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Recap / The Handmaids Tale S 1 E 9 The Bridge

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Offred tells Alma she wants to help Mayday and is told to pick up a package at Jezebel's, so Offred gets the Commander to take her to the club again under the pretense of another private encounter away from his wife. Offred meets up with Moira again and sees that she is nearly to the breaking point of never finding the resolve to escape Gilead. Janine is made the Handmaid of Daniel, but refuses to go along with the Ceremony and escapes, threatening to kill herself and her baby Charlotte. Offred tries to talk her down, but only succeeds in getting the child out of Janine's hands before Janine herself jumps off the bridge. She later goes to the market and receives the package from a merchant while Moira makes her escape.

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This episode provides examples of:

  • Driven to Suicide: Janine. Unfortunately, she is rescued.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Janine's description of death is so compelling June seems to consider joining her in jumping for a moment. Janine survives her jump and is later seen unresponsive in a hospital hooked up to several machines.
  • Gaslighting: Janine may be delusional, but her delusions were undoubtedly fed by Warren. In a moment of clarity, she publicly calls him out on it.
    Janine: You said we would be a family!
    Warren: She's not well.
    Janine: I was well enough to suck your cock! I did every fucked-up thing you wanted. All the freaky shit she'd never do, because you promised me we would run off and we would be a family!
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Waterford seems disappointed that this isn't going to happen when he brings Moira to see June, despite calling her a "degenerate" after she leaves.
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  • Kick the Dog: Mrs Putnam lashing out at Serena in the face of her sincere attempts to reassure her is very mean-spirited, though to be fair she was under a lot of stress at the time.
  • Lack of Empathy: Mrs Putnam is a mild case; her complaining about how she is kept up all night by her baby's cries while talking to Serena (who is desperate for a baby,) shows a distinct thoughtlessness to the other's feelings, as does her telling Serena how lucky she is to have an obedient Handmaid (who has so far failed to get pregnant.) To be fair, she does realise her mistake with the latter case and try to backtrack.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Rita reveals in conversation with Serena that her nineteen year old son died serving in "the war" (presumably the one Gilead is fighting against the rump US). All Serena can offer is a weak expression of gratitude for his sacrifice and a biblical quote that even she doesn't sound remotely convinced by.
  • Pet the Dog: Aunt Lydia once again shows her softer side with Janine, doing her best to reassure her (and June to a lesser extent,) during her transfer, letting out a shriek of genuine horror when she jumps even after the baby is safe, and the blessing she gives her in the hospital is sincerely meant.
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    • The Waterfords' immediate reaction to Janine jumping is also one of horror and shock, showing that underneath all their ruthlessness, their humanitarian instincts have not been entirely extinguished. Serena also does her best to comfort Mrs Putnam after her husband is arrested.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Of all the rape shown so far, Daniel and his wife raping a clearly unstable Janine is particularly awful. It's the first time the viewer sees a rape in which the handmaid actively physically resists and says "no" over and over.
  • She's Back: Moira's rebellious spirit has been given new life by the end of the episode, and after her prolonged abuse she's even more dangerous; unlike her escape attempt with June, this time she is perfectly willing to kill.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: June has to do this with Janine as she's climbed up on the edge of a bridge holding her baby and threatening to jump, after the child had been taken away. June gets Janine to give her the baby, but after this she jumps anyway. She survives.
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