This Show Makes My Vagina Hurt: 'The Handmaid's Tale' Recap Episodes 1-3

So, between making predictions for the next Bachelorette season, and indulging in some Southern Charm, we’ve decided to engage in some more intellectual viewership with our newest obsession: The Handmaid’s Tale. For those of you who have been living under a rock and missed the thousands of promotional photos of Elisabeth Moss in a white bonnet, The Handmaid’s Tale is Hulu’s latest (and best) attempt at becoming Netflix. Based off Margaret Atwood’s bestseller by the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale tells the story of a woman named Offred living in a dystopian future where an oppressive theocracy forces all fertile women into sexual servitude. Damn. I could have been an English major.

Basically, if you’ve ever looked around and the Trump Administration and thought, “honestly, let’s turn this up a notch!” then The Handmaid’s Tale is for you.

So, given that we’re all feminists now, it’s only appropriate that we add a Handmaid’s Tale to our regular rotation of recaps, right alongside The Bachelor and Are You The One. Seems appropriate.

So let’s dive in, because we are like, four episodes late.

Episode 1: Offred

Welcome to the cheerful world of Gilead, where “bitches be crazy” has been made law. You know shit is bad because all the colors are muted and grainy like Kim Kardashian’s post-robbery Instagram aesthetic.

We open on Elisabeth Moss and her hipster husband comforting their literally gorgeous child. Things are not going great. We learn via flashback the U.S. has gone to shit and women are being rounded up and made to wear weird red outfits and say religious-sounding shit like, “Blessed be the fruit,” and “May the Lord open.” We’re not sure exactly why this happened, but I imagine it’s because Democrats failed to take back the House in 2018.

The flashback also shows Elisabeth Moss’ husband being killed, and her gorgeous child being taken away by police. It’s like, very upsetting.

Cut to the future where shit is all fucked up. We learn Elisabeth Moss’ name is Offred (because her master/owner guy’s name is Fred so she’s Of Fred, get it?) and she’s not allowed to hang out with anyone except Alexis Bledel (Ofglen), who Offred finds annoying. Same.

Offred: Blessed be the fruit. 
Inner Offred: Get this bitch out of my face.

Offred and Ofglen are basically only allowed to go to the grocery store and back, so for that reason, handmaids be shoppin’. Other than that, Offred spends all day in the house with her owner Mr. Waterford (whose name is Fred, I guess) and his wife, Serna Joy, who gets to wear green and doesn’t have a hat. Interesting.

There’s also a hot(ish) driver/gardener guy who may or may not be a spy and may or may not have a thing for Offred.

Hot(ish) Driver/Gardener Guy: Hey Offred.
Offred: I can’t fucking talk to you dumbass I’m a handmaid.

Offred and Ofglen go for a little walk along the river, and Ofglen reveals that she’s not annoying and is, in fact, a cool lesbian.

Flashback to a place called “The Red Center” where a horrible Ms. Trunchbull lookin’ lady named Aunt Lydia (sound like a brand of douche, TBH) is letting the handmaids know what’s good about their new situation.

Aunt Lydia: And, in conclusion, you will all now be gifted to a man where you will have to lay in between his wife’s legs and have sex with him until you get pregnant. It’s all pretty straightforward.
Handmaids: Say what now?

Offred sees her old weed smoking buddy, Poussey Moira, at The Red Center, but Moira gives her a look like “don’t fucking say anything” so Offred doesn’t say hi.

The chick sitting next to Offred at the RC clearly has no clue what’s up. She’s out here acting like the government wasn’t just taken over by an oppressive patriarchal religious something-or-other, mouthing off and giving attitude like this is first period gym. Her name is Janine, and things are going to get very difficult for her.

Janine: Fuck off, Aunt Lydia. 
Aunt Lydia: *Tases her and pops her eye out*


So now we finally get to what we’ve all been dreading all along: the sex stuff, henceforth referred to as “the ceremony.” Offred takes a bath and goes to meet up with the SJ, who does not like Offred, because of the whole thing where she has to watch Offred fuck her husband once a month. Mr. Waterford shows up and reads a bunch of weird Bible verses about some chick named Rachel who let her husband fuck her handmaid, which appears to be the religious basis for why this is happening.

Then we see The Ceremony take place and it’s very disturbing. The whole thing ends with Serena Joy yelling at Offred and Offred leaving like, “lol remember when I had a job and a husband and an Uber account?”

