The Handmaid’s Story has unleashed loads of horrors this season. Many episodes have been so stuffed with despair they’ve been arduous to look at. And whereas “Good Energy” does comprise a couple of terrible moments, taken as a complete it’s probably the most triumphant hour season two has delivered thus far. Reward be.
In her golden-lit bed room/jail cell, June takes a second to remind herself that underneath the circumstances, “it does no good to need the unattainable”—issues like a reunion with Luke and Hannah, or a really sharp machete. However a second is all she’s bought, as a result of Rita’s on the door: “We’ve been summoned.” Spouse-beating asshole Commander Waterford informs them that he and Mrs. Waterford can be heading to Canada on “a brief journey for work” (as if anybody in Gilead takes enjoyable holidays). Nick can even be going, so a closely armed younger Guardian named Isaac is put in quickly to look at over the family.
Tending to her dying flowers on the planet’s most miserable greenhouse, Serena tries to beg off; in spite of everything, Offred’s in her third trimester. What if the newborn wants her? “This journey is for the newborn,” Fred says. “We’re constructing his future. You’re a vital a part of that! The Canadians assume ladies listed here are oppressed, that they’re unvoiced. I want you to indicate them a powerful Gilead spouse.” Serena Pleasure’s silent revulsion—we are able to see her face, however Fred can’t—is the one act of rebel she will muster. So she passes on her distress to June, as she’s keen on doing, by asserting that as quickly because the child (which Fred assumes can be a boy) is born, Offred can be faraway from the family. “I believe we’ve all had greater than sufficient of each other,” Serena says, which is true, however June’s nonetheless fearful. It’s going to be awfully arduous to guard her child if she’s booted again to the Crimson Heart or into one other posting, presumably one with an much more heinous household, as quickly as she offers delivery.
Heading to the market, June tells Janine of Serena’s plan, and Janine has a usually emotional response. Sadly, it escalates to her telling Isaac the Guardian to “suck my dick” after he calls her “unwoman” and orders her again in line. For that, Janine will get socked within the jaw along with his rifle butt, a blow so merciless it knocks her to the bottom. Again house, a determined June pulls Rita apart and asks her to be a godmother determine to her child. “I want her to have somebody type in her life,” she says. Rita can’t make any guarantees, however she does say “I’ll do what I can.” Later, June asks Aunt Lydia the identical favor, although she phrases it a little bit in another way, with a not-so-veiled reference to the Commander’s abusiveness. “I’d by no means, ever permit something to occur to a child,” Aunt Lydia reassures her.
Of their Canadian residence, Moira, Luke, and Erin are watching a information report on the visiting “Gilead diplomats.” Moira acknowledges Commander Waterford, so she and Luke hurry to the refugee heart to see what could be finished. “He’s a fucking conflict felony,” Moira argues. She’s proper, in fact, and the lawyer that’s helped them so many instances earlier than agrees—however underneath these circumstances, she tells them, it’s merely not doable to arrest him. As an alternative, she suggests they lend their voices to the upcoming protests.
There’s an virtually dreamy phase after that; the Gilead motorcade is rolling by way of town, and Serena gazes out the limo window like she’s visiting an alien wonderworld—a spot the place folks have cellphones, lady go to jobs and stroll round freely like regular people, younger kiss on the road, and there are even homeless folks, as a result of actual life isn’t completely managed and sanitized. Of their resort foyer, they’re greeted by Canadian diplomats whose numbers embrace a lady and a homosexual man. Gasp! Fred’s swept off to his first assembly, and Serena meets her feminine handler, who presents her with a schedule of pre-planned cultural actions to fill her day. (Notice: The schedule is made up of images, as a result of Serena isn’t allowed to learn.) Her handler has clearly been coached in the best way to respectfully work together with Serena, however there are slip-ups—when Serena asks her about her hobbies, she says she’s so busy with work she hardly ever will get to do the rest, however she does like to learn. Have to be good.
Later, Serena’s by herself, ready for an elevator, and a mom and daughter come up beside her. “Are you a princess?” the lady asks in awe. Serena, lover of kids, responds gracefully, however the mother is aware of very nicely the evils that this tall lady sporting teal from head to toe represents. Ain’t gonna trip on the elevator with you, Gilead Spouse, and no “blessings to you” could make the scenario any higher. Maybe drawing on a coping mechanism from her life “earlier than,” Serena turns and heads into the resort bar as an alternative of going upstairs.
There, she meets a person who appears at first like he’s flirting together with her, although she assumes he’s a reporter (as a result of, as we’ve simply seen, she’s hardly inconspicuous in her Gilead get-up) till he reveals he has a political angle. See, he works for the American authorities—there’s nonetheless a tiny little bit of the US left within the post-Gilead world—and if she desires to defect, he tells her, she might be on her technique to Hawaii throughout the hour. “You’d by no means have to return to Gilead once more,” he says. “You possibly can inform your story in your personal phrases.” (A tempting supply that might return to her previous life as a author.) What’s extra, he tells her, American scientists have been making actual progress on the fertility downside. “Consider it, a child of your personal. And freedom.” She shoots him down, in fact… however it’s a must to assume she was at the least a little bit tempted by the supply.
Subsequent, we see an anti-Gilead protest gathered exterior the resort; Luke’s there entrance and heart, waving a large household picture so the Commander will know precisely who he’s. Waterford is dismissive of Luke’s (completely correct) accusations of what’s taking place in Gilead, however Serena and Nick are visibly rattled. Nick manages to trace Luke down in a close-by bar after the confrontation, and although it’s a fraught and awkward assembly, Nick’s in a position to inform Luke that he is aware of June and that she’s pregnant, although he lies about who the daddy is, saying it’s the Commander (given the scenario, you may’t actually blame him). He additionally passes him that bundle of Mayday letters.
Luke, Moira, and Erin sift by way of the letters, determined missives from ladies who’ve been enslaved by Gilead’s brutal, oppressive regime. Moira’s a bit disenchanted; again at Jezebels, she thought the package deal she was smuggling to June contained explosives, “one thing to make Gilead go increase.” However as Erin factors out, the letters might “go increase” differently—and so they do, as soon as they’re uploaded to the web. The response is swift; Canada cuts off all diplomatic talks and instantly boots the Waterfords overseas. Waterford fakes like he’s unconcerned and above all of it, however he is aware of his place is precarious. On the airport, they’re met with a a lot angrier protest than earlier than, principally ladies (together with Moira, who makes livid eye contact with the Commander contained in the safety of his automotive). After, because the protestors are celebrating what seems like the primary severe blow in opposition to Gilead, the group has a spontaneous sing-along of “America the Lovely” that turns somber as everybody feels the enormity of what they’ve all misplaced.
Dwelling in Gilead, Serena tosses the matches that the US emissary gave her—promoting a Hawaiian tiki bar, no much less—into her hearth. She’s going to stay with the life she helped construct for herself, regardless of how shitty it’s. Nick’s in a position to inform June that he met Luke and gave him the letters, and what an affect the letters made as soon as they had been made public; he additionally tells her that Moira made it out and is staying with Luke. The look of pleasure on June’s face is unbelievable. Straight away, she’s rediscovered what hope seems like—and it’s intoxicating. Regardless of what she thought in the beginning of the episode, she realizes, she can need what’s unattainable in spite of everything. “I do know I ought to settle for the fact of you being born right here, make my peace,” she tells her unborn child. “However fuck that.”
Another factor: Anybody else have a extremely unhealthy feeling about what lies forward for Nick? That one Commander who was his ally and mentor died within the bombing. He’s married to an ultra-pious teenager who appears poised to activate him at any second, particularly if he retains treating her like one thing he scraped off his shoe (and particularly if Isaac, who appears to be candy on her, retains hanging round). Let’s not neglect she noticed the stash of letters earlier than he went to Canada; based mostly on that, she might be the one to blow his cowl. And he’s in love with June, which is its personal intensely difficult, unattainable state of affairs. What sort of pleased ending can he presumably anticipate?