Welcome to Episode 9 of season 2 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 begins with Offred (Elisabeth Moss) examining her room as if it’s an Airbnb where the owners “are polite but creepy as f*ck.”  Rita (Amanda Brugel) comes in and tells her they’ve been summoned. They head to the sitting room where Fred (Joseph Fiennes) and Nick (Max Minghella) are waiting.

Fred lets her know he’s taking a trip and that Isaac (who the heck is Isaac?) will be watching over them in the meantime.

Where is he going on this trip, you ask? THE LAND OF THE FREE, HOME OF THE FREE, THE FREEST PLACE IN NORTH AMERICA: Canada.

RELATED: Read all of our recaps for The Handmaid’s Tale.

Fred finds Serena in the greenhouse tending to her babies, I mean her plants. She does NOT want to go to Canada with him, because it’s the third trimester of Offred’s pregnancy and because who will breastfeed all these plants while she’s gone?

He explains she needs to go to show that women aren’t oppressed in Gilead. Ha ha ha and ha. Also, he for sure isn’t leaving her home while he’s gone after she did a better job at his job than he can do while he was laid up in the hospital.

She gives us expressions and emotions in this scene that Offred has been sporting from the jump: trapped, afraid, angry, terrified, sad.

Child-bride follows Nick to the van as he prepares to leave, “I made these for your international travels.” He audibly grunts in irritation. LOL.

She says she’s going to miss him and he sighs, annoyed, as he gets in the van.

Upstairs in her room, Offred gets a visit from Serena. Serena tells the baby (Offred’s belly) “God will watch over you, my love.”

Serena tells Offred she’ll be leaving the house “as soon as the baby is born.” Offred reminds her that the Handmaids don’t leave until the baby is weaned.

Serena says, “I think we’ve all had more than enough of one another. Don’t you?”

In Canada, Luke (O-T Fagbenle), Moira (Samira Wiley), and the newly verbal rescued Handmaid (Erin Way) watch on TV as Fred, Serena, and Nick get off the plane for their official visit.

Luke is not super happy to see Fred being rolled out the red carpet as if he’s some kind of GD diplomat.

At the Little America Refugee Headquarters, Luke and Moira demand that Fred be arrested. It’s not possible right now, they’re told. But they’re free to protest, as there is a protest planned. Canada, it’s time to up the ante here. Protest shmotest.

Fred’s caravan makes its way through Toronto while Serena looks out the window of their limo like a newly freed hostage.

At their destination, they’re greeted by three Canadian diplomats, one of whom astutely mentions to Fred that he was very fond of visiting the States before – WITH HIS HUSBAND. #PRIDEMONTH

Fred goes with the diplomats to talk politics and business while Serena is given a pictogram of her scheduled cultural activities. A PICTOGRAM. Because she’s NOT ALLOWED TO READ.

It involves tea, eating, and gardening tours. Serena’s companion for the day says, “I’m told you enjoy knitting as well.” Serena responds with a bold-faced lie, “Yes, yes very much so.” Why are you LYING? You detest it.

GILEAD IS BUILT ON A FOUNDATION OF LIES AND EVERY BRICK THAT HOLDS IT UP IS MADE OF LIES AND THE LYING LIARS WHO TELL THEM.

Speaking of Gilead, Offred and Janine (Madeline Brewer) walk to the store. Isaac, who walks with them, keeps telling them to be quiet, he barks at Janine, “Shut your mouth, Unwoman,” Janine loses it and yells at him, “Suck my dick!”

He hits her with the butt of his gun and then drags Offred home. He’s a real charmer.

Serena isn’t enjoying her day of cultural activities at all. While waiting for an elevator, a child asks her if she’s a princess. The child’s mom is NOT finding this cute. She doesn’t even want to LOOK at Serena, much less ride on an elevator with her.

At a bar, Serena orders a glass of Riesling. A guy strolls up to the bar and eyes Serena. As guys at bars eye women. Then he asks to join her.   

He introduces himself. He’s a representative of the American government. OHHHHHHHH guys, this is getting GOOOOOOD. We (Americans) have a man in Canada trying to get to Serena.

He “helps people.” He can help her, he says. WITH A NEW LIFE!

“Mrs. Waterford, we could have you on a plane to Honolulu in an hour.”

She doesn’t really say no. And she doesn’t leave. So, clearly – she’s listening.

He goes on to tell her that the fertility crisis in Gilead isn’t actually because of women, it’s because of men. Now she is EXTRA listening. See:

He tells her she could have a baby of her own AND freedom. Wow. They (we) did their research. They (we) know what she really wants. She reminds him she has a child on the way.

