Fred Waterford Must Die: 'The Handmaid's Tale' Recap

Welp. It finally happened. The real news and the Handmaid’s Tale merged into a horrific trauma ball, that I (for some reason) pay $9 per month to experience. If the joy of watching the Waterfords get their asses kicked out of Canada, or seeing June find out Luke and Moira are alive made you think that things in the Handmaid’s world was going to get any better, think again. Honestly I don’t know why this surprises me anymore. I don’t know why anything surprises me anymore, tbh.

WARNING: You’ve already watched the show (unless you don’t watch the show and only read my recaps, in which case I don’t understand you, but am honored all the same) but I feel like this recap requires a trigger warning. So yeah, trigger warning. Trigger warning for like…everything bad that can possibly happen. All the trigger warnings. We have reached infinite trigger. The singularity of triggers.

Emily’s New Job

We open on rape. Great. Its been a while since we’ve seen a ceremony because our girl June has been pregnant for the past 25 months and is protected from the usual horrors of her job.

Narrator: June is not actually protected from the usual horrors of her job.

This particular ceremony is between Emily, Emily’s new Commander, and his wife. Truly did not appreciate Hulu’s choice to amp up the bass on New Commanders sex noises in his scene. Like it’s one thing to have to watch the ceremony go down, but it’s another to also have to hear his weird-ass huffing and puffing his way through it.

But then it turns out – like everything in Handmaid’s Tale – the huffing and puffing and grunting was actually a CLUE to an underlying heart condition or some shit because the dude just keels over and dies.

This confirms everything I’ve always thought about super breathy sex-havers. They are dying.

Wife: Go get help!!!!
Emily: Oh dang wish I could but I have to lay on my back to ensure I get pregnant so….

**Wife runs out to get help**

Emily: **gets up and immediately steps on his dick**

Honestly, the way Emily has been acting lately (i.e. telling everyone at the grocery store she wished the bomb had killed more people) I would not put it past her to have put some kind of vaginal poison up in her cooter. They already took her clit away, what else does she have to lose?

At The Grocery Store

Cut to: the handmaids all gossiping about how that guy totally died during sex, which is honestly understandable. If I heard one of my friends was having sex and the guy died immediately after, I’d probably talk about it at the grocery store too. Just sayin’.

While all the girls are swapping intersting sex stories, Baby Wife is talking about…custard. Of course.

Luckily, that 20-year-old guard who has started living at the Waterfords’ is just horny enough to care about what Baby Wife has to say.

Baby Wife: I was thinking about making custard.
Guard: Damn girl u nasty
Baby Wife: I can also make soup.
Guard: Baby, please not in public.

June goes over to Emily for a little goss sesh of her own and tells her that Moira got out. This is pretty good goss, I guess, but doesn’t really compare to the fact that Emily’s commander died after sex.

Despite the girl time, Emily is still being a very mopey bitch, and June is having none of it.

June: Wtf is wrong with you?!?!
Emily: Well the other night I was being raped by this guy (which is painful for me because of the fact that Gilead female circumcised me back in season one) and then after the rape was done the guy immediately died and his wife ran out of the room and I stamped on his dick so I guess I’m just kind of distracted rn.
June: **goes into labor**

Damn June, what an attention grab.

The “Birth”

Gilead goes into birth mode, which is basically like their Coachella. Everyone starts popping off immediately. A beat drops. Beyoncé is there. It’s a whole thing.

June gets home and she and Nick have a very sweet moment that is witnessed by Baby Wife. If a girl can figure out that her boyfriend considered flirting with someone back in 2010 based off of a like on a comment three years ago, then it’s pretty clear that Baby Wife can figure out that June and Nick are like, in love.

Serena comes out and immediately starts with her creepy prayer bullshit. This woman is unbearably lame.

Despite Gilead’s preponderance of enormous, blindingly white hospitals, all the births take place in the home. Seems like an odd choice for a place that wants to make absolutely sure all births go 100% smoothly but, whatever.

Aunt Lydia is there in her role as lead handmaid torturer/OBGYN/god mother/therapist and Janine is SpongeBobbing around.

Janine: I’m ready! I’m ready! I’m ready! For June to have this baby!!!!

In keeping with the theme of having a full audience at your gynecological exams, the handmaids are rolling deep to this birth. The whole crew is there, even gloomy-ass Emily, who can’t even put a smile on when her bestie is giving birth. What’s her fucking problem?

**remembers literally everything that has happened to her**


Downstairs, the commanders exchange tips on how to be creeps while Nick just kind of stands there listening.

