The Handmaid's Tale TV Review

The Handmaid’s Tail 1×04 – Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum

"Just look meek."


This show is a piece of art. It’s just beautiful in every single way.

This week’s flashbacks were especially captivating. Who knew that Moira and June had actually tried to escape captivity in the past? Although we know that present-day June is still a prisoner, I still found myself on the edge of my seat as the clever duo hatched their escape plot and almost made it. The real gem here is that magnificent moment in which June wordlessly gives Moira the okay to escape without her. Elisabeth Moss doesn’t say a single line here (much like all her great moments) but she conveys so much relief, pain and horror with a single heartbroken smile. It’s an Emmy-winning moment in its singular beauty.

As for present-day June, her suffering finally yielded some hope as she found solace and a little positivity in that latin phrase carved into her wall by the previous Offred. I love that Offred finally gets a win and manipulates the commander into letting her out of her room. The strut, the handmaids coming together, the music, that quote (see below) – it’s a perfect ending that’s gorgeously juxtaposed with another win in the past (all the handmaids leaving food for a beaten Offred). Wow.

I also have to praise one of the show’s finest sequences yet: June visiting the doctor who creepily offers to sleep with her to get her pregnant. It’s such an unsettling moment, punctuated by his hands menacingly holding on to her legs. It’s a particularly intriguing choice to show only his silhouette behind the curtain for the first half of the scene.

Bits & Handmaids

– Horrifying trial ceremony scene with the Handmaids learning that they will have to sleep with their commanders. Ugh this show.

– Interesting revelation: Waterford might be sterile (also, that word is forbidden now).

– In case you thought Moss didn’t get enough Emmy-worthy scenes this week, she also got that gut-wrenching moment in the back of the car as she went berserk and started sobbing and screaming uncontrollably. It’s so difficult to watch.

– The saddest sight I’ve seen all year: Offred sleeping in that closet.

– Awkward: Waterford unable to get an erection and trying to give himself a handjob in front of the ladies and then on his own. He doesn’t even give Serena permission for a blowjob. Ouch.

– Notice the paintings being burned as our duo thrillingly make it outside. Also, notice that you only see men heading off to work and there are guards posted at every corner.

– June getting whipped really broke my heart. Can we please know more about Lydia and what made her so vicious?

– Apparently Elisabeth Moss actually walks around with a necklace that says the title latin phrase (Don’t let the bastards grind you down.) That’s just awesome.

– I am so intrigued to learn more about the previous Offred. Did she really kill herself?

Eye Chatter

Offred: Sterile. That’s a forbidden word. There’s no such thing as a sterile man anymore. There’s only women who are fruitful and women who are barren.

Offred: You can wet the rim of a glass and run your finger around the rim and it will make a sound. This is what I feel like, this sound of glass. I feel like the word “shatter.

Aunt Lydia: The most painful thing is not the betrayal of trust, June. Do you know what’s most painful? The most painful thing in this entire ugly incident is the ingratitude.

Offred: There was an Offred before me. She helped me find my way out. She’s dead. She’s alive. She is me. We are Handmaids. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, bitches.

Must-Download Tune
Perpetuum Mobile by Penguin Cafe Orchestra

Yet another perfect episode from the year’s most engrossing new show.

Nad Rating

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