Presented by SkinnyPop
As we move into the spring, and life starts to get closer and closer to pre-pandemic normalcy, it seems like we’re all realizing something very important: having free time with no plans and no place to be is really nice! Over the last year (and then some), I’ve come to cherish my lazy weekends on the couch, with nothing to do except decide what to eat (easy, the answer is SkinnyPop) and what to watch (less easy).
Sure, it’s nice to be able to hug your loved ones again, and I’m all for making plans, but luckily there are plenty of new shows coming down the pipeline for those days you just can’t be bothered to put on real pants and leave the house. Here are nine shows to look out for this spring.
‘The Nevers’ – 4/11 (HBO)
If you love a show with a historical setting, but don’t want to vibe out to the History Channel, The Nevers is right up your alley. In Victorian England, a mysterious supernatural happening leaves a bunch of women with various special powers and abilities, and the main characters set out to protect these people from those who seek to destroy them. It’s kind of like X-Men, but with fun costumes and accents.
‘Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!’ – 4/14 (Netflix)
Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t like Jamie Foxx? I doubt it! Foxx stars in this comedy based on his relationship with his daughter Corinne, who is also a producer on the show. Based on the trailer, this is going to be one of those family shows that sort of makes you cringe in the best way possible, and it’s definitely going to be a binge-in-one-sitting type of thing. Grab the SkinnyPop, and get comfy.
‘Big Shot’ – 4/16 (Disney+)
John Stamos has a new show coming out, so there’s finally something you and your mom can both be excited about. In Big Shot, Stamos plays a disgraced college basketball coach who ends up coaching the team at an all-girls high school. Despite some initial speed bumps, Coach Korn and the girls on the team work together to achieve something bigger than anyone expected. Think Ted Lasso meets High School Musical.
‘Rutherford Falls’ – 4/22 (Peacock)
Ed Helms stars in this new comedy about people from a historic small town and the neighboring Native American reservation who are brought together in a fight to preserve the legacies of their ancestors. The trailer definitely gives off charming Parks and Recreation vibes, and the show has an indigenous showrunner and cast members, as well as the largest indigenous writing staff on any American show. We love to see this representation.
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ – 4/28 (Hulu)
If you’re still going strong into the fourth season of The Handmaid’s Tale, congratulations, you’re better at handling stress than I am. As June’s journey to be reunited with her child (and casually topple an oppressive government), things are as bleak as ever. Season 3 ended up with our main character being shot by a soldier, but something tells me she won’t stay down for long.
‘The Mosquito Coast’ – 4/30 (Apple TV+)
Anyone in your life who loved The Leftovers is about to be very excited, because Justin Theroux is finally coming back to TV. The Mosquito Coast is a tense AF adaptation of the novel of the same name, which was actually written by Justin Theroux’s uncle. The plot centers on a man who uproots his family and moves to the Mosquito Coast of Honduras to avoid the corruption of society—but you already know there’s some darker sh*t going on under the surface here.
‘Pose’ – 5/2 (FX/Hulu)
After taking a lengthy hiatus, Ryan Murphy’s best show (and no, that’s not up for debate) is back for one last season. So far, details about season 3 are being kept under wraps, but the second season brought us into the ‘90s and the height of the AIDS epidemic in New York’s queer community. Pose has always brought the heartbreaking moments right alongside the showstopping ballroom looks and performances, and the finale is sure to be more extravagant than ever.
‘The Real Housewives of New York City’ – 5/4 (Bravo)
RHONY is back for a 13th season, and let’s be honest, these ladies never disappoint. This season, the returning cast will be joined by attorney and TV host Eboni K. Williams, who is coming in hot as the franchise’s first Black housewife. She’ll be entering the friend group alongside Bershan Shaw, who joins the cast as a friend of. It’s about time that the New York housewives start looking a little more like the actual New York.
‘Girls5eva’ – 5/9 (Peacock)
You can never have too much ’90s nostalgia content, and Peacock’s new comedy from Tina Fey and Co. is exactly what we need right now. Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Busy Philipps, and Paula Pell star as the members of a long-dormant girl group who decides to attempt a comeback after 20 years. They’ve changed a lot, and so has the music industry, but whether they pull it off or not, it looks like it’s going to be hilarious.
Images: Jasper Savage / Hulu; HBO, Netflix, Disney+, Peacock, Hulu, Apple TV+, FX Networks, Bravo / YouTube
Remember back in June when Kylie Jenner hosted a Handmaid’s Tale themed birthday party for her good friend Stassie Karanikolaou and everyone was like, “wow what a bizarre and off-base interpretation of a show about female oppression?” Well, one Canadian couple saw that backlash and said, “hold our champagne.” A photo of newlyweds Kendra and Torsten’s (of course their names are Kendra and Torsten) Handmaid’s Tale-themed wedding is going viral, and not really for anything good. I have so many questions. Namely, have these two ever seen The Handmaid’s Tale?
Originally posted by wedding photography company Van Daele and Russell, the couple apparently went with the “dystopian oppression” theme for their photos because they’re from Cambridge, Ontario and the show is filmed in Cambridge, Ontario. But you know what else was filmed in Cambridge, Ontario? The Celine Dion biopic. Why not have a Celine Dion-themed wedding? That would be way more appropriate (and glamorous) than whatever the f*ck this is.
View this post on Instagram
Praise be! Kendra & Torsten are married! 🙏🏻 If there’s any @handmaidsonhulu fans out there, you’ll know most of it is filmed in Cambridge! So, as fans of the show, it only seemed fitting for there to be some Handmaids in K&T’s wedding photos along the ‘hanging wall’ in Mill Race Park! 🤣🙏🏻👌🏼📸 . . . #handmaidstale #handmaid #handmaidsonhulu #handmaidstaleseason3 #cambridgemill #wedding #weddingphotography #weddingphotographer #couplegoals #weddingwire #weddingwirecanada #theknot #weddingbells #funwedding #vandaelecouple #praisebe #couplegoals #picoftheday #weddingday
(Screenshot below because I have a feeling this won’t be up on Instagram for much longer.)
The problems with this wedding theme should be immediately obvious to anyone who has even heard of the show, but let’s break it down, shall we? First up, the setting of this photo is literally the “hanging wall” where women are murdere for infractions such as “being gay” and “gossiping at the grocery store.” Not really the fairytale ideal for kicking off your life as a married couple. Also it’s kind of a boring backdrop without all the blood and dead bodies. Just sayin’, if you’re gonna go “hanging wall” for your wedding photos, why not go all the way?
Second of all, the institution of marriage in Handmaid’s Tale is totally horrific. For those who don’t watch the show, men in Gilead are assigned a wife (presumably the bride here) and a handmaid (who I guess are the bridesmaids?). Every month there is a “ceremony” in which the wife holds down the handmaid while the husband has sex with her (also known as “rape”) in hopes of getting her pregnant. When the handmaid does get pregnant, the married couple then steals her baby and sends her away so she can never see the child again. This is the relationship they’re trying to evoke between the bride, groom, and bridesmaids in this picture. How romantic.
Now, I’m not saying fans can’t have any fun with Handmaid’s Tale. The show deals with some pretty intense themes, but ultimately it is still fiction and none of the horrors it depicts are real events or happening to real people, but for a wedding theme? That’s gonna be a no from me. Yes, handmaid costumes are now a pretty familiar site at protests, and there’s nothing wrong with popping on a red cloak and a hat for halloween, but dressing your bridal party up as rape victims feels like a bridge too far.
