The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 1

The Handmaid’s Tale to stream on SBS On Demand []
ONE of the most anticipated TV shows of the year, The Handmaid’s Tale, won’t be broadcast on TV anytime soon. Instead, the entire series will first head to streaming on SBS On Demand on July 6.
It’s a bold move by the public broadcaster who is following the kind of strategy that has served Netflix so well and one designed to attract more viewers to its streaming platform. …

The premise
Starring Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, The West Wing), The Handmaid’s Tale is a 10-part series set in a totalitarian society in what was formerly part of the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birth-rate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state.
Moss stars as Offred, one of the few remaining fertile women, a woman forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world. In this terrifying society where one wrong word could end her life, Offred navigates between Commanders, their cruel Wives, domestic Marthas, and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – with one goal: to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her. [1]

SBS On Demand – Season 1 contains 10 episodes

[1] The Handmaid’s Tale is coming to Australia on SBS On Demand (2017-Jun-26) [SBS]
[2] The Handmaid’s Tale (TV Series 2017– ) [IMMDB]
[3] The Handmaid’s Tale (TV series) [Wikipedia]
[4] The Handmaid’s Tale: episode by episode [The Guardian]
[5] The Handmaid’s Tale [AV Club]

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10 Responses to The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 1

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale s01e01 Offred
    A woman flees from a group of men with guns, but she is captured and separated from her young daughter; her husband is seemingly killed. This woman is known as Offred, a handmaid to Commander Fred Waterford. Offred goes grocery shopping with her companion Ofglen. On the way home, they pass by a wall of men who have been hanged for committing crimes (such as being gay, working in an abortion clinic, and being Catholic).[2] In a flashback, various women are indoctrinated into their handmaid roles by Aunt Lydia, who tells them about declining birth rates and that they are “special”, serving a Biblical purpose. Offred enters the room and notices Moira, a woman she knew from college. One of the women in the class, Janine, talks back to Lydia and is shocked with a cattle prod. Later, Janine is revealed to have been punished by having her right eye removed. In the present, Commander Waterford tries to impregnate Offred as she lies in the lap of his wife, Serena Joy. The next day, all the handmaids gather in an open field where Lydia announces a man has raped a pregnant handmaid. As punishment, the handmaids are allowed to beat the man to death. Offred hears from Janine that Moira is dead. On the way home, Ofglen tells Offred that she had a wife and son, and warns her there is an Eye (a secret spy) in her house. Through voiceover, Offred reveals her true name, June, and that she intends to survive to find her daughter.

    ❝A window with white curtains. The glass is shatterproof, but it isn’t running away that they’re afraid of. A Handmaid wouldn’t get far. It’s those other escapes, the ones you can open in yourself given a cutting edge or a twisted shape and a chandelier. It’s harder on Ceremony Day, but thinking can hurt your chances. My name is Offred. I had another name, but it’s forbidden now. So many things are forbidden now.❞

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale recap: episode one – blessed be the fruit

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale will not become ordinary
    “Keep your fucking shit together.”

  2. The Handmaid’s Tale s01e02 Birth Day
    Offred and Ofglen go shopping and they reveal more personal information about themselves to each other. While they are walking, Offred and Ofglen see St. Paul Catholic Church, the local church they belonged to, being destroyed by the new régime. Ofglen tells Offred that the régime also bulldozed St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan to try to “erase” the fact that it ever existed; Offred asks how Ofglen knows this information and she reveals that she is part of a resistance against the government. Ofglen asks her to join, but Offred declines. Nick, Commander Waterford’s driver, tells Offred that the Commander wants to see her alone later that night, which is forbidden. Nick also warns her not to trust Ofglen. Offred and other handmaids go to a home to witness the birth of Ofwarren’s (formerly Janine’s) child. In flashbacks, June remembers her own daughter Hannah’s birth. During this time, healthy births were rare and a woman tried to kidnap Hannah but was arrested. Offred goes to the Commander’s office unsure of what’s going to happen, but he just wants to play Scrabble with her. She later goes back to her room and laughs with relief. The next day, Offred prepares to tell Ofglen what happened that night, but when she goes outside, it’s a different woman who introduces herself as Ofglen.

    ❝I am Ofglen.❞

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale recap: episode two – anyone for Scrabble?

    ⛲ On The Handmaid’s Tale, a deep breath just helps the punches land harder
    “Oh, isn’t she well-behaved?”