The wives, of course, have gathered in the living room to do their weird-ass wife shit. You know before Gilead was created you would see every single one of these bitches at Whole Foods demanding to speak with a manager.

Serena is wearing a hideous nightgown and putting on a full show, holding her totally not-pregnant belly, breathing through fake contractions, it’s a whole thing. Where was this fake pregnancy when she was downing full glasses of whiskey and chain smoking Virginia Slims?

Aaaaaaand the whole thing was actually a false labor. Oops! So embarrassing.

Serena goes up to see June in bed just sitting there like, “Yeah bitch I’m actually gonna keep this baby inside me for a while longer, K?” and Serena’s eyes go completely black with rage.

So let me get this straight, Serena is mad at June for going into false contractions that made Serena go into false-false contractions for her fake pregnancy? Girls are so complicated.

Aunt Lydia – who I’m starting to think is not medically trained – immediately starts in on her recommendations for inducing labor, which is basically “drink spicy tea.” I half expected Aunt Lydia to open up her jacket and start telling us about the benefits of crystals, much like my actual Aunt Lydia who is certified in reiki and never shuts the fuck up about it.

Serena is then all like, “I’m gonna have you placed in a new district!” and June is like, “Good I don’t ever want to see you or your eyebrows again!” and then Aunt Lydia is like “Ladies, please!!”

Again, girls are soooo complicated.

Fred V. Offred

Cut to: June going downstairs to talk to Mr. Waterford which must mean a scheme is afoot because why the fuck would you elect to spend time with Mr. Waterford?

She really cuts straight to the point: Could you move me to my daughter’s district pleeeeeeeaseeeeese?

Then Mr. Waterford flips out! Why? I actually don’t understand why he gets so mad here (apart from his general suckiness). He already gave her that polaroid. It’s not crazy she’d ask for something else.

“I’ve been too lenient with you! Too indulgent! You are spoiled!” – Mr. Waterford to Offred and/or my parents before giving in to whatever it is that I want.

And here is where June makes a fatal mistake. At the time when she did it, I thought it was the badass, awesome return of Mean Offred from earlier in the season but this little moment of sass literally breaks Mr. Waterford’s brain, turning him into an even bigger monster than he was before.

Mr. Waterford: You’re spoiled!

June: Oh yeah? Well you’re shooting blanks and this isn’t even your baby. Bye bitch!

Me: This can’t end well.

Narrator: It does not.

Cut to: Serena’s garden, aka the #1 place Mr. and Mrs. Waterford meet to talk shit about June. They start talking about “inducing labor the natural way” and I’m like wtf are these two dopes talking about?

My mom always says when she was pregnant with me my grandmother told her she should eat Chinese food to induce labor, and then my mom did eat Chinese food and went into labor. Maybe they’re talking about giving Offred Chinese food?

Narrator: They are not talking about giving Offred Chinese food.

Chinese Food

Rita: Mrs. Waterford would like to see you.



Me watching this scene: Welp, here we are. They’re gonna give June the Chinese food now. Hopefully they ordered some crab rangoons. That shit is delicious. Hmm…why is Mr. Waterford here? Maybe only men are allowed to call the Chinese food place? That makes sense for this world. Damn June certainly doesn’t seem to want this Chinese food. Maybe she has indigestion? Maybe she’s – OH GOD OH NO THEY’RE NOT GIVING HER CHINESE FOOD AT ALL – OH GOD – SWEET LORD JESUS NO WHY WHY WHY WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?!?

Disclaimer: As a person who has watched the episode you know that what happens here is a very violent and disturbing assault. Probably the worst one of the series so far. While I am not equipped to walk through everything that happens here as the writer of a satirical recap for, please know that I, too, was disturbed and horrified by this scene.

And a big thank you to the writers of The Handmaid’s Tale for making me google “Does having sex with a pregnant woman really induce labor?” at my desk on my work laptop. If I am fired I will be expecting Hulu to cover my severance.

Soooo yeah, turns out what they were talking about in the greenhouse was rape. Great.

Serena: Me and my husband love each other so much we even finish each other’s…

Fred: ….plans to rape pregnant women!

This couple has got. to. go.

Baby Wife’s Sexy Adventure

Cut to: Baby Wife talking about food. This bitch has no personality.

Baby Wife: My mom always made my dad talk out the trash!


Things we know about Baby Wife:

-She likes the color yellow.

– She can make soup.

-Her dad used to take out the trash.

Baby Wife (yes I do know her name is Eden but she’s Baby Wife to me) heads outside and low and behold there is the 20-year-old guard.

