Hooray For Female Friendships: 'The Handmaid's Tale' Recap

So, after last week’s Handmaid’s Tale, I think that we all knew that shit would be hitting the fan this week. Personally, there was only one question on my mind while I waited for this week’s episode to drop: is Mr. Waterford dead? On the one hand, New Ofglen detonated a bomb like, 2 feet from where he was giving a shitty speech, so that doesn’t bode well for the whole “staying alive” thing. On the other hand, there is literally no justice in the Handmaid’s Tale universe so his dumb ass probably survived.

Is that a good thing? IDK. What happens to June if Mr. Waterford dies? Does she just like, become OfMike? What about Serena? And if Mr. Waterford is dead, who gets the baby in June’s belly? I feel like there are a lot of opportunities for life to get even worse for the women in Mr. Waterford’s household, which seems impossible, but it’s true.

On the flip side, Mr. Waterford is a gropey loser who can’t drive and he can honestly go shave his back now in Hell.

Let’s get into it…

The Handmaid’s Funeral

We open on Aunt Lydia praying, which is never a good sign.

The handmaids are rocking a new lewk — all black garments with red face coverings. I guess this the handmaid version of dress robes. They’re in a cemetery, and there’s some sort of drummer woman leading them on.

Question: How do we get the “funeral drummer” job in this universe? It honestly seems like the best job we’ve been presented with so far. No fucking people you don’t want to fuck. No watching your husband fuck someone who doesn’t want to fuck him while you just kind of chill there. You just like, drum a little bit and GTFO. Sounds ideal.

Aunt Lydia: I wish I could give you all a world without violence…

**Somewhere in the colonies, the scar over June’s missing eyeball starts to sting**

Big ups to the one handmaid who takes time during the funeral to mention that one of the dead handmaids “never washed her hair.” If shading someone at their own funeral is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Handmaids: Oh hey Offred you walked with OfGlen literally every day, did you by chance catch her name?

Offred: We actually didn’t get that far. 

On their way back from the funeral, we see the consequences of last week’s handmaid bomb — literally every house has a hanged person in front of it. It’s like when an entire cul-de-sac decides they’re going all in on blow-up Christmas decorations this year, except somehow more tasteful.

We find out that 26 commanders and 31 handmaids died in the blast, which seems like a pretty huge oversight on the bombers part. I’m pretty sure the goal with these types of things is is to kill more of them than you do of you. That’s just like, the rules of terrorism.

Cut to: Mr. Waterford’s hospital bed, where he is unfortunately still alive. God damnit.

Mr. Pryce, Mr. Waterford’s boss who just told Nick he’d help him get reassigned, was not so lucky. Dontcha just hate when your boss is blown up in a radical act of righteous activism just before you’re about to get promoted? So rude.

Back At The Colonies

Update: The colonies are still dusty as fuck.

As we’ve previously discussed, Janine is continuing her role as the SpongeBob of Gilead, when a bunch of the colonial ladies are pulled out of their sad toxic waste line by men with tasers. They’re shoved into black vans, because Gilead has no chill.

At the last second, the scoop up our girl Squidward Emily and throw her into the back of the van with Janine.

Janine would drive, but she hasn’t passed Mrs. Puff’s driving class yet, so she can’t.

Moving on…

Boring Ass Canada/Little America

We’re back in Canada/Little America. Land of the free. Home of the boring. Everyone is aware of the bombing that took place in Gilead, and are concerned for the handmaids. No one is concerned for Mr. Waterford. Mr. Waterford can, as they say in the old country, suck a dick.

Moria: Were any handmaids killed?

Luke: Oh, right. I should probably ask about my wife and child…

Moira decides she’s going to track down some more info, while Luke decides he’s gonna go home to listen to The Strokes on vinyl or whatever hipsters do in this dystopian nightmare world.

Moira then tells the lady in charge that she’s looking for her “fiancee” and I’m like “Www wow, June really means a lot to Moira. This is the power of female friendship.”

I’ll turn out to be wrong here, but more on that later…

Moira: Hey can I have access to all your dead body photos?