  3. The Handmaid’s Tale s01e03 Late
    In flashbacks, the rise of Gilead is detailed. June and all the other women at her office are fired because “it’s the law now”. June and Moira also learn that the government has frozen all women’s bank accounts and that they can no longer own property. In the present, Serena takes Offred to see Ofwarren and the baby. Ofwarren tells Offred that her Commander is in love with her and that she has a “real” name for the child, “Charlotte”. Offred fears Ofwarren is delusional and comments on her behavior to Serena. Nick drives Offred home and there is a black van waiting. Offred is interrogated by an Eye and Aunt Lydia about her knowledge of Ofglen. Offred eventually reveals she knew Ofglen was gay and quotes one of the Beatitudes from the Bible; for this Lydia shocks Offred with a cattle prod. Serena intervenes, yelling at them to stop due to her belief that Offred is pregnant. Nick goes to see Offred in her room to check up on her and they share an intimate moment. Offred later reveals to Serena that she’s not pregnant, causing Serena to roughly drag her to her room and loudly order her not to come out. In a flashback, June and Moira attend a protest against the new laws that is suppressed by automatic gunfire and explosives. In the present, Ofglen and the woman she’s in a relationship with are charged with “gender treachery”, with Ofglen receiving a lesser sentence because she can still bear children. The woman is executed by hanging as Ofglen watches, horrified. Later, Ofglen (now referred to by her “old” name, Emily) wakes up in a clinic having undergone female genital mutilation surgery as explained by Aunt Lydia.

    ❝I’ve heard pieces of the story from Rita …❞

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale recap: episode three – the most brutal yet

    ⛲ Alexis Bledel’s shattering, wordless performance anchors a brutal Handmaid’s Tale
    “Blessed be the fruit, dear.”

  4. The Handmaid’s Tale s01e04 Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum
    Offred, who is banished to her room, goes into the closet where she finds the Latin phrase Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum scratched into the wall. Rita, the Commander’s housekeeper, finds Offred lying in the closet, so Offred tells her she fainted. Believing she is ill, Serena has Offred sent to the hospital for a check-up. While examining Offred, the physician remarks that the Commander is sterile, because “most of those guys are”. He offers to impregnate her, but she declines. In flashbacks, Aunt Lydia teaches the handmaids (including June and Moira) about the “Ceremony”: when the Commander rapes a handmaid. Later, June lures Aunt Elizabeth into the bathroom saying a toilet has overflowed, and Moira threatens the Aunt with a shiv. June and Moira take her to the basement where Moira takes the Aunt’s outfit and they tie her up. June and Moira begin their escape, hoping to leave via train to Boston, which has safehouses. When Moira is asking one of the guards for directions, June is approached by another guard who is suspicious of her being alone. Moira is able to get on the train, leaving June behind, though June gives her a smile letting her know it’s okay. June is later punished by having her feet whipped. In the present, Commander Waterford has an unsuccessful Ceremony night with Offred. Later that night, the Commander and Offred have another game of Scrabble where she asks him about the Latin phrase; he tells her it means “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”. She also inquires about the previous Offred, in which he tells her that she committed suicide because life was unbearable. He makes it known that he doesn’t want that to happen again and releases Offred from her solitary confinement.

    ❝Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum❞

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale recap: episode four – Aunt Lydia Sux

    ⛲ In which The Handmaid’s Tale doesn’t let the bastards grind it down
    “Get your crazy ass up.”–254685

  5. The Handmaid’s Tale s01e05 Faithful
    Serena suggests to Offred that she have sex with Nick in case Commander Waterford is sterile. At the grocery store, Offred talks with the original Ofglen, now called Ofsteven, but she is quiet with her responses. Later, Offred has sex with Nick while Serena is present in the room. During a Ceremony night with Waterford, he touches Offred’s thigh, which she later tells him never to do again. Nick reveals to Offred that he is indeed an Eye. At an open-air market, Offred questions Ofsteven more about “Mayday”, the resistance group. Ofsteven steals one of the guards’ cars and proceeds to drive away; in the process, she deliberately kills a guard by running him over. She is caught and put into a van. Offred later goes to Nick’s place where they have passionate sex. Flashbacks detail Luke and June’s courtship.

    ❝lust with a good marketing campaign❞

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale recap: episode five – Offred the invincible

    ⛲ What’s forbidden is both sweet and savage on The Handmaid’s Tale
    “Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse, for some.”

