"First Blood"- Episode 6 - Season 2 - The Handmaid's Tale

This episode features Offred's short-sightedness, Fred's rapey-ness, Serena's evilness, Ofglen's Rambo-ness and a child bride impregnation. Sorry, possible child bride impregnation. Oh, and Rita continues to slay. 

Episode 6 left me with a feeling of frustration. Most of that feeling was directed at Offred.  For me, it was Offred's inability to understand present Gilead circumstances as well as her inability to think past the moment. Our friend Econo-Wife said it best. Offred has "no concept of the long game."

This is our blog recap, so I'll try my best to keep this opinion free, but it's gonna be realllll hard with what happened in this episode.  We have a saying at Three Busy Ladies Podcast, and that is, "Save it for the pod." Let's just say, I can't wait to talk with all the ladies this Sunday about "Rambo: Handmaid's Tale: First Blood."

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We start off where we last saw Offred. She is at the hospital getting an ultrasound with Serena and a doctor. Once again, the audience is shown that Serena is a very intelligent woman who's brain is currently in a state of atrophy because she's no longer allowed to use it. She correctly points out that Offred's condition is a "subchorionic hematoma" and she even gives the doc a solution of using estrogen to correct the condition.  She could have been a doctor, a lawyer, a scholar, an anything. Instead, she chose imprisonment. Eat shit, Serena.  P.S. I love you, you complex bitch. 

Serena asks Offred if she would like to see the baby on the ultrasound monitor. This is the first of many "goodwill" gestures that Serena gives Offred.  I guess you can only torture fellow humans so long before it gets boring. 

Eventually, the new besties head home and Serena is being all sorts of nice. I think Offred, like most of us, was like, ok bitch, who are you and when will the old evil Serena pop back up?

Offred is moved to Serena's sitting room since she isn't in a condition to climb the stairs. This is where Nick comes for a visit. He wants to set up a secret meetup that night and Offred gives her most annoying line of the episode.  She rebuffs Nick and says, "What about Mrs. Blaine? What is her bedtime anyway?" Huhhhhhh. Really? More on this on the podcast...

As Nick declares his longing for them to create a family together, we hear footsteps approaching. If we can hear them, they can hear them. If you care about not getting strung up on a wall or being sent to the Colonies you two better stop giving sexy eyes to each other! Thank the old Gods and the new, that it's only Rita with her soup. Sooooo much soup in the dystopian future. 

Meanwhile, at The Rachel and Leah Center, Fred is preparing for brothers from all the districts to arrive and Aunt Lydia makes a couple of interesting comments. The first is what a step up this center is from the Red Center. No more dank gymnasiums for those gripping pollution PowerPoint slide shows that Aunt Lydia loves to give.

The second comment Lydia makes is, "Imagine how many more girls we can process here." Whoa, that's a horrifying thought.  Are they going to make more women handmaids? Will they be getting women from somewhere else? Gross. 

I can't tell what the purpose of Aunt Lydia's visit is.  She mentions to Fred about how he has been blessed with a particularly willful pair, in regards to his handmaid and his wife. She almost asks Fred whether he will step up and step in, if the need arises, to control this situation between Serena and Offred.  Fred quickly avoids any more Big Lyd time and goes off to speak with Andrew. 

There are multiple times in the last couple episodes where Fred is asked about his house being in order as well as comments made questioning his manhood.  I have a theory about why they are repeatedly showing us these scenes. I'll get to that at the end.

Meanwhile, back at Chez Waterford, Serena is doing her best to act like a human fucking being. Showing Offred kindness and clickity clacking her sowing needles together as she sits next to a pregnant lady who just wants to get some damn sleep. Clickity clacking sowing needles as well as interfering with a pregnant woman's sleep is not safe. Everyone knows this!

Offred tries to return some kindness to Serena by letting her feel her pregnant belly. I kept waiting for Serena to snap and choke Offred, or prod her with a hot fire poker, but it never happened and I was left wondering when does this bullshit fakeness end?

