I laughed. I cried. I mostly laughed. I'm not sure why I LOL'd so much this episode, but I think "Smart Power" had me chuckling more than any other episode of the season. Which is weird, because this was also one of the most touching and emotional episodes of The Handmaid's Tale as well.
Alternatively titled, "Treason and Coconuts," episode 9 opens with Offred giving an Airbnb review to the Waterford's house. “This could be an Airbnb, not a great one. A three-star review maybe. The owners are super nice but creepy as fuck. Ritualized rape required.” Three stars??? She's probably being kind with her stars because Rita's soups are so delicious.
What this opening scene conveyed, to me anyway, was Offred accepting her situation. No plans on escaping. No thoughts of revenge. Just livin' her weird existence as a handmaid in Gilead. It also appears that any delusion she had of her and Serena somehow working together to make this place better, is now gone.
In walks Rita to announce their summoning and anytime she enters a room, I'm prepared for A. Comedy gold and B. To love her more each time. Amanda Brugel has become my favorite actor in The Handmaid's Tale. Her one-liners, expressions, and care for Offred fill me with joy. If they ever decide to kill my precious Rita, I will fucking riot.
Creepy Uncle Fred tells the ladies that he and Serena are headed on a trip to Canada and that Nick will be coming with them. A guardian named Isaac will be in charge while they are gone and the women are instructed to "be on their best behavior." Don't pee on the carpet or chew up Serena's shoes again!
To the greenhouse where Serena is joyless and pining over her flowers. She doesn't want to leave the baby during the third trimester. AKA, she doesn't want to be around creepy Fred. Not sure where we are on the What Fruit Or Vegetable Is My Baby Scale, so let's just go with Swiss chard. Sounds right and wrong all at the same time.
Fred tells Serena that she has to come to prove that women in Gilead aren't oppressed and this was my second LOL of the episode. It's pretty amusing that in a situation where Fred is telling Serena she has to go to prove Gilead women are free, that Serena isn't free to make a choice about whether she can go or not. Oppression is a bitch, ain't it Serena?
As the Waterfords and Nick are packing up the Range Rover, Eden pops by to send her husband off with some freshly back chocolate chip cookies. Nick gonna Nick, so he's pretty much a robotic dick for the entire conversation. We know this isn't an ideal situation Nick, but can you at least muster the energy to say thanks for the cookies? This child is soooooo close to turning you in for being a gender traitor.
To the handmaid cave, where Serena goes to tell “her” baby goodbye, but also to drop a nuclear bomb on Offred. After the baby is born, Offred gotta git. Why do these people keep violating rule number 2 of the Things You Should Never Do To A Pregnant Woman? Don't upset them! (Number 1 is, never feed a pregnant lady after midnight. )
In the end, our heroine doesn’t have much fight left in her. She only responds with a “Yes, Mrs. Waterford.”
I have to be honest, when I saw early on this season that Fred would be making a trip to Canada, I literally guffawed. I was like, there’s no way that Canada would invite Gilead up for some diplomatic mission. Fast forward to this week when my wet sack of farts real-life President invited North Korea to the White House and everything that makes sense in this world has now been thrown out the window. A third-story window like the one that Offred may or may not have fallen out of a few episodes ago. So, kudos to you Handmaid’s Tale writers because Y'all are the Nostradamus’s of screenwriting.
In Canada, we see Luke and Moira pleading their case with the Little America representative about how Creepy Uncle Fred should be arrested once he arrives in Canada. The Little America rep, let’s call her Ashley, because she looks like she should be named Ashley, tells them no. She’s like, go put on a pink hat and make a sign for the protest, cause that’s all you can do. Thanks Ash.
In the limo that’s driving the Gilead Gang around, we see Serena looking longingly out the window at the happy Canadians. People are holding hands, playing music, kissing and showing affection. You know, things that people do when they don’t live in an authoritarian religious nightmare.
The faces of Serena this episode cut my heart into a million pieces. Watching this woman staring out the window into the past life that she used to live, was one of my favorite scenes. Did she picture herself out there? Did she think, it wasn’t that bad? Why did we want to destroy it? I want to kiss in public again. I wonder what time the next SoulCycle class starts and if they have any slots available?
Just as we start to feel bad for Serena, we all collectively remember that SHE IS THE ARCHITECT OF GILEAD AND THE ROLES WOMEN HAVE THERE! Damnit Serena, why do you pull us in all directions?!?!
Next we see Fred, Serena and Nick meeting with the Canadian representatives. Fred tries to impress them with his French and a pocket gay goes ahead and bitch slaps our creepy uncle back to reality. My husband and I would love to visit someday but we aren’t welcome. BOOM! Pocket gay wins this round! Eat it, Fred.
The important people head off and we are left with the most intelligent person in the room, Serena, who has being treated like a toddler. Here’s your pictograph schedule, dear. Now let’s get you away from all this excitement and let the men do their work.
The Canadian official who has been tasked to babysit toddler Serena, tells her about how her life is her work. Having quickly run out of subjects to talk about, because what the hell do you talk about with a cult member from Gilead? The official says, I heard you like knitting. Haha! Serena lies and says she does love knitting. This is how Serena lives now. She lies to herself er’day, all’day.
Serena is a bit of a freakshow in Canada. She’s scaring mothers and children on elevators, so she decides to head to the bar...alone…without any security…which seems unsafe.
Looking like an artifact that crawled off the set of Mad Men, Serena slides into the bar for a drink. A handsome lothario cozies up to our blue dressed Evangelical and Serena sees through his fake ass shit in an instant.
He stops the act and says he can have Serena on a plane to Honolulu in an hour. Get some compression socks girl. That flight from Canada to Honolulu will be about 10 hours and it is hell. Serena rebuffs his offers and takes his cigarettes and matches after he leaves.
Later at the hotel, the Waterfords return to some pissed off protesters. Luke busts through the line with a picture of him, Offred and Hannah. He gives Fred a piece of his mind and then security grabs him before he can break Fred in half. Be gentle with him, “He’s a lamb of God.”
Ok, how did Nick find Luke at that bar? More importantly, how is boring ass Nick who treats his child bride like shit, finding a place in my cold dead gay heart? He gives Luke the Mayday letters and gives him some unfortunate updates about his wife. She’s pregs. With my bab, I mean, the Commander's baby.
When Moira, Erin, and Luke read the Mayday letters, Erin decides to set off the third explosion in the last three episodes. Ofglen started a trend! #PatriarchyBombs
Unbeknownst to the Waterfords, they get up for another rousing day of governmenting and they are met in the lobby with some pretty pissed off Canadian officials. Moira and company uploaded the Mayday letters and Gilead is no longer welcome. Git!
As the Gileaders. Gileadians? Gileadorites? As they try and make their way to the plane, protesters have surrounded the cars. We see Moira with a sign that says My Name is Moira. She says, “not Ruby.” Fred definitely remembers 'ol Rube.
Back in Gilead, Janine tells Isaac to suck her dick and Isaac says, “Mam, that isn’t very nice. Please watch your P’s and Q’s." Nah. He slams her head with his rifle, but not before he says shut up, “unwoman!” The handmaid’s shopping trip is cut short and Isaac takes Offred home. Isaac is a douche and I hope he dies in a fire.
When they arrive back home without the requested grocery items, Rita is like, ahh well, I guess I’ll make beans then. Way to go Isaac. The pregnant lady has to eat beans now. I hope you're happy.
When Rita comes upstairs to bring Offred her warm milk, Offred tells her the news that Mrs. Waterford is kicking her out immediately after the baby is born. Offred then asks her if she will look out for the baby when she is gone.
When Aunt Lydia comes for a weekly FUPA measuring, Offred apologizes for the unpleasantness with Isaac and Janine the day before. She then opens up a filth dimension by basically disclosing to Big Lyd that Fred beats women and that the baby needs protecting. I don’t know about this move. Like, I foresee this move, like most June moves, coming back to bite her in her grandma bloomers wearing ass.
Something noteworthy here is that Lyd reveals that she was a godmother to her sister’s child, and that the child died and it wasn’t her fault. Ahhh, ok. That’s not creepy at all, Lydia.
After the joyless Waterfords return home, Fred talks about how lucky they are. Sure Fred. Serena unpacks her smurf clothes from her suitcase and tosses the Hawaiian matchbox into the fire. It’s too bad. You would LOVE Honolulu, Serena.
There’s a knock on Offred’s door and I screamed out, “Oh Lord Jesus, don’t let it be Fred!” It wasn’t, so thank you Jesus.
Nick enters and he is my knight in shining straight boy armor. I'm not attracted to men...like, at all. But Nick has wormed his way into my DM’s with this move he pulled here. So, unselfish. So, empathetic. So, thoughtful. So, not what dudes in shows are normally written to do. He tells Offred all the info from Luke and that Moira got out and is living with him in Canada.
After Nick leaves, we end the episode where we started. Only this time, it's not Offred spending her time making fake Airbnb reviews for the Waterford house. Now, she's found her fire again and is going to try and find a way out of this hellscape. Git girl...git.
Blessed be, bitches.
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