Woman: Right this way…

Flashback To June And Moira As Besties

Flashback to gentler times, when two gals could hang out at a restaurant and chat about the little things, like getting pregnant and selling your baby to pay of your student loans. How simple. How quaint.

We get a glimpse of baby Hannah in this scene and she is so damn cute. Of all the things Handmaid’s Tale has done to my psyche, igniting my dormant ovaries and making me feel like I want a baby is probably the most insidious.

Cut to: Moira pregnant. We know that time has passed because June is rocking a lob with beachy waves, meaning this probably all went down in 2015.

This is the moment where I realize, “Oh fuck, this is how they know that Moira was fertile enough to be a Handmaid.” It’s all coming together…

Back At The Waterford House

Mr. Waterford is still out of commission, so you know what that means…Girl’s night!!! When the men are away, the women will play retreat to their dark corners of the mansion and sit in silent contemplation!!

Rita pops in to take June downstairs and I can’t help but be like…what is Rita’s deal? Is she friend or foe? In season one she seemed kind of rude, but this season she seems to like June. What gives?

The first, and most important, thing to note about this scene is that Offred has acquired a sweatshirt. Is this something special they gave to Offred specifically, or do they give this to all pregnant handmaids?Being a handmaid like kind of like joining your college improv team. Sure, you have to deal with a lot of shitty dudes who talk over you all the time, but at least you get a sweatshirt out of the deal. 

Also, Offred also does not look pregnant at all. We’ve already gotten into her supposed weight at length in a previous recap, but where the fuck is her pregnant belly? Isn’t she like, third trimester by now? Are pregnancies somehow longer in Gilead? Sweatshirt or no sweatshirt, Offred should look more pregnant than this.

Anyway enough about June’s inexplicable 14 month miracle pregnancy, because there’s fuckery afoot! Mr. Waterford’s stupid bird-faced coworker — Commander Cushing — doesn’t buy June’s whole “I was kidnapped” story, mostly because it doesn’t make any sense and is obviously a lie.

Mr. Cushing: Tell me everything you know about OfGlen 2.0.


Mr. Cushing: Okay great well tell me everything about your kidnapping and captors.

Offred: Never saw them, actually.

Mr. Cushing: A liar says what?

Offred: What?

Mr. Cushing: Exactly…

Mr. Cushing is not buying June’s whole “I know absolutely nothing about the people who kidnapped me” thing at all. Like come on girl, at least give him something. A general vibe. Anything.

“Offred, don’t worry, you can trust me.” — The least trustworthy person I’ve seen on this show so far.

The thing about Mr. Bird-Faced Mustache Man is that he doesn’t understand who he’s fucking with. He thinks he can just walk into the Waterfords’ ridiculously dark house with a five head and a dream and get our girl June to out herself, but June doesn’t play like that. You’re dealing with a woman who cut her own damn ear off. Show some respect.

Finally, Mr. Cushing gets up and touches June’s face and stomach, because non-consensually touching women is all the Commanders have in this sad ass world that they’ve created.

This scene ends with Mr. Cushing finally fucking off, just in time for a Martha to be shot in the street while reaching for her pass to show the guards.

Wow. This show is so unrealistic. What type of world would allow such things to happen? If only there had been a good Martha with a gun there to save her. All of this could have been avoided.

Cut to: Mr. Waterford’s stupid hospital bed. June is totally freaked out now, which is appropriate for a person who just saw an innocent woman get shot in the street. Serena’s reaction, on the other hand, is more appropriate for when your Uber driver cancels your ride when he’s already on the way.

“It’s asinine,” she says.

Suddenly, Mr. Waterford’s dumbass wakes up, and what is the first thing he does upon waking up from his coma? He touches June without asking. Any hope that Freddie’s brush with death would de-creepify him is immediately dashed.

Honestly, the past 5 minutes of June’s life are more stressful than the last twenty eight years of mine, and that’s before she runs into her ex.

Actually, maybe ex isn’t the right word anymore, because despite the fact that they literally broke up last episode so that he could go hook up with a teenager, they start making out pretty much immediately. That said, aggressively making after brief, fake, small-talk is exactly how I’ve treated all of my exes. TBH, these two need to have a “what are we?” conversation ASAP. Once they’re done saving themselves from being killed by the government, that is.

