Roadtrip!!! This week on The Handmaid’s Tale the Waterfords get a much needed roadtrip to Canada and tbh the whole thing is drama. Like, first it seems like it’s all going well with the Waterfords’ meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada, but then the Prime Minister goes on TV and says that Canada won’t be pushed around by Gilead’s new tariffs, and Mr. Waterford loses his shit on Twitter, calling the Canadian PM “weak” and pulls out his support for the joint communique they signed and – oh fuck, I’m sorry. That wasn’t the Handmaid’s Tale. That was just what actually happened in the real world this week.
In my defense, it’s getting increasingly difficult to tell the difference. Onto this week’s episode…
At The Waterford House
We open on June, who is literally about to pop. I guess production finally invested in a pregnancy belly for her rather than just relying on her new sweatshirt (which she is still wearing, btw) to do the heavy lifting. Good for them.
Mr. Waterford is still riding high on his “I viciously beat my wife – aka the only person on this Earth who can stand me – in front of our handmaid while reading Bible verses” glow and calls a house meeting to announce that he is going on vacation to Canada, presumably to
buy weed do diplomacy or some shit.
Much like my parents any time they went out of town when I was in high school, Mr. Waterford doesn’t even have the decency to let June have the run of the house, and has appointed some rando guard to “watch over them” aka make sure nobody has any fun.
Nick also has to go on the trip as does Serena Joy, who is handed the literally impossible task of making it seem like women in Gilead are actually very happy. Honestly, they should have left Serena at home and taken Baby Wife, who actually does seem to enjoy this shit.
Speaking of Baby Wife, she sends Nick off with another one of her shitty children’s crafts. This time it is a tin full of cookies. I’m honestly shocked she’s allowed to use the stove unsupervised, but whatever.
Baby Wife: I’ll miss you, Nick!
While Nick is downstairs dodging his wife’s underage affection, Serena is upstairs being a giant bitch – aka the status quo.
Serena is pulling a classic “I’m really mad at my man but I don’t want to admit our relationship is shitty so I will project my anger on the other woman,” and tells June that she’s going to kick her out of the house after the baby comes.
June, for some reason, is upset by this. Is it because she wants to nurse the baby? Is it because of Nick? Is it because her eyes have finally adjusted to living in the complete darkness of the Waterford house and now she’s worried her eyeballs will burn if she moves somewhere else? Unclear.
For the first time in Handmaid’s history, the Canada plot line is interesting. Bravo Hulu!
The Waterfords arrive and Luke and Moira just so happen to catch them on the news. Ugh, your ex’s new boo* always pops up in the most random places, right? So annoying.
*kidnapped wife’s rapist.
While Moira and Luke rush over to see if Little America will arrest Mr. Waterford (Short answer: no), Serena Joy is taking in the sights. Personally, the first thing that I noticed about Canada is that they have lamps. I’m sure Serena noticed too. I half expected her to try and smuggle a lightbulb out of the country in her vag, but she does not.
One of the biggest testaments to how shitty Gilead is is the look of wonderment in Serena’s eyes as she gazes upon the modern Canadian lifestyle. Like, Canada is fine and all, but she’s looking at it like she’s a Bachelor contestant who just arrived at the mansion. She’s mystified.
They meet with Canadian officials and like the most annoying girl in your sorority who just spent a semester in France, Mr. Waterford attempts to dazzle them with his mastery of the French language. No one is impressed. Every vagina for miles is bone dry.
Not only is no one impressed, but the Canadian officials waste no time dunking on Mr. Waterford every chance they get.
Mr. Waterford: Hello I’m Fre-
Canadian Official: I’M GAY YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?
A female official takes a walk with Serena in the garden, but it’s really just a front for her to start an extremely passive aggressive conversation wherein she criticizes every aspect of Serena’s life without actually saying anything critical. Is this woman my mother? IDK.
Serena: What a lovely garden.
Lady Official: Yeah I don’t really have time to notice lovely gardens because I am WORKING at my JOB which I am allowed to have because I’m FREE. Anyway is gardening a common hobby back in boringville where you live?
Serena: …I like knitting.
Of course, we all know that Serena actually “detests” knitting from last episode when she and June were still BFFs. Now that she burned that bridge she has no one to talk shit about knitting with. So sad.