That said, now that this photo has been released, I need 1,000% more information about this wedding. How far did the Hadmaid’s Tale theme go? Was it just the photos, or did this extend to the entire wedding? Did guests say “Blessed be the fruit” upon arrival? Did they dress the wedding planner up as Aunt Lydia to keep people in line? Did the maid of honor have her clitoris removed? Was the ceremony…a Ceremony? Most importantly, did the entire event end with the bride looking directly to camera while Jackson 5 or some other early sixties bop plays in the background? Because if they are really fans of the show then they’ll know that is the only way to end anything to do with Handmaid’s Tale.
That said, if they used the series’ soundtrack as a guide, the dance floor was probably lit. If guests were even allowed to dance, that is.
Images: vandalaeandrussell / Instagram
Alright everyone, here we are. The finale of season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale. If you’ve been following these recaps, you know that I’ve found the quality of this season to be…mixed. The first half of the season seemed fairly aimless, and the whole show has suffered from the fact that the intense rules they set up for the world of season one just can’t hold three seasons in. For one, June should have been hanged like, 10 times by now. For another, you can’t make me like the Waterfords. You just can’t. You especially can’t make me give two f*cks about their romantic Canadian road trip one episode after they forced June and Commander Z to have sex in front of his mentally ill wife for basically no reason. Sorry, but no amount of letting Serena drive is gonna get you out of that one.
That said, the season picked up a lot of steam once June came up with her plot to save 52 children (it’s almost like having a plot…is good for the plot) and we’ve been cruising on some good old Handmaid’s Tale emotional torture ever since. This episode was no exception. I cried like five times during this episode. My heart was in my throat the entire time, and at one point I actually had to physically stand up and walk around just to blow off some of the excess tension. That’s not to say there isn’t some bullsh*it in there, or that it doesn’t end with June looking directly to camera (spoiler), but all in all, this was a very good end to an extremely patchy season, and I think I’ll be back for season four. You think one wonky season can lose me? Pssh. I watched all of True Blood, bitches. You can’t lose me if you tried!
Now, to the episode…
We open on a flashback to right after June was first captured. She’s in a cage while guards scream “SHUT THE F*CK UP” at a line of disabled women being shoved into a van. This is literally just the first 30 seconds. Strap the f*ck in. June talks to a guard standing outside her cage and says, “they took my daughter and I don’t know where she is! Can you please tell me where she is?” If you didn’t think about the border here, you haven’t been reading your Betches Sup Newsletter and that, sadly, is on you.
A some random woman with curly hair is screaming obscenities at the guards as they all get loaded into a truck and it’s like wait…I know that voice. It’s….it’s…pre-crazy pre-one eyeball Crazy Ass One-Eyeball Janine! Yes!! It’s her before she was battered into becoming the Spongebob of Gilead, when she was just a regular-ass lady with a cursing problem aka all of us!! You love to see it.
Janine This Whole Scene:
Present Day Gilead
Back in the now, June is musing about how Gilead became Gilead.
June: Where does it come from…this talent for ruthlessness?
Me: Idk girl, you’re the one who watched a mentally ill woman overdose and then lied about it to her family because she annoyed you, so you tell me.
The plan to kidnap 52 children is going suuuper well, despite the fact that literally every handmaid is acting conspicuous as f*ck, handing things to each other in broad daylight and giving each other little secret smiles. For reasons that are unclear to me, June and Aunt Lydia have a little chaperoned meet-up in the middle of a bridge and Aunt Lydia notices that the handmaids are acting weird immediately. June, per usual, cannot help but be the most suspicious person in the world.
Aunt Lydia: What was that Janine just handed to you?
June: Oh…nothing… *winks*
Aunt Lydia: You’re not up to something are you?
June: Me? Up to something? Never! *winks again but really slowly*
Aunt Lydia: Why do you keep doing that?
June: Keep *wink* doing *wink* what *wink*?
Aunt Lydia: …I will kill you.
Anyway, none of this matters because in this world June gets away with everything, while background characters are killed for giggling. We just have to accept it at this point.
At Commander Zaddy’s house, everything is underway for the big plan. Beth the Martha is sick because her bitch-ass is “afraid” of “dying” or whatever. Someone should warn her what June does to people who don’t keep their sh*t together.
It’s still not 100% clear how the plan is going to work, but it clearly relies heavily on baked goods, as do all plans involving the Marthas. June also appears to be cutting up large amounts of soap, which makes me wonder…are they making bombs? Is this gonna be a Fight Club situation?
(It’s not, and the soap is just for the children on their journey, I guess, but its like…how the f*ck you gonna have a revolutionary underground domestic terrorist cut soap for an entire scene and not have her make a damn Tyler Durden soap bomb? COME ON, PEOPLE!!!)
Back to Chateau Prison aka Canadian jail. Serena (who is a war criminal), is informed that soon she’ll be allowed to leave the facility to sight-see in the city whenever she wants. At this point I’m having a hard time finding a difference between Serena’s jail time activities and my work trip to Montreal in 2017, but okay.
Later, in another portion of the jail, limp dick Fred tries to make a deal of his own. He clearly has not been as useful as Serena, seeing as he is wearing the same white shirt and suspenders he was wearing when they first caught him and she has a whole new wardrobe from Talbots.
But all that is about to change. Because Fred has info. Important info. Against Serena. Mr. Hot American Guy warns Fred that Serena has a deal that makes anything she did in Gilead immune from prosecution, but Fred insists this info is DIFFERENT.
My first thought is that he’s going to tell Mr. Hot American about how Serena basically masterminded blowing up the White House, but he doesn’t. He tells him about some other sh*t (we’ll get to it) that honestly seems well within the purview of her plea deal and is also sh*t they could have guessed Serena was involved in.
Between this and the soap, I feel like Handmaid’s Tale should stop f*cking around and just get me in the writer’s room for season 4. We’ll have Gilead straightened out in eight episodes flat and any oldies that are played will be tasteful and appropriate to the scene at hand. Just sayin’…
Back in Gilead
The first little girl has officially arrived (some people are always early) and June does her best to make smalltalk with a child even though she is a hardened criminal and murderer.
Little Girl: Do you know what it’s like…out?
June: It’s like it was before Gilead.
Little Girl: Yeah well I’m eight f*cking years old so I have no idea what that means.
June then begins to femsplain women’s rights to the little girl (you’re allowed to wear slutty outfits, you don’t have to marry some asshole, vocal fry is a right, not a privilege, etc…) and she’s just about to get to second wave feminism when her Martha bursts back in and tries to take the little girl back.
Everyone is freaking out about this Martha blowing the plan but June just calmly walks upstairs, grabs her glock, and informs the Martha that she will absolutely shoot her in the f*cking face if she so much as steps outside. Casual.
Little Girl Watching This All Go Down:
The Martha makes a run for it and June chases after her, fully ready to unload into the woods, but then ends up turning the gun on Little Girl and holding it in her face for about ten seconds, which is approximately thirty seconds too long to be holding a gun in a little girl’s face.
June This Whole Scene:
Cut to: June in Commander Zaddy’s office, feeling *really* bad about that whole “holding a gun in a little girl’s face” thing. It’s okay June, sh*t happens. Sometimes you get up on the wrong side of the bed. You snap at your boyfriend. You almost kill a child. Chalk it up to the Mondays and get back to your plan! Then in walks…COMMANDER ZADDY IN A SUIT YES MA’AM! Yum yum! Slurp! Owooooooga! Break me off a piece of that mourning old guy! HellooooOOOOooo (male) nurse!
Okay I’ll stop now.
Commander Zaddy is there to tell June that the Martha she let get away was actually spotted, and the plan is too dangerous and he’s calling it off. To which June replies…
June informs Commander Zaddy that despite his very cool penis, she is actually the one in charge here. She’s the one who came up with the plan. She’s the one communicating with the Marthas. And most importantly, she’s the one who is currently holding a gun.
