Summary: In flashbacks, Nick is shown to be a loser who is selected to be an Eye when he turns in a commander for putting his hands on a handmaid. Fred takes Offred out for the night when Serena is gone. He takes her to Jezebels, a modern strip club where Offred finds Moira. Fred rapes Offred in the building before they return. Nick ends his relationship with Offred.
The Good: It was good to get some backstory on Nick so I could at least get something for his character. Before I knew nothing about him, and now I at least understand his motives and character. The flashbacks also gave a really nice detail which revealed the backstory of the ceremony. I loved that little scene and I wish the show had more things like that which explained why the world is the way it is. It was truly fascinating to learn that the ceremony only exists to appease housewives.
Offred and Moira reuniting was a great moment. I had suspected that she may not have been dead, and it was nice to see her again. Having them see each other again was a tremendous moment and both actresses put in a lovely performance as always. I thought that Moira revealing to be satisfied with her current life in Jezebels was a nice little twist and makes her character stand out a lot more, since she was pretty shallow in the past. This development allows her to stand out a little more now that she seems to be back in the story as a central character.
I think Fred has been a real asset for this series. He has been a real asset throughout the show and his very presence has added a great deal of tension to the show. After all, he is the man with all of the power. His motives remain slightly murky which I like because it lets us slowly learn about his nature from the eyes of Offred. It seems that he did the same thing with the previous Offred, which raises some intriguing questions (see: The Unknown). Joseph Fiennes plays the role really well and I've been extremely impressed by him so far.
The Bad: Nick's character is still problematic for the show. He is just so bland and unlikable and really lacks when compared to all the other characters in the show. I still don't know his personality which is pretty disappointing, and it also really makes me wonder why Offred has become so attached to him over Luke. I also don't think his current character arc is well-defined either. So we learn that he has the ability to pretty much ruin Fred's career since he knows about Fred's relationship with Offred, so why doesn't he tell anybody? Is it to protect Offred? Can't be because then he would have spilled the beans on Fred when he was doing things with the first Offred. It's really undefined why he isn't selling out Fred and that's a big problem. Also why was he picked to be an Eye? He seemed to be a total loser and didn't come off at all like a good man, despite what the show tried to tell us, so I have a hard time buying into him being picked as an Eye.
The breakup scene with Offred was poor too. Elisabeth Moss was great as always, but she couldn't save the poor writing in this scene. First of all, why is Nick doing this? This really adds on to my earlier points about Nick's deficiencies as a character. We don't know why he's ending the relationship and nothing in the episode seemed to suggest that Nick was upset with Offred. Was he really upset because she got raped? That's just ridiculous and makes me not only hate his character, but hate that the show seems to think that I should be sympathizing with Nick because of his situation. The tone suggests that I should like Nick due to the flashbacks, but this end scene does the polar opposite. How was him hurting Offred because she got raped supposed to make me care for his character? Or their relationship? Clearly she doesn't mean much to him if he's so mad about this.
The first Offred's suicide did nothing for me. The scene didn't really add anything, aside from one interesting line of dialogue from Serena. It felt like it was another scene meant to make me feel for Nick, which feels tonally wrong since the focus should really be on the suicide of the first Offred. I also don't really see how I'm supposed to have an emotional response to that scene since we know nothing about the first Offred, and we don't know how Nick had felt about her beforehand.
The Unknown: Why is Fred doing all these things with the Offreds? What is his ulterior motive? Or is he just a corrupt man?
What did Serena mean by saying "what did you think was going to happen?". Did she know about what Fred was doing with the first Offred? Does she also know what is going on with the current Offred? It would certainly explain why she has never caught them before. I was going to put her not noticing these activities in The Bad, but I'm holding back because I feel there is another explanation for this.
What was the significance of the music box and the carving which Offred wrote in the closet?
Best Moment: I'll pick the very first moment that Offred and Moira laid eyes on each other. The 2 actresses did a terrific job and communicated so much with so little.
Character of the Episode: Moira.
Conclusion: This episode was better than the last and had some good developments, but the troubles with Nick and his character are hurting the series a lot. I'm hoping that the show's quality can pick back up for the final 2 episodes of this season.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.