Back In Gilead
Well surprise, surprise, turns out letting Crazy-Ass One Eyeball Janine get naked and bring her baby back to life, while great for the baby, was not great for Janine’s mental health.
“Has your baby dropped yet?” – Janine, talking to June like her baby is a mixtape.
SpongeNine OneEyeball is is 10x crazier than before, out here screaming the word “vagina” in the streets. Someone take this bitch jellyfishing or something.
Once again, Janine and June are fully ignoring the orders of the nearby guard.
Me: So they’re just allowed to not listen to the guards? Where is the line here?
Janine: SUCK MY DICK, GUARD!!!!!!
Me: aaaaand there it is.
The guard promptly pistol whips Janine for screaming “SUCK MY DICK” in his face, which, tbh, seems like a pretty reasonable boundary. I mean, not that anyone should ever hit a mentally ill woman with the back end of a gun, but I feel like screaming “SUCK MY DICK” at a cop is generally frowned upon, even in the freest of societes.
Cut to Serena Joy using the elevator all by herself.
Little girl: Are you a princess?
SJ: No honey, I’m a slave.
Wtf kind of Disney movies is this little girl watching where she thinks Serena Joy is a princess? I guess the blue dress/blonde bun combo is very Cinderella, but IMHO Serena reads less as “princess” and more as “evil blue nun” to me.
The little girl’s mom wants literally nothing to do with Serena and won’t even share an elevator with her, which almost makes me feel bad for SJ until I realize this is 100% how she probably treated people of color back in the regular America days and I stop feeling bad immediately.
Serena, a girl after our own hearts, heads straight to the bar, where she orders a Riesling because she’s trying to keep it classy. She’ll save the full glass of Johnny Walker Black for when she’s safely back in her hotel room.
A man approaches the bar and puts down a box of cigarettes, and SJ’s eyes go completely black like a shark who just smelled blood.
Then the guy just like…lights a cigarette inside? Wtf? Can people smoke inside in Canada? And the bartender is so nice about it, like it’s a mistake anyone could make, and the guy acts genuinely shocked to hear he can’t just light up in a hotel bar. What is this scene?
Anyway, the cigarette guy boldly sits down next to Serena and starts aggressively hitting on her, which I initially found shocking until I remembered that this is a guy who literally just lit a cigarette in a hotel bar and acted surprised it wasn’t okay, so he obviously has some nerve.
Turns out the guy doesn’t just want to get into Serena’s pants. He actually wants to save her by sending her to Hawaii.
Umm…excuse me but…HAWAII is an option? Why is everyone dicking around in Canada then? I get that Canada is closer but once you get there why not use some of those JetBlue miles you stored up from before the war and get to the damn beach? IDGI.
Cigarette guy also lays out some crucial facts, namely that Mr. Waterford is probably shooting blanks.
Cigarette Guy: Picture this, Serena – you, pregnant, on a beach. Your shitty husband nowhere to be found. Me, just a few feet away, filling our beachside cabana with carcinogens while I chain smoke my way through painting our baby’s nursery. Sounds amazing, no?
Serena (lying): No.
Serena has a couple of zingers in this scene like “all you’ve offered me is treason and coconuts,” which could totally be her Real Housewives Of Gilead tagline if women in Gilead were allowed to be on TV.
At The Waterford House
Back in Gilead, June is trying to figure out what to do about the fact that she’s about to be kicked out of the house.
She starts her search for Gilead’s Next Top Godmother with Rita, who she acts to protect the baby.
June: Please protect my baby when Serena kicks me out.
Rita: I mean I can try but IDK if you’ve noticed that I basically have the same amount of power as you?
Cut to: Aunt Lydia measuring June’s pregnant belly. She also takes June’s blood pressure.
For real, is Aunt Lydia a doctor? She has doctor supplies. She oversees pregnancies. What is Aunt Lydia’s area of expertise? What are the parameters of her job? I NEED ANSWERS.
June takes this opportunity to essentially snitch on Mr. Waterford (but like, the good kind of snitch, where a powerful man is called to account for his terrible behavior) and I felt very stupid for not realizing that the reason June is so upset to leave her baby with Mr. Waterford is because Mr. Waterford literally just beat the shit out of his wife in front of her.
June: It is my experience that a man that would hurt a woman would also hurt a child.