June: Men…f*cking pathological.
Me this whole scene:
Back in Canada, international war criminal Serena Joy is casually hanging out with infant Nichole, fully outside her jail cell, without a care in the world. Until…she is under arrest! Was she not already under arrest? I distinctly remember her being placed under arrest.
Finally we find out the very bad thing that Fred told the Canadians and it’s that…Serena told Nick to impregnate June? Really? That’s the thing?
Serena: But isn’t this specifically covered by the plea agreement you described three scenes ago?
Mr. Hot American: No!
Serena: But why?
Mr. Hot American: Reasons!!!!
Honestly I cannot make heads or tails of this crazy Canadian justice system.
In Gilead, June is trying to be her best to be as nice as possible to the arriving children, probably to make up for the one she almost shot in the face. Inside, Command Zaddy has gathered all the children ‘round to read them a bedtime story. And my ovaries grew three sizes that day.
Janine arrives and tells them a Martha has been arrested, and June decides they need to GTFO before the whole plan is ruined. They leave and finally the plan is revealed…they’re gonna walk all 52 children (including babies) through the woods in a big-ass line, tying very large obvious white bows to trees along the way. Great work, team!
Now, here is where sh*t is stressful. I had about ten heart attacks watching them walk this Disneyland field trip’s worth of kids through the woods, while cars go by in the distance. I know Handmaid’s Tale. I know this show. I knew there was no way they were just gonna march these 52 lil ducklings through the woods with no problems, so I’m just sitting there waiting for the other shoe to drop. What’s going to happen? Is the baby going to cry? WHY ARE THEY ALWAYS TRAVELING WITH A BABY THAT IS ABOUT TO CRY? F*ck!!!
Finally, trouble arrives. June realizes there is no way for them to get to the airplane without crossing directly in front of some guards, so she does what June does best and offers to sacrifice herself. She’ll distract the guards (flash them??) while the others run by. Again, a foolproof plan.
But wait!!! Just as June is about to sacrifice herself, a bunch of handmaids and the Marthas (including Janine and OfRobert) come to help. Who is with the children at this moment? No f*cking clue. I think only Rita. As someone who once worked as a camp counselor and had to take a large group of children to Six Flags, I do not envy Rita in this moment. Like, I’d take my chances with the guards over chaperoning 52 children any day. Just my opinion.
While the kids stealthily cross a very very lit street, the handmaids enact their master plan to distract the guards by…throwing rocks at them? What?
This might be the most unbelievable scene in handmaids history. Like, I know that handmaids are highly skilled rock throwers, but this sh*t is ridiculous. For one, how the f*ck do they have so many rocks? Like, perfectly formed, large rocks. Second of all, they are not that far from the guards, and those guards have military grade weaponry (available now at Walmart!!). At some point wouldn’t they just…walk into the woods and figure out who the f*ck is throwing rocks? Why are these guards so afraid of rocks? Are we really supposed to believe that rocks + trees are an acceptable defense against an AR-15? Somebody tell Congress!
Anyway, this actually works because all of June’s plans work. But June hasn’t given up on the idea of sacrificing herself just yet. She breaks from the crowd and lures the guard into the woods. He shoots her. She shoots him. Everybody is shooting everybody, bang bang guns guns etc…etc…
Eventually, June incapacitates him and tricks him into giving the all-clear to his boss before point-blank shooting him in the face. How many murders is that for June this month? 3? 3.5 if you count the little girl she almost shot in the face? That’s almost one a week!
Hella injured, June lays in the grass and prepares to die. As she does, the plane flies overhead, and she knows she got the children out safe.
Me this whole scene:
Back in Canada, they’re having a mini-Gilead reunion/welcome party. Moira and Luke (the Jordan and Demi of Handmaid’s Tale) are there. Emily is there. It’s the whole crew! When the 52 children arrive, Moira is the first to greet them.
Moira: Hello, I’m Moira.
Little Girl: First question, when can I change out of this fugly dress?
They take the kids off the plan and immediately wrap them in tinfoil blankets and its like like OKAY ENOUGH WITH THE SYMBOLISM ABOUT THE BORDER!! I AM ALREADY VERY UPSET ABOUT THE BORDER!! I WATCH TV SO FOR A BRIEF MOMENT I CAN NOT BE THINKING ABOUT THE BORDER!! GODDAMMIT!!!
Within minutes of being in Canada, Little Girl recognizes one of the relief workers as…her dad? That feels like quite the coincidence, but whatever. I’m so emotionally raw at this point that I accept this as something that could possibly happen.
We end on Rita meeting Luke for the first time and telling him June masterminded the plan.
Luke: Uh cool but where is she tho?
The Woods of Gilead
Cut to: June dying in the woods. She’s barely alive, flashing back to days with Hannah and Luke on a playground before Trump got elected or whatever the f*ck happend that brought all this about.
But of course, June can’t die, otherwise there’d be no show. Out of the woods emerge all her handmaid friends, who have constructed a little handmaid gurney out of Lord knows what and carry her to…IDK but probs not the hospital. Where will they bring her? What’s going to happen next? What is June thinking as she looks directly into camera for the 500th time?
Next season….on The Handmaid’s Tale…
Before we dive into this, the penultimate episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, I want to present you all with a theory I’ve been working on. I think much like how every friend group has a Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte, they also have a wife, a handmaid, an aunt, and a Martha.
The wife is the rich friend who always looks chic and knows the best bars/clubs/island getaways. The downside to hanging out with her is she can be kind of a bitch sometimes and is always in a long-term relationship with the douchiest bro you’ve ever met in your life, who she insists on bringing to everything.
The handmaid is your most fun friend with a f*ck it attitude who is basically down for everything. The downside is that she comes with a lot of baggage and can turn psycho on a dime (usually after alcohol consumption), and is always embroiled in some crazy drama between herself and one of her many romantic partners.
The aunt is your responsible friend who acts as the group mom, to the point of being constantly disappointed with all of your antics. Sometimes you have to hang out without her because she’s kind of a giant asshole, but there is something about her that you guys like enough to keep her in the group (probably that she always remembers to get good photos when you’re out).
Finally, there is the Martha, your friend who gets sh*t done. Is she the hottest of the group? No. But only because she is busy getting sh*t done. She is always silently grinding while the rest of the group is fighting or f*cking (or both), and one day you sign into Twitter and see she’s on the cover of Forbes and you didn’t even know she owned a business. Make sure your group has a Martha so you can always have someone in your life who will bail you out of jail and not say sh*t about it to anybody. This is my theory and I stand by it. Sound off in the comments!
Now onto the episode, which opens on June playing with a gun and exhibiting absolutely zero gun safety techniques. She’s just swinging a loaded gun around pointing it at her own face! You know, this is exactly why Gilead needs to work on its gun problem. You can’t just have loose guns floating around, getting into the hands of untrained criminals with a long history of mental health issues. It’s dangerous! But luckily that’s just what’s happening in Gilead, and is in no way tied to real life.
Downstairs, the Marthas inform June that Billy the bartender is in for their plan because he has sent them a basket of whatever baked goods mean “hell yea let’s kidnap a bunch of kids.” One room over, Command Zaddy and some other dickless Gilead goons are chatting about the news of the day. June then offers to bring them tea because she knows the men will keep talking about all their classified info in front of her, not realizing that she can hear with her tiny woman ears, or understand with her tiny woman brain.
Apparently sh*t is going down between Canada and Gilead, because Canada “lured the Waterfords across the border and arrested them,” or whatever. Why anyone would notice or care that Fred Waterford was gone is beyond me.
