The Handmaiden’s Tale 1.5 ‘Faithful’

‘Faithful’ opens with Offred, skirt up to her knees, playing games with the Commander and drinking. In this episode, Offred tests her newfound freedom, we revisit the old Ofglen and meet the new, new ties are made, and boundaries are pushed.




The Magazine

The Commander gives Offred a gift; an old Vanity Fair type magazine called ‘Beauties’. What seems like a silly, frivolous, and trashy magazine, is an incredible luxury for Offred. Not only is it her opportunity to read, it’s her time travel back to her old world. It’s also a new step in this strange affair she’s maintaining with the Commander. He’s not only letting her engage in taboo scrabble, now he’s bringing her gifts of the old world.



The Garden

Serena Joy uses the garden to meet with Offred outside the watching eyes and ears of the house. It’s here we see that she is just as desperate for a child as Offred is to survive. She proposes a new way for Offred to get pregnant. She has spoken with Nick, the driver, and proposed a new ceremony with him and Offred. The fact that she only speaks of this in the garden tells us that she knows what she is proposing is dangerous, and while it’s more dangerous for Offred, if her husband caught her, Serena Joy could also face dire consequences for setting up her Handmaiden with another man.



The New Ofglen

We finally get a real glimpse into who the new Ofglen is. In an aggressive conversation on their walk home, she confronts Offred about her interaction with the old Ofglen, who is now Ofsteven. Basically telling her to cut the cr*p, but in an interesting twist, she notes how happy she is in the new world. In the old world, she was homeless, and resorted to prostituting herself for drugs and food. This new world is cozy compared to where she was before; she has a roof over her head, food every day. But this speaks more to the cruelty of the old world than the comfort of the new.


The Commander

This is the episode in which we discover the darkness behind the commander. During their post-ceremony meeting, he mocks Offred’s belief in love, defining it as merely lust wrapped in marketing. He then tells her what became of Ofglen/Ofsteven, in a way that is not accidentally threatening. He then says one of the most menacing lines from the book. “We only wanted to make the world better… Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse for some.” It’s obvious that these men in power knew they have made the world worse for women of all types, but they just don’t care. It’s better for them, and that’s what matters. Sound familiar yet?


The Car

Emily, as we now know her, stood in the market knowing she was reaching the end of her time. She had been surgically altered, ripping away any ownership over her own body she had once retained. She had been lucky enough to be placed with a wife who sympathized with her pain and suffering enough to postpone the ceremony, but she knew that couldn’t last much longer. Her hope was gone, but she wasn’t going to go out without taking one of them with her. Her will was strong. Her fight was still alive. She showed them that every woman’s heart and soul were still beating and wild, and that’s something they can never take away from her. “They didn’t get everything. There was something inside her they couldn’t take away. She looked invincible.”


‘Faithful’ continued the trend of every odd episode bringing a semblance of hope to the show. We felt it when Offred drank the whiskey, we felt it when Emily stole the car, and we felt it when Offred defiantly visited Nick on her own terms. Where is Emily now? They didn’t immediately shoot her as I expected, so what will they do with her? We know Nick is an eye, what will come of Offred’s forward movement to see him?
At this time, Hulu has confirmed a season 2 of The Handmaiden’s Tale. Based on such a short book, I am left questioning how they will continue and expand the storyline, and what will be covered in season one. We are well on our way through the book, and there are still 5 episodes to go.

Shannon Bee

Shannon's geekiness began at an early age, growing up surrounded by Star Wars and Star Trek, and an obsession over Batman which continues to this day. She has delved into nearly every type of geekdom, including LARPs, gaming of both the video and board types, books, television, movies, and comic books. Sassiness and feminism abound in her musings, but she always seeks first to bring a smile to other's faces.

Shannon has a degree in Sociology and Women's Studies from the University of Northern Colorado, where she composed her award winning and nationally presented senior thesis titled "Behind the Shield and Under the Sheets: Sex and Sexuality in a Live Action Role Playing Game"
If this is not a statement of her nerdy feminism, what more could there be?

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