June is tasked with going back to Jezebels to find a package. Meanwhile in Gilead, Janine has trouble relinquishing her newborn baby.

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Naomi Putnam
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Beth
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Putnam Martha
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June is tasked with going back to Jezebels to find a package. Meanwhile in Gilead, Janine has trouble relinquishing her newborn baby.

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Drama | Sci-Fi

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TV-MA | See all certifications »
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7 June 2017 (USA)  »

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This episode has been nominated for the 2017 Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Direction for Drama Series. It was directed by Kate Dennis. See more »

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Wrap your arms around me
(uncredited)
Written by Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer
Performed by The Knife
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User Reviews

 
Two great episodes in one
8 June 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode will be kind of off-putting for book purists as it is a completely original story not based on a subplot of the book or even a creation of events unseen by Offred but definitely implied.

It represents a decision which I for one think is highly appropriate for a drama in having its sympathetic characters attain a level of agency they lacked in the book. The book brilliantly presented a narrator and her associates who were "ground down" by the brute force and psychological dominance of the Gilead dictatorship.

Sure they broke the occasional rule and had forbidden conversations, but ultimately they were unable to fight back except for the first Ofglen who was a member of the May Day resistance but failed to get Offred to really do anything on their behalf and Moira who escaped for a while, but landed in Jezebels, broken and cynical.

This approach shows an admirable solidarity with people in repressive situations who are unable to resist for very long. It's all too easy to say, from a position of safety, that anyone who doesn't rebel is a collaborator and that one should prefer to die free than live as a slave. But ultimately, no one knows what they would do. The blame is on the oppressor, not those he breaks.

The show, however, needs to be more dynamic without going too far and making the characters into action heroes. In my opinion, they've been striking the perfect balance and this episode was the perfect example.

Janine has been shattered mentally by the Red Centre training, the theft of her baby and the sexual abuse and mind games by the baby's father. But she finds a way to call attention to her plight in a way that is so shocking that even this evil government must take notice. June/Offred is forced into the role of hostage negotiator, which she handles well.

She also volunteers to do something to help May Day and is of course given a task that is virtually impossible. She gives it everything she has, but would have failed anyway without some unexpected aid.

The return trip to Jezebels is very tense and Fred's arrogance and contempt for everyone is displayed even more than usual. Nick remains enigmatic. Is his brooding anger rooted in jealousy or concern? He's an Eye(secret police officer), but is he really loyal to the state or actually with the resistance and maybe trying to help June?

We see Serena trying her best to be a decent human being trying to help her neighbor and Janine's former mistress (and baby thief) deal with the stresses of her stolen "motherhood." She seems to know more about babies than the woman Gilead has assigned it to. Then she even shares a drink with Rita the servant whom she normally scarcely speaks to.

But when Rita shares a tragic story about her son being killed in the war, it's obvious something is missing in her as she gives the worst example of comfort I've ever seen in the form of cold patriotic and religious platitudes.

Meanwhile, Moira has decided that drugs and alcohol aren't enough compensation for a life of sexual slavery after all and pulls another makeshift knife and stolen uniform escape.

This all has me counting the hours to the season finale next week.


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