The Handmaid's Tale S01E01 "Offred" Recap

A man is driving to escape someone that's pursuing him. The car crashes on the side of the road so he helps his woman and young daughter out of the back and gives them bags so they can run into the woods and reach where they are escaping to. While running, the woman hears the sounds of gunshots and picks her daughters up to continue running, assuming that her husband has been shot or killed. They hide behind some rocks. When they think they're safe they are off running but are caught by the armed men. One takes her daughter and the other knocks the woman out.

The woman is known as Offred and was assigned to be a handmaid to Commander Fred Waterford. Offred meets Fred and his wife Serena Joy, who tells Offred to not get in her way or she will punish her. She has been captive for two months and heads out to go grocery shopping with Ofglen, another handmaid. She also speaks with Nick Blaine on the way out, who works as Fred's driver. Offered and Ofglen pass by a school and Offred has a flashback in which she thinks about a time she played at the beach with her husband and daughter.

On the way home, Offred and Ofglen pass by a wall of men that have been hanged for crimes including being gay, working in an abortion clinic, being Jewish, and being a Catholic priest.

Another flashback is shown of different women including Offred being indoctrinated into the handmaid roles by a woman known as Aunt Lydia. She speaks about a fertility plague that has struck humanity and now these few fertile women are special and serve a Biblical purpose from God. Gilled is the name of the government that has established the totalitarian, Christian theonomic government that forces the few fertile women into being handmaids. When Offred and other women are brought into the lecture, she recognises a woman named Moira whom she went to university with. One woman, Janine, speaks back to Aunt Lydia and is shocked with a cattle prod as punishment before being dragged out of the room. Later that night, Offred speaks with Moira later in secret, who advises her to keep her head down till everything is over and then she'll be able to go and find her daughter. Moira is gay and her girlfriend Odette was reclassified as an 'unwoman' and sent to the colonies. Janine is brought back into the room and her right eye has been removed for being insubordinate. Janine is later placed in a circle of the other handmaidens who are instructed to chant to slut-shame her for being raped and claim that God made it happen to teach her a lesson.

Offred bathes to prepare for an important ceremony and wonders whether or not her daughter remembers her. At the ceremony, Fred tries to impregnate Offred while her head lines in the lap of Serena Joy, his wife. The encounter is clinical and passionless. Later that night, Offred walks outside to get some air and observes Nick sitting outside his porch.

The following day, all the handmaids are gathered in an open field. Offred speaks with Alma, another handmaid she knows. They catch up about recent ongoings. Offred enquires after Moira and Janine pops up and says that Moira is dead. Ofglen overhears the conversation and Offred is quietly devastated by the news. All the handmaids are instructed to kneel and are addressed by Aunt Lydia who informs them that a man has been convicted of raping a pregnant handmaid, and as a result the baby died. The punishment for rape is death but the punishment for this man is that all the handmaids are allowed to beat him to death. They gather in a large circle around the man and when Aunt Lydia blows the whistle they are free to do to him as they wish until she blows the whistle a second time. Janine stands at the outer part of the circle as she is visibly pregnant.

In a flashback, Offred tells Moira about how she is pregnant. She is worried that she will miscarry, as many of the women at her work have miscarried far into their term or even carried to term but had the baby die after just a few days. Moira assures her that everything will be okay.

Ofglen walks Offred back after the execution and gives her condolences about the death of Moira. Offred admits she knew Moira from 'before'. Ofglen opens up to Offred, revealing that she is not actually as pious as she presents herself to be, and is just like Offred in that she is pretending just to survive. Offred admits her daughter is now eight, and Ofglen shares how she had a son, Oliver, with her wife before she was captured. Before parting ways, Ofglen warns Offred that there is an Eye (a secret spy) in the house. Offred returns home and observes everyone with a skeptical gaze, wondering who is watching her. Finally, Offred speaks in voiceover about her daughter Hannah, her husband Luke, and that her own name is June. She intends to make it out of this oppressive state and reunite with her family.

The Handmaid's Tale is available for streaming on Hulu.


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