‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 3, Episode 2 Recap: ‘It’s Your Funeral’
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
In the season three premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale, June (Elisabeth Moss) returned to Gilead to save her daughter Hannah (Jordana Blake). Although she didn’t succeed (yet), she did get a new placement at Commander Lawrence’s (Brad Whitford) home after Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) lit the Waterford home on fire.
Let’s see what happens in season three, episode two.
We open on Ofred Ofjoseph waiting for her new walking partner, Ofmathew (Ashleigh LaThrop), to arrive. The handmaid tells Ofjoseph (yeah, that’s June’s new name) that Gilead soldiers are set to take back Chicago. She also mentions she’s praying for the Waterfords in a rather haughty tone. She gossips a bit about how Nicole has gone missing and how she can’t imagine what came over Ofjoseph/Emily (Alexis Bledel). June reminds her she’s Ofjoseph now and gives her a stern look.
Ofjoseph returns home from the grocery store and, after a snippy exchange with the house Martha, Cora (Victoria Fodor), she’s called into the den to speak with Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), Commander Joseph and his wife, Mrs. Lawrence (Julie Dretzin). She says she’s just checking in on how everyone is settling in. She also asks about how the ceremony went. Commander Lawrence lies and says it was “aces.” (It didn’t happen.)
Mrs. Lawrence is still not mentally well, and Aunt Lydia takes note. Once the Lawrences leave the room, Aunt Lydia tells Ofjoseph that she needs to keep her informed of any funny business going on in the household. Ofjoseph offers to see her out, but Aunt Lydia says she wants to check on Ofjoseph’s bedroom first. The ascent up the stairs proves to be difficult, not only because it’s where Emily tried to kill her but because the injuries she sustained from the scuffle make it hard for her to move around. She falls and when Ofjoseph tries to help her up she lashes out and says she should be on the wall for what she did to the McKenzies. She tases Ofjoseph. But before things can get more dramatic, the Commander arrives. Aunt Lydia blames it on Ofjoseph, saying she was seen gossiping at the grocery store and required punishment. The Commander walks away and muses the voltage on the cattle prods Aunt Lydia and company use.
Meanwhile in Canada, Luke looks through photos of Hannah and June. He finds Moira (Samira Wiley) playing with Nicole in the living room and makes excuses as to why he can’t play with or hold her. He asks when Emily is going to move out of their place and in with her own family. Her presence unnerves him. While they speak, Emily is getting a checkup from her doctor. Her ear where she was tagged is healing nicely and she’s in relatively good health despite her cholesterol and that whole stint in the Colonies. Her mental health, however, is up in the air.
In Gilead, Ofjoseph walks into the kitchen to find a group of Marthas talking about plans to help one of them, Alison (Kathryn Greenwood), escape. Commander Lawrence comes in and breaks up what he calls the “hen party.” He tells Ofjoseph he doesn’t like strangers in his house. She tells him Alison just needs to stay for a bit so she can escape Gilead. He pulls a Mariah Carey and responds that he doesn’t know her and doesn’t want to get involved. Ofjoseph chides him to let Alison stay and escape and he finally agrees, saying, “It’s your funeral.” That’s not so promising.
He retreats to his study and Ofjoseph tells the Marthas she wants to help Alison escape. So, Cora lends her some gray-green clothes and off she goes. She walks past the commercial laundries, factories and all the places handmaids aren’t allowed to go. Ofjoseph and a Martha named Beth (Kristen Gutoskie) take Alison to a garage where she’ll hide in a car and escape, then they begin their trip back.
Ofjoseph and Beth chat as they walk. Beth knew Moira from Jezebels and is glad to hear she made it to Canada. Ofjoseph then learns that Alison isn’t going to Canada. Instead, she’s being taken somewhere she can make bombs (she’s a former chemistry teacher) to help aid the resistance against Gilead.
Later, Moira, Luke, Emily and their roommate enjoy dinner and some wine. They talk about life before Gilead and Luke continues to ask questions about Emily’s wife. It’s not clear what he has against her, but Moira does her best to play referee. When he leaves the room at Moira’s insistence, she tells Emily that she reminds him of June and he’s just upset she’s not here. She also says she understands why Emily is scared of reuniting with her wife because of all that’s changed.
At Commander Lawrence’s house, Ofjoseph and the family Martha, Cora, are cleaning up for the night when two Marthas burst through the door. One has been shot by Guardians. Commander Lawrence hears the commotion and comes down to confront them. He tells Ofjoseph and the other Martha that everyone who doesn’t live there needs to leave. Then, the Guardians arrive. Mrs. Lawrence helps cover and tells Ofjoseph to go downstairs and help the others. The woman who was shot dies and the other Martha leaves, crestfallen.
After the Guardians leave, Commander Lawrence comes down to the basement and reprimands Ofjoseph for asking for too much from him. She inquires whether Mrs. Lawrence is OK ,and he blows up at her. He says it was a mistake taking her in and tells her to clean up the dead body. Later, she and Beth carry the body outside. Commander Lawrence calls for Beth and Ofjoseph is left to dig a grave on her own. She says a prayer over the body once she’s finished and goes back into the house to bathe. Beth comes in and tells Ofjoseph that Cora’s been sent away. Commander Lawrence doesn’t like liars.
In Canada, Nicole fusses in the middle of the night and wakes Luke. He goes to her crib and opts to fetch her a bottle. Moira wakes up, too, and holds her. Luke looks at Moira holding Nicole so naturally and says, “You always have your sh** together.” Despite all she has going on, she’s been gracefully supporting everyone, even Luke. Finally, Luke picks up Nicole and tells her that her mommy went to save Hannah because he couldn’t. He tells Moira to go back to bed and kisses his wife’s baby on the head.
The next day, Ofjoseph goes out into the garden and sees Mrs. Lawrence planting flowers on the Martha’s grave. She departs for her walk with Ofmathew, who’s even more holier-than-thou than usual. Ofjoseph casually mentions that another handmaid pushed her walking companion in front of a bus, just as one passes by. Get the hint, Ofmathew?
In Canada, Emily gets fitted for glasses then finally decides to call her wife, Sylvia (Clea DuVall). She’s overjoyed to hear Emily’s voice and they both cry tears of happiness.
The camera pans out and we’re left to wonder how Emily and Sylvia will do in this brave new world together. Not only that but will Ofjoseph be able to smooth things out with Commander Lawrence or will her resistance involvement push him over the edge?
Find out all this and more with episode three, now available on Hulu.