Summary: Offred continues talking to Ofglen who is revealed to be in the resistance. Ofglen wants some information on Waterford. Janine gives birth to a healthy baby against the odds. Offred has a meeting with Waterford which shouldn't be allowed and they play scrabble. The next today, Offred discovers that Ofglen has been replaced. Flashbacks show the day when June gave birth to Hannah when a girl tried to steal her.
The Good: This was a pretty strong episode which had a much more watchable tone than the last one. After the last episode was drenched in misery, this was much more optimistic. Instead of just constant pain, this episode contained some small optimism rooted in the relationship between Offred and Ofglen which slowly blossomed as the episode went on. They trusted each other more and Offred even looked to be joining the resistance in time, until the surprise ending twist where Ofglen has been replaced by another Ofglen (see: The Unknown). I really loved the use of music as well. After the Waterford scene, Offred had a legitimate reason to be happier and then we got hit by an uncharacteristically happy music theme to symbolize this, but then it was abruptly cut off at the twist ending, allowing us to feel the drastic change in the situation.
Another thing I want to highlight is Elisabeth Moss' performance in this episode. I skimmed over this in the previous review, but I really understated how great of a job she is doing conveying Offred's emotions without using words. Her performance has been great so far and added an absolute ton to the episode.
The birth scene itself was pretty interesting too. The actual birth ceremony was really interesting, especially seeing that the wives had to go through something as well even though they were doing nothing. The presentation of the scene fit pretty well into the world which has been established. I also enjoyed seeing Janine's love for her baby in a sweet little scene. It helps humanize her more.
The flashbacks were pretty good too. Clearly the world didn't suddenly just change into Gilead since apparently the whole birth thing has been a problem for a long time. It was a little unsettling seeing the girl try to claim Hannah as her own, which of course fits with the themes of this show.
The scene with Commander Waterford was a wonderful example of tension. We don't know what Waterford wants and we don't know what his motivations are, so it made the scene extremely tense. There was so much tension and mystery and I found myself hoping that I could get more information on who Waterford is through the scene and I was decently satisfied, though I'm still left with a lot of questions (see: The Unknown).
The Bad: We desperately need to know Gilead's history. At the moment I have too many questions about how the world functions and what happened to America to turn it into this way, that its starting to hurt my enjoyment of the show.
The Unknown: What is the resistance and how did they form? Who is in charge at the moment anyways? How does the new world function? Is there still a president? Is the whole world under these new rules? How did America change to these new rules? What overthrew or converted the government?
A lot of people were praying in the flashback. Was there a Christian revolution of sorts?
What happened to Ofglen? Was she taken by the government people, whoever they are? Who is the person who replaced her? Can she be trusted?
What did Waterford want from Offred? Is he attracted to her, or is he up to something else? Does he work for the government? Could he have been just keeping an eye on her to make sure she was doing everything properly?
Best Moment: The best moment for me was honestly Offred with the cookie. Hearing the one lady compliment Offred for being so well-mannered was just creepy and unsettling just like the rest of the world and really demonstrated the low standing of all handmaids. Better yet though was Offred's clear glee at actually being able to have a cookie, but she forces herself to spit it out for fear that she would be caught with cookie crumbs in her mouth. Pretty intense stuff.
Character of the Episode: Offred again.
Conclusion: This was another solid episode which continued to develop the story and the world, but we desperately need some explaining on how Gilead functions to truly get invested in the show.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.