The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 2, episode 11 recap: ‘Holly’


The Handmaid’s Tale delivers the best episode of the season as June navigates through her delivery in the most depressing of circumstances.

Wow, The Handmaid’s Tale never fails to surprise me, and this week just blew every episode that came before it out of the water. After Nick was abducted in last week’s episode, June is left alone in an abandoned mansion, pregnant–super pregnant.

It’s difficult to understand how she will make it through every minute and the fear radiates through June right into our hearts. There she is, in the dead of winter all alone and 39 weeks pregnant. The day before she was a victim of rape, and today she is a hop, skip, and jump away from possibly escaping–but that reality seems too far-fetched.

The first half of the episode is June rummaging through the house, trying to gauge her unexpected situation. She roams outside and comes face-to-face with a black wolf that is present throughout the entire episode. First as a frightening presence, and later as a calming one.

Credit: Hulu

There is so much anxiety and tension in every scene of this week’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, especially when June tries to escape with the car after finally finding the keys. However, the electricity has been shut off and the garage door won’t open unless pregnant June manages to open it with her own strength.

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Despite running the car into the garage, she is unsuccessful and gives up. And the moment when despair comes trickling in, she returns inside to see a picture of Hannah smiling next to her new mom. Oh, and side note–did anyone else notice that Oprah was talking on the radio station when June was in the car? I mean, who else’s voice could bring some sense of comfort in such a horrible moment?

Things get tenser when the Commander and Serena show up at the house looking for Nick and June. June finds a place to hide from them as they argue and fight over June’s disappearance. Once again, Yvonne Strahovski kills it in this scene as she verbally tears down the Commander for bringing her to this point, after all she gave up for his cause. All the while, June is standing above them in the hallway, aiming a gun right at them–but alas, doesn’t shoot.

Credit: Hulu

Watching Serena unleash all the pent-up anger on the Commander is such an epic moment because it’s something we have been rooting for her to do, even if she has been a part of the cause from the start. It might be why June hesitated to shoot them at all.

And then we get to that epic birth scene. Despite being so close to freedom, June is unable to obtain it and realizes as much when her water breaks and she is left in severe pain. She uses the gun to shoot out the bullets from earlier in hopes that someone will hear them and come for her.

Next: The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 2, episode 12 recap

Of course, when she is actually asking for someone to find her, they don’t show up right away. Instead, June delivers a beautiful baby girl all by herself–and names her Holly, after her mother. Throughout the episode, there are flashbacks embedded within reflecting back on June’s pregnancy with Hannah. Each flashback coincides with the present and it’s actually quite the beautiful montage as June is giving birth to Holly.

Bravo to Elisabeth Moss for literally kicking ass in this episode and for executing such a brutal scene so seamlessly. Can we say, Emmy nomination?

The Handmaid’s Tale streams new episodes every Wednesday!