Episode 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 begins with June and the other women forced to move. Guards are mobilizing outside after greeting Mrs Keyes.
June tells Janine to find Alma, while she spies on the guards. Mrs Keyes plays her part well, acting like nothing is out the ordinary. For now, they buy themselves some time – but how much is another matter. June believes their time is up, and talks to the other girls about what their next move should be.
Meanwhile in Canada, Moira and Luke welcome Rita to the stage. She gushes over June’s sacrifice and how Angel’s Flight was all on her. While Gilead brings out the worst in people, for June it’s the opposite. Rita’s speech is short-lived though, as Moira and Luke do their best to try and rustle up some funds for their charity.
It’s clear that Gilead has taken its toll on Rita, who’s still struggling to adjust to this new way of living. Moira reminds her though that June is probably still kicking butt in Gilead.
Speaking of which, June is brought in through the back of this estate as she arrives up to the Jezebel Club. The girls here are clearly being used the same way Moira was, as male laughter floats ominously through the hallways.
June is taken out to the greenhouse where news of her killing Commander Winslow – and being instrumental to Angel’s Flight of course – have spread across the country like wildfire.
Those pockets of rebellion from last season that petered out have now been rekindled. Power lines have been cut and a checkpoint was blown up too.
June needs to move though and her next safehouse is confirmed to be a yellow farmhouse 13 miles west. June needs to move now, but her contact reminds her she needs to wait until tomorrow. Well, things are about to get a whole lot worse.
The men are mobilizing and there’s a big event in Chicago about to get underway. June decides to throw a serious spanner in the works though. She goes on the offensive and hits back at the men in the Jezebel Club.
Alma and the others are not sure this is a good idea, and chalk it up to June being enraged and blood-lusting. When Mrs Keyes finds out about the group leaving, she begs June to take her too.Before they go though, Mrs Keyes will need to “take care” of the Commander.
It seems she’s already one step ahead though, as she reveals that she’s been poisoning him all this time. Sensing an opportunity, she has Keyes teach her how to concoct this poison.
Meanwhile, Serena is examined by a doctor up in Canada. The authorities want to establish a pattern of abuse in order for her to play the victim.
Of course, Gilead’s brainwashing runs deep and Serena is adamant this wasn’t actually abuse. Mark is incredulous, asking outright why she’s protecting him. Well, Serena knew Fred from before he turned this way, and believes there’s still good in him somewhere.
When Serena heads in to see him, Fred sees straight through her façade. He mentions how Nichole is not her daughter and refuses to engage. In fact, he tells her outright that he gave her too much freedom in Gilead and actually blames her for what transpired between them.
Mark comes back with Serena’s blood test results and confirms that she’s pregnant. It’s a shocking announcement, and one that looks set to shake up the season ahead.
Elsewhere in Toronto, Moira does the rounds and checks in on Asher. His real name is James, at least outside Gilead, and he’s having a hard time adjusting. Despite June’s bombshell liberation, it’s also caused one heck of a mess that Moira has felt compelled to try and clean up.
She’s not the only one feeling that way though, as Emily is conflicted too. Together, they bring Rita to see the boy.
Back on the farm, June prepares to strike while tasking Janine to get Mrs Keyes and the others ready. June eventually makes it into the Jezebel club, where an Aunt calls one of the girls there a “piggy”. This is a clever little throwback to episode 1 with the pigs being slaughtered. Anyway, June gives them the poison needed and dishes it out in the alcohol.
All the Commanders are fed their poison, along with the Aunt out in the hallway too. With the girls united in fighting back against these Commanders, June leaves them all on an empowering note as she rides back to the farm.
When she gets there though, June finds all the lights still on and something seriously wrong. As she walks up to the house she notices bullet shells across the ground.
Her guard is suddenly shot dead as June finds red dot markers across her body. Nick steps out the house and demands to know where the Handmaids are. He claims he’s trying to keep her alive, and eventually convinces June not to shoot. She’s been captured again.
The Episode Review
Out of all the people who could betray her, the fact that it’s Nick is a bitter pill to swallow. There’s obviously a lot of history (and a baby) between them, and this ending really reinforces the mantra that’s been pedaled throughout the episode “Gilead brings the worst out of people.”
That is ultimately what this episode portrays, as we see the horrors of Gilead have even traveled as far North as Canada, with the kids struggling to adjust to life away from this heavily religious cult.
The sudden bombshell reveal that Serena is pregnant throws a further spanner in the works too, while the other subplots continue to bubble over.
Given Hulu have released 3 episodes on the bounce, let’s not waste any time and jump straight into the next one!