The Handmaid’s Tale Premiere Recap: “We Don’t Hide, We Fight”
What, you thought The Handmaid’s Tale’s June Osborne would do it Caring for your wounds in a comparatively idyllic farmhouse for more than half an episode?
No, the season 4 premiere of the Hulu drama reminds us – and June – that she’s here to chew gum and dissect Gilead from the inside … and she’s out of gum. Read on for the highlights of “pigs”.
SAY A LITTLE PRAYER FOR HER | The action starts right where the season three finale left off. June is bleeding from a gunshot wound as the other maids bring her to safety. There’s a lot of blood and June is pretty exhausted, but in her clearer moments she panics and demands that they keep moving. Just before the women cauterize June’s wound with a… oh god, a curling iron, Alma assures June that the Martha Network will put them in touch with a guard who can take them to a safehouse.
Then there’s a harrowing truck ride and some stumble through the woods before approaching the house. When June approaches to find that everything is kosher, a guard with a lantern promises her, “You are safe.” She cries a little and then faints as the other women run towards her. And when they hurry her into the house, it is clear that June is even worse than we thought: She is vomiting and burning with fever, sure signs of infection. A commandant’s young wife scurries across the boundaries of activity – and even at this early stage you can tell she’s a little disappointed with the cheerful way she dreams of killing people with June – and then June goes black.
When she wakes up we’ll get the full story. June and the other maids involved in Operation JetBlue.These children, including Alma, Janine and Brianna, live on a farm presided over by Commander and Mrs. Keyes (the latter played by Mckenna Grace of The Haunting of Hill House). June’s body is trying to put itself back together with the help of homemade penicillin and makeshift antibiotic ointment, and she is nowhere near 100 percent cured, but she is aware that she is not out of danger: “No more time for me, im Stay in bed, you voice over.
WHEN YOUR CUP IS FULL IT CAN BE AGAIN | The maids have made themselves comfortable on the farm and pose as Marthas who help with the plants and the animals. Commander Keyes is considerably older than his wife and appears to be suffering from dementia or something similar. at best he looks through the women who circulate through his household and property. However, Esther Keyes is a bloodthirsty little thing that is very clever. “I want to hurt you so badly, Gilead,” she tells June, who warns of patience. “If you didn’t want to fight, why did you come here?” she says the mood changes like the breeze. “You should have just let them catch you.”
After Esther treats Janine horribly at dinner, June follows her outside and warns her to stay away from the one-eyed maid. “You know what to do with maids, don’t you?” June growls. “Show some respect.” But she eases her demeanor a little when she learns that Esther’s captain couldn’t have sex with her most of the time, and so he brought many other men with him who repeatedly raped her. “Women have bad things too,” she says as both women cry and June apologizes. She hugs the girl and repeats that none of what happened was Esther’s fault.
June’s sisters in arms, meanwhile, don’t necessarily want to go on the march to defeat Gilead. “Maybe this is as free as we get,” says Alma. “Maybe we should make the most of it.” Indeed, when June meets everyone dancing and having fun while Grateful Deads plays “Ripple” on the radio, it seems closest to the happiness that each of them has experienced in a while. But the real world bothers when a truck stops in front of the house and a man is thrown into the driveway: His name is Guardian Pogue and he was one of the men who injured Esther.
‘MAKE ME PROUD’ | The good guard says he will take Pogue to the river and “deal with him”, but June says no. Instead, she approaches the other women and calls the man a traitor who betrayed the United States, “and repeatedly raped a child.” It’s like the stoning in season 1, just for GOOD. “The penalty for these crimes is death,” she adds. And when Pogue is lined up in the barn, June gives Esther a knife. “You were right. We’re Mayday. We don’t hide, we fight,” she says. “Good girl. Make me proud. “Esther replies,” I will. “
And she does. Later June is resting in bed when Esther walks in covered in blood. She climbs into bed with her, spoons her and then says, “I love you.” June puts her hand on Esthers and smiles. “I love you too, Banana,” she whispers, thinking clearly of her first daughter.
THE WATERFORDS ARE FINDING OUT | In northern Canada, Mark Tuello informs Fred and Serena that 86 children and nine Marthas have just arrived on a plane from Gilead. “Your poor families,” coos Serena. “They will be reunited with their families while we speak,” Tuello spat back, and I never loved him again. He then announces that June planned the whole thing, but is still at large. “You will find her and you will kill her,” mumbles Fred. “May God show your mercy,” Serena replies, looking like she thinks exactly the opposite.
BACK IN GILEAD | After Aunt Lydia had been “interviewed” – read: tortured – for 19 days, she appeared before the commanders’ council, which determined that she needed no further discipline. Folks, Aunt Lydia looks BEAT. ABOVE. And I know how we feel about her, but damn Ann Dowd for sympathizing with this monster! However, Lydia tries to self-medicate June when she is: “Pray, gentlemen, find her and bring her to me, and a frail woman will sleep better at night. I leave you to your work. “
Elsewhere, Commander Lawrence is held in a cell when he receives a visit from Nick, who thanks him for his service to Gilead. “Was there a negotiation?” he asks and Nick says yes and asks Lawrence to ask how he’s been doing. When Nick thanks him again, Lawrence says, “So good, isn’t it?” When men take him to a room with a threatening-looking chair in the middle the next day, Lawrence is certain he will be killed. But Nick reappears and says quietly, “I think there is more you can do for your country.” The younger man convinced the council to use Lawrence as an advisor because “some men need guidance”. Lawrence chuckles and watches, “The Tao of June Osborne.” And this chair? It is so that he can be comfortable while being shaved by the barber who cleaned him up.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think of the episode? Rate the premiere using the poll below, then click on the comments!