Aunt Lydia says she would “never let harm come to a child” and it’s supposed to be this big moment but like…isn’t that just standard human morality? Sorry, but I’m not gonna give Aunt Lydia a standing O for saying she wouldn’t hurt an infant. I know we’re in Gilead, but the bar has got to be higher than that.
But finally…the moment we’ve all been waiting for….a tiny piece of info about Aunt Lydia’s life before.
Aunt Lydia: I was godmother to my sister’s child. He died at 4 weeks old.
June: Omg I’m so so-
Aunt Lydia: It wasn’t my fault!!!
Narrator: It was totally Aunt Lydia’s fault.
Oh shit! All of June’s boyfriends are in the same place! What is she, me at prom?
This is so awkward. Mr. Waterford gets out of his car and Luke runs to the front of a giant protest and greets him with a casual, “YOU RAPED MY WIFE,” and then Nick is just standing there like “Ohhhhhh shittttt.”
Mr. Waterford is like, not at all phased by the fact that some guy just ran up and (rightfully) accused him of rape. Nick, on the other hand, is shooketh.
Luke heads straight to bar to shake off those I-just-confronted-the-guy-who-kidnapped-my-wife blues and Nick approaches him and lays out everything: June is okay (by Gilead standards) and she’s pregnant (he doesn’t mention that it is his baby, which is probably wise).
Luke: GET OUT!! GET AWAY FROM ME!! Actually, come back.
Me: Wow is Luke me?
Honestly, jokes aside, this scene got to me. Something about the desperation in Luke’s voice when he’s telling messages for Nick to relay to June just gave me chills. This is the first of three major chills I get throughout this episode. Did Handmaid’s Tale make my cold, dead heart feel again? Perhaps, dear reader. Perhaps…
Anyway, Nick gives Luke the letters everyone keeps forgetting to deliver and then fucks off back to his hotel.
Cut to: Luke’s apt, where he and his roomies are reading the letters and we are alerted to the fact that apparently Forever 21 exists in the Handmaid’s Tale world.
So people don’t know they can’t smoke at bars, but they do know about Forever 21? Got it.
Moira: Ugh I thought these would have C4 in them or some shit. Something to make Gilead go boom.
Me: Literally same.
However, as the third roommate points out, and as was implied at the end of episode 7, the words ARE the revolution. This WILL make Gilead go boom. Symbolism!!!!!!!!
Cut to: Mr. Waterford getting his ass kicked out of Canada.
Turns out someone (Luke) uploaded the letters “to the internet” (tumblr) and now the Canadians don’t want the Waterfords there anymore. They even get a “we believe the women” in there before sending their asses packing. Bye bitches! Don’t let the freedom hit you on the way out!
Back at Luke and Moira’s, they’re holding a literal party to celebrate the Waterfords leaving. Imagine if people held a party because you left the country? Sucks to suck.
Chills pt. 2 come when all the remaining citizens of Little America start singing “America the Beautiful” in unison. The American spirit lives on! They may have our land, but they do not have our hearts! America! America! God shed his grace on thee!!!! I’m not crying! You’re crying!
The Waterfords Are Back
The Waterfords return and Serena symbolically throws the matches cigarette guy gave her into the fire, letting us all know that she has chosen the dimly lit barren life of Gilead over pregnancy on the beach. Whatever floats your boat I guess…
Meanwhile, Nick pays June a little visit.
Nick: Soooo….I ran into your ex. He says hey. We talked about you!
And chills round 3 come in here, when June is overwhelmed with happiness hearing that Moira and Luke are okay and living together in Canada.
Here’s where I must pause and say, I know Elizabeth Moss is a Scientologist, but she is a Scientologist who can act. Like, I get that we’ve already given her all the awards, but we should give them to her again. We should invent new awards just so that we can give them to Elizabeth Moss for her beautiful work in this scene. Praise be. Blessed be the Elizabeth Moss. I need to go to bed.
PS: NICK ALSO CALLS BABY WIFE “EDEN” IN THIS SCENE AND I WROTE IT DOWN BECAUSE…HER NAME IS EDEN!!!! BABY WIFE’S NAME IS EDEN!!!! I will probably forget, because she is boring, but I got so excited when I finally heard him say it that I had to write it down.
Other things to note: this episode ends with June looking directly to camera and thinking “Fuck that,” (I feel like they’ve done this before???) implying that she’s going to try to escape Gilead while pregnant again.
Okay now I’m really going to bed…