The Handmaid’s Tale season 2, episode 6 recap: First Blood


And just like that, The Handmaid’s Tale leaves us with one of the most riveting episodes this season

Every week you are led to believe that The Handmaid’s Tale has given us its craziest episode of the series–but this week’s episode throws us for one hell of a ride. We last left June in the hospital, as her baby relentlessly fights to stay alive. The baby’s strength has given June a newfound hope and snapped her out of the obedient lull she had fallen back into.

In fact, she is starting to realize that her pregnancy is a means to take advantage to get exactly what she wants. Thus, this episode is very Serena/June heavy as it explores their dynamic in a way we haven’t exactly seen before. June’s manipulation towards Serena is a visual treat after the torture she has subjected on her–and we loved every moment of it.

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It is quite humorous to see Serena cater to June’s needs as June joyfully rejects Serena’s help. The hospitality extends as far as making food for June and even allowing her to sleep in the Commander’s study so she wouldn’t have to walk up the stairs. Yes, this is the same Serena who didn’t hesitate to verbally abuse June in the past–crazy, right?

Throughout the entire episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, Serena is really struggling and attempting to connect with June because she wants to feel like she is a part of “her pregnancy.” This feels all too strange considering the system Serena fought so hard for is the very one causing a strange, awkward rift between her and “her baby”.

In an attempt to keep June happy, Serena invites over other handmaids for lunch and tea. But in doing so, she feels even more alone and disconnected from the situation. Do we even feel sorry for her at this point? Nah, not at all.

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The most intriguing part of this week’s episode is getting glimpses of Serena’s past as she fought to make Gilead a reality. If we thought the world hated her now, seeing all the protests ranting hateful slur against her takes hate to a whole new level. There is so much animosity emanating from her speech and its an interesting parallel to who she is in the present.

It’s such a perplexing aspect to see Serena basically fighting against women’s rights…while she’s taking the stand to have her voice heard. Ironic, much? She voices her thoughts about fertility rates being at an all-time low, and for a moment she feels she is getting through to the crowd.

While planning to add more stops on her tour, gunshots are fired and one hits her in the gut. She wakes up in a hospital–still eager to continue her tour and scolding Fred for not being more assertive and eager about it.

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Seeing Serena’s past is a bit jarring considering the life she now leads as a “wife”. She was outspoken, angry, and a force to be reckoned with, and she fought so hard to let her existence become a lull.

In fact, it becomes very evident that the world Fred and Serena fought so hard for, is the world that has now pulled them very far apart. Funny how things work out in The Handmaid’s Tale, right?

For a moment it seems that all is well between Serena and June, and June courageously takes this rare opportunity to ask if she can see Hannah. But of course, this pushes Serena over the edge and instantaneously she reverts back to being a cold, relentless bitch–telling June to return to her room and her duties.

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Although Serena goes to Fred to complain about June’s request, it backfires on her when he decides to come to June’s aid. And while he doesn’t take her to see Hannah or vice versa, he brings June a picture of her to cherish–and then tries to get with her. She manages to avoid any sexual relations, using her pregnancy as an excuse, for now.

We haven’t seen a whole lot of Fred in this season of The Handmaid’s Tale, but this episode brings him front and center as he prepares to open the new Red Center. And on the day of the official opening, Nick approaches Andrew Pryce asking to be moved out of the Waterford home and to protect June, come what may–hmm, wonder what the deal is there.

This is a particularly awkward episode for Nick, who per June’s forceful request, finally sleeps with his wife. June tells him he has no choice because if he refuses, he will be labeled as a “gender traitor”. It is painful to see just how obedient Eden is to Nick and how her entire life revolves around a domestic thought process.

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With all the emotional turmoil of this episode, we think things are just about done for the week, that is until the day of the Red Center’s unveiling. Fred is on the stand, making a speech about the glory of Gilead, etc–but something doesn’t feel right.

Next: The Handmaid’s Tale season 2, episode 5 recap: Seeds

Ofglen walks into the room, and clearly, she does not belong as Fred begins to take notice to her presence. She pulls out a trigger as she comes rushing towards the stage Fred is on, and moments later a bomb goes off taking down the entire Center and presumably anyone within close range.

Uh, so what just happened?

What did you think of this week’s episode? Share your thoughts below!

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