Women's Work is the eighth episode of the second season of The Handmaid's Tale.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

A sick baby tests Offred and Serena. Janine finally faces Naomi.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Offred and Serena work together to do Commander Fred's work while he is in the hospital. Serena seems happy to work, but when asked by Offred if she misses working, she answers that "it's a small sacrifice to make to be welcomed back into God's grace". She then takes a moment and says that she truly detests knitting. Offred tells Serena that she is a good writer, to which she answers that she will not forget her help. She then tells her that the Commander is coming back from the hospital the day after. Offred seems unhappy about it.

The Commander returns to the house after being hospitalized and is welcomed back by Serena, Rita, Eden and Offred. Serena goes over the work Offred and her did for him while he was away. He is grateful but ushers her out of the office.

Upstairs, Offred finds a music box and a rose on her bed, believing it to be thanks from Serena for her work.

In their home, Eden tries to talk to her husband. She asks Nick if she can "spruce up" their house. He absently answers that it "sounds good" and quickly leaves again. Eden looks sad.

In the kitchen, Rita asks Offred to get more honey as Eden borrowed it and Rita doubts she will get it back. Serena arrives and tells Offred that baby Angela isn't well. She leaves to go offer Naomi support.

Offred walks to the store where she runs into Janine and Emily. Janine calls her new posting a "blessing from God" since it is "only the Ceremony, no blowjobs". Emily replies that being raped is not a blessing and that the real blessing was the bomb. She adds that anyone helping Gilead deserves to be blown apart. An ambulance drives by causing everyone to kneel and pray for the sick baby. Brianna tells Janine she heard it is Angela (Charlotte). As Janine panics, June promises her she will find out more about what is going on.

Later, Serena tells Offred that the baby is not doing well and that they don't know what is wrong with her. Offred asks if there is something they can do and Serena says that they could ask one of the top female doctors to help, but that would mean bending the law. Offred says that if it was her baby that she would do whatever she could.

Serena asks Fred if he can allow the female doctor, who is now a Martha, to check on the baby. Fred refuses, saying they can't question the will of God. Serena tells Offred that Fred said no and that they must pray for the best. Offred tells Serena about Janine and how she knows about the baby. Offred asks if Janine could see the baby but Serena tells her to not be stupid.

In the hospital, Serena Joy asks Naomi if Janine, who is brought by Aunt Lydia, could see the baby. Though Naomi is unhappy, Commander Warren thinks they should allow it.

June takes an emotional Janine to see the ailing baby in the ICU. A former famed neonatologist named Dr. Hodgson, now a Martha, arrives and is briefed on Angela’s condition by Dr. Epstein, who is very happy to see her. Dr. Hodgson cries as she puts on her hospital wear.

She runs several tests on the baby, but is still unable to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with Angela. Naomi and Warren receive the bad news from Epstein as Janine helplessly watches. Serena is greatly upset with Dr. Hodgson, but the doctor explains that there is not much more she can do and suggests that Angela should be made to feel comfortable and warm. Upon June’s suggestion, Janine is able to hold her daughter, and even removes her mask and gloves in order to touch and kiss her baby.

Serena and Offred arrive home and are told by Nick that they are wanted in the Commander's office. Fred tells them that he knows that Serena forged his signature so that the Martha could see the baby. Serena says that she did it for the child, "[the] greater responsibility there is in Gilead." The Commander answers that obeying her husband is her greater responsibility. He asks Offred if that is her handwriting on one of the papers she helped with while he was in the hospital, and she says yes. Fred says that they now must make amends and, as punishment, brutally whips Serena with his belt while forcing Offred to watch.

Nick goes home to Eden and finds that she has organized the house. He sees the stack of letters Offred was burning on the nightstand and asks her if she read them. She says no and he forbids her from ever touching his things again.

Back to your room  (Relationships/Serena and June)

Serena is in her room crying as she looks at the scars on her buttocks. Offred arrives and asks her if there is anything she can do but Serena only sends her back to her room. Instead, Offred goes downstairs and apologizes to Fred for what she did. She asks if he will forgive her and he says to go to bed.

The next morning, Aunt Lydia wakes up in the ICU and finds Janine in her underclothes holding a cooing and happy baby, seemingly cured by her mother’s touch.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Starring[edit | edit source]

Guest Starring[edit | edit source]

Additional cast[edit | edit source]

  • Troy Blundell as Offred's Guardian
  • Ian Ronningen as Offred's Guardian #2
  • Karen Glave as Dr. Hodgson
  • Andy McQueen as Dr. Epstein

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Music[edit | edit source]

  • "Easy" by Lionel Richie
  • Matt Monro - Rain Sometimes
  • I Only Wanna Be With You by Volbeat

Notes[edit | edit source]

References[edit source]

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