Cut back to Moira giving Offred some very, very good advice: If you ever want to see your little girl again, you need to keep your shit together.

This is like, Offred’s mantra now.

Now we get to the craziest part of the entire episode (surprisingly not The Ceremony), which is when all the handmaids are forced to gather in a field for “The Savaging,” which is basically what you do to a friend’s ex in your group text but real and someone dies. Basically we learn when someone commits a crime, the handmaids all get to jump him. It’s a lot.

Offred: Hmmm…I wonder if Moira is here.
Crazy Ass Eyeless Pregnant Janine: Oh Moira is dead.
Offred: Wow okay nobody fucking asked you Janine.

We find out from crazy-ass one-eyeball preggo Janine that Moira was caught escaping and was sent “to the colonies” which is apparently a place that is so disgusting and full of toxic waste that anyone who gets sent there dies within like, a week and all their skin falls of. So basically, modern day Florida.

After straight-up killing a dude, Offred and Ofglen walk home like, “lol that was crazy I can’t believe we did that!” The two of them are slowly becoming BFFs, which, in Gilead, is the most dangerous thing two women can be.

Offred: Alright, well, this is me. Seeya later, may the Lord whatever, etc etc…

Offred [To Camera]: My real name is June and I’m about to kirk.

Episode 2: Birth Day

This whole episode centers around Crazy-Ass One Eyeball Janine, who is about to give birth. Like everything in Gilead, the birthing process is both disturbing and extra.

We open up on The Ceremony again, because Hulu knows that we’re all freaks who slow down to see car wrecks and that this is what we want to see. Nobody involved looks like they are having a remotely pleasurable time, even Mr. Waterford, who obviously has the upper hand in this whole situation. Homebody doesn’t even take off his shoes.

Offred Interior Monologue: Hurry the fuck up.
Audience: Been there, sister.

Once the Ceremony is done, Offred is free to hang out with her new bestie Alexis Bledel, aka Offred. They take a nice stroll past a pile of dead bodies and make sure there are no Eyes (what they call spies—very original) before diving into a deep shit talking session.

Ofglen: Btw did you hear that they blew up St. Peter’s cathedral?
Offred: Wait, how tf do you know that? And how do you know there’s a spy in my house? What’s your fucking deal?
Ofglen: Omg there’s a resistance, did you not hear? So embarrassing. I’ll send you the invite.

Offred heads back into the house to chill, when Nick, the hot(ish) gardener/driver dude is like, “don’t hang out with Ofglen” and leaves. It’s unclear if he knows something or is just being a jealous little bitch.

Nick: Btw, Mr. Waterford wants to see you alone.
Offred: Cool.
Inner Offred: I’m fucking dead.

Now it is time for Crazy-Ass One Eyeball Janine to give birth. Much like The Ceremony that brought us to the birthing, everything is all fucked up and involves 2-15 too many people. On floor one, all the wives are laying around in their blue dresses eating macarons and pretending to give birth. On floor two, Crazy-Ass One Eyeball Janine is actually pushing out a kid.

Wife One: Hey Offred, want a cookie?
Offred: Sure.
Inner Offred: There are like, ten thousand things that I want more than this fucking cookie right now.

Janine gets into the final stretch of giving birth and, like everything in The Handmaid’s Tale, shit goes from bad to worse. Wife 1, who has been playing pretend pregnant all day, shows up and wraps her legs around Janine so that they look like a two-headed birth monster. The baby is born and they immediately take it and give it to the wife, and everybody pretends like they don’t know which vagina this baby actually came from.

Crazy-Ass One Eyeball Janine: Cool. It’s cool. You can have my baby.
Inner Crazy-Ass One Eyeball Janine: I’m gonna bite you next episode for this.

The episode ends with Offred showing up at Mr. Waterford’s office,

Offred: Are you going to kill me?
Mr. Waterford: Sort of. We’re going to play scrabble.

Like any good bestie, Offred is very excited to tell Ofglen/Alexis Bledel about her weird AF scrabble date. But—DUN DUN DUN—it’s not Ofglen/Alexis Bledel at the gate! It’s Ofglen/Some Random Bitch!!!!

Offred: Excuse me, but who the fuck are you?
Ofglen/Some Random Bitch: I’m Ofglen.
Offred/Everyone Watching: Fuck.

Episode 3: Late

We start this question with one question on everybody’s mind: Where the fuck is Alexis Bledel? Stolen away, apparently, by The Eyes, and send to a place with very aggressive lighting. 

