Welcome to Episode 11 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.

 

I refuse to call her Offred in this week’s recap. We’ll only be discussing her as June. BECAUSE THAT IS HER NAME.

We pick right where we left off last week, with June (Elisabeth Moss), 9 months pregnant, alone in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of winter. Can you guess what happens now? I bet you can, because you’re smart and you’ve been conditioned for things to go from bad to worse in Gilead.

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

Out of nowhere, a dog/wolf shows up and challenges her to a staring contest.

She decides to make her way back inside the big, empty house. Inside, she searches everywhere for car keys. As she’s searching, she finds a framed photo of Hannah and a Commander’s wife. She also finds a framed drawing Hannah made.

In a flashback, we see June dropping Hannah (Jordana Blake) off at school. But Hannah doesn’t want to go to school, she cries as her teacher leads her away from June.

Back in the present, June finds a set of keys. She makes her way to the garage and finds a car. My husband tells me “It’s a Corvette,” to which I reply, “All I care about is if it starts and has gas in it.”

It does START! And you know what? I don’t even think that’s the best part. The best part is that the radio is on tuned to “Radio Free America” – broadcasting from Canada.

OPRAH IS READING THE NEWS ON THE RADIO. OPRAH! I mean, we need Oprah right here and right now, can you just imagine how much June needs to hear her voice?

Oprah says that the UK is going to impose additional sanctions on Gilead and raise the cap on the number of American refugees they’ll accept. They’re doing this, one may presume, because they understand the importance and value of accepting refugees who are fleeing for their lives. They’re a modern, civilized, and humanitarian-centered country. Unlike, oh I don’t know, countries that  turn refugees away, imprison them, prosecute them, deport them, or wrestle their children from their arms and throw them in cages

Oprah reminds listeners,

“We are still here. Stars and Stripes forever, baby.”

As June listens to Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” play on the radio, she makes a decision.

She heads back in the house, packs some food, water, and blankets in a bag and heads back to the car.

She goes back inside the house and grabs a coat. While there, she notices her pregnant silhouette in the mirror.

We see a flashback where, while pregnant, she and Luke (O-T Fagbenle) get ready to go out. He admires her pregnant belly.

Back in the present – a black SUV pulls up and Fred (Joseph Fiennes) and Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) get out.

SH*T.

They go inside the house, panicked, looking for June and Nick.

Serena screams Offred’s name like an actual madwoman. I mean, off-her-rocker-serial-killer-level anger.

She finds a red Handmaid costume. It’s not June’s though. June is still wearing hers. Serena rails Fred for letting June come here to see Hannah.

“How could you be so stupid? They hate you! She’s always hated you!”

He gives it right back to her.

“If you’d shown that girl one ounce of kindness, she would never have left.”

It digresses, they despise each other, their lives, their marriage. It all comes out.

June listens from upstairs. She hears Serena tell him that they can’t report that June’s gone.

“To have a pregnant Handmaid run away once is bad enough, but twice? They’ll say we’re part of the Resistance!”

Meanwhile upstairs:

Serena reminds Fred she gave up everything for him, for the cause. All she ever wanted out of this is a baby. At which I point I yell at her, “Go nurse your plant babies, you Nazi c*nt.”

June loads the shotgun. Very quietly.

She lifts the gun. Aims it at them from upstairs.

Serena and Fred move out of sight. Just like that, they leave the house and drive away – never knowing how close they just came to death.

Remember how I said we’re used to things going from bad to worse in Gilead?

As soon as Serena and Fred drive off, June falls to the floor with labor pains.

In a flashback, we see her mom (Cherry Jones) giving her and Moira (Samira Wiley) a tour of the midwife-type birth facility where she works. This is in preparation for June giving birth to Hannah.

Back in the present, June heads back to the car with her shotgun. The garage door won’t open because there’s no electricity. This is a real thing. You need to know how to manually open your electric garage door. After this, go find the instructions online and do it, at least once – so you’ll know how in the future.

June can’t get the door open. So she hops in the Corvette.

She spins the h*ll out of the tires trying to break through that garage door. Reverses, floors it, reverses, floors it. It doesn’t work.

She heads outside and uses a shovel to try and break up the snow and ice that have frozen the door shut.

She slips and falls to the ground, realizes that her water broke.

The dog/wolf shows back up and stares at her again. Then it howls.

She heads back inside the house and breathes through her contractions next to a roaring fire she’s made. Which is the way women have had babies for millions of years. We’re AMAZING.

Flashback to June giving birth to Hannah in the hospital. Luke and Moira are there.

Back in the present, June tells the baby.

“I know I promised you. It’s gonna be okay.”

She heads outside and shoots the gun in the air, twice. The dog/wolf is gone. She reloads, shoots into the air two more times.

She’d rather have help from Gilead than stay here and give birth alone.

Back inside, the contractions are stronger, she’s about to deliver.

Flashback to June giving birth to Hannah in the hospital. The doctor tells her it’s time to push and she does.

In the present, she remembers her Handmaid lessons to breathe, breathe, breathe and push, push, push. She remembers watching Janine give birth, she remembers giving birth to Hannah, she remembers all the women who’ve done this before her.

One big last push and she delivers the baby! All by her d*mn self. No drugs, no doctors, no Aunt Lydia. It’s beautiful.

June names the baby Holly, after her mom.

“We did it, Holly.”

Please watch this episode all the way through the credits. You’ll thank me. Just listen to the song, sing along, think about your mom, her mom, all the moms you know. Think about the women who aren’t moms but who mother others and who take care of all of us, all through our lives. Where would we be without them?

Stars and Stripes forever, baby.

……………..

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 12! Only 2 episodes left in the season!

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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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