THE HANDMAID’S TALE — “Offred” – Episode 101 – Offred, one the few fertile women known as Handmaids in the oppressive Republic of Gilead, struggles to survive as a reproductive surrogate for a powerful Commander and his resentful wife. Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski), shown. (Photo by: Take Five/Hulu)
Offred and Serena Joy
This scene sheds more light onto Serena Joy’s feelings about the arrangement she has. It’s been clear from the start that she doesn’t like having a handmaid around, and Offred just happens to be her latest target.
But the conversation the two of them have at the Putnams’ house makes it visually clear that Offred has no power at all. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Serena Joy has heels on, but even the shots of the two of them individually have her filling more of the frame, while Offred seems small by comparison.
Perhaps most telling, though, is what Serena Joy says: “What we do together is terrible … terribly hard.” She’s referring to the wife-handmaid paradigm, where the handmaid does the childbearing. Supposedly, it’s in the context of commenting on Ofwarren’s biting Mrs. Putman and her issues with having her child taken away from her.
However, do we detect a note of resentment? It would certainly explain her furious reaction to learning that Offred has gotten her period. Taken together with the later line that she and Commander Waterford tried multiple times to have a child, it suggests that Serena Joy may be dealing with some issues of her own.
The Handmaid’s Tale will release another episode on Hulu next week. What did you see in these first three episodes?