June Outside As She’s Finding Out the Waterfords Are In Prison:
June Inside As She’s Finding Out the Waterfords Are In Prison:
When the goons leave, Commander Z informs June that not only are the Waterfords in custody, but the government now thinks Canada also had something to do with the disappearance of Commander Winslow, meaning they won’t be coming after her for stabbing him with a pen all those times.
As Commander Zaddy so succinctly puts it: Fred and Serena are toast, and you just got away with murder. All in all, not a bad morning.
At The Grocery Store
June is back at the grocery store, which is basically resistance headquarters at this point, to tell OfRobert the plan is ready to go. June truly could not act more suspicious as she is doing this. She dramatically looks around approximately every 2.5 seconds. Do you want to get caught?
June then goes to meet up with Rita and also talk about the top-secret plan in public. Rita had heard of June’s plan and knew it was June, because June is the only bitch crazy enough to pull something like this off. Rita says she has offered to help with the plan and the two of them clasp hands over some potatoes. It’s honestly very sweet.
In Canadian Prison
Cut to: Fred Waterford having a Jeffrey Epstein moment (aka luxuriating in his unreasonably nice prison cell). Serena comes in to talk to him and I’m like…what the f*ck is this? Aren’t they supposed to be in jail? Is this what being arrested in Canada looks like? You just get to live in a sleek mid-century modern one bedroom? Brb—headed to Canada to do crimes.
Serena reveals to Fred that she’s made some kind of deal to stay in Canada with Nichole, and he should do what he can to save himself. Fred then immediately starts choking her, which is why we don’t LEAVE TWO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL PRISONERS TO JUST CHILL IN A ROOM ALONE WITH EACH OTHER COME ON CANADA Y’ALL CAN’T BE THIS NICE.
At Commander Zaddy’s
Back in Gilead, Madame Zaddy needs to get her sh*t together fast. She almost reveals the entire plan to Commander Winslow’s wife, who seems to somehow know that June stabbed her husband to death with a pen even though that’s impossible. Women’s intuition is really something.
Later, Lawrence tells June that the government closed the border, but their talk is interrupted by Madame Zaddy, who is trying to leave the house. She’s apparently in the middle of some kind of episode, and because Gilead thinks mental illness can be cured via tea and prayer (funnily enough, Marianne Williamson thinks the same thing), it’s only getting worse.
Whereas one episode ago June was able to calmly talk Madame Zaddy out of shooting her husband in the head, this time June loses it on MZ and starts shaking the sh*t out of her. You can’t shake Madame Zaddy! She’s basically like a baby, and you can never shake a baby! This is like harming Janine. It’s just not done.
Me: Wow this is the first mean thing June has ever done to Madame Zaddy!
Narrator: It will not be the last.
In Canadian Prison
Cut to: Luke and Moira going through security at the Vancouver Ritz, aka Canadian jail. You know, I’m not saying that prisoners should live in squalor by any means, but the Canadian government appears to have provided Serena with a fully furnished one bedroom with bay windows. It also looks like she was allowed to go shopping at Ann Taylor Loft, and swing by DryBar for a blowout.. Seems a little much for the woman who literally helped blow up the White House.
Turns out whatever deal Serena has made with Canada not only includes her stylish new digs, but she also gets to visit with Nichole, the baby whose life she explicitly came to the Canada to ruin. Once again, this seems like a pretty good deal for a war criminal.
Luckily, Moira is having less-than-none of it, and proceeds to be a giant bitch to Serena from the moment she enters the room.
Serena: Hello, I’m Serena, it’s nice to meet you.
Moira ends her rant by telling Serena about all the times Fred visited the Jezebels, tosses off a casual “you are the REAL gender traitor!”, and sashays away. The most brutal read since Azealia Banks called Grimes a “dirty-sneaker-inbred-out of the woods Pabst beer pussy meth head junkie” back in 2013. Iconic.
Moira leaves and Serena tries to continue her playdate with Nichole and ignore the fact that she just got roasted in front of her own baby. The attendant whose job it is to watch Serena and the baby (good call) tells Serena she’s not allowed to refer to herself as “mommy” because she’s like, not actually Nichole’s mommy. All in all, a pretty bad morning for Serena Joy.
In another part of the jail, Luke is allowed to meet with Fred in his jail cell, despite there being no logical reason for a prison to allow that to happen. Whatever. It ends pretty predictably—with Luke punching Fred in the face and being dragged out screaming, “I’M NOT DONE! I’M NOT DONE!” This is why jails have rules, Canada.
The Death Of Madame Zaddy
How do we even begin to dive into the f*cked up nature of this scene? How can June, as a character, recover from what happens here? Is this going to be like in season two of Friday Night Lights when Landry straight-up kills a guy with a metal pipe and then just goes back to being the comic relief character and we’re all supposed to forget he is a stone-cold killer? Anyway, let’s get into what happened…
June goes to check on Madame Z, who hasn’t been well since her only friend in the world shook the sh*t out of her in her own home. June peeks in to bring Madame Z more of her very effective mood tea and realizes…OH SHIT. MADAME ZADDY HAS OVERDOSED. I THOUGHT SHE DIDN’T HAVE ANY DRUGS?!? I AM CONFUSED!
At first, June does the right thing and goes to get help, but then she just…doesn’t, and lets Madame Z die. Not only does she let her die, but she then just backs out of the room and pretends she was never there, so some other poor person has to find her body.
Seriously, why did she do this? Because she was almost telling people about the plan? Doesn’t this now completely remove Commander Z’s motive for helping with the plan in the first place? Why not just pretend you found her, and spare some poor Martha the trauma of finding a dead body. Why June? Why?
Next thing we know, the whole house is in mourning, particularly Commander Z, who is visibly devastated and preparing her funeral.
June This Whole Scene:
The final scene of the episode takes place at Madame Zaddy’s funeral, and gives us a nice little sampling of Gilead’s funeral fashions. The wives wear their traditional blue with a tiny black veil—very Jackie O—while the aunts and handmaids are just given a black cape to put over their normal clothes. Every friend group has one. We end on June looking directly to camera, because of course we do.
On to the finale!
Images: Hulu; Giphy (4)
After last week’s truly insane ending, I honestly went into this episode with no predictions for what was going to happen, and thank God for that. Right off the bat, the episode changes it up by starting with decades-old pop music and a closeup on June’s face. Quelle suprise! A true subversion! What once was old has been made new again!
Okay, I’m being a bitch. I’ll stop. We start the episode with June attending to OfMatthew in the hospital. OfMatthew is alive, but barely. Her mind isn’t there, but her body is being forced to carry the pregnancy to term. The 11th grader who got a 5 on her AP Lit exam would recognize this as a metaphor for what is is like for all women in Gilead. June is forced to stay and pray for OfMatthew’s baby throughout the pregnancy which—fun twist!—has made her fully insane now.
Side note: Can you imagine waking up from a coma and your bully is just like, standing there singing “Heaven Is a Place on Earth”?
During the day, OfMatthew’s hospital bed is poppin’. It’s the place to be. The wives are there. The other handmaids are there. She’s got an assload of doctors. And these creepy little girls in pink keep walking by. Finally, after all this time, she’s popular!
June is totally f*cked up now and can barely walk from having to kneel all the time. In another time, this condition would be known as “blowjob knees.” She tries to kill OfMatthew by holding onto her breathing tube, but a little alarm goes off and the doctors come back in. Drats!
The Next Day
The next day, all the handmaids gather for their number one handmaid activity, aside from bearing children: a prayer circle. June is so crazy now she can barely pray, and Janine is all f*cked up from the time OfMatthew beat the shit out of her with a can of chowder. Fun times.
