WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale season 2
This week’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale season two was arguably the best of the season so far.
It was a hugely satisfying watch as for once the Waterfords were not in control of their environment.
Seeing Fred (played by Joseph Fiennes) and Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) viewed as the monsters they are while on a “diplomatic” trip to Canada was an intensely cathartic hour of television.
It was frustrating however as the Canadian government were not able to arrest them, much to Moira’s (Samira Wiley) exasperation.
How sweet it was to see Serena Joy humiliated and infantilised - her expression when she was handed an itinerary with simple pictures in place of words.
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What a delightfully sly dig from the Canadians, respecting Gilead’s traditions whilst managing to politely remind Serena Joy that she had created her own gilded cage.
Yvonne Strahovski deserves extreme kudos for her nuanced performance this season and viewers are slowly seeing her mind being changed.
Her encounter with American government official Mark Tuello (Sam Jaeger) will see her seriously reconsider her path.
Another key moment in the episode, which was called Smart Power, saw June’s (Elisabeth Moss) two loves, Luke (OT Fagbenle) and Nick (Max Minghella) meet.
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HuluThe Waterfords visited Canada in the last episode
Luke’s attempted attack on Fred was another cathartic moment and Serena Joy got to witness a man who cared about his wife - unlike her own abusive husband.
The letters from Jezebels brothel, leaked by Nick to Luke, then proved to be extremely beneficial in terms of bringing about the hopeful and eventual fall of Gilead as the Waterfords were asked to leave the country immediately.
How fantastic it was to watch them squirm in the back seat of the car as protesters raged all around them.
Fred’s face when he clocked Moira at the window and realised that she managed to escape was a gratifying sight.
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HuluJune goes into labour in next week's episode
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What goes up must come down and this is always the case with this show and the trailer for next week’s episode hints at some more tough times ahead for June and Nick.
Titled Last Ceremony, the clip opens with June speaking to the Commander in his study.
“You’re going to be a father yourself soon,” she says as he strokes her bump.
“I need your help.”
The next segment is a worrying argument between Nick and his pious teen wife Eden (Sydney Sweeney).
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HuluThere's trouble brewing between Nick and Eden
She cries in anger: “You don’t look at me, you don’t touch me unless you have to.”
His cold reply: “You’re not making any sense,” prompts the teen to accuse him of having feelings for June.
“It’s the Handmaid,” she exclaims.
Oh no - who knows what trouble Eden will cause. Having grown up in Gilead, it’s all she knows.
It is frustrating for viewers that Nick hasn’t once feigned some affection for Eden to keep something like this from happening and putting himself and June at risk of punishment.
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HuluSerena Joy's Gilead birthing ceremony in episode 10
Then back to Fred who reprimands June and says he has “spoiled” her and been “too lenient”.
He has to take out his humiliating experience in Canada out on someone, why not June?
Then the moment everyone has either been waiting for or dreading as June goes into labour.
“Oh blessed and glorious day,” Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) says.
Viewers will remember Janine’s (Madeleine Brewer) creepy birthing ritual in season one where the wife acts like she is the one actually giving birth.
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The Handmaid's Tale: season one recapWed, April 25, 2018
Handmaid's Tale: season one recap.
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Offred is a Handmaid, one of the few fertile women in the oppressive Republic of Gilead
We see Serena Joy getting ready for her faux-labour before she is interrupted by Aunt Lydia - something is wrong.
What could have happened here? A complication with the birth? A sudden revelation?
Perhaps Aunt Lydia took heed of June’s warning against Fred in the last episode and is taking the baby away?
The trailer then ends on a particularly insidious note as Fred puts June into the back seat of a car and tells her: “I’ve planned a surprise for you - You deserve this.”
Whatever this surprise is is not going to be pleasant if June’s terrified demeanour in the final frame is anything to go by.
The Handmaid's Tale season 2 airs on Hulu on Wednesday and Channel 4 on Sundays