Summary: In flashbacks Serena is shot while making a speech to an angry audience. Fred kills the wife of the man responsible. In the present, Offred and Serena try to be kind to each other but the charade falls away when Offred asks to see Hannah again. Serena and Offred become enemies again. Nick has sex with Eden despite not wanting to. Eden is worried that Nick doesn't like her and Offred tells her he will come around. Fred has built a new Red Centre and he performs a speech to all of the commanders. However, Ofglen interrupts it and detonates a bomb, killing herself in the process.
The Good: Once more, an episode focused around Serena delivers and provides one of the best episodes of the season. Serena was excellent here and her character was explored really nicely. We understand that she genuinely thinks that she is in the right here, like any good villain. She believes that what she is doing is the right thing, and so when she treats Offred nicely, she expects that Offred can just forget about how unfair everything is and just become her friend, just like how Eden is doing. It's so deluded and crazy, but she believes in it, and that's the key to creating a hateable and compelling villain.
The flashbacks were well done too. Serena is established as being somebody who isn't appreciated by the public (to say the least) which helps put her in a more sympathetic light. Her efforts to support Gilead despite its massive unpopularity is almost admirable and it makes you feel a small bit of sympathy for her since Gilead hasn't seemed to turn into the kind of world she had hoped for. Clearly she was hoping for a world which allowed her to do what she wanted, sort of like that final scene with Offred and Eden where she could just command people. But things haven't gone as she wanted.
Additionally, her conflict with Offred was fascinating. I really enjoyed seeing them interact nicely in the early parts of the episode. They were both trying to be nice and were sort of feeling each other out, wondering if they had actually turned a new leaf. But that all came crumbling down when Offred asked to see her daughter once more. Serena had believed that Offred could be happy in her new life, but was suitably disappointed when she couldn't let go of her daughter. But on the other hand, Offred thought that Serena could actually be a decent human being but was disappointed when she proved to be cruel and spiteful once more. The storytelling was superb and it was enthralling to watch these two have a sort of cold war in the household.
The one scene where Serena organized a group meeting with the handmaids was superbly done. I loved her interactions with Ofglen. At first she was annoyed that Ofglen wasn't talking, but was suitably horrified in a quiet fashion when she realized she had been talking to somebody who no longer had a tongue.
Nick's conflict has been really good too. It's by far the most interesting he has been and I'm starting to buy into his love for Offred a little more now that he has a relationship to compare it to. I definitely sympathized with Nick as he had to have sex with an underage girl who he is being forced to love. While he still has a long way to go, the story is certainly moving Nick in the right direction now.
Eden was fantastic in this episode. Unlike Offred, Eden has accepted her role in the world and seems unable to comprehend how unfair everything is. Her character is another scary reality for the world of Gilead, and her scene with Offred was pretty horrifying in a subtle and realistic way. Her character feels like a fresh new way to display the horrors of Gilead.
I also enjoyed that Nick finally decided to get some vengeance on Fred by giving away what he's been doing. It's a fitting move for Nick who is not happy with the fact that Fred got him a child wife.
The Bad: The Red Centre storyline didn't feel very natural. It was an afterthought until the ending where it was used for a great cliffhanger. Unfortunately, it wasn't particularly well executed. Ofglen had no time to make her decision to kamikaze feel relatable. All we know is that she lost her tongue and apparently that has now led to her wanting to die. I wish that we had seen more of Ofglen before this scene.
The Unknown: How did Ofglen get a bomb? Is she connected with Mayday?
What is in store for Fred now that Nick has given him away?
How many people died at the ending scene? What consequences will there be? Who will pay for it now that Ofglen is dead?
Best Moment: The nursery scene between Offred and Serena was superb storytelling.
Character of the Episode: Serena.
Conclusion: Once more an episode focused around Serena Joy delivered some of the show's best storytelling. This episode was really great and gripping to watch and would be in contention as one of the very best episodes if it wasn't for the out of place ending scene. Still, this was really great.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.