Turns out OfMatthew really did Janine dirty and f*cked up her eyeball hole. Not that her eyeball hole was doing great to begin with. Nobody has given her an eyepatch for some reason, so Janine attempts to cover her infected eyeball hole with a chic side bang. Unfortunately, chic side bangs are banned in Gilead, so Lydia makes Janine tuck her hair behind her ear. I think it’s safe to say Janine’s hair does not look sexy pushed back.
The handmaids all leave, but Aunt Lydia hangs back to check in on OfMatthew’s progress. OfMatthew starts having a seizure, probably because she is a half-dead body being forced to carry a pregnancy to term. Idk tho. I’m not a doctor.
June When OfMatthew Has A Seizure/Me When I find Out My Guy Friend’s Wife Has Gone Into Labor: If you’re lucky, you may get to see her sh*t herself.
As we all know, Lydia hates cursing, so she does not appreciate this comment. June then asks Lydia if she can leave the hospital (not very strategic thinking) and Lydia predictably says no.
Aunt Lydia: God never gives us more than we can handle.
Me: What about the time you tried to give your coworker a handjob and he rejected you and it made you go apesh*t and get your friend’s son taken away? Remember that?
In the background, we see a doctor dispose of a dirty knife he used to cut OfMatthew’s leg open, and June smiles. Don’t these people realize that if you leave June in a room with a knife she’s 100% going to steal that knife? That’s like, the Handmaid’s Tale version of Checkov’s gun.
June waits until night time to go check out the whole dirty knife situation. She’s changed into her nightgown/slip, which is actually a pretty cute peasant-cut white dress. Pop a flower crown on and it’s honestly a perfect festival lewk (and/or a costume from the movie Midsommar).
June wastes no time sticking her hand in a medical waste deposit box, and gets her finger pricked with a needle. Whatever. She’s not not trying to die. Her medical dumpster diving is interrupted by Janine, who is in the hospital due to an infected eyeball hole. And this, dear readers, is why we wear the eye patch.
Janine, pure as f*ck, comes over to OfMatthew’s bed and forgives her for repeatedly hitting her in the eyeball hole with a can of soup. June, Squidward as f*ck, immediately sh*ts all over Janine’s parade. June is quickly becoming the type of person who tells little kids Santa isn’t real.
Janine: I want you to get better.
June: She’s not going to get better.
Me: CHRIST CAN WE NOT LET JANINE PRAY?
June uses Janine’s prayer as an in to suggest she and Janine just go ahead and kill OfMatthew with the extremely tiny knife she’s acquired. Predictably, Janine is not into this idea, like at all.
Janine: You’re selfish! You’ve changed!
Me: Go OFF queen!!!!
June then immediately tells Janine to get the f*ck out. Looks like somebody can’t handle a little constructive criticism.
The Next Day
June doesn’t kill OfMatthew after all, but that doesn’t mean she’s done f*cking around with her tiny little knife. Luckily for June, Serena Joy shows up out of nowhere looking extremely knife-able. Unluckily for her, it’s actually hard to kill someone with a tiny knife, especially if you can barely walk because your knees are all f*cked up from praying, so SJ subdues her pretty easily. She doesn’t even freak out that much, because honestly the whole murder attempt was pretty sad, and June ends up injuring herself more in the process. Is June the Bagel Boss guy?
A nice-seeming doctor comes by to sew up June’s hand. Nobody is concerned that she acquired a knife and was going to use it to kill herself and others. Casual reminder that in season one, handmaids got murdered for blinking too sluttily.
June: My mother was a doctor. She treated pregnant women, and she always put her patients—the women—first.
Personally, I love how June is batsh*t crazy for the entire first half of the episode, but then as soon as she has the opportunity to lecture a man about feminism, she is 100% lucid and on top of her sh*t. I feel seen.
Turns out Chill Doctor actually knows June’s mom from back in the day, and they bond over that.
June: You know, last night I was going to kill everybody in here and myself, but now that we’ve chatted I’m feeling a lot better.
Chill Doctor: Oh ya I totally knew that would happen. Don’t worry about it.
That night, June is given a new hospital bed, so I guess stealing a knife and threatening to kill everyone worked. Unfortunately she doesn’t really get to enjoy it, because OfMatthew’s vital signs start going crazy. Is she going into labor? Is she having a miscarriage? It’s hard to tell.
The doctors run in and do a C-section, and pull out OfMatthew’s premature looking baby. So now Handmaid’s Tale has shown us a premature baby C-section and a still birth in two back-to-back episodes. Thank you Handmaid’s Tale!
The Death Of OfMatthew
The next day, June packs up her sh*t and gets ready to go. OfMatthew is still alive, but barely, and everyone says she’s going to die soon. As June is leaving, one of the creepy little girls in pink offers to help her carry her bag. We find out that the little girl is at the hospital because she just found out she can have babies. Turns out all the little girls June has been seeing coming in and out of the hospital are being inspected to see if they can have babies. Bleak. As. F*ck.
June leaves the hospital with Aunt Lydia, but then last minute decides she wants to go back and stay with OfMatthew until the end. Classic June. Always almost leaving places and then deciding at the last minute to go back and be tortured again. I guess it is the least she can do for bullying OfMatthew so badly she lost her mind and committed suicide by cop (it’s a thing, look it up).
Meanwhile, in the next room, Janine’s eye is back to normal. Or at least, it’s back to the status quo. As a nice gesture, Aunt Lydia brings Janine a little red eye patch to wear. Between this and Serena Joy’s leather finger, Gilead has really cornered the market on high-end accessories for female torture victims. A booming industry!
The episode ends with June in OfMatthew’s hospital bed, showering her with compliments, like ya do when you realize you’ve been kind of a bitch to someone. She then promises to free all children, including OfMatthew’s new baby boy, from Gilead. Sure, June. But you’re always saying that.
OfMatthew dies while June sings “Heaven is A Place on Earth.” Not sure if that’s the song I’d personally like to go out to, but okay. In another subversion of the art form, this episode does not end with June looking directly to camera while they play The Jackson Five or some sh*t, but instead ends with only the sounds of OfMatthew’s heart monitor indicating her death. Now I’m kind of wishing we had the old endings back.
Images: Hulu; Giphy (4)
Alright pals, here we go. June is fresh off her field trip to the National Mall which, unlike President Trump’s military parade, was not rained out. I guess God does shine on Gilead after all. We open on…rope. Long rope. Red rope. Scary rope. The handmaids have been assembled for some bizarre ceremonial tug-of-war. Per usual, this is not a normal game of tug-of-war, but rather, a deadly game of tug-of-war. At the end of the handmaids’ ropes are humans ready to be hanged. Honestly, this feels like something they could do fairly easily without the handmaids present but as we all know, Gilead is extra as f*ck.
Once they’re done facilitating the murder of five people, the handmaids head to the grocery store. Despite their friendly seeming moment last episode, OfMatthew is back on her bullsh*t, but now that June knows she is pregnant she can’t be as mean to her. You can’t be mean to a pregnant handmaid in Gilead. You just can’t.
“I heard the woman mistreated a child!” – OfMatthew, justifying how they all just helped kill someone.
At the grocery store, June spies a handmaid rocking a mouth cover and wonders if DC fashions are finally making their way to Boston. Someone call Vogue Gilead!
June meets up with OfRobert at the grocery store and they quickly devise a way to make OfMatthew go away, basically by telling her to go look at avocados. (Motion to make “go look at avocados” a new way of saying f*ck off?) OfRobert then directs June to the fruit cocktail aisle (June: “I love fruit cocktail!”) where the Martha from Hannah’s house is waiting to tell her how to get into Hannah’s school. In the background, OfMatthew stares on ominously. I thought we told this bitch to go look at avocados?
