Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale got pretty real with “First Blood” last week. Things aren’t going very well where June/Offred’s plan to free her daughter and escape to Canada is concerned. A tentative peace with Serena Waterford, basically June’s captor, seemed likely to gain June some small access to her captive daughter, but that plan went off the rails almost as soon as June asked to see her.
Nick’s new wife is eager to please, both around the house and in the bedroom. In most situations, this would probably be welcome news, but Nick’s new bride Eden appears to be about 12 years old. She says her mother taught her everything, but unless her mother taught her how to accelerate her aging, things will probably be a bit awkward.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2, Episode 6: “First Blood” – Flashback Mob
One very compelling bit of drama in “First Blood” was the flashback to Serena’s time as a campaigner for the biological destiny platform. At a speaking engagement, we see Serena booed offstage by an audience of university students. Fred demands that Serena be allowed to speak, which she does in the hall. After her impromptu address, Serena and Fred make their way outside to the waiting car. But just before she climbs in, Serena gets shot in the stomach.
Later at the hospital, Fred gives Serena the bad news: she will never bear children. Fred takes some time to cry, but Serena tells him to be a man. Cut to Fred holding a gun on the supposed perpetrator. He tells the suspected shooter that he felt hopeless watching his wife suffering and instructs the shooter that he’ll get to find out exactly what it’s like. Fred points his gun at the man’s wife, and shoots her in the head.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2, Episode 6: “First Blood” – A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words
Showing off his gentler side, Fred brings a photo of Hannah to June. She thanks him and stares at the photo, the only connection she has to her daughter. In a less-than-charitable fashion, Fred proceeds to feel June up. A disgusted June is able to rebuff him by claiming she’s concerned about the health of the baby she’s carrying. This acts like a cold shower, and Fred leaves.
Meanwhile Nick, acting under instruction from June, consummates his and Eden’s marriage in a less-than-titillating fashion. Using a sheet with a hole in it, Nick and Eden “make love,” and Eden’s fears that Nick is a gender traitor are quashed.
In other Nick news, he also puts in a request to Commander Pryce to be reassigned away from the Waterford household, telling Pryce that there are many things about Waterford that Nick hasn’t told him.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2, Episode 6: “First Blood” – There is a bomb in Gilead
The climactic payoff of “First Blood” comes with the close of Ofglen’s story. The mute handmaid, stepping well out of her prescribed line during the opening of the Rachel and Leah Center, charges into the crowd of assembled commanders and detonates a suicide bomb. Viewers are left to wonder who, if any, of the commanders made it out alive. And what of the handmaids? A final shot shows a group of them running from the blast, but were they fast enough?