  6. The Handmaid’s Tale s01e06 A Woman’s Place
    Mexican delegates visit the Commander’s home in an effort to create partnerships in trade and see the effects of the Gilead cultural movement. The head of the Mexican delegation is a woman who questions Offred about her experience in Gilead. With great self-control, Offred tells them, “I have found happiness”. After the meeting, Offred visits the Commander’s office for their usual discussions where some tensions flare up between them. He asks her to kiss him “like you mean it”. She kisses the Commander and then leaves, ferociously brushing her teeth afterwards. The handmaids are then taken to a party to honor Gilead and show the foreign delegates their success, including presenting the children of Gilead. Offred’s friend remarks that the delegates are interested in fertile women as a source of commodity and trade between the two nations. The next day, as the delegates are leaving, Offred tells them the brutal truth about Gilead. She pleads for their help, but the Mexican ambassador claims that she cannot help Offred and explains her own country’s dire situation. When Offred is left alone with the ambassador’s assistant, he claims her husband is alive and that he can send a message to him. Flashbacks detail Serena and Fred’s life before and during the beginnings of the Gilead movement. Serena is revealed to have been a conservative cultural activist during the “life before”, with a passion and intelligence equal to that of her husband’s (as well as a special fondness for movie popcorn). She even wrote a book about her beliefs, titled A Woman’s Place, which contained the famous line “do not mistake a woman’s meekness for weakness”. However, after the takeover, she is shown to be completely shut out of the new government planning (to Fred’s dismay). Rather symbolically, as she prepares to accept her new limited role in the society she helped create, a copy of her book is seen being thrown out in the trash.

    ❝How does the quiet half of the room feel about Gilead?❞

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale recap: episode six – Offred gets a loaded gun

    ⛲ Serena Joy, complex and complicit, takes center stage on The Handmaid’s Tale
    “Never mistake a woman’s meekness for weakness.”

  7. The Handmaid’s Tale s01e07 The Other Side
    The episode chronicles the story of Luke after he is separated from his wife and daughter. Luke is shot by Gileadan guards and taken in an ambulance to be interrogated. He escapes when the ambulance gets into an accident and he takes some supplies with him. Evidence of the country’s violent takeover is everywhere. After passing out from his wounds, he is awoken by a resistance group (viewed as “undesirables” by Gilead) who are traveling to Canada; these survivors included a Roman Catholic nun, an escaped handmaid, a homosexual man, and a daughter of a US army soldier. Initially reluctant, Luke joins them after one of the survivors, Zoe, shows him that Gileadan authorities hanged local townspeople from the rafters of their church for resisting. As they are boarding a boat, they are shot at by Gileadan guards, who kill several members of the group. Luke and one of the members, a mute blonde woman who was being trained as a handmaid, survive and flee. Flashbacks prior to Luke, June and their daughter Hannah being separated are detailed. June and Luke get help from Mr. Whitford, a man who knew June’s mother. He drives them safely out of town and drops them off at a secluded cabin in the woods. Luke and June wait as Mr. Whitford gets documentation for them to escape to Canada. They are confronted by a hunter, who tells them Whitford has been caught and hanged. But the man says he can help them get over the border. Three years later, Luke and the mute blonde woman are living safely in “Little America”, based in Toronto, Ontario. Missing person flyers are posted everywhere in the main administrative office. Luke receives the letter from June, which reads “I love you so much. Save Hannah.”

    ❝Save Hannah❞

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale recap: episode seven – hope reigns

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale checks in across the border, with mixed results
    “Pop it, pull it, six bullets.”

  8. The Handmaid’s Tale s01e08 Jezebels
    Commander Waterford provides Offred with makeup and a dress as he is taking her out for the night. Nick drives them to Boston to an underground brothel where prostitutes known as “jezebels” work. Offred spots Moira working in the club and they briefly reunite. Nick trades drugs and pregnancy tests for alcohol with one of the brothel’s Marthas. Offred goes to see Moira again, where she explains to Offred about how Quakers tried to help her escape, but were caught. Moira had the choice of either being sent to the colonies or one of the brothels. Moira tells Offred, “Forget about escaping. This is Gilead. No one gets out.” Offred reveals to Moira that she knows Luke is alive. Flashbacks detail how Nick got involved with the Gilead movement and how he became an Eye after reporting a Commander for breaking protocol with his handmaids. There are other flashbacks to the suicide of the previous Offred, with Serena pointedly saying to her husband, “What did you think was going to happen?” In the present, after Nick drives Waterford and Offred home, he ends his relationship with Offred, which upsets and angers her. Offred receives a gift from Serena, a music box. The episode closes with the handmaid etching “You are not alone” into her closet wall.

