Other Women is the fourth episode of the second season of The Handmaid's Tale.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

A baby shower provokes a troubling shift in Offred’s relationship with Serena Joy. Offred reckons with the choice she made that led her to become a Handmaid.

Plot[edit | edit source]

June is taken back to the Red Center, where she is re-tagged and chained to a small living space. As Aunt Lydia explains, the Waterfords are willing to take June back for a "trial run". June’s other option is to stay in that room to be executed after giving birth.

The Waterfords greet her stiffly and formally. Commander Fred speaks of the tremendous effort it took to save June from her “kidnapping” at the hands of an "insidious terrorist network." June returns to her room and sees that Nick hasn't been to his home recently. Serena Joy enters the room and pushes her against the wall by her throat. As June catches her breath, she reminds Serena that "as long as my baby is safe, so is yours."

The lights go out as June bathes. Aunt Lydia enters the room and brings her a candle. She reminds her to wash "down there," to keep the baby healthy. When June exits the bath, she feels her baby kick.

On June’s first morning back in the Waterford house, she is woken by Aunt Lydia. Rita returns June the package of letters from Mayday that she’d been saving for the past 92 days because "she can't" anymore. June once again hides the letters behind the tub. Downstairs, everyone’s preparing for the baby shower party that afternoon. Offred and Nick see each other and simply smile. Aunt Lydia forces June to drink a specially prepared vitamin shake, which she spits up. She apologizes, so Aunt Lydia makes her another.

At the baby shower, Serena opens up handmade presents from the other Wives. Leah mentions to Serena how it was such a shame that she missed the baby's first trimester due to the "kidnapping" of her handmaid, and Naomi says that because of it, she probably missed the baby's first kick. When Serena tries to save face by saying that it is too early for the baby to kick, June interjects that she felt the baby kick for the first time last night. The other wives awkwardly congratulates Serena. Serena retreats to the yard with a cigarette. Lydia tells Serena that everything that happens now must be for the good of the child, taking Serena's cigarette and putting it out.

Commander Fred is out skeet-shooting with some other Commanders (among them Putnam, Pryce, and Cushing). He insinuates that he’d like to travel to Canada along with Cushing to "ease sanctions" and states to have his house in order, to which Pryce replies "back in order".

As her fellow handmaids walk by, June stops Alma and she briefly informs June that Mayday has gone silent and is "done helping handmaids". She adds because that she stood up for Janine, Ofglen (#2) had her tongue cut out. As June looks down on Alma's burned and scarred wrist, Alma tells her that what happened to Ofglen (#2) wasn't her fault, before adding, "...not that part..." and walking away. Lydia retrieves June, and June and Serena hold a "binding ceremony" with the other Wives and Handmaids.

In a flashback, Annie, Luke’s first wife, confronts June after a yoga class. Annie accuses her of sabotaging a vow made before God. June is clearly affected by the encounter. Later, Luke reprimands Annie over the phone. June is troubled by the encounter and questions Luke. He comforts her, saying "she doesn’t matter" because they’re "going to get married" and he's going to "make her happy."

After the shower, Serena plays with the baby's toys as June watches. June tells Serena about her own shower. When June states that she gave away half of their gifts at her baby shower for Hannah, Serena slaps Rita. Lydia pulls June away and Serena storms off. She tells her husband she wants June out of the house. He refuses, saying that Serena won't want to miss the pregnancy and not to let June take it away from her.

Lydia and June go on a walk by the river. She shows her the corpse of Omar. Lydia informs June that his wife became a handmaid and the son was given away, never to be seen by his mother again. Lydia emphasizes that June is responsible for Omar’s death, not Offred.

That evening, June begs for forgiveness in front of all the members of the Waterford household and asks to again be Offred. Lydia is happy with her apology and says that they house will find peace.

Serena crawls into Offred's bed  (Relationships/Serena and June)

Serena smokes as she listens to a lullaby. She later crawls into bed with Offred. She caresses her stomach and talks to the baby. When Serena leaves, Offred goes into the closet, repeating to herself, “My fault. My fault. My fault."

In a flashback, Luke and June are at a cafe. When they are sitting down, Luke retrieves a highchair for his daughter. As Luke goes to order, June sees Annie across the room. She spots June and the baby and, with both anger and sadness, she storms out.

"My fault"

Back in the present, it is now morning. Offred is still lying in her closet, but now she is begging, "Please, God, let Hannah forget me. Let me forget me."

Offred goes shopping. Nick spots her and tries to apologize, she answers blankly, "We've been sent good weather," ignoring his apologies. She stands outside the gate and waits. She thinks, "We've been sent good weather," over and over again to herself.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Starring[edit | edit source]

Guest Starring[edit | edit source]

Additional Cast[edit | edit source]

  • Angela Vint as Leah
  • Ashleigh Rains as Wife #1
  • Genevieve Adam as Wife #2
  • Jane Smythe as Wife #3
  • David Gingrich as Linds
  • Danielle Height as Meredith
  • Jamila Fleming as Handmaid

Quotes[edit | edit source]

"The Waterfords have kindly agreed to a "trial run," as it were, and, if you're a very very good girl, you might even be invited to stay. You see, June will be chained in this room until she gives birth. And then, June will be executed. Offred has an opportunity. It would be better for the baby." —Aunt Lydia to Offred

"We made vows before God. That means something. He's a good man who wants to do the right thing. You have to let him do it. You can't just wreck people's lives like they don't matter. Did you ever even think about me? About what you were doing to me? Do you think about me when you're screwing my husband, you selfish bitch? He's just playing with you. He'll come back home to me. You are never going to know him like I do. I was his first, did he tell you that? You think you can just take him from me just because you want him? Fucking whore!" —Annie to June

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Music[edit | edit source]

  • "Hate" by Cat Power

Notes[edit | edit source]

Commander Fred says about Offred "she's nothing". Aunt Lydia says "she's strong".

References[edit source]

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