Onward to the past! Oh haillll yeah, we finally get some juicy Serena flashbacks. I hate this woman with the fire of a thousand suns, but goddamnit is she a fascinating creature! Any scene with Yvonne Strahovski is hot fire. 

Serena and Fred are on a college campus speaking engagement. The students are fired up and the crowd appears to be mostly against Serena's views, although we do have some pro-Serena peeps. We see signs that read "You are not welcome here," and "Resist."  

Behind Serena on the stage, is a blown-up copy of her book cover, "A Woman's Place." It's her shite book about how ladies need to stop lezzing out and be more bibley, pregnant, and subservient.  Mike Pence writes the forward, so you know it's good. 

It's all shoutey and loud and then some lady throws down a "Nazi cunt" and the place goes crazy.  Well, that escalated quickly.  I usually build up to when I call someone a Nazi cunt. I first start off with some light, "assholes!" and then elevate to "you sack of wet farts," before I get to Nazi cunt. That's just me. 

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Joking aside, I like the tv show vs. real life reality here that the writers are playing with. Serena and Fred represent a movement or ideology that wants to strip women of their rights and institute an authoritarian theocracy. Were the protesters wrong in shouting her down, or were they correct in seeing this call to strip rights as a threat to their democracy? This is a similar scenario that we face every day in this country. How free is our free speech? This is definitely something we will discuss in the pod this week.

Back in Gilead, Offred gets up for some water and Pervo McGee is stress eating an entire loaf of bread in the kitchen. He's off the Keto diet again! Offred, channeling her best teenage self, asks Fred, "Are you like, mad at me and stuff?" This conversation appears to be Offred playing the long game again, so good for her. However, why doesn't she continue this fakeness later on in the episode? 

Offred and Eden have a convo in which Eden reveals that she doesn't think Nick likes her. She wonders if he doesn't want to have sex with her because he's a gender traitor.  Offred accommodates this situation because Eden's culty brainwashing could get Nick hung up on the wall if he doesn't sleep with her.  

Now onto my favorite scene of the episode. Serena surprises Offred with a Handmaid's brunch at Gilead's hottest new eatery, Cafe Rita. They were all sold out of the bottomless mimosas, but the maids did get to eat some quiche. I really feel like they missed out by not ordering the daily special, Gilead Skillet. It consists of poached eggs, red quinoa, kale, spaghetti squash, grilled tomato, and avocado. If you go, don't forget to ask for the green tomatillo sauce!

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I fucking loved when Serena was trying to talk with Ofglen. It's like, bitch, you created a biblical utopia where the pleasantries of the old world are gone. You don't get to sit around and chit chat about gossip, hot brunch spots, and girl stuff anymore. When Ofglen is staring at her and we see Serena's shocked face, I wonder if only for a second, does she think, I'm responsible for this tongue-less woman not being able to speak? 

Offred tries to interrupt the awkwardness by talking about an old brunch hangout.  As they ponder what the name of it was, Serena speaks up and says, "Magnolias." She wonders if maybe they were all there at the same time. 

Back to Serena's flashback, Fred is encouraging her to get back out there and make people listen. She stands in the middle of the crowd and yells "You're spoiled, you're privileged and you're living in an academic bubble! The rate of healthy births has dropped 61% in the last 12 months!" I mean, what would Jesus do? I think the logical answer is rape fertile women once a month until they get pregnant. Great idea, Serena!

Some asshole shoots Serena while she is leaving the campus speech. Thanks a lot, dick. Now you've created a martyr for these fundo jerks.  Something I definitely want to dissect in the podcast is this martyrdom of Serena. Would the Sons of Jacob have been able to perform their coup if Serena hadn't been shot? Or was their takeover inevitable? 

Back to reality, literally, because Serena finally rips off her human woman mask and resumes her role as evil she-beast. She shows Offred the nursery and when Offred asks about seeing Hannah, Serena loses it and banishes Offred back to her prison in the attic. 

