June and Serena breathe the same air for a few moments this week The story of the maidnamely a firearm involved, both women live to tell the story.
But that’s not to say that Episode 4, “Dear Offred,” is a ho-hum hour of television. This season’s way June deals with her hatred of Mrs. Waterford – and her dawning realization that her anger is consuming her – is fascinating. And the impartial Luke seems to be creeping closer and closer to the end of his wife’s bloodlust spectrum, which makes me like him more than ever. And now Aunt Lydia is suddenly, painfully and vocally, reckoning with the part she played in Gilead’s ritual rape? Must see!
Read on for the highlights of Dear Offred.
SERENA IS FREE | Minding her own business, June is pushing Nichole on a swing set when a woman approaches her and starts spouting nonsense. “You’re so lucky to have been to Gilead,” she coos, reaching out to the little girl, causing June to push her back. The woman calls June a slut and a whore before June collects Nichole, tells the stranger to go away, and leaves. In therapy, June admits to Luke and the therapist that her reaction “went a little over protective.”
The interlude shows how (rightfully) excited June is, a state that only gets worse when Mark Tuello stops by the house to update her on things. As for Hannah, all he can offer is that she looks healthy; The sparse information frustrates her parents to no end. And then he breaks the big news: Serena has been released from prison. She turned down Canada’s offer of asylum and will live and work at the Gilead Information Center. “You allowed this,” Luke says, angrily ordering Tuello to leave. “I warned you about her. You wouldn’t listen,” June snaps. “God, you’re such a f***ing disappointment.” The hangdog look on Tuello’s face makes it seem like he sort of agrees with her.
After Tuello leaves, June is eerily calm. And later that night, while Luke sleeps, she digs the gun out of her yard, drives to the Gilead information center, and maybe? plans to shoot Serena while she stands at her window looking down at her candle-holding supporters. But June’s gun is jammed, and all she does is get up and stare at a shocked Serena before getting back in her car and walking away. Inside, an unsettled Serena wonders if her bodyguard, Ezra Shaw, can do anything about June. He says no…unless she enters the center’s grounds.
At home, June paces and tells Luke, “All I can think about is shooting her in the frigging head and I don’t know how to stop myself actually do it.” He understands and rationally guides them through the aftermath of shooting Serena (they lose Nichole, they’ll probably never get Hannah back) before they come up with a plan where they go through the Toronto City Council to get the center with administrative means – building codes etc. June listens and then agrees to try Luke’s way.
PUNK THE BEAR | But then Serena — who specifically advises Lawrence to avoid her former maid — sends June an invitation to the center’s grand opening, AND SHE addresses it to “OFFRED.” Continue to play! The card has the intended effect, causing June to declare her desire to kill everyone in Gilead, then break a court and storm out of the room. When she later calms down, even she seems a little taken aback by her earlier fierceness. “What if I’m like this now?” June worries, but Moira says she’s made progress — like she can now be left alone with Nichole, which is something — and that Serena “isn’t worth it losing her family.”
Meanwhile, Luke visits Serena at the center, waves at her with a lot of paperwork and promises that they will close the building. Oh, and “my wife is going to kill you, and I’m going to let her… So you can get kicked out or you can get killed.” Or just help us get Hannah back.” Not only does Serena not take the bait, she uses Hannah’s Gilead name when saying that Agnes is fine. And then she goads him that June did more to try and get her daughter back. “On the other hand,” she adds, landing the last punch, “they did Have Nick’s support.” Luke tears as he turns to leave, warning her to stay away from his family or he will murder her himself.
A UNITED FRONT | But June is one step ahead of him! She stands off center, gun in the waistband of her jeans as protesters and counter-protesters clash. A guy hits Moira so June pushes him back and then points the gun at him. When she shoots it in the air, everything becomes pear-shaped.
Ezra grabs Serena and quickly escorts her out of the building. Luke finds June and tells her to run before the police show up. And as they take off, they face Ezra and Serena behind the building. There’s a tough moment when nobody quite knows what to do, but then both couples go their separate ways. In the car, Serena wonders what safe place she’s being taken to. “He sometimes sends a refuge for those who are truly righteous,” says Ezra. Oh please let her refuge be a public toilet at the bus station!
Luke and June make it home without attracting the attention of law enforcement. As they park in the driveway, he gets a call: Central Gilead is being closed for building code violations. June tells him she can’t promise not to shoot Serena in the future. “I can’t promise that either,” he says while practicing gun aim, “I guess we both have to trust each other.” They kiss, things move forward and pretty soon they’re in, making love their bedroom and take care of kissing each other’s scars.
Oh, and that Serena safe place? It’s a huge house flanked by wrought iron gates. When Serena enters the house, Alanis “Mrs. Ryan” Wheeler (played by New Amsterdam‘s Genevieve Angelson), who kneels and looks star-struck as she quotes Scripture and places her hands on Serena’s stomach. The mother-to-be looks anything but pleased.
‘SEE YOU SOON’ | Over at the hospital, Janine hobbles around with a walker and is mad at Aunt Lydia. Esther, who still hasn’t woken up, was an abused child – and Lydia did nothing to help her. “I gave you the education you need to lead a safe and meaningful life!” the older woman cries, but one gets the feeling that even she no longer believes it 100 percent. “I see you,” Janine throws back. “I see who you really are. I still have a good eye, remember? Do you take that too?”
Janine’s criticism, and probably Lydia’s own guilty conscience, prompts her to suggest that Lawrence reform the maid system to prevent incidents like Esther’s poisoning. She wants the maids at the Red Center to remain under her care and the commanders and wives to come to the ceremony every month. Lawrence laughs at the idea of a “maid hotel,” then concludes, saying the commanders will never approve. “They want these girls in their homes, accessible,” he says. “These are pious men. You need a little kink.” She is outraged. He does not care. “Get a grip on your girls,” he says upon dismissal.
When Janine is released from the hospital, Lydia admits that she should have listened to her warnings about Esther. She asks the other girls for help, mainly to let Lydia know when they’re having trouble. “If I do that, you’ll just do something terrible,” Janine says, but Lydia promises that she wants to do things differently, “tackle any problem early and with more compassion.” Back at the Red Center, the other maids are very reserved, until Aunt Lydia leaves the room. Then they circle around Janine and whisper their happiness to see her again and even in this messed up world it’s very sweet.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think of the episode? Mute the comments!
https://tvline.com/2022/09/28/the-handmaids-tale-recap-season-5-episode-4-dear-offred/ The Handmaid’s Tale Recap: Season 5 Episode 4 – “Dear Offred”