is no big thing, she tells her to go to bed,“Baby needs rest.”

Offred feels the baby kick for the first time. It’s a moment.

Rita brings her a fresh dress and gives her back the Handmaid letters she was supposed to smuggle out of the house. She’s too scared to help.

Downstairs, the house is being prepped for a soirée. Nick finds Offred in the kitchen and is surprised and, of course, super disappointed. He didn’t know she’d been caught.

There’s something about these women standing there watching Offred drink a shake that makes me want to punch the wall. It makes Offred puke on the kitchen table. But relax, she’s fake puking. She’s trying to prove a point. You can make your shake and you can put it in front of her. And you can watch her drink it. But she’s gonna puke it up on the table. That point.

A bunch of Commanders’ wives and their Handmaids show up for Serena Joy’s baby shower. They sip champagne and offer gifts. Offred sits in the corner digging a hole into the arm of the chair with her fingers.

Everyone’s so glad the kidnapped baby has been returned. Cheers! Offred pipes up, “I felt the baby kick for the first time last night.” The women turn and stare at her so HARD, especially Serena, who is NOT happy.

And then something strange happened, guys. Aunt Lydia put her hand on Offred’s shoulder, but not like “Quiet!” More like, “please be careful or they’re going to tear you apart.” Is she protecting her? My feelings about Aunt Lydia are confusing me.

The Commanders are skeet shooting, as Commanders do in their free time. They’re discussing the sanctions Canada has imposed. Because obviously, Canada’s like “mmmm, no we’re not doing business with you until you stop this whole Handmaid thing.” The same way I won’t stay in a Trump Hotel from now until the day I die. SANCTIONED.

Back home, Serena Joy’s smoking one of those lady cigarettes, you know the really long super thin ones, because of COURSE that’s what she smokes. Aunt L joins her outside. They have a heart-to-heart about how everything from now on is about the child. Aunt L  snatches the cigarette out of her hand and stomps on it, “Bad for the baby.”

Offred catches Alma in the hallway and they talk about how things are worse, new Oflgen had her tongue cut out for standing up for Janine at the stoning. Yeah. Cut out.

Back at the party, some weird sting holding ritual/ceremony is underway. The Commanders’ Wives and the Handmaids are all holding the string and standing in a circle, Serena Joy’s in the center. Offred joins her and kneels on a pillow in front of Serena Joy.

I just want Offred to punch Serena in the crotch right now. Full force, closed fist punch. Punch the sense back into her via her v.

Serena Joy puts her hand over Offred’s and Aunt L ties the string around their hands while Serena recites bible verses. So . . .  I guess they’re officially string-married now?

In a flashback, June is confronted by Annie (Kelly Jenrette), Luke’s wife. She asks her to give them space to work on their marriage. She loves Luke, “We made vows, before God. That means something.”

It digresses into Annie calling her a whore, as you’d expect.

At home, Luke is in the process of leaving a screaming voicemail on Annie’s phone about how they’re done. June feels guilty. Luke tries to convince her not to. But she still does.

Love is complicated, everyone. It’s complicated.

Offred is thinking of this moment at the end of the baby shower, after the guests have left. She mentions mostly to herself, but audibly, “After my shower, we ended up giving away half our gifts.” Serena Joy is so incensed at this, that she slaps RITA! Rita who did nothing but who just happened to be nearby. This b*tch is crazy! Slapping anyone who’s around because she’s so mad!

Aunt L leads Offred out of the room.

Serena Joy goes to Fred’s office, “I want her out of my house.” Fred reminds her she shouldn’t miss the pregnancy. She shouldn’t let Offred “take any part of it away from you.” Then he says, “She’s nothing.” This is what he thinks about Offred, and you better believe this is what he thinks about all women, Serena (#MeToo).

Aunt L and Offred walk by the river and the wall where they hang people. Aunt L reminds her that she’s trying to give Offred the best chance possible. She then points out that the man hanging up there on the hanging wall isn’t a stranger to her. She knew him.

It’s Homer! They killed him!

Now his wife, Heather, has been made a Handmaid. Alex has been placed with new parents. I paused it here for 30 minutes and drank a cup of “Calm The F Down” tea while I stared 1000 yards into the distance.

*Resume.*

 Aunt Lydia tells Offred she’s selfish and asks her, “Who killed him? Whose fault was it?” while she makes Offred stare up at Homer’s dead body.

Update: I’m completely back to hating Aunt Lydia, guys. No more confusion. I hate her.

Offred whispers, “My fault.” Aunt Lydia says, “June did this. Not Offred. Offred is free from blame.”

What a mind f*ck.

At the Waterford house, Offred sits on the floor in front of Fred. Serena Joy watches from the couch. She says to them, “Commander, Mrs. Waterford, I would very much like to stay in your home, if you’ll have me. Please.” Serena Joy is not buying it, because she’s a woman, and she’s smart, “Do you have anything else to say?” Fred rolls his eyes, like “Oh MY GOD can we just let her live here again so I’ll have someone to keep raping?”

Turns out Offred does have more to say,

“I’m not worthy. I am so grateful for everything you’ve done for me.”

Nick is crushed. CRUSHED to hear this. They’ve broken June. She’s broken.

Offred looks up at Fred, “Please, let me try to be good.” Then she goes back to her cell, I mean her room.

Serena Joy smokes by the window of her bedroom in the middle of the night. Then she goes up to Offred’s room, climbs on to her bed beside her and touches Offred’s belly, “All will be well.” Then she says, “Mama loves you.” Ewwww. No thank you.

As soon as she leaves, Offred gets up, lays down in the closet, looking for the carved “Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum,” but it’s gone. The wood has been replaced during her three-month absence.

“My fault, my fault, my fault,” she repeats in her head.

In a flashback to when Hannah was a baby, Luke and June are at a coffee shop and Annie comes in, makes eye contact with June, and leaves.

On the closet floor, “Please God, let Hannah forget me. Let me forget me,” Offred thinks as she gets dressed.

Nick tries to talk to her as she leaves to do the shopping but all she says is, “We’ve been sent good weather.” She’s broken, guys, like, really broken.

What a rollercoaster!

……………..

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 5!

 

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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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