The Handmaid’s Tale season 2, episode 9 recap: Smart Power


The Handmaid’s Tale heads to Canada and once again, unknowingly, mimics recent headlines.

How odd is it that the same week there are Twitter insults against Prime Minister Trudeau, that the narrative of The Handmaid’s Tale would head off to Canada in this week’s episode?

The irony behind it is that ‘Smart Power’ spends a great deal on Commander Waterford trying to make a Canada an ally. However, the ugly and brutal reality of Gilead comes back to bite him, and the potential relations come to a halt.

After a brutal beating from Fred last week, Serena is clearly dealing with an internal struggle between the life she fought for and the one she once lived.

And although her anger is meant for Fred, she tells June that once the baby is born, she will leave the Waterford household. If that doesn’t tear your heart apart, I’m not sure what will.

Credit: Hulu

With the Waterfords off to Canada, Rita and June are left under the supervision of a guardian by the name of Isaac. Serena isn’t too keen on going, especially with June so far along in the pregnancy. However, Fred insists that she is the female representation of Gilead and their way of showing the entire world that females aren’t ridiculously suppressed in their world. Uh, say what?

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And then there’s Eden–poor, innocent Eden. Nick has been everything but loving towards her, and even as she bids him farewell, he remains cold and distant.

I’m not sure what will come of their relationship, but I have a sneaking suspicion she is going to report him for being a ‘gender traitor’.

In Canada, protestors begin to line the streets in anticipation of the Waterfords arriving which includes Luke, who was told by Moira is the man who has June. It’s a bittersweet moment for Serena as she is driven through the streets of Canada, looking out on the busy world of women working and going about their lives. A life she once had–but worked hard against.

Credit: Hulu

Upon arriving, they are greeted in a quite interesting manner by the deputy of immigration who is a gay, married man–and not very excited about welcoming these guys in. And if all this doesn’t feel like a hot mess, a female greets Serena with an itinerary of activities that will be taking place–but since she is not allowed to read, they have to provide pictures. Ugh.

In preparation for being booted out of the Waterford house, June begins to make arrangements for her future child to make sure he/she is protected. She asks this favor of Rita, and even Aunt Lydia who initially conveys anger but sort of ends up melting over the idea. Is it me, or are all the stern women finally coming to their senses?

With Fred in meetings all day, Serena finds herself at the bar where she meets a man from the American government (nope, not the Gilead one), who offers her a way out. If she’d like, they could send her away to Honolulu within the hour. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But alas, she walks away from this offer (for now) because she is Gilead through and through.

Credit: Hulu

Luke finally confronts Fred in a fury of rage, and as he is held back by the cops, he makes sure to voice his frustration and hate for what Fred has done to June. Nick and Serena’s eyes fall on the picture of June, Hannah, and Luke–realizing exactly who Luke is.

Later that night, Nick goes to see Luke, informing him he is June’s friend and tells him she is okay. Well, as okay as one can be I guess. Luke asks Nick to look over June, and let her know that he will never stop fighting for her, and that Moira is now safely with him. As a parting gift, Nick hands Luke the letters from the women of Gilead, all voicing the atrocities they deal with.

Next: The Handmaid’s Tale season 2, episode 8 recap: Women’s Work

Thanks to Luke, these letters make the headlines, and Fred and Serena are booted out of Canada STAT. Arriving back at home, Nick tells June of his encounter with Luke and the news that Moira is alive and well (phew!).

And then perhaps one of June’s most badass lines closes out the episode as she speaks to her unborn child: “I know I should accept the reality of you being born here, make my peace, But f—k that.” Damn, The Handmaid’s Tale, damn.

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