Praise be for more Emily scenes! May the Lord open on the acting styles of Alexis Bledel, who is being casually questioned by the Swedish government about the time she stole a car and ran a man over with it on purpose. Don’t they realize that was FOREVER ago? They’re also apparently concerned with the whole “stabbing Aunt Lydia five times and leaving her for dead” thing.
The Swedish Ambassador: So you stabbed an old woman and then pushed her down the stairs?
Sylvia: Okay but there’s CONTEXT!
Later at the bar, Moira tries to bond with Emily by remembering the good old days when they were just two happy lesbians in Boston. Unfortunately, Emily is more of a “stay at home with a glass of wine reading Jane Austen” lesbian than a “party all night at Boston’s best gay bars” lesbian, so they don’t have much in common. It’s almost like queer people are not a monolith, or something. Who knew!?!
Moira then invites Emily to “Bird-Dog” the Canadian minister, which is a particularly aggressive form of protesting that is “more in your face.” Ultimately, this turns out to be just them kind of chasing the minister down the street and yelling at him while he tries to get into his car.
Emily: Sign me the f*ck up.
Back in DC
Serena and Fred have decided to extend their vacation to the Capitol, and Serena appears to be making fast friends with Mrs. Winslow. Mrs. Winslow seems cool for now, but she is definitely going to do something extremely f*cked up in the future. It’s just a matter of time.
Mrs. W shows Serena a house she could buy if she decides to stay in the District. It’s literally full of the old owners’ belongings, including family photos, half empty wine glasses, and a nursery, but nobody seems to care about that.
Personally, I’ve seen enough American Horror Story to know that this house is absolutely full of ghosts. Like, floor to ceiling spirits up in this bitch. Maybe when Handmaid’s Tale is over they’ll do a spinoff about the Waterfords living in a haunted house? Just a thought…
Meanwhile at work, Fred finds out from Commander Winslow (aka Christopher Meloni aka Stabler from SVU) that it would actually be “more advantageous” to Gilead for Nichole to stay in Canada for now. Turns out Fred’s freaky YouTube videos have been working, and now other countries like Canada are interested in working with Gilead. The power of YouTube, man.
Again, we end on a shot of Commander Winslow’s hand on Fred’s arm for just a little bit too long. Just so we’re all clear, if this is going where we all think it is going and the show tries to pull a “Fred has a #MeToo experience in the workplace that teaches him to respect women,” I might have to tap out of this show.
Okay so I won’t actually do that, but I will be pissed.
Mrs.Lawrence’s Big Adventure
Back at Commander Zaddy’s place, June has the following exchange with their Martha, which I loved.
June: Where is Commander Lawrence?
Martha: I don’t know, in some Commander place, doing Commander things?”
June needs to be in Brookline by 3pm to get to Hannah’s school, which I misunderstand as “Brooklyn” and spend the next five minutes being extremely confused as to how June plans to get from Boston to Brooklyn by mid-afternoon. Amtrak doesn’t go that fast, and I highly doubt June has the cash to spring for the Acela Express. Megabus, obviously, is out of the question.
Finally June settles on a different mode of transportation: escort by Madame Zaddy. So I guess we’re exploiting mentally ill people now. Not cool, June. Not cool.
Literally the moment they walk outside it becomes very clear why Lady Z is not allowed in public. In addition to her mysterious condition, she also appears to have a problem with her brain-to-mouth filter. Same, madame. Same.
Mrs. Putnam: Hello Mrs. Lawrence! So good to see you!
Mrs. Lawrence (aka Madame Zaddy): REALLY GLAD YOUR BABY DIDN’T DIE!!!!
June: Uh…we gotta go…
Ultimately, this whole exchange makes June feel bad about kidnapping a sick person, and comes clean about the real intention of their trip.
Mrs Lawrence: Sign me the f*ck up.
It’s always the “crazy” friend that has your back. Never forget it.
Sadly, Mrs. Lawrence isn’t quite able to handle all of the excitement and the whole plan goes to sh*t immediately when the two of them are separated. June is left standing just outside the wall of the school, able to hear Hannah playing but not able to get to her. When she finally finds Mrs. Lawrence again, it looks something like this:
June: Yeah okay we’ll see our way out…
Back in D.C.
Cut to: Commander Waterford and Serena Joy on a date. He’s feeding her some bullsh*t line about how he’s gonna get Nichole back, even though we all know his boss just told him it would be more politically expedient for Nichole to stay in Canada.
SJ: I was worried some might think it more politically expedient to have Nichole stay in Canada.
Fred: WHAT NO WHO TOLD YOU THAT HAHA THATS CRAZY ANYWAY HOW BOUT ‘DEM YANKEES?
The two follow their date up by attending a fancy D.C. party, where all the wives are wearing their best gowns (aka the exact same thing they always wear but with gloves and a little hat). Serena can clearly see her and Fred staying here. It would look something like this:
This scene ends with a classic “everyone parts ways to watch two the lovers dance” scene between Fred and Serena, which I personally found excruciating. They are not even that good at dancing. Call me when they can do this:
Emily and Moira casually go to jail for “bird-dogging” a government official. Whatever. They’ve lived in Gilead so at this point a Canadian jail is probably like a resort to them. Moira is continuing to try to be buddy-buddy with Emily. The results are mixed.
Moira: Crazy we’re in here right? Maybe you and Syl can have after-prison sex?
Emily: I killed a wife. In the colonies. I didn’t have to do it. I poisoned her. I’m not sorry.
Moira realizes that connecting over queer culture isn’t gonna happen, so she pivots to connecting over the people they’ve killed that they’re not sorry about. They conclude that as long as they don’t kill anyone now that they’re in Canada, it’s all good.
We’ll see about that.
The episode ends on another game of tug-of-war, but this time Hannah’s Martha who helped June is up on the block. How did Gilead find out about her? Was it…
…of f*cking course…
Goddamnit! Didn’t I tell you this chick was a narc? And here she is, narc-ing to the highest degree!!!
June when she finds out what OfMatthew has done:
Once again, by season one Gilead rules, June would be killed for this immediately, but by season three rules she’ll probably just get a stern side-eye from Aunt Lydia or something. Truly the saddest part about all of this is that if June had been reading these recaps, she would have known of OfMatthew’s obvious narc-ery, and none of this would have ever happened.
Until next week!
Images: Hulu; Giphy (4); ivankatrump / Instagram
Blessed be the fruit! This week on the Handmaid’s Tale, the Waterfords take June on a field trip to Washington D.C., which is now the scariest place on Earth apart from the inside of Fred Waterford’s mind. Fab.
We open on a group of Marthas who are all praying for Nichole as a result of Mr. Waterford’s extended prayer/PR campaign. It’s this campaign that has gotten the Waterfords invited to D.C., where Mr. Waterford will be hosting a national prayer-a-thon. June also has to come because they need to present an image of a perfect Gilead family—man, woman, and sex slave. Just as the Lord intended.
June takes the Amtrak down to D.C. with Aunt Lydia (I’m assuming they sat in the quiet car), which is where we get our first glimpse of the new Washington D.C.. Washington D.C. is different now. It’s scarier. How do we know this? Just look at what they’ve done to the Washington Monument:
Oh nooooo! They took America’s big penis and turned into…an anti-penis! What’s next, they replace the Air and Space Museum’s space shuttle with a Noah’s Ark replica? The portraits at the Portrait Gallery replaced with stills from Veggie Tales? This does not bode well for the rest of the field trip…
The only person who is actually jazzed for the trip is Aunt Lydia, in true field trip chaperone fashion.
