Summary: Offred and Serena continue to work together until Fred returns. Baby Angela gets sick and Janine finds out and panics. It's expected she won't make it but Janine shows her love and she survives. Fred discovers what Serena has been doing and whips her as punishment. Offred sets up allegiances with both Fred and Serena. Nick continues to be hostile towards Eden.
The Good: This was Madeline Brewer's episode to shine and she delivered a fantastic performance. Her fears for Angela (or Charlotte to her) were conveyed brilliantly and the moment she learned the truth from Offred specifically was really well performed. Her fantastic performance got me to invest into the baby Angela storyline and deserves loads of credit.
The storyline surrounding Angela was good. It was easy to relate with the characters because the death of a baby would be horrible in any situation. It provided a good struggle for Janine and for Serena who had to take initiative to save Angela's life by forging Fred's signature.
Serena's story was really nicely done. It was great to see her acting decently with a heart, and I believe that this season is doing a great job of humanizing her. By the end of the episode, I was sympathizing with her, so the episode certainly accomplished its goal, though I have some issues with that goal (see: The Bad).
The Nick and Eden story is still interesting and it is the most intriguing for me because there are a lot of possibilities for where that story can go. Having Eden find the handmaid letters was a good way to get him to lash out at her and I'm excited to see how she responds, especially seeing how her characterization makes her very unpredictable.
The Bad: The pacing of this episode feels completely wrong. With Fred returning so quickly in the episode, it feels like we have glossed over a ton of important drama and storytelling regarding Offred and Serena's blossoming relationship. They have been hostile towards each other for the whole series and yet this one episode makes a total U-turn and makes them friends within a span of ten minutes. It's rushed to a shocking degree and hurts the impact of the story.
Serena's arc is rushed too. She was a villainous character last episode, yet now she seems to be a heroic character who we sympathize with. The change is too sudden and doesn't feel spurred on by anything. I suppose Fred's hospitalization did it, but I don't understand why that is which is problematic. Furthermore, to make her seem more likeable, Fred has to once more go to cartoonish lengths of villainy to get us to feel for her. In the end the show is sacrificing its best villain to make a hero and replacing her with a dull and 1-dimensional villain who doesn't interest me at all.
I hate that we have been given no fallout to the major bokbing from a few episodes ago. When it happened, it felt like a huge event but in the end it accomplished nothing. Fred is back and unharmed too which means that the bombing led to absolutely no change in any characters or the story as a whole. For such a pivotal moment, it did nothing of note and that is a massive disappointment.
Nick's storyline felt static here and not much of note happened. Furthermore, its hard to relate to Nick since he makes no effort whatsoever to be kind to Eden who didn't ask to be put in as Nick's wife. This makes Nick seem selfish, which does nothing to make me care for him at all.
The ending scene with Offred was disappointing. We genuinely don't know how she feels for the first time ever and I don't think that's a good thing. The show has been strong because it's easy to relate with Offred and sympathize with her struggles, so to see her doing something mysterious is disappointing. We needed to understand her mindset for her scenes with Fred and Serena to have any impact.
The Unknown: Will Angela survive then? Since Janine saved her, does that mean she will be brought back into the Putnam household? What was wrong with Angela? Was it really just neglect?
Will Emily rebel again? She seems to be angry once again.
Where are Offred's current allegiances and what is her plan goign forwards? Will she help Serena or Fred?
Did Eden read the letters? What will she do next after Nick's outburst.
Best Moment: Offred coming to Serena's door and showing some compassion was outstanding and did a great job of showing how far they have come. It would have been even better though if Offred didn't go to Fred right after and that somewhat soured the moment.
Character of the Episode: Serena.
Conclusion: This episode had moments of power and good storytelling, but it was messy in terms of pace and writing. With better execution there is a great episode here but unfortunately what we got was pretty disappointing and only average overall.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.