Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum is the fourth episode of the first season of The Handmaid's Tale.


After Offred is banished to her room by Serena, she notices a Latin phrase in the wall regarding defiance, and it reminds her of Moira. Meanwhile, Fred tries to get to know more about Offred.


Offred has been banished to her room by Serena Joy for "lying" about being pregnant. She goes into the closet where she finds the Latin phrase "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum" scratched into the wall.[1]

Serena greets her husband in the morning. She notices that Fred is reading a news story about the U.N. and it’s trade embargo on Gilead. Serena remarks that they’ll have to stop the embargo if they don’t want the value of the Euro to collapse. Fred tells her that an Aunt escaped to Canada and has given an interview to the Toronto Star. Fred says that the interview is nothing but “lies and hyperbole”. Serena suggests that Gilead do what they can to discredit the escaped Aunt. Fred assures her they are working on the issue.

Rita, a Martha in Commander Fred's household, finds Offred lying in the closet, and thinks she fainted. Believing she is sick, Serena has Offred sent to the hospital for a check-up. While examining Offred, the doctor remarks that the Commander is sterile, because "most of those guys are". The doctor offers to impregnate Offred, but she declines as the act seems too dangerous.

In flashbacks, Aunt Lydia teaches the Handmaids (including June and Moira) about something called The Ceremony – a highly ritualised sexual act involving Commanders, their Wives, and Handmaids. In the flashback, June and Moira escape from the Red Center, hoping to escape to Boston, which they hear has a safehouse for Handmaids. June is stopped by a guard, and only Moira is able to board a train, dressed as an Aunt.

June asking Fred about her predecessor
 (Relationships/Fred and Offred)

In the present, Commander Waterford has an unsuccessful Ceremony with Offred. Later that night, the Commander and Offred have another game of Scrabble where she asks him about the Latin phrase "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum"; he tells her it means "Don't let the bastards grind you down". She also inquires about the previous Offred and he tells her that she committed suicide because life was unbearable. He makes it known that he doesn't want that to happen again and releases Offred from her solitary confinement.



Guest StarringEdit

Additional CastEdit

  • Edie Inksetter as Aunt Elizabeth
  • Nina Kiri as Alma
  • Lauren Horejda as Helen
  • Ish Morris as Guardian Nurse
  • Cam Parkes as Young Guardian
  • Troy Blundell as Guardian #1




References Edit

  1. This phrase also appeared in the novel. Atwood 1998, pp. 235
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