The Handmaid’s Tale: 9 Key Moments from the First Three Episodes

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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. Offered (Elisabeth Moss), shown. (Photo by: Take Five/Hulu)

“My Name is June”

Margaret Atwood’s original novel never gives readers Offred’s real name explicitly. As sites like i09 note, the text does admittedly point readers to conclude that her name is June. Ergo, this isn’t that big of a change.

Hulu’s version of The Handmaid’s Tale makes you wait until the end of the first episode to figure this all out, though. Although there are multiple flashbacks in the first episode, from her revealing she’s pregnant to Moira to several scenes from the Red Center, we never hear our main character’s name. No one calls her by it. It’s by no means clumsy — the hisses and whispers make it very clear that the women are trying to keep things quiet anyway.

But it becomes more noticeable during the Salvaging scene.

And then, as we close the first episode in the same way we opened the present-day portions of “Offred,” she gives us one last voiceover, ending with the line “My name is June. I intend to survive.”

It works on a couple different levels. First, it gives us a better name to refer to our protagonist. It’s her real name, not one that changes depending on which commander she’s serving. Secondly, it reinforces her intentions to resist. It starts with her sardonic voiceovers, continues with her conversation with Ofglen, and then is cemented by her giving us her real name.