A woman is abducted by a powerful theocratic dictatorship and undergoes forced brutal conditioning to become a Handmaid, and her struggles to fit into the mold of the role.
A woman flees from a group of men with guns, but she is captured and separated from her young daughter and her husband is presumably killed (gunshots are heard from his direction after their separation). This woman is known as Offred, a handmaid to Commander Fred Waterford. Offred goes out grocery shopping with her companion Ofglen. On the way home, they pass by a wall of men who have been hanged due to committing crimes (such as being gay, working in an abortion clinic, and being Catholic).
In a flashback to the Red Center, various women are indoctrinated into their handmaid roles by Aunt Lydia, who tells them about declining birth rates and that they are "special", serving a Biblical purpose. Offred enters the room and notices Moira, a woman she knew from college. One of the women in the class, Janine, talks back to Lydia and is shocked with a cattle prod. Later, Janine is revealed to have been punished by having one of her eyes removed. Janine is later forced to 'confess' her sins and tell the story of her gang-rape. Aunt Lydia explains that Janine brought the rape upon herself and the other Handmaids are made to shame Janine. As Offred hesitates, she is slapped by "Aunt Margaret".
In the present, the first "ceremony" begins. All members of the household (Offred, Rita, the driver Nick, Commander Waterford, and his wife Serena Joy) gather in the sitting room while the Commander reads a piece from Genesis about Jacob and his wife Rachel who could not conceive using the wife's handmaid to bear their child. The Commander, his wife and Offred then move to the bedroom where Commander Waterford tries to impregnate Offred as she lies in the lap of his wife, who holds down the Handmaids arms. After the Commander finishes, he then leaves the room. Offred continues to lie on her back to increase the chances of insemination, but Serena Joy instructs her to "Get Out."
The next day, all the Handmaids gather in an open field where Aunt Lydia announces a man has raped a pregnant handmaid. Offred learns from a pregnant Janine that Moira is dead. For the man's punishment, the handmaids are allowed to brutally beat the man until Aunt Lydia blows her whistle to stop, which ultimately leads to the man being beaten to death - with Offred leading the pack, seemingly taking her anger & aggresion out on the man. During the beating Janine is on the outskirts of the circle smiling towards the sky, like a lunatic. A white sheet is placed over the man's body, and a majority of the Handmaids are splattered with blood.
On the way home, Offred tells Ofglen about her family and failed escape attempt, whilst Ofglen in turn reveals she had a wife and an almost five year-old son, Oliver, who fled to Canada. At the gate of Offred’s house, Ofglen warns Offred that an Eye is a member of household. Offred is left wondering which member of the house could possibly be the Eye. She witnesses Waterford heading into a meeting with other Commanders, before being sent to her room by Serena. Sitting alone in her room, Offred vows to find a way to survive for her daughter’s sake and reveals her true name is June.
You Don't Own Me - Leslie Gore
- The existence of a four year-old child from a same-sex marriage implies that that the coup d'etat which created Gilead occurred at most only five years before the main narrative of the TV series.
|Season 1||Offred | Birth Day | Late | Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum | Faithful | A Woman's Place|
The Other Side | Jezebels | The Bridge | Night
|June | Unwomen | Baggage | Other Women | Seeds | First Blood | After | Women's Work|
Smart Power | The Last Ceremony | Holly | Postpartum | The Word