Aunt Lydia: I’m pumped! Didn’t they used to say that? Are you pumped!?!
Also Aunt Lydia:
On the escalator ride up (sidenote: good to see the one thing left of the old D.C. are WMATA’s insanely long escalators), Aunt Lydia and June are treated to some very chic new handmaid fashions straight out of he Capitol. I’m talking about red cloth muzzles, honey! They’re all the rage! Straight in from Milan!
At The High Commander’s House
The Waterfords pick June up from the big period emoji that all the handmaids have to stand on while they wait for their chaperones and head to the High Commander’s house, where they’ll be staying for the weekend. What, no rooms at the W?
First thing to know about the High Commander: he has a f*ckton of babies. It’s a diverse bunch, which implies he has impregnated (read: raped) many handmaids.
Serena when she sees the children:
Fred is clearly trying to use the vacation as a way to repair their relationship, which is always a recipe for disaster. All that will come of this is the same fighting in a more expensive location. Trust me. I know.
Apart from the mountain of children, the High Commander’s house seems pretty chill. That is, until June tries to meet the HC’s handmaid. She’s rocking the mouth guard as is he fashion of the day and June tries to make casual chit-chat with her until we realize….HER MOUTH HAS BEEN SURGICALLY CLOSED WITH METAL BARS. THE CLOTH MUZZLE IS JUST COVERING UP A REAL MUZZLE!!! HANDMAID’S TALE, YOU NASTY B*TCH, WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO MEEEEE?
I said it once in fifth grade when I got diarrhea on the National Mall and I’ll say it again: D.C. sucks ass.
At Prayer Rehearsal
Fred is busy preparing for his big television debut, where he’ll get to pray in front of everyone in the country for the return of Nichole. Turns out Fred has been making a lot of videos lately and has become something of an amateur film student. As if he weren’t annoying enough. The TV appearance is incredibly choreographed, with a sea of muzzled handmaids praying before them. Of course what Fred does not realize is that all of this would be INCREDIBLY CREEPY to anyone who does not live in Gilead. Why would anyone release a baby into their care after watching this Blair Witch reenactment? Why would they not want to seem as normal as possible?
Not one to miss his girlfriend’s big day, Nick is also at the rehearsal and briefly stands in for Mr. Waterford, meaning that for one second Nichole’s real parents are actually on stage. Cute. Also, where have I seen this shot before?
Of course Fred tried to copy his hostage video from the Game of Thrones finale. Of course he did.
Back at the house, June tries to talk Serena out of trying to get Nichole back.
Serena: The High Commander’s kids seem happy!
June: Uh, lemme tell you about their handmaid…
Anyway, this is what you get for doing Serena Joy a f*cking favor. You should have known she would turn into one of those people who looked at the creatures in Bird Box the moment she saw Nichole. That’s on you.
Here’s were sh*t gets interesting. Fred the YouTuber has apparently annoyed the Swiss government into agreeing to act as a neutral party in talks between Gilead and Canada. The catch? They want to speak to June alone first.
Mr. Waterford: In our culture that wouldn’t be appropriate.
Me: Didn’t realize “douchebag” was a culture…
June agrees to speak to the Swiss because of course. Looks like we’re gonna have a classic June f*cking sh*t up situation on our hands.
Swiss Ambassador: So we should call you…?
June: June. Ms. Osborn if you’re nasty.
She tells the Swiss she wants to keep Nichole in Canada, which should be enough to keep her here, but it’s not because the world is f*cked. Apparently Canada is scared Gilead will invade them militarily because Gilead has a v. strong army.
June: Mr. Waterford is not her father.
Swiss Ambassador: Oh girl, we know you heard your tape.
June and the Swiss cut a deal—if she can provide them info from a high ranking official, they’ll advocate for Nichole to stay in Canada.
The Swiss: We need someone high up in Gilead.
June: Ummm do you know who my boyfriend is?
This scene ends with June having to explain to a group of nosey strangers that her relationship status is “complicated.” Some things never change.
Back At The High Commander’s House
We open on Mr. Waterford and the High Commander having man time in the man cave. As the President of the United States would say:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019
The High Commander says Fred might have a job offer in D.C. waiting for him, then weirdly touches Fred’s shoulder for a little bit too long. Is Fred about to get sexually harassed in the workplace? Is that going to be a plot line this season? I can’t…
Cut to: Nick and June consensually sexually harassing each other in the garden. They make out briefly before June tells him she low-key made a deal with the Swiss government and he has to go talk to them tomorrow or their daughter will have a f*cked up life. Typical date night convo.
Nick agrees and it’s like…great! Problem solved. Nothing to see here. Nichole is fine, the Swiss will keep their word, and this field trip from Hell can finally end.
Aaaand the Swiss betray her immediately. Turns out sexy Nick has a shady past. June tries to find out more info but all she gets is that he was a “soldier” in the “crusade” and Gilead “wouldn’t be here without him.” LEFT THAT OFF YOUR TINDER PROFILE DIDN’T YA, NICK?
The Big Prayer Day
It’s the day of Fred’s big group prayer and Aunt Lydia brings June a present. Namely, a cloth muzzle of her own. Très chic!
Aunt Lydia: When I get tired, I try to think of the good I can do in this world. If I can just help one person…one soul..
June: I have literally seen you pull someone’s eyeball out.
At the Lincoln Memorial (in which Abe Lincoln’s head has been blown off), June takes off her muzzle for one last sparring match with Serena Joy, and she goes all in. She calls her small and incapable of love, and says she should have “let her burn” when she had the chance. The only thing she doesn’t do is make fun of her leather finger. I guess there are still some boundaries.
Live footage of me watching Serena and June fighting at the Lincoln Memorial:
We end on Fred’s big prayer, which is as misguided and creepy as Fred himself. Again I ask, from a PR standpoint, how is this helpful? How is showing the world a bunch of muzzled sex slaves all praying in demonic unison a good case for someone to give you a baby? I am confused. Wouldn’t they want to minimize the visibility of the handmaids and downplay Gilead’s most controversial policies? Olivia Pope would never have let this go down.
We end on a shot of June looking directly to camera, like we have every single episode of this season. Who is directing these episodes? Oh…I know…
Until next week! Under his eye!
Back to Gilead! Let’s dive into the horrors Hulu has brought to us this week, shall we? We open on a Canadian protest, which I imagine is a very polite affair. Baby Nichole, a hardened member of antifa at this point, is on the front lines with Luke, her new pseudo-dad. Based on the epic fatness of her widdle cheeks, it seems like Nichole is thriving. Good for her.
You know who is not thriving? June, who is still sadly being forced to hang out with OfMatthew the Narc at the grocery store. June is tuning out OfMatthews’s narc-ery by dreaming about having sex with Luke at the clurb. This is also how I get through talking to annoying people.
June: Nobody dies from lack of sex.
Me: Speak for your damn self.
OfMatthew takes this opportunity to make a dig at June about Luke (could she tell June was just thinking about it? Does OfMatthew have a radar for horniness?), to which June responds “bite me.” Good for June.
It turns out that all of Gilead is looking for Luke, echoing my sentiments last recap that this thing with Baby Nichole is going to turn into an Elian Gonzalez situation, except instead of being saved by dolphins she was saved by Emily. (If you don’t know wtf I’m talking about www.google.com can help.)
