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


The Handmaid’s Tale deals with the aftermath of Offred’s birth as Serena struggles to be a mother.

The Handmaid’s Tale never ceases to amaze us with the depressing storyline and unexpected twists and turns. This week, of course, was no different as we find ourselves back in gloomy Gilead after Offred gave birth to Holly last week.

We knew someone found her after she fired off the gun, but still clinging to the hope that she would somehow find a way to escape with the baby. Alas, this did not happen, and instead, Offred was pulled away from the Waterford home and kept away from the baby per Serena’s orders.

Related Story: The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 2, episode 11 recap

Serena opted to name the baby, Nichole, rather than the name Offred had decided for her. Not that she would have considered Offred’s choice, but still, one can hope. Offred was having a difficult time lactating, which primarily had to do with the fact she couldn’t channel her mommy hormones since the baby was not with her.

Credit: Hulu

Despite everyone’s attempts to convince Serena to let Offred see/hold the baby, she continued to refuse. She is not about that life and knows what repercussions it could hold for her and her mounting insecurities. However, Offred continued to lactate less and less, and Serena was left with no choice but to “allow” Offred to see the baby.

Offred was led secretly to a meeting with Commander Waterford, where she learned that he had brought Holly with him–for obvious reasons. This moment is a testament to how cruel The Handmaid’s Tale can be sometimes, I mean, seriously? Of course, at first sight, Offred began lactating immediately but insisted Fred let her nurse Holly.

He refused to let her do so, probably out of fear of Serena’s wrath, but surprisingly brought her home. This took some convincing and cajoling Serena on his part, but she “allowed” for Offred to live there so she could be in the presence of the baby, and hopefully be able to lactate.

Credit: Hulu

Throughout the episode, Serena, obviously so, can’t connect with the baby, because the baby needs her mama! She grows increasingly frustrated but still stands strong against getting Offred’s help. Upon Offred’s return home, Eden has a cryptic conversation about love with her, and Offred tells Eden she doesn’t have to worry about her, but it’s not exactly Nick that Eden is referring to.

Offred’s advice? Hang onto love wherever you find it in this world. And that is exactly what Eden did. If you recall, she shared a kiss with Isaac the guardian and the next morning they ran away together. The whole house, primarily Fred, was in a frenzy over it and the search was on.

More from Hulu

Sadly, as always happens in this world, they found Isaac and Eden and they were to be punished–unless they confessed their sins and asked for forgiveness. There is a bittersweet moment between Nick and Eden that really broke my heart, moments before Eden was to be punished. While he pleaded for her to lie, she refused to because she loves Isaac, and doesn’t want to be with Nick.

She apologizes for this, and Nick finally melts and lets down his guard. He acknowledges the harsh reality they live in and realizes that Eden did her best to live in it until he pushed her away. Eden and Isaac are escorted into a huge room with a swimming pool, chains attached. Neither budged when the priest asked them to confess and as a result, they were thrown into the pull with a heavy weight to keep them down there–as they drowned.

Credit: Hulu

Everyone watched in horror and in tears as Eden and Isaac fell to their death–just another reminder of the awful world they live in. Thanks, The Handmaid’s Tale–you’re always ready to break our souls with your narratives. This moment seems to really shake up Serena, and once again we see her go back and forth between the light and the dark, which she has often this season.

Embedded within this episode is Emily, who is sent to a new home to be under the command of another man. But this home is interesting, something is different and off, and not right. The Commander is known as the architect for Gilead’s economy and is the man responsible for creating the concept of the Colonies.

Next: Hulu orders new drama pilot ‘Reprisal’

Emily is quite confused when she first arrives, and things get weirder after she meets the lady of the house who is ashamed of her husband, and has a weird conversation with him about her past life. Let’s see where this one goes!

It seems Serena finally melted by the end of the episode because she allows Offred to embrace the baby. Maybe she’s finally learned that attempting to breastfeed a baby when you have no milk to offer isn’t exactly the way to go. The season two finale next week is going to be one to look out for!

The Handmaid’s Tale season two finale airs next Wednesday on Hulu