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A Woman's Place is the sixth episode of the first season of The Handmaid's Tale.

SynopsisEdit

PlotEdit


Offred talking with Mexican diplomats
Mexican delegates visit the Commander's home in an effort to create partnerships in trade and see the effects of the Gilead cultural movement. The head of the Mexican delegation, Mrs. Castillo, is a woman who questions Offred about her experience in Gilead. With great self-control, Offred tells them, "I have found happiness". After the meeting, Offred visits the Commander's office for their usual discussions where some tensions flare up between them. He asks her to kiss him "like you mean it". She kisses the Commander and leaves, ferociously brushing her teeth afterwards.

Serena presenting children at the
gala dinner (Children in Gilead) (Fertility Crisis)

The handmaids are then taken to a party to honour Gilead and show the foreign delegates their success, including presenting the children of Gilead. Serena Joy instructs Aunt Lydia to "remove the damaged ones" from the group before the banquet begins due to their visible mutilations done by the regime, among them Janine, Oflyle, Ofthomas, Oftim, and Ofjohn. During the banquet, Serena announces that the children of the region will be brought out as special guests. As they frolic in the room to the delight of the Commanders, their wives and the Mexican delegates, Offred and the other handmaids watch silently, looking ashamed.

Alma later remarks to Offred that the delegates are interested in fertile women as a commodity to be traded between the two nations.


"Please remove the damaged ones":
Janine is sorted out

After the dinner, Offred visits Nick, fiercely blaming herself for keeping quiet about the brutal truth of her fate. She reveals her real name, "June."

The next day, as the delegates are leaving, Offred sees a chance to talk to the Mexican ambassador alone. The ambassador gives Offred a small package of chocolates from her village. Offred tells her she lied when she told them she was happy as a handmaid. She tells them the brutal truth about Gilead and accuses them of human trafficking. She pleads for their help, but the Mexican ambassador claims that she cannot help Offred and explains her own country's dire situation. When Offred is left alone with Mr Flores, the ambassador's assistant, he informs her that Luke is alive and well in Canada. Offred had assumed he was killed when they were captured at the border (though she did not witness his death, she heard shots being fired and never saw him again). Mr Flores knows Luke's full name, birthdate and birthplace, and also knows Offred's real name prior to meeting her, implying that what he says may be true. Mr Flores offers to help Offred contact Luke.

Flashbacks detail Serena's and Fred's life before and during the beginnings of the Gilead movement. Serena is revealed to have been a conservative cultural activist during the "life before", with a passion and intelligence equal to that of her husband's (as well as a special fondness for movie popcorn). She wrote a book about her beliefs, titled A Woman's Place, which contained the famous line "do not mistake a woman's meekness for weakness", as Castillo recalls. Her public addresses about her belief system were often met with scorn and hostility from other women, who would boo and jeer. Commander Fred was one of the conspirators who devised the (alleged) "terrorist" attacks against Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court, effectively attacking all three branches of the United States government. Though Fred was reluctant upon receiving news that the attacks were given the confirmation to proceed (with the FBI closing in on several of the Sons of Jacob conspirators), Serena was confident that the staged attacks themselves would help quickly propel the envisioned society that was conducive to her own theocratic beliefs.

After the takeover, Serena is shown to be completely shut out of the new government planning since the new society won't let women "forget their real purpose" again, as Commander Warren points out to a dismayed Fred. Rather symbolically, as she prepares to accept her new limited role in the society she helped create, a copy of her book is seen being thrown out in the trash.

TriviaEdit

Serena Joy sees fertility as a national resource.  (Fertility Crisis).

NotesEdit

The council meeting (in the flashback scene) that Serena Joy is excluded from takes place in a U.S.-flagged office building, which implies the "security discussions" (mentioned by Putnam) are held on behalf of the U.S. provisional government following the DC attacks.

CastEdit

StarringEdit

Guest StarringEdit

Additional CastEdit

QuotesEdit

"What are you going to trade us for? Chocolate? We're human beings." —Offred blaming Mrs. Castillo for trafficking

GalleryEdit

References Edit

The

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