Once again, this was a very short-sighted move on Offred's part. You're playing chess, girl. You have to think long-term, not short-term! 

As Offred runs downstairs to collect her stuff, Nick shuffles in to ask her what's wrong.  Offred's like, listen, I don't know how to say this, so for self-preservation purposes, Ima just tell you straight up. You need to sleep with your child bride. She's gonna report you as a gender traitor and then you'll be fucked and in turn, then I'll be fucked too because I won't have anyone to help me escape. Fair enough. 

Offred's response to Nick of, "Oh, you have to fuck somebody you don't want to? Poor thing." Was pretty perfect.  I do feel for Nick, because he is also a victim of this system, but Offred's right. Nobody is holding him down once a month and raping him. He is definitely in a pickle and he's going to have to sleep with Eden. 

The child bride sex scene was one that I was dreading, but one I knew was inevitable. I was just glad that they didn't do what I thought they might do which is have some variation of the old timey practice of hanging out the bloody virginity sheets the next day. Rita comes in, grabs the bloodied bedsheets, hangs them out the third story of the house and yells, "She's a woman now, Gilead! She's a woman! Praise be!"

Thank you real-world Jesus and not Gilead Jesus that we didn't get the sheet hanging scene. We did get a shot of a frilly doily with a hole in it though and we were all reminded of how stupid these cultists are. I don't want to spend any more time on this shit, because I hated it and turned my head away, unable to watch the grossness of the sex scene. 

Flashback! Serena basically neuters Fred in front of God and everyone. She's like, stop being a pussy Fred! Be a man! Fred's like, ok. I'll see your hurtful insults and raise you a murder. 

I think by showing us Fred killing Serena's shooter's, we are meant to take away that Fred is capable of some violent shit. We knew he was cable of rape, torture and the ordering of others to commit murder, but here we have Fred doing the dirty work. 

Back in Gilead, Fred sneaks up to Offred's room and gives her a picture of Hannah. He also touches Offred and tries to sleep with her.  Offred, who is not convincing at all that she is fake liking Fred, tells him that they can't have sex because she is worried about the baby. Is Fred this dumb, or does he not see that Offred is repulsed by him? Dudes can sometimes be bad about reading women, so maybe he doesn't see her very obvious disdain for him?

Over at the Rachel and Leah Center, aka, The Less Skanky Red Center, now with twice the torture! We see Fred greeting fellow commanders as they arrive for the big ceremony.  Nick pulls Andrew aside and asks to be reassigned. He tells Andrew that there's a lot about Fred that he hasn't told him.  

Serena decides to teach Eden how to properly torture Offred. Start em young! That's what they say! Offred wasn't playing. She used her pregnancy as a way put a stop to Serena's bullshit, right quick.  

I really think that when Serena looks at Offred, she see's all those people that called her a Nazi cunt, as well as the people that shot her.  You really see that in Serena's face in this last scene between the two of them.  Nothing will ever justify Serena's evil actions, but after all of the flashbacks this episode, I now see what led her to choosing a path of violence and torture. 

The final scene of the episode ends with all the head rapers gathered at the Rachel and Leah Center as Fred delivers a speech. Ofglenbo, Rambo's younger, less muscley sister, falls out of the line of handmaids and enters the building. We see her raise up a trigger? a grenade? a bomb? What was that thing? 

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Whatever it was, it blew that building to shit, and I cheered like I was watching my girlfriends drink bottomless mimosas at Magnolia's. 

I said I have a theory about the repetitive "you're not a man, Fred" stuff, so here it is. I think that Fred set up the explosion.  I think by them showing us all these scenes where his manhood is questioned is the best way to demonstrate why he did this. I think he sensed Nick was spying on him for Andrew and that he was going to get busted for all his discretions. I could be wrong, but it just feels right, damnit!

What did you guys think? Do you feel like you have more insight into Serena? What's going to happen with the power structure in Gilead? Where the hell did Ofglen get that explosive device? As always, blessed be, bitches.