Also, I feel like June and Nick could have done a little bit better of a job hiding themselves here. The little door they’re standing behind is literally made of glass. I get that ya’ll are horny, but maybe now is not the time? Marthas are dying out here!

Serena’s And Offred’s Girls’ Night

Cut to: June and Mrs. Waterford in the kitchen. Mrs. Waterford appears to be drinking a large glass of whiskey. TBH it’s probably a good thing SJ can’t get pregnant. She couldn’t handle the sobriety.

Are these two starting to like each other? This whole scene is like when you realize your ex’s new gf is low-key cool, and you can probably be friends and ally against him someday. Not now, though.

June tells Serena everything Cushing said, and casually reminds her that OfGlen’s entire household was killed after the attack.

Serena Joy: Fred would never allow that to happen to us.

June: Bitch Fred ain’t here haven’t you noticed the 100% decrease in sexual assaults?

Serena is particularly upset about Cushing’s behavior because the two of them used to vacay together. You know what they say. It be your own vacation buddies…

This whole convo goes down in coded language, further proof that June and SJ are becoming besties. Girls don’t just talk in code with anybody. That’s reserved for the inner circle, or, if you’re in NYC, anyone on the subway who is seeing the same crazy shit that you’re seeing.

Flashback To Pregnant Moira


Speaking of June’s friend group, Moira is still looking at pictures of dead bodies. Glad to see she’s doing well.

We flashback to Moira’s pregnancy, and somehow June’s lob is now gone. Once again, how long do pregnancies in this universe last? Or maybe June’s hair just grows crazy fast? If so, girl what vitamins are you taking? Sugar Bear Hair?

Finally, we find out that Moira actually hasn’t been looking for June at all. She was looking for her former fiancee, Odette, aka the doctor who delivered her baby. Handmaid’s gives us just enough time to like Odette before we cut back to the real world and see that she is totally dead.

Now the only Odette in Moira’s life is the princess from The Swan Princess. Sad.

On a brighter note, Moira’s highlight was poppin’ for this whole episode. Good to see they have Fenty in New-merica.

At The Grocery Store

We’re back at the grocery store for the first time since season one. It’s nice to be home. June is just chilling in produce section, and she has just enough time to side-eye Nick’s baby wife (where has she been btw?) when out of nowhere…IT’S CRAZY-ASS ONE EYEBALL JANINE! She’s back!!!

Janine: I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready…to be a handmaid again!

June quickly ditches Janine to find Emily and tell her her name. They didn’t have a chance to exchange names last time because Emily murdered people with a car before June could answer her.

This sets off a mini rebellion in the grocery store, and by “rebellion” I mean “people telling each other their names.”

This scene gave me a lot of anxiety because I never remember anyone’s names, so getting this many names at once would be overwhelming. Plus how embarrassing would it be to forget someone’s name after they literally risked their entire life to tell it to you? I feel like an “omg I’m so sorry I’m better with faces!” would not suffice here.

Serena’s Big Plan

While the handmaids are staging a low-key rebellion in the produce aisle, Serena has concocted a plan, and that plan involves her meeting Nick in his shitty loft. She asks Nick how to file a complaint against a commander, and next thing we know, Mr. Cushing is being arrested before he can bother Offred again. Interesting…

At the end of the ep, Serena invites June into Mr. Waterford’s shitty mancave and her plan becomes clear: With Serena’s knowledge of how the government works, and June’s expertise as an editor, the two of them are going to pretend to be Mr. Waterford.

All in all, this episode didn’t quite live up to my expectations based on last episode’s ending. Like, if you’re going to end one episode with a literal terrorist attack, ending the next episode with a pen click is kind of a let down.

Here’s an excerpt from my text exchange with Elizabetch Warren, one of our many talented writers:

Oh well. There’s always next week. Unless there’s some sort of coup before then and the U.S. government is overthrown in favor of a tyrannical religious patriarchy. If so, then I’ll catch you betches at The Red Center. Under his eye.


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.