Cut to: Fred and SJ at a meeting to talk sh*t about Luke. Gilead has apparently hacked Nichole’s medical records, which gives Serena what the kids call “all the feels.” Clearly being separated from her daughter has caused Serena significant mental distress, even though she knows her child is going to a better place. It’s almost as though separating children from their families is extremely traumatizing for everyone involved and should be reserved for the most extreme circumstances?! Food for thought.
Fred: Help me understand what it is that you want.
SJ: Well two weeks ago I had ten fingers and a baby and now I don’t have either so maybe let’s start there?
At Commander Zaddy’s Place
Cut to: June at the door, lurking and listening, aka doing what she does best. Turns out the Waterfords have stopped by for a casual chat. Who would have guessed in season one that these guys would form a mini friend group? They’re going to parties together, they’re hanging out after hours. I bet their group chat is littttt.
Turns out they’re not just there to shoot the sh*t, though. They want to arrange a meeting with Baby Nichole. Damn, Baby Nichole! She’s going to meetings! She’s out here protesting! She has a more active life than I do and I’m 29 years old. Wow.
SJ: Call your husband.
June: Oh yeah I’ll grab my cell phone and do that.
June tries to convince SJ this is a bad idea, to no avail. She’s like, “girl, listen, I know how this goes and it absolutely ends with you and her new mom talking about hypoallergenic dogs while you get arrested. Trust me.” Serena won’t hear it, so June decides the best course of action is to just go along with this extremely bad idea in hopes that SJ will owe her one later. Solid choice.
Cut to: June sitting at Commander Zaddy’s desk like a goddamn boss. She attempts to call Luke once but he ignores it, just as any respectable individual who receives a call from a blocked number would do. He picks up on the second attempt, probably assuming she’s one of those Chinese telemarking services that calls from a number that looks like yours.
Luke: Hey can you take me off the li—
June: Heyyyyy it’s me!
Can you imagine picking up a call that you 100% thought was your student loan company and having it be your long-lost wife? TG he didn’t let it go to voicemail. That’s where phone calls go to die.
June: I need you to go to the Toronto airport to meet the Waterfords. Bring Nichole.
Luke and Everyone Else on the Planet: Uh that sounds like a really bad idea?
Ultimately Luke agrees because like, if your kidnapped wife calls you for the first time in years to ask you for one favor you kind of have to do it. You can’t really be like, “ahhh the next two weeks are kind of crazy for me but maybe check back in a month?” Also, like any respectable person, Luke refuses to meet with Fred, meaning SJ has to go alone. Cue Serena Joy’s Eat, Pray Love: Canada Edition! It takes place entirely in the Toronto airport and she doesn’t eat anything but there is a lot of praying.
Commander Zaddy tries to offer June a handkerchief for her tears when she’s done with the call, but she slaps his hand away like a boss. She’s a stone cold bitch who cries for no man. Also she has PTSD and has to shut down to deal with trauma. Relatable!
The Mix Tapes
Next thing we know we’re with June and Crazy Madame Zaddy, who may not be so crazy after all. She tells June that Commander Z used to “curate cassette tapes for in college,” which is the least romantic way of saying your boyfriend made you mix CDs that I’ve ever heard.
This revelation comes as no surprise. Of course Commander Zaddy is one of those mix tape-making Seth Cohen motherf*ckers. Of course he is an indie boy. It’s always the f*cking indie boys. They start out all nice and cute and sensitive, and then the next thing you know they’re yelling about being friend-zoned and inventing the colonies. Typical sadboi behavior. Given my dating history, I can’t believe I didn’t spot it sooner.
Cut to: June hauling ass to the attic to find the mix tapes and see if they’re embarrassing. Surprisingly, they are not—though one of the tapes is called “A MIXTAPE MIASMA,” another typical indie boy move. TBH based on the first song alone this mix tape slaps. Pass Commander Zaddy the aux any day of the week.
Serena In Canada
Next, we see Serena getting ready for her big vacation to the Toronto airport. She is going to bring Nichole a giant hideous necklace to remember her by. Sure, Serena. Sure. Before SJ leaves, Rita gives her a grubby little package that SJ is supposed to pass on to Luke.
Okay, can I just pause and say, how the f*ck is this happening without any government intervention? Once again, the rules of Gilead are all over the place. Two episodes ago, June was getting in trouble for “gossiping” at the grocery store, but now Mr. Waterford is chartering a plane and negotiating with the Canaian government and the government has no f*cking clue?? Tell me how.
SJ arrives in Canada and changes into some sensible flats and a cowl neck sweater, courtesy of the hot Canadian government official she met on her last trip. He’s apparently there to make sure everything goes okay and SJ doesn’t pull a Janine and try to jump off the airbridge with her baby. Good call.
Luke is absolutely stone cold, and like, I get it. He doesn’t know that Serena Joy lost her finger and had a change of heart. All he knows is that she held his wife prisoner in her home while her husband assaulted her regularly. Pretty good reason to hold a grudge, imho.
The meeting goes…not great. Luke isn’t very interested in giving Nichole the hideous necklace, which causes the old Serena to go claws out and basically low-key threaten June. It works in that Luke agrees to take the necklace, but it doesn’t work in that I doubt Luke will be inviting her to Nichole’s first birthday party or anything.
He does let her hold Nichole a little bit before heading back to Gilead with her sh*t husband and her leather finger. That was nice of him. He is repaid for his kindness by listening to a mix tape from June (this is what June wanted SJ to pass along) that is actually a cleverly disguised recording of her telling him Nichole isn’t a baby born of assault, but actually a baby born of love with her hot new military boyfriend.
I leave this scene thinking about Luke realizing that he’s been free as a bird in Canada for years getting absolutely no ass while June is getting dicked down by a hot ROTC guy on the daily while also living in a patriarchal religious slave state. That probably hurts more than the cheating, if you ask me.
Back In Gilead
Cut to: a single shot of the Zaddy family creepily listening to “Cruel to be Kind” in their living room and not talking to each other. How very Seth and Summer of them.
Serena returns to Mr. Waterford, who was not allowed in Canada because he (say it louder for the people in the back) absolutely sucks ass. He tells Serena that her relationship with Nichole “doesn’t have to be over,” and it’s like…see, Luke? This is why you have to be at least semi-nice to the crazy rich lady from Gilead who is obsessed with your baby. Have you seen her eyebrows? You don’t mess with women whose eyebrows are that good. You just don’t.
Meanwhile, June is back at the grocery story with OfNarcthew, who is actually being semi-cool for once. She apologizes for being such a bitch earlier and reveals it is because she is pregnant again. She is very sad and clearly just generally not jazzed about carrying her rapist’s baby to term. If only she had access to a safe, legal medical procedure that would help her end her pregnancy so she would not have to endure that trauma. If only.
Moments later June is arrested and I’m like, “this is why you shouldn’t be gossiping at the grocery store, bitch! You’ve been warned!” It’s honestly hard to tell what June is being arrested for at this moment. For kidnapping her baby? For attempting to kidnap her other baby? For setting up a meeting between the first kidnapped baby and her half-mom? There are so many options.
Turns out this isn’t an arrest. It’s a forced television appearance for which they make June change into a whole new handmaid outfit, complete with shawl. Just as I predicted, the Waterfords are now making an international appeal to get Nichole back, and June has to be present because…? I feel like it doesn’t help your cause to remind the entire world that this baby actually belongs to the sex slave behind you, but whatever. The entire broadcast is the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen, with the scary-ass Waterfords crying to the camera in front of their own demonic portrait.
Any reasonable human who watched this psychotic press conference would absolutely never give these freaks their baby back, and would probably start donating to a “save the babies of Gilead” fund immediately out of sheer horror. But I guess we’ll have to wait until next episode to see how the world reacts.
Images: Giphy (2); Tenor; Hulu