Baby Wife: Hi

Guard: Hi


Aaaaand they’re kissing. Nick is out casually having a cigg and sees them, then Eden sees him see them and freaks the fuck out.

In this moment we, the audience, know that Nick gives absolutly no fuckes about Eden, what she does, or who she kisses, but Eden still has not realized that he is #jusnotthatintoher.

Eden: I can’t help but notice that you don’t care about me and that you just caught me cheating on you and you don’t care.
Nick: Yep, that’s about right.

Again, I do feel like Nick could try a *little* harder to be nicer to Baby Wife. Sure, she has the personality of a boiled potato, but like, she’s his boiled potato. Does that count for nothing?

Baby Wife then asks if Nick “likes” the handmaid, which is very 9th grade of her. Yes, Eden, he does “like” the handmaid, if by “like” you mean “impregnated and fell in love with and tried to help her escape Gilead.”

Eden: So you just don’t love me?
Nick: …….yeah that’s basically it

Eden then reveals that that was her first kiss which, considering the fact that she’s not a virgin, is very sad. What is this feeling? Is it compassion for Baby Wife? Do I feel sorry for her? Am I starting to recognize her terrible, precarious situation and see her as a whole and complex human?

Aaaaand then Baby Wife ruins any and all goodwill she cultivated with me by revealing that she is, in fact, a very loud and ugly crier.

Nick: It’s fine. I don’t care that you kissed that guy.


June And Nick’s Day Out

Mr. Waterford: I planned a surprise for you, June, I think you’ll like it.
Me: Nope. Not gonna be good.

From the very beginning of this scene we all know what’s going to happen. She’s going to see her daughter in some capacity. How do we know this? Because Mr. W always trades daughter-sightings for sexual abuse. Last time it was a polaroid in exchange for a non-consensual boob grab. This time he fully assaulted her so we can only assume he’s gonna let her see Hannah IRL.

Lord knows what would have to happen for June to actually get to live with Hannah again. I actually don’t even want to think about that.

Mr. Waterford then says “you deserve this” and kisses June on the forehead and I literally have to pause the show to take a 40 minute shower.

Nick takes June to some creepy ass house which, again, the audience 100% knows contains her daughter Hannah. If you were watching and you didn’t know that, you need to learn to pick up on clues better.

What is this house? Why is all the furniture covered in sheets?

And just as we expected, there’s Hannah and her Martha, looking cute as ever. For a brief moment I think that she’s not going to recognize June and I mentally prepare for that, but it doesn’t happen.

This is the only moment of emotional relief Handmaid’s Tale has ever provided.

Hannah (who has been renamed “Agnes” because everything in Gilead is terrible) immediately starts going in on June. Why didn’t you find me? Why didn’t you try harder? Why the are you pregnant? Did you get my texts?

Damn, Hannah. You should be old enough to know what happened here. Do you not get what Gilead is? You, of all people, should get what Gilead is. Maybe you deserve the name Agnes.

I also can’t help but think here that it’s kind of sweet that Nick has met June’s whole fam now! Isn’t that nice?

Once again, Elizabeth Moss’ acting here is a full masterclass. From her telling Hannah to have a happy life, to her telling Hannah she loves her, to her full on breakdown when they say Hannah has to go, I just don’t know how anyone could be better than Elizabeth Moss at acting. She’s perfect.

There’s also something to be said here about the beautiful portrayal of the trauma a parent and child feel being ripped away from each other by an unfeeling government entity, but instead I’ll just say that you should CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW TO HELP MIGRANT CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES.

Then, in true Handmaid’s fashion, shit gets dark FAST. Two black vans pull up and Nick tells June to hide. Nick goes out to diffuse the situation, but it backfires. Literally.

Nick: Hey what’s up fellow kids?
Guard: **shoots him in the foot**

You know, between the fake contractions, the horrific assault, the emotional trauma of being reunited and ripped away from her child, and seeing her bf get shot in the foot, I really would have thought June would go into labor right now.

But then again, she hasn’t eaten any Chinese food sooo…..

We end on June running around in the snow, alone, and hella pregnant. Wtf just happened? Was this all a setup by Mr. Raperford? Punishment for her telling him the baby wasn’t his? Did someone else set this up? Baby Wife? 20-year-old guard? WHO DID THIS!?!?

Tune in next week to find out (if you’re even emotionally able to).

Alise Morales
Alise Morales
Alise Morales is a comedy writer and performer. She is the writer of the Betches Sup Newsletter and co-host of the Betches Sup Podcast.