Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds You Ice Cream: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Episode 3 Recap
In the beginning of episode three of The Handmaid's Tale, Offred/June (Elisabeth Moss) remembers how the country began its tectonic shift under Gilead reign. When Gilead took over, women lost their right to maintain their own bank accounts and watched helplessly as all of their hard-earned money was taken from them. They were also deemed unfit to own property and fired, unceremoniously, from their jobs.
We see Moira (Samira Wiley), Luke (O.T. Fagbenle) and June drinking wine and discussing the new waves of injustice. "They can't just do this," June says. "They can," Moira responds. Feeling impassioned and enraged, June and Moira attend an anti-Gilead rally that turns violent. They take cover from the gunshots fired by Gilead soldiers in an abandoned coffee shop as a sinister rendition of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" plays.
Back in not-so-modern day, Offred is perplexed by a sudden uptick in positive attention. Rita (Amanda Brugel), the household Martha, is oddly pleasant and presents her with an elaborate lunch spread. Even Mrs. Waterford's (Yvonne Strahovski) icy exterior melts. She gifts Offred with a bouquet of flowers and then asks if she would like to join her for a visit to Ofwarren/Janine’s (Madeline Brewer) mistress’s home. Something is most certainly awry with this saccharine charade. The Martha reveals Offred has yet to ask for her monthly napkins and hence the strange behavior. Everyone thinks Offred is pregnant...
Later, Offred visits with Ofwarren, who has reached the pinnacle of madness. We learn she bit her master and has zero qualms about the attack. Offred scolds her like a child, but Ofwarren retorts that she can do whatever she wants because she bore a healthy baby girl. She can even eat ice cream whenever she wants! This is living it up in the age of Gilead. Ofwarren then reveals she has a secret to tell Offred—she and her master are in love and are going to run away together. Gulp. We’ll take some of that ice cream now.
After visiting time is over, Mrs. Waterford asks Offred if she enjoyed herself. “I imagine you two have a lot to talk about these days.” Ugh.
Nick (Max Minghella) drives Offred home and is eerily quiet until he says, “There’s no point in trying to be brave. Everybody breaks.” Cool, thanks. They pull into the driveway and immediately see several black vans. The Eyes have come for Offred.
A Gilead soldier and Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) question Offred about Ofglen in the Waterford living room. They ask her if Ofglen ever confided in her or if Offred knew her friend was a “gender traitor." It becomes apparent that Ofglen was taken away due to her romantic relationship with a female Martha, not because she was involved in a secret resistance. Offred grows increasingly angry and frustrated, ultimately leading Aunt Lydia to hit her over the head with a cattle prod. Mrs. Waterford rushes in screaming, “She’s pregnant!”
Things are bad for Offred, but they're much, much worse for Ofglen. Donning a red jumpsuit and cloth muzzle, she enters a Gilead courtroom with her lover, where they are tried for gender treachery. They are sentenced separately but share one last tender moment together in a van before Ofglen shockingly watches the Martha get dragged away and hanged. Later, she wakes up in a hospital bed wearing a diaper made of bandages. Aunt Lydia comes in and lets her know that “she'll no longer want what she can't have.” Forced female mutilation.
Back at the Waterford place, Nick checks on Offred and admits he should have just driven away with her. In an act of compassion, he brings her ice to ease her aching head from Aunt Lydia’s fresh beating. His lips are mere centimeters from hers. Shudder.
Later, Offred looks for Mrs. Waterford and finds her (prematurely) setting up a nursery. She tries to bond with Offred by holding her hands and telling her how much she struggled to conceive before this strange new arrangement. Feeling terribly awkward, Offred confesses to Mrs. Waterford she is not pregnant after all and her period came following Aunt Lydia’s violent outburst in the living room. Irate, Mrs. Waterford drags Offred to her room and orders her to stay there until further notice.
“Things can get much worse for you,” Mrs. Waterford sneers. Eek.