The Hanndmaid’s Tale (S02E11): ‘Holly’

Well, as of this week’s episode, we have a new citizen of the Republic of Gilead. So, um, yay? I guess? In spite of her best efforts, June’s baby wasn’t born safely over the border in Canada.

The episode picks up right where last week’s episode left off, which June standing and looking at where Nick had just been driven away. But she doesn’t stand there very long. She soon is galvanized into action. She begins scouting out the garage, where there is a car. Hey! Transportation! For the win! Also,a wolf, which isn’t so great.

She goes into the house to see what useful stuff she can find. She begins exploring the house, and finds a dollhouse, and a framed photo of Hannah and her adoptive family. Ah, mystery solved! The house seems to belong to Hannah’s adoptive family. She finds a set of keys. Paydirt!

The car in the garage starts without difficulty, amazingly enough. The radio seems to be broadcasting from Canada, and there’s talk of the American government in Alaska, tariffs being imposed on Gilead, and other tidbits that make it clear that the rest of the world has managed to weather the infertility crises without becoming oppressive totalitarian theocracies. And then, The Boss! I think ‘Hungry Heart’ really spoke to June, especially the part about ‘I went out for a ride and I never went back.’ She goes back into the house to gather supplies for her run for the border.

When she’s in the house, a car pulls up, and it’s Fred and S.J. June is trapped in the house and reasonably sure she’s screwed. But two things happen: the Waterfords get into a big fight and June finds a shotgun and some ammo. June watches them from an upper floor, the loaded shotgun trained on them, and listens to them fight. But she can’t bring herself to pull the trigger. The Waterfords leave, and June is once more alone in the house.

But not for long. Besides the return of the wolf, June’s water breaks, and the baby’s arrival is imminent. The scene moves back and forth in time, switching between the past and the present. From the time when she was giving birth to Hannah, in a nice, clean hospital with lots of good drugs, to the present, where she’s giving birth to the new baby all alone, without help or drugs or a doctor or her husband and best friend arguing about which playlist is better, in front of a fire in a deserted house in the middle of nowhere. June’s screams of pain and effort are joined by a newborn’s wail.

Jun names her new daughter Holly.

Only two more episodes to go, and I feel like the pacing has been a little off this season. There were episodes where it felt like not much really happened, but now we have a lot of loose endsto tie up. Like what happened to Nick, and what is Aunt Lydia’s back story regarding her nephew and what about Eden and Isaac? Will June tell Aunt Lydia about the rape? The one that happened to her when she was pregnant, I mean.

Other things:
– The Handmaid’s Tale is loaded with symbolism. What does the wolf symbolize? And are there really wolves in New England? I must look that up.
– If June had pulled the trigger, which one of the Waterfords do you think she would have shot first?
– OMG, Oprah!

“How could you be so stupid?”

“Maybe they’ll hang us side by side, just my f***ing luck.”

“Because I am telling you this story, I will your existence. I tell, therefore you are.”