It was another wacky week in our favourite dystopia with some walking, some dancing and a whole lot of shouting. Tara Ward recaps the latest episode of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Let’s not beat around the dystopian bush, because this was an unusual episode. It was made up of a weird mish-mash of events, like June taking Mrs Lawrence for a walk in the snow, the Waterfords doing a sexy tango (WTAF) and a Martha being hanged for helping June. Nobody seemed to have a much of a clue about anything, apart from Aunt Lydia, who loves a good hanging as much as June loves a stony-faced glare to camera.
We’re treading water, and every week I hope this will be the episode when June hoons by on a jetski to getski us out of this nightmare. Alas, we’re at the same place we were three episodes ago. June’s revolution is no closer, and I’m worried that sooner or later we’re all going ditch poor, defeated June for a Love Island marathon, where the sun always shines and your biggest worry is how high up your buttcrack your g-string swimming togs will reach.
But hey ho, back to the public hangings. June’s been to four in one week, which means Gilead is getting worse and June’s getting more desperate. When she spies the McKenzie’s Martha at the supermarket, June is quick to squeeze out some details from her about Hannah’s school. Is this the information that will tip the scales? Is June about to bust her daughter out of hell?
Of course not. Hannah’s school is covered in Guardians, and June has a greater chance of doing rarkeys with Aunt Lydia’s mobility scooter than she does finding Hannah. June’s new BFF Mrs Lawrence manages to blag her way into the school, and a shunned June is left to clamber around the school perimeter (where there are no guards, sort it out Gilead) until she passes out from the desperate sound of her nails screeching down the brick walls.
Imagine if June knew how much fun the Waterfords were having in Washington DC, where their love continues to bloom like a nasty weed you just can’t kill. Serena visits a potential new home, an “unrestored” property belonging to a Baptist family who left in one heck of a hurry. Shoes wait silently at the door and family photos line the walls, but Serena’s stoked because the house has “beautiful light”. Ugh.
Fred, meanwhile, is asked by Commander Winslow to keep baby Nichole in Canada for a bit longer, because she’s proving to be excellent political leverage. Waterford doesn’t tell Serena this important detail, because it’d ruin his new image as a sensitive bloke who no longer wants to chop his wife’s fingers off. Serena laps up the new and improved Fred, to the point where they see each other across a crowded room and dance a tango together. Yes, really.
Dancing to a different tune are Emily and Moira, who are arrested during a protest over the Canadian government’s discussions with Gilead. “Canada needs to grow a pair,” Moira tells Emily, as they bond over their shared trauma. Emily is interrogated by the Swiss, because Gilead have accused her of a heap of crimes and if this means we’re about to see Emily extradited back to Gilead as a criminal I will lose more than my Love Island swimming tog g-string, let me tell you.
We end as we began, with the handmaids doing the dirty work at another public hanging. “Why the long faces, girls?” Aunt Lydia asks, who always knows how to lighten the mood. This time the victim is Hannah’s Martha, who is killed for conspiring against the child she was supposed to protect. June discovers her pious walking partner Ofmatthew dobbed the Martha in to Aunt Lydia, after she saw her speak with June in the supermarket.
The McKenzies have disappeared with Hannah and June is completely up shit creek without a dystopian paddle. June had a terrible week, but like they say on Love Island, it is what it is, so let’s crack on.
The Spinoff Daily gets you all the day's best reading in one handy package, fresh to your inbox Monday-Friday at 5pm.