Welp, where do we go from here?
Episode 10 of The Handmaid’s Tale was titled “Last Ceremony.” It started off with such promise and hope. I mean, who doesn’t love a good dick stomp to a rapist? My hope was quickly deflated though after I realized that Emily’s was not the only last ceremony of the episode.
Overall, I find it strange that I liked “Last Ceremony,” because I also hated it at the same time. Is this on me though? Am I a hypocrite for being critical of the way the show is using the Waterford’s violently raping Offred as a story narrative? After all, I’m literally watching a show whose entire plot is based on a dystopian future where Handmaid’s are raped monthly. That’s. The. Show. If I wasn’t down with rape, then I probably should have invested my time in watching another series. Something more cheery…with less torture and cattle prods…and more kindness and better soups.
We will get to “The Scene” in a little bit. In the meantime, let’s get to that dick smash heard around the world.
The show opens with Emily being raped at a ceremony. The looks that the Wife and Commander give each other during the rape, are ones that are still sticking with me today. This wasn't a ceremony for them. These sickos were getting off on this joint rape. Any roots of biblical justification were definitely replaced with perverse sexual thrill.
June’s voice plays in the background and speaks about how to survive the ceremony/rape. You have to disassociate from your body. From that moment. From that place. You can see Emily trying to leave or disassociate, but it’s not working and I almost thought for a moment that she was going to sit up and murder both of these rapists. She didn’t have too. Dude has a massive heart attack and dies. There is a God.
The Wife’s reaction to ask Emily to help with the ailing husband is a perfect example of how delusional these people are. You want me to help the man who rapes me? Haha. No. Here’s what I will do though, Ima wait till you leave the room to get help and then land a WWF style blow to your husband's dick and balls, ya rapey bitch.
At Loaves and Fishes (Or All Flesh the butcher…whatever), all the Handmaid’s are gossiping about the death of Emily’s Commander. Let's call him, Commander Smashed Dick. Offred looks over and sees Ofsmasheddick all distraught and surrounded by all the chatty Handmaids dressed in their red. Nobody check on Emily, guys. Just keep ignoring her and continue your gossip. These ladies are now numb to pain.
Offred and her pregnant body start to waddle over to comfort Emily. She stops midway with a belly pain. She’s EXTREMELY pregnant at this point and apparently about one week away from her due date. Let’s check in on the What Fruit Or Vegetable Is My Baby Scale. According to the scale, the baby is a jackfruit. Jackfruit tastes like how feet smell.
When Offred gets to Emily, she sees a broken woman. Offred tells her that Moira escaped to Canada. After no reaction from Emily, she tells her to snap the fuck out of it. There’s hope, damnit! Then she grabs her belly in pain because she’s going into labor.
The baby ambulance wee woo’s back to the Waterford house. The proud father to be tenderly escorted Offred up to a waiting Serena. Eden side eye’s this whole event and we all yell at Nick to stop making lovey eyes with your ACTUAL love in front of your fake love! Serena says some creepy bible verse to Offred’s belly and the whole absurdity of Gilead birth begins!
Rita is moving flowers and ordering around other Martha’s like a boss. Handmaid’s are shuffled into the bedroom by Aunt Lydia. Alma thumps her chest, points at Offred and says, “We gotchu, girl!” The Commanders are all downstairs smoking cigars and fighting over who gets to have the fertile Offred next as their Handmaid. The Wives are being complete and utter wastes of space by setting up their fake birth scenario with Serena in the sitting room. It’s a three-ring circus.
Also, before we move on, it must be said that holy shit there’s a black Commander. A black Commander, guys! The way he was introduced too, just seemed like it was meant to be monumental and important. Please, please, please new black Commander, if there is any justice in this world, you will be the one that brings down this horrible cult.
Back to the birth! Just as Serena is getting into her final push and Mrs. Putnam yells, “I can see the crown of the baby’s head!” Aunt Lydia enters the room and all the Wives throw her puzzled looks. She lets them know, there ain’t no baby coming today. False labor pains, gals! Hahaha! Suck it, Serena.
Offred is back to her old ways, and when Serena enters the bedroom, Offred in her white gown says the fakest, “I’m Sorry, Mrs. Waterford.” Girrrrrrllll, you’re playing a dangerous game with Serena, but she already knows that. Every time Offred fights back like this, Serena comes in and destroys her. I’m sure on the podcast this week, we will inevitably have another 80-minute conversation about whether Offred’s petty wins like this, are the right move. Spoiler Alert: IT NEVER IS THE RIGHT MOVE
The doctor examines Offred and says that she still has a week or two until birth. Both he and Big Lyd want this baby to come “the natural way,” despite Serena’s insistence that they C-Section the baby out.