    ❝He’s good at this. He’s done it before❞

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale recap: episode eight – ‘Why Miss Offred, you’re gorgeous’

    ⛲ Get it together, The Handmaid’s Tale
    “He isn’t us, and he isn’t in here.”

  9. The Handmaid’s Tale s01e09 The Bridge
    Ofwarren’s daughter, Charlotte, is baptized and she reluctantly gives the child to Commander Putnam and his wife, who rechristen her “Angela”. Offred is worried about Ofwarren’s mental state, though Aunt Lydia informs her that “she’s tougher than you think”. Ofwarren, now known as Ofdaniel, is taken to her new home. During her first Ceremony night with her new Commander, Ofdaniel forcefully stops it and sobs. At the market, Alma pulls Offred aside and lets her know she knows about the resistance group “Mayday”. Alma tells her to retrieve a package from Jezebel’s. Offred convinces Waterford to take her to Jezebel’s again that very night. After Offred and Waterford have sex in their room, he presents Moira, believing she was the reason Offred wanted to come back. Offred talks with Moira about having her retrieve the package from the bar, but she refuses, which angers Offred. Moira seems to have completely given up. Back at the house Offred is awoken by Serena, who takes her to a bridge where Ofdaniel is standing on the edge with Charlotte. Various Gileadan guards, the Putnams, Waterfords, and Aunt Lydia are also present. Ofdaniel loudly accuses Commander Putnam of lying to her and mentions their forbidden intimacy. Offred is able to convince Ofdaniel to give her the child, but Ofdaniel ultimately jumps into the water, attempting suicide. She is immediately retrieved by the guards and later lays comatose in a hospital with Aunt Lydia by her side, who calls her “stupid”. Commander Putnam is later seen being led into a black van by guards, while Mrs. Putnam reminds Serena of the first Offred, saying that “men don’t change”. Serena is seen barging into Fred’s empty office. At the market, Offred is given a package from the butcher, which is the one from Jezebel’s and sent by Moira herself. At the brothel, Moira kills one of her clients and takes his clothes, jubilantly driving off in his car.

    ❝You fuckin’ pinkie swore❞

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale recap: episode nine – this is not a drill

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale confronts the inevitable in a gripping hour
    “It’s OK, sweetheart. I’m nervous, too.”

  10. The Handmaid’s Tale s01e10 Night
    Serena learns about the trips to Jezebel’s and strikes Offred in anger, then offers her a pregnancy test which reveals that she is pregnant – presumably by Nick. Serena then directs her anger towards her husband, telling him about the pregnancy and informing him that the child is not his. She also says he is weak and that God would never allow him to pass on that weakness. On learning the news himself, Nick shares a brief, tender moment with Offred. Serena and Offred make a trip to the house where Offred’s daughter Hannah now lives and while Serena does not allow Offred to reunite with Hannah, she assures her that she is doing fine. Serena also warns Offred that as long as nothing bad happens to her child, then nothing bad will happen to Hannah. Offred furiously curses Serena in an breathless, hysterical rant, only to be told to be quiet; yelling is not good for the baby. Fred participates in Commander Putnam’s trial: he himself is all for leniency but is told there have been too many instances of this kind of sin recently and an example has to be made. Mrs. Putnam herself has asked that her husband receive the harshest punishment possible, as she fears for his immortal soul. Ultimately, Putnam’s hand is amputated. In the evening, Fred and Offred talk and he asks about the paternity of her child. She informs him that he is the father to which he replies: “you do that so well.” Later Fred is seen being quite gentle and conciliatory towards his wife. The package from Jezebel’s is revealed to contain letters from women who have lost family members in the Gilead takeover. Later, Aunt Lydia gathers the handmaids to carry out the stoning of someone who has endangered a child. The convict turns out to be Janine. The handmaids hesitate but, beginning with Offred, finally drop their stones saying: “I’m sorry, Aunt Lydia.” She tells them all to go home, assuring them that there will be consequences. The next day two men come to get Offred, much to Fred and Serena’s surprise and indignation, and Nick quietly urges her to trust him and go with them. In a side story, Moira makes it to Canada and is reunited with Luke.

    ❝I’m sorry, Aunt Lydia❞

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale recap: episode ten

    ⛲ The Handmaid’s Tale leaves us in the dark with a thoughtful, thrilling finale
    “They should have never given us uniforms if they didn’t want us to be an army.”

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