Unwomen (TV Episode) is the second episode of the second season of The Handmaid's Tale.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Plot[edit | edit source]

June is laying in the back of a truck as a Femaleroad courier moves her to a safe location, which looks to be a generic abandoned industrial building, but is later revealed to be the former home of the Boston Globe newspaper. She hears sirens approaching and tenses up but nobody comes inside to find her.

In the Colonies, Emily is seen working in the fields clearing toxic waste from the ground. After a long moment of work, she and the other prisoners stop to pray.

In a flashback, we see Emily giving a lecture on microbiology. During the class, one of her female students offers and opinion but is interrupted by a man in the class. When the class ends, she talks with the student, advising her not to withhold her opinions because a man might interrupt her. Emily gets a call that she needs to take. Emily is seen talking to Dan, one of the staff, about getting more research time. She's told that she's not teaching next semester and that she should think of this as an opportunity. Dan adds that "the new board of regents is concerned" that she isn't "maintaining a healthy teaching environment", and that there is unrest right now because of what happened in the Capitol. She tells him that she's teaching next semester.

Life in the Colonies

Emily is seen helping other handmaids with their injuries. She goes to help one but they say don't waste the pill because she can't hold down water. Emily goes outside to pick some mint leaves for tea. She witnesses the arrival of more workers for the Colonies. One of them is a former Wife. She isn't welcomed by the others. She sits down and begins to pray.

June wanders around the Boston Globe building. Walking among office cubicles, she silently ganders at the materials and matter which characterized the world before Gilead. Yellowed newspaper issues, sports merchandise (Boston Red Sox in particular), family photos, and knick-knacks all decorate the abandoned cubicles; she even finds a DVD of the TV show Friends. June later wanders down to the basement, where she stumbles upon a line of nooses hung on the rafters. She then turns to the wall, which is stained with blood and littered with bullet holes. June is horrified and sickened at the sight of what was obviously a massacre, and briefly cries in silence. Suddenly, she hears noises. She hides but it is only Nick. She asks him to get her out of here because it's a slaughterhouse. He tells her that she has to wait a couple of weeks. She tells him that they need to find Hannah but he says no. She asks for him to give her his keys to the car. He gives them to her and he gives her a gun. She goes to the car and gets in to leave. Nick stands there watching her. She starts to hit the steering wheel because she knows she isn't going to leave. She gets out of the car and gives him back the keys and the gun. They begin to kiss and have sex. They finish and she looks at him. He tells her he can't anymore. She says to try.

Emily continues to work in the poisonous fields. Emily talks to the mistress and offers her some advice. They talk and Emily learns that the mistress was sent to the Colonies because she slept with another man and fell in love. She asks if she thinks love matters to God. Emily gives her some antibiotics and the woman asks why she's helping her. She says that her mistress was kind to her once.

In a flashback, Emily sees the word "faggot" spray painted on the ground. She runs down the stairs to see why and sees Dan hanging from the rafters.

The airport is crowded, presumably with other refugees also attempting to flee, when Emily arrives there with her wife Sylvia and son Oliver. Sylvia and Oliver can get through because they are Canadian citizens but since Emily didn't get a Canadian visa, she still needs a "border traffic bypass stamp" to go through the gates. They go to get permission but learn that they are no longer married - a new law has been passed invalidating the marriages of gay couples. Emily has to say goodbye to her family and watches as they ride an escalator up to so that they can get on an airplane.

Emily hears someone vomiting and goes to see that O'Conner is throwing up. Emily asks if she took the antibiotics that she gave her. She says that she doesn't think they are working. The woman realizes that she gave her something else, something deadly. Emily says she did it because every month she held a girl down while her husband raped her. They hang her dead body outside on a cross. An Aunt warns the insubordinate prisoners of any greater consequences that will come sometime in the future. As they are walking to the fields for another day of toxic work, new prisoners arrive, and one of them is Janine.

June watches FRIENDS on a laptop. She suddenly gets up and grabs a box. She goes desk to desk and picks stuff from each one to put into it. She sets up a candle vigil for the people who had been murdered downstairs.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Starring[edit | edit source]

Guest Starring[edit | edit source]

Additional Cast[edit | edit source]

  • Philip Craig as Maintenance Van Driver
  • Nicky Guadagni as Aunt Sarah
  • Novie Edwards as Kit
  • Soo Garay as Fiona
  • Keeya King as Jenna
  • Ian Geldart as Mike
  • Helen King as Aunt Pauline
  • Cornelia Luna as Unwoman #1
  • Josephine Buettner as Unwoman #3
  • Diana Tso as Unwoman #4
  • Shahi Teruko as Gwendolyn
  • Felicia Simone as Crying Student
  • Janet PInnick as Ticket Agent
  • Jason Jazrawy as I.C.E. Agent
  • Mark Wiebe as I.C.E Supervisor
  • Rehan Suleman as Campus Officer

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

The school Emily teaches at is UTM (University of Toronto at Mississauga). Emily's lecture is in the main lecture hall of the Communication and Information Technology Building.  (Film Locations)

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Offred watches Friends episode 11, season 4 titled "The One with Phoebe's Uterus." (Cultural References/Movies and TV)
  • The majority of the soundtrack which plays with the ending credits is TV audio of the Boston Red Sox winning the 2013 World Series.
  • Oliver is two years old at the airport; Emily as Handmaid later tells June her son is now "almost five" (Episode "Offred"), which means the scene at the airport happens at most three years before present time. By "The Other Side", Luke gets June's message (via Flores) three years after his escape to Canada, which means the dates of June's and Emily's escape attempts roughly coincide.
  • The presence of U.S. officials applying  'Gileadean' laws (like annulment of same-sex marriages) implies the existence of a pre-Gileadean period where the United States government is already under factual control of the Gileadean junta (Committee).
  • Emily mentions in "Offred" she "got caught at the airport", which means she was detained right after her family's departure. Possibly the Airport fell without any bloodbath like Boston did. 
  • The airport crowd could mean the Airport was reopened after a short period of time or Boston was about to fall very shortly. 

References[edit source]

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