The Handmaid’s Tale (S02E06) “First Blood”

I think I’m becoming paranoid.  My first thought when the episode opened was ‘there’s something off about the doctor.’  (Hi Kristian Bruun!  I miss ‘Orphan Black!’). I actually wonder if the medical diagnosis was made up and there was actually something seriously wrong.  Or the sonogram was faked somehow.  (Is that possible?  I have no idea.)  But it does seem like the baby was okay, so, what do I know?  And what was his issue with estrogen to treat the condition?  Later, I thought ‘There’s something off about Eden.’  That one I’m sticking with, but I’m willing to consider the possibility that it may just be me not being able to understand anyone who actually buys into the whole Gilead thing.

Serena Joy was almost ridiculously nice to June, even throwing her the most awkward tea party ever, inviting her Handmaid ‘friends’ over and trying to get the conversation going by asking Ofglen 2.0 what they talked about on their walks, only to remember that she’d had her tongue cut off and wasn’t really chatting much anymore.  Or, you know, at all.  Really, I don’t think Emily Post has covered this particular faux pas, and I intend to send a strongly worded letter to the Post Institute about the omission.  Touching June’s stomach when the baby kicks kind of saves the party.  But June makes the mistake of thinking that they may really be growing closer to an actual friendship, and asks S.J. if she can arrange for her, June, to see Hannah.  S.J. says absolutely not and the hard won amnesty is blown to smithereens.  The first, but not the last, explosion in this week’s episode.

Nick is not happy.  He is so unhappy, in fact, that he asks Commander Pryce for a transfer, while on a visit to a new, purpose-built Rachel and Leah Center for an inspection before its dedication ceremony.  I’d kind of forgotten that Nick was an Eye, placed in the Waterford household to spy on Fred, who we all know is not Pryce’s favorite.  He doesn’t want to sleep with his 15 year old wife, but June tells him he has to, or she’ll report him, because she’s a good little Daughter of Gilead, and is concerned that her husband may be a gender traitor.  He does, and it looks like it should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for Worst! Sex! Ever!  I have so many questions.  Did they use KY?  I mean, unless roasting potatoes is some kind erotic act in Gilead, no time was spent getting Eden in the mood.  Eden embroider that white sheet herself, adding it to her hope chest with the hemstitched tablecloths and napkins?  No wonder she hoped that it ‘worked.’  I’m sure she sees no reason why anyone would want to do that fun.  She probably can;t wait for the day Nick is senior enough to be allotted his own house and a Handmaid, to take care of all the icky sex stuff and picking up those pesky dropped knitting needles.

But that’s not all Handmaids are good for.  It seems that Ofglen 2.0 has reached the point where death is preferably to life in Gilead.  As S.J. takes such pains to show to June, Handmaids have nothing that is their own, and so they have nothing to lose.  People with nothing to lose can be very dangerous indeed.

During the dedication ceremony, Fred is speaking to a room full of Commanders, while the Handmaids are standing right outside, clearly visible through the glass walls.  Ofglen 2.0 leaves her place and enters.  In her hand is a detonator.  She looks at the other Handmaids, who begin to run.  Ofglen walks briskly toward Fred, and pulls the trigger.  R.I.P. Ofglen 2.0.  You may have lost your tongue, but I think I can safely say you made yourself heard.

Okay, this episode was shocking, and very informative.  We learned that Nick loves June, we learned that S.J. was rendered infertile by a gunshot wound, and we learned that Gilead-approved sex within a marriage is about as much fun as we imagined.  I’m kind of hoping that Fred was taken out in the explosion.  It’ll be interesting to see the fallout.  Next Wesnesday can’t come fast enough!

Other things:

– What was the meaning of S.J. putting the little baby plants in individual pots?  Is her  obsessive gardening because it’s the only kind of life she can nurture?

– What do you think happened to the female obstetricians?  I mean, does being a baby doctor give them some kind of exemption?  Is their expertise more important than their ability to give birth themselves?  Or were they given the usual choice of Handmaid or Colonies?

– Was I the only one pissed by Fred killing the shooter’s wife and saying now he knew what it was like to see the person he loves in pain?  Way to make S.J. being shot All About You, Fred!

Quotes:

“What is her bedtime, anyway?”

“You have to f*** somebody you don’t want to?  Poor thing.”

“There’s a lot I haven’t told you about him.”