Offred is so preoccupied with Ofglen’s disappearance that she doesn’t realize she hasn’t gotten her period yet, which is like, a huge fucking deal.

The first hint we get that something is up is when Rita the cook (cooks are reffered to as ‘Marthas’ btw), who is usually a huge bitch to Offred, is being all fake-nice to her and shit like this is sorority rush. In fact, everyone is being super fake to Offred now because they think she’s pregnant, even Serena Joy, who is usually the biggest bitch of all. 

“Nice” in The Handmaid’s Tale universe, btw, means that Offred gets to eat ice cream.

Rita: Hey Offred! Want some ice cream?
Offred: Hmm…I’d prefer my child back, actually, but thanks.

Meanwhile, New Ofglen is a total narc, and it reminds Offred of when she and Moira used to chill and go jogging together to a local coffee shop where the barista, who has clearly suffered one two many Tinder rejections in his day, calls them “sluts” for wearing shorts. Way harsh, Tai.

Offred Interior Monologue: When they slaughtered congress, we didn’t wake up. When they blamed terrorists and suspended the Constitution, we didn’t wake up either. They said it would be temporary. Nothing changes instantaneously. In a gradual, heating bath tub, you’d be dead before you knew it.
Audience: Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump

We see another flashback to Offred trying to see if her direct deposit hit, and finding out that all of her money has been taken away and transferred to her husband. Also women can’t have jobs anymore. Cool.

Cut to Serena Joy, who has literally no chill about the fact that Offred might be pregnant.

Serena Joy: Want to go visit Crazy-Ass One Eyeball Janine? Maybe her pregnancy juice will rub off on you!!!!!
Offred: That’s literally not how this works but whatever I just want to get out of the house.

Crazy-Ass One Eyeball Janine is crazier than ever now that she’s had a baby. We find out that she actually bit the wife for holding the baby wrong, which you’d think would lose her that second eyeball, but actually things are kind of great for Janine right now. I mean, as great as it gets for handmaids.

Offred: Janine you can’t bite people wtf
Janine: Actually, I gave birth to a healthy baby and now I can do whatever the fuck I want. I can even have ice cream.
Offred: Again with the fucking ice cream.

Janine then reveals that on top of having one eye and being totally bat shit nuts, she’s also a delusional dater who thinks her owner guy is in love with her and that he said they’re gonna run away together. Turns out fuckboys are thriving in Gilead.

Shit hits the fan when Offred returns home and realizes that one of The Eyes is at her house and hot(ish) Nick brought her straight to them.

Hot(ish) Nick: Tell them everything.
Offred: Umm wow dude I thought we had a thing?

Surprise, surprise, Aunt Lydia is here along with some dude who works for The Eyes, and double surprise, they pull out a taser and tase Offred like, immediately.

Offred, who is on some kind of high because of all the ice cream she’s been offered, tries to get mouthy with The Eye and tells him that she knew Ofglen was gay. “Gay” is a forbidden word, so Aunt Lydia commences beating the shit out of her.

Serena Joy: WTF are you doing she’s pregnant!
Aunt Lydia: My bad.

Cut to Ofglen in a jail trying to give a guard a handjob in exchange for her freedom.

Ofglen: How about a nice handjob?
Guard: Nah
Ofglen: This is so embarrassing.

Ofglen appears before an all-male Senate Task Force On Health Care court who sentence her to “redemption” for being gay. While Ofglen, who has two good ovaries, is allowed to survive, the Martha (cook) that she was in a relationship with is not so lucky. They sentence her to death and straight up hang her right in front of Ofglen.

But that’s not the worst shit that’s going to happen to good ol’ Offie-G. More on that later.

Flashback to a protest that looks a fuck ton like the Women’s March minus all the pink hats. It didn’t work. They should have made the hats. 

Cut to Offred getting her period and realizing that the free ice cream train has come to an end. She tells Serena Joy, who promptly loses it and locks Offred in a room.

But we don’t really have time to be upset about that because next we check in with Ofglen, where shit is approximately ten thousand times worse. How “worse” is it? Well… 

Are you ready?
Are you sitting down?
Do you have like, an ice pack nearby for your vag?
Here we go.

The bastards cut Ofglen’s clit off.

That’s right. The punishment for being gay is that they knock you out and destroy your platinum vagine.

You know, I’m starting to think this Gilead place is pretty fucked up. 

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.