“That’s not your child,” he replies. See? They (we) did do research!

Then she sends him away, but she is rattled. He leaves, “Maybe we’ll run into each other again.” He leaves her his cigarettes and lighter.

Back in Gilead, Isaac returns with Offred. Rita wants to know where the chicken is. They never made it to the store for the chicken, Rita, because Isaac has a temper. As Rita takes a glass jar of beans from the cabinet, Offred eyes the glass jar. Wheels in her brain are a-spinnin’!  the things she could break that glass jar with! The head of Fred, for instance.

As Offred leaves the kitchen, she asks Rita to bring her some milk when she has a chance. Which she does.

Offred tells her she has to leave as soon as the baby is born. She wants Rita to be the baby’s “godmother” so that she’ll know kindness. She is touched and also realistic, “I’ll do what I can.” Amanda Brugel, as always, is BRILLIANT in this scene. She’s tough and hard, but also soft and caring.

In Canada, the Waterford visit protest is underway. Luke is there, holding up a poster picture of him, June and Hannah.

THEN HE BREAKS THROUGH THE BARRICADE and calls Fred a “f*cking piece of sh*t!” Fred asks who he is, Luke tells him, then adds, “YOU RAPE MY WIFE!”

This little information nugget immediately gets the attention of Serena and Nick. They see the giant photo he’s holding.

Luke reminds Fred this is all going to be over someday, and he’s gonna remember his face. YES YES 1,000 TIMES YES.

Serena and Nick are VERY SHOOK. VERY.

In their hotel room, Serena is deep in thought. She’s scheming, you guys. Scheming! We can see it on her face. But will she follow through finally?!?! For once?!?!

Meanwhile, Nick wanders into a bar and who is there? LUKE! Nick tells him he knows June. Nick informs him June’s pregnant. Why do I feel like puking when Luke hears this news? Empathy nausea? Is that a thing?

Luke breaks down, horrified at this news. Luke asks if Hannah’s okay but Nick doesn’t know. Nick gives him the Handmaid’s letters June had been hiding.

Luke wants Nick to tell June that Moira made it out and that he loves her and that he’s not going to stop. O-T Fagbenle is heartbreakingly perfect here. Amazing!

At the Waterford home, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) measures Offred’s belly. Offred tells her that Serena wants her to leave as soon as the baby is born. Aunt Lydia is stunned but doesn’t say that she’s stunned. Then Offred asks her if she’s ever been a godmother.

This is very, very smart. I’m loving it. Offred tells her that because Fred has been violent with women, he might hurt the baby. Aunt L IS STUNNED. She’ll never let anything happen to the baby.

She tells Offred she was the godmother to her nephew, who died when he was four days old. Then she leaves.

In Little America, Luke, Moira, and Erin read all the Handmaid’s letters that Nick gave him.   

The next morning, the Canadian diplomats tell Fred that he can just go on to the airport and head home, they’re not going to meet with him anymore. Turns out, last night someone uploaded the Handmaid’s letters to the internet and Canadians are infuriated.

Fred’s incredulous.

The diplomat says, “We believe the women.”

Fred responds without missing a beat, “Yesterday, you believed me.”

DONKEY KICK HIM IN THE B*LLS, please, someone.

As they leave, the female diplomat tells Serena,

“I don’t know how you live with yourself.”

NEITHER DO WE! THANK YOU FOR TELLING HER FOR ALL OF US.

As they get to the airport, there are so many protestors, their limo can’t move. Moira rushes up to the window and holds up her sign, banging on the window.

Fred sees her. Good. HER NAME IS MOIRA, DIPSH*T.

Later, at a bar, the protestors celebrate the Waterfords leaving Canada. Then they quietly and spontaneously start singing the National Anthem.

Back home, Serena unpacks all her green dresses and green accessories. She has the lighter the American guy gave her. She throws it in the fire, like a dumba*s. Idiot!

There’s a knock on Offred’s door, it’s Nick. He tells her the letters got out. She’s beyond happy.

He also tells her – “I met your husband.”

She asks if he’s okay. “He loves you,” Nick tells her. “He told me he’ll never stop.”

He tells her Moira got out and that she’s staying with Luke. Before he leaves, Nick tells her, “I love you.”

So many complicated feelings!

Offred says in voiceover that Moira is Hannah’s godmother and she got out, even though it was impossible.

She tells the baby,

“I know I should accept the reality of you being born here. Make my peace. But f*ck that.”

So say we all – f*ck that.

 ……………..

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 10!

 

 

 

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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.*

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