Aunt Lydia continues her grift as someone who has midwife skills and says that she will help get the baby moving out by feeding Offred one of her mango salads and some spicy tea. If that doesn’t work, she says they will rub two sticks together at high noon on a Monday and throw salt over their shoulders while staring at the largest oak tree on the block. That induces pregnancy every time! This bitch and her pseudoscience grift. We see you Lyd…we see you.
Serena is like, ok, we’ll have this baby the natural way then. Ohhh, and after it comes not only will Offred be leaving the house, but also leaving the district. Offred grins and says, it’s for the best. Aunt Lydia shakes her head in disapproval at Offred, as does all the viewing audience. Petty wins = pain for Offred.
Later that night, Offred goes down to let Fred know that Serena is kicking her out and moving her to another district. She asks him if he can move her to the district that Hannah is in. Fred is like, no way and then he yells at her and says that he’s spoiled her.
On her way out the door, she turns back and reminds Fred that the baby isn’t his when she says, “You have no idea what it is like to have a child of your own flesh and blood. And you never will.” Then, with an “I win” look on her face, she turns and leaves. No girl. You didn’t win. You can’t win. When are you going to learn that?
To the greenhouse, where Serena is failing at creating life. She just can’t win at producing babies or plants. Fred and Serena hatch a plan to accelerate the baby’s birth. These two are fucking monsters.
Alright. The Scene. The plan that Serena and Fred come up with is to rape Offred. The reasons behind this aren’t voiced on screen and only referred to as a “natural” way to get the baby out. In real life, there is some evidence, all though it's still not medical doctrine, that orgasms can help release oxytocin which can induce pregnancy. Semen is also thought to help soften the cervix. These are natural methods. Rape is not a natural way to induce labor. Fred and Serena are fucking morons and the only thing they are interested in is terrorizing and torturing Offred.
Serena summons Offred to her bedroom, where she grabs her wrists, holds her down and Fred rapes her. Offred screams and says no. She fights back as best a severely pregnant woman can, and we hear the voiceover from the opening scene with Emily. It’s Offred’s voice talking about dissociating again.
I don’t want to write too much about the rape scene here, because I’m still processing it. What I will say is that this was a very horrific piece of television that I watched. I’m not sure if I will be up for watching a season 3 of this show. More on the podcast later this week.
After the violence, we get a long shot of Offred’s limp body. She’s not there. She never fully returns to her body until the next day.
Eden, the poor love-starved child bride who is looking for any kind of attention, finds it with Isaac. She's outside taking out the trash when she and Isaac kiss. Nick sees them and then Eden sees Nick seeing. She confronts Nick and apologizes. He’s like, whatevs. She’s like, you like the Handmaid and you don’t love me! Then, she sobs.
This was right after the rape scene, so I was already numb by the time I watched poor Eden realize that her husband doesn't love her. She just wants to be kissed!
The next day Fred tells Offred he has a surprise for her. He instructs Nick to be back in 3 hours and not to let anyone see them. Away they go to an abandoned mansion in the woods. Nick leads Offred in and we see another Guardian. In a living room area is Hannah and a Martha.
What happens next is something that I can only relay back in bits and pieces, because I spent a solid five minutes ugly crying. The parallels of Offred reuniting with her child who was ripped away from her, and the children that are being ripped from their families at the border right now, was too much for ol' Erin to take. Literally. I couldn’t take it.
I stopped crying for a brief minute, only to start sobbing once again after mother and daughter are separated once more. Elisabeth Moss didn’t phone this one in, Y'all. This was so real…it was too real. She needs all the awards and she needs all the awards right damn now.
As Nick is comforting a distraught Offred, we hear a vehicle approaching. Nick instructs her to go back into the house and hide.
This next scene is fuzzy and I’m still not entirely sure what happened. We hear and see Nick interacting with two Eyes who arrived in an SUV. They were like, you aren’t supposed to be here. Then someone shoots? Was it Nick trying to shoot them? Were they shooting at Nick? What the heck is happening?
They throw Nick in the SUV, take his SUV, and speed away. Offred is left cold, alone and pregnant in the abandoned mansion. She runs outside, probably thinking to herself, could I run to Canada while 9 months pregnant? And the answer is: If you want it bad enough, yes.
In conclusion, this was a tough episode to watch. In fact, this whole episode was a kick in the emotional dick, so it was appropriate that the show began as it did. Also, we better not get anymore Serena redemption arc after this. That bridge has been burned. She is the actual devil.