The Handmaid's Tale Episode 9 is good at making a bad situation worse

Contributed by
Jun 7, 2017

Overview: Offred tries to join the Resistance in Episode 9, "The Bridge."

The Story So Far:

Let's start with Ofwarren, the Handmaid least able to emotionally cope with her situation.

Inside the great home of Putnam family, Ofwarren reluctantly hands over her baby Angela to them. The other handmaids line up outside the home to give her their blessings. But when Ofwarren sees Offred, she tells her that she's okay, because Warren will come for her.

Ofwarren is sent away in a black van, which sent off a choir of alarm bells in my head. Considering her lack of sanity, I was afraid that she would be disappeared. But it was even worse. Ofwarren has been reassigned to another family, where she will have to endure more "ceremonies" and another childbirth. The Handmaid's Tale is very good at making a bad situation even worse.

"See how they welcome you!" Aunt Lydia tells Ofwarren — before renaming her Ofdaniel.

Despite sympathy from Daniel's wife Mrs. Monroe during the ceremony, Ofdaniel recoils from the act and cowers in the corner. Warren is coming for her, she insists.

Back to Offred. During the baby hand-off ceremony, Offred approaches another Handmaid, Alma, and asks to be put in touch with the secret group, Mayday. Alma rebuffs her in public, but when later they meet at the grocery store, Alma tells her to go back to Jezebels and pick up a package at the bar.

This means Offred has to swallow what's left of her pride and ask Fred for a trip to the whorehouse. Fred is smug. "Enjoyed that, did you?" She lies convincingly, and that night they sneak out together, with a pouty Nick driving them.

After pretending to enjoy sex with Fred, Offred asks to get a drink at the bar. Instead, Fred says, "I'm not dumb. I know why you wanted to come back here. To meet someone." That's when he presents Offred's best friend in the world, Moira, dressed up and ready for sex with them.

It turns out that Fred had been watching them and assumed Offred wanted to be reunited with Moira. Although she tells him they weren't romantically involved, he still makes Offred thank him.

When Fred leaves for a shower, Offred begs Moira for her help in retrieving the package. Moira refuses. Offred tears into her for being a coward, and when Moira leaves, she's in tears. Fred sees this and has no sympathy. "Pull yourself together. We're leaving."

Offred never makes it to the bar. She doesn't have the package for Mayday.

Meanwhile, Serena Joy doesn't realize that Fred isn't home until Rita the maid tells her. In a rare moment of solidarity, Rita and Serena share a forbidden drink together, where Rita tells her that her 19-year-old son died in the war. I'm expecting follow-up.

The next morning, Offred is woken by Serena Joy, who tells her to dress quickly. Offred is taken to a bridge … where Ofdaniel is standing holding her baby. She threatens to jump. She tells the world that Warren had coerced her into having sex with the promise of running away together.

Offred can't convince Ofdaniel not to kill herself. But she convinces Ofdaniel to hand over the baby before she does. Ofdaniel, formerly Ofwarren, formerly Janine jumps off the bridge because she cannot stand to live in this world.

Of course, she doesn’t die. She’s left in a hospital, fate unknown, with only Aunt Lydia for company.

Warren is taken away for questioning. Serena tries to comfort Warren’s wife, but she is reminded of what happened to their first handmaid. "Men don’t change," Warren's wife says bitterly.

Later, Offred is shopping again. This time, a man behind the counter hands her the unknown package that Mayday wanted. It's from Moira. It seems that Offred's words have inspired her.

In the finale, we see Moira takes a sharp implement from the toilet and leave. Then we see her, with bloody hands and dressed in a chauffeur's uniform, get into a car. Moira drives off in the night.

Stellar Moments:

Offred pretending to enjoy her time with Fred was painful. But Fred's smug mug was absolutely punchable. Have I mentioned how wonderfully Joseph Fiennes has played this contemptible character?

Also, Ofwarren's arrival to her new home, where she'll have to start all over again, was a painfully sad moment.

Not-So-Stellar Moment:

The episode seems to be looking for things for Serena to do. She should be manipulating the hell out of everyone around her. Also, this is the season's penultimate episode, and I'm not sure where the story is going.

Quotes:

Aunt Lydia: "I am very proud of you, Ofdaniel. Go to them and be blessed. Go like an open flower."

Later, over Ofdaniel's hospitalized body: "You stupid girl."