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Recap / The Handmaid's Tale

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The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian drama based on the book of the same name, revolving around a near-sterilised future where fertile women are forced to conceive under totalitarian rule. The show has run on Hulu from 2017 to present.

Unmarked spoilers are present throughout the subpages as well as some of the synopses below. Read at your own risk.

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    Season 1
"The world can be quite an ugly place. But we cannot wish that ugliness away. We cannot hide from that ugliness."
Aunt Lydia

The first season is mostly based on Margaret Atwood's novel, and is primarily a vehicle to show the viewer what life is as a Handmaid under Gilead rule. There are also additional elements added to this season which will be used in the future, including what happened to June's husband, Luke.

  1. "Offred"
  2. "Birth Day"
  3. "Late"
  4. "Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum"
  5. "Faithful"
  6. "A Woman's Place"
  7. "The Other Side"
  8. "Jezebels"
  9. "The Bridge"
  10. "Night"

    Season 2

The second season goes outside Margaret Atwood's novel to expand on June's experience as a pregnant handmaid trying to escape Gilead. As well, concepts introduced in the first season are expanded on here, including a storyline featuring the colonies, origin stories for several main characters, as well as how Gilead is seen by outside countries who oppose Gilead's policies. While June is foiled in her attempts to leave Gilead before her baby is born, she ultimately is able to send her baby to safety in Canada, and decides to stay behind to look for her older daughter, Hannah.

  1. "June"
  2. "Unwomen"
  3. "Baggage"
  4. "Other Women"
  5. "Seeds"
  6. "First Blood"
  7. "After"
  8. "Women's Work"
  9. "Smart Power"
  10. "The Last Ceremony"
  11. "Holly"
  12. "Postpartum"
  13. "The Word"

    Season 3

The third season sees June reassigned as a handmaid to Commander Lawrence and participating in the Gilead Resistance, while continuing her quest to locate Hannah. Complicating her search for Hannah is her new shopping partner, who is insistent on following the Gilead Doctrine despite her own great personal cost. Meanwhile, Serena shows signs of regret after giving Nichole up to Canada and tries to go behind the scenes as a brutal High Commander decides to use the Waterfords and Nichole as tools to pressure Canada to deport all American refugees back to Gilead.

  1. "Night"
  2. "Mary and Martha"
  3. "Useful"
  4. "God Bless the Child"
  5. "Unknown Caller"
  6. "Household "
  7. "Under His Eye"
  8. "Unfit"
  9. "Heroic"
  10. "Bear Witness"
  11. "Liars"
  12. "Sacrifice"
  13. "Mayday"

    Season 4

No longer a Handmaid, June endeavors to make her way out of the Boston Area to join the fight against Gilead, but is forced to flee to Canada as the reality of the war is revealed. Meanwhile, Fred and Serena prepare for a hearing that will decide if they will be tried for war crimes, but unexpected news about Serena's health threaten to throw off the American government's efforts to have them designated as war criminals. Unlike previous seasons, which concentrated on the machinations of Gilead itself, this season appears to concentrate on those outside of Gilead's influence, including the American Refugees in Canada and resistance forces in war-torn Chicago.

  1. "Pigs"
  2. "Nightshade"
  3. "The Crossing"
  4. "Milk"
  5. "Chicago"
  6. "Vows"
  7. "Home"
  8. "Testimony"
  9. "Progress"
  10. "The Wilderness"

    Season 5

In the aftermath of Fred Waterford's death, the war between June and Serena escalates with June and Luke trying to find any avenue that would allow them to rescue Hannah from Gilead. Meanwhile, Serena is preparing for the birth of her child but realizes that even out of American custody, her home country has seemingly left her to remain in Canada with Gilead loyalists who treat her no better than the Handmaids themselves are in Gilead. In addition, these Gilead loyalists drive up discontent between the Canadians and American Refugees, culminating in several major incidents that force June and Luke to flee their home with Nichole.

  1. "Morning"
  2. "Ballet"
  3. "Border"
  4. "Dear Offred"
  5. "Fairytale"
  6. "Together"
  7. "No Man's Land"
  8. "Motherland"
  9. "Allegiance"
  10. "Safe"