The Handmaid's Tale

Hulu's award-winning adaptation of Margaret Atwood's seminal work is rich in both imagery and messaging as it tells the tale of Gilead, a theocratic state carved from the ashes of a war-torn America. Our protagonist is Offred, and this is, indeed, her tale. 

As our good doctors are both avid consumers of fiction, as well as experts on narratives of imprisonment and religiosity, we wanted to take the space to discuss each episode. Below you'll find links to our coverage. Want to join the conversation? We'd love that - contact us here.

 
 
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Episode 1: Offred

In this episode, we're introduced to Offred (played by Elisabeth Moss - who will always be Zoey Bartlet in our hearts) and we begin to see the world of Gilead. 

We discuss the idea of the Rachel and Leah Center, shades of fundamentalism and if we could ever see this happening in our world.

 
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Episode 2: Birth Day

Offred and Ofglen go shopping, Ofwarren has her baby (or not her baby, depending), and we learn that the Commander really likes to play Scrabble. 

We discuss the separation between wives and handmaidens, forms of power in Gilead, and organized socialization. 

 
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Episode 3: Late

We finally get some insights into Gilead was created, learn a new phrase for the LGBTQ community - "gender traitor", and see exactly how closely menstruation is monitored. 

We discuss that men never seem to be at fault for infertility, the idea of being culturally asleep to surrounding trauma, and Gilead's conflagration of gender and sex. 

 

Episode 4: Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundurom

Offred discovers a message carved into the closet, we learn about an aborted escape attempt involving Moira and June, and get trained on The Ceremony. 

We discuss food as resistance, the true purpose of Bilhah in the biblical narrative, and the problems of getting pregnant in Gilead. 

 
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Episode 5: Faithful

Serena Joy offers Nick as an alternative sperm donor, we learn how June and Luke met, and hear about the Mayday movement. 

We discuss the connection between intimacy and kissing, the "new Oflgen" and how different people view crisis, and sex as resistance. 

 
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Episode 6: A Woman's Place

The Mexican Ambassador comes to town and we learn so much more about Serena Joy, and subsequently, the mental beginnings of Gilead. 

We discuss domestic femininity, the limits of empathy, and speaking truth to power. 

 
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Episode 7: The Other Side

We see what Luke has been up to since he was separated from June and Hannah, plus some other details of life for those resisting Gilead.

We discuss this one scene in a church, a welcome reminder that not all men are oppressively patriarchal, and whine a bit about the nature of filler episodes. 

 
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Episode 8: Jezebels

The episode takes us to Gilead's secret brothel, which is of course called Jezebels, where we meet up with Moira again! Serena Joy also gives Offred a significant gift, but not necessarily a nice one. 

We discuss the illusion of consent, where the two of us would be sent in Gilead, and being the girl in the box. 

 
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Episode 9: The Bridge

We follow the story of Jeanine (Ofwarren/Ofdaniel) to it's tragic conclusion, Moira resists resisting but comes through in the end, and Serena makes an unpleasant discovery.

We discuss Ann Dowd as our spirit animal, the dehumanization of the handmaid's, and the power of resistance language.

 
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Episode 10: Night

In the season finale, Moira heads North and Mrs. Waterford gets the blame and lashes out. June gets a dose of hope which leads to some serious repercussions.

We discuss angering religious rhetoric,  the beauty of women's voices, and the power of the many.