The Handmaid’s Tale season 2, episode 2 recap: Unwomen


The Handmaid’s Tale heads to the Colonies in the second episode of the season.

We have heard so much about the Colonies since news about season two of The Handmaid’s Tale started getting released but the second episode took us right into the heart of the gloom and doom of it. And can we just take a moment to say how amazing Alexis Bledel is in this episode? She is phenomenal and kicks it up ten notches with her performance, flooring us with how amazing she truly is.

We last left June in an abandoned building where she is told to wait until further notice. She quickly learns that the building she has been left in was formerly The Boston Globe and most recently was being used as a slaughterhouse. Nick is the bearer of bads news when he tells her that it may be weeks or months before she can leave, which sets June off.

She decides to leave and asks for his car keys because she wants to get to Hannah and escape to freedom. However, reality catches up with her as she sits in the car and realizes that it would severely jeopardize any chances she currently has.

Realizing this may be her new home for a while, she creates a memorial and begins praying for those whose lives have been lost. Oh, and also stumbles across a Friends DVD that helps her bide her time as she awaits for…well something.

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And then we are shipped off to the Colonies. And while we may not physically be there, it sure feels like it in the intense imagery that we bear witness to. The Colonies are dreadful, frightening, and absolutely horrendous as we see the women engaging in physical labor on the radioactive land. Their faces are burnt, their fingernails are peeling off, and their living arrangements are far from ideal.

This episode also sheds some light on Emily’s life before Gilead’s existence. She was a college lecturer but is being booted out because she has a wife with a kid. This moment comes after the events we saw unfold at the White House in the episode before. So, things are starting to change and Emily’s life is starting to fall apart.

Things take a frightening turn when Emily’s boss is found hanging from the building with the words “faggot” spray-painted on the sidewalk. This pushes Emily and her wife to get the hell out of Dodge and head to Canada where her wife is a citizen. Unfortunately, Emily is unable to join them as she is denied access to travel.

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Back at the Colonies, Marisa Tomei makes her appearance into this season. She plays the wife of a Commander and becomes the subject of ridicule and angst amongst the other women. However, Emily offers to help her during her transition even after learning that she was sent there because she had an affair.

And then we are thrust into a moment we didn’t see coming. Emily poisons the Mistress by offering her “medication” to exact revenge for the torment she engaged in as a Mistress. Damn, what goes around comes around. The episode ends on a slightly happier note when Janine arrives at the Colonies–at least a friend is a welcome change in these tough times, right?

The Handmaid’s Tale streams new episodes every Wednesday on Hulu!