The Handmaid's Tale S01E04 "Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundroum" Recap

Offred has been banished to her room for thirteen days. The door isn't locked but she knows the consequences will be worse if she disobeys. She goes into the closet and discovers a Latin phrase scratched into the wall which reads "Nolite Te Bastardes Carborunorum". She theorises that it's a message for her from the previous Offred.

In a flashback, June and Moira speak to each other in the toilet and plan to escape. The punishment for them to be writing is revealed to be the loss of a hand or at the very least a finger.

Rita, the housekeeper, finds Offred lying down in the closet where she is staring at the written words and Offred claims to have fainted. Serena brings Offred to the hospital to have a check-up, with Nick driving the car. Offred is elated to finally be able to step outside where there is fresh air despite the heavy rainfall.

In another flashback, Aunt Lydia instructs the handmaidens on the logistics of "Ceremony" that they will be participating in each month where they lie between the legs of the wives of the husbands that will rape them to try to conceive a child.

At the hospital a physician examines Offred. He invites her to speak freely about her circumstances but she refrains from doing so. The physician speculates that the Commander may be sterile since most of 'those' men are. The physician offers to impregnate her, saying that the Waterfords will blame her for a lack of pregnancy and not him. She declines the offer, saying it's too dangerous but thanks him. He leaves her to ponder what will come next.

On the drive home, Offred angrily beats on the car windows and shouts out her frustrations. Nick says nothing until they arrive, where he tells her he's sorry for what's happening to her. When Offred returns to Serena, she apologises profusely and pleads to be let out but she is ordered to go back to her room where she speaks to the carved words, asking how to survive Serena's wrath.

In the past, June lured Aunt Elizabeth to the bathroom by claiming a toilet has overflowed. Moira threatens her with a shiv and they bring her to the basement. After taking the Aunt's clothes, they tie her up to keep her from alerting the others of what they've done. Moira threatens the Aunt but ultimately leaves her unharmed, saying to always remember that she didn't enact revenge for what the Handmaids have faced. Moira is dressed as the Aunt and brings June with her out of the facility. They are searching for a way to Boston, where there are safehouses they can find shelter in. They head to a train station and Moira stops to ask a guard for directions. June is approached by a different guard that is suspicious of her being alone, since handmaids always travel in pairs. The correct train arrives and Moira is able to board but June is not. June smiles knowingly at June to ensure she doesn't harbour any animosity to her for being able to get away while she could not. June is brought back to the facility where he feet are whipped as punishment.

At the ceremony, the Commander is unable to get himself aroused and leaves without any sexual contact. Serena follows after him, offering to help him. Her attempts to arouse him are ultimately unsuccessful and Offred is excused back to her room.

The Commander wanted to have another game of Scrabble so Offred secretly goes downstairs to play, having surmised that the Commander needs to connect to be able to perform. When she finds a book on Latin in the Commander's collection, she asks him about the meaning of the Latin phrase she had found scratched on the wall. She wonders if her predecessor had also been invited to this room and if something bad happened to her. He tells Offred the phrase means "Don't let the bastards grind you down". Offred wins the game and is invited to play again the following night after the Ceremony. The Commander reveals that the previous Offred is dead and that she killed herself by hanging from the ceiling because she found life unbearable. He doesn't want Offred's life to also be unbearable. Offred plays up how hard it has been to be locked in solitary confinement, musing how she may feel inclined to give up if she stays in there much longer. The Commander proceeds to release Offred from her punishment.

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


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