In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Serena Joy quoting John 1:1 from Eden's bible

The Word is the thirteenth episode of the second season of The Handmaid's Tale.


Serena and the other Wives strive to make change. Emily learns more about her new Commander. Offred faces a difficult decision.


While Offred and Rita are doing laundry, Rita confesses that she treated Eden badly. Offred reveals that she slept with Nick. Rita says that she should've tried harder. Offred continues to go through Eden's things. She finds a Bible. Offred goes to see Serena and shows her the bible and how Eden wrote notes all over it. Serena says that Eden has been hiding a multitude of sins. Offred is upset and asks Serena how she plans to raise Nichole. Serena Joy says that she'll be raised properly and understand the Word of God. Offred says that she won't be able to read it, and leaves, still upset.

Nick is visited by Eden's father who apologizes for Eden. Commander Fred asks if he has another daughter and he says yes. Commander Fred tells him to make sure that their other daughter is raised more properly. Eden's father tells them how he was the one who turned in Eden to the authorities. Offred is shocked and asks Commander Fred what he'll do when they come for his daughter. He closes the door and slaps her. She slaps him back. He grabs her by the face and shoves her down. Later, Rita helps Offred by giving her an ice pack.

Nick arrives and Rita leaves to give he and Offred some alone time. Offred tells him that it's okay. They hear Nichole downstairs so both of them go to check on her. Rita is holding her but gives her to Offred. Offred in turn gives her to Nick. She tells him to look at what they made and that she loves him.

The next day, Offred, Emily, Janine and another handmaid are out walking when they pass by the Wall, seeing Eden and Isaac hanging on it. While talking about the young couple's fates, Offred tells the others that she found a Bible among Eden's possessions.

Emily tells them about how tonight is her first night doing the ceremony with her new family. Emily also mentions that next week is her son's birthday. Offred says that they should celebrate. Emily says that she's glad she got to see June again.

Serena is over at Naomi's house with the baby. She asks Naomi if she ever worries about her daughter's future. Naomi says that she puts her faith in Gilead. Serena asks if other wives have opinions about this and Naomi says yes. Serena says she'd be interested in hearing them. Naomi agrees.

Emily goes downstairs but doesn't find anyone. She goes into the kitchen and grabs a knife which she hides in her clothes. She then goes and kneels in the sitting room and grips the knife while she waits. Commander Lawrence tells her to get up, that he isn't going to do the ceremony with her. Emily is confused but she gets up and leaves.

Serena approaches the Council about an amendment. Other wives attend the meeting in support. She tells them about how they want to teach the sons and daughters of Gilead to read. Commander Fred thanks them and that the Council will discuss the issue. Serena pulls out Eden's bible and begins to read. As she does, wives begin to leave. Naomi tells her that she shouldn't have done that. Commander Fred thanks them for coming but essentially dismisses them. The other wives leave but Serena stays behind to talk to her husband. She tells him that she did this to set an example for their daughter. Fred agrees that she has done this just as two other men come and drag Serena away. She screams at him for help but he just walks away.

Aunt Lydia arrives to visit Emily after her first Ceremony with Commander Lawrence. Unbeknownst to Emily, Commander Lawrence lied to Aunt Lydia and told her that the ceremony went splendidly. Emily doesn't say anything so Aunt Lydia leaves but as she does Emily stabs her in the back and pushes her over the banister. Emily goes after her and begins to kick her down the rest of the way. Cora comes and grabs Emily before calling Commander Lawrence to come and see what she did. Meanwhile, she takes Emily back to her room and tells her to stay there. Emily begins to have a meltdown.

Offred opens the front door and lets Serena and Fred inside the house. Serena can barely walk so Fred guides her to their room. He tells Offred that they had a difficult day but that from now on everything will be better. Offred waits until he leaves before she asks Serena what happened. Serena begins to unwrap her hand and shows her that they took her pinky finger as punishment for reading. She says that she tried and Offred sits on the bed and holds her hand.

Offred goes downstairs into the kitchen where Fred is calling for Rita. She tells him that she can't believe he let them do that to Serena. He says that they all have roles to play and that Serena needed to be reminded of hers. Fred offers to allow Offred to stay in the house with her baby and that they could try again but for a boy this time. She tells him to go fuck himself. He then brings up Hannah and how if she agreed she'd be able to see her more. He tells her to think about it as he goes back upstairs.

Commander Lawrence walks into Emily's room and asks what they're going to do with her. He grabs her and puts her into the car. They drive off with the music playing but Emily asks him to turn it off.

Offred is feeding Nichole when she hears a commotion outside, a house across the street has caught fire. Rita comes in and tells her that friends and other Marthas can get her and the baby out but that they need to leave now. Rita tells her to go past the greenhouse all the way to the corner of the yard, and that people will be waiting there. Offred hugs Rita and then leaves. Inside, Fred is working in his office with the music turned up and finally notices the commotion outside. He goes and asks Rita what's going on but she says she doesn't know. Realizing something is up, he runs upstairs to check on Nichole. The baby is not in her crib, so Fred runs to Offred's room, where Offred has written on the wall, "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum," which is Latin for, "Don't let the bastards grind you down." Nick follows him to her room and when Fred tells him to put together a search party Nick tells him to stay inside.

Serena is in the greenhouse and spots Offred with Holly/Nichole and tries to stop them. Offred tries to convince Serena to let them go, saying that Gilead is not a safe place to raise the child. Serena asks to hold the baby one last time, and Offred lets her. Serena says a blessing to the baby before handing her back to Offred, and she gives a similar blessing to Serena before she leaves. Offred goes from Martha to Martha, six in total, as they guide her out of Gilead. They lead her to the train tracks where she waits. She remembers when she sang to Hannah. She shows the picture of Hannah to Holly and tells her that maybe she'll meet her one day.

June then sees a car flashing its headlights. She comes closer and sees Emily talking with Commander Lawrence. They embrace but Emily asks what is happening, Lawrence remarking that he's getting into deep trouble for what he's doing. June tells Emily that she's getting out of Gilead as a truck carrying two Guardians arrives. Emily jumps into the back of the truck as Commander Lawrence drives away. As Emily begs June to get in the truck, June gives the baby to Emily, telling Emily to call her Nichole and to tell her that her mom loves her. June then shuts the door and the truck drives away, with Emily screaming her name. June pulls the hood of her cape over her head, and with a determined look on her face, walks away into the darkness.







  • "Itchycoo Park" by Small Faces
  • "Walking on Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox
  • "Burning Down